- 4 years ago
- Wedding: April 2016
ETA: I think part of you being hesitant to leave is that you have been with him for all of your adult life thus far. He is the only man you’ve dated as an adult. I’m not saying leave tomorrow, but take the time and recognize that actually he isn’t as great of a man as you are trying to paint him out to be. A man who respects you would carry his weight.
Thank you everyone for you’re responses.
I apprectiate all you’re feedback. As of right now we are going to try and make it work, I have my internal walk date and I have that plan b in my head planned out and ready to move on if the day comes.
I would like to clarify that yes, it looks VERY co-dependant from the outside. But I’m a romantic at heart, so I take back the “i am nothing without my husband” statement. I’m cute as hell without my husband and smart as ever lol, I didn’t mean to be morbid before. It’s just obviously I’d be loosing my best friend as well as my husband if this goes badly. When I met him I was a shell of myself, and I learned new things with him, and had new adventures. Tried new food, so I’d like to say a lot of my own personal growth and healing has come from my husband before shit hit the fan for lack of a better analogy.
But you are very true, I spent a lot of time “helping him” or “helping him fix himself” and he’s not a child or a conquest. He’s a big boy and can handle himself, and if he has problems with something he should be able to use his words and explain instead of stomping his feet like a four year old who just got told Barney wasn’t coming to his birthday party.
I appreciate you’re non-sugar coating of the situation. I needed that lol.
He may be your best friend, but he isn’t acting like it. He isn’t respecting you. Again, that could change if — and that is a BIG if — he is willing to change and work on himself and on the relationship. Would your best friend outside of this relationship ignore you when you asked him or her to clean up after themselves when visiting your house? Would your friends drag a PUPPY away from you, a puppy that needs to go to the bathroom and who you are trying to walk? Would a friend ignore you in the way your husband has been (you asking him to clean up after himself and take care of the dog)?
Believe it or not I am a romantic at heart too, but my view of romance has changed since I got married almost 2 years ago. I realize that romance isn’t necessarily always about the sparks flying when you (general “you”) see your SO; romance is when you are sick and your SO takes care of you. It’s when you pick up the slack when your SO is having a stressful time at work. It is when your SO brings home flowers just because. It is when your SO takes the first shower because he knows you want the extra 5 minutes of sleep. Romance comes in so many different forms, but to me the most romantic is when you work as a team and he builds you up. I hope you get to experience that with your husband.
PPs have offered a great deal of excellent advice, most importantly that you choose counseling on your own for your own benefit. You already know that you cannot fix him, only he can do that. You need to take care of yourself.
I read a story once and it’s stuck with me. A woman was describing her man to a friend–how handsome he was, how smart, the great restaurant they’d just been to, etc. And the friend responded, but is he kind to you? And the woman was silent. And the friend asked again, is he kind to you?
It is not kind to stick you with all of the adult responsibilities in your relationship. It is not kind to call you names or to ignore the dog’s needs. Love is what we do, not just how we feel.
What do you want YOUR life to look like in five years? In ten? Put your energies into moving your life forward the way you want it to be. If he gets his act together he’ll be right there with you. And if he doesn’t you’ll be okay on your own.
Having the same sort of past as your husband, I am tempted to empathize with his side of things. I KNOW his side of things. I have been that partner who is angry at a very deep level, feels broken, feels undeserving of love – who, because of all those emotions, lashes out, pushes buttons to “test” the other’s love, reacts in paranoid-delusional ways (you’re only with him for the puppy,) and is borderline emotionally abusive.
I want to empathize because I understand what it’s like to be that person. It’s so incredibly sad, and lonely, and desolate. You’re being self-destructive and you don’t even know you are. It’s the only way you’ve ever been, so you percieve it as normal. You don’t know that you even CAN change (to an appreciable degree), much less HOW to.
You’re sensitive as hell to any constructive criticism from your partner because your simplistic understanding of the type of “unconditional” love you see in movies that you hold in front of yourself like the light at the end of the tunnel says that your partner should just accept you for any and all flaws, thus releasing you from the responsibility of improving and growing yourself. Your understand of love is so simplistic and faulty because you didn’t grow up with it, you’ve never truly had it, and you don’t know how to recognize it when you see it.
So you have this self-fulfilling prophesy in your head of: If they truly loved me, they would just accept me 100% unconditionally. And they start trying to “test” you by being their “true” selves – usually messy, depressed takers. Then you rightfully get upset and have constructive criticism/requests for help, and suddenly you’ve proven to them that you don’t REALLY love them – and since you don’t, they can be as horrible as that want to be in that moment. Because you are no longer a loving partner – you are an enemy who has just wounded them to their core.
If I make it sound dramatic, that’s because it is. Everything is very very dramatic to them because they have the emotional maturity of a 5 year old. Emotionally, they ARE 5 years old. Developmentally speaking, they didn’t get their need for love and acceptance met at the age when it needs to be met, so they are stuck there. And in the meantime, they’ve built up a lot of self-protection mechanisms that, yes, keep them safe, but basically by hurting and pushing away every person who COULD potentially hurt them in the future if they let them in (and kept them in.)
So, yeah, I want to empathize – but I can’t. I know his headspace because I spent a lot of time there. But at no point did I ever contemplate even getting enegaged while I knew I was so messed up, much less married! I knew something was off in me, that I needed to take time and grow and heal myself, that I couldn’t victimize anyone by “tricking” them into loving me and tying them to me with ultimate commitment. I reached my personal turning point in my late 20’s and only then did I start contemplating engagement and marriage and kids, while still holding myself to the highest possible standards of emotional maturity and taking personal responsiblity for my actions when they hurt others.
At the age of 32, I finally feel “whole” and healthy enough to level-headedly embark on an engagement and marriage. It takes a LOT of work. And I’m not sure I could have done much of that work while in a marriage, honestly. Because there are too many distractions and pressures from the other person. And already being married would serve as a disincentive to put in the truly hard and painful work.
PP are right when they say that you can not save your husband, unfortunately. You can only serve as an enabler if you continue to allow him to disrespect you and your relationship, and to act out in these unhealthy ways. When and if you accept these unhealthy behaviors and continue to stay, he learns that they are ok. You can wind up doing more harm for him than good. (I am speaking to your need to help him, here, not victim-blaming – you are 100% the victim here.)
I don’t really have advice to give – these situations are always so convoluted and dramatic – it’s hard for an outsider to truly understand. I just wanted to empathize with your plight and say that, having been your husband, he is 100% in the wrong and you have to really start to create firm boundaries or risk enabling him.
Feel free to pm me if you think I could help with anything. 🙂
Hi Bee, you sound like a smart and loving woman who’s been through some hard knocks in life. I’m glad you were clear with your husband about your boundaries and what you need for a healthy relationship. As someone who is probably about 20 years older than you and been through a divorce, here is my perspective.
I know you clarified, but just to reiterate: you are a whole person with or without your husband. The ways that you grew and matured in your early 20’s did not come soley from your husband, but came from your own effort and dedication to your growth. He was an important partner and supporter, but you did that, 100%. A partner is someone who accompanies you, helps you, supports you, and encourages you. That person, however, can never make you into the person you are. You own that. You will always have that. Also, I will tell you that there is no way you will “never find anyone to love” if your relationship were to end. No way. I have never seen that happen. I divorced my best friend at 38 — found someone even better for me at 39 (to my amazement and disbelief). And I have seen it again and again with friends and acquaintences. You are not an exception.
As you go through this healing process with him, make sure to focus not just on him and his healing, but moreso on your own. Be partners to each other as you both better yourselves. You can’t do the work for him and he can’t do it for you. All you can do is work on what makes you happy and fulfilled. He needs to be an adult and do the same for himself. Then you can come together are equal partners on this journey.
I’ll tell you something else: I met my first husband in my early 20’s. He had been through some tough times — dad died when he was 19 and he had to support his family. He didn’t resolve his issues (I had some of my own, of course) and 10 years later he told me that he didn’t really know how to love and left the marriage. Then I met my BF at age 38 (he was 39). His mother had died of cancer when he was 13 and his father abandoned him. He spend his youth as a delinquint and barely graduated highschool. Perhaps it was because I met him in his late 30’s, but none of that has had a negative impact on our relationship. He is loving, kind, supportive, respectful, and successful in his life and career (he’s an attorney now). He has never made me take on his issues or used them to excuse or explain bad behavior. I am not saying he is perfect by any means, and he told me that in his 20’s he was “a trainwreck.” He worked on himself and evolved, so I am getting a much better verison of him now and am thankful I met him later in life since I don’t know if we would have survived a relationship with our respective issues and maturity levels in our 20’s. Anyway, long-winded way to say take care of yourself. Life is long. Keep moving forward.
Im actually really encouraged by your talk with him! Regardless of what happens I’m very, very glad that you’ve both experienced that if you come at this from the ‘adult’ perspective (usually) the other person responds from that place as well. I once read that there are 3 headspaces that you can talk to your partner from: the Child, the Adult/Partner and the Mother/Father.
So if one person takes the parent role then it’s pretty much guaranteed that the other person will respond from the… you guessed it… child role. And we play that game over and over again taking turns at who’s who and hurting ourselves and the other in the process. After all, no one can be a father or mother substitute. And of you come at your SO from the place of the Child (usually with demands) you’re more than likely to meet his Mother/Father side.
Sometimes we need mothering/fathering, sure, that’s normal and healthy, but how we ask for that is really important. It’s the difference between picking a fight until everything blows up, then having crazy make up sex, all to get those last few minutes of cuddling time being held peacefully vs saying “I’ve had a terrible day, would you mind holding me for a bit?”
Well it sounds like you spoke to him from the Partner headspace and he was thus also able to move up from the Child place and receive what you said as well as point out some things to you too from equal footing!
And I’m really, really glad you shared YOUR story with us and realized that you need to refocus some of your energy for yourself and your wellbeing. It was nice to get to know you a little bit more. 🙂
I know this won’t be the last fight you have or the last time you guys play Parent-Child games but you’ve taken the steps to get a roadmap of how to get out of there. Super cool in my book.
Good luck Bee.
Couples counseling is a must. Read the following book, “5 Love Languages”) and learn you’re husband’s love language. Also read ” The Anatomy of Peace” it’s a book about resolving conflict in relationships.
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