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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.
Middle age relationship
An_253673 posted:
My husband and I have been married 35 years. I am 56 years old, he is 58. We have two grown sons. In the past 5 years, I have lost 35 lbs and gotten my eating habits under control. I also started working out at the same time and have established some good workout habits which includes working with a female trainer twice a week, Zumba, and a couple other 'regular' workouts at the gym. I'm no 'skinny mini', but I'm in good shape and have lots of energy. I started back to school and am almost done with an associate degree in computer science. I landed my first IT job a few months ago. I quit drinking 2 years ago and attend weekly AA meetings. I am finally doing something good for myself but I feel like my husband fights me every step of the way. He finally realized that he couldn't control my workout schedule. He knows how important it is to be to get daily exercise, even if I just go for a walk, with or without him. I would really like to attend more than one AA meeting a week, but now he complains about that too. I believe he thinks they inconvenience him because then I'm not home to do stuff with him. I get no support in this and this weekend, he told me he doesn't think I'm an alcoholic (I am - he's just uneducated in the subject). Geez, we've been married 35 years. When do I get MY time? I have come to realize that he is not my WHOLE life anymore. I've developed other activities and friends that he's not a part of (although, he has been invited to both the gym and the AA meetings many, many times - he doesn't want to go) He is a normal drinker so I don't think he understands. I've had many people, both men and women, ask why I let him control me like I do. Guess it's just easier than continually facing conflict.
So am I going nuts? I don't think this is a 'midlife' it's just that I'm finally getting out and doing things that I need to do. Do others go through this?
queston responded:
What do the two of you do together when you are home? He may be controlling, or maybe he values that companionship time more than you realize.

My wife and I are a little younger than you--our youngest child is still at home (he is 16), we both work full-time, and both have other pursuits. So our companionship time can be limited sometimes. I notice that this bothers me more than it bothers my wife. To me, it is a high priority to leave some time for companionship with her. To her, it is more like what just happens sometimes when we both happen to be home. I'm not controlling--I want my wife to be healthy and happy and to take care of herself mentally and physically and emotionally, and to have pursuits of her own. But I also want to spend time with her.

Or maybe he's just controlling, I don't know. Have you asked him? We had a counselor once recommend scheduling at least 30 minutes of one-on-one companionship every day. It could be walking the dogs, doing the dishes together, sex, whatever, but it's 30 minutes that you both set aside for being together. That was very helpful advice for us.
Littleosco replied to queston's response:
Thank you for your comments. We both like camping and hiking/walking. We have an RV and 5 acres up in the woods where we go to spend time but it seems for me to be more work to get ready to go because there are things I need to get done around here on the weekends that I have to schedule in beforehand. I really, really like it when he takes off and goes up there for the weekend by himself. It doesn't happen often, but it does sometimes. If I have a day to myself, I am absolutely giddy about the chance to schedule my own time, to do what I want, when I want without someone complaining about it. I usually throw in an extra AA meeting or 2.

He wants to do something with me every single weekend so we'll usually go walking or shopping. We both like to garden.

As far as every day time, he is in front of the TV when I get home from the gym. He has control of the remote so I generally get on my laptop (which he hates) or do some knitting. Controlling? Yes, I think he is. When he falls asleep in front of the TV (every night), I sneak the remote from him to change it to something I want to watch and nearly every time, he wakes back up, changes the station and promptly falls back to sleep!
queston replied to Littleosco's response:
The TV thing does sound a little controlling, but here's the sentence that really stuck out to me:

"He wants to do something with me every single weekend so we'll usually go walking or shopping."

You say that as if you think it's unusual or a burden to you (unless I'm misreading you). I would think that doing *some* thing together every weekend (unless someone is out of town or something) would be a minimal basic expectation for married couples. The two of you may be operating under very different assumptions about this sort of thing.

Whether I or anyone else thinks he's controlling is really not important--clearly you feel that way, and that is what matters. Have you considered seeking counseling together to talk about that? Do you talk to him about it? (I mean outside the heat of the moment, when you're angry about this or that specific thing.)
darlyn05 responded:
From what you wrote, I see it as you are doing things you want to, when you want to and so on.

You mentioned that you are a recovering alcoholic and that your husband has normal drinking habits. So I'd like to mention the possibility that a person who has drinking habits may not see or as you said fully understand the alcoholic concept. Doesn't mean that he's not being supportive.

I'd also like to mention that if some of the other persons whom are asking why do you let him control you like you do are affiliated with the AA groups, you're probably not getting any 'Unbiased' feedback. All too many AA and NA/CA groups are one-sided and selfish in a sense that nothing else matters, only the things in the group and the 'person' in the group. Which is incorrect in the grand scheme of things. Life is about balance. Which is taught in the groups, yet they seem to negate away from the balance with partners/spouses.

Are you going nuts? No I don't think so. Could this be 'midlife', oh yes. Do others go through this, oh yes again. And it has very little if anything to do with a persons alcohol status(unless of course they're in need of some intervention).

Why not mention to him that for one day, one week-end a month you'd like to just do things for you by yourself? Or one day every other week-end? And how about turning off the TV as queston mentioned and have some quality one on one time. You don't want to exclude him completely from your life and life activities do you?

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