Young and Confused, Or Mature and In Denial?

I have a tendency to keep a journal but usually only write in it when I'm upset, so here's my journal entry from last night.  My husband is ~23 years older than me and a type II diabetic. I am 26 and he is 48. He owns a business and I see him in the morning before he leaves and at night, where we usually always eat past 8 PM once he gets home. I cook, I shop, I have two part time jobs and two dogs and two cats. I am smart, two Master's degrees and a Pilates equipment instructor. People call me a genius, I'm not so sure. 

So the husband came home last night talking on the phone.  It wasn't strange, he's usually on the phone, so after he comes in I keep working and he keeps talking. He forgot to get vegetables as he told me he would this morning ("Don't worry about it, I'll take care of everything" to which I was, now I know appropriately so, skeptical). So I didn't have dinner prepared since I was waiting on the vegetables, and this means his blood sugar is going to be out of whack because he hasn't eaten. He doesn't even say anything about the vegetables; I know he doesn't have them, it's after 8, he hasn't even thought about it. 

In fact, he hasn't really thought about anything at home in a long time. Am I really "his life" when there is no evidence that he actually puts any thought into it?  I have planned our vacations since the very first one, pay the bills ,clean the house, maintain our family respect and have grown our family name in the community, but sometimes I feel like it's all a farce.  He couch-potatoes out and the only evening activity he is capable of is watching TV.  It is sad. Last night I was sitting in the corner watching him watch Judo and remembering my grandfather watching the boxing matches. I felt no endearment, but rather: if your mind is really so stressed and the weight of the world so big on your shoulders, why are you sitting here watching these stupid sweaty men go at each other, over and over and over and over? 

I feel as if he takes his stress out on me. After he's off the phone I mention some water in the garage because of the heavy rains this week, and he blows up “GOD DAMN IT just another ******* thing I have to deal with” and he’s stomping up the stairs.  He stops on the main level to tell me he’s not mad at me though. He's shaking his finger at me as he does so.  I feel his blood sugar is messed up so it's best if I'm not in the vicinity. I let him sweep the garage himself and instead go back to cleaning and laundry in the basement. 

After he's finished, I ask him how bad the water was and he says something about the entire cause of it being some foot mat I had purchased, intimating it was my fault. I say you can’t blame it on the mat because the garage flooded all the time before the mat was placed there. And once he caught my subtle response to his own subtle jab, OH GAME AFOOT!

He blows up, again saying the entire flooding problem was because of this tiny mat (????) and then out of the blue accuses me of being jealous that two women from our yacht club are hanging out together. He said my whole demeanor changed when one of them had called me this evening, and I just have to roll my eyes (I am a loner, I am a solo flyer, I do not care).  Now when we get to this point now I just want him away from me, so I go to the basement and start vacuuming.  However, I'm pissed that he's yet again come home fired up and yet again lighting in to me.  I'm a spunky person, I call him a bastard under my breath and say "**** You." because DAMN IT this is supposed to be my happy life and he comes home all ****** up every night and it's even hard for me to keep the illusion going anymore. He stomps downstairs with the "What? What did you just say to me?!?" and I keep vacuuming and ask him only to please go away. He ends with "Boy, you're just an unpleasant person." (projection is a funny thing)

While I am vacuuming, he is showering in the shower of the bathroom with the kitty litter box I clean almost daily and the fresh shower curtain I had washed just yesterday. I pause to wonder when the last time was that he did something thoughtful solely for me. 

I have a feeling he’s not thinking about me, about our home life.  He’s not thinking about the dinner he told me not to worry about.  Instead, somehow it’s my fault that he didn’t choose to stop by another grocery store because the one he’d intended to stop by was closed, it’s my fault because he just wanted to come home and relax and didn't have the courtesy to call me so I could start preparing dinner. I have the feeling he is trying to blame everything on me. 

**** it. I cannot have children with this genetically inept man. I realize that I have not done anything this evening except hint back about the mat and the message he was sending. This is weird; I am confused. I feel as if I should get out while I’m still ahead, but how bad is it that I wonder if I can get the financial security with someone else.  Maybe I am scared to build it for myself. Maybe I think I can't build security for myself.

Get your PhD, a small voice cries. Go to Deutschland, meet your next phase in life.  You can do better than this. 

Showering for him after work has lately been a rare thing.  He usually slugs out when he’s home and doesn’t shower until he goes to bed if at all. Evidently he showered because he was leaving. "I’m leaving.” “Where are you going?” “Away from here” (he’d been home approximately half an hour??) … And he’s freshly showered.  He's gone for an hour and a half and I have no idea where he went and won't ask either. 

For me, his walking out and not telling me where he is going was the point, pre-determined, where ballsy Elizabeth (that's me) had decided to get up and walk out. Walking out on someone sets a dangerous precedent, and if he's capable of doing it now, he's capable of doing much worse once I have kids except then I would be stuck.  Yes, yesterday evening we hit the predetermined point for Elizabeth, if she only didn’t have to pack so damned much. Damn there’s a lot of stuff here. And ballsy Elizabeth must also be smart Elizabeth.  Smart Elizabeth currently has a bankroll of around $2500.

We've barely spoken since then, I feel like some cord has snapped and I feel totally apathetic (or maybe not totally, otherwise I wouldn't be writing this). I can’t say anything, I have no idea what to say.  I’m not pleased. I don't know if I'm being taken or if I am in fact the huge *****. I am confused. I am scared, I feel like I am on Let's Make a Deal and I have the option to choose the grand prize or keep the prize that I have, but that I also run the risk of choosing the door with the chicken coop behind it. I just know that neither of us are getting any younger.

Thanks for listening.


NotYoungForever NotYoungForever 26-30 13 Responses Sep 19, 2009

Your Response


I feel like my husband stole my youth...I loved him... married him at 19... had children... s ipoortwd him thru rough. Years. Built our finances... yet it isn't good enough unless we can brag in front of someone and I the prized cow.. t his is new... I hate it!

sorry to hear your story: I was in similar situation

I thought that we would be the few that made it. He was 25 years older. Been together on and off for 22 years. The age range did not make much difference until the past few years.

Him 70 and me 44. I learned so many lessons to list. We remain friends but separated now. Never thought back when I was 22 and he was 48 that there would be issues.

Married him for love. Our age difference and the stages we are in life now are so different now.

He has become mean and bitter about his aging and angry of my youth. Never saw it coming. He once was so confident and nice. I trusted everything he once said only to find out the past few years much of it was never true.

Its easy to control someone younger until they get older like me now in my 40's not a little girl anymore who once had father issues.

Once you get past the father issues stages in life you want a partner not a father figure husband.

Long story but I would say anyone over 15 years age difference should not get married.

You have just described typical married life. Hey, it's not easy being married. It's WORK. It takes two working together to make it work nicely. It's not "supposed" to be happy all the time. It is what it is. YOU make it what it is. Both of you. "for better or for worse" babe. I'm in a similar relationship, so I understand. Except I am the one that wants some attention. I give and give and give, and still she complains about everything. "for better or for worse" babe.

Yeah, thanks for that. After a few rounds of it you realize that those things happen no matter who you're with. WE've been married almost five years now and have learned from one another so instances like this are fewer and farther between. You're right, it's work - and it's worth it.

I am in the same boat. I am married to a man that is seventeen years older than me. He is constantly blaming me for every little thing that has gone wrong. He has moved me into a house that is secluded. He has also sold our vehicle that we had together and obtained another with which only his name is on. He has cut off my cell phone and will not unlock the house phone while he is gone. I am so scared and confused. He was not like this before we were married and this is totally blowing my mind. He woke up this morning, got out of bed, turned to me and said "I hope you die *****." Please, what can I do???

> I hope you die *****
Wow... that means that the marriage and the connection have completely died. I don't think this has anything to do with him being older, though. It's a problem of a different dimension.

It seems very curious that a man should refuse sex and so often. There are the usual medical reasons but apart from that there are other reasons. Its not about you its about something very different in his life.

Yesterday evening I waited patiently for him to post something on the internet, "real quick," for an hour and a half. Halfway through I suggested for times' sake that he use my computer because his got some type of virus. We'd just come home from eating. I'd dropped hints that I wanted to be physical

Can someone tell me what is up with men not wanting to make love because they are too full? Always?? This I do not get. I asked him, "Okay, you tell Me what are the appropriate conditions for love-making." There's always some reason not to. He gets mad at me when after an hour and I half I ask him to spend some time with me. He gets mad - what is up with that?

I am to the point of tears often, and I told him it's ****** up that I have to ask for his affection and then that I get turned down. Sex and affection should be rewards, not more work. It should not be work.

Why do some men act like it's just work? I am twenty years younger, anatomically perfect, and great in bed. What. is. his. problem.

- wearing thin

Oh My God! I have a very big age differece as well. I's so scared that this is going to become the same of worse! Does anyone want to meet to talk?

Oh My God! I have a very big age differece as well. I's so scared that this is going to become the same of worse! Does anyone want to meet to talk?

Does anyone else feel they have to express themselves in a certain way or be stonewalled? I cannot show any emotion when I speak, lest I give him reason to disengage because I'm "out of control".

What a ****** situation, and worse off I cannot see my own role in this. Sure, I ask him (nag) to do things in the house like fix his broken toilet and mow the yard or put a nail here or there, but it's not every day and if he were proactive he would be doing it all without having to be asked in the first place. Are there proactive males out there who don't mind work?!?! I have a total couch potato.

Is this all because I don't have a job that makes $2600+ a month? I am making more all the time but I still make right under $1000 a month. I wonder if I will get more respect and compassion if I play a more equally financial role. But then does that mean he has to play a more equally domestic role? He's not totally uninvolved, but he does very little. I can't do it all. What a bust.

Gah, so confused. I feel like my brain is getting to the point where it can't rationalize this any more. And then I think, "Well, after I have my period I'll feel totally different about the situation." He often blames PMS for our problems. Admittedly, after my period I have so much estrogen you could crush one of my toes and I'd probably still feel overwhelmed with love.

I read this on the net about abuse being tied into compassion:

You Are Not the Cause of Your Partner’s Anger or Abuse

Anger and abuse in relationships are about blame: "I feel bad, and it's your fault." Even when resentful, angry, or emotionally abusive people recognize their behavior, they are likely to blame it on their partners: "You push my buttons," or, "I might have overreacted, but I'm human, and look what you did!"

Angry and abusive partners tend to be anxious by temperament. From the time they were young children, they've had a consistent sense of dread that things will go badly and they will fail to cope. They try to control their environment to avoid terrible feelings of failure and inadequacy.

The strategy of trying to control others fails even if they are powerful, for the simple reason that the primary cause of their anxiety is within them, not in their environment. It springs from one of two sources: a heavy dread of failure or fear of harm, isolation, and deprivation.

The Silent Abuser

Not all emotional abuse involves shouting or criticism. More common forms are “disengaging” – the distracted or preoccupied spouse - or "stonewalling" – the spouse who refuses to accept anyone else’s perspective.

While verbal abuse and other forms of emotional abuse can be roughly equal between men and women, stonewallers are almost exclusively male. Biology and social conditioning make it is easier for men to turn off emotions. The corpus callosum – the part of the brain that connects its two hemispheres is smaller in men, making it easier for them to shut out information from the emotionally-oriented right hemisphere. On top of that slight biological difference, social conditioning promotes the analytical, unemotional male on the one hand or the strong silent type on the other.

The partner who stonewalls may not overtly put you down. Nevertheless, he punishes you for disagreeing with him by refusing even to think about your perspective. If he listens at all, he does so dismissively or impatiently.

The disengaging husband says, "Do whatever you want, just leave me alone." He is often a workaholic, couch potato, womanizer, or obsessive about sports or some other activity. He tries to deal with his inadequacy about relationships by simply by not trying – no attempt means no failure.

Both stonewalling and disengaging tactics can make you feel:

Unseen and unheard


Like you don't count

Like a single parent

What All Forms of Abuse Have in Common

Whether overt or silent, all forms of abuse result from failures of compassion; he/she stops caring about how you feel. Compassion is the lifeblood of marriage; failure of compassion is its heart disease.

It would be less hurtful if your partner never cared about how you felt. But when you were falling in love, he/she cared a great deal. So now it feels like betrayal when he or she doesn't care or try to understand. That’s not the person you married. Failure of compassion can feel like abuse.

Harmful Adaptations to Anger and Abuse: Walking on Eggshells

The most insidious aspect of abuse is not the obvious nervous reactions to shouting, name-calling, criticism or other demeaning behavior. It's the adaptations you make to try to prevent those painful episodes. You walk on eggshells to keep the peace or a semblance of connection.

Women are especially vulnerable to the negative effects of walking on eggshells due to their greater vulnerability to anxiety. Many brave women engage in constant self-editing and self-criticism to keep from "pushing his buttons." Emotionally abused women can second guess themselves so much that they feel as though they have lost themselves in a deep hole.

Recovery from walking on eggshells requires removing focus from repair of your relationship and your partner and placing it squarely on your personal healing. The good news is that the most powerful form of healing comes from within you. You can draw on your great inner resources by reintegrating your deepest values into your everyday sense of self. This will make you feel more valuable, confident, and powerful, regardless of what your partner does.

No One Escapes the Effects of Abuse

Families do not communicate primarily by language. That might surprise you, until you consider that humans bonded in families for millennia before we even had language. Even today, the most sensitive communications that have the most far-reaching consequences to our lives occur between parents and infants through tone of voice, facial expressions, touch, smell, and body posture, not language.

Though less obvious than interactions with young children, most of your communications with your older children and with your husband also occur through an unconscious process of emotional attunement. You psychologically and even physically tune in your emotions to the people you love. That’s how you can come home in one mood, find your husband or children in a different mood and, bam! – all of a sudden, out of nowhere, you’re in their mood. Quite unconsciously, you automatically react to one another.

Emotional attunement, not verbal skills, determines how we communicate, from our choice of words to our tone of voice. If attuned to a positive mood, you are likely to communicate pleasantly. If you’re in a negative mood, your words will be less than pleasant.

Now here’s the really bad news. Due to this unconscious, automatic process of emotional attunement, your children are painfully reactive to the walking-on-eggshells atmosphere between your husband and you, even if they never hear you say a harsh word to one another.

Everyone in a walking-on-eggshells family loses some degree of dignity and autonomy. You become unable to decide your own thoughts, feelings, and behavior, because you are living in a defensive-reactive pattern that runs largely on automatic pilot. No fewer than half the members of these unfortunate families, including the children, suffer from clinical anxiety and/or depression. (“Clinical” doesn’t mean feeling down or blue or worried, it means that the symptoms interfere with normal functioning. You can’t sleep, can’t concentrate, can’t work as efficiently, and can’t enjoy yourself without drinking.) Most of the adults lack genuine self-esteem (based on realistic self-appraisals), and the children rarely feel as good as other kids.

When it comes to the more severe forms of destructiveness, purely emotional abuse is usually more psychologically harmful than physical abuse. There are a couple of reasons for this. Even in the most violent families, the incidents tend to be cyclical. Early in the abuse cycle, a violent outburst is followed by a honeymoon period of remorse, attention, affection, and generosity, but not genuine compassion. (The honeymoon stage eventually ends, as the victim begins to say, “Never mind the damn flowers, just stop hitting me!”) Emotional abuse, on the other hand, tends to happen every day. So the effects are more harmful because they’re so frequent.

The other factor that makes emotional abuse so devastating is the greater likelihood that victims will blame themselves. If someone hits you, it’s easier to see that he or she is the problem, but if the abuse is subtle – saying or implying that you’re ugly, a bad parent, stupid, incompetent, not worth attention, or that no one could love you – you are more likely to think it’s your problem.

Important questions to ask of yourself:

Do I like myself?

Am I able to realize my potential?

Does everyone I care about feel safe?

Do my children like themselves?

Are they able to realize their fullest potential?

Do they feel safe?

My God!
Thanks you for posting this! I have been in a marraige with a man fort years older than me for seven years now and have been struggling to try to understand his behavior. The thing you posted on abuse, the stonewaller is exactly what he does. Some of the phrases quoted could be from my husband!
And I am always left feeling that he is a monster, but then he uses phsycology to confuse me and then in the end I feel like it is all my fault and sometimes I feel like I want to commit suicide.

Early on in our marraige he worked things so that I am totally dependent on him. I have no family,and I am starting to feel like he took advantage of me as a young, hurt, confused, lonely, and desperate person and now I am his prisoner slave and I don't know what I can do to get out of the situation.

Thanks for sharing, it's very enlightening to know that stonewalling is an abuse - i have been trying to understand it as an indication of need for me to be more patient, to understand that he had a bad past and I have to make every effort to help him, and that I need to work for our relationship to continue. He's of the same age as I am but every time I make a 'wrong move', he avoids me, cut off our communication, and that puts me in a hell of pain until he responds to my phone calls and messages. this happened thrice in the first 6 months of our relationship. Since then I feel like walking on eggshells. These two information on types of abuse are really helpful. Thanks for sharing.

Run don't walk away!

Let's face it sexlessgirl, You are on the "slippery slope and gaining speed as you go!

Speaking of prizes I think you got the BOOBY PRIZE.!

Look at what is happening to your life right now and realize that it is only going to get worse.

You are not going to impact this idiot's life for good... no way!

If you are truly as successful as you stated earlier in your posting, then give yourself a good swift kick in the hind end and make tracks outa there as fast as your little legs will take you!

You've got too much to live for and why waste it on this ungrateful clown.

Thankfully you don't have little ones (yet) who will be abused, warped and twisted by his boorish behavior.

Its long past time for you to bail out and rid yourself of this parasite.

Like I said earlier ...its only going to get worse the longer you permit this injustice to be dumped on you.

If you have a martyr complex then dismiss all that I've said up to this point.

Otherwise, get out while the gettin is good!

I read this from a journal entry almost a year ago, from October 2008:

"I feel like I am sacrificing my good days for the business. My husband is there now more than ever before, and as a result there is never any time to plan activities except a late night movie every three weeks, an occasional drink out, or I wanted someone I could just spend time with. Quality time.

I want more from my marriage. I want more from my marriage.

It’s not that I’m too dependent, I never see him anyway. Am I exaggerating? Do I just need to eat?"

Thanks 1Babe for your comment. One night I did move to the guest bedroom and he stomped in there and said "Why are you in here?! Why are you sleeping in another room? You are sleeping in another room as if we have problems!" and then he storms back off to bed. I don't think he spoke to me for two days. What a childish way of communication.

We communicate childishly. If something I say he doesn't like he gets super offended but yet he can say anything to me, it's just "jokes" and I'm "too sensitive"... the "jokes" I recognized in the first two years of our relationship (we've now been together six years). Little jeering, kinda making fun of you statements that are not funny but you're expected to laugh just to show you have a sense of humor and can let stuff brush off your back. I don't know how normal it is. Maybe normal for guys in a locker room after football practice but other than that it's just injurious. Especially since I dont' talk to him like that. Maybe the "jokes" are just a more male form of communication? Sometimes I think he's dumb and so simple and so I shouldn't get upset. Sometimes I think he's sinister and looking to take out his frustrations on me in an insidious way.

I've been looking back over my earlier journals and I notice some common threads. However, there are always two sides to every story and that's where I want to be fair. I want to give him a fair shake but the more and more I look at it, I just don't want to believe. I think women do a lot of fantasizing to fill the holes in their relationships...

If I were you. I'd move into a spare room and not associate myself with him or his moods. I'd avoid him all together and wait to see if he misses the things you do for him. It will either make him wake up or you'll have the answer- that he just doesn't care.

Then you can make plans for something else.

no. that won't do it. I am married to a man 16 years older than i am and have been married to him for almost 17 years. We have to kids, 14 and 16 and I cannot regret it because they are so awesome. HOwever, he has a lot of health problems, including diabetes and also spends way too much time watching tv and I can't motivate him to do things with me. This is the first time I have really felt the age difference, and yet I feel part of it is just his own lethargy. I love the guy but get tired of doing pretty much everything around the house. Would I marry him again if I could go back...probably...we have a great life in many ways, but I do feel the age difference now and feel I need a more adventerous world than he is up for.