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I am new to this forum so my first post will be to tell you why I looked for it.


I am 36, have been married to my husband for 12 years. We have 3 children together and he is an exceptional father. Most people would think that he's an exceptional husband too, and in a lot of ways he is. He is kind, doesn't lie, doesn't cheat, etc.


My problem is that I don't really seem to matter to him the way that I think I should. A big issue is money--he harps at me about nearly every dime I spend--I have to be accountable for everything, when usually, all I'm buying are groceries and necessities for our daughters. HE, on the other hand, spends SCADS more than me, but that is apparently ok. He justifies his spending because a lot of it is for our kids. But he'll spend, say, $1200 on a horse for our oldest daughter, $1700 on a 4-wheeler for the middle daughter, and then complain because I spent $20 on taking them to McDonalds!


He never spends money on me. I didn't even get a CARD for our anniversary this year. Never a valentine gift. Usually for my birthday, there's nothing, or if anything, something I've picked up for myself and I tell him it can be my gift. His parents are the same way to a certain extent, so I know where it comes from (sort of) but I buy him gifts ALL THE TIME. I make a big deal out of his birthday, valentines, anniversaries, etc. And he'll make a show of feeling bad that he didn't do the same, but then the next holiday rolls around and he still doesn't do anything.


Then, when there's any major thing I want, or want to do, I have to fight tooth and nail for it. So much so, that on the few occasions I've gotten my way, I can't even enjoy it!


I'm so unhappy. I try to talk to him about it, but we don't communicate well. He gets really defensive, and says I'm trying to make him feel bad, or just says that what I'm saying doesn't happen...how do you argue with THAT? ("yes it does" "no it doesn't?)


There have been several times that I've thought, I'd really rather just be alone. But then I think, that's pretty petty, but it does wear on me. I don't want to take my kids away from their dad and a lot of the time, things are really good. It just hurts me to think that I'm not important enough for him to care what I want and how he makes me feel. It makes me feel like he doesn't love me like he should.


Ok, that's my rant...any feedback?

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At time when the monotony eases into a relationship, we do forget how important our loved ones are. Its obvious he still loves you because he's still with you, and he loves the children you BOTH created.


The key is communication. Instead of telling him his "faults" Let him know what you are feeling. Take a stance, not an aggresive posture. Just let him know that his actions, or lack thereof, make you feel underappreciated.


Let him know you are trying to see from his point of view why he does what he does. And then, if all else fails, seek further guidance. But the idea here is that you need to let him feel comfortable and not sound accusatory. Maybe even take a little blame for why you are in the predicament you are in...but essentially, just let him know..."I am upset..."

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Hey Caroline,


Your husband surely loves you. You've been with him for 12 years. He supports you and your children. He does care about you and your children immensely. He wants to have a financially stable family. But, I can also see where you are coming from. He doesn't show any passion or romance towards you. Do you both say 'I Love You' regularly? Do you say it more often than he does? You should tell him your true feelings. Don't put blame on him, just present him with your thoughts on the situation. You aren't expecting much. A card for Valentines isn't going to make him broke. I think what you are looking for is the zest back into your life. You need to be reassured that he still loves you. The little things count too. That's what I keep telling my boyfriend. I need to be reinforced that he still cares about me, even deep down inside I know he does. Maybe your husband is acting a little bit selfish because he thinks he's the 'man of the house', thereforeeee whatever he decides goes. He's not really in touch with his emotions, and maybe that's the way he was brought up. Parents shape their children in various ways. Next time you are lying in bed together, give him a kiss on the cheek and tell him 'I Love You' and lay there to sleep. See where it goes.



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The biggest thing that struck me was a lack of compromise.. For example, not everyone is going to make a big deal out of a spouse's birthday, and it seems that you are resentful that he doesn't reciprocate on those types of occasions. Maybe it would be somewhat better for you if you didn't make such a big deal out of them; that way, you don't give SO much, and then you wont feel so resentful that you made a bigger deal out of something than he does..


The other thing is, you both need to come together to decide how much gets spent on the kids and for what. You need to figure out a way to get a budget made without attacking each other and pointing blame. The bottom line is, you BOTH have say in who spends on what. A budget would help you both immensely because then neither one of you can overstep that for any reason.


I think you really need to tell him what you've told us, that you sometimes think you'd be better off alone.. He needs to realize that his defensiveness isn't contributing to the solution, but it's instead adding problems.


Good luck !

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I have had a similar experience where my ex-gf always always pushed the fact that "valentines is coming up are you gonna get me anything" then she'd laugh and say its a joke. She would always get something for me, but I was terrible at returning the favor. In truth, I hate a lot of holidays... i think they are there to be frusterating while at the same time to be money making days. I don't like to follow the general trend and dress up in red for Valentines day. I believe that the figure head of the holiday has zero relevence to myself.


So all in all, he may think that birthdays at your age are trivial.... you have had so many... some so great that none will ever compare. But he knows that your children need to feel that same special feeling like he probably did as a child.


So he is of course a good husband, but I think he considers that after 20-30-40 years of doing the same silly thing, buying a box of candy 12 years in a row... is getting old... so why not skip the step and just have your own personal valentines day each day, with a simple gift of "i love you's"


Maybe he knows that they are important for you, but perhaps he is trying to show you that he doesn't want you to get him anything. Try not getting anything for him and see if he has a negative/positive reaction. If its positive you can say "You obviously know that I like gifts on holidays, and this proves that you don't like gifts. But would you mind picking out one or two things on certain holidays. It would make me the happiest wife in the world."


I hate gifts, I can't take compliments very well, and especially have a difficult time picking the right gift... and if i give up and get a box of chocolates, i feel worse than if I didn't buy anything in the first place.



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2 things:

1- as mentioned in another post Do you have your own job? If not, get one... even a part time, few hours a week minimum wage gig. It'll do wonders for you.


2- "men are from mars, women are from venus." I love this book, if you haven't ever read it you should. I really got a lot out of it, ecspecially with how to communicate with men, and your situation is described almost exactly as an example in the book. (a local thrift store would probably have a copy) Where a lot of relationships are broken up because BOTH the husband and the wife feel that they GIVE and GIVE and GIVE and the other person doesn't care. (I understand how you feel that you buy him lots of gifts and he never gives you anything, but I would be willing to bet that he feels he gives you EVERYTHING in the way of supporting the family and you never do anything for HIM...)


so yeah... "men are from mars women are from venus" (and NO, I have no financial ties with the book, LOL it just really opened my eyes)

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Thanks everyone, for your input.


Maybe I should have been more clear. I HAVE talked to him about it in exactly the way you're saying. Over the course of 12 years, it's come up a few times--sometimes worse than others, admittedly. But after so many years, I know not to come out at him in an accusatory manner and I haven't.

But it doesn't really matter. He becomes really defensive anyway. Then he tries to turn it around on me EVERY time, saying, "I never do anything right." Or he completely ignores what I've said and starts telling me what I do that bothers HIM. It's like ](*,)


No, I've probably never told him that it makes me want to leave. I'm not looking to hurt him, and unless I was pretty sure I was GOING to leave, I don't see the point.


Sometimes, (and yes, I know this is sick) I wish he would cheat on me or hit me or something, so I'd have a clear-cut "valid" reason to pack up and go...


I probably need therapy, right?

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You shouldn't necessarily wish that onto yourself because that would greatly affect your children as well. Try getting a part-time job like someone in the discussion suggested. Even if it's only for a few hours a week, you can make some money, and it will show that you are a valued person. You will appreciate yourself more once you commit to something like a job.

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Why would you think that you need therapy? Apart from the fact that you feel completely alone, and unable to justify to yourself or articulate to anyone else what's wrong with your marriage, I mean..... I know that the moeny is just the tip of the iceberg, and that your husband is probably not very demonstrative, not very affectionate, and you feel lonely alot. When Valentines and your birthday come and go, and he is so petty as to not get you anything, it just reinforces that feeling.


Because this is a control issue, and one he may not recognize in himself, discussing it will be extremely difficult. As you say, he will deny that it exists, and then turn it around on you. Ultimately, when a person tries to throw off someone else's control, the other person usually accuses them of trying to control them. They really believe it, too. Confronted with that kind of disconnect of perspective, yes, you probably do feel like you're going crazy -- "could he be right? Am I making something out of nothing? Is it all me?"


No, it's not. It is him. Even in families where there is no money for gifts, etc., the distribution of money is not left entirely in the control of one person. The family is recognized to have needs, and the needs of the family are taken into account by both spouses, not just one individual. Communication with this sort of person about any kind of purchase is very difficult, because they are very demand-sensitive; they do not like to be told they "have" to do something. I can remember arguing with my husband that the children needed new shoes, and saying to him, what do you want me to do? Cut off their feet? It was as if he couldn't understand that there were necessities that I had no control over. And I, like you, got nothing for Valentines Day or my birthday, for years and years. He of course always had the latest toys, while the kids and I were in second hand clothes I bought with the money I made writing freelance articles from home. So you see, I do know what you're talking about.


After years of this, and arguing to no avail, I left my husband. There was no other man involved; no infidelity. I just told him, no, I can't take your behaviour anymore. I left, and I was gone for months. He went into a meltdown; all his control issues had failed. And he began to change. Fortunately, we were able to work through to a new relationship, and I came back, and honestly, this is the marriage I was hoping for when I married him. He is really a different person. I really can't believe it, and now I'm often guilty, because I became so used to the "old" husband, that opening up to this new one is very hard sometimes. It's been four years since our separation, and I'm just starting to trust him now.


I know it's very hard to admit that you can't work with your husband on something, and I really, really hope you don't have to do what I did. But I honestly tried everything -- my own money, counselling, arguing, crying, begging -- nothing worked. My husband loved me a great deal but couldn't get over the idea that everytime I wanted money for something, it was an attempt to force him to do what I wanted. I hope yours can learn to see that that is not what's at issue, and that his attempt to stay in control is going to drive you right out of his life.

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OMG Juliana, I've got tears running down my face right now, because YOU GET IT!!!! I mean, my family is supportive of me, and sees that he's selfish, etc., but it isn't as if they aren't a LITTLE biased.


I hope that I don't have to do what you did either, but I'm thinking of telling him that I'm not willing to continue with our marriage if things don't change. I'm just really apprehensive about going that far, but I really don't want to go on like this.


To address some of the other posts, until 2 weeks ago, I worked full time making only around $10,000 a year less than my husband. That didn't make a difference as far as our money issues were concerned. He acted the exact same way. My salary was direct-deposited into our joint savings account and he never wanted us to touch our savings account. (our mortgage is deducted from it, and, until recently, HIS student loan payments--but I couldn't take $20 out without the 3rd degree).


I recently quit my job due to observing compliance/ethics issues in the company--when I questioned my management, they made life very miserable for me at work. It got to the point where it made me physically sick, which is when hubby "allowed" me to resign. NOW, I have the opportunity to do the same job I was doing for another company, and I could work from HOME!! Which is what we've wanted for a long time. Problem is, the opening isn't for another couple of weeks, and I've been off work now for a few weeks already. So he's pushing me to take something else, and then just quit if I get the at-home job in a few weeks. I am not willing to do that because how much sense does it make to go through the interview process somewhere, negotiate salary, begin training and then quit. That's wasting my time and the company's time, and possibly burning my bridge with an employer I may need in the future.


So I'm still LOOKING at other job openings, but I'm not sending out resumes right now. He asks me pretty much every day when he gets home "Did you get a job today?" and I answer "No" and that's that. Now mind you, he's never had to "carry" me. I've always worked! He was in the army when we got married and was deployed for around 3 of the next 5 years. I was left completely alone to care for our children and run our household. Then, when he got out of the army, he applied to a technical college in WYOMING and just told me he was going...for 9 months, to the tune of $13,000, most of which we covered in student loans. I was left alone with 2 young children to fend for myself. The only income he had at the time was from the Nat'l Guard, which he used for his living expenses.


Any job he's ever taken (including ones where he worked 2nd or 3rd shift, taking him away from his family, and again leaving the child-rearing to me alone) he took without consulting me...


Anyhooo, it all adds up to me feeling like I just don't matter to him. He's said before that he would put up with anything to just not get divorced--I guess he didn't really factor in what I was willing to put up with.


Ack..........end of rant.


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First of all, do not let him force you to do anything, career-wise. I made that mistake. I wasn't "allowed" to go out to work, but I had to bring in money, so I managed to start freelancing. Well, then I wasn't making "enough," so I went out and got another job I could do from home (yes, I know -- two at home jobs when most SAHMs would kill for one), and that screwed up my freelancing, which was my actual career. I'm still trying to climb back up from that mistake. Once you let them start controlling your own career, and telling you when to work, what to work at, etc., it's pretty much game over for your career, not to mention your mental health.


I used to have to listen to my brothers telling me I was "too hard on him." So I stopped. Boy that sure changed their tune, when they saw what our lives were like. Plus, my sister came out to stay with us for a weekend -- well, she tried. She had to go back early because he literally had a tantrum at one point because I wasn't paying enough attention to him. And he & she had been very close before we got married. She told me later she had never seen anyone change so much in so short a period of time as he did after we got married.


Yikes, I shouldn't dig up all this old stuff. Really, it's like I'm writing about another man. And perhaps I can only extrapolate so far from my marriage to yours. However, I know my husband did love me, but his control issues were so severe, they effectively prevented him from communicating his love, and actually did the exact opposite. I don't know why they don't see it; I tried everything.


My friend had a controlling husband as well, and she left him, or rather, he threw her out with their two kids, because he couldn't control her to his satisfaction. Then he went insane and he is now stalking her -- he threw her out, doesn't want her back, but won't leave her alone. I think control issues can be a real mental health issue sometimes, so I would never suggest that you just walk out and assume that everything would work out. You just don't know what's going to happen, and I think I was really fortunate.


Maybe you could do something differently from what I did. Set up an account for yourself at a different bank when you start you new job. Have your paycheque direct-deposited into it. Have an automatic withdrawal from that to put money into the joint account for the mortgage, etc. If this isn't acceptable to him, well, too bad. I've seen other women in controlling marriages just stop accepting the control. I don't know if their husbands change like mine did though. But I know those women are alot happier when they start taking control of their own lives instead of giving the control to their husbands. Everytime I've seen a woman give up control, it's ended badly, with financial disasters to the tune of hundreds of thousands, career mistakes -- the list is endless, I suppose because the sort of man who is driven to control like by his own issues is someone without the emotional capability to think clearly about the consequences of what he's doing. From my perspective, you'll be doing yourself, him and your marriage a favour if you put the brakes on his ability to control you right now, starting with your career.


I do hope you find some way of making things better for you & your husband. I wish I had better advice, but I'll pray for you.

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Do what my wife did. Tell him you aren't in love with him anymore - that his treatment toward you has eroded your love for him over the years and that you want to separate. Move into the guest room. Now, you have to mean this and be willing to face the consequences. But believe me, that was the ONLY thing that made me realize how much I was neglecting my wife's needs. I love her more than anything in the world, but she didn't believe I did. I made light of all her pleas and comments about us needing counseling or me needing to change - until she dropped the bomb.


Believe me, I have changed and I am still making chages. These changes are for me, they were necessary, but they will benefit her and our relationship.


Your husband loves you, needs you, wants you and is happy with you. Unfortunately he has fallen into the danger zone of taking you for granted (as I did with my wife). A good 'ol 2x4 upside the head (figuratively speaking of course) will do the trick. But PLEASE don't wait until it's too late as my wife did. We're still together, but it's going to take her a looooooooooooooong time to accept that my changes are genuine.


Maybe you could start by telling him that you're considering leaving unless he makes some changes? All I know is that I would have NEVER taken my wife seriously if she hadn't dropped the "I don't love you anymore and want a divorce" bomb on me! We men can be really thick - you need to understand that!

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Ok, we "sort of" talked about it.

I explained how I felt--he got pretty defensive right off, but I tried to defuse that pretty quick.

We are at a cautious truce right now. I feel like it's only a temporary fix because we didn't get down to the root of things, but he had been on call the night before and got called out, so we were having this conversation with him being awake for 36 hours+ and I just didn't want to get that far into it.

He did eventually say he was sorry, but I think it's one of those, "I'm sorry you feel that way, but you shouldn't...." kind of apologies.

It's ok for now. I don't feel quite so devastatingly alone for the moment.

Thanks for your support everyone!

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