- 4 years ago
- Wedding: December 2014
Hi, bees. I’m hoping that some of you will be able to offer some advice/perspectives on my current situation. I don’t really know what’s happening, and I certainly don’t know what to do.
My fiance and I have been together for almost 4 years, lived together for 2, and been engaged for almost year and a half. We own a house together and have a dog and a cat together. Although we are not yet married, I feel as committed to him as if we were. He moved to be with me 2 years ago, when we moved in together. About 4 months ago, he got a job with the local police department (not as an officer, but an associated job that will prepare him to become an officer, which is his ultimate goal.) About a year ago, he was accepted into a law enforcement reserve program.
Lately, he has been working 40+ hours weekly, with a fluctuating schedule, and doing 16+ hours in reserve activities. He’s busy and stressed, and I haven’t been as supportive as I should be. For example, spending all my free time cooking/cleaning/doing his laundry, and then getting mad and tearful when he doesn’t notice/doesn’t eat it/tracks mud all over the floor. He doesn’t expect me to do these things, but it makes me feel relevant and useful, since so much of what he’s doing is outside of my control. I have also never been shy about telling him when he does things that upset me, although I’ve always tried to be tactful and respectful. I’ve been operating under the assumption that’s the kind of relationship we have, and that he felt free to do the same. He has been very withdrawn the last few months, and I’ve been clingy as a result. Note that this is all in hindsight- I didn’t know any of this was going on while it was happening.
We had a particularly bad week last week, arguing almost every day. (We have never argued like this before, and are always respectful.) One night, I got so mad that he wouldn’t talk to me that I slept in the other room. That has never happened before. I felt terrible, we talked about it, I thought things were okay, if not a little tense still. Cut to a few days later- he tells me he has been having doubts about our relationship for “a long time.” Not just the wedding, but us. I gave him until the next day to decide for sure, he decides, and tells me he still loves me, there isn’t anyone else, but that he doesn’t want to be with me. He said he feels like he’s lost himself. We kept talking. I was fighting hard for him to reconsider. After a couple of hours, it’s like lightbulb was turned on, and he said that he realized that there were things I was doing that were making him feel that way. Things like, asking him not to chew on toothpicks or spit, not wanting him to get a motorcycle some day in the distant future, not liking hunting, etc. Dumb things that I don’t really care that much about, but that evidently I have been taking a stronger stance on and making him feel “less than.” Please note that up until this point, he wasn’t telling me anything I was doing wrong, which is why I was fighting him so hard not to break up. I really fought hard.
So, he tells me this stuff, I say of course I can stop that, he says okay, we smile, we kiss, we make up, we recommit to each other, we have sex, everything is okay that night. The next day, he’s weird again. I went from feeling okay to afraid, and since then, I’ve been walking on eggshells. He is still not telling me about his feelings (although he said he’d try) but he is opening up a little more about his work day, etc. I have been going over and beyond, trying to make him feel loved and appreciated…leaving him notes, woke up at 4am the other morning to make him waffles, trying not to talk about how I’m having a hard time with this, etc. From where I’m standing, he hasn’t started doing any of the things he said he’d do-helping around the house, working on getting more sleep, communicating with me, getting into counselling, etc. (Should mention that we both agreed to do counselling although at this point he is refusing couples counselling.) I haven’t done any more of the things he mentioned, and I’m trying really hard to not pick at him about stuff or pressure him at all.
Right now, I feel like he’s putting everything ahead of me and our life together. He has a very limited schedule, so it’s hard to carve out time to be together, but whenever we do, it seems like he chooses to do something else that day instead. I should mention that I do think he has some major depression going on- he’s gained 30 pounds and characterizes himself as feeling “empty and numb” all of the time. This is not the happy man I fell in love with.
I know that this was long and probably incoherent, and I’m probably missing some important details, so let me know if you have questions and I can clarify. Any one else go through anything similar? I think he needs help, and I want to be there for him, but right now I’m feeling like a wounded doormat. I don’t know how to handle this, or what I can do.
Thanks in advance for your thoughtful advice.