Talking about historic event that's hurting me

(30 Posts)
JetJetJet Sat 05-Sep-20 13:54:12

I've been with my DH for over a decade and married just over 4. Early on in the relationship one of my DHs parents got sick, and the other one wasnt in good health either. My DHs siblings had their own families... so it fell to my DH to care. There were times when it was bad, and he would spend all weekends and holiday away helping. I did everything I could.. I would use the weekends to clean and improve the house etc. It impacted our sex life - we both work busy jobs, and there just was never the time. At the time I felt the relationship was drifting but hoped it would eventually improve. My DH resents his siblings for their lack of support but has mostly resolved it. Sadly the illness was terminal. Time has passed but I dont think things are really any better between us (although my DH would disagree..he is happy with no kids, and a sexless marriage)

DH is very adamant that he cherishes all the time he spent with his parents over that time.

I'm not sure I can continue in the relationship which essentially remains sexless. DHs work was accommodating.. he works on a high power role and throughout the years they have given him leave in order to provide care and grieve.

But if I tell him i felt his parents are the source of some of my loneliness and resentment with the relationship then I know that it will hurt him for the rest of his life. I feel he has put family and job ahead of me... but I cant tell him.

Better to say nothing?

OP’s posts: |
GreenLeafTurnip Sat 05-Sep-20 14:17:37

Did you get married after all this happened?

You don't have to stay in a sexless marriage and you also don't have to blame it all on him caring for his parents.

JetJetJet Sat 05-Sep-20 14:25:39

We got married yes. Because of the situation it was just a few form signs etc. No real celebration.

Supidily I told him I regret the WAY we got married. He has said he can never un hear what I said and that I've hurt him by saying that. But it's how I feel. I worry about saying any more as obviously the full extent of my feelings would destroy him.

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picklemewalnuts Sat 05-Sep-20 14:26:27

I think you need to reset your thinking. Those were hard times for you and for him. However what matters is now. You are now in a relationship that doesn't satisfy you. You need to talk to him about changing that, and if it isn't possible then you move on.

Don't get caught up in the whys- that's past, and to be honest if you'd had a strong physical and emotional connection that period wouldn't have been able to destroy it. It's easy to blame the events of that time, and maybe you'd both have done better without that stress, but if you'd been sufficiently strong as a couple that wouldn't have made a difference.

Aquamarine1029 Sat 05-Sep-20 14:28:42

At this point, the only thing that matters is you getting out of this miserable, dead end marriage. Tell your husband it's over, get a solicitor, and move on. Don't waste your life living this way.

Dery Sat 05-Sep-20 14:32:27

"You don't have to stay in a sexless marriage and you also don't have to blame it all on him caring for his parents."

This. He handled the situation in the way that he needed to handle it at the time and you were an amazing support to him. However, that was your choice - you chose to hang on to the relationship although you sensed it was drifting. And you presumably got married despite that drift having occurred. Which is not to blame you at all - I'm sure you're a lovely person - but to say that you went into this with your eyes open.

And none of it is a reason to be in a sexless relationship now. In my view the two things are unrelated. It's not his parents which are the source of your loneliness and resentment with the relationship - it's him. He could have spent the years since showering you with love and attention to make up for what you missed out on early on, showing his appreciation for your support. But he hasn't done that. That's on him, not on his parents. Basically, he's used to neglecting you. From the tone of your post, it sounds to me as if you have never tried to make any demands for yourself and it clearly hasn't occurred to him to think about what you might want.

You are absolutely entitled to move on from your sexless marriage. If you want to give the relationship one last try, you may need to give him some kind of ultimatum but the situation doesn't sound salvageable from what you say because there has never been a time when he has focused on building his relationship with you.

JetJetJet Sat 05-Sep-20 14:45:19

What is that ultimatum though...

He works long hours, I support him but equally I have my own well paying job and earn as much as him. During lockdown he was offered a wage reduction for working hours. I said take it, he didnt. We had a big row then next morning he declared that he is going to quit his job. I'm worried that I give him an ultimatum and he quits and we separate then he is up the creek.

He accuses me of being selfish, and that itsall about my feelings. He seems happy ... he would like me to be more romantic and do stuff together as a couple. I want intimacy... but at the moment just not with him. I've collapsed mentally and at times thought that there is no point carrying on (it's ok, I'm getting help for this)

OP’s posts: |


growinggreyer Sat 05-Sep-20 14:49:03

Even if he does quit his job that doesn't mean that you have to cancel your divorce, move back and carry on caring for him. Be thinking carefully and make your plans. Once you have ended the relationship cut contact. You can't be the person to help him through the separation.

Aquamarine1029 Sat 05-Sep-20 14:50:27

Just get out, op. His life is for him to manage.

Branleuse Sat 05-Sep-20 14:58:14

you dont have to explain that its his parents fault. You can just say that its not working for you and hasnt been working for a long time. Youve tried to talk about it and hes made you feel shit. Theres nothing to save. You dont have sex or communication. If it hurts his feelings, thats too bad

Dery Sat 05-Sep-20 15:10:40

From your updates it sounds like you have been talking about your feelings and needs which wasn't apparent from your initial post.

For want of a better way of putting it, it all just sounds rather hopeless. Your original post made it sound as if the lack of sex and intimacy emanated from him - your update makes it sound as if it emanates from you since he wants to spend time with you but you don't want to spend time with him or be intimate with him. I wonder now whether you want to trace this back to his parents because you don't want to seem like the baddie. But you've done nothing wrong. You're allowed to say this isn't working for you.

You were extremely supportive for many years and perhaps - as regards your relationship with your H - you gave everything you had to give during that time and you have nothing left now. You've presumably tried to make it work these last few years but it isn't working and you no longer want to be intimate with him. And I do think that part of the problem is that there has never really been a time when you were nurturing the relationship with each other so you don't have a reference point for how your relationship looks when you only need to concern yourselves with each other. Most couples spend years building their relationships before they have to deal with matters such as caring for sick parents and/or raising children but that didn't happen for you. I don't think you should blame his parents for it but it's had consequences for your relationship.

If you're worried that he's about to give up work and lose his financial independence - while that shouldn't interfere with you walking away it would be fairer to let him know now before he takes any such step.

Because in the end it sounds like it's over for you. You may well find that you start to feel better mentally when you make the decision to end the marriage and are no longer living with the huge inner conflict of having as your husband a man with whom you no longer wish to be intimate.

JetJetJet Sat 05-Sep-20 15:17:09

Thanks for all the comments so far. I think no contact would be a bit extreme. Deep down we are good friends, maybe the friendship would survive. We have some joint friends from uni.

We've agreed counselling (he has been dragging his heals). It was left to me to organise as ever. As I said we'd had a bit of a row a while back. He said he felt overwhelmed.. work, day to day life (we are in the process of having an extension) and the relationship. I said I would take the relationship and house and let him focus on work. He was in a bad way. For a few days I worked into the evening and let him chill. His mood has got a lot better since...

OP’s posts: |
Doyoumind Sat 05-Sep-20 15:22:39

This sounds like a lot of effort and little reward. If I were you, I would be out of there.

Notjustabrunette Sat 05-Sep-20 15:23:39

You are not in the marriage you want to be in and you didn’t have the wedding you wanted to have. These are two not unreasonable disappointments.
You say your husband is ok with this situation. The first question I have is why he’s ok with it? Or is he really ok with it? Has he changed as a person since looking after his parents? Do you think he has depression or other mental health issues resulting from the strain of having his patents care solely on him while holding down a job and being a partner to you? It feels like something had to ‘give’ and as he couldn’t not look after his parents or quit his job so it was your relationship which took the hit. You saying (and you have every right to) that you didn’t have the wedding you wanted is showing him that actually he didn’t keep all the plates spinning, and that he did ‘fail’ at something.
I would say that your marriage is unlikely to improve on its own because your husband is not dealing with his issues related to the strain of looking after his parents.
I would say that needs to see a therapist. I would also say that you could do with seeing a couples counselor to get your issues out in the table with a neutral body in the room.
On the other hand if you feel that this isn’t what you signed up for and he refuses to change or seek help you are allowed to leave this relationship. It would be a bigger waste to spend your life in a marriage you are far from happy in.

JetJetJet Sat 05-Sep-20 15:31:05

Thanks this is all really positive.

Couples counsellor is booked for next week. I do think I need to go in deciding whether I want to use the counsellor to separate or see whether there is something left to save. I appreciate that I need to go in with an open mind but it's hard...

I've told him he needs to get help, he said I cant force him. As I have been in therapy then I explained how it worked.

I'm worried that he has a tendency to never deal with issues. For example he claims he hates his job but never quits... I've heard the same over and over again. I'm worried that he will say that he will change and there will be short term kerfuffle but after a while normal service will be resumed.

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Sssloou Sat 05-Sep-20 15:31:09

he is happy with no kids, and a sexless marriage

Are you? Do you want babies?

How old are you?

JetJetJet Sat 05-Sep-20 15:43:28

Dont want to be too exact. Mid to late 30s.

He has wavered. There has been times in the past where he hasn't. With everything thats happened I have never pressurised it. But equally I agree we have been poor communicators and that we probably havent given it the debate we needed. There was a period a couple of years back where we half heartily TTC.. ie we had sex twice in one month and then it went back to pretty much sexless again. He now says he wants kids but I worry that he knows that will keep us together...

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Branleuse Sat 05-Sep-20 15:56:17

He doesnt want to work on it. He doesnt want to talk about it. He just wants to plod along whether youre both miserable or not. Sounds really tiring tbh. Is that really what you want out of life

picklemewalnuts Sat 05-Sep-20 16:40:30

I notice a couple of interesting things.

When you let him alone to just chill, he's mood got better.

He accuses me of being selfish, and that itsall about my feelings. He seems happy ... he would like me to be more romantic and do stuff together as a couple.

How I read that, is that he's happy as it is if you'd only just shut up and stop asking him for stuff and wanting things from him. When you want more, then you are being selfish and making it all about you and it should be all about him. He wants you to be more romantic and do couple things, but doesn't want to invest in listening to you, understanding you, or going to counselling either together or for himself.

The first few years of your relationship were about what he wanted- to focus on his parents. He didn't invest time in his relationship with you so you could be his strength/support in this time, he expected you to be supportive by not arguing with him about it or needing him in any way.

When you express sadness about those times, or your wedding, he gets all hurt and huffy. You aren't allowed to be hurt, notice, 'cos that hurts him. And when he's hurt you have to stop bringing that up and immediately make him feel better.

Honestly op, he doesn't sound like someone you want to spend your life with. You are his token wife and family. There to fill the gaps in his life, but not to be a true partner.

rvby Sat 05-Sep-20 16:43:48

Gosh, your life just revolves around this guy.

What does he bring to your life?

Sssloou Sat 05-Sep-20 16:48:09

he is happy with no kids, and a sexless marriage

Are you? Do you want babies?

Respectfully- I didn’t ask about him - but you.

What are your wants and needs? Have they ever seen the light of day?

What do you want in your heart?

TorkTorkBam Sat 05-Sep-20 16:48:52

Christ he sounds dull.

Your whole life seems to revolve around his mood and needs.

You seem to want counselling to change his personality. You aren't complaining about a little issue where, say, communication has failed. These are huge fundamental matters of character and lifetime priorities.

Dery Sat 05-Sep-20 16:57:44

"Couples counsellor is booked for next week. I do think I need to go in deciding whether I want to use the counsellor to separate or see whether there is something left to save. I appreciate that I need to go in with an open mind but it's hard..."

You don't need to go into counselling with an open mind. You're not obliged to work out whether there is something left to save. It sounds like you've given a huge amount to this relationship but that it hasn't met your needs for years - perhaps has never met your needs. You're so used to thinking about him, you've forgotten to think about yourself. A poster asked if you wanted children and you answered as to whether he wants children. What do you want, OP?

Frankly, it sounds like you're flogging a dead horse. You're mid- to late 30s. You've given this relationship 10 years and it has never really provided you with what you need. Even if you want children, this is not the guy to have children with. Leaving aside the lack of sexual intimacy, he's already stressed because of his job - he's unlikely to cope well with the additional pressures of parenthood. Also, as a man, his fertility window is much greater than yours, as a woman. So if having children is important to you (and ignore this if it isn't), you need to get cracking on finding someone else or perhaps on preparing to go it alone as a single parent.

Even if you don't want children, you deserve a better relationship than this one. Being alone is better than remaining with a spouse whom you want to leave.

rvby Sat 05-Sep-20 17:00:54

As pp mention, its bizarre that when asked what you want, you reply with what he wants.

What do YOU want?

I can't imagine wanting to be with someone as dull and self involved as the man you describe. It sounds utterly joyless and soul destroying.

mindutopia Sat 05-Sep-20 17:07:30

In any long relationship, you will go through horrible times together. Gosh, the things dh and I have been through would make caring for ill parents look like a cake walk. Some of it has been absolutely horrific, related to child sexual abuse in both of our families. It's a normal part of any healthy relationship to go through bad times and everything except just surviving can be put on hold.

But it doesn't sound like you can blame the present on a situation with your dh and his parents years ago. You've both moved forward with marriage and staying in the relationship. If it's unhappy and sexless now, it's not because of what happened years ago. It's because of what you have both chosen to accept as fine right now. You can either change it, or you can decide you want a different life, but this is no way to live for either of you.

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