(Closed) HELP! I think we're over..

posted 8 years ago in Emotional
Post # 92
Member
2563 posts
Sugar bee

@lostandconfused:  First you need to realize counselling is not magic. It does not make everything better in 3 sessions. Second, it sounds like to me he is maybe depressed? Has he ever acted like this before when he was working? Maybe not having a job is making him feel inadequate and he lost his drive? and he just doesnt want to talk about it (which he should so I highly reccomend to keep going) I can imagine your frustration though, he surely can help with things around the house more and then re-evaluate your role in chores once he begins working.

My other issue is that maybe he is use to having mom (or whoever) clean for him. This is the first time you guys are living alone and before the kitchen and bathrooms usually cleaned themselves?

I agree with other PP, do not make any definite plans about a wedding until all this is solved. If you threw kids into the mix you would loose your mind at this rate! I suggest taking a mini vacation (if possible) with yourself or some friends. Think about things and let him know your at a witts end here. You love and want to be with him but if he doesnt realize he has to make changes too then I hope your counsilor can get through to him! Otherwise you know your other option…

Post # 95
Member
1290 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@lostandconfused:  he sounds a lot like my ex. Was unemployed often and dealt with depression but was super fun otherwise. He has ADD, would hardly clean a thing while I was working full time no matter how many fights and talks we had about it. He never took responsibilty for our problems until it was too late. Honestly he has gotten better since we broke up but he’s not magically a different person. He still struggles on and off. He’s still ADD, but he’s a great friend. It’s much better this way.

Post # 97
Member
105 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

@lostandconfused:  I’m not sure if this was said before, but pleaaaaasee give therapy a chance. A lot of my patients think that you go in a few times and your problems should be solved, but it can take months and months of WORK. Yes, lots of hard, really painful sometimes, WORK. 3x isn’t even enough for the “get to know you” sessions most providers do. Both of you should continue to engage in both couples and invididual therapy to be more individually well balanced which you can then bring into the relationship.

Post # 98
Member
729 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

Aw, so sorry your in this situation.  Unemployment is no fun (for either person!).  DH was unemployed (occasional day here and there) for months.  I started to feel the same way.  It’s like “You scrubbed your apartment when you worked 5 10 hour days… now you don’t even clean the toilet???”.  Toilet is his problem.  Men do scary things to toilets.

I decided, screw it, my attitude/trying wasn’t helping or getting results.  So be it, I’m working … he’s stuck at home looking at it.  It got a little better, then he started working again and does more… go figure.

As far as the stick from the blinds, he wants attention, he wants it from you and doesn’t know how to get it right now.  Next time he starts doing that just snuggle up to him, lean in or lay your head on him, hold his hand, something.  He’s basically acting like an 8 year old, yes, but an 8 year old that wants your attention and love, and closeness but doesn’t know how to get it right now.

DH and I are really silly people, so we regulary do “this” (not the blind stick… just random pokes and such) for fun… cause we like playing… but if one of us isn’t in the mood or doesn’t feel good or is stressed, the pokee will say something like “not now” and at least touch the other person.  Like a hand on the arm “I really don’t feel good”.  Or if we’re just occupied with something else, we don’t go for the object, but the hand and hold it, and then a quick kiss or something.  Like a “Hey, see you, love you, busy right now”. We never talked about it, it’s just how we both are.  Life’s too short and we like goofing off type attitude (which doesn’t seem like what is happening in your relationship… but I think what he wants out of bugging you is the same thing!). 

After a few years together if one of us is being pesky and the other isn’t in the mood/busy/etc… we can pretty much tell from looks and little noises the others isn’t up for it lol.  I’ll actually growl at DH when he gets silly playful and it’s the first day of my period (I feel like death warmed over) and everything hurts.  He makes this silly scared face and just snuggles up real lightly lol.  But like I said, we’re both goofy people normally.

I do hope you can work things out.  I think him trying to annoy you is easy to fix, I think he’s just acting out basically… much like an 8 year old :)… so just hug him when he gets like that, tell him you love him and he doesn’t have to annoy you to get your attention since that type of play isn’t your thing (DH and I have friends who think we’re pretty weird… especially at our age lol).  Maybe pointing out you are frustrated by things yes, but you still love him, and you want him to find his way and be happy.

I also love that article that was linked, that was much like my attitude when DH was unemployed (not nearly as bad as wanting to leave) but I felt all annoyed/frustrated/etc… and realized I wasn’t helping anything.  I had to put some personal not really important stuff aside (even though I wanted it, it wouldn’t matter say a year from now) and give him room to be/feel/find a job/whatever (at one point he talked about going back to school).  Now he’s back to normal and will tell anyone who’ll listen how much he likes his job.

Post # 99
Member
1320 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Unemployment is tough, and I’m so sorry you’re going through this, my heart aches for you.

 

I’m going to be really objective here, because it is only in removing emotion from the situation that one can truly see the situation. My Fiance couldn’t find a job for a long time (he didn’t get an offer out of grad school, and searched for another 10 months). He went to a great undergrad and one of the top MBA programs in the country, we are by no means stupid, but even he had a rough time because the economy is raising standards for jobs and not willing to take a chance on people who don’t meet the 100 demands they want from an entry level job.  And now, I’m going through a job search to make my way across the country back to him =) A couple factors helped us stay together even though it was so, so very tough

 

1) if there are problems in the relationship NOT related to the unemployment, he has to be willing to work on himself and you have to be willing to work on yourself. it is not your job to fix the relationship alone. My Fiance was open to change and understood where he was weak

 

2) We had communication issues as well and the 3 books that helped us were: The Five Love Languages, the 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work, and Love and Respect (a Christian book). We did not have the money for counseling, but we did the exercises in these books

 

3) You also both need to have outside mentors who are much older than you and have been married for decades. You need to have solid people you can look up to who have forged through marriages through thick and thin

 

4) Do not nag him, do not belittle him. Unemployment is a freaking death blow to a guy’s ego. Most (not all) men work through a woman being supportive through action. If he is stuck on something, suggest nicely that has he considered this? I introduced my fiance to every person I could in my network who could give him a conversation, a referral, anything. I felt SOOOO bad on the days I got frustrated and nagged, I was not fair to him at all and I had to remind myself of how wonderful a man I had fallen in love with and not destroy that. I praised him for every little thing – every phone call he made, every new friend he made, every interview, even if it didn’t amount to anything. constant constant reinforcement. 

 

5) He does need a set schedule, and maybe he should get out of the house, and he needs to be focused on the job search – but a renewed sense of energy and urgency will have to be there. My fiance was running out of money and borrowing (we were long distance). My fiance worked at Starbucks during the day, he was pounding the pavement, talking to people, day and night, he worked his BUTT off to get the amazing and prestigious job he has today, but it was with a lot of blood, sweat, and sacrifice… He does not sleep past 7AM and goes to bed at regular bedtime like everyone else

 

6) If you can’t divide the chores fairly, get someone else to do it. Doing a lot of chores can make the unemployed man feel more emasculated AND is a waste of his time when trying to job hunt. I had our groceries delivered. I had a cleaner. We did laundry together for fun (but it doesn’t sound like you guys find laundry particularly fun). I allowed my guy full time to focus on developing his career, hanging out with whomever he wanted, so that he can still be happy at the end of the day. 

 

7) I raise my voice sometimes too when fighting. I have to learn to remove my emotions from the equation. There is a difference between being mad at the person for something they did in particular, vs something the situation, versus them. I really try to avoid the words “always” and “never”. I try not to yell, “You NEVER do ____” or “you’re always doing _____”. Those kinds of phrases really discourage people. More specifically, I’ve learned to first calm down (it takes walking away from the room and crying a little) and then say things like, “It makes me feel ____ when you do ______. Can you commit to doing _____ x times a week?” Action, action, action, focus on action.

 

BUUUUUUUUT I am, however, most concerned he doesn’t want to talk, thinks you’re the problem, and didn’t put any effort into therapy. The difference between my guy and yours is that, no matter how hard, at the end of the day, my guy recognized where he could be better, and WANTED to be better. A relationship is a two-way street, and you can’t be struggling in this alone. Is there hope of a truly wonderful future with him and has he shown that – NOT through promises, but through action?? You mentioned in some of your posts that you’re afraid that you won’t find someone again if this won’t work out. To me, a lifetime of an unhappy marriage is much worse. You have to learn to fight fair, grow together, and battle through hard times and difficult circumstances. You are not too old at 29. I also believe that the right man at the wrong time is the wrong man. I also don’t believe in verbal promises that people make – I look at what they do as people. I don’t think your rlationship is lost all together, but the way you guys approach this difficult situation now can set the tone for how you approach difficult situations later in life. Of course life is good when everything is in balance, but that’s not the yardstick I use to measure a relationship. You measure the relationship by whether it gets stronger when times are bad. 

Post # 100
Member
1320 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Hey, I actually wanted to add a second post when I saw you’d written him an email that made him mad. I think I might be able to help illuminate certain word choices that I think you wrote because you cared, but could be perceived in the wrong way, and how it could have led him to lose hope and shut down.

I don’t know where you are in terms of how you feel about him at this point, so please, please forgive me in advance for being presumptuous, I am no shrink, just a business person who likes to study behavioral psychology. This post is in no way a personal judgment on you, you sound like a beautiful, loving, and wonderrful woman and I want nothing but the best for you. I want you to be happy and in a relationship that can be healthy for life. I humbly offer you some feedback on certain actions and word choices you’ve used that I think can be refined so that they convey how much you care and want to fix the relationship. I am writing this in the hopes that perhaps can shed more light onto a difficult situation. Feel free to take my words or completely ignore them!

I really don’t know where you guys are at in your relationship. I know that you really, really care about his wellbeing, but if he is a person who responds to words of affirmation (and it really sounds like he is, from the way he doesn’t like you yelling), you need to affirm FIRST. Your email started with doubt. It could start with something like, “I really love you. I care about you, I care about us, and I don’t want to give up”

“There are things that I want changed and there are things that you want changed and the only way we’re both going to be happy is if the other person just accepts those changes and promises to fix things and gives it 100% and moves forward.”

I would disagree a little bit here in that… part of loving a person is loving them for who they are, NOW. If you don’t love them for who they are, trying to force change on them will only hurt both of you. Obviously I wanted my fiance to improve, but if he did absolutely nothing to change his personality today, I would still be head over heels in love with him. You both need to learn to accept each other currently with both your strengths and weaknesses before moving forward.

“You want me to work harder to lose weight? Diet harder? Workout more often? I can do that, but I need you to back off.”

This sentence sounded defensive, and a little threatening when you ask him to “back off” [but it might just be me], especially if this is on an email and I’m not sure how you normally talk, but since I’m a person who is sensitive to words, and it sounds like he might be too, word choice is very important.

“It’s silly for you to say we can’t do the same workouts, that’s simply not true.”
This is an example of a broad “always” or “never” statement that I would have avoided, because you told him he was silly (a put down) and you are telling him that he is not telling you a truth, but there could be a little truth in what he’s saying. 

“X-friend and Y-friend (couple) follow the same routine together.”
Comparison is the thief of joy. Once you start comparing yourselves to other people that he might perceive to be in a better position, it takes away motivation and it crushes the ego. I can see how a statement similar to this can demotivate a person because he is not your x-friend! You guys are unique, and you can find something that suits both of your needs together .

I get a really good sense from your email that you value quality time with your partner, it makes you feel loved, it’s your love language! You guys need to undersatnd how each other loves and receives love. A better way would be to say, “I feel really closer to you when we get to work out together. I can understand if you do not feel the same way, but it would really feel loving if you could consider working out with me once a week”

“bend a little with me and I’ll bend a little with you.”
The attitude I’m seeing from you here is that you see the relationship as a tit for tat. I agree that both of you need to put in the effort, however, you won’t bend unless he bends. I think you’re trying to communicate that a relationship is a two-way street, but these words are defensive and passive, not active. To break the impasse that both of you are facing, someone has to become sacrificing and just. LOVE. You are in a much better position than he is to do that.

“First, I want you to fix your sleeping schedule. I want you to do whatever it takes, whatever it costs in medical bills – to figure out why you can’t sleep right. This is REALLY affecting ME and our relationship. I can’t keep telling you for 3 ½ years now that this bothers me. It ruins every weekend. It aggravates me and stresses me out during the week.”

This paragraph puts you into attack mode. You need to find out why he is having a bad sleeping schedule, in a non-threatening way. You are also saying that it “ruins every weekend”, so it sounds like a really deep issue. There is definitely medical hope, so try to remove your emotions from this and approach this with a caring tone such as

“I’m really worried about your sleeping schedule, and I want to find out if there is a way that medicine can help. I don’t want you to have to suffer when I think you can be healed. Do you mind if we went to the doctor today to see if your sleeping can be treated?”

“I work best when things are written down and we have schedules. If I can get a “schedule” of when I need to work out and when I get to go on the computer or watch TV, then I would work really well that way. I think this way, I can work on losing weight like you want me to and we can be on a schedule, together.”

I laughed a little bit here because you sound like me, you’re a J-oriented personality on the Myers-Briggs test, you like schedules, structure. However, not all people are like that. I don’t know the Myers-Briggs type for your guy, but he may very well be a natural P! P-type people go with the flow, don’t make plans, do things on the fly. It doesn’t mean that they’re disorganized, P-type people can still be highly effective, but it does make a J-type person uncomfortable. You also need to learn to be okay with his way of doing things and you have to trust him to get it done. Just as J-type people get insanely happy by making to-do lists and organizing their book collection, P-type people will find that environment stifling, controlling, and quashes their creativity. The way I’ve managed P-type personalities (thankfully, my Fiance is a J) is that I will ask them if they can provide me with a time by which THEY think something will be done. But then, I also set an expectation that they could change! I have a friend who is chronically late. I just tell her dinner time is 7PM and I show up at 7:30PM, and lo and behold, we arrive at the same time! LOL!! Opposites will both have to learn how to meet each other in the middle. 

“Anyway, that’s what I think and my proposal.. back to work for now..”

Here too, you ended your email without positive reinforcement, and you actually took the attention back to your job. If I were your Fiance, I’d think two things. 1) your work sounds more important than fixing this relationship 2) Also, you just reminded him you have a job and he didn’t. Oops.

I always provide feedback in a hamburger approach. Start with something sweet, then talk about the bad, then something sweet again. It takes 10 positive experience to undo 1 bad experience.

Anyway, a lot of the context and assumptions I’m making come from relationship books and also from advice I’d received over the years. I think it’s really, really great you are so open, and so wonderfully generous with your thoughts to everyone here on this board. You have not appeared emotional or immature here, I see a real beautiful lady in you, with a lot of potential, a lot of love and you care!! You are working really hard, you are thinking about family, you move and changed jobs – you are clearly committed, and willing to work on things! I see a lot of hope in here too because I don’t think all is lost. I think if you believe that he was wonderful when he first started, that can still come back.

Post # 101
Member
726 posts
Busy bee

@lostandconfused:  first off i want to say I haven’t read all the responses, so apologies if this has been covered, but I’m in your FI’s position – have been unemployed for over 6 months, and I can tell you first hand it’s f*cking depressing!!! I wake up to at least one rejection email a day and that’s on a good day. I’ve probably applied to, easily over a hundred jobs over the months, that range from a check out chick, retail, receptionist, bar tender etc.. and I’m only looking for part-time work, so I imagine trying to find full-time is just as hard. To constantly feel that rejection and I mean constantly, really eats at someone’s self esteem and it’s hard to fight back at it and stay motivated amd chirpy all the time. Of course this is only if he is truly looking for a job like he says he is. But sometimes it does take time to get a job. Have you spoken with him about how him not being able to secure a job makes him feel? Cause I’m guessing he’s like me and its eating away at him.

Post # 102
Member
648 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

Three things:

1) It sounds like he is depressed

2) Counseling does not work in three sessions. It takes a lot of time, work, and an active investment by both partners to show up and participate.

3) It sounds like you are codependent

That’s not meant as an insult, but it is not in any way your responsibility to care for this man. You are partners. Period. Yes, you should support one another (MUTUALLY), and there will be times where one person needs more support than the other, but at the end of the day, you are two individuals and you have to be happy with yourselves individually before you can ever be happy in a relationship. I honestly think that perhaps the best thing you could do right now–for you and for him–is to stop participating in his arrested development and to require him to take responsibility for his life. Not by mothering him, not by stroking his ego or walking on eggshells around him (because those things are infantalizing and will not help his self-esteem), but by expecting him to be the adult that he is and to actively contribute to the household. By expecting him to pay half of the rent and half of a maid service if he is unwilling to share the chores. If you don’t think you can realistically do that, then break up with him. Right now he is playing the part of the lost, angry teenager and you are playing the part of the bitter parent. Neither are ok.

I say this as someone who (sadly) identifies very strongly with your SO. I moved across the country with my new husband a year and a half ago to a place where he has a difficult but stable job and where I had nothing lined up. In fact, I left a great job to come here. I’ve been working to establish a career in an extremely competitive field that I am passionate about, but it is SO hard and SO depressing and SO confusing to feel like I’m spinning my wheels. I found myself questioning everything about myself and my life, and our relationship, and am confronting a lot of things about myself that I am not proud of. In all honesty, if we weren’t married, we probably would’ve broken up by now and I’m not sure that would’ve been a bad thing. After a year of therapy and a month or so of couple’s therapy, it is beginning to feel possible to take ownership of my own life while in this relationship–but let me tell you, I think it would be a heck of a lot easier to take control of my life while single. It’s not my husband’s fault, but it is really hard to balance figuring out what I want out of my life while also not feeling like a huge failure and while also trying to put work into a relationship that has to get worse before it gets better. It’s just easier sometimes to be able to own your own failures than to feel like you’re letting down someone else as well. I’m certainly not sharing this to excuse your SO’s behavior. In fact, it seems more and more to me like the best thing you could do for you or for your SO is to let go of this relationship. Your needs are clearly not getting met, he is clearly not interested/able to get his life together within the relationship, and he’s certainly not capable of contributing actively to build a better relationship with you.

If your SO is not interested or able to put the work it takes to get control of his life right now (and hey, maybe that just means him committing to going to therapy once a week for at least a year–that is a HUGE part of what has made it possible for me to start to get my life together), I think that the best thing you could do for yourself and for him and for any potential relationship you may have in the future is to break up or at least to take a significant break living apart from each other. It sounds like a break would do you a world of good, too. Why have you been so willing to accept the role as caretaker in this relationship? What are your needs and wants? Etc. Etc.

Good luck with all of this. Let me know if you have any questions or if I can help you in any way, since I can relate so much to your situation.

Post # 103
Member
1611 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: Central Park

This sounds like he has a lot of shit to pull together and that the problem is mostly his attitude. I understand that he’s unemployed and frustrated and angry but if he can’t participate in counseling there’s really nothing you can do to force that. I’d probably just say you’ll be better off breaking up and moving on.

Post # 104
Member
21 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I second the Five Love Languages book. I think it’s really tough for a man to be a man when he’s not working. It takes a lot out of him. And as much as it would be fair for him to clean the house while you worked, it’s not too realistic based on, um…REALITY of what men are like. He’s no doubt depressed. That being said, I have NO idea what you can do, or if there’s ANYTHING you can do to get him out of his funk. 

 

Post # 106
Member
1034 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@lostandconfused:  Ugh, sorry, this sounds exhausting! I have to be honest and say that it seems like the two of you are just not well-suited for each other.

In counseling before you’re even engaged? Yuck.

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