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Sick of trying and getting hurt


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Hi All, 

I just saw a couple of posts and joined, this forums seems unbiased.

First up I love my wife but not sure I want to anymore. Im building resentment as she is not who i imagined nor is she growing to be someone I imagined to grow old with. Is it always like that? 

We met young, she was 19 and I was 20, fast forward 20 years and we have a 4 year old and a 14 month old which I adore more that anything in life! I want to be a better dad than mine ever was(he sent me and mum over seas to leave us).

I know the misteakes I make and i do learn from them in order to do my best not to repeat them. Since I was younger I have alway sbeen a nice guy and due to that taken advantage of. But I met her, and to get her did everything outside of my comfort zone and we got married. I must admit she has a sweet side(we all do) which I fell in love with but she also has this excruciatingly difficult side that will never take responsability for the things she can say and do and instead there is no balanced adult talk abouit it possability but instead its a  make all excuses in the world and justify it all including changing facts, deflect it and even turn it all around blaming me because how dare i defend myself "look at me at how i am reacting ofcoarse its me" attitude that absolutely disgusts me and I despise. I feel like the person  that used to be my best friend cant be trusted. To be honest in hind site(yes that beautiful thing), the red flags were there from day one. 
First day I picked her up from uni and ALL following pickups(yes I am not exaggerrating) "ill be there in 5 minutes" always turn into close to an hour wait. 
Soon I found she had the reputation of being unreliably late, despite that I persued having no one to turn to for answers and having to work out my own ***.
Fast forward all these years, nothing has changed on that front. still unreliable. Cannot count of anything to be delivered when said it will be. I get that it happens im not a total weirdo, but being reliable in the fact of knowing that she will be unreliable is just draining to say the least. 
If i am leting out to her, my wife, my best friend, if its not about her and someone else, even someone that that cuts me off on the road she will always not take my side as my wife but always justify total strangers. 
Wee brought a house together years back and moved into her parents home as they were not home regularly as they would be over seas, so we got ahead. After a long time this has detrimental effects. There was also an agreement that we pay for bills and they pay for food. That changed a couple months in, I wasnt approached or anything. It was done between my wife and her mum, I was compeltely left out and when i spoke up about it I was made the bad guy.
Anyway, we stayed there far longer than originally agreed to, it was for the money despite me for between 4 to 6 years been saying we need to move out as I am suffering. During this time i got approval from her parents to turn the backyard into a vegetable garden as it was never used and overgrown. I never expected anything back for it, it was for my sanity. Living all this time in their home andd not being the king of my own castle was really detrimental.
When they got back and stayed before the pandemic the house became too small for us all, i was treated like a door mat(my experience), I worked, payed for ALL bills, had no where to sleep but the couch for many months, wasnt appreciated, was told to shut up and that I had nothing to say. At some point I got a bed in an unused room/part storage room despite im still paying all bills I still had nothing to say or discuss. 
I broke down and became a bad version of myself and got blamed for reacting the way I did and told how *** of a person I was for trying to defend myself.
I went to the doctor and said I need antidepressants so i dont jump in front of a train and was prescribed some that sort of helped. But at the end of the day I was taking them just to tolerate my life with my wife and her parents. I was pushed to the point that I was still no longer myself and was told to move out during the last of the Melbourne lockdowns(illegal at the time), and had zero help moving out. My wife did not lift a finger, i found a colleague from work that helped me move the biggest things. Everything else I did on my own. I still get judged for being not myself when pushed beyond th elimits of my sanity.
One xmas at my wifes family with our first child, she passed him around to all family members, my mum was last, when it came her turn she took the baby back and didnt give my mum a hold. I broke down in tears and they just gave me the heartless silent treatment feeling smug that they treated me like *** and I knew it. 
While living with the inlaws, the mother inlaw came to me at one point saying that if anything is on my mind i can come to her for advice and i can count on her like my own mum and she would steer me in the right direction. Despite it feeling like it was a trap or a conflict of interest I still took that offer out of desperation. I poured out my pain, got no advice buit instead was belittled and made to feel like i should be ashamed and she walked away to her daughter and had talks with her and not me like she promised. 
Morning after we were married, there was a money box where guests put in some envelopes with gifts. My mum took it and put it in the back of a taxi despite the inlaw being close by and apparently watching over things. My wife chucked a tantrum that sent shockwaves through the relationship, basically indirectly accusing my mum of being a thief that the box should have stayed with her mum. They all treated me and my mum like thieves for looking out for something. Basically was heart broken and had no one to talk to about it besides my mum who was well, appaulled.


Fast forward all these years, we dont sleep in the same bed, I get zero attention, I get zero platform to say anything that is weighing me down. Ill face an instant agressive shutdown and everything changed to be my fault and how am I not doing the right things to make her feel loved. For starters I was approaching her for those reasons. 

The house is a total mess, yes i get that with kids i need to do my part and i get it. Im not ignorant, I can cook, chef quality in fact(had frieds say I should open a business), I know how to clean and keep the place clean. To be honest I started out like that, but early on it wore off. Mainly from the things Id get hurt by that I heard in judgement. Just disheartened after a long time. In all honesty i see no point supporting someone to refuses to have any self disciplin, doesnt look afterher self, yes i get that sounds judgemental to some but here is far more to it than a single statement. Its a collective issue. I have literally just withdrawn. What ever effort i make to make the inside of the house clean or organised she will undo it. She will take out anything she wishes to use and not pack up after her. She will forcably use my space too if i let her. I dont want to be in a home of a hoarder which has no desire to clean up after herlsef. She will clean what ever she needs to use(minimals). Lets say the dining table, kids eat there too, there are toys and activity items there. When i ask to clear the table I am confronted with an argument. The sapce she does keep clear is for her and the kids. There is no place at the table for me.
I have mentioned this and wasnt received very well, "its my fault".
Look outside the house, the garage etc, its perfectly organised and kept clutter free. 
While livikng with her inlaws she ended up stuffing some of our stuff into her mums wardrobe as there was room. Her mum not only asked her to remove it but also many times over had to ask her as she just put it back next day. Literally to the point it frustrated her and there NO possible way to getting through to my wife. Literally cannot tell that she is taking things far. She is "entitled" no matter the concequences.

Sorry its a lot to read, its literaly just the tip of the iceberg.
To be completely honest im no angel either, I have had bad friends in the past etc. But I learned from that and took those lessons to go forward. I do not feel that is being done from her end. I dont feel any remorse for bad things said, there is always a "but" IF i ever get an apology which instanly cancels it out. SDhe is unapprochable to talk if its anything with the spotlight on her and i have gone out of my way to make sure im approaching delicatly. 
If the spotlight is on me and about how im gonna change and how i am at fault despite me just taking blame for peace then she is all ears and then gives me a sense of caring. When i need her the most I dont feel she  is there but rather retreats and in some cases agressively. Take for example, if id crash and burn from work( it was a toxic ennvironment from one of the worlds biggest news/media companies) she wasnt there as a pillar of support. Downplayed any feelings I had. Classic playbook is always deflect, cause an argument and blame me. 

I try to do the right thing and engage her about fixing our ruotine so the kids are setup for life with a good routine. I get not only shutdown but agressively have it all thrown at me. She likes to wake up around 10am, take the 4yo to childcare and then start feeding breakfast for lunch. Even on non childcare days. I dont dare wake her at a time the worlds starts else it will all be my fault. I have no place to say that we need a healthier lifestyle to teach our kids good habits. She will go to bed at 2am every night.

She can be a great wife when she chooses to but she doesnt choose to and apparently every bit of it is not only my fault but the tornado that follows distorts everything so that my good intention work somehting out is made to *** and im the worst person ever because i attempted a change that scared her

Also, yes i have suggested couples therapy which she would not only reject but dridicule that person about how would they know they are useless etc.
For myself, i have done yoga and meditation at her request for our relationship. I also used to run, cycle, swim, go to the gym and extensively study nutrition for myself, gave up smoking and all the things i could to try and get who she wants yet I am the bad one. There is not a single thing out of all of that she has done to change herself while i am expected to meet her needs changing myself. Im just over it and looking for reasons to stay. I swore that I would not be the father that I had who turned away  but I am  desperate here, she kind of knows it too and rides that. Whether she is concious of how toxic she is or not I am trying to be better and she sabotages it. 

I havent felt tears for a long time untill recently since i  re fused to remain on my medication for moral reasons. I took them to tolerate my wife and thats not right so I got off the pills. I dont want to take them, I shouldnt have to. I shouldnt have that used against me in toxic arguments, its always below the belt and she always goes below the belt.  

Again, sorry this tip of the iceberg is long... Its been kind of theraputic writing this.


Open to anything anyone can suggest, i have a tendancy for letting things crash n burn instead of  trusting myself and moving on. I just dont want my kids to grow up without parents and that gets me real bad deep down.....  Thanks for reading....

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There is a saying in my country. How a man should be able to command respect and "slam his fist against the table" figuratively speaking. You cant do that. Its OK, so cant I in certain situations. But with that it comes to the situations where people take you for granted. You let your wife disrespect you to the point of you not having a seat at the table or bed, or letting her sleep until 10am(I am assuming she doesnt even has a job since she can sleep until 10am and being awake at 2am) without anything being done by her and you paying for all the bills. Its no wonder you feel the way you feel.

And sadly, the main culprit for that is you. You let them "stomp you" to the point they can do whatever they want because they know you wont do a thing. Couples therapy wont do a thing there, but individual therapy maybe would. Maybe you learn to be more assertive and take that seat at the table or in bed. Or even ask from your wife not to be lazy and actually contributes to household. And that if she doesnt want to do that, that you can explore your options and leave her behind. 

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1 hour ago, Wiseman2 said:

individual private and confidential therapy could help you sort out some things that only you can decide.

 

You could also privately and confidentiality consult an attorney for your options in the event of divorce as far as finances and children.

I have sought private therapy also to work things out and have things make sense a bit more. Unfortunately it hasn't been the most helpful. Felt more generic than anything if that makes sense.

Divorce is not something I want to consider, although it's not off the table yet(I want to avoid it at all costs). I am a strong believer in working things out like adults despite it feeling impossible at this point. Growing up with divorced parents was the worst thing and I would never consider it for my children, even if I have to make a sacrifice and be unhappy. 

It's also horrible how the whole of society now days goes for the quick fix instead of working for a relationship. Call me old fashioned but I feel it's wrong and a pitfall of today. 

Anyway, your feedback is greatly appreciated, thank you. 

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20 minutes ago, Kwothe28 said:

There is a saying in my country. How a man should be able to command respect and "slam his fist against the table" figuratively speaking. You cant do that. Its OK, so cant I in certain situations. But with that it comes to the situations where people take you for granted. You let your wife disrespect you to the point of you not having a seat at the table or bed, or letting her sleep until 10am(I am assuming she doesnt even has a job since she can sleep until 10am and being awake at 2am) without anything being done by her and you paying for all the bills. Its no wonder you feel the way you feel.

And sadly, the main culprit for that is you. You let them "stomp you" to the point they can do whatever they want because they know you wont do a thing. Couples therapy wont do a thing there, but individual therapy maybe would. Maybe you learn to be more assertive and take that seat at the table or in bed. Or even ask from your wife not to be lazy and actually contributes to household. And that if she doesnt want to do that, that you can explore your options and leave her behind. 

Thanks very much for taking the time to read and respond. Greatly appreciated. To clarify a few details, she has gone beyond her maternity leave and had to allow her position to be filled, despite that when she was at uni it was the exact same, just now we have children. Just wish she had a sense of organising not just home but herself. Something I wish could say I respect her for at this time. In the house her contribution is only for barely for herself, not anything that most people look to improve on in life if that makes sense. She talks about improvement, but never does anything about it and always manages to make it about me filling her gaps. I'd be more inclined to do things I shouldn't need to if she spoke to me with some respect, if she was supportive of me and not critical every chance she got to avoid hearing how I feel. Yesterday during the tail end of a horrible argue t she got into a loop of saying she has to be the stronger one. It's like she has had it drilled into her my her mother or something. It's the only thing that makes sense... 

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3 hours ago, A_bloke said:

fast forward 20 years and we have a 4 year old and a 14 month old

It's understandable you're not eager to breakup your family. However you are trying too hard to fix and change her. It's devolved into a power struggle where she is digging her heels in because you want everything just so.  Since you hope to work things out, pick your battles and skip the remarks about her family. Confide in your own family and friends. If possible, get a cleaning service to come in. Hire some household help. Babysitters, shopping delivery, etc. Your screaming at her to do more and to your exact specifications and she could be sick of being a stay at home parent. More tyranny like slamming fists etc., will simply make her file for divorce before you do. If you want something done precisely your way, you'll have to it it yourself. If you're ok with her way, then fine.

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10 minutes ago, Seraphim said:

Actually watching your parents have a horrible marriage is worse because then you don’t learn about a good relationship looks like . 

While I do agree I must also offer some insight from my experience. I don't remember the fights between them, I was too young. I do know they have been irrationally bitter since they split, also dilusional in their truths. But I certainly didn't have any role model examples from my own parents. To fill those gaps I observed families for all of my life. I had my grandfather come out and fill my dad gaps when I was younger. Greatest man in my life, sadly lived on the other side of the world. The only person I have ever met that literally resembled the true meaning of integrity to me. 

As for my wife's parents, they have their weird relationship, it works for them and that's fine but I would ever in my life live by their ways with zero empathy, self absorption and zero integrity. In their mind they live by the mentality of people in the 1930's where anyone younger than them has nothing to say and they milk that. In my mind they have demoralising mentalities if that makes sense. I sure will not ever respect people who force their truths at me without having an open discussion where everyone is heard equally and differences respected. Most hurtful thing about that tho is how it brushes off on my wife and it affects us.... It pains me when she comes back from a weekend there. Even my 14 month old didn't let either of them hold her while she is a happy baby around my mum who despite her hardships has a warm heart. Kids see that better than adults and it shows... 

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23 minutes ago, A_bloke said:

While I do agree I must also offer some insight from my experience. I don't remember the fights between them, I was too young. I do know they have been irrationally bitter since they split, also dilusional in their truths. But I certainly didn't have any role model examples from my own parents. To fill those gaps I observed families for all of my life. I had my grandfather come out and fill my dad gaps when I was younger. Greatest man in my life, sadly lived on the other side of the world. The only person I have ever met that literally resembled the true meaning of integrity to me. 

As for my wife's parents, they have their weird relationship, it works for them and that's fine but I would ever in my life live by their ways with zero empathy, self absorption and zero integrity. In their mind they live by the mentality of people in the 1930's where anyone younger than them has nothing to say and they milk that. In my mind they have demoralising mentalities if that makes sense. I sure will not ever respect people who force their truths at me without having an open discussion where everyone is heard equally and differences respected. Most hurtful thing about that tho is how it brushes off on my wife and it affects us.... It pains me when she comes back from a weekend there. Even my 14 month old didn't let either of them hold her while she is a happy baby around my mum who despite her hardships has a warm heart. Kids see that better than adults and it shows... 

My parents divorced when I was 6 and I remember horrendous fights where my dad tried to kill my mom. They got back together when I was 14 to when I was 24. My brother and I have PTSD and are scared for life. My brother is divorced which he never never wanted for his kids but couldn't take his abusive wife anymore so he left 10 years ago. Me , I have been married mostly happily for almost 29 years. 

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27 minutes ago, Seraphim said:

My parents divorced when I was 6 and I remember horrendous fights where my dad tried to kill my mom. They got back together when I was 14 to when I was 24. My brother and I have PTSD and are scared for life. My brother is divorced which he never never wanted for his kids but couldn't take his abusive wife anymore so he left 10 years ago. Me , I have been married mostly happily for almost 29 years. 

Wow thats certainly insightful. My son is now the age I was when my my dad sent us to a communist over run country at the time while he stayed in the states. What kind of human does that. 
Your experience has given me something to think about and maybe some strength to buck up, i dont want that for my kids. Pretty sure I have PTSD from my child hood that followed after that. I cant even openly talk about these kind of things with my wife as she would use them to degrade/use it against me during an argument. Below the best is her style. I only want a happy marriage, it hurts so much not having that from someone I have put so much into and it still is always one sided. I struggle with her passive agressive abuse. Always using my suggestions against me when I to bring up talking points to hopefully improve our relationship, she will take things I suggest and use them against me passively to sabatage any attempt. Even now as I type this I asked for my own space and because i asked for that she is coming in here more. She has always done this seeking attention. She can have all the attention she wants if she goes about it the right way. Picking at a person with not get them positive attention and its something she cant grasp...

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1 hour ago, A_bloke said:

I have sought private therapy also to work things out and have things make sense a bit more. Unfortunately it hasn't been the most helpful. Felt more generic than anything if that makes sense.

Divorce is not something I want to consider, although it's not off the table yet(I want to avoid it at all costs). I am a strong believer in working things out like adults despite it feeling impossible at this point. Growing up with divorced parents was the worst thing and I would never consider it for my children, even if I have to make a sacrifice and be unhappy. 

It's also horrible how the whole of society now days goes for the quick fix instead of working for a relationship. Call me old fashioned but I feel it's wrong and a pitfall of today. 

Anyway, your feedback is greatly appreciated, thank you. 

Please don’t go there with whole of society. Someday you’ll want to move on or you’ll be able to work this out ok therapy but the negative mindset is just self sabotaging.  Yes it’s easier to divorce then it was when my parents married in 1956.  But it’s also easier to be open about abuse and situations where it’s best to divorce  
I’m married over 10 years and we believe strongly in marriage and always did but we cancelled the wedding we’d planned in 1997 and got back together in 2005 because we both changed during the years we were apart  it’s not always bliss and no I would never rush to divorce  

if she will do couples therapy I recommend that  I’m sorry you’re struggling  

 

 

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20 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

Please don’t go there with whole of society. Someday you’ll want to move on or you’ll be able to work this out ok therapy but the negative mindset is just self sabotaging.  Yes it’s easier to divorce then it was when my parents married in 1956.  But it’s also easier to be open about abuse and situations where it’s best to divorce  
I’m married over 10 years and we believe strongly in marriage and always did but we cancelled the wedding we’d planned in 1997 and got back together in 2005 because we both changed during the years we were apart  it’s not always bliss and no I would never rush to divorce  

if she will do couples therapy I recommend that  I’m sorry you’re struggling  

 

 

I sincerely appreciate your response, I dont want divorce 😞 My wife knows this and plays for attention in the most annoying way she can which works against her too. Thanks for reminding me about negative  mind set. No matter how much i try to regain focus and a positive mind set she has a sickening needy way of sabotaging it. She has a toxic need to be in control of my hapiness. If she isnt then she will cause an argument till i break/submit or basically cry and then become nice. She has a sick way of needing to be needed/have the attention on her. If I am doing something for me and ask her to let me have my space explaining its important she will have zero self control and start being that annoying person poking her head in where not wanted. Its as if she has a fear of missing out. 
Say i was famous and i was being interviewed, she would take that moment away from me to make it about her. 

Example: 

I trained for a bike race in our local mountain ranges. I trained hard and the training hurt. Then a few guys i ride with did a get away to a country town near us surrounded by the victorian alps and i was invited. I explained a couple of months in advance that the race is important to me and I need her to not get in the way of anything during my training. During the trip i had to babysit her and her needs, my training getaway was just not what it was meant to be. Last day with my friends out for dinner she became passively rude at the table to them and I was never invited again. Even at the table they couldnt believe how rude she was and i heard one saying under his nose "didnt anyone teach you if you have nothing nice to say dont". Couldnt even discuss this with her and she flat out denied doing it justifying that she said nothing wrong directly to anyone. She was commenting how everyone was so small in a really nasty passive agressive way. I still dont know what braought it on but i figure it was because no one wanted to wait up for her while she forced me to miss out. Mind you these were all people 10+ years my senior so far more experienced and literaly ditched me ever since then.

Another example: 
Early dating stages, I went to a party with a friend and the moment i got the party in would be calling my mobile and doing everything she can to keep me on it so i cant be at the party. I was in a dark room on the phone while everyone is asking where i am. The moment the party was over she just got off the phone. 
I have plenty of these sabotage examples where she needs to remain in control and force any happy influence away from me. Feels like she needs to control my happiness in order to adddress her own needs. It sickens me and angers me just thinking how many times things like this have happened and i cannot even approach her about it, she will flat out deny and then start an argument to blame me the moment i stand my ground. Its been her go to move since  I can  remember (20 years now, 10 of those married). Its almost as if she has bipolar, i dont know what to think anymore.

I did suggest couples therapy a number of times, didnt go to well. Disregarded and basically sabotaged so that it doesnt happen. Even have tried finding great write ups online from well known relationship psychologists to put between us so we can explore the ideas to improve our relationship. Nope, sabotaged and she absolutely trashed the experts..... She clearly has some issues and afraid of them surfacing.

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I understand you two don’t interact healthfully.  So when you told her about the bike race did you explain what you meant? Like could she call in an emergency?  Were you going to arrange for extra child care if you had kids then ? I’ve been in many situations both ways.
I’ve had crucial job interviews as has my husband and he’s been in professional situations where he needed to perform at his best.  I respect all of that.

And he used to do an annual amusement park day with his high school friends. For many years. I did my best not to disturb him and pick up the extra child care etc but there’s a difference between a hobby and sort of me time on the own hand and work on the other.

I make it 100 percent clear to my husband that my daily early morning workout is not negotiable.  It’s essential to me for my health and sanity. But I make sacrifices. I shortened it many years ago to a half hour or so instead of 45 minutes. I go before dawn most days so that if our son got up I’d be back. I go either right outside or to our fitness room in the building so the time I’m away is only an additional 5-10 minutes.
 I took my son with me for my power walk for many years so he wouldn’t be having to watch him.  It’s give and take.
But the key is communicating- because 11 years ago there was one time  he wouldn’t give me 10 minutes after a work out to shower because he didn’t want to be late for lunch with his friend. I couldn’t shower before my toddlers nap. He really didn’t get it. Then I made sure he did. That was on me. 
I have friends who do bike races like that. I dated men who had hobbies related to theater performances where you can’t be disturbed at all during rehearsals etc or the show. I get it.

I wrote above about my husband’s professional stuff.
 I understand she seems impossible but I wonder if this could be helped with better communication and to figure out where all her hostility and negativity is coming from. 

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1 hour ago, A_bloke said:

Wow thats certainly insightful. My son is now the age I was when my my dad sent us to a communist over run country at the time while he stayed in the states. What kind of human does that. 
Your experience has given me something to think about and maybe some strength to buck up, i dont want that for my kids. Pretty sure I have PTSD from my child hood that followed after that. I cant even openly talk about these kind of things with my wife as she would use them to degrade/use it against me during an argument. Below the best is her style. I only want a happy marriage, it hurts so much not having that from someone I have put so much into and it still is always one sided. I struggle with her passive agressive abuse. Always using my suggestions against me when I to bring up talking points to hopefully improve our relationship, she will take things I suggest and use them against me passively to sabatage any attempt. Even now as I type this I asked for my own space and because i asked for that she is coming in here more. She has always done this seeking attention. She can have all the attention she wants if she goes about it the right way. Picking at a person with not get them positive attention and its something she cant grasp...

Please don’t take abuse. My brother did for 20 years for the sake of his kids and his soul is so broken even 10 years later. My heart cries for him and all those men and women who are abused. We definitely need more kindness in the world. 

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Do you understand that your wife isn't going to change? People only change when THEY want to. She's been getting everything she wants for 20 years. Why would she be motivated to change?

You have two options: figure out a way to tolerate your wife and your marriage with zero expectations that anything will change, or realize you can no longer live this way and look into separation and divorce.

BTW, your kids will likely end up with marriages just like yours because that's all they've seen. How does that thought make you feel?

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3 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

Do you understand that your wife isn't going to change? People only change when THEY want to. She's been getting everything she wants for 20 years. Why would she be motivated to change?

You have two options: figure out a way to tolerate your wife and your marriage with zero expectations that anything will change, or realize you can no longer live this way and look into separation and divorce.

BTW, your kids will likely end up with marriages just like yours because that's all they've seen. How does that thought make you feel?

That’s the thing my brother ended up with an abusive person because that is what he witnessed. When my husband was young he was abusive due to his severe anxiety but HE decided to work on himself and isn’t anymore. So we both followed our parent’s example. 
 

You do and live what you know. 

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4 hours ago, A_bloke said:

She talks about improvement, but never does anything about it and always manages to make it about me filling her gaps.

What I have learned is that people rarely change. You are setting yourself up for major disappointment and resentment if you hope that she will be better. You can only change yourself and that is also extremely difficult. You will have to work on yourself and expect that your wife stays the same and think if you can live with that. Perhaps if you improve your confidence and set boundaries she will respect you more. Setting boundaries is extremely critical for people with low self esteem. You need to let her know your limits. You will also need to learn to listen to her story and how she thinks and acts. You need to communicate to her in a way that she feels that you are not critical of her. Just listen to her for a while. Sorry that I have said that you have low self esteem but because you and I are very similar and I recognize your thinking and behaviors in myself. I am working toward becoming a more secured person by focusing on my needs, exercise, meditation, talking to friends. Good Luck.

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Do you not want a divorce because you believe you will lose friends and prestige and not look like picture perfect?  Do you feel like you're a failure if you don't stay?  The kids don't need you to be married to be happy.  Your marriage isn't what makes kids happy.  It's happy parents that make kids happy and thrive. 

You've tried for 20 years to make it work, and the common denominator is that your wife is selfish and lazy.  That's on you for staying.  If you want another 20 more years of the same BS, then stay, and just enjoy sleeping not in a room or having any respect whatsoever.

I don't care what you did in the past or whatever friend you had.  You're not happy.  This relationship aka "partnership" isn't working, and no amount of therapy or walking on egg shells will fix it.  No one needs an extra adult child to deal with.

She isolates you from your folks, new friends.  The only thing you get out of it is stress and fear you won't have access to your kids.  Start keeping a daily log of when she fails to pick them up, living conditions, inability to function; I would seek full custody to get them away from her shi77y parenting.  A person who can't make anything on time or keep the home in livable condition isn't a fit parent.

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8 hours ago, Batya33 said:

I understand you two don’t interact healthfully.  So when you told her about the bike race did you explain what you meant? Like could she call in an emergency?  Were you going to arrange for extra child care if you had kids then ? I’ve been in many situations both ways.
I’ve had crucial job interviews as has my husband and he’s been in professional situations where he needed to perform at his best.  I respect all of that.

And he used to do an annual amusement park day with his high school friends. For many years. I did my best not to disturb him and pick up the extra child care etc but there’s a difference between a hobby and sort of me time on the own hand and work on the other.

I make it 100 percent clear to my husband that my daily early morning workout is not negotiable.  It’s essential to me for my health and sanity. But I make sacrifices. I shortened it many years ago to a half hour or so instead of 45 minutes. I go before dawn most days so that if our son got up I’d be back. I go either right outside or to our fitness room in the building so the time I’m away is only an additional 5-10 minutes.
 I took my son with me for my power walk for many years so he wouldn’t be having to watch him.  It’s give and take.
But the key is communicating- because 11 years ago there was one time  he wouldn’t give me 10 minutes after a work out to shower because he didn’t want to be late for lunch with his friend. I couldn’t shower before my toddlers nap. He really didn’t get it. Then I made sure he did. That was on me. 
I have friends who do bike races like that. I dated men who had hobbies related to theater performances where you can’t be disturbed at all during rehearsals etc or the show. I get it.

I wrote above about my husband’s professional stuff.
 I understand she seems impossible but I wonder if this could be helped with better communication and to figure out where all her hostility and negativity is coming from. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and respond. Greatly appreciated! 
In regards to your crucial example, I havent ever felt her  have sympathy. She has a habit to brush things off and let them sort themself out which is hard trait to live with and I greatly feel it has developed mistrust with me. I dont feel a sense of priority from her and even realising till something is too late.
I wish she was the type to get up at dawn and say I want to work out. She will have all the excuses to avoid bneing a better version of herself through excersize for example and expect me to do it to align with her. I am an ambitious type of person and my huge suffering is that she is the polart opposite of that. Before we met i was always ontime if not 10 minutes early anywhere for any sort of meeting. All this has changed and is out of my control. There is zero compromise. Its a guarantee that if we are visiting friends we will leave home at the time we should be arriving despite it being an hour away. Its been to the point that some friends have given her the wrong time to get her to come on time if that makes sense. She doesnt show any form of discomfort that people see her that way and any will of tackling that. Zero shame.
I see she has made sacrifices and I feel absolutely horrible that I am on a massive roast about her but I just cant handle it. I feel taken for granted. She has no concept of filtering. I have endlessly tried to sit down and talk about things she may not get so that she would eventualy get, best possible intentions and  good feelings. Any form of attempt of that sort she has shut it down and turned it all on me. No room for sorting anything out. Has even said straight to me that if i want something i need to convince her, yet she is impossible to convince anyting. It shouldnt be hard to hear your partners feelings. I made it clear that I am doing the best I can to be the best version of me for her and athat in order for that to be a success it does kidna rely on her not only maybe doing her best to understand that but also support that, not sabotage it because i am gaining a sense of self and happiness that didnt come from her if that makes sense.
I have tried sacrificial changes to even accomodate her and she milked it for herself and never holds her end of a bargain so to say. Doesnt show a sign of remorse for it either, as if she was entitled to do that. Sorry i think i wondered off there a bit again.

In regards to professional side of things, when i was working from home(i am in IT) I made it very clear she needs to respect that and basically forget that i am at home. She does not. She will still come in and ask me for help with things and break my focus.
In regards to her professionalism at her work, we went through a huge rift some years back before getting married where took advantage of a guy at work to help her do her work which led in the wrong direction. He did everything possible to try and break us up so he could replace me. She loved the attention so much that she didnt care what it was doing to me and expected me to accept it. I still dont know to this day if she actually cheated or not but i have my suspicion sadly. She somehow ignored all her meetings with her TL about being late and staying late.  eg. She would arrive at work at 10am on average and leave work say 7, maybe 8pm. Even when the crap between her and that coworker happened. I even explained that what he is doing is mental albuse to her in a work environment(without going into detail) and she and brushed it off. Her work was too good to her and let her contimue comign in late but cut her off from staying late. She eventually caught up with her work but never made the obvious change of getting up early like a regular person and starting the day like that. That she has carried since uni and now into potentialy ruining our kids foundations for life. Yes i try to get things to happen earlier but she just will not at ALL costs let go of her confort zone and grow up I cant fathom this and it breaks me on the inside regularly.
Basically sabotaging not just herself but also my attempts at being a better me and a better parent.
I see life as a journey of growth. I dont thing she shares that, as its a journey of static comfort, even if its in a pile of mess I refuse to clean up because she will push it to make that expectation and if after giving in and cleaning up her mess all the time i would eventually stop she would be really nasty to me and tormet me about look at what a crap husband i am that cant even help his wife. To clarify, i get there are plenty of hubands that dont pitch in from the get go etc, im making it clear that this is not one of those situations, its unique. Knowing how she works I have to draw a line 😞

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7 hours ago, boltnrun said:

Do you understand that your wife isn't going to change? People only change when THEY want to. She's been getting everything she wants for 20 years. Why would she be motivated to change?

You have two options: figure out a way to tolerate your wife and your marriage with zero expectations that anything will change, or realize you can no longer live this way and look into separation and divorce.

BTW, your kids will likely end up with marriages just like yours because that's all they've seen. How does that thought make you feel?

In a nutshell what you have written what i have known deep down, i have a horrible habit of hope. It just hurt when you put it to me so clearly about my kids ending up in the same kind of relationships, but it is undeniably true.

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7 hours ago, Seraphim said:

That’s the thing my brother ended up with an abusive person because that is what he witnessed. When my husband was young he was abusive due to his severe anxiety but HE decided to work on himself and isn’t anymore. So we both followed our parent’s example. 
 

You do and live what you know. 

Undeniably true 😞
I have also being battling anxiety which makes it hard but I and always doing what i can to accept it(have a long time ago) and get the upper hand of it. I am determined to be in control of it to not let me affect it. Sadly i feel that this relationships environment is constantly sabbotaging my efforts. I feel that she also has either anxiety and/or maybe bipoal. She would never be open to exploring that, only open to making an example of me and saying I do nothing to make her feel better. That hurts and has been for a very long time...

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You can make a choice. Hold onto your false "hope", or choose to have a better, healthier and happier life on your own, while giving your children the chance to see what a contented, happy father looks like. Right now you're not only sentencing yourself to a lifetime of misery but you're very possibly setting up your kids to have the same fate.

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7 hours ago, JohnLee said:

What I have learned is that people rarely change. You are setting yourself up for major disappointment and resentment if you hope that she will be better. You can only change yourself and that is also extremely difficult. You will have to work on yourself and expect that your wife stays the same and think if you can live with that. Perhaps if you improve your confidence and set boundaries she will respect you more. Setting boundaries is extremely critical for people with low self esteem. You need to let her know your limits. You will also need to learn to listen to her story and how she thinks and acts. You need to communicate to her in a way that she feels that you are not critical of her. Just listen to her for a while. Sorry that I have said that you have low self esteem but because you and I are very similar and I recognize your thinking and behaviors in myself. I am working toward becoming a more secured person by focusing on my needs, exercise, meditation, talking to friends. Good Luck.

Wow, you are not wrong one bit, and pleast dont be sorry for writing what you did, its true.
I have been trying to set boundaries and every time i try I fel she loves the challenge of taking them down. I feel she does not want me to be confident in myself, it would be hard for her with her own insecurity. She does mean well in some cases, but i feel that she has a thresh hold of me being happy on my own and from time to time breaks it to regain control. At least its how the pattern appears to me.
I have let her know my limits countless times and it feels like she does not respect the limits, she is unfilterd and thinks that its ok to say the wrong thing if you say it calmy(her argument to justify no go zones). To me thats borderline psychotic way of thinking and a reason to say what she wants.
You mentioned talking to her in a non critical way, this for me is a concious and ongoing battle. Despite me trying she will always see it and stamp it before its even begun. But I do need to try harder. I find it hard speaking to a person who has no concept of or even the importance being a listener. Yes expects it from me. It would be easier to listen to her if she also wasnt critical of me. We are definitly in a loop of the worst habits, but I feel the difference is I am open and openly trying to be better and it feels like she uses that as fuel against me. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and your insightful response! Greatly appreciated! I actually feel you saw it for exactly what it is. I feel my EQ has not only suffered through this but been destabilised. I will keep trying focussing on me, no matter how much I get punished for it.

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7 hours ago, tattoobunnie said:

Do you not want a divorce because you believe you will lose friends and prestige and not look like picture perfect?  Do you feel like you're a failure if you don't stay?  The kids don't need you to be married to be happy.  Your marriage isn't what makes kids happy.  It's happy parents that make kids happy and thrive. 

You've tried for 20 years to make it work, and the common denominator is that your wife is selfish and lazy.  That's on you for staying.  If you want another 20 more years of the same BS, then stay, and just enjoy sleeping not in a room or having any respect whatsoever.

I don't care what you did in the past or whatever friend you had.  You're not happy.  This relationship aka "partnership" isn't working, and no amount of therapy or walking on egg shells will fix it.  No one needs an extra adult child to deal with.

She isolates you from your folks, new friends.  The only thing you get out of it is stress and fear you won't have access to your kids.  Start keeping a daily log of when she fails to pick them up, living conditions, inability to function; I would seek full custody to get them away from her shi77y parenting.  A person who can't make anything on time or keep the home in livable condition isn't a fit parent.

I dont know what life without her would look like, to me its an unknown. When we moved in together we both moved out from our parents(parent for me) for the first time. Ill admit this is a place she has complete power/control over me and I am pretty sure she knows this. Its the type of "brutally functioning" home she came from. 
I fundamentaly dont agree on custody battles of kids with divorce, it screws up that generation and I want nothing more than to break tht cycle.

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