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This Exchange simulates the original Couples Coping Support Group. It is designed to help persons with concerns in their relationships, family, marriage, seperation, divorce, etc.Offering a wide range of real world, personal experiences, information, knowledge, suggestions, & views from real people.
PLEASE HELP...
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gd9900 posted:

I'm going to give my best shot to put out there a deep rooted issue between H and I, that profoundly affects our relationship.

H and I have been together 13+ years - up until a few years ago, I believed our relationship was grounded (we have a deep rooted connection) and things between us ok for the most part. Like any couple we have issues. Two plus years ago we started having in-depth discussions regarding our happiness as individuals and as a married couple. We both felt a growing unhappiness to a degree in our relationship - something was missing...on my end it was the "us" factor, meaning he and I spending quality time together. On his end it was a feeling of aloneness. Once we married, our quality time together changed. It was a great deal less than before we married, as our careers took off and schedules were such that mine was demanding with work and kids, and his with owning his own business. It wasn't easy, but instead of focusing on today we thought we would be ok to put our "life" together on hold (sort to speak) until things settled down. Obviously that wasn't a good decision as we discovered. Yet I question if things had been different between us whether or not we wouldn't be struggling in our relationship regardless.

Having said all of this, I was shaken to the core when he shared with me he's felt alone in our marriage. Both of us experienced being alone at different times throughout the years - he worked long hours and often weekends, as I worked long hours and spent a lot of time keeping up with the kids and their ongoing affairs. Our quality time together was very sporadic however I didn't feel "alone" except physically - I knew he was with me no matter what. On his end, after we married he felt alone whether I was physically with him or not...that presence of that feeling has escalated for him as time passed.

There are several contributing factors from his past I believe to be a part this deep rooted alone feeling he has...and I think I understand why it is I didn't feel alone - at least in the way he did. He has reassured me its not my fault. He's felt this way most of his life because of the long term emotional & verbal abuse (dad), abandonment/neglect (mom), and abandonment (older sisters moving away). A year before we married, he severed the relationship with his father. NO WONDER HE FEELS ALONE! The ppl who were SUPPOSED to love him unconditionally, guide, care for, and take care of him, didn't do it!! I can't even imagine what that must do to a person...I have not experienced that which comes close to experiencing what he must have gone through. Even though he has told me its not my doing, I can't help but think I've contributed to all of this in some way. We are separated and he's trying to sort through all of this...I give him a lot of credit for taking the risk of putting our marriage at stake to take care of himself. I know it wasn't an easy decision on his part - and my lack of understanding and inability to help has possibly made this less easier for him. I love him in a way I've never loved another person - and he is that someone I want to spend my life with. We've been struggling for a couple of years and I'm not about to walk away. It's been tough because of the emotional and physical distance between us on his end, but we are communicating more often, and slowly regaining intimacy. I'm scared of what the outcome, but I want him to be happy. Is there anything I can do to help him?


I am interested to hear any experience, insights, impressions, or general questions or comments, if you are willing to share after reading this. Particularly from anyone who has experienced abuse (emotional, verbal, physical, sexual), neglect, and/or abandonment, throughout childhood with ppl closest to you - and how it affects your closest relationships today. I welcome all insights from those who have experienced any these things at a lesser degree whether as a child and/or adult. Any contributions from the experts or those who are in a relationship with someone who has been abused would also be very much appreciated.
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Anon_134786 responded:
I had issues with my real father and his whole side of the family when I was a child and even know into my 20s. When my parents divorced when I was 2 things with them got bad, my grandmother resented my mom for leaving her son and his older sister turned completely on my mom and me. She actually slapped me in the face, at around 6 and I remember that (both my mom and dad almost pressed charges against her). My dad was very agressive when it came to my eating habits, if I didn't eat enough he would hit me with a belt. This has led to me having eating issues and issues with my weight even though I am thin, I hate eating because of my father and won't eat in front of anyone. My own mother rarely spanked me and didn't find out about the belt until I was older, and she almost took my father back to court after that. When my dad remarried, his new wife hated me and when she had his children, I was rarely asked to come over on weekends.

My grandmother always was harder on me than all the other grandchildren, if her favorite got mad at me I was punished. I suffered a lot of mean comments made about my personal style when I was in high school, if I colored my hair I was called names, if my clothes or jewelery didn't fit into their style they made mean comments to the point I stopped going to their family Christmas. And it is a reason why I do not take criticism very well anymore.

I am lucky enough that my mom and stepdad showered me with constant love and affection, even my stepdads family members took me in as their own. My moms side of the family is very loving to me. But because I always seeked approval from my real father for some reason it did make it harder for me to trust people. My past relationships were with guys who abused me either physically or emotionally, my relationship now is amazing, but when we have an arguement I get very upset because I don't handle confrontation well since I have a fear of being hurt or left alone (since my father disowned me as soon as I turned 18 and called me his bastard child he never cared for), so I'm always waiting for my DBF to just leave me even though he always reassures me he has no intentions of going anywhere, I get upset if for some reason he doesn't show me affection because my mom always did but yet my father rarely hugged me so I know I need the physical affection to actually feel love, even though my DBF shows love in a different way. That is an isssue we have been working on.

Handling abuse at any level is hard, but if you have people around who truly love you and support you it makes it so much easier to let those people who hurt you go. If it wasn't for my stepdad I'd be in a bad place now but he always showed me love in the right way and never was cruel to me at all, and I have an amazing mom who is my best friend who always makes sure I'm happy and loved. Just give him some time to figure out himself but still show him you love him, it's what he needs just to know you still care for him and want him in your life. But that's just my opinion since it is what I need to help me in my relationships.
 
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gd9900 replied to Anon_134786's response:
Thank you for taking the time to share your story and the things that help you through. I'm sorry you were put in the position to encounter such terrible things in your life. Keep working on yourself and with the relationship you have with DBF.

"if you have people around who truly love you and support you it makes it so much easier to let those people who hurt you go" I know that rings true. I was there with much love and support throughout the time in his life when he decided to break ties with his father. I understand it wasn't an easy decision for him to make - what I haven't understood is how deeply he was affected by all of it. He hasn't brought it up much over the years, but when he does I reassure him he did what was best for him. His sisters have the understanding of the kind of life I simply do not - and he's closest with them. I've suggested he seek counselling and offered to pay for it. I do know if he truly felt I hurt him he wouldn't be present in my life today.

The time apart and the distance between us over these last couple of years has been difficult for me to find peace with. I respect his need for space and I totally understand this is not about me...but it affects me and my life. We're in an intense holding pattern that is not easy for either of us to cope with. I have given him my support in many (but not all) areas. Showing him love as a friend, but also backing off as a partner. If he wants more, I trust he will let me know.

Like you, physically he needs more from me than I show him at times - many times he dismisses himself when he asks for more. I admit, I've been confused by this behavior...I took it personally which I now understand didn't help any. I will keep in mind the things you've offered, and I really appreciate all that you shared.


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