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DH wants space but I need the opposite

(49 Posts)
fakeplastictree Sun 20-May-18 23:03:09

We've been together for 9 years and had a very rocky marriage.Things have come to a head recently with arguments and discussions every day for the last few weeks and he's been repeatedly asking for "space".

When I ask him what that means he says he doesn't want to be nagged, wants to do his own thing in the house, cook his own way, sit and read, have some time on his own with the kids. He says he doesn't want to keep discussing the relationship problems anymore yet we have no answers or solutions because he's refusing to leave the family home and I won't leave because of the kids.

Because of the turmoil of the past few weeks I'm even more lonely, sad, craving love and time together, connection and reassurance. I want to try to rebuild things and I think that takes time together and communication.

Not once has he asked me what I need or how he could make things better.

He said he's supported me for 9 years with MH problems and now he "just needs space". He says he still loves me and I do love him.

It seems like he just wants to keep me dangling - there for him when he wants to talk to his easy going happy wife, family days out all together at his beck and call, me out the house "doing our own separate things". Nothing about that points towards repairing our relationship or showing me any love or affection.

How can I give him space when I need the complete opposite?

ZibbidooZibbidooZibbidoo Sun 20-May-18 23:05:40

He wants to end the relationship but he’s too cowardly to say it and actually go through the difficult stuff like moving out and paying child support. Sorry OP.

I would ask him to attend marriage counselling. If he refuses you have your answer- he doesn’t want to save it.

fakeplastictree Sun 20-May-18 23:12:23

Thanks Zibbidoo. He's previously said he would give counselling a try although that seems quite different from the 'I don't care about what you need, I need space' from today.

MMmomDD Sun 20-May-18 23:12:38

OP - this sounds so intense and draining. And that’s just from reading your post.
And I can see how someone would want to have space.
And, wanting space isn’t the same as having you ‘dangling’. It’s just that - needing alone time. It’s totally normal, and is in short supply in a marriage normally.

There is confusing part ok your post where you say ‘he won’t leave the house’, but then say you want to be closer and have more time together.
Which would you actually want?

I don’t know what the solution is - but it doesn’t seem like pushing more discussions wouldn’t be productive at this point.
I’d have taken a break and then figured out another approach.

Userplusnumbers Sun 20-May-18 23:13:13

It's interesting in your initial post OP that you mentioned he's spent a long time supporting your MH problems - how many times through all of that have you asked him (or has he expressed) what he needs?

Is this the first time he's asking for something like this?

It's not unreasonable for couples to need a few days here and there over the years - if you won't allow him to meet his own emotional needs, then he certainly isn't in a position to support with yours. On the flip side, you need to concentrate on meeting your own needs without making it his responsibility.

It feels like some 'space' in some form would be a good thing, along with some couple and individual counselling for you both.

ZibbidooZibbidooZibbidoo Sun 20-May-18 23:16:15

He's previously said he would give counselling a try

Why did that not happen?

AfterSchoolWorry Sun 20-May-18 23:17:18

I'm sorry OP. But you sound very suffocating.

What steps have you taken to take care of your emotional needs yourself, counseling etc?

If you're expecting him to take care of all your emotional needs, then that's not realistic.

lunar1 Sun 20-May-18 23:21:27

Are there reasons he can't cook how he wants, read a book and have 1:1 time with the kids? It doesn't seem much to ask. How should he be cooking?

fakeplastictree Sun 20-May-18 23:22:17

Sorry, I meant he won't leave the house to have a break. To gather his thoughts, maybe go to a hotel or a friends for a few days. Actual physical space between us.

Prior to this needing space need, I have asked him countless times what he needs from me, and it was usually that he wants the old me back, the person who he married. Despite working on skills to improve my MH I don't think that I will ever be that person again.

I have had therapy over the past six months and I'm starting a different kind of therapy this month so I'm quite sure about how I want to move forward and build a life worth living. I just imagined sharing it with him. But I imagined having my emotional needs met with a mutually loving and happy marriage where we actively seek out and like having conversations with each other.

I'm quite happy in my own company, but want someone to share life with.

fakeplastictree Sun 20-May-18 23:24:32

Counselling didn't happen because we sweep things under he carpet and just get on with it until the next big conversation about how we're unhappy.

fakeplastictree Sun 20-May-18 23:29:04

Lunar1, I've been off for the past year trying to get well enough to get back to work. so have naturally done all the things in the house and with the kids.

He thinks I judge him for whatever chore or task he's doing and smirk if it goes wrong. I don't think like that at all. He has quite low opinions of me.

winsomebutlosemost Sun 20-May-18 23:29:20

Have a read up on attachment. You sound like you are anxious preoccupied and he sounds like a dismissive avoidant. It's an indication of how much space people need versus reassurance. There's a book called "Attached". Have a read, I think it'll really help

ZibbidooZibbidooZibbidoo Sun 20-May-18 23:30:29

Ok so put relationship counselling on the table again. And arrange it. Then go!

fakeplastictree Sun 20-May-18 23:33:49

The attachment book sounds interesting I will definitely give it a read. From a quick google I have definitely changed from being secure to anxious over our marriage.

SandyY2K Sun 20-May-18 23:37:07

You do sound very full on and intense tbh. I can see why he needs space.

Why can't you let him cook how he wants and sit and read.

Maybe he just can't cope with your MH issues any more. I think you will push him away if you dont back off.

fakeplastictree Sun 20-May-18 23:48:01

Yeah, I think I am very intense and trying to work on that and be more mindful and care free like I used to be.

I think he's holding me to how I may have been critical about whatever he was doing in the past. I wouldn't do that now. And to be fair, this interest in family life and activities is a very recent thing that he's only just been able to make time for. I haven't criticised any of his parenting or domestic stuff.

I know I will have to back off and listen to what he's saying if I want to move forward. It just feels a bit like another self sacrifice and doing what everyone else wants again.

I can back off, but I don't know how that will help any of the problems that I have with the marriage?

SandyY2K Mon 21-May-18 00:01:24

Perhaps after backing off a little....things will be calmer and you can try and discuss the issues without blame and accusatory tones on both sides.

Trying to restablish the emotional connection between you would also help...but This will only come about with good communication.

passmetheloppers Mon 21-May-18 00:24:46

What SandyY2K said.
Perhaps it might be helpful to give him the space he needs, just for a few days at least. It seems to be rather a hot-house environment at the moment, and that can be really stressful.

Sally2791 Mon 21-May-18 05:58:18

I would let him do things his way,you concentrate on yourself then go for couples counselling. But don't hassle him as it won't help

MarieG10 Mon 21-May-18 06:02:22

Having a break with him in a hotel doesn't seem much point. I'm sorry but if you get to having a break where one of you moves out, it sounds like it would be permanent. It really sounds like he is working out in his mind how best to permanently end things

Loopytiles Mon 21-May-18 06:05:39

Sorry you’re in pain.

Couples counselling from someone good could be useful. Even if the relationship ends it could help navigate that.

InfiniteSheldon Mon 21-May-18 06:29:14

Give him space get back to work if you possibly can take up a hobby/go to the gym/join a running reconnect with old friends or make new ones. In general get your own life. Once you stop wrapping your own happiness in his he might want to spend time with you again.

InfiniteSheldon Mon 21-May-18 06:43:54

He has said he doesn't want to keep talking about the the relationship how on earth will spending an hour a week at couples counciling help? It's the exact opposite of what he needs and wants!

Cambionome Mon 21-May-18 07:06:13

Why does he get to "not talk about" a relationship while the op is struggling and in emotional distress?

Sorry, you don't get to just slide out of difficult discussions because you don't feel like it.

Loopytiles Mon 21-May-18 07:07:36

It’s structured and at a set time though, and “facilitated”. Also, if there are problems it’s unreasonable to refuse to discuss them at all. A few days’ or a week’s break from discussion is one thing, but weeks on end isn’t on.

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