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Finding it hard to cope


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I’m finding it hard to keep my marriage positive. We have both been married before, and met when at lowest points in our lives. I’d had a breakdown, and she was an alcoholic. Together we started again, she is now sober, and I went back to work. It’s only me that works, and my job is extremely stressful with me leaving home at 6:20am and usually returning about 5:50. Money is good but not fantastic, so I try to be realistic on our spending. She came from a previous relationship where her husband earned a high wage, where I came from one where we earned lower wages. Her husband has the children (16 & 18), and we have them every other weekend and some school holidays.

I try to talk to her about money, work, our relationship honestly, and about feeling used. In my eyes I work flat out to provide a nice home, holidays, stuff for her children. In return I ask for her to cook & clean, take more interest in the house & me.

basic point is she does as little as possible, I do all the gardening, diy, sorting of paperwork etc. She doesn’t get up in the mornings to say goodbye, but gets upset if I don’t come up and say goodbye when she’s still in bed. The kitchen is normally still messy in the mornings, stuff left cluttered round the house, bins full.

last year we fell out over her wanting a newer car, considering she doesn’t contribute anything. She approached her step dad and borrowed £12,000 for a convertible. I was still paying a loan off for the house. No matter how I put it she just said I should be happy for her even though I needed a newer van for work.

I’ve ended up having to clean her car on top of her old one that we had to keep as her convertible isn’t practical for shopping etc.

even with all this I still try to see that she wants to just be happy. I wouldn’t say she is greedy, but just ignorant how much it hurts.

She has told me her children are the most important thing to her, and I’ve explained without me they wouldn’t be able to stay over. 
 

but the thing that hurts the most is no matter how much I say I need her emotional support, she still ignores me most of the time. Intimacy to her is just sex, and that has to be all aimed towards her pleasure. I just want someone to hold me when I’m down, keep the house & garden tidy, appreciate what we have, and not tell me what extra she would like.

I don’t want to leave her, more because she wouldn’t cope on her own, and I do still love her, but each day I get more distant as each time I try trusting her emotionally she lets me down by ignoring what I want.

stuck what to do. 

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It sounds pretty bad.  Sorry you're going through this.  One question:  Is there a reason why she doesn't work?  From the outside looking in, it seems like she's a mooch living a lazy comfortable life and contributing nothing.  Like a leech.  She needs to get her act together and make an effort at the very least.

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29 minutes ago, Capricorn3 said:

It sounds pretty bad.  Sorry you're going through this.  One question:  Is there a reason why she doesn't work?  From the outside looking in, it seems like she's a mooch living a lazy comfortable life and contributing nothing.  Like a leech.  She needs to get her act together and make an effort at the very least.

She has wet brain from alcohol, so some memory and cognitive problems. I don’t expect her to be “normal” so allow things to be different. It just things like if it’s a big party then she will clean the house or dress nice, and if the kids are round the meals are special. I know married life can be a touch dull sometimes, but it’s more I feel like a meal ticket for her to live a life I don’t. We do talk about it, sometimes she just gets upset, other times she listens, but whatever we do it never lasts long. I’m quiet emotionally as I have some autism, so find it hard to make myself emotionally vulnerable, and when I’m at my most open I just find she has no idea how much small things hurt. I’m not asking for a 24/7 cleaner and cook, but it’s the point she will do it for others but not for me. Her goals in life are champagne lifestyle with material things and holidays, mine is just needing someone who understands what makes me happy. I tend to cross between understanding she is different, to loathing her attitude to me. I’m not trying to have a bought wife, I just want her to be happy doing things that make me happy if that makes sense.

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Thing with sefish and egocentric people is that everything does have to be aimed at their pleasure no matter what the situation is. She got used to a certain lifestyle with her ex husband where he earned higher wages and could provide her that. So she expects the same from you. It doesnt matter if you cant do it and that she should, you will have to do it and be happy about it according to her. Same with keeping the house clean, same with sex, same with her telling you that her children come first just so she could ignore your needs etc. Her needs will always come first and you are expected to comply to that. That kind of people will never understand your needs. Because theirs will always come first because that is who they are. Just selfish in that way. You want her to take care of you and your needs but she is unable to do that and you need to understand that. You will never get what you want from the person like that.

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2 minutes ago, Kwothe28 said:

Thing with sefish and egocentric people is that everything does have to be aimed at their pleasure no matter what the situation is. She got used to a certain lifestyle with her ex husband where he earned higher wages and could provide her that. So she expects the same from you. It doesnt matter if you cant do it and that she should, you will have to do it and be happy about it according to her. Same with keeping the house clean, same with sex, same with her telling you that her children come first just so she could ignore your needs etc. Her needs will always come first and you are expected to comply to that. That kind of people will never understand your needs. Because theirs will always come first because that is who they are. Just selfish in that way. You want her to take care of you and your needs but she is unable to do that and you need to understand that. You will never get what you want from the person like that.

I understand not being able to change, but when we started out she was more willing to look after her house and me. Now we are back on our feet our lifestyle has got better, but our relationship worse as she feels she should be living at a higher level. I want to share chores, but the more I do the less she does. The garden I do 100% of, because she loves sitting in it, but never helps even when I ask. Her basic fault is it’s too hard work, where as I see things can only be nice if you work for it. Weekends are the hardest as that’s the only time I have to do chores, where she sees it as her days off even though she doesn’t work. I don’t expect much back, what I want is someone who understands I need other forms of affection other than sex. I know many women think that’s all men want, but I find it hard to feel loved when she can’t make an effort for a few hours a week.

I question myself being selfish for this, but it does not change the fact she feels more towards her family and friends than just me.

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1 hour ago, Husband said:

She has wet brain from alcohol, so some memory and cognitive problems.

Does she get medical help for this? Is she disabled or on disability? 

Is she mentally and physically capable of managing every day life?

Are you attending sobriety support groups with her to better understand what's going on and what's doable and fixable and what isn't?

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3 hours ago, Husband said:

I don’t want to leave her, more because she wouldn’t cope on her own, and I do still love her, but each day I get more distant as each time I try trusting her emotionally she lets me down by ignoring what I want.

The answers lie in your original post, OP. She is self-absorbed.  You are not selfish. This is a nightmarish situation OP, and the sooner you extricate yourself the better.

She will cope on her own, believe me.  She will have to. 

 

3 hours ago, Husband said:

met when at lowest points in our lives. I’d had a breakdown, and she was an alcoholic.

No use crying over spilt milk, but the lowest point in your life is PRECISELY when you should not embark on any kind of relationship. 

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1 hour ago, Wiseman2 said:

Does she get medical help for this? Is she disabled or on disability? 

Is she mentally and physically capable of managing every day life?

Are you attending sobriety support groups with her to better understand what's going on and what's doable and fixable and what isn't?

She can mostly deal with every day life, and is doing very well with sobriety and support groups. I think that is some of the problem, her life is returning to normal in some areas, so she feels her old lifestyle should return, where in reality I explain to her she has an amazing life for someone on benefits. It just doesn’t sink in. We both attend sobriety groups, but I honestly think she has no clue how much this all hurts.

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Loving someone is not a good reason for staying when your partner clearly doesn't love you as you should be loved. If she loved you, knowing you're tired from your long day, she would make sure she contributed her fair share of chores to ease your burden. And you've communicated your needs. When a partner actually cares, and your request is reasonable, she will want to please you and improve. She hasn't.

You can't be a sacrificial lamb, giving up a life of happiness because you think she won't be able to cope on her own. She's an adult and responsible for taking care of herself. If she chose to previously pickle her brain instead of earning a nest egg to ensure her own ability to keep a roof over her head, that's on her. If she had to temporarily go to a woman's shelter, oh well. When YOU stop enabling her, she will either all of a sudden learn to be financially independent, or more likely pour on the charms to a new man to give her the shelter she won't provide for herself.

In your shoes, I'd begin to get her names off of your credit cards and as a co-owner of your bank account if that situation exists. And then get divorce papers. When you get time and distance away from her, you'll kick yourself at how you stayed. In my first marriage, my situation wasn't exactly like yours, but he didn't pull his weight financially and treated me poorly. I divorced him and eventually found a partner a million times better in every way. I wish the same for you.

Edited by Andrina
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15 minutes ago, Andrina said:

When YOU stop enabling her, she will either all of a sudden learn to be financially independent, or more likely pour on the charms of a new man to give her the shelter she won't provide for herself.

I agree with your entire post Andrina. 

 

4 hours ago, Husband said:

borrowed £12,000 for a convertible. I was still paying a loan off for the house. No matter how I put it she just said I should be happy for her even though I needed a newer van for work.

And you tell us she is on benefits?! Driving a convertible.  The Social Security Agency will be so impressed!

She is beyond selfish. Even though "sober" that selfishness so innate in the alcoholic is always there. 

It is time you reached a decision OP. What are you going to do?

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2 hours ago, Husband said:

I understand not being able to change, but when we started out she was more willing to look after her house and me.

In the first couple of months of relationship, lots of people are very careful not to let some of their negative properties go so they at least try to hide it. After they relax more then they show their true colors. Also, in first couple of months we are more prone to overlook some of the stuff because of "rose colored glasses". After that time, we see who the other person really is. I think that is where your confusion lies. She was always like that, you only see it now. And you cant change her as she is unwilling to do that. You want her to do more around the house. Or that garden. But she wont. No ammount of you telling her that you want her to do that wont do the long term effect. She just got used to it now. I am sorry but you should have looked better before marriage. Because people usually weight in stuff like that(about contribution of other side and what who will do) before they marry somebody. You took a chance with a person on benefits, who wont do much around the house and expects you to provide everything. That is just a bad choice. Tell her that you need her to do more or you will throw her out. I doubt it will have any effect but you need to take a stand there and not let her do what she does. If she is unable to do that, throw her out on the door, file for divorce and look better for next time.

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3 hours ago, Husband said:

She can mostly deal with every day life, and is doing very well with sobriety and support groups. We both attend sobriety groups, but I honestly think she has no clue how much this all hurts.

Not cleaning or cooking is not an emotional wound. You need to stop droning on that.

Get take out, share the cooking and cleaning. Let her take care of other stuff. 

You also claim she wants regular sex but then complain about "affection"? What exactly is missing there?

Frankly you seem unhappy and frustrated with her in general. However you knew she has a long history of alcoholism and resultant brain damage.

Also you have zero financial responsibility to her kids so stop doing that also.

Stop paying for anything for her kids. Their father was obviously awarded full custody so you don't have to do that.

Treat whatever depression/anxiety, neurological health issues you have first. Take care of yourself.

Don't do what you can't handle doing or resent doing. Do not buy her cars or unnecessary stuff. Stop washing her car, etc..

Edited by Wiseman2
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A messy kitchen? So what, that's the least of your problems. If she wants a convertible and borrows money from her step dad...that's on her to figure out how to pay that back. refuse to pay it. You are a push over...washing her car and all that crap. Put your foot down and say no. Stop paying for things. Just put food on the table and keep the lights on...that's it. She complains, say she does the bare minimum, then you are doing the same.

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I'm just a bit confused as to what you actually get out of being with this woman? I understand you love her but love is a feeling. We can love someone because we just feel that feeling. But it takes a lot more to actually have a happy relationship and it takes work.

I think there isn't really an excuse why your wife can't work. I'm sure her cognitive problems aren't that bad because you actually married her, so she's obviously able to have normal conversations and do normal things. I've been working as a support worker with people with disabilities for about eight years now and many of them worked. This is people with physical or actual intellectual disabilities. They still did work like work in a packing factory or stack shelves in a shop. One woman I work with is in a wheelchair and has intellectual disability too but she's been at her packing job for twenty years now. I'm sure there are things your wife can do for work. Surely she has at least some options.

I personally would find it very off putting if my partner just did nothing all day. Her children are basically adults now and besides they live with their father. So what does she do with herself all day? She's happy just cruising along and having no purpose in life.

Even 50 years ago, if women were a housewife and the man worked, the woman actually fulfilled her role. She would take care of the children, cook, clean, run errands. Your wife doesn't do barely any of that and not looking after children. So basically she's just lazy and she's taking advantage of you.

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20 hours ago, Husband said:

but the thing that hurts the most is no matter how much I say I need her emotional support, she still ignores me most of the time. Intimacy to her is just sex, and that has to be all aimed towards her pleasure. I just want someone to hold me when I’m down, keep the house & garden tidy, appreciate what we have, and not tell me what extra she would like.

I don’t want to leave her, more because she wouldn’t cope on her own, and I do still love her, but each day I get more distant as each time I try trusting her emotionally she lets me down by ignoring what I want.

stuck what to do. 

You are clearly NOT getting your needs met and are becoming more frustrated.

She is being 'her' and you chose to remain.. She will not change IMO, and you are enabling her actions/behaviour.

What YOU want is is stuff she seems unable to give.

Sure, you may love someone, but doesn't mean you can remain with them.

Re: stuff like housework, gardening etc.... If she is not able to keep up with that, is up to you to just accept that.  Some people 'struggle' with the ability to take care of other things properly, including themselves.

So, you can maybe accept as is and let some things go... are the dishes ever done? Does she eventually get around to it?

Re: gardening, do you like doing it? Then, that's on you to deal with.

If you are really stressed too much with her, if you can;t compromise, then is maybe time to throw in the towel in this situation.

And, do NOT feel guilt, so many people find themselves stuck in this ... when they need to realize that these people had a life before them and managed somehow.  You cannot 'fix' her.  ( and hey, if her dad can help her with a car, maybe dad can house her too).

Alcy's are so often impossible to deal with.

 

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So she lives on government money and yet borrows thousands from family to buy a car?

OP, this woman is a trainwreck. The marriage is a trainwreck and it's pretty clear that she is not with you because she loves you, but because she doesn't want to have to stand on her own two feet. 

She has evidently been enabled and coddled far too much, and you're seeing the unfortunate results. It is unlikely that she is suddenly going to change her entire character. 

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20 hours ago, Husband said:

 I explain to her she has an amazing life for someone on benefits. It just doesn’t sink in. 

If she is on disability, what's your problem? Apparently her physicians and social workers have found enough dysfunction to grant her disability.

Stop whining about cooking and cleaning. She is not your housekeeper or mom.

You're playing martyr and victim here. She's contributing financially, out of her appropriate disability payments.

Leave her alone. She has documented brain damage.

You are hurting yourself. You're being manipulative insinuating that you "feel unloved" because she's not your maid. 

Stop manipulating her. Stop being envious and resentful. 

You're pretending you're giving her this amazing life, when in fact she has to rely on family and disability payments to survive.

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On 9/19/2021 at 12:27 PM, Husband said:

I’m not asking for a 24/7 cleaner and cook, but it’s the point she will do it for others but not for me. Her goals in life are champagne lifestyle with material things and holidays, mine is just needing someone who understands what makes me happy

Okay. So you guys are incompatible.

How come you got married before realising these differences?

Didn't she have a wet brain from the alcohol already? Also, did she not work then? How was she supporting herself? Were you okay with it, but now you're not?

Aside from the disability, you have different money/life goals and lifestyles. These are, again, huge incompatibilities. They will be difficult to solve, specially as one of you wants the other to act differently. So, my advice is to slowly end this. Use this as a lesson to only look for healthy, loving, compatible and single people who have been out of a relationship a long time ago and who are managing life on their own.

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12 hours ago, Tinydance said:

I personally would find it very off putting if my partner just did nothing all day. Her children are basically adults now and besides they live with their father. So what does she do with herself all day? She's happy just cruising along and having no purpose in life.

 

12 hours ago, Tinydance said:

So basically she's just lazy and she's taking advantage of you.

I fully agree with Tiny and MissC.

5 hours ago, MissCanuck said:

So she lives on government money and yet borrows thousands from family to buy a car?

Why is she getting benefits anyhow? Due to her alcoholism?!

On 9/19/2021 at 9:40 AM, Husband said:

been married before, and met when at lowest points in our lives. I’d had a breakdown, and she was an alcoholic

Again, OP, it was a disastrous decision to marry anyone at a low point in your life. 

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6 hours ago, MissCanuck said:

So she lives on government money and yet borrows thousands from family to buy a car?

OP, this woman is a trainwreck. The marriage is a trainwreck and it's pretty clear that she is not with you because she loves you, but because she doesn't want to have to stand on her own two feet. 

She has evidently been enabled and coddled far too much, and you're seeing the unfortunate results. It is unlikely that she is suddenly going to change her entire character. 

^ I second this entire post.  OP, maybe it's time for you to pull the plug on this one. This marriage is a basket case and this is no way for you to live.  Imagine another 5, 10, 20 years like this.  It will only get worse.

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You can only blame her for so much. At some point, you allow this to happen. 

You want things to change but you won't hold her accountable. 

You are acting like the victim but in reality you hold all the cards.

She manipulating you with emotions.

I would talk to lawyer. Make of a list if the things that you need to change, with actionable items. Talk to her about it. If she can't change, then you change. You leave.

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She's spoiled, entitled, lazy, irresponsible.

Why you put up with her at all, I don't know.

She sounds like a full on nightmare, no wonder you're depressed.

But I also agree with Lambert, you're allowing this to continue.

She's not going to change, she won't even consider getting help for her issues or changing her ways.

You need to take control and go and speak to a divorce lawyer.

She's taking advantage, using you, and treating you like garage.

It needs to end.

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On 9/19/2021 at 4:40 AM, Husband said:

She doesn’t get up in the mornings to say goodbye, but gets upset if I don’t come up and say goodbye when she’s still in bed.

I'd stop catering and let her get upset about whatever she wants to get upset about.

That's your tool for negotiation. If she wants 'x' from you, she can make a fair trade of giving you 'y,' and if she doesn't want to do that, she doesn't get 'x'.

That's just basic stuff. Successful couples negotiate all the time. If she won't work with you on the most basic stuff, then what should that tell you?

Either she's in this with you, or you're in it by yourself. In that case, I'd start writing my own rules, and if she doesn't 'like' it, she can rent a room at another hotel.

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