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    When your partner dismisses your concerns
    Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD posted:
    Get over it.
    Just stop worrying.
    That's your problem, not mine.

    These are responses that you never want to hear from your partner. They are simply not acceptable. Whenever your partner dismisses your concerns, it's a problem. Even if the issue you are raising is a small one, your partner is - in that moment - failing to show that he or she cares about you. And so their reaction to your small concern is revealing a BIG problem.

    While the topics people talk about and the activities they share in help them to build a close relationship, the actual connection between them is based more in how they feel about and treat each other. While it may seem obvious that caring is essential in any close relationship, its importance is frequently lost in the activity of our lives.

    Is this something that you struggle with? How does it come up? And, how do you handle this issue with your partner? For this and other great blogs from Dr. Becker-Phelps, please visit her here at The Art of Relationships
    stephs_3_kidz responded:
    We used to struggle with this, when we were much younger (we got married 15 years ago, I was 18 and he was 19). My husband was addicted to porn. When it bothered me, or I got angry, he'd say "That's your problem". When he picked up my paycheck one week and I didn't have money for lunch (although he didn't know I didn't have money with me) "That's your problem, you shouldn't have forgotten your purse." (well, he wasn't supposed to go to MY workplace and get MY paycheck while I was THERE, either).

    Really, the list could go on and on. I found that whenever he didn't want to discuss something or admit his part/fault in a situation, he'd throw up the "not my problem" defense.

    It's an immature thing to say, I think it's said out of pride and disrespect. As we've grown together and his heart has softened considerably, he just doesn't say it.
    An_243877 replied to stephs_3_kidz's response:
    I am struggeling with this same thing. My husband and I have been married only 3 years. Since the beggining he has been dishonest. He hid porn, lied about magazines, lied about contacting prostitutes, lied about having sexting relationships with several women and lied about going to strip clubs. Once we had our son, I was sure he would change, he only got worse. He ended up having an affair a year ago with 2 strippers. He even moved one of them up closer to our home. At this point our son was only 3 months old. I found out about the affair and he promised he would never do this again, ever. In April last year, I found craigslist on his phone. He had either posted an ad or answered one. Again once I found out he promised he would never do it again...All of this ,of course was my fault. i was the one who pushed him into this. So now we are at a year to the first affair. I have recently found out that he had been posting naked pictures and adds again on Craigslist for the last 3 or 4 months. And again came the promises, and the blame..It was all my fault.
    During this last year I had turned to alcohol to numb my pain and insecurities. I went and got help, not just for my addiction but for my depression and low self-esteem. While I was in treatment he was still posting ads. I caught him. And again the promises. I am at my wits end!!! We can talk about how horrible I was over and over again, but whenever I want to understand why he does what he does, he tells me that I haven't changed at all. He is so secretive and meen about the whole situation. He claims he doesn't have a problem, but when I think of all the porn, lying, cheating, secrets.. I think otherwise. He says he will prove to me this time, but he still hides his phone, keys to his truck and various computers. I am lost and confused. We just built a new house and our son is only 17 months. I don't know what to do, and he is constantly manipulating and dismissing me. I sent him a link to this article and he got pissed off saying that I was the one stoping the progress of our relationship. I know that I should divorce him. I am not happy, I feel unsafe, he always puts me down and is constantly looking at other women. I can't trust him at all. Whenever I bring this up he tells me that he will take everything away from me including our son. I don't work, so I am completely reliant on him monetarly, which he also holds against me, yet he doesn't want me to work.
    How can I salvage this relationship...or should I. I need help understanding him and me. I have started caring more about myself and have gained more confidence. I can now look at this situation with a clear head and I don't like what I see. I feel trapped, scared, hurt, angry, lost and confused. Help..can this get better?!?!? What can I say that won't make him close down and cheat again, as he says he only does it when things are bad.
    inlandcutie1969 replied to An_243877's response:
    Damn!!!! I feel for u ,but only you can change ur problem.A man is only going to do what you let him do.And ur man knows ur jus going to complain and thats it.If u really feel unsafe with him and he's tearing u down as a women,you need to get rid of his as&.You can do bad by yourself.What about your parents or close friends,can you stay with someone else until you get on your feet? And remember since he is the bread winner you can get child support from him,and spousal support,that will be some income for you and and your baby.GOOD LUCK!!!
    Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD replied to An_243877's response:
    You are in an awful spot, but you have more of the answers in you than you realize. Listen to what you are saying- at least, this is what I hear: You believe that his actions are not acceptable and that he is not taking responsibility for them. You know you should divorce him, but you are afraid to do this because he is the breadwinner and he has threatened to take away everything.

    If my understanding is correct, then the first thing you can do to help yourself is to stop undermining yourself and what you already know. You don't like what you see when you look at your situation. You don't think his behavior is acceptable. Just because you don't know what to do does not mean that you have to stay and find ways to try to control his behavior (which you know you cannot do-- and please remind yourself of this regularly). Even not knowing what to do, you can still know that being with him isn't working.

    If I am describing this accurately, then the question isn't how you can change him (impossible, only he can do that), but what you need to do to make your life better. I assume from what you've said that you are seeing a therapist -- I hope you are talking this through with him or her. If you don't have a therapist, please get one. A good therapist can help you think more clearly about the situation and decide you to proceed.
    kareleeann replied to An_243877's response:
    If u stay in this relationship and continue to let him treat u this way, he will suck the life out of you. One day u will wake up and find you have no joy, nothing left, and when he finally leaves, and he will, you will find that u have the biggest hole in your heart. At first u will think it is because he left u. But the hole in your heart is not because he left but because you gave him everything u had to give,and he took it , stomped it, disregarded it .I was there, right where u are. 18 years. 6 years later I am still the shell of the person I used to be. that hole in your heart, thats your joy and your ability to love and be loved and sometimes u cant get it back. things are bad because HE is making them that way! It is not about you, it's about him. You cant fix him and i know u think u can. he's a taker and whatever it is that he needs, u cant give him. Make your own decision to get out before he makes it for u.
    ldycheroke57 replied to An_243877's response:
    " I need help understanding him and me."

    This speaks volumes in light of all the nonsense in the previous paragraphs. Your partner has lied, cheated, and been unfaithful again and again and again. And you still think it can get better if you only understand better? Or perhaps you believe that his behavour is your fault or if you could only be different, or say the right thing, or not say the wrong thing, then he would change? You are in a classic abusive relationship. No matter how much you change to please him, he will continue doing as he pleases because the payoff works for him and there are no consequences for his shameful behavior. He is an addict (sexual addiction) and will not or cannot change. You cannot help him with this. You are enabling him to continue in his addiction because you tolerate it (by staying).

    1. Stop having sex with this man before he gives you an incurable or possibly fatal STD.
    2. Stop acting like everything is OK- it's NOT OK.
    3. Don't believe his lies and promises to change.
    4. Start making plans for getting out of this destructive relationship.
    5. Join a support group.
    6. Make an appointment with a Therapist.

    You are going to need all the support and help you can get. I don't believe there is much hope for change in this relationship: certainly not while you still live with him and are willing to tolerate his behavior and accept his promises and lies. Get strong, work on your self esteem, which no doubt has taken a real battering. Surround yourself with supportive friends and break your silence and confide in a trustworthy friend or at least a Therapist. Start saving money, gather your papers, formulate an exit plan. When you are ready, you will know, and having a plan beforehand will make it easier to do so.

    Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt.
    fcl replied to ldycheroke57's response:
    I agree with absolutely everything this poster said. To OP, if you cn't find the motivation to actually do any of the above, ask yourself if you want your son growing up and thinking that this is the way that you treat the woman you love ... You are not doing him any favours by staying in the appallingly abusive relationship. You are worth so much more.
    There's nothing inherently dirty about sex, but if you try real hard and use your imagination you can overcome that.
    dfromspencer replied to An_243877's response:
    An, being a man myself, i was really hurt for you! How in the world did you ever fall in love with this guy?, was my first thought. Of course, he never would have shown that side of himself during courtship! I cant and wont apollogise for that childs behavior! You did not mary a man! Sorry, truth hurts. He doesn't want to grow up, he fears losing his freedom! There is nothing you yourself can do, except leave him. And i dont mean until he promises he wont ever do it again. He will! The only way that he will grow up is over time. For some men, and even some women, that could be a long time! So, the only way to get yourself better is to get away from this child and take your baby with you! Dont give in to his promises, and never let him take that baby by himself. You CAN do this! You said yourself that you have gotten stronger. Do this, and you will get over him, no matter how much you love him! Find someone who will put you first, that is the way a man should treat you!!! Good luck!!!
    An_169158 replied to An_243877's response:
    The only difference I can see in your post is that my exhusband beat me. You already know there is a problem. However, you need to realize that you don't deserve any of his throw offs.
    I had 3 kids and I realized I was so miserable I was bringing my kids down with me and making them miserable. I wanted better for my kids and me. One day it hit me like I had walked into a brick wall. You have to make YOU HAPPY first.
    Find extra time in your day to do your nails to get out and exercise! I would walk 3 miles each day at about 3.5mph the fast pace not only helped me loose a little weight, but I found energy throughout the day I never had before. I started telling myself I was beautiful anything I could to pep me up. I checked into going back to school, found a part time job and I filed for divorce!
    Once you make yourself happy and feel better about YOU, you will find you can do anything! You deserve better! Only YOU can do this for YOU!
    Don't let any man drag you down, be a good Mom and he can't take your child from you! The judge will make him pay child support. depending on the state you live in, gather your evidence...he might have to pay alimony! He certainly should it sounds as if he is being mentally abusive and controlling. You could most certainly use counseling for that. Plus it will back your case in court for the judge to award you the divorce. Just remember YOU are the only one right now that can pick you up.
    I listened to a song by Jo Dee Messina called Bring on The Rain every day. No matter how bad it got, I was determined to get up dust myself off and be happy. Easier said, but if I could do it, so can you!
    Chin Up and BE HAPPY!!!
    fcl replied to An_169158's response:
    An_169158, I'd just like to say thank you for your story. You are an insipiration! I really love positive stories and yours is a winner! Thank you again
    There's nothing inherently dirty about sex, but if you try real hard and use your imagination you can overcome that.
    mamareese replied to An_243877's response:
    I understand, I have been there. He won't change. Instead of trying to understand him, you have to learn to love yourself. You both are stuck in a cycle. If you really love him and your son, find the strength to break the cycle. I am on my second marriage like this. I am determined to break the cycle for MYSELF and for my future children. It is this cycle that keeps me from having children with my currrent husband. I WILL NOT LET MY SON OR DAUGHTER GROW UP TO BE THE SAME WAY. KEEP that in the FRONT OF YOUR MIND. Your son is learning from your husbands example. You are raising anothe man to be the same way. email me anytime, maybe we can help each other love ourselves.
    Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD replied to An_243877's response:
    An_243877, I really hope you are reading all of these posts. And, I hope they are helping give you some strength to do the things you need to do to make your life better.

    Personally, I have just reread most of these posts, and I find it inspiring. Seeing this outpouring of sharing and support makes me feel really good about being part of this community. Thank you all.
    lindsay_marie76 replied to Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD's response:
    I want to thank everyone who has replied and read my story. I know what I should do, and I am in therapy. My therapist agrees with everything everyone has said. I know it's me, I have to love myself, I Have to get out. I know this is a cycle, I just didn't realize it was ABUSIVE until I read your responses. It is so sad and wrteched. No he is not the man I married. He was not like this when I first met him, although now I realize he had been lying to me the whole time. he was hiding who he was, and I do agree he will not change. He may want to but he seriously can't. I know that if I stay with him it will only result in one more heartbreak after another. I know I am enabling him and the real honest truth is probably more horrible than I can even imagine. I am stuck. I feel lost, but I appreciate all the comments and advice. i need to take this one day at a time and stop him when I here the defenses and the manipulation. I know it will end in fights but it will make me stronger in his eyes so that letting me go will be something he wants to do. thank you again and again. Life is mysterious and sad sometimes. I can't wish or have any expectations at all cause that only results in utter devestation. All of your words have proved to me that I am not alone and it is not ME. Thank you

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