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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.
Reply
 
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Anon_172747 responded:
What is the relationship like between your husband and the kids? Does he have a stronger involvement with them than you, or is it distant too? Does he feel like he never gets to spend much time with them either?

When your husband tells you that he feels alone, does he tell you what you can do to make it better, or is he so consumed in his emotions that he just accepts it as the way it is?

From all that you've said, I think his past absolutely affects all of his relationships. Because he didn't grow up in a home nurtured with love and respect, he grew up defensively- shielding himself from others, and trusting no one.

I think if you want to remain in this relationship with your husband, you need to remind him that you love and accept him unconditionally and that you will do everything possible to show him that you want a life and a future with him. Try to remember what sparks brought the two of you together, and the little things that make him happy, and try to reinstate that.

****I think that because of his past, he has a hard time believing that someone could love him/make him happy/be there for him. Therefore, you find yourself frustrated with showering him in love, but it still doesn't prove anything to him because he doesn't budge. In your case you'll have to be patient with him and continue to show him that you accept him/will be there for him.

Do you know what little things make him happy/smile/laugh? Finding things that make him do this is a start. Does he have a favorite meal that you make?
 
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gd9900 replied to Anon_172747's response:
Thank you - I appreciate your response. My son and daughter are both adults now. I'm not sure how to describe the relationship between H and my kids. They love and care for each other. There is a bond there, but not a great deal of closeness. Father's day has been year after year a disappointment for him...the kids spend the day with their father and his family. H feels hurt by this, and I understand why - he has been there on a daily basis for them for several years and their father has not. The kids don't forget H, and they take time to show him their appreciation. He has always been there to help them or give advice but they didn't click with common interests...and that was something important to him - I believe he may have felt that was a missing link between them. The opportunities were there for him to be a part of their interests. He wanted something different, and voiced his wants on occasion - but he took no action to make change. Of course, neither did I. Looking back, I wish I had picked up on his subtleties and helped find resolve with him...I figured if he really wanted something to change he would stand up for it. I didn't understand how much of an issue that was for him, but I am very clear on this now.

H is wishy-washy communicating his wants and needs with me (and others). It is confusing - yet I contribute by not pushing the issues with him. For some time now, I have been paying close attention to this behavior. Now when it happens, I work with him to help sort things out. If he doesn't have an answer, I give my support and allow him time to work through it on his own.

Thank you. I really appreciate your advice and insights. I'm hoping we can work through our issues and find our way back to a starting point of getting to know one another again...with better versions of ourselves.
 
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Jeremy3456 responded:
gd9900, I became riveted to your post when you said your husband had an emotionally and verbally abusive father and a neglectful/abandoning mother. Those were exactly my circumstances when growing up!

And like your husband, I have often felt "alone" in a relationship. Alone in a crowd in social situations also.

It's a difficult issue. He severed his relationship with his father which is probably a good thing. But lack of loving parents still leaves a gap in one's life. It's like an inner security that can never be relied on to be there. He almost certainly wanted to make a good thing of the marriage between you two and didn't want his father's interference, sabotage and unconscious bad role-modeling to take place.

But you sound wonderfully intelligent and compassionate and able to understand where he's coming from. You must understand that he's never gotten unconditional love, so his mind (and his brain really) are not used to getting what he asks for. He may have trouble asking for affection or other things because he assumes he won't get it. You may notice that he assumes his role of involvement in his relationship with you and the kids in almost a roundabout way. Or you may notice he gets very intensely involved with people and situations in an all-or-nothing manner.

Is he by any chance a sexual masochist?

One of the worst things I experience (and I suspect he's this way too) is that people misread him. At work, people have mistaken my failure to ask for things and my reticence at proactively involving myself as conspiratorial against them, or otherwise have misinterpreted it as some kind of deep hostility or uncooperativeness. Nothing could be further from reality!
In relationships, I've been the "nice guy" and I'm sure some of them have ended because I didn't initiate further overtures or exude sexual confidence. (Believe me, nice guys do finish last!) I can't imagine what the women were thinking; maybe they thought I really didn't like them somehow when in fact I wanted them to initiate/escalate the relationship because unconsciously, if I wanted to, it wouldn't happen or they'd deliberately reject.
There is a constant desire to please others, even while sometimes having lingering frustration and resentment. The goal of pleasing isn't to get a pat on the back or anything, it's to effect a stable, rewarding life that results from harmonious accomplishment with others. At least that's how my mind works---and it certainly hasn't resulted in harmony or accomplishment the way I would have liked. Many times in my mind I've wanted to say to people 'damn you! Act the way you're supposed to act!'

He probably has a deep internal mental life, too. He probably sincerely tries to please and get along. He likely also sees many other people or elements of society as raw, vile, uncaring and shallow, even in their relationship and sex lives. I do, yet I wish I were not inhibited like I am.
There were many times in my life when comfort and satisfaction took the form of merely going back to my apartment and sheltering from the everyday world for the weekend. He probably likes to be alone a lot, to reflect and think, although there is strong element of sorrow and rumination sometimes if a work or family condition isn't going right. It sounds like he is in one of those times.

He's probably frustrated that he cannot connect with people. I say "cannot" because it's like a blockage in the channels of connection occurs, especially the channels in which normally flow intuition, warmth, affection and confidence.

I recommend doing some activity with him that he likes, a dinner and movie or whatever. Buy him a small thoughtful gift maybe. You taking the initiative would be best, for example just telling him when the movie time is and that you'll pick him up (his schedule permitting of course). Little, pleasant surprises in the normal discourse of things and without fuss would be nice.
 
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gd9900 replied to Jeremy3456's response:
Thank you for your response...you've given me a lot to chew on. I will reply after re-reading and reflecting on all you've said.

A few days ago you responded to my posts in the post entitled "How to stop thinking about and feeling 'it...after reading my above posting, I'm curious - would you respond differently to me, now knowing what's been said here?
 
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gd9900 replied to gd9900's response:
I don't wish to impose on you Jeremy3456...if you are interested in more background, there is another discussion entitled "gd9900....." in this community and in the Couples Coping Support Group I started a discussion entitled "what would you call this" a little over a year ago.

No pressure here...I'll forewarn you if you decide to check out these discussions, they are somewhat lengthy. I am intrigued with your above response and constantly looking for helpful insights
 
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gd9900 replied to Jeremy3456's response:
Its funny - I've just now made a correlation I hadn't seen before now. It dawned on me as I re-read your comments with regards to work. In his case he became the "go to" guy because 1. he would perform any task asked of him, 2. he would do it well and not complain. He has a fabulous work ethic, and that's something I've admired in him. There are times I questioned why he would put his health above a work task and his response was that others (in this case people and animals) depended upon him to do his job. I pointed out that is absolutely the case when you are healthy enough to perform your tasks. I asked him to consider there are other people to fill in, in a time of his absence. Just as he would take over anothers duties in their absence.

The falling out between he and his father occurred over a business deal. He had hopes of establishing an adult relationship with his father that was different from their past relationship. His father used him once again, but in a really big way...I didn't know enough about the situation between them at the time. I saw red flags, and gingerly discussed my concerns with him. I supported his decisions without regret. As time went on, the writing on the wall revealed itself.

After that experience he decided to start his own business and worked alone for several years. At times it was hard on me because his job is very dangerous and I didn't like his being alone. I think it was good for him, he certainly gained confidence in himself and his abilities.

Then he decided to join a crew of guys we know well. That was the time IMHO when things really started to go downhill. For a while he came home often frustrated by the way they communicated and did things. I asked him why he cared so long as he was doing his part and getting paid for it. He didn't understand or agree with the chaos and it ate away at him. He started drinking (I wrote about it in "what would you call this" posting), and going to his sister's after work to vent with her. I can understand it gave her an outlet too because she was married to one of the guys in the crew. Gotta run will post more later...
 
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gd9900 replied to gd9900's response:
Talking about things with his sister was more than venting...it was about his need to be understood. They went through the same walk in life together and don't have to say anything to one another they just know what the other is thinking/feeling. I'm curious Jeremy3456 if this is something familiar in your life?

After a few very frustrating years with that crew he decided to move on and began working with another guy. Same types of frustrations, and misunderstandings. However, I've seen positive changes on his end in the past year.

But the correlation is that he's been a much happier person working alone. I think that may carry over in relationships. I do know he's started looking into himself with regards to how he relates with other people. He told me one time recently, it can't be everyone else so it must be me. So whatever it is he's struggling with, I think he's at least finding awareness and maybe working towards changing it.
 
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Jeremy3456 replied to gd9900's response:
gd9900, yes, my sister and I have a certain comeraderie in talking about our family and past family life, now that we're adults. There is good company in shared misery.

I was thinking about all these posts today and wondering how much myself and your husband really are alike. I was thinking that he probably does have a good, strong work ethic and never says 'no' to requests at work. This is before I read your two posts above!

Why don't we continue this discussion over on the other thread.


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