A Reader Writes…
My husband left me two weeks ago after 18 months of marriage and five years together. He is a manual worker and I am a graduate professional. We are quite imbalanced intellectually too. For the first three years we were besotted. It was the fairy tale romance. Against all odds we were blissfully in love. Gradually things changed.
I’ve had a lot of financial stress recently and serious illness and some trouble with my nearly adult children. I have been very upset and in pain and sad. My husband has become more and more impatient and angry as the year has worn on and has at times been aggressive and violent towards my boys and verbally aggressive towards myself. He is oppositional to everything I suggest and disagrees with most things I say. He says I don’t give him enough attention and seems jealous of my children (who actually get very little attention being mostly self sufficient). He calls them mollycoddled mothers boys and says they should get out and earn a wage (they are in school, and uni).
He used to be so gentle and kind but we can’t even talk for five minutes now without it spiralling upwards. I feel I can’t say anything if its going if hes going to dislike it. I can’t be angry about anything or dislike anyone he likes or any of his actions without him feeling hugely upset and rejected which leads to him being angry. He doesn’t listen at all when I am speaking and responds either aggressively by immediately disagreeing or by giving up e.g. ‘well what’s the point then, we’re never going to work’. He is sometimes more responsive to texts, but then seems to have forgotten what he’s said in a text when we’re face to face.
He was abandoned by his mother as a child, and had a pretty awful time after that, but is now living with her and won’t hear a word against her. He has left me to live with her several times before for a few days, but has always come back. This time, it seems irreparable as the loss of trust and pain is so bad on both sides. We have seen one counsellor recently, but he doesn’t like her and we are due to go to another one soon that we saw earlier in the year.
I had an abusive childhood too with an alcoholic, but loving father and a horrible mother who seemed to despise me. So we are both super sensitive creatures. I have had a fair bit of counselling and feel like I’ve dealt with this. I don’t want to sound conceited, but I am good at communication and have been in a caring job all my life where I seem to get along we’ll with people. I also have a few hobbies and some good friends. My husband does nothing but work and has no friends. He does not read and will not do self help things.
I am at a loss as to whether to give up. Each time I see him I cry so much I’m exhausted and I just don’t know whether it can ever work. I have just ordered your book about resolving conflict so I hope it will help, but would be very grateful for your thoughts.
At the beginning of a new relationship something called limerence is at its height. This is the force that poets talk about where we become everything to each other. Just thinking of our beloved makes us feel like we’re walking on air. Neuroscientists have also scanned our brains and discovered chemicals that bind us very closely to our new partner. Unfortunately, limerence doesn’t last forever, normally about 18 months to 3 years. I explain more about this phenomenon in my book I Love You but I’m Not in Love With You. When you’ve had a very difficult childhood, the power of limerence can be very healing and a complete shock when it wears off.
So what’s going on, why have things turned so nasty? Well, first and foremost lots of people think at this three year point that their partner doesn’t love them any more. If you were abandoned as a child it will feel like your partner has abandoned you. Furthermore, from your husband’s point of view, it really might seem that you don’t give him enough attention. He is going to feel really neglected because it fits into his pattern from the past. Unfortunately, you have had a really tough childhood too. An alcoholic father and a rejecting mother is probably one of the worst combinations possible. So although you’ve had a fair bit of counselling, my guess is, it’s a long road back. So I’m not surprised that you’re exhausted by all of this at the moment.
I think you need some help for yourself again so that you can off-load some of this pain and not feel so overwhelmed. When you are feeling stronger you will be able to listen to him, understand where he’s coming from and stand in his shoes. So instead of getting defensive, you can ask questions and begin to draw him out. It could be at that point the two of you go to counselling together and become a support for each other – rather than pushing each other further into depression and anger.
My husband of 16 years has told me he’s not sure what he wants anymore and that he needs some space. He has not really been unfaithful but has a friend at work who is an outside ‘interest’. I have been through a lot of soul-searching, initially being angry, upset, jealous and then too clingy, seeking reassurance and getting angry and critical (fear again) when it wasn’t met. I think I have got through this now and realise that I cannot blame my husband. We have had a very difficult few years together with two children and family illness. Alongside this were a lot of arguments which did not get resolved with both being resentful and blaming the other. This crisis has made me look very hard at my part in this and I know that we have both neglected our marriage. I’m not surprised my husband feels like he does cos he can’t have felt loved for years. That’s not to say it’s been easy for me as I have not felt loved either, but I have been so caught up in family needs that I did not see it.
I respect the fact that he needs space and I’m trying to act normal so that I don’t put pressure on him. I want to repair the damage that’s been done to our relationship and I hope in time he will be able to trust me and will want to repair it too. I say trust me because I think he has lost faith in the fact that I will listen and react reasonably, to whatever he says.
We’ve both had good childhoods but both with their difficulties which has made us both sensitive and perhaps untrusting. I think I want to explore that more for me but what I really would like help with is how to ‘be’ at the moment. I’m trying to ignore the fact that he could decide he wants to leave and try a new life, and concentrate on how I am. Please help.
Andrew G. Marshall says
I am impressed by how much you have learnt from a difficult period. It is easy to blame when we feel threatened but you have kept an open mind. Well done. I would suggest two books: Wake Up and Change Your Life and My husband doesn’t love me and he’s texting someone else. The second book will help you understand your husband further, help keep a sense of perspective and allow you to keep sane in an insane situation. The first book will help you to work on yourself and continue to grow through this painful time.
There is never an excuse to be unfaithful to ones mate. Never.
Sure there may be troubles and bad times which expected in life. Never can there be an excuse that times got so bad you had to sleep with someone else and break your marriage vow.
Andrew G. Marshall says
I agree. I’m not in the business of excusing affairs. However, I am interested in helping people understand why they had an affair, resolve any issues they discover and prevent them from making the same mistakes again.
Woman in charge says
You literally told the woman to read some books to understand why her husband had hot steamy sex with some stranger at work. Just wow! She doesn’t need to read any books she needs a lawyer and kick his cheating ass to the curb.
My husband ran off and slept with a co-worker, the day I told him I was pregnant. (we planned this child) “I hope you miscarry”, and out the door he went. It was just 2 1/2 years into the marriage, and after that, I think I just stayed because I thought it would be best for our son. He ignored me 100%, and acted like I was invisible, he refused to speak to me at all. It was so demeaning, and I was the kind of person, that would never put up with such crappy behavior prior to meeting him.
I had such terrible morning sickness, it was impossible to work and look for another place to live, with my head in the toilet, 6 hours a day for 3 months.
“Tennis” was the code word for, “I am getting as far away as I can for you for 6 hours”.
He was never playing tennis at all. He was having affairs with co-workers, and not just one.
Our son is in college now, and I got stronger through him. I walked out the door and never looked back. Classic narcissistic behavior, is what I was enduring in retrospect.
They cannot be changed so do not wear yourself out trying.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Thank you for sharing your story
Am surprised that I’m even writing this now , but I think I’ve often kept too much to myself, thinking it pointless to talk except to the person involved.
So… for the recent months I’ve realized that I cant speak to my husband… whenever he’s stressed up with work, the response is worse… I’m a stay home mum with 2 young kids.. he loves our children v much but seems to neglect me and more often my feelings…
I’ve spoken to him a few times bout the importance of setting time for us aside, but that’s beginning to sound like a broken record, and he’s asking me to chill..
He says he will try to make an effort but that never happen, probably cuz of work n our 2 kids who demand a lot of our time…
I’m feeling like a 2nd class citizen compared to my kids who gets his full attention and I think its kinda unfair… and when I’ve concerns and spoke to him about how I feel, we end up in argument, with him being defensive and argumentative.. I’m not getting quieter , cuz I find its pointless to talk … but then I feel frustrated cuz of that and sometimes vent on my kids…
Many times, I imagined myself giving him the ultimatum and walk out … but that’s tough cuz of our kids… I feel as though I’m not important any more and can’t communicate w him…
We’ve seen a counsellor before we were married, and was told to give him space when we get into argument… question is, what bout me, who cares bout my feelings then?
Andrew G. Marshall says
If the two of you can’t communicate, you need someone to bridge the gap. I would suggest you see another couple counsellor – but find a new one. A good marital therapist is able to hold both your husbands point of view (he needs space sometimes to process everything) and your point of view (that you don’t feel heard or loved when he withdraws) and provides a safe space so you can hear each other and break the pattern that is driving you apart.
Thk u Andrew… guess tts prolly e only way… seeing a marital therapist here is expensive:(
But guess ill try…
Jamie Demont says
This is not the answer she was looking for and it breaks my heart.
wendy carrillo says
I’m going through same dam thing. I am re-married the 2nd isn’t any better it was in the beginning. Now he’s drifted apart from me. First it had a lot to do with I was rapped by one of his friends 4 months after we were married. He wouldn’t stop bringing it up like it was my fault. I’d attend counseling felt good afterwards by the time I came home ran into him he would tear the band aide off again. It was such a battle everyday dealing with him on top of the rape. Then after his weight loss surgery he dropped from a 5x to a 3 x now he looks like he’s in his prime. He is even changing his style of facile hair. He is a work alcoholic he stays at his job till really late. I don’t see him from time sun gets up till sun goes down. He claims he’s always too busy. He also carries his phone with him you’d think its attached to his side. If you pick it up he gets forcefully defensive. I can’t ever communicate with him on any level even to just shoot the breeze with him. He always takes offense. I’m starting to think if I made the right choice marrying him. He takes me No where ever. I wrapped my life around my kids. I feel so empty like I married to be more lonelier. I don’t know what to do.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Try asking him why he’s angry all the time. Don’t defend yourself even if he says hurtful things but listen and ask more questions. One of them I would ask is… are you interested in another woman? Be calm as you ask this question and keep calm about the answer. Once he’s told you what’s making him angry, you can tell him how you’re feeling and then finally you can discuss what you do abut his anger and yours.
d k says
i am in the same situation. My husband said it is my problem and won’t go to counseling. At some point, I think the only option is to separate. A person can only take so much and if both people aren’t working on it, the one that really suffers is the person that is trying but the effort isn’t reciprocal.
Am married to my husband for 4 years now we’ve been together for 10 years. For the past two years things I’ve gotten so bad. I gave birth to my son 2 years ago and because of that I had to quit my job to stay home with him. We both decided that that’s what was best for my son. Since then he has been the only one working and provided for the family and since then he became so angry at me. I can’t say or ask him anything. He’s always complaining to me about everything but when I 2amt to tell him about something he flip and don’t want to hear it. Every opinion I have once I mention it to him it turns into a big argument and fight. I feel like am drowning. I have nobody to talk to. I cry myself to sleep at night . I don’t know what else to do. I feel like he doesn’t even care about how I feel anymore. I understand its stressful providing for a family by yourself but at least I feel he should let me tell him things anything.
Andrew G. Marshall says
It sounds like you need to have a proper heart to heart where he can tell you what’s happening in his world (without you getting upset or jumping to your own defence) and he needs to let you do the same too. Then you can sort out a way forward. One question to ask him…. I would ask about the decision for you to give up work. When people say ‘we both decided’ in my therapy room it often means ONE person led the decision and the other finally signed off on it. Not the equal decision that your statement suggested. I would check with him, who he felt made this decision, whether he was entirely in agreement and how he feels about it now.
My name is kelly ive been feeling alone worried depressed confused my husband hates to talk and open up to me i need someones help
Andrew G. Marshall says
Why do you think he is so closed off? What has he told you? How much do you think comes from his childhood?
My name is verano I’m 36 yrs old married woman of 14 ys together 17yrs. My husband and I use to be real close and he use to listen to me. We had are ups and down too. But nothing like the last 4yrs , my husband started to get very verbal aggressive and would say things that are so mean and I would just let it go everyday he would continually accelerate his behavior till he broke me down to cry, and then later he would say ,I’m sorry I just wanted hurt you. He will lie and talk bad about me to my birth family and his family whom dislike me and he knows I don’t socialize with my birth family members. He’ll lie about things that normal people would not feel need to lie about for a example, he would asks if his brother can come over to hangout and if he can go pick up him up and his mom will pick him back up. I say sure no problem. Then when he gets back his bro will stay for over a week. He’ll then say his brother needed to be closer to his job so his boss can pick him in the morning around 6am then get up and take him everyday. When I trying to asks why his boss isn’t he will get very anger and start yelling at me and say it was just that day but what he says never come to pass and if I even show even a remote sign of being upset he’ll asks whats wrong then get angry if I tell him what wrong. He will flip everything his does and make it about me. And if I would just believe him and stop acting questioning him we would be fine. He will get mad at me and talk about me to our kids and override what I tell them do and tell them things to get them think I’m wrong. My daughter came to me and said mom I know the things dad say about isn’t true, when I asks him to not talk about me badly or about our marriage problems that it isn’t right nor healthy. He will flip it and say what so I’m a bad father. And get angry and it will start all over again. I asked him if we could go get marriage counseling or our marriage isn’t going to work because I can’t live like this anymore and it’s not healthy for our kids, and I can’t be selfish and continue to live in this type of environment its not fair to our kids, by staying with you when you refuse to even meet me halfway, then will be over apologetic even cry say he’ll change and get help he would being to be the man I fell in love with for a little while before returning back to his old ways again. He’s gotten even worse now and even puts his hands on me, which he was arrested for in 2016. So next month my kids and I are moving out. He hasn’t had a job in 2yrs and gets mad if refuse money or the car to him, Am I making the right decision. And how do I even talk to him in a co-parenting stand point. And handle situation if starts bad talking me to our kids again now that I’m leaving him.
Thank you very much for your input on this matter
Andrew G. Marshall says
It sounds like your husband is in a really dark place. Having no job gets to the core of our masculine sense of identity. Sadly instead of dealing with his problems, he has turned his emotions into anger and attacked you (because you are closest to him). If he is being violent – which it seems is what you are saying – you need to look after yourself and your children. So leaving sounds a good idea. It could spark something positive (he might decided to ask for help and begin to deal with his inner demons) but it could bring a further descent into the pit. However, your number one responsibility should be protecting your kids and looking after yourself (because if you join him in the darkness that will further impact on them). Be brave.
I’ve told him that I want to help him and and work together to fix things. He just says if your so unhappy just leave. So I’ve started the process of getting a new place for my
kids and myself , he soon said I’m sorry and began to be real nice with a few out burst and out of blue asked so am I moving with you. Is this just a away to fool me and let him move with us. Thank you
Hi my name is summer my husband is very verbally abusive and mentally abusive and a few times got physical. Everything I do is yells at me. If I go out with my family whom adopted me he gets anger and yells at me and tells our kids I’m out cheating. And will tell his friends and family lies about me and try to turn our children against me with lie. when we found picture of his man parts in his phone he screamed at me and said he was going to send them to me but changed his mind. He will have random female names in his history on FB and dating site web and cuss at me and said he doesn’t know he didn’t do it. And then Clear his history and change his passwords. I don’t question him on anything all hell breaks loose and he ready to snap my head off. I’ll tell me well divorce me than I’m sick of you anyways. Them flip and say sorry I love one more chance . What should do I want to leave him.
Andrew G. Marshall says
If someone is physically, verbally and mentally abusive I doubt ‘one last chance’ will change anything. It sounds like he is flirting with other women on line and he is using his anger as a tool to control you. So leaving him sounds a great idea! However, I would plan ahead. Decide where you are going to go, what support you are going to need, how you will keep safe (because he is bound to lose his temper and could get physical) All of these questions take time to answer and it is best not to leave on the spur of the moment. Good luck and well done for getting to this point. Be strong.
Hi my name is Kaylee and I am writing to try to get some help with my marriage have been married for quite a few years now I haven’t had very many male relationships prior to being married to my husband he is the second man I’ve ever been with in my life over the past few years I have seen drastic changes in him the man I want to love seems like he has evaporated and this other being has formed in his place he calls me horrible names constantly verbally attacks me I have found numerous of numbers that he has been texting that he will blatantly lie and say I don’t know those numbers I’ve never text them when I question him about what who’s had your phone at 3 a.m. in the morning when you’re here from 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. in the morning you’re texting the same numbers take a break and then start right back up when you go to work at 3 p.m. dang near 11 p.m. his hours don’t match his check that he brings home and he will make excuses every time for why it seems so short
You get aggressively angry when I question him about anything at all pertaining unknown numbers he’s texting why he deletes his text history but only leaves a Selected Few he will making it to the saying I always delete my messages I said call you how a ton messages that are older still there so you delete the newer ones and keep the old ones is keeps the ones that mainly pertain to his job on his phone but delete anything else sometimes he will say horrible things to me and make me feel guilty about how I feel he tells me that he is sick of me and I’ll ask him if he is sick with me then why is he staying why won’t he you take the conflict he says I’m not going to be homeless on the streets he is very manipulative and has grown to be a pathological liar I don’t know what else to do I can never get the truth out of him even when I show them evidence he will still deny everything and not face the truth and he will flip it in some way messaging family and lying and trying to make himself look like the victim I’m not used to posting about my personal cuz I like to keep my personal business to myself and try to work it out privately but I don’t know what else to do or how else to handle the situation at hand could you please give me some advice on how to handle this thank you very much for your time
Andrew G. Marshall says
You don’t need to get his confirmation. You know he is having affairs – multiple affairs. You will find all your husband’s horrible behaviour is typical for people having affairs. If you want to understand why men fall out of love and start affairs, I would suggest reading my book ‘My husband doesn’t love me any more and he’s texting another woman’. However, the biggest question you have to asl yourself is do I want to be with this man any more. Good luck.
I just don’t understand why every article out here puts all the work of being understanding on the wife who is the one suffering the emotional drainage. If it so hard for Ken to try and out yourselves in OUR shoes?? We are always the main one to have to figure out how to tip toe around him and then they just get to keep living their lives, unaware of how much work And effort we have to our in to deal with them.
Andrew G. Marshall says
I am sorry if that’s the message that I give. I would like you (and the other people who write into me) to understand why this hurts so much for YOU. What old wounds are being activated and making a hard situation even tougher. Because understanding yourself better is the first step to making positive change – rather than running away or closing down or just getting angry. I wish the partners of my posters would be writing in because I would ask them to think about why their partners are behaving in the way they are too. But they’re not….Ultimately, the only person we can change is ourselves. So my answer is always about what the poster can do differently and understanding why their partner is angry can help to find a different way to approach them. If you want to see the other side of the coin, look at my post ‘My wife is angry all the time and shouts me down’
What do I do when i feel like i nothing i say is right. Everything i say I’m giving excuses for why. My husband texts other woman about how beautiful they are but hardly ever say it to me. But when i call him out on it im wrong . and i hear she just someone i work with.
He yells at me and treats me like trash. Has hit me and called me names ect. Idk plz tell me im I wrong
Andrew G. Marshall says
I am more concerned with his violence than his cheating. Has it happened before? Is it one isolated incident or part of a bigger pattern? Why do you even both to listen to his justifications? Is it because he has worn you down and made it harder to see a larger picture of intimidation or is that just a one off? How would you feel if you stepped back and looked at the bigger picture? When you’ve done this, think about what you would like to do next…. Don’t try and justify your choices to him because he is deep in a affair brain and he will find a million reasons for his behaviour. You have to justify your decisions to YOURSELF. Only you need to give yourself permission to act.