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dh completely unable to relate on an emotional level

(41 Posts)
marriedtotheborg Sat 19-Sep-09 20:41:40

don't know where to start really. i love him a lot and he is a great partner on many levels. just not anything to do with feelings or whatever. i just spilled out a lot of unhappiness that had been building up lately (i feel a bit overwhelmed by care of our 2 young children) and as usual got complete brick wall. he just sits in silence after i have finished talking.

i begged him to talk to me but he said he didn't have the answers. i said i didn't expect him to, just talk to me so i don't feel alone with it, but he always makes some excuse / refuses. has ended with him going out. i am alone and lonely. i try not to bother friends with personal stuff from our family life. so here i am hoping strangers ona talk board might give me a few words and do what my husband refuses / cannot do for me

marriedtotheborg Sat 19-Sep-09 20:46:15

ok i see this is too dull for MN also!
will take the hint

Lovemyshoes Sat 19-Sep-09 20:49:47

hi, i've not got anything to add, but, please give posters more than 5 mins.

marriedtotheborg Sat 19-Sep-09 20:51:21

as far as i know conversations drop off the board after about 5 mins, it seemed unlikely anyone would find it after that, but thank you for posting

inveteratenamechanger Sat 19-Sep-09 20:55:30

Sorry to hear you are having such a crap time. A lot of men seem to have problems with this kind of discussion - it's crap though.

MN is good for support, but could you talk to your RL friends too? I know you don't want to bother them, but they would probably be flattered if you confided in them. Maybe they are struggling a bit too.

CarGirl Sat 19-Sep-09 20:59:45

I'm sorry your dh is not meeting your emotional needs. It's something he can learn if he wants to?

would he go to relate with you?

marriedtotheborg Sat 19-Sep-09 21:00:42

thank you
i don't have a very close female friend atm and i think this impacts on dh as i look more to him to provide some kind of emotional support
only a very little very occasionally though! but he is incapable
i find it very hard
even if he could just go through the motions? i mean can't they just make a bit of chitchat, it would not kill him would it?

marriedtotheborg Sat 19-Sep-09 21:01:41

cargirl we have had counselling in the past but it was so time consuming and expensive, we stopped
do you really think he could learn? it seems like he has that part missing
i wonder about ASD etc

marriedtotheborg Sat 19-Sep-09 21:04:04

don't get me wrong i don't expect him to meet my emotional needs
that sounds sad but i gave up on that ages ago - he can't
i do think he could occasionally engage in an emotional type conversation about my feelings - i was not crying or angry or anything, but i did need to speak abotu it. and predictably got a big brick wall

i should know better by now
but it really seems like nothing hard to me and i don't see why he can't at least make some kind of effort, however inept
nope, he has gone out rather than attempt it

CarGirl Sat 19-Sep-09 21:07:38

Well if he has aspergers or similar then perhaps he can't sad?

Can you ask him to give you a cuddle whilst you poor out your heart to him and tell him he has to tell you that he loves you at the end and that it will all be okay?

BTW I absolutely love your posting name!

marriedtotheborg Sat 19-Sep-09 21:10:55

no perhaps he can't
do you think i should try to find out more about possible aspergers?
maybe it would help me if i knew for sure it was can't not won't
but he jokes about emotions being for inferior beings and i sometimes suspect he refuses to try to be emotional because he really looks down on the rest of us for being this way
i am making him sound appalling! he is lovely man, gentle, humorous and kind - except for this aspect which feels like cruelty when you are begging for help and being treated like you are invisible

inveteratenamechanger Sat 19-Sep-09 21:12:00

Sounds really frustrating. I think it is very hard when you are looking after young DCs and thinking about their needs all the time, and nobody is there to meet your needs.

PinkyRed Sat 19-Sep-09 21:13:18

Sorry to hear you're having such a hard time.

Have you thought that this might be one of those male/female things - the stereotypical thing that women talk to share feelings, and are looking for empathy, whereas men talk to get results, so are looking for answers? So when you tell him you feel bad, he thinks you're asking him what to do about it, and because he can't solve it, he gets upset himself. And because he's upset, but doesn't think you can solve it for him, he goes away.

Have you tried telling him (when you're both calm and you're not feeling particularly unhappy, so that you can keep the discussion rational and relatively emotion-free) that when you share your feelings, you are looking to him for empathy and agreement, not solutions?

Sorry if that sounds a bit pop psychology, but ime, that is how a lot of people relate to each other.

CarGirl Sat 19-Sep-09 21:13:35

often Sometimes I don't "do" emotions because I just can't face going there, feeling other peoples' pain etc?

Did he have a happy childhood, how is his relationship with his parents?

Perhaps you need to focus on finding other people to share with emotionally, ie girlfriends. I know it's not the same but I've always found that when I've taken the risk to be open with other women they've done the same back.

preciouslillywhite Sat 19-Sep-09 21:16:49

I have one of these, marriedtotheborg...

we have sort of got round the problem by me teaching him how to respond to certain things eg if I cry, give me a cuddle- etc etc.

Don't think necessarily a syndrome- just a middle class old fashioned Man Thing in my partner's case (ie stiff upper lip and all that old shite)...what's his dad like, is he similar??

marriedtotheborg Sat 19-Sep-09 21:17:29

thank you all for responding

i think he does think i am looking for solutions, yes, but i specifically told him i was not expecting him to hjave the answers, and that it didn't matter what he said as long as he didn't just sit there silently

his relationship with his parents is bad unfortunately
a particularly painful and isolating time for him atm (will not go into details as may identify me)
i have encouraged him to get help for this - he says he will think about it - then does not do anything

marriedtotheborg Sat 19-Sep-09 21:20:49

he will try to sit with me and give me a cuddle but this is a problem of mine, i don't want to be touched while i am upset and tense, i am ok having a cuddle at the end when i have let off some tension but until then i don't like it
i do want someone to talk with me, the words are very important

i do have female friends i could talk to but this is another issue blush
i tend to get very deeply involved with female friends once i confide in them emotionally and it does not usually end well for me if i have a 'best' friend
i have a lot of friends i like but am careful not to get very close atm

i have also tried to cut down on MN for emotional support - it takes too much time away from the children

obviously this is impacting on the situation
i don't know what to do really

CarGirl Sat 19-Sep-09 21:21:15

well as someone who had emotionally absent parents it's really hard to change.

He's spent his entire life trying to be a problem solver rather than a listener.

Could you but the "How to talk so kids will listen" book by faber and get him to read it? It's a parenting book but I think it can be a great tool for men to understand that people need to be listened to.

marriedtotheborg Sat 19-Sep-09 21:24:36

ok we have that book
i haven't read it yet
i think he works very hard for us and is a very committed hands on dad, plus does a lot around the house etc - he is quite justifiably tired at the end of the day
so when i ask him to do this one little thing - talk to me - he says he is exhausted and can't
it's always the same way though
i feel guilty for aski g him to do more for me when he already does so much
but i can't just put all my emotional needs to one side all the time
i do it most of the time but sometimes it builds up

MavisGrind Sat 19-Sep-09 21:25:11

Hi there - sorry you're going through this, I've been there, it's hard.

One thing to bear in mind, he'll only change if he a) sees a need to b)wants to. You have to decide if he can/wants to change and what your response to that may be. My emotions-are-for-the-weak H and I have now separated (which had rather sorted that situation!),

So, sorry, not much advice but you're not alone. Hope you can sort it out.

marriedtotheborg Sat 19-Sep-09 21:27:04

how can i find out if he can change? sometimes i really think he can't. in which case i would need to be the one adjusting (yet more adjusting )

but how do i know?

preciouslillywhite Sat 19-Sep-09 21:31:03

I've just reconciled myself to it (the Lazy Arse Strategy) and now just sort things out for myself.

It's not ideal, but it's working...for now. But I do worry about what might happen in the future- eg the inevitable, illness and death...

God what a cheerer upper I am, eh wink

MavisGrind Sat 19-Sep-09 21:41:55

Has he always been like this or has this developed over years? I found that since we've split I've realised that he was always like this to some degree I just spent the best part of ten year sad with my head in the sand, making excuses.

You'll only know if he thinks there is a problem. If he thinks he's being totally reasonable then you've got problems.

If it's any consolation, I'm now on my own with 2 dcs. They're both fine (and I think better to be in a house where emotions are recognised). I'm certainly not suggesting a split, I hope you can sort it out together but you have to decide just how much you're prepared to adjust.

marriedtotheborg Sat 19-Sep-09 21:47:53

oh, i certainly don't want to split up

i don't know if he thinks there is a problem - i think not
occasionally there is a glimmer of understanding that it could be his problem and not mine
but usually i think he regards me as very demanding and unreasonable on this subject - i am demanding i admit! but not always unreasonable!

SolidGoldBrass Sat 19-Sep-09 21:54:22

TBH you do sound a bit demanding and hard work. When you say that it ends badly if you confide in female friends it does slightly suggest that maybe you are the one who needs to rethink your behaviour just a bit. IE it suggests that you are perhaps the type who wants to whine on and on about your problems but refuses to listen to any helpful suggestions; people get very fed up of dealing with that. Also, if you are addressing the issue with your H as though his behaviour is wrong and must be changed, it's going to make him resentful, he is, after all, entitled to be who he is. It's OK for him to not like long 'emotional' conversations if he supports you in other ways (ie does his share round the house and with the DC, is not unfair or selfish over finances).

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