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Who is being controlling?


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Sorry in advance if there is tmi in this post- but I really need some clarity here.

My husband has been 'expressing'/ complaining- that I don't give him enough 'attention'- by which he means sex. He exaggerates constantly that he only gets it once a month, but this is not true in the slightest. Its twice or 3 times a week. I have even started to jot down the dates to keep track! Personally, I think that's quite a lot considering we have a 12 and 7 year old who keep me very busy and that we have been married a long time.

Also part of story is that I don't actually enjoy or want to have this sex anyway- this is mainly due to lack of emotional connection between the two of us- he spends no time with me, even though I have asked in the past, he shows no interest in me, and partly because of the peri-menopause I think.- but I do it intermittently throughout the week to keep him happy. Otherwise he gets in a terrible mood which spirals. After 14 years of being married, I know this, so now think of it as a means to a quiet and peaceful home.

Recently though, even this has not been enough and he now says that I am controlling everything, in that he only gets to have sex when I say so. (There are no fixed days btw!)

However, if it was up to him we would have it every night- which I don't want. I have tried reflecting on this to work out if I am being controlling, but keep coming back to the notion that if I don't want to have sex,I shouldn't have to- and that actually he is being controlling for making me feel guilty, pressurising me and by getting in his moods and starting to argue about it in the middle of the night.

I have tried to explain this but he always has some comeback- like I should be worried that he could go and get sex elsewhere- then he backtracks and says he would never do that.

I counter argued that if I didn't get emotional support, care and attention of the sort I need, then maybe I could go elsewhere too- this did not go down well and he made out that I'd hurt him badly, whereas what he had said was to be accepted.

Sorry this ended up being rambling. If you can make sense of this post, please let me know what you think. I am supposed to be working at the moment, but my mind is consumed by this now- as I know he will be wanting to carry on with this when he gets home.

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40 minutes ago, Pennypanj said:

 a means to a quiet and peaceful home.

Is it "a quite peaceful home"? Or an abusive husband?

Privately and confidentially (Do Not tell him) talk to your physician and get a referral to a therapist.

Do not have unwanted sex "to keep the peace", stop making spreadsheets about it or arguing about it. Just stop the madness.

Go about your business, work, talk to trusted friends and family (be honest about how horrible your marriage is instead of keeping up this façade), take care of your kids and ignore him.

 

 

 

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You feel demeaned because he treats you like an object and you are getting nothing at all out of this relationship. It seems like a waste of time — he is cold and unpleasant and you just avoid him. Do not think that your children have not figured out how bad this is and are learning from it. Is this the example you want to set for them? 
 

Wiseman is right — get yourself a therapist and figure out the life you want. Don’t argue, don’t inform him. Let him go find someone else to treat this way — it’s not doing you any good. 

Edited by arjumand
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Well this is what happens to a lot of couples with kids...the kids get the attention/energy and the husband feels ripped off. women need emotional connection from romance, men need emotional connection through sex. this is the great divide.

When was the last time you two actually had a weekend or a week without the kids? or been out on a date? Did something together that didn't involve the kids or household chores?

I say in order to level this out, you both need some lifestyle changes. You are tired, and emotionally focus on responsibilities. You need to figure out a way to start letting your kids take care of themselves more. 12 is old enough to cook, do laundry and clean the house, help out with the 7 year old, like babysitting. When I was 12, I was doing all that and more, including cutting the lawn, taking care of the dog, and light shopping. It kept me out of trouble.

Him, he needs to find ways to expel his energy/sexual frustration, like playing sports/exercise/yoga/meditation, play with the kids after work. But also participate more with helping you out too....working as a team.

With sex, maybe include him giving you a relaxing massage, foot massage, etc...let the focus be on you, and your needs. He needs to know that if you say no he better not make you feel bad. That only makes you push away more and not want it.

Sometimes redoing the bedroom, fresh new bedding, will make it more intimate for the both of you.

And of course, if all efforts fail, couples counseling. Sort it out, and be heard/listen/understand.

If you can't get him on board to

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Has he always been this way (mood spiral) or has it been only since the kids came? Or more recently.

I would encourage you to read the book or website the Five Love Languages. Figure out what your love language is and his is. (and it may be sex but you may be surprised that it might not be.  It could be quality time or physical touch  -  having sex is quality time away from kids so sex fulfills that and it also fulfills physical touch).  If it is one of those other things - he could be happy with sex 2-3 times a week but an additional time wth you with no kids -- a simple sitting in the park, going to a drive in movie - anything without kids and then because he has that -- he would be happy having SOME intimacy sessions that involve non penetration.  And you might WANT to give him more of that because his behavior has changed.  If its physical touch - do you touch him at ALL outside of sex?

I would try some non sexual affection and date time with no kids (can a relative watch them) and see if anything changes.

As long as he is a good husband in other ways and not an abusive jerk, you will wait a long time to get things your way if you just say "he doesn't do what i want so there".

Also, have you TOLD him that you are perimenopause and have you legit talked to your doc about trying creams or supplements to ease it?

 

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I don't really see anyone being controlling here, just two people in a marriage who are feeling a loss of control and trying to come back to one another but doing it in ways that sabotage each other.

I don't agree with having sex with him to placate him. Instead of offering your body, offer him your time - keep it simple and spend more time with each other. Cook for the family together, spend time together when the kids go to bed, talk about what you want to do with the house or where you'd like to go if you could all go on vacation. Have more communication and less of that coldness and roommate feeling living together. 

If you find him unattractive and have lost that sense of attraction and respect for this man, you'll have to come to terms with that unfortunately. This usually isn't an overnight situation and it happens over time. 

If you say he shows no interest in you, how can you possibly respect or like, let alone sleep with someone, like this? Come back to each other in small ways, avoid the criticizing and nitpicking. Be vocal and tell him that accusations are weighty and a turn off. After that, stop or pause. You don't need to keep reacting to each others' resentments, anger and frustration.

Threats to find intimacy or meet emotional and physical needs outside the marriage completely undermine each other. That kind of conversation has to stop unless you both are prepared to separate. Don't let the conversations come to this. Don't bring the idea of third parties into your relationship out of anger and frustration.

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HI thank you all for your replies. He has always had a tendency to spiral- he won't seek help for any sort of depression, I have tried to tactfully mention this to him before- but he says he only gets 'down' because of me. I have brushed it off time and time again-but after so many years I am being worn down- I don;t feel like myself anymore, and he is right, I have changed towards him- but that's probably to do with the years of living like this- even a hard rock wears away after repeated battering of rain- right?

Also, I have told him again and again that I/ we need quality time together without the kids- maybe a date night- but he won't. He says he is too tired or he is working- and that when he's at home he wants to spend the time with the kids (although tbh most of the time he is scrolling on his phone or talking to friends)

I crave time and attention from him, and sometimes have dreams about men who will just be holding me, asking about my day and kissing me gently like they really care or we will be laughing together. I feel sad that this isn't my reality- but getting out this situation is not easy. 

I do like the idea of initiating massage or some other sort of intimacy- but every time I touch him at all he thinks I want more- and then gets frustrated if that's not part of the deal. 

I understand that men need sex for emotional connection, but surely in this day and age it has to work both ways? He doesn't seem to want to budge though.

 

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, Pennypanj said:

he says he only gets 'down' because of me.

Stop talking to him, fixing him, etc. You need to talk to your doctor about the abuse, not menopause treatments, date nights etc..

He's been abusive a long time.:

 

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Foot massages won't fix what sounds like narcissistic abuse, OP. He demands, you give. That's your relationship. He is selfish to the nth degree and to him, you are nothing more than an appliance, much like a dishwasher.

When you get to the point where you have to keep a journal to keep your grip on reality...that's the definition of extreme gaslighting. Ditto for that vague feeling like you are loosing your mind and not sure why.

Goes double for him hurting you and that being OK, but don't you dare injure his ego. He will make you pay either in instant rage or in passive aggressive little ways you might not even be fully aware of. All you are aware of is that you are feeling off and exhausted.

Stop the madness. You are not going to fix or change him. You didn't make him the way he is, you just had no idea what you signed up for. No doubt early on he was charming and you didn't know/see the red flags.

 

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Thanks for the link, Wiseman. 

Are you still staying because of the kids? Did you receive help for your codependency? This hasn't changed in years. Deciding who is more controlling is splitting hairs. Don't fall into that trap and don't respond to his antics/gaslighting.

Think more long term and see whether you can separate yourself from this abuse. It's been too long.

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4 hours ago, Pennypanj said:

if it was up to him we would have it every night- which I don't want. I have tried reflecting on this to work out if I am being controlling, but keep coming back to the notion that if I don't want to have sex,I shouldn't have to- and that actually he is being controlling for making me feel guilty, pressurising me and by getting in his moods and starting to argue about it in the middle of the night.

I have tried to explain this but he always has some comeback- like I should be worried that he could go and get sex elsewhere-

 

So, he's abusing you mentally- turning it all around onto you.

4 hours ago, Pennypanj said:

he made out that I'd hurt him badly, whereas what he had said was to be accepted.

 

Sounds like you two just aren't getting along and a lot of personal is being thrown in.. guilts, threats, etc.

This won't make things works - and YOU should not feel the pressure's like this 😕 .

A couple's sex life ( form of 'love'), should be given freely, not out of pressure.

he's just being rude with you - total lack of respect.

Could there be something underlying here?  Has he changed some more in the last little while, to cause his attiude towards you?  If not, could be he's just a miserable person now ( grumpy ol man?) .

 

 

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Why do you care more about his happiness than your own? 

Do you still feel like you can't handle the thought of him dealing with consequences of his own actions? 

He's definitely beat you down over the years.  You need to get out.  You can't even think clearly with this man around. 

Why does he deserve everything he wants but contributes nothing to your well being?

 

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I don’t think anyone is being controlling. Just you both have different sex drives. And you are right you shouldn’t be forced to have sex but it sucks for him because he has needs. He is out of line for saying he will seek it elsewhere though 

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31 minutes ago, Bothered2021 said:

I don’t think anyone is being controlling. Just you both have different sex drives. And you are right you shouldn’t be forced to have sex but it sucks for him because he has needs. He is out of line for saying he will seek it elsewhere though 

"Needs" my @$$.  No one is entitled to sex every day.  He is deliberately lying when he whines that it's only once a month, he's manipulating and gaslighting. 

 

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57 minutes ago, Lambert said:

Why do you care more about his happiness than your own? 

Do you still feel like you can't handle the thought of him dealing with consequences of his own actions? 

 

 

Yes, @Wiseman2is right, this has been going on for years and it probably is co-dependency on my part. He has a knack of making me feel sorry for him- and although last year we went through the motions of separation, we have ended up here again. It was strange actually. He started phoning me like everything was normal- and like we hadn't got to breaking point. I was strong for a while, then he declared his love of me and that he 'just wanted the old me back'. So I gave in- this was partly for the sake of the kids- but having said that I know that my 12 year old is aware of the negativity and he takes my side- which is not healthy, I know. Mainly it was for my husband- he comes from a culture where his family would be appalled and he thinks he would be disgraced if we divorced-I know this- and so I worry for how he would handle it. He is very very mindful of how other people see him (and me) especially his family. 

Also, I own the house, and it is close to the kids school, so its not a simple case of me packing mine and the kids bags and moving out.

I am dreading the conversation he is going to want to have tonight and the mood he will be in- its exhausting. 

 

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4 minutes ago, Pennypanj said:

Mainly it was for my husband- he comes from a culture where his family would be appalled and he thinks he would be disgraced if we divorced-I know this- and so I worry for how he would handle it.

IMO not your problem, OP.  He will handle it (divorce) whatever way he handles it. He is an adult.  If he goes into a tailspin, screams, yells and breaks everything in sight, that's his problem.

 

1 hour ago, DancingFool said:

Stop the madness. You are not going to fix or change him. You didn't make him the way he is, you just had no idea what you signed up for. No doubt early on he was charming and you didn't know/see the red flags.

 

DF is right.  

It's decision time.  Have the divorce conversation in the presence of an objective third party, please. 

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2 minutes ago, Pennypanj said:

Yes, @Wiseman2is right, this has been going on for years and it probably is co-dependency on my part. He has a knack of making me feel sorry for him- and although last year we went through the motions of separation, we have ended up here again. It was strange actually. He started phoning me like everything was normal- and like we hadn't got to breaking point. I was strong for a while, then he declared his love of me and that he 'just wanted the old me back'. So I gave in- this was partly for the sake of the kids- but having said that I know that my 12 year old is aware of the negativity and he takes my side- which is not healthy, I know. Mainly it was for my husband- he comes from a culture where his family would be appalled and he thinks he would be disgraced if we divorced-I know this- and so I worry for how he would handle it. He is very very mindful of how other people see him (and me) especially his family. 

Also, I own the house, and it is close to the kids school, so its not a simple case of me packing mine and the kids bags and moving out.

I am dreading the conversation he is going to want to have tonight and the mood he will be in- its exhausting. 

 

You arw choosing this. What we tolerate is a choice.

You can post on here seeking opinions all day but until you do something to change your situation, it's just words. 

Life is short and kids do model their parents.  The two main reasons to change this.  But if you and your kids aren't first, then you know what your future and that of the kids holds. 

You're very fortunate that you have options financially... many don't. It's hard to understand why you stay.  Other than you are a victim of his abuse. I really hope you decide to seek therapy. Maybe then you can start to gain the strength and learn the tools to improve your situation. 

What was it like before you married? Was he always controlling? Why did you marry him? (serious question) 

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12 minutes ago, Pennypanj said:

I own the house, and it is close to the kids school.

Excellent. Privately and confidentially speak with an attorney about your options in the event of divorce.

Do Not tell him. Do Not threaten divorce.

Your attorney can advise you especially in abuse cases.

In the meantime, be neutral. Do Not argue or haggle about sex. 

Who cares what his culture/family think of divorce? You Need to talk to an attorney for appropriate advice.  Never pack your bags and leave the marital home.

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I second @Wiseman2

@Pennypanj please consider seriously the advice you get here. It's time for you to put yourself and the kids' happiness first. You don't care how he'll react; he's a grown adult, a manipulator, and he'll surely guilt-trip you and make you feel horrible. But, you'll need to be firm and stand your ground, and understand that his abuse has affected your thinking and it needs to come to end so that you can live a healthy life. Take back control slowly. You're on the right track.

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So I gave in- this was partly for the sake of the kids- but having said that I know that my 12 year old is aware of the negativity and he takes my side- which is not healthy.

Ok, so your 12yr old is now stuck in the middle defending you. So you went back for the sake of the children....why? They obviously arent happy living in this environment, and if a 12yr old is defending his Mother, things must be pretty bad.

How about you stop thinking about the feelings of the manchild you married and start thinking about the feelings of the children you are supposed to be protecting?  You are doing them no favours with staying with him. 

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