Distant Husband, Counseling Not Working

posted 3 years ago in Married Life
Post # 2
2785 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: City, State

I’m sorry, Bee. It sounds like he’s not fully applying himself to betterment through therapy. For therapy to work, you may have to get more confrontational and get to the root of these issues.

Have you given these examples to the counselor like you’ve stated them here?

“It bothers me that every time we come to see you at therapy appointments, Husband plays it super cool and acts like he’s okay with me going hiking without him/hanging out with Male Friend as part of a group while doing so. At home, he gives me a very hard time about it, insults my hiking group, and accuses me of cheating. I need this behavior to stop, because hiking is something I enjoy, and I’d like to talk through his feelings on this.” 

“Husband seems content to ride my salary while being unsatisfied with his current job position. I’d love to be more accommodating of his hobbies (working on cars), but while I’m the main contributor, I have to be budget-conscious.” 

One thing your counselor is right on is that you two should be having fun. Does he have less expensive hobbies? Could he pay for his car part/gun with his own extra income? Is there anything the two of you do together that you can develop more? 

I gave the suggestions above, but…. Counseling or no, this sounds like incompatibility. You don’t enjoy the same things. He’s quiet and brooding, preferring to be with his video games. You want to get out and have a good time. Was there ever a point in your relationship where you were able to enjoy each other and have the dynamic you’d want permanently? Or was the honeymoon stage carrying you through? 

Not wanting to have sex with your partner isn’t a good sign. It seems like you’ve outgrown the relationship and resentment has built because of that. Have you been to individual therapy to consider whether it would be better for you personally to end things? 

Post # 3
6370 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2016

View original reply
sparklebee19 :  There’s a lot to unpack here but I have a question about this part:

“But then when he brings up that he wants to buy these things and I say not right now because we just paid $4k to fix his car from the work he did himself, he gets angry. Counselor says we should still have fun but I dont think a $700 gun or $400 car part would qualify as “fun.””

Are your finances completely joint? Or does he have an individual account as well? Is he asking for money from you to pay for these hobbies? And you say to fix his car from the work he did himself…so his work actually damaged his car and thus it had to be fixed? I’m a little confused here. I’m not saying that even individual purchases shouldn’t be discussed with one another, but it sounds like you get the final say on it from what you’re describing. Is that true?

Also, I don’t think it’s fair of you to say what would/should qualify as “fun” for him. How would you feel if he told you that you weren’t allowed to consider hiking fun? Not okay, right?

It doesn’t seem like you two have much in common. How long have you been together? Has it always been like this? You say he downplays things in therapy…do you come to therapy with specific examples? Do you explain how you’re really feeling or do you also downplay what’s going on? Therapy only works if both parties are 100% in, and that requires honesty. 

Post # 5
6168 posts
Bee Keeper

I can’t imagine why you’re not dying to have more sex with him. He sounds so charming and fun to be around. [/sarcasm]

I don’t know why you thought it was bad luck that was causing the “hard time” you had before marriage. It sounds a lot more like a bad job to begin with, I’m sorry. I suspect you’ve outgrown him.

Post # 6
6370 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2016

View original reply
sparklebee19 :  “I could definitely be interpreting “fun” differently than him. But when the counselor talked about fun, she meant it as we should do things as a team that are fun. I suggested we go to a gun range instead of buying a gun and he told me I “just dont get it.””

Again though, to be fair, you have your own without-him-fun: hiking. Why isn’t he allowed to have his own fun also? That shouldn’t preclude you two also having fun TOGETHER. Is there anything you BOTH like to do? You’ve been together a long time so I would have to assume you have something in common? 

It’s good that you see you also haven’t really been completely forthcoming in therapy. That’s where I’d start. He’s been allowed to downplay things in counseling because you don’t speak up. Also, therapy doesn’t always mean your relationship will be “fixed.” Sometimes therapy helps you see that things really should end. So it is “working,” just probably not in the way you thought/hoped it would. 

Post # 7
1258 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2022 - Maui

Iʻm on team cut your losses now, Bee. You guys seem so fundamentally different and neither of you feel loved or happiness in this marriage. Iʻm afraid trying to force this any longer is just gonna build up resentment and hate. You both deserve happiness. Split amicably while you hopefully still can. 

Post # 8
38 posts

From high school to 27 you change A LOT. Sounds like you don’t have much in common anymore. 

What do you actually like about him?

You’re still so young. You’re missing out on someone who would love to go on hikes with you…life is too short to be in an unhappy relationship. 

Post # 9
3664 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2017 - City, State

You two just do not sound compatible, and it sounds like you never truly were. It seems like you guys got married because you’d been together for so long and it just seemed like the next natural step, so you ignored all the red flags and warning signs. 

Meet with an attorney to see what your options are. You may in fact end up paying alimony, but isn’t that worth your freedom and the ability to find someone who wants the same life and future as you? He’s had a long time to change, and it doesn’t appear that he’s going to. Really think about if the relationship you have today is the relationship you want 5 years from now. 

Post # 10
816 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

I agree with PPs that it sounds like you’ve outgrown him. He doesn’t sound motivated or like a good partner to you, and it sounds like you don’t respect him. I’m not sure that counseling can fix an underlying incompatibilty or lack of mutual respect.

However, I am curious about the financial dynamics, and it sounds like they are causing a lot of resentment for both of you. It sounds like you feel he is irresponsible financially, since he is depending on you to be the breadwinner and his hobbies are expensive (i.e. buying fancy car parts and new guns). And it sounds like he resents you for being controlling about money. Is that true?

Do you guys have adequate savings and an emergency fund? If not, then his expensive hobbies sound like deal-breakers to me; I wouldn’t be able to stay married to a man who wanted to blow hundreds on hobbies while we were in debt or struggling to afford our bills and healthy savings. However, if you do already have a comforable amount of savings and regular contributions to your retirement accounts and investments, then maybe you should be more open to his hobbies. How do his annual hobby expenses compare to your annual frivolous spending (hair/nails/hobbies/restaurants with friends, or whatever you spend money on personally?)

Have you talked about reasonable savings goals, and reasonable amounts of disposable income for each of you to enjoy spending? If you each had a set amount each month for “fun money” (i.e., $50 or $100 per month, or whatever your budget can easily afford), would he save his up responsibly for a few months in able to afford his $400 gun or car part, or would he blow through his fun money and always be wanting more? 

Post # 13
291 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2020

Yeah, I have to agree with PP’s that you have outgrown each other.  I certainly have friends who got together in HS and got married and are still doing great, but it doesn’t always work that way.  It sounds like you did a lot of growing and changing in these years after HS and he has not.   It honestly sounds like you are doing all of the adulting and carrying him with you.  No one wants to be the mother in a relationship.  It shouldn’t be on you to do all the money management and decisions on what to spend money on, but I understand why you do otherwise it sounds like he would blow it all on video games and guns.  He might need to do some individual therapy to figure out why he isn’t following through with getting a better job and why he seems stuck.  I definitely agree that for therapy to work you need to be speaking up and being very honest.  

Post # 14
8486 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

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llevinso :  “Again though, to be fair, you have your own without-him-fun: hiking. Why isn’t he allowed to have his own fun also?” — Hiking is only “without-him-fun” because he doesn’t like to go. She would like for it to be with-him-fun but he’s a pissy-ass about it. Did you miss the part where she suggested that they go to the shooting range together since he likes guns, and he said she doesn’t get it? His fun doesn’t involve her. He doesn’t want to spend $50 on a date — even if it’s doing an activity that he enjoys, he wants to spend $700 on a gun that he won’t have to share. Not sure why you’re framing this as her being unreasonable. Although I do agree that therapy “working” might well end up with them apart.

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sparklebee19 :  The longer you’re married, the more likely you are to have to pay alimony. It really does sound like you’ve matured and he hasn’t. And since he hasn’t by now, he’s probably not going to. If you can’t live happily with him exactly as he is right now, the sooner you leave the better.

Post # 15
6370 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2016

View original reply
Daisy_Mae :  Nope. Didn’t miss it. It sucks he doesn’t like hiking but he doesn’t. It’s not like she stopped hiking because he didn’t want to do it. Maybe the guns thing is something he wants just for himself. I have no idea. But the point is that I’d have to assume it’s either always been like this or they have to have something in common.

He doesn’t sound great, but it also sounds like this has been the status quo since before they got married. Maybe counseling is helping them see they don’t belong together.

ETA: I never said OP was being unreasonable. I was trying to give a different perspective as to how he might be thinking or feeling.

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