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How can I help poor DH?

(9 Posts)
sameagain Sat 20-Jun-09 18:18:56

I honesty believe we have a pretty good marriage, ups and downs as always, but I really love him and believe he loves me too. He treats me well, is a fab father and a good son-in-law to my parents too. We are great friends and enjoy spending time together, but in recent years have had precious little sex, despite regular conversations and promises that it will be better from now on etc. I would like more, he hasn't.

We had a big tearful talk last night and it turns out he's having real problems liking himself and therefore finds it hard to believe I would want him, although he says he wants to.

5 years ago (after many years of very strained relationships) we became estranged from his parents. I found it very sad, but DH was adamant we were better off without them and I have to admit life has become much easier. But, as DH gets older he does look more and more like his father and he says it distresses him every time he looks in the mirror and sees his father (who he says he hates) looking back at him.

He's not like his father at all, he's a loving supportive husband, whereas his father controls MIL by telling her she's not capable of anything and our DCs know there DH loves them unconditionally, whereas PIL believe their children "owe" them for all the sacrifices they made to bring them up etc...

DH does look like his Dad, but I love him and I was him to love himself and to want to (or feel able to) make love to me. What can I do to help him?

MagNacarta Sat 20-Jun-09 18:21:41

Could he have body dysmorphic disorder? Sounds like a slightly complicated version to me. It's treatable, so perhaps a visit to the GP.

Grammaticus Sat 20-Jun-09 18:32:39

Compliment him on his appearance regularly? Quite low key, nothing too American (unless you are American, of course) grin

sameagain Sat 20-Jun-09 19:04:48

No idea Mag, but I think I have a hope in hell of getting him to go to the Drs. In that respect he may well be like his dad wink

woodstock3 Sat 20-Jun-09 20:33:59

tricky one. my dh has a similarly complex relationship with his similarly-useless father and it is very difficult to make up for what was lacking in someone's childhood. my dh does say that having been married to me and most importantly having children and therefore a family of his own has made up for a lot so possibly just by existing grin you are doing more than you think.
all you can do is bolster his self esteem by praising him (thanking him for stuff he's done, mentioning that he's good at stuff especially familywise - eg complimenting him on how much of a help he is with your dc or how well he plays with them or pointing out to him signs of affection from them) and go very very easy on any criticism. let him look after the dc on his own and encourage him to do fun stuff with them which should improve his confidence by building a relationship with them that is different from his with his father.
one thing that has helped my dh a lot is his relationship with my parents - i come from a very closeknit supportive family and he is now part of that, they have made very clear that as a SIL he is part of our family in his own right and we do stuff like go on holiday together with my siblings and partners and kids which he loves. it actss as a kind of replacement for the family life he didnt get as a kid.
counselling would help most of all if you can possibly get him to it but appreciate men dont often want to. not sure about the sex drive problem as dont have experience of that but would suggest try to take the pressure off, dont nag about it, hope things resolve themselves as he becomes more confident.

BunnyLebowski Sat 20-Jun-09 21:05:46

sameagain I completely sympathise sad

DP also has a toxic father who he is now estranged from (has been a year). FIL hasn't even met our dd (his only grandchild). He hung up the phone when DP rang him to tell him she'd been born sad

Anyway in his darker days DP worries that he's turning into his dad and that this is inevitable. He's started losing his hair and sees himself becoming more and more like his bitter, nasty manipulative father when in reality he could not be more different.

All you can do for him is reassure him that he's not like his dad. Tell him why you love him, all the lovely qualities he has. And make sure he knows that you'll be there for him no matter what.

This is what I do with DP and it seems to help.

If it is really bad then maybe some counselling/cognitive behavioural therapy. Do you think he would consider this?

sameagain Mon 22-Jun-09 20:20:38

Thank you

TBH, I'm really shocked at how this has affected DH and embarassed that I didn't realise. DH seems so "normal" and although we haven't seen his parents in a long time, I thought that was more to do with me than him. He finally made the break because "they're not treating my wife like that". I didn't know he felt so strongly about them personally, just thought he'd more or less been asked to take sides and chosen me - how self absorbed is that? blush

And I'd assumed that he'd gone off me - never occured to me that he could be unhappy himself. I have a lot of work to do....

newgirl Mon 22-Jun-09 20:25:29

would you dh see a counsellor so he can talk through all this? they may be abe to give him strategies to renew contact with his family or better able to deal with his decision, or his self confidence?

CarGirl Mon 22-Jun-09 20:25:33

He could ask his GP to refer him for counselling your dh needs to come to terms with this both with you and on his own IYSWIM

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