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Why does he do this?

(24 Posts)
inmyshoos Wed 28-Sep-16 19:47:14

My marriage is on the rocks. No matter how much we talk nothing changes. My husband does this denial/head burying thing that makes it very hard to move forward. I wonder why he does it. Sometimes wonder if he is quite manipulative and clever and other times feel sorry for him confused


Last year I stupidly thought we should have another baby. We tried for about 6 mnths and when it didn't happen we both had some basic tests. His sperm analysis wasn't good and dr reckoned this was the problem. Fast forward a year. A lovely baby comes to our house, I remark how adorable she is and husband is like 'Awww are you broody shoos?' Not the first time he has asked this so i explain to him 'of course i am, we were trying for a baby last year but can't have one. This hasn't stopped the desire to have another'
He says 'Were we??' I mean what would you say to this? It makes me feel like I am crazy.

Another example.
We have had lots of chats about our relationship. I have told him I don't desire him any more. I don't feel happy. I want to make it work but he doesn't seem willing or able to change the things that are a problem. I have told him I think that trying to parent the dc together as friends at the moment is the only way forward just now and that hopefully we might get back some of the other stuff in time if we can at least be friends. Within a day of this conversation at the dinner table with the dc he asks me 'you ok?' I shrug and say 'yeah fine'. He looks all confused and asks me 'are you happy?'. I mean what does he expect me to say? I'm not happy. He knows this. Why ask me infront of dc when I can't be honest. Well I could but then he would have a tantrum/emotional breakdown about it all and scare the dc. He can't cope with any stress. Even when we talk, he just says I am putting so much pressure on him to get it right that it all goes wrong and he can't function. I just can't win sad

TheNaze73 Wed 28-Sep-16 19:51:24

He doesn't sound interested in you OP. Life's too short to put up & shut up

SaggyNaggy Wed 28-Sep-16 19:52:07

You sound miserable.
You know you are allowed to leave right?.
This man is obviously dpoing nothing to make your life better, it sounds like he's dragging you down. Tell him, in no uncertain terms, change or leave.

inmyshoos Wed 28-Sep-16 20:04:27

I have so desperately wanted it to work and he claims he is trying his best. I feel like a complete bitch for saying that if this is his best, it's not good enough sad
I could leave but i have 3 young dc and no where to go.

Guavaf1sh Thu 29-Sep-16 00:16:57

It sounds as if the relationship has run its course. To answer your question he probably doesn't as a form of self preservation as you told him you don't desire him any more and want to be friends. Harsh. You're dragging each other down. I'm sorry for the both of you. My only advice is try not to make it his fault. It isn't. It's nobody's. It's both of you. It's life- time to move on.

Hillfarmer Thu 29-Sep-16 00:36:53

He is gaslighting you and is being manipulative - trying to show you up in front of the children, not nice. In answer to your question - it doesn't matter why he is doing this. The fact is that he is doing this and he doesn't have any concern about how upset and sad you are. By behaving like this, he gets to 'control the weather' in your household. It gives him power and control. And I bet if you picked him up on this, he would deny all knowledge.

I have so desperately wanted it to work

He thinks he has all the power because of this ^. He knows you are desperate for your marriage to work and he thinks this is his ultimate tool. He thinks he can be as shitty as he likes, because your arm is up your back. E.g. You can be blackmailed to stay silent in front of the dcs, because he knows you won't want to upset them.

He is not working on your relationship. You have communicated effectively and he is not on your team. He is undermining your efforts and is working against you in fact.

He is not trying his best. What he is doing is torpedo-ing your efforts whilst lying and saying 'I'm trying my best'. Can you spot the difference?

Ask him for his practical suggestions for repairing your relationship. Leave a silence after your question...don't fill in the gaps and see what he comes up with. (You have so far been making the running and trying to come up with a strategy) If he can't come up with anything, then I think you need to tell him that splitting up seems a sensible plan.

Isetan Thu 29-Sep-16 07:33:07

The only thing you get from repeatedly banging your head against a brick wall, is a headache.

SandyY2K Thu 29-Sep-16 07:47:28

Have you considered marriage counselling?

Also with things as they are don't have another child. That would be 4 to think about.

inmyshoos Thu 29-Sep-16 11:41:04

Yes another baby is not happening. We are not having sex anyway so no chance of accident even if we were able.
I realise now it was a bad idea.

We have had counselling. 2 years ago. Made no difference at all.

keepingonrunning Thu 29-Sep-16 11:49:22

He's gaslighting you. It's deliberate headfuckery. It's psychological abuse.
It makes me feel like I am crazy. This is exactly what he wants - power and control over you.

skyyequake Thu 29-Sep-16 11:54:04

Sorry OP but I agree with Hillfarmer on this one... My XP did the exact same thing, claimed he was trying his best and that I was the unreasonable one... Finally realised he was an abusive arsehole and left him last week. He's still trying to blame me for everything.

You are not responsible for his actions.

You are not the reason he can't pull his shit together. You are not the reason your marriage is falling apart. You are allowed to be unhappy. He cannot control how you feel. He can't tell you that you have no reason to be upset.

There is always a way out shoos. It may be bloody difficult in some circumstances, but it can be done.

Try looking up emotional abuse tactics. There may be other behaviours you haven't even noticed, because they seem normal to you, when in fact they are far from it.

I hope everything works out for you and DC flowers

Every1lovesPatsy Thu 29-Sep-16 11:58:55

Well he might be gaslighting you or he might be preserving his own mental health by being in complete and utter denial and living in a fantasy world.

I think counselling for you alone.

keepingonrunning Thu 29-Sep-16 11:59:55

Signs of emotional abuse
Or see Women's Aid website

keepingonrunning Thu 29-Sep-16 12:05:41

Or you could read the MN Relationships board bible Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft which, interestingly enough, is almost identical to your question.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 29-Sep-16 12:07:09


What Hillfarmer wrote earlier.

Have you as yet sought legal advice?. No man is above the law here and he is abusive through and through.

Is this really what you want to teach your children about relationships, just what are they learning here?.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 29-Sep-16 12:07:39

And why does he do this?. Well he would likely say its because he can.

inmyshoos Thu 29-Sep-16 12:57:48

I really can't believe he is abusive. He just can't as someone else said 'get his shit together'. He is very complimentary to me. Always tells me i am beautiful, a great mum, great cook etc. I am not complimentary to him. Maybe i am the abuser!
I would say he is lazy by nature, quite flakey, panics when put under any pressure whatsoever, needy, jealous and grumpy. But i dont think he is abusive. I sometimes wonder if he is quite sneaky and manipulative but then I go back to thinking he isn't switched on enough for that.
He isn't stupid. He is a graduate and has a good job. However I often feel he is stupid. Makes terrible decisions. Feel like I can't trust him to make any decisions because he will fuck up and then it is always me that has to sort his shit out. Or my parents.
He has been no contact with his parents for 3 yrs now. They are toxic. Fil controlling and manipulative. Makes me feel sorry for him because he really just has 'us'. But then somedays I see smacks of his Dad.....

skyyequake Thu 29-Sep-16 13:12:33

shoos I hope you don't mind but I'm going to link you to some other threads (one of them is mine), from partners who we didn't believe were abusive... We thought they were just "not switched on", didn't realise what they were doing, "if only we can say something in the right way to get them to realise" etc. They're all quite different scenarios, the men have different personalities, educational levels, cultural backgrounds and tactics. But we all came to realise that they do do this on purpose, and if you test them on it they will show you.

My thread

NoCapes threads 1 & 2

overthehillandroundthemountain threads 1 & 2

They're very long but you can skim through and see a lot of examples of this behaviour, not only from each OP, but from posters who are/were in the same situation... Including plenty of advice from women who have come out the other side.

Hope you find what you need flowers

Hillfarmer Thu 29-Sep-16 14:33:59

He is a graduate and has a good job.

Hi OP,

Abuse takes many forms. If he is so complimentary, then why does he make you feel like you're going mad?

And if he's got a good job, how does he manage at work? Does he make everyone he works with feel like they are going crazy or does it just happen to you?

Strikes me that if he can 'get his shit together' at work, then it would seem you have a 'won't' rather than 'can't' situation here. If all the crazy-making happens to land on you then I would suggest that it is deliberately aimed at you.

Also the fact that his dad modelled exactly this behaviour means that it is more than a coincidence that it is getting practised on you.

Sometimes wonder if he is quite manipulative and clever and other times feel sorry for him.

Classic confusion. You don't know which end is up here. Have you thought that keeping you confused is an actual tactic? When I finally when to counselling because I was so unhappy and felt so vicitmised, the only feeling I could articulate for weeks was one of total confusion. My head just seemed to be spinning and I couldn't settle on any one thing or really identify what it was my EA H actually did (apart from shouting at me, obviously) to make me feel that way. All I knew was that he was doing something which made me feel like I couldn't do anything. Nothing stayed still enough for me to catch it in my thoughts. It takes a while to find clarity. And when you do it is still a shock.

Do some therapy on your own. It will help you see what's what.

inmyshoos Thu 29-Sep-16 15:31:41

hillfarmer thank you for your reply flowers
He does struggle at work. He was in a role previously that was very stressful. He didnt cope well and was paid off. This really affected him. I understand it was a blow to his confidence, but he also has a tendency to never accept responsibility. Like he is rarely sorry or willing to acknowledge that HE has done something wrong.
However having read the other threads that were linked above I am still not sure he is intentionally abusive. He rarely goes out, never says nasty stuff to me. He says he would do ANYTHING for our little family but I often ask him what he does that shows he is thinking of me. For example I often buy him his fav sweet when i am out with the dc. I have said to him I eould love if he did that for me. Or if he once in a blue moon surprised me with flowers/perfume or something. Although he SAYS he would do ANYTHING and he is trying his best he has still never done sny of these things. Surely if he were 'desperately trying' he would. Or when I ask him 'could you lift the dog food in', if he were REALLY trying he'd do it straight away yes? But no he is same old same old, I have to ask repeatedly and then i just thing bugger it, and do it myself.
I have asked for space yet he will still move others from the sofa (often a dog tbh) so he can sit right beside me. I am suffocating sad
If there was an easy way to break up then I would have done it before now.
Would like therapy but where do i look for a therapist?

skyyequake Thu 29-Sep-16 16:09:32

shoos this is exactly like my XP. He never went out, always talked about how he'd do anything for me and DD, but never actually did anything. No little gestures, in fact I've said exactly your point to him before about the sweets. He also victimises himself, can't admit that he's the problem, he's been struggling for a while with "bullying" at work. Tbh I just think he's pissed off because they recognise that he's a knob and treat him accordingly. Or it could all be total fabrication to get my sympathy.

The only difference between my XP and yours is that he has escalated to verbal abuse at points. But not every abuser works the same way! They take a pic-and-mix of tactics, but in essence they're trying to control you, and keeping you confused helps to hide that from you.

skyyequake Thu 29-Sep-16 16:12:11

See if any of these tick any boxes for you

But please note that he doesn't have to tick ALL boxes. Every single one of these behaviours is abusive. And its not an exhaustive list either.

eatsleephockeyrepeat Thu 29-Sep-16 16:34:07

Hi shoos, your description of your dh has been thorough; I wonder, is it helping you to deconstruct his motivations to us like this? If it is - even a little - I think you're right to try counselling, certainly on your own to start with. I'm sure services like Relate would be a good place to start, although I'd probably Google a Counselling Directory and find someone nearby who specialises in relationships and has an approach you like the look of.

One thing I will say about the "trying for a baby" example is that my dp is exactly the same about how he remembers our "trying" for ds. We were. We had an explicit conversation about how we weren't "not preventing" but were in fact TRYING, and yet he's turned around a few times to me and, with no hint of dishonesty in his eyes, said "but we weren't trying trying"! And he's not the first man person I've heard similar from either. I really do think there's something in retrospect about not wanting to think he was trying too hard, like his manliness depended on it, and that's probably amplified ten-fold if there were issues on your dh's side which may have prevented success. He didn't fail because he wasn't really trying, right? And if he did succeed, gosh, what a man, without even trying! Your dh probably even believes it himself; it probably dampens the potential shame, unjustified though that would be.

That aside, you don't sound like you're ready to give up on him just yet... Yes, if it were easy you'd have done it by now, and if you decided to do it you'll do it anyway, but right now you do indeed sound like you're banging your head against a brick wall and your dh is on lock down. What would happen if you set aside a couple of months to just not place as much importance on your satisfaction with your relationship? Of course happiness is important but just to take a different tack, could you set aside that time? Taking away the urgency to fix things and taking the emotional heat out of the fire might help you both see if you could indeed make the changes necessary to make this work at some point in the future.

Hillfarmer Thu 29-Sep-16 17:56:35

You can find a Relate counsellor near you through their website, you don't have to go as a couple.

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