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Utterly miserable in marriage - DH says my problem, won't go to counselling. Any advice?

(10 Posts)
LowEbb Sat 25-Oct-08 03:58:50

(MNer for 1 year+, name change)

Subject line says it all really.

Married 10 years now. DH and I have totally different ways of expressing love - he says, I do. Lets me down constantly; v selfish... I could fill a book.

Tonight I ran out of the house at 1.30am with no shoes or jumper on because he wouldn't leave me alone. I feel like I'm going out of my mind, and a lot of it feels bound up with my relationship.

We have 3 DCs and I truly believe that (1) he is a good daddy (2) they deserve to have two parents. Trouble is he is, IMHO, a shit husband, and I am very very unhappy. Can't seem to get through to him why or how to fix it, and he isn't willing to explore counselling or anything like that.

I can't go on like this. I want to stay married to this man because difficult as life is at the moment, I know that underneath I love him (and we owe it to the kids). But the misery is destroying me.

Has anyone faced this sort of problem, and can recommend sources of support, techniques for handling, etc. etc.? Don't reslly know where to turn to get me through this.

alipiggie Sat 25-Oct-08 04:11:56

I'm so sorry that you're feeling like this. I would start by going and talking to a counsellor yourself - nothing wrong with that. I'll probably be shot down in flames for my next statement. I do not think it's a good idea to stick together for the sake of the children if you are truly unhappy. I believe that children pick up the unhappiness around them and it translates into how they behave and I really do know what I'm talking about. I thought I could save my marriage but I was wrong. My ds's and I are in a far better place emtionally.

Go talk to someone, write a list about what you love/hate about your DH see what comes out on top - the positives or the negatives. Above all remind yourself that you're worth so much more than negative thoughts and feelings. Do something for you once a week at least. Perhaps plan a date night with DH and see how that pans out. One step at a time Firstly though work out if in your heart you truly want the marriage to survive and go from there.

Sorry for the long post.

hecAteTheirBrains Sat 25-Oct-08 06:08:50

Go alone. You don't need him to come with you. In some ways, it might be better for you to go alone. You will be able to let it all out.

you cannot force another person to change, all you can do is change yourself. Your responses to his behaviour, for example.

I agree with ali, I do not think it is always a good idea to stay together for the kids. I mean, I do if it is just boredom and 'grass is greener' and lust and shit like that, I think in those cases you need to consider staying put! but in cases of true unhappiness, there's nothing in it for the kids to see their mum miserable. (And they may even blame themselves!) and of course, in cases of abuse - physical, sexual, emotional...- the only thing to do is to find a way out.

Go alone. It may give you strength. It will certainly give you an outlet and some perspective.

and, when he sees you going alone, he may realise just how serious you are!

mumoverseas Sat 25-Oct-08 06:49:02

A very difficult situation Lowebb and I do feel for you. You seen confused by what you want. You admit that you can't go on like this and that life is miserable but you want to stay married as life is difficult, you love him and owe it to the kids. Dealing with the kids first, as they are obviously one of the main priorities here, you cannot simply stay just for the kids. If you are unhappy, they will see this. If there are rows and arguments on a regular basis, they will see this and this will be very damaging for them. I'm sure most people would agree it is better for the kids to have two parents who live apart and are happy than to have them together and desperately unhappy and fighting all the time. If you do decide to separate, yes, it will be really hard at first, but it WILL get better. I have seen so many people stay together for the sake of the children and then separate/divorce when they have left home by which time they could be in their 40's/50/s and quite a few regret not doing something sooner. I'm not saying you should end your marriage, I'm saying you have to give careful consideration to everything and not just stay for the kids or because things are difficult at the moment, although I'm not quite sure you mean by this.
If you do honestly still love your husband (and you feel he loves you) then you have something to build on but if he won't go to counselling, that is difficult. You have however received some good advice already by other posters and I would agree with the advice to go to counselling on your own. You just need to find the right kind of counseller for you, not just one who usually deals with couples. Counselling should make you re-assess your relationship in ways that you may not think of yourself. If you do decide the marriage is over, then remember, he can still be a good father and the children will still have two parents, just not under the same roof. Good luck to you.

LowEbb Sat 25-Oct-08 22:43:47

Thank you all for advice. I am very, very confused. The last couple of months things have taken a real dive as he has been insanely busy at work, working long hours under very stressful conditions, and absolutely hating it too. But while I can intellectually recognise that he is under a lot of strain and this is affecting his behaviour, emotionally I haven't really got anything left to give. And to be honest, it's not like he was great before this... it's just that things have got much, much worse.

I do still love him. When we do get to spend time together, we still get on (except when, as at the moment, I am just so angry and hurt by him I find it hard to be around him). We have lots in common in terms of interests and priorities, shared activities, a solid social circle... etc. But the strains of day-to-day living are just too much. He says he loves me (in fact he says it a LOT) and is very affectionate physically - but the problem is, that's not how I want him to love me, and it just makes me angry that he's not, for example, getting up 15 minutes earlier so that I actually get some help with the kids in the morning, and I freeze up.

I do really want the marriage to survive. I recognise everything that you have all said about children picking up on the unhappiness and that in itself being damaging, and our eldest in particular does not like the atmosphere, and tells us off very sternly when we argue. But thinking about it practically, separating would bring its own stresses too: for a start, financially we couldn't really afford two homes... plus I don't know how the hell I'd get him out of the house, and it would be a total nightmare for us to move.

All this sounds, when I write it down, as if I am still very much on the side of wanting to leave because I have thought about it all a lot and in detail. But I do still want to make this work. I just can't carry on making it work by the same means as has been the case for the last 10 years, and I don't (yet) know what to replace it with.

hecAte... your point about changing responses is pretty much where I'd got to - recognising that if I did want to make this work, I had t accept that I was going to have to find ways to manage my feelings.

I have actually been for an initial consultation for a counselling session this week, and am going to go on the waiting list (average about 11 weeks though...). I hope it will help me to work out how to deal with things, and it's encouraging that the posters here feel that it's still helpful to go by myself. I just wish that DH was willing to give it a try.

Thanks again for the advice. I was in a terrible state last night and utterly despairing - so good to hear some sensible words.

LadyBee Sun 26-Oct-08 12:11:04

Hi Lowebb, I just wondered whether you'd been clear with him about what it is that you'd rather he did. For example, when he says "I love you", you don't always have to say "I love you too" back, you could say "I love hearing you say that, it's important, but sometimes it would mean more to me if you got up at X time rather than Y time, to help me out - because it would mean I don't have to do Z". You can't force someone to change, but you can ask them to.

I have found that often my DP needs extremely clear and detailed requests - rather than just 'help', exactly what job etc. This provokes a lot of negativity in me, as I feel he should know what needs to be done, just as I do, and I shouldn't have to keep asking - but if I don't, I don't get the help I need and just start resenting him. Whereas the moment of 'oh god I'm a nag' and 'why can't you just see it and do it' annoyance lasts about 2 minutes. (Unless he doesn't do it..but that's another story).
Have you tried something like this?

Notquitegrownup Sun 26-Oct-08 12:25:09

Hi Lowebb

Just echoing LadyBee's suggestion. Your last post suggests that your ralationship still has a lot going for it, and that rather than there being a major problem (other than lack of communication) it is a collection of small things, which he is not doing, which are driving you to dispair. Think about what it is that would really help you (apart from him showing initiative, of course! He's a man. You need to specify what you need) and then you can address it.

You don't say how old your children are, by the way, and I think that this can be significant. My relationship with dh has improved enormously now that both of our boys are more independent, helpful and at school. I would have loved more help from dh when they were small - he also works long hours, in a demanding job - but was always too tired/stressed out to identify what I needed. Now that I have more time for me, it has made a huge difference to us all, and our relationship has improved as a result. Having small children around can be incredibly stressful, particularly if you don't have much support from outside the home.

Best of luck

3littlefrogs Sun 26-Oct-08 12:41:43

Definitely go to Relate on your own. It is perfectly acceptable to do that, and it will help you to have an experienced counsellor to talk to.

MuAHAHAHAHAHmi Sun 26-Oct-08 13:32:05

"We have 3 DCs and I truly believe that (1) he is a good daddy (2) they deserve to have two parents."
"I want to stay married to this man because difficult as life is at the moment, I know that underneath I love him (and we owe it to the kids)."

They can still have 2 parents even if you are seperated. All you owe to the kids is to be the best parents you can be, which they can still have even if it means you can only do that by separating.

I would definitely recommend going to Relate by yourself though - I wish I had started with them that way.
If he's that's concerned you're going on your own he can come with you, only if and when you're ready. That would make it more of something he's doing off his own back rather than because you've asked him to, which can only be a positive start as, by the sounds of it, it's not the only thing you'd like him to take the initiative on.

Good luck

LowEbb Sun 26-Oct-08 21:28:29

Ladybee and Noquitegrownup: I have been very, very specific in what I need Have got to the point of not asking any more because it hurts too much when he lets me down... which he invariably does. I guess one of the things that precipitated this downward spiral was one episode last week on the one day a week when he 'does' childcare (picking up kids, doing dinner and bed) as I have to be in the office late. I had a really awful day for many reasons that I won't go into, rang him from the train to say, PLEASE can you clear the dishes off the table so I don't have to deal with them when I get back as I will find that monumentally depressing? When I came back, the dishes were all still on the table and he was watching the football.... I completely flipped out.

BUT - he was completely flummoxed by my response because, he pointed out, he had decided the priority that evening was to get the kids into bed at a reasonable time, and without losing his temper with them, which he had achieved. So he was feeling pleased with himself for being a good daddy, and I was in floods of tears because right then I didn't care about that - I wanted him to be nice to ME.

I should say that 99.9999% of the time, I really don't expect to be front and centre - I am definitely not a precious princess. But on this occasion: I really, really needed him to do this for me, I asked him, he didn't do it.

LadyBee, I do really like what you say about at leas acknowledging how nice it is for him to say he loves me - once I've reached the point where I have calmed down enough not to want o punch him when he says it!! I did see a very funny clip on YouTube once entitled something like "Asking a Man Once is Like Never Having Asked Him at all". Problem is with my DH it's more like, unless you ask 5 times you may as well not have bothered....

Essentially, he is not naturally a clean, tidy or practical person. If he was single, he would live in a pigsty, wear dirty clothes, and constantly be chased by bailiffs for non-payment of bills. And he finds it apparently impossible to make any attempt to behave in a way that doesn't come naturally to him for the convenience of the other people he lives with... If we do ever try to discuss all this, he inevitably says, "Basically you're cross because I never do the washing up" - to his mind, it all boils down to him not doing the domestic stuff. Which is true in one sense - it does really - but I just don't think he appreciates the real scale of what I do on the home front, how mind-numbingly drudgelike it feels when you're doing it by yourself, and how undervalued it makes you feel when that's not appreciated or recognised. Actually, even just acknowledging what a huge amount I do and how much easier that makes his life would probably be enough.

ANYWAY. You don't really need to hear me whinge ad infinitum about him. I really hope the counselling will help - if I am still speaking to him in 11 weeks' time of course.

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