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When he pulls away, what do you do?(17 Posts)
Around 6 months ago I told DH that I wasn't happy. His family were too interfering and he was far too enmeshed in their lives. Aside from this, there were other issues: lack of sex, lack of quality time together, he was getting much more free time than I was and he wasn't helping around the house.
In the last 6 months, he's grown much more helpful and he's cut his free time down so that I can have some too. I've felt much better. However, things have come to a head with his family and I've told him that I need to go NC for my own sanity, he and DCS can continue to see them. This change he hasn't taken very well at all.
This was 6 weeks ago now and he has completely pulled away from me. He tells me he's fine, we're fine but he won't come near me, has lost all affection towards me and everything feels very uncertain. He tells me he probably feels angry with me for distancing myself from his family but he's not sure. I think he's probably annoyed with me for speaking to mutual friends about what's been going on too but I'm a talker and he isn't and I deperately need to talk about what's happened. I struggle to keep things to myself. I've tried to give him time to come around, I've been kind, we've been on dates, walks, I've tried giving him space but it's still the same. He says he still loves me and wants to be with me, but his actions say differently. What do I do now?
Can you suggest counselling?
Would he do that?
If he will then maybe try that.
This all sounds very involved, and perhaps as though the two issues (your DH not being equal about free time or household chores and his family being over-involved in your lives) have become confused in his mind. Does your husband think that, as he altered things to make them less unequal after you told him you were unhappy, he should be 'rewarded' by you laying off on his family, or something, rather than simply acknowledging that he was the one previously benefiting from an unequal situation therefore he needed to act to change it?
Are his family who he spends his considerable leisure time with?
Also, while you call his family interfering and over-involved, is it possible that he feels that you confiding in mutual friends is also inappropriate and interfering?
It sounds like you're being deliberately punished for refusing to see his parents.
I'm currently in counselling trying to find a solution to all our issues; DH refuses counselling point blank. He hates talking so won't even try it.
I'be absolutely no idea how DH feels as he won't talk to me, I'm getting a little tired of speculating to be honest as I get no closer to finding the answers. DH claims to not have any answers either, he just says "I don't know... maybe I feel this, maybe I feel that" but he doesn't know.
My counsellor has suggested couples counselling too.
DH has several sporting hobbies. One of which he shares with his family. It costs us a lot of money for him to do this hobby that he's done for years with family but I've never tried to stop him doing it. It doesn't take up a huge amount of time, perhaps 2-3 full days a month around 12 hours each time and he's usually exhausted the day after but it's not too bad and just a summer hobby really. The problem really is that he does EVERYTHING so it's a couple of evenings a week, 2-3 full days a month, a weekend away every 6-8 weeks and sometimes 4-5 days away, maybe twice a year. It's quite a lot when you add everything up. He's also never got any money (we split finances equally after all bills) I have a small amount of savingsbuilt up he's constantly in the red from doing all these hobbies and there's no money left for him to treat me (although he does now and then when I've been moaning a lot)
He's a very private person so doesn't like me telling people our business, but when he won't listen or talk I'm left climbing the walls and feeling depressed.
He tells me he loves me and wants us to be together, but I get the feeling it's for him to stay under the same roof as DCS. He adores them and he's a great father.
Well, I can see why you're in counselling and talking to friends from your update. He sounds emotionally closed and rather baffled by his own inner life. It still doesn't sound like a very equal relationship in terms of finances and free time (do you have children you're stuck looking after while he's off doing his mysterious summer hobby?) - I know you say you split leftover money equally after bills, but it's not 'equal' if he's spending so much money on this hobby that he's actually in debt while relying on your frugality to bail him out.
Do you actually want to be in this marriage? Because I honestly can't see what's in it for you. Even leaving aside whatever is going on with his family that makes you want to go NC.
And of course he's a very private person and doesn't like you 'telling people his business', because frankly, it makes him look selfish, spendthrift and emotionally fuckwitted. He gets to feel a lot better about his choices if you're the only one who gets to see them.
Yes I'm stuck at home looking after his children whilst he's off doing his hobbies. I've made the decision to stay with DH based on a few reasons and the main one being because he is emotionally closed. In his care, DCS will be subjected to this. He tends to believe what he wants to believe, see what he wants to see rather than what's actually there. So if DC complains he's feeling ill under his primary care then this will go ignored if DH sees this as a hindrance for what he has planned for the day. I need to be with him to protect DCS from this side of him I feel, amongst a few other reasons- some of them being for me as well as DCS. In some ways DH is good for me, I know this after months of mulling it over.
I've never had to bail DH out when it comes to finances, although I have known him take out the odd credit card to help him get by. I have nothing to do with this and I know he does make the repayments as I check from time to time. He can manage his finances as he likes, however I feel it does affect me when he can't afford to treat us to a meal out or a trip to the cinema. He never complains he can't afford and will pay anyway, but I can tell by the look on his face and his bank statements that he can't! He just avoids asking me out with him tbh. I don't treat him either, why should I?
I would use the counselling to work on your own self . It's impossible to resolve marital issues when only one person is interested in doing so. Your husband sounds emotionally damaged , probably caused by his family.
Probably a good tip re counselling. I think I've come to a point where I'm really tired of trying to 'fix' DH and me and all the problems associated with his family. Working on me is probably the best way to continue now. DH has a narcissistic parent who has tried to monopolise our lives from the very beginning. It's manageable-ish until they begin trying to control your parenting and your children. I would say he's been ground down over the years, he disagrees. There was an expectation for me to conform to his family and their way of doing things, I've fought against it for a long time and finally just shut them off. From.that side of things, life is lovely. Perhaps DH is punishing me for that. Life isn't supposed to be lovely without them I don't think.
Is it that you think his family takes advantage of him?
Or do they treat you badly and he doesn't defend you or tell them to stop?
Do his parents treat other siblings like this?
I can say that I'd feel hurt if my DH refused to interact with my family, but that would very much depend on the reason why.
You may not like this , but I agree with him on discussing your private business to friends. It's your marital issue and not for discussion like that.
How is he meant to feel seeing these people and knowing that they have inside knowledge of your marriage and it's issues. Even if he doesn't see them - it's not a good idea.
Don't let non professionals that are your friends in on the cracks in your marriage. This has been known to cause a rift and let them know your weak spots. This scenario has caused best friends to home in on your marriage or throw things in your face during fallouts.
You may swear up and down this would never happen - but so did all those others.
There's a lot written about the effects of narcissistic parents on their children. www.sonsofnarcissisticmothers.org/sonms.html
It can be very tempting indeed to try to fix things but this is your husbands problem and only he can fix it . At the moment he doesn't want to. Men with parents like your husband are typically emotionally closed off and also display unhealthy behaviour that they grew up with.
If he is deliberately punishing you by withholding affection then that is abusive. I would not be kind at all to someone who is doing this, or who wouldn't talk or listen to me.
I would also consider the effects of staying in this marriage on your children. This behaviour is learnt and passes down the generations. Your husband is what he is and while they would be subjected to his emotional closed offness occasionally , surely that would be better than being exposed to it on a daily basis.
He's not a great father. You acknowledge that if they were ill he would ignore it if he had something planned that day. Great fathers don't do that.
So you're staying with him because he's a shit dad? What message do you think that sends your DC, unless you're planning to be honest with them and say "Daddy is too damaging for you to be left alone with, so I'm going to martyr myself until you're old enough to leave home"?
He tells me he probably feels angry with me for distancing myself from his family but he's not sure.
he just says "I don't know... maybe I feel this, maybe I feel that" but he doesn't know.
He tends to believe what he wants to believe, see what he wants to see rather than what's actually there.
This all points to a man who has been trained very well by his family of origin that reality is created by the narcissist in the family to meet their needs, and that he is not allowed to have feelings or thoughts of his own. He sounds completely unwilling to address this. This is how he's teaching your DC to be. Do you really think this is acceptable?
I can see he is in an awkward piggie in the middle position between you and his family, and to be if he is close to them that is going to be very hard for him to deal with emotionally. If he is closed off and unwilling to talk about things withdrawing might be his only way of dealing with the pressure. I think you should cut him some slack on that.
However, everything discussed above is also of relevance, and generally he appears to be a very self centred uncompromising person.
Oh dear. There is so much wrong with this sentence: "I'm currently in counselling trying to find a solution to all our issues; DH refuses counselling point blank."
You want a romantic relationship with love, respect, compromise and companionship. He wants a housewife, childcare, an easy life from his DM and for his hobbies. He has what he wants. There's no point in going to counselling when you've got what you want out of life.
You say you are staying with him because he would be incapable of dealing with his own children if they were ill but you say he is a great father and adores them, both can't be true. Which is it? Are you hiding behind your children to avoid facing up to the truth?
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