Not Sure What To Do..

I have been married for 7 years, have one toddler son, and am expecting a second child in a couple of months. I have always had problems with my husband, even before we were married. We've gone to couples therapy in the past, to great improvement in our situation each time. My husband is a wonderful father.

We have been fighting constantly over the past few months. My husband bottles all his anger and frustration up, and then he explodes when it boils over. He is not physically abusive. Perhaps is emotionally abusive to a minor degree--I do not think it is his intention to be this way, and he doesn't realize sometimes how hurtful the things he says are. When he gets angry, he says things that don't make much sense to me (and I don't think he remembers what he says afterward), but I am sure that he says certain things if for no other reason than to push my buttons. I am normally a very calm person, and I can address my frustrations in an adult way as soon as they arise. But, we have gotten into this terrible cycle of him blowing up at me (which to me feels like a toddler's temper tantrum), me getting so angry at what he's saying to me that I immediately become defensive, and then we're both angry and stressed out for 2-4 days. I hate this--this time takes me to such a dark place emotionally and mentally. He also brings out the laundry list of complaints that he has, most of which are exaggerated or contain untruths, but he's convinced himself that it is as he says.

The thing is, I am not unreasonable. If he has a complaint or wants to talk about something that we or I can improve on, I am totally willing to listen and earnestly work to improve whatever is the source of his frustration. But, if he just explodes at me, I cannot see past that behavior to try to dissect what his probably valid frustration is. And after we fight, he just wants to call "truce", but never wants to go back and talk about what happened and how we can fix things.

I also feel that he is extremely selfish. He comes and goes as he pleases with his sports training. I am happy that he has a healthy hobby and takes it seriously, however it's assumed that I will always be home with our son, and he can just come and go as he pleases. I am aware that I have permitted this to develop by not sticking up for myself and my time. I have started to let him know when I need to do things and he will have to stay with our son. I think he is not used to this, and this may frustrate him.

But, I am easy-going and it's easy for me to go with the flow, and try to do what he wants and be flexible around his schedule in an effort to avoid him getting angry about so many things. I have found that this doesn't work. He gets angry anyway. So, I have been sacrificing my happiness and desires because I am afraid of fighting and feeling the way I do when we fight.

I have come to a point that I realize my life is mostly gone as I knew it. I don't have friends--my relationship with him has slowly plucked them from my life. It's easier to just distance myself from friends than have to justify/explain his actions to my friends, or have them somehow get involved in our drama. Unfortunately I have made these choices.

When we first got married, I was pursuing my career. We started a company together, to be his main job, which took off. Eventually, the financial benefit of us making this company our primary career was great enough to where I put my career on hold. The company is quite dependent on me taking care of all office work and bookkeeping, and it's also dependent upon my husband running the field operations, which he does well. However I look back and I think that I have missed an opportunity to do something that I was interested in and studied for so many years, and now if I were to start to pursue my career, I'd be 6-8 years behind in terms of salary and experience. But, I know that not everyone has the luxury of having their dream job. In fact I would have no problem continuing to work in our company since I know that it will give my children a great future. However, when I combine this abandonment of my career with everything else that is going on, I see it as another poor decision that I have made and a missed opportunity.

Also, to complicate things, he allows our conflicts in working together to boil over into our married life. That is unfair to me as his business partner and his spouse.

When I was pregnant with my first, we were going to counseling, and he was very attentive and accommodating and I think he did learn to deal with his frustrations better because he didn't want to stress me out, or stress out the baby I was carrying. This time, however, there is little consideration for my stress level or our fighting. I get help carrying heavy things and taking care of my son, yes. But my needs are greater than just physical help during my pregnancy. I need a low stress level and tranquility in my house more than anything.

I have told him that we need to return to counseling urgently. He refuses and says that it didn't help before, since everything has gone back to the way it was. If he really believes what he is saying, then his experience in going through counseling is completely opposite from mine. Our couples therapist suggested we each pursue counseling individually. I took her recommendation to work on myself and my issues, and I have felt a huge improvement in my life because of it. My husband did not pursue individual therapy for himself.

I don't want to live this way anymore. When our second is born, I am sure that our situation will become even worse because having a second child is a huge life change, and we need to be working as a team when this happens in order to weather it--we are clearly not. My mom is going to come and stay with us for a while to help me recover from the surgery and help with my son. I am scared that she will witness our dysfunction, or worse, get drawn into it. But I need her help, and there is no one else. So, I am worried that I will send her back home pre-maturely so that she doesn't have to see too much of our interaction, and not have anyone there to help my needs for rest and recovery met.

I love my husband more than ever, strangely. I don't know what to do. I think that he is a good person with bad behaviors that he has learned over the years and maybe doesn't realize how bad he acts. I want to stay with him and I don't want to disassemble this life we've made together. But, if he is unwilling to do his part to work on our problems or address our dysfunction, what other option do I have? I am realizing that continuing to live this way causes me to become depressed, anti-social, and just plain sad. I remember myself as being such a vibrant, adventurous person. Now I think that I am a miserable person because of my circumstances. I don't want my kids to see a couple relate in this way, and I don't want them to have a sad, miserable mommy.

I would welcome your help/experiences. Sorry so long, but it felt good to get it out.

jlkb jlkb
4 Responses Sep 9, 2011

I have been married for 33 years to a man that sounds exactly like your husband. One of my biggest regrets is my two daughters telling me there memories were full of our arguments and seeing me be angry frustrated and crying. After all these years of prayer bowing down and trying to make things all right by letting him be in control and living our life the way he wanted too I now find myself at 54 years old and regretting waisting mine and my daughters lives. I now have to face the fact that I now at my age and with all the problems that have manifested because of the emotional abuse have got to try and muster the strength to get out and try to salvage what little is left of my time here. Please get counseling don't w assist the years you could be happy. A happy mom is a h spy child. He can still be there dad. It just not be the best for you! I wish you well!

Update: because my husband does not wish to pursue counseling, we have agreed to separate. I still made an appointment with our marriage counselor for this week, and put it on his schedule. I hope he will come. Even if it's to help us navigate our separation, I want to return to counseling with him.<br />
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He's very hostile toward me--unfortunately until after the baby is born, he will have to stay in our house because of the assistance I will require. So, I'm not looking forward to the next several months.<br />
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I have requested that we sit down and make an agreement for dividing up housework and child care--when I ask him for something like this, his typical reaction is to give some vague answer about when we can talk about this, and then I either have to bug him about it a million times, or we never talk about it. This time I asked him to make a specific appointment in his calendar, and he got very angry with me for that. Unfortunately, as is the pattern, I will follow up with him tomorrow or the next day for a specific time to talk about this, and he will get angry with me for following up with him. <br />
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At this point, I am realizing that I have to put aside my love for him--it is irrelevant with respect for us preserving our marriage. Of course that will translate into respect for him as the father of my children, and concern for his happiness. "Sometimes love is not enough" is true. I can't love someone into acting in a respectful way or wanting to be a good husband. I can only be responsible for the way I act, and my decisions.

nice to know I'm not alone, Delightful99.

All I can say is, I relate!