Well, bummer. Apparently H's saying "I just want to feel closer to my W" is just code word for "I want to have sex." I'm absolutely not up for sex with him right now. In fact, this explanation came about when I tried to talk with him about my discomfort with his other physical affections (PA). I just don't want him kissing on me or touching me at all right now. I know I can't talk to him in a way that he receives well, so instead I read some quotes from a Gary Smalley book of his, which provided instructions to a LBS about appropriate PA in a sitch like ours. H still didn't take it well. He said that my rejection of his PA negated everything I did for him the last month.
So I'm trying to figure out whether to keep on course or to chuck any of my own efforts. If they can be negated with the first need/expectation I throw into the mix, I don't see that they can be that valuable to him. On the other hand, if I keep it up, then at least I don't have to hear about it. Either way, my 5-year plan is still intact. Just a matter of choosing which artillery to fend off.
CV, How much time do you spend together (just the two of you) a week? It sounds like you have both developed independent lives from the start of your marriage. While most men are ok with that, most women are not. Eventually, it's a recipe for divorce. It sounds like after two decades of a marriage where he could do what he wanted, he's suddenly being pressured to join a whole different kind of relationship- one where he actually has to participate. Men in his situation find this a very difficult adjustment, and push hard against it. I'm not saying its right, just pointing out what he feels he's up against.
It seems your husband wants closeness with you, but (in typical male troglodyte fashion) does not know how to string the words, and feelings, together to express this to you. I recommend that you spend as much time as possible alone with each other every week. Learn how to connect again.
I know, I know.....he won't, and he doesn't get it. He probably also has no idea how close to mentally divorced you are from him right now. Men don't get hints. We just don't. Two by fours work best to drive home your point - subtlety is only to be used to get points across to your female friends! The book you might want to throw at him is "his needs, her needs". It's written in a way that even thick headed men such as myself can understand. It may help him understand what your needs are that he isn't meeting, and what the consequences are if he does not.
I would forget your 5 year plan. If he doesn't read the book, or won't take action after reading it, separate from him. The condition for R should be only when he is ready to come back and commit to a marriage that you will BOTH be happy with.
My 5-year plan is strictly for my son's sake. In fact, that's probably the only thing my H and I pretty strongly agree on, that we don't want him growing up in two houses living from a suitcase.
We do things separately for the most part because he has never been good about doing *my* activities with me. I used to invest my time and energy into his activities, thinking he would reciprocate. When he didn't, I stopped doing his activities with him. At this point, we really don't enjoy any of the same things. But then nor do I really enjoy his company anymore so it's not a problem for me that we don't do things together. He would still like me to tag along after him but I pass.
My H and I have already done a separation. We've already read His Needs, Her Needs (year 3 of our M). In fact, we have a virtual library of relationship books. H is good about buying them and carrying them around, though I'm not sure if he ever reads any of them. In any case, he doesn't apply them.
There's nothing sudden about our situation. I started insisting upon a reciprocal M years ago. Our problems/arguments have actually settled down in more recent years as I've pulled away. The 5-year plan used to be an 8-year plan 3 years ago. Maybe the problems are just getting better for me because the end is getting closer and so I don't care as much.
One of the things I've read throughout the posts here on DB is that the LBS wishes their WAS would have said something, because they supposedly didn't have a clue until the WAS handed them D papers and walked out the door. Well I can say without a doubt that I HAVE told my H of the problems. If he claims he didn't know, then he'll be lying. The odd thing about our sitch in relation to the standard WAS scenario illustrated by Michele is that we've already exhausted all the avenues that are usually employed by the LBS to learn and implement changes (books, counselors, programs, etc.) Since none of them have helped us, I believe that when I leave, it really will be the end.
Ouch! Sorry to hear all of that. Well, you can lead a horse to water...... I'm amazed at his (apparent) content to live in a loveless marriage. From your writing you appear to be an intelligent woman, so I believe it when you write that you have been clear with him.
Did your marriage start off like this, or was there a time when your husband met all of your needs?
I don't believe he's content to live in a loveless M.
My husband is a salesman, not by trade but by personality. We talked about EVERYTHING before we M'd. My H had all the right answers for everything. (In fact, I think he would be really good at speaking at M seminars, as long as he didn't need any personal references.) He will promise the sun, moon, and stars to get you to buy in. He was M'd before, so he told me all the things he learned from his first failed M, like "If you have a problem, then WE have a problem. You need to tell me if you have a problem."
Of course, I brought my own dysfunction to the M, primarily co-dependency. So it took be a while to realize how warped the R was. As I've gotten better, I've gotten less and less accepting of his approach (that the R is all about him.) I wouldn't say he's content to live in a loveless M. He tries very hard to get what he used to have, using criticism, guilt, judgment, anger, pouting, etc. It just doesn't work on me anymore.
He's an alright roommate. He just doesn't have the qualities I need in a H.
I just had an epiphany.... I've always described him as a salesman, but salesmen eventually deliver even if they've embellished it. I think, rather, H is actually a con-man.
Hmmmm.... I seem to be out of ideas today. If a wife were that checked out, I think I could give her husband a good roadmap back to her heart. With a husband that checked out, however, I think that nothing short of his world crumbling will pull him off of his high perch. I wish that it wasn't so. I wish that, somehow, you could inject a healthy dose of empathy for your feelings into his brain. Alas, that injection has yet to be invented.
Thanks, Hopeful. It would be nice if there were that injection. I'm sure you would have some great advice. I think the books we read had some great advice, too. But you're right in that he has to be invested.
I simply find us completely incompatible. He's not a horrible guy, has a lot of nice qualities, should easily be able to find someone else that finds him attractive. I tried talking to him about the rationale for us staying M'd when we're both so unhappy, and why don't we just split amiably and go on about our separate lives? I explained that I don't have negative feelings for him, that I really wish him the best, that he has a lot of positive qualities, and that I want him to be happy, but it's just that he seems to be unwilling or unable to meet MY needs in this relationship, as I seem to be unable or unwilling to meet his. Call it irreconcilable differences. Why couldn't we just agree that it isn't working for either of us and part friends?
He is adamantly opposed. He says he would hate me if we D'd. He says he didn't invest 19 years just to walk away from it. I asked him what investment? It's not like he put me through college. It's not like he left his W and kids for me. It's not like he gave up his job and life and friends and moved across the country to follow me. Until the last 2 years, I've always earned more money than him. He plays golf, softball, surfs the net, watches tv. He'll clean or do (his) laundry, but it's not like he wouldn't have done all that anyway if he were single. He has put effort into raising our son, with boy scouts and homework and baseball, but it's not like he'll lose that. His investment in ME is almost nil (I can't actually think of anything, but I'm being generous.)
So simply, what is the big loss? What is the big "rejection" he refers to? What "investment"? When I asked him, he kept responding "time." Time, like a prison sentence? Then why would you want to stay?
It's amazing how simple it can be to effectively meet someone's needs when one knows what they are. It seems that you have spelled out your needs, and unless I'm missing something, they seem like the needs that most women would have. Unfortunately, simple or not, meeting someone's needs still requires both thought and action. It sounds like he wants to guilt/shame/force you into staying the wife you were for the first 17 years of your marriage rather than change. He has an outdated picture of what a marriage is. He does not see that marriage is a partnership, where you both have equal voices and decisions are made so that you are both happy. He wants to go back to where he makes himself happy, and you're just happy to be there basking in and facilitating his happiness .
I wonder what he would say he brings to the table in your (or any) marriage besides a paycheck?
I agree, he wants what he used to have and I flat-out refuse to go there again. You have him pegged pretty accurately from my perspective, but he would adamantly disagree.
I wonder what he would say he brings to the table in your (or any) marriage besides a paycheck?
I can probably answer this, because I've asked him a hundred times over the years.
First, I get a long silence. Oftentimes, he says he'll have to get back to me. If I really push for an answer right then, he gets snarky, so I don't really get positive feedback. When he has taken time to put together a list for me, it's so far from reality I can't even respond. It's his "salesman/con-man" role at its finest.
He has a very inflated value of self-worth, at least based upon his visible output. He expects me to glean great value merely from the fact that he "showed up."