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This is getting to be too much for me :o(

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Sorry in advance for the long post... I just have all these awful feelings going on in me and I have no way to release them. I guess since I have no one to listen to me here, the idea that maybe someone online might listen to me ramble is a little bit comforting.


I've posted in the past that my husband and I are having difficulties because of his busy graduate school schedule. A few days ago, after he was done with his classes, he told me that he decided he's too nice to me when I tell him about my feelings and get upset and he'd rather be a more assertive person. To me, he seems to be getting more aggressive, not assertive. To the point where I haven't felt comfortable talking to him at all since Tuesday. It seems like ever since finals ended and he's been on break, he's like a completely different person. I don't know if he's been changing gradually and I just haven't been around him enough to notice it until now or if he really did decide to change and changed that quickly. It makes no sense to me. We finally have more time to spend together, and he's being all cold and distant and as soon as I say anything serious about us, he gets... I don't even know how to describe it. It's like he just turns off his emotions. His voice gets deeper and the things he says seem all harsh and hostile. I seriously never noticed him behave this way until this week. I have no clue how a person changes THAT drastically so quickly.


I cry a lot. I cry when I'm happy, I cry when I'm sad, I cry when I'm not sure how I feel. It's just a reflex. This week, whenever I've started crying, he gets so frustrated that I feel like I have no choice but to just leave the room and be by myself. I mentioned before that he'd told me he's starting to have very little patience for me when I cry, but it seems almost like he's started resenting me. This is REALLY hard for me to deal with. Before him, I was in a very unhealthy relationship where I was SCARED to cry around my boyfriend because of how angry it made him. So I just stopped doing it. Eventually, when we broke up and I met my husband, all I could do was cry. That's what made me love him. I could cry for no reason at all and he'd just hold me and make me feel better. Now he doesn't want to come near me. I can't help wondering if something's wrong with me. Maybe I cry too much? I don't exactly know how to stop needing to, but it seems like everybody who gets close to me gets irritated by it.


I've decided to seek professional help. I called around this morning and left some messages, hopefully someone will get back to me. I'm just so shocked. I really don't get it. He's started interrupting me CONSTANTLY. Whenever I even begin telling him how I've been feeling this semester, he interrupts me and says "that's not how it is". Even sentances that start with "I feel like..." get cut off with a "that's not how it is". How is something I FEEL not accurate? I just don't get it. All semester I tried to be nice and walk on eggshells and not get in the way or waste his time, and now when I FINALLY have some time to tell him about how I'm feeling he doesn't want to hear it. I just plain don't understand.


It's not just my feelings that are making him annoyed. On Monday, when he was finally done with all of his work for the semester, he started telling me about some of the people he goes to school with and I'd thought "Finally, he wants to talk to ME instead of his peers". The next day, he was getting mad at me for wasting his time the night before. Out of no where. Yeah, maybe we haven't sat down and had an hour long conversation in a while, but is it really that bad? We used to spend all day and night talking before we moved up here. His school stuff was done and I was VERY careful not to talk about me, my feelings, what's going on with my work, etc. I made sure he directed the conversation, it ended when he wanted it to end, and I didn't say anything that he would disagree with very much because I was appreciating just talking to him and didn't want to blow it. Then I find out that the whole time, he'd been appeasing me and hadn't wanted to talk to me at all. He'd wanted to play some computer game he hadn't had time for all semester, but since I wasn't leaving the office he felt obligated to talk to me. I'd been getting up, on my way OUT of the office when he started talking. I was standing by the door for the first 15 minutes because I hadn't thought it would turn in to a long conversation. When I saw it was becoming long, I sat down by the door. The next day, he said that me sitting down made him feel even more obligated to keep talking to me. The reason I sat down was because last year, I tore the ligaments in my lower back and staying in any one position for a long time hurts me. He knows that. I just don't get it. It was when he was telling me how little he'd wanted to talk to me the night before that he told me he was going to be more assertive.


I don't know. I know I'm rambling, and I'm sorry for that. I just have all these negative feelings in me. I am actually considering either taking some vacation time and going to see my family for a while or telling my boss I want to work in the office for a while and getting him to fly me out on an extended business trip, just to be out of the house for a while. I don't want to do that, because next month my husband will go back to school and I don't want to waste this break... I'm just having such a hard time dealing. I don't get it at all.


He's really pushing for a puppy. He says if I have someone else to keep me occupied, we'll have less issues. I think it's his way of telling me it'll keep me out of his hair. Part of me feelings guilty bringing a puppy in to this environment, but another part of me thinks maybe he's right. Maybe if I have someone else to care for and give my affection to, I'll have an easier time coping. I know that I get immense pleasure from my cats when they feel like interacting with me, and dogs need people much more than cats do. I know that in previous posts I was told this wouldn't help, but I'm kinda a the point where I want to follow my husband's suggestion just to create a little bit of peace in our home.


What made me fall in love with him was that he was this nice, gentle, caring guy. Nothing like the guy I dated before him. Now, suddenly, he's trying out this "assertive" personality and it's really scaring me. Assertive people are great, I wish I were one of them. But he's not being asserting. He's being aggressive and domineering. I don't know if the stress from the semester has caught up with him and this is his way of releasing it or if it's something else, but it's seriously hurting me. Dealing with his school demands was hard enough, I don't know if I can handle who he has been for the past few days

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Yeah, it's definitely something that's been on my mind lately. I guess I just kinda feel like that's running away from what's going on. Eventually we'll have to be together all the time, and I guess I'm worried that if I spend the next four or five years not facing what's going on, I will have to later. I want to start a family when he finishes school, and I'm worried that if I only see part of him for the next few years, that I'll be bringing children in to an environment that I am uncertain of. I'm worried that when he finishes school, something else will happen that will make me want to be with him part time. Can we really do that for ever?


I agree that I've done a lot for him, but the fact that he doesn't appreciate it makes me wonder if I should be doing more. It's all just driving me nuts. I don't know how much more of myself I can give to him. I feel like I've given everything I can and I still have more being asked of me. It's so difficult for me to deal with that.

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I think there may be a judgement in him right now, that you need to move past your emotional phase. Perhaps he is frustrated deep down inside because he knows it is really not for him to decide when you get past it or if you ever do. So his actions and tones of voice reflect that.


Because it is not for him to dictate, you may have to endure and ride this out, as he is, just assuring him that your crying is good for you and the world is not falling down.

On some level, people get frustrated when they, themselves, have the same issue. Meaning, he may understand very well what it's like to want to cry often, but feels deeply that it needs to end.


The thing is, crying is healthy, crying is about happiness as well as sadness, crying is necessary.

You may have to explain this or think about working to see his point of view in a way that speaks to your heart. He may have a point or is unable to articulate it clearly.


Always come here for support when you need it - we will always be here.

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I got a call back from one of the therapists I called. We talked a little and he said that the divorce rate for people in my specific situation tends to be pretty high and so he recommended that before I seek counseling for myself, I include my husband as well. We talked and he said he'd go during the semester break, but he can't make any promises about after school starts. The therapist said it's fine that my husband can only commit himself to one session, because at least it'll give us a chance to decide what's better - couples counseling or just me. I feel so relieved. I really hope this helps. We're going Friday.

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yikes! I have been following your story. I am so glad you are seeking out counseling, I really hope it helps you and your husband. as for the puppy, i think puppies are great, but the basic problem is your marriage, and a puppy won't be able to fix that. it is like putting a bandaid on a serious deep flesh wound.


I don't know why your husband is acting this way. are some of his dippy friends telling him he needs to "lay down the law" with his wife? I agree with you, how can he say that your feelings are wrong? you feel the way you feel.


Yes, definitely go to the counselor. I don't know at all why he is acting this way. I would think that he would be more thankful towards you, for supporting him, instead of acting like you are the problem. Like I have mentioned before, most of the couples i know in grad school treat each other more like a safe escape, rather than as a nuiscance.


good luck

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That makes me so mad, the way he is acting. sure he is in school and it is tough. life is tough. that doesn't mean you go turning on the person who loves you most in the world. I have a buddy who is a single mom and goes to college full-time. She is also dealing with chron's disease and a dumb ex hubby who doesn't know how to be a father. She went to school pretty much year round, fall semester, spring semester, and then summer school. Of course she was stressed, under pressure, sick all the time, and tired as hell, but she never once took it out on those around her. Your husband needs a reality check. Though I gotta admit, it sounds like he is having a breakdown of some kind and is not handling the pressure well. Good luck with everything. Your feelings need to be validated, and he needs to know this. Don't forget yourself

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Lonely Me, you sound a lot like my wife, and your husband sounds a lot like me, thereforeeee I may be able to shed a little light by saying things to you that I found difficulty accepting and communicating to my wife.


It sounds like hubby may be suffering from an inflated ego as a result of his success in college, is drained as a result of your ongoing difficulties and is a tad arrogant, like me. Let me explain in terms of myself instead of picking on hubby. I am a caring and emotional person who tries hard to be compassionate and understanding, but sometimes my own stuff gets in the way, I become impatient for whatever reason and my exhaustion/exasperation levels become too high. When this happens I find great difficulty being compassionate, understanding and most of all being calm and patient. It hurts me to see my wife upset and it’s almost like I envision the cause as a mortal enemy that I must eradicate, but because I can’t grab it by the throat as I would a physical attacker, the frustration levels begin to ramp. You see, we men are not like women, we aren’t pre-disposed to just listening empathically, we feel a real need to fix it, and if we can’t fix it then we try to evade/deny it. In this attempt our male brains cells become all confused and make us do wacky stuff like start acting cold to the one we love. Don’t ask me to explain it, I’m a man! My wife and I have managed to overcome this sort of thing mostly, but it’s a two way street and understanding and communication are paramount. You have to understand his need to fix or evade, but equally he has to understand your need to just vent and be heard and consoled without him trying to fix anything or feel responsible or guilty. I would recommend you wait till he’s in a good mood, free of stress and being loving then discuss this with him. I’m sure he’ll be receptive.


I don’t believe getting a dog or moving away will solve anything as that is merely supplanting the problem and will most likely cause more trouble in the long run. Plus I’ve always felt that walking away temporarily is usually the beginning of the end.


I suspect you’re BOTH emotionally drained and instead of a separation I would advocate a short break together. Pack your bags and take a mini vacation the both of you. Go somewhere peaceful where you can both reflect and spend a lot of uninterrupted time together talking, and not talking; it’s surprising how effecting an hour or so of not talking together can be.


Ellie said..

“If anything, shouldn't he be THANKFUL for your support?

Shouldn't he be thankful that you rearranged your whole life to be there for him?

Shouldn't he be thankful that you've agreed to uproot your life for his convenience?

Shouldn't he be thankful that your job keeps him from going into debt?

Shouldn't he be thankful for your love?

Shouldn't he be thankful that he has you as his anchor in his life?”


I don’t mean any disrespect Ellie and if you read on you’ll understand, but no! He shouldn’t! Why? Because he’s a man! Simple. He’s re-arranged his life and is studying for her. He moved to study for her. He suffers the indignation of not earning to study for them and their future. He loves just as much as she does, if not more. He is a rock for her and her emotional ways, he is tremendously supportive of her.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not arguing with you Ellie, of course you are correct in your assertions, I’m just attempting to show how his minds works and what he’ll most likely think and say in response to such comments and, ergo, show that raising these points will do naught but cause further conflict and argument. One thing that must be avoided at all cost is a * * * for tat competition.


Another thing you must understand is that women cry more easily than us big, tough, macho men. But secretly we envy you, because we take all the stuff that upsets us, but we don’t cry about it the way women do. As stupid as it may be we can often turn this difference in the sexes into spite because “you lot cry all the damn time and we just get on with it” which roughly translated means we get resentful because of our own insecurities around crying and risking being seen as weak.


One more thing to bear in mind, you need him to just listen and be compassionate and patient and calm, but so does he. He needs to get a grip, be more tolerant and understanding and refrain from seeing your upset as his responsibility to fix, and you need to spend some time thinking a bit more carefully about the rationality of your feelings. Your feelings may be valid, but if they don’t reflect fact he will see them as irrational and rebuff regardless. Yes, I know this is wrong and he needs to refrain from judging your emotions and learn to just accept them and provide comfort, but it would help him if from time to time you throw in the odd comment like “I really feel like XYZ, I know I shouldn’t because that’s not really the way it is and my feelings probably sound irrational to you right now, but they’re still my feelings and I just need you to listen for a while and not judge or invalidate my feelings”.


I sincerely hope this diatribe helps in some small way.

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Thanks so much for the responses everyone. It's so nice to have some support, even if that support is from strangers. I truly appreciate every single message each of you are posting to me. Sometimes I feel like maybe I'm just being whiney and I should be grateful for what I have, but it's nice to hear sometimes that people sympathize with what I'm dealing with and are willing to listen. I know that there are people out there with worse marital problems than mine, I've read posts about them on this forum, it's just really hard to not focus on mine when I feel like they are taking over. I hate feeling like I should've waited, should've known him better, should've been more sure, etc. Right now I'm kinda in one of those places where I just want someone to listen, which is why I am whining to all of you again. I'm glad we're seeing someone on Friday, hopefully it'll help, but I'm a little worried that with my husband there it'll make it much more difficult for me to really be heard.


are some of his dippy friends telling him he needs to "lay down the law" with his wife?


I honestly have no clue what he's hearing from the outside. I know that a lot of the girls in his program are much more independent than I am - I hear about how independent they are all the time. I find it hard to believe though that other girls would be telling him to "lay down the law", and since he's the only male in his program I know that there are no men giving him such pigheaded ideas. I suggested that maybe I can try to be his support system for a while, and maybe he can try to hang out with them when it won't take time away from us (so when I'm out of town on business trips or something), otherwise I can try to go out with him. He seems kinda skeptical about whether or not I can actually replace whatever it is he gets from them, but he's willing to let me try... Hopefully I'll do a good job and won't have to deal with his dippy friends any more.


something to think about.... now that your husband is on break, maybe try having as much fun with him as possible. try to have a nice, relaxed time. he may be more likely to listen to you if you are not crying? just a thought, but I can certainly understand why you cry.


I would love for us to do stuff over the break. We came up with a little pet project when we moved up here that was put on hold when classes started, I'm hoping we can continue that a little next weekend. We'll see how it goes. Hopefully whatever happens Friday will be good and we'll have a good weekend as a result.


Though I gotta admit, it sounds like he is having a breakdown of some kind and is not handling the pressure well.


I think you may be right. He may not be coping with the pressure very well. I agree with you that he shouldn't take it out on me, but I can't help wanting to be supportive of what he's dealing with. I think I'm just at a point where I don't know how to be any more. I kinda feel like I've done everything I know how to do and am kinda stuck until he gives something back.

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Thanks for the post. It did give me some insight on the male mind, but I'm still a little unsure of what to do with that knowledge. I am willing to do whatever he needs to make his life easier, I just kinda feel like maybe he's not all that open to me in general. I feel like I'm this extra nuisance in his life. Last week, he even specially said that right now, I'm second in his life to school. If he's not even interested enough to enter "fix or evade" mode, what do I do? In regards to other things you said...


It sounds like hubby may be suffering from an inflated ego as a result of his success in college, is drained as a result of your ongoing difficulties and is a tad arrogant, like me.


He does tend to be a little arrogant. He is very proud of what he's accomplished and is very sure of what he will accomplish later. I just don't understand why he can't put his academic ego aside and realize that maybe he's not always the most productive life partner.


I would recommend you wait till he’s in a good mood, free of stress and being loving then discuss this with him. I’m sure he’ll be receptive.


We rarely get to that place where he's willing to discuss things with me. He can start out in a good mood, be free of stress, etc. and as soon as I bring up my unhappiness, he turns on me. Tonight I was just feeling extra sad and he even went as far as to ask me what was wrong, which he hasn't done in a while (I usually have to be the one to bring this stuff up)... Almost as soon as I began talking, he got very defensive. He said that if I wanted to talk about being unhappy with other people, my job, etc. he would be open to listening, but that if I was going to talk about being unhappy with our situation he was going to want to defend himself. I wasn't really in a place where I could listen to him defend himself, so I came on here for support instead. I hate that I'd choose to look towards anyone but him, but it's very difficult to turn to someone and then be rejected.


Pack your bags and take a mini vacation the both of you.


Hopefully we will be able to do that this weekend. Like I said above, when we moved up here we came up with a little roadtrip project and hopefully we'll be able to get back to it this weekend. *fingers crossed*


He’s re-arranged his life and is studying for her. He moved to study for her. He suffers the indignation of not earning to study for them and their future. He loves just as much as she does, if not more. He is a rock for her and her emotional ways, he is tremendously supportive of her.


I can actually see him feeling that way. I can even respect that he feels that way. Heck, I can be grateful for all he feels he's doing. But is it too much to ask that he do the same for me?


Another thing you must understand is that women cry more easily than us big, tough, macho men. But secretly we envy you, because we take all the stuff that upsets us, but we don’t cry about it the way women do. As stupid as it may be we can often turn this difference in the sexes into spite because “you lot cry all the damn time and we just get on with it” which roughly translated means we get resentful because of our own insecurities around crying and risking being seen as weak.


I'm sure that what you say about men and crying is true, but that doesn't explain why he's become irritated by it so suddenly. Like I said earlier, when I met him, I was coming out of a rough relationship and he saw me crying an awful lot. He was always so supportive and caring. Now, when I'm crying over our relationship, he gets all resentful and angry. It makes no sense to me. You would think if it was that frustrating for him, it would've been just as frustrating for him when I met him, right? Or am I completely misunderstand?


“I really feel like XYZ, I know I shouldn’t because that’s not really the way it is and my feelings probably sound irrational to you right now, but they’re still my feelings and I just need you to listen for a while and not judge or invalidate my feelings”.


That suggestion actually makes a LOT of sense to me. I've recently been trying to make it very clear that the things I say are how I think or how I feel, it's not what is actually fact. It's just very difficult to do that when in my heart, to me, it is fact. It's something I am willing to work at though, if it makes making communication a little better.


Thanks again for the post, it and any other advice you can give me is really appreciated.

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I think seeing a psychologist really helped, hopefully we're going to continue. My husband hasn't decided yet if he wants to.


We talked about our different ideas of marriage - I think that both people should want to do what's needed to make the other person happy while my husband thinks that both people should be happy on their own and everything else should be icing. The psychologist pointed out that my husband's way of thinking is very idealistic and that studies have shown that couples who actively try to make each other happy are much more successful. He also said that it's unfair of me to expect my husband to do as much for me and my happiness as I've done for him, that I should just expect him to give the most he can. He talked to my husband a lot about all the sacrifices I feel I've made and got him to realize how difficult it is for me and why I need so much in return, I think maybe I've just been wording things incorrectly all this time because he really seemed to understand.


I was also able to get a much better understanding of why my husband behaves the way he does. Six of the women in his program have husbands/boyfriends who moved here to the middle of no where with them when they began school. These guys had no careers that they were giving up (although one has goals that he intends to pursue when his girlfriend finishes school), none of them are capable of completely supporting their wife/girlfriend so the couples live off student loans or their parents, and all of these guys have become good friends with each other. I think that because these guys are the only people my husband's been able to see who are in a situation similar to mine, he thought I should be able to adapt as well as they have. However, I do have a career that I am putting on hold, I do have a financial burden on me (textbooks aren't cheap, lol), and I have no one else who I can really relate to because I share no interests with those men. My understanding what he's seeing in other couples and him understanding how what we're dealing with is very different from these other couples is really helpful, I think.


We also discussed my husband's need for an outside "support system". The psychologist said that while support from your peers is needed, there's nothing wrong with not having it all the time. He said that when he was in school, 6 people he started with were married and 3 ended up having affairs with people in the program. He said that while my husband may have no intention of doing that, it's very easy to see why I'd feel intimidated and how these friendships can be risky. He got me to agree to try to stop being so paranoid and insecure and he got my husband to agree to minimize the amount of interaction he has with these girls outside school.


He also had us each make a list of 3 things we'd like from the other person, and had us both agree to stick to our lists for 3 months. My list was:

1. Find 3 ways each day to let me know I'm appreciated

2. Go on weekly Friday night dates with me. He'll plan two dates, then I'll plan one. We'll each let the other person know about the plan the Monday before the date.

3. Word things more nicely than he currently does. The psychologist explained that a good way to word critism is to say something nice, say the critism, and then say something nice again.


My husband didn't tell me about our Friday night date until I asked him this morning, and I don't think he's said he appreciates me 3 times in a single day yet, but I can tell he's trying. And because of that, it's much easier for me to give him the 3 things that were on his list.


The psychologist also said that my lack of a social life outside my husband is going to hurt us. I was already signed up to take a cake decorating class and photography class this spring, and I'm planning to go back to school to pursue a masters parttime in the fall, but he recommends finding a hobby or something that'll make me get out of the house more. A lot of you suggested that too, and I still have no clue yet what I'm going to do, but I feel more positive about it all, so I'm sure I'll come up with something.


All in all, I think maybe I just haven't been properly explaining how I've been feeling and what's been upsetting me so much. Or maybe he just needed to hear it from someone else. I like having a set of things that I'm working on and knowing that my husband has a set of things he's working on. I really hope we keep going back, I liked the psychologist a lot. He met his wife while he was in graduate school 30 years ago, they managed to have a good relationship while he was in school and she wasn't, and they've been happy ever since. It's really inspiring and makes me want to make it work that way too. *fingers crossed*

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That is such good news! I was getting more and more worried as I made my way through your thread, particularly as I have been keen to see how you are, based on your other threads.


I really hope that you are both able to continue to break through the communication issues here, it's great that your husband is engaging.


As a last point though - please do whatever you can to empower yourself here to do your own thing and care a little less about your husband's attitude, even if you're only pretending to start with. Your husband may be wonderful on the inside but it does sound like his ego has been getting out of control; these concentrated post-grad environments can do that. But he needs to be snapped out of it. And the more you cry and show how vulnerable you are the more you are inadvertedly feeding his ego about what a superior being he is. It sucks I know, but it's life, it's a cycle you've been in and whatever needs to happen to break that cycle needs to happen. Hopefully one day in the future you get to be the arrogant super-achiever and he finally gets to see how it feels.


Good luck and good for you my friend.

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Looking good LM, looking real good, especially from your side of the fence. I'm real pleased you've both found a means to progress and if I'm not mistaken it's looking promising.


I have to thank you also as your posts are so descriptive and honest I very much find myself seeing comparisons and new perspectives then making mental notes with regard to my relationship.


I really hope it works out for the best for you, whatever that may be.

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Two more things LM, I know it probably sounds irritatingly repetative as I've no doubt it is mentioned many times in this forum but, tell him to read "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus", it's very enlightening.


The second thing is one sentence in particular that caught me somewhat off centre... "I am willing to do whatever he needs to make his life easier"... while I appreciate you're willing to work hard at this relationship and do whatever you can to help him, don't be a door mat, it's a two way street hon, he should be equally willing to reciprocate.


Again, hope the new developments continue on a positive slope.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just figured I'd rant some of my worries on here yet again, since you all are so good at making me feel a little bit more understood. Things have been going good for the past few weeks, but I'm starting to get nervous because classes started today and I'm so scared things will go back to the way they were. My husband and I have made a schedule, blocking out time I'll stay out of his hair and let him study and time we'll spend together. We've figured in specific times each evening to have dinner together and Friday night dates. I'm hopeful, but still really scared that it'll go back to the way it was last semester. Depending on whether or not the psychologist we saw can work with my husband's schedule, we may or may not continue to see him. I would like to, just until I'm sure we aren't resorting to our old ways, but that part is mostly out of my hands.


I found out recently that I have low thyroid and Celiac disease... my doctor says both things, especially the thyroid, have probably been contributing to my worn out, frustrated, tired of it all attitude. He prescribed some thyroid medicine (it's made out of pig thyroid, which is kinda gross, but what can you do?) and has me on a gluten-free diet. I'm hoping that balancing everything out in that area will make it easier for me to deal with all the other life road bumps I might encounter.


We'll see how it goes. Sorry for the rant, I'm just trying really hard to be positive around my husband because I don't want to create unneeded negativity, but I do have concerns and I wanted to express them. Thanks.

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Wow, well the health issues will have a had an effect, absolutely. The low thyroid in particular will have made you feel deflated and down. You poor thing. I hope that at least the medical diagnosis helps you both see that your emotions and feelings were real and that you needed support. Obviously not good to have medical issues, but at least there is some level of validation on the emotional front.


Yes, resumption of classes will show what has and hasn't sunk in for your husband, but remember you are in a much better place now than you were. Try not to be afraid. You now have the tools to manage this much better: you have the bridge of communication with hubby, the psychologist as an impartial third party, and you have ways of helping your own perspective. You may experience a couple of bumps but I reckon you are now both in a MUCH better position to handle them with cool and grace.

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