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2 steps forward 1 step back....and this is the only place I can talk about this

halo1998's picture

Ugh....folks I'm tired...just tired.  Not really asking for advice but more just need somewhere to say these things.

I had a very challenging oncall week last week.  I worked 7 days straight and spent a lot time dealing with issues, etc.  Its stressful for me as my job is nothing but fixing problems that impact production in warehouses all over North America.  Let me tell...its time senstive work as when things are down...people aren't working and it costs the company money and people get all kinds of demanding, etc.  Needless to say I'm a bit stressed and on edge..couple that with lack of sleep (I get called at all hours since the business runs 24x7)....I'm all out of sorts.

As we know...Dh and I are not good at communication.  We are working on it...and its better for the most part. Except the fact..that DH still cannot give my any emotional support. The minute I need support..he becomes a giant dick.  I don't know how else to say it...

I support him through everything..I try to be understanding and be the voice of reason, compassion and empathy.  Let be honest..I don't always have the capacity to do so but I make capacity since this is my spouse and that is part of being married.  Dh on the other hand...yea no. I need emotional support and he busts out with the 

"Ugh..I don't need anymore stress"

"I can't deal with this now..I have too much going on"

"Why can't you just do x, y and/or z."

"I did x,y,z why are you upset"

"This has nothing to do with me...why are you talking to me about this"

I'm at my wits end...I need some support dammit. I'm tired of white knuckling it through life on my own.

I get that our lives are stressful.  However, its not my drama that makes our life stressful. That would DH, his kids and Beaver.  It just seems like DH is always going to have some sort of stress in his life and is never going to have time for me.  I hate when he busts out these comments, I feel like I'm burden and irritation.  They just make me clam up and bottle everything up.  Then DH gets all pissy about why I won't tell him what's wrong.  MMM...can't have it both ways DH.  You can't on one hand say...tell me what's wrong..I want to be your support. Then when I do...tell me I'm just adding to his stress.

We talk about his becoming a giant dick during times I'm emotional and need some support after things have calmed down.  He knows its an issue and will apologize and tell me he is working on it.  I know that he wants to be better..but I'm not sure he can be better.  This isn't really a need that I can just ignore..I can't continue to go things alone while providing support for everyone else.

So..Dh does better in listening to things that are hard regarding somethings in our lives which is 2 steps forward but he still sucks at being supportive of me. 



la_dulce_vida's picture

I find, in my relationship, that the "dick quotient" or DQ increases when the problem I'm having means my partner has to do something or take on more responsibility or involves something he's not doing aka a problem I'm having with him.

If the problem I'm having is about work or someone else and doesn't involve more than lending an ear and giving some advice, the DQ is low.

ESMOD's picture

It's not great that you feel you can't confide in him.. vent stress to him etc.. without him somehow making it about himself.

BUT.. at this point, I might go with the leopard isn't going to change his spots theory and seek out resources for support and sounding boards that are not him.. a therapist.. even virtual online might help you vent and bare some of your emotions and feelings.

It may be true that you are both under pressure.. and while you may be able to more readilly be his rock.. it feels like he is taking what you say as 1.  either putting blame on him.. or 2. looking for him to solve your problem... when the reality is.. that you just need a shoulder.

You could also try prefacing things with a "I know this isn't your fault.. and that there is no way for you to fix it.. but I just need a sympathetic ear."

halo1998's picture

and just wants to solve the problem so I will shut up.  

I've tried saying..look I just need you to listen, and its not your fault, etc. 

but nope...that doesn't work.  I'm at a loss.

I have no trouble talking to a therapist, etc  to get stuff out.  The problem lies in DH...if he knows something is up with me he will badger me to tell him. If I don't he gets all butt hurt that I won't talk to him and then goes on about me hiding stuff from him.  Its like a a no win....tell me your troubles my dear..but oh not really cause it stresses me out.  Either he needs to figure this out or accept that he will not be my emotional safe person.  

ESMOD's picture

I think part of it is maybe a "man" nature to see a problem.. to want to fix it.. to be frustrated when the problem isn't either A. fixable or B the "complainer" won't take the steps necessary to fix the problem.

Men can be less interested in "talking it out".. the feelings side of things too.

This can make for frustrating communication.. one person doesn't feel supported.. the other is frustrated because the over communicating is frustrating in a "mars vs venus" way.

I'm sure that your situation is especially frustrating because a good portion of the drama and stress IS your DH's fault in a way.. since it's caused by his EX/step kid situation.   

and.. I get it.. in my case.. we have had stress related to my dH's business dealings.. and it's hard to not be mad at him vs about the situation.. that may not be entirely his fault.. but would not be something I would be dealing with if it were not for "him".

If he would perhaps be willing to entertain some therapy/counseling to work on communication with you. that might help "some".. but when someone IS and HAS been guilty I think it's quicker for them to go defensive.. which seems what he is doing.

halo1998's picture

so we are already doing that.  Dh just says he knows and he is working on it.  However, at what point do you say..look your not getting it and I don't think you will.  Either we agree you are not my support person or you figure out how to be.  If you decide not be my support person..then accept it and don't get pissy about it.

ESMOD's picture

The uncomfortable truth for him is that a good portion of what causes you emotional stress is him or related to him... so he is not really in a great position to be supportive.. but I'm sure he is also raw and insecure right now.. so always wants to know what is going on.. likely wants to hear that you are stressed over other.. not him related.. but.. he has his own massive guilt complex.. and yeah.. he needs to accept that there are some things.. that at least right now.. you can't talk about with him.. because he can't be what you need.. and it makes it worse.

Ispofacto's picture

I'm sorry if someone else said this, I don't have time to read all the responses.

I went through something like this with DH regarding work related stress unrelated to the step situation. 

Don't be afraid to specifically ask for what you need. Tell him he needs to hold you for a minute and tell you everything is going to be okay and you don't suck. He'll be happy to give that to you.

Advice and venting is too much for either of us, we both have stressful jobs. I have my girlfriends for that.


simifan's picture

I agree with this...Be blunt. "What I need from you is ... to shut up, let me vent for 5 minutes & then tell me I've got this." In my calmer moments, I'll let him know this is how you solve the problem. 

Rags's picture

household duties. Nor do I have an issue being supportive.

However..... I do a have limit of tolerance for lack of action to solve problems rather than just  be upset about them. 

I am a Tax Season Chef, kitchen cleaner, grocery shopper and I clean the bathrooms.  DW does the floors, dusting, and laundry.

As for the being supportive part, I am a man, so... my default is to solve the problem.  I struggle with the listen, and comfort part.  Many, if not most, men do.

For damned sure I do not tell DW that her work problems are hers, nor do I ask her how her problems are my problems.  We share each other's day and we discuss work challenges.   We both appreciate the other's experience and advice.



halo1998's picture

my entire job is nothing but problem solving all day long. However, I have been working on not making it my mission in life to solve everyone else's problems.  That has been a habit I have picked up somewhere. 

I so do not need DH to solve any problem for me..I can  do that all by myself and I do.  I just need someone to listen...and not get annoyed over it.


Like geez let me be a bit irritated over some things.....If I'm irritated over the garbage breaking and I express that irritation...I don't need someone getting all pissy with me just because I was irritated over something.  

Rumplestiltskin's picture

If he can't be an emotional support person, does he at least make up for it in other ways (like as a financial support person, a household duty support person maybe?) I get that all people can't be all things and we all have our limitations. Hopefully he at least brings some good to your life, and you can focus on that while reaching out elsewhere for emotional support.

I also agree with the person who said to specifically state your needs and how you would like him to meet them. If he isn't a total dick he will then try to help. When he does, make a big deal about it "oh, wow, this is just what i need, thanks!" Maybe he can be trained to meet your needs? 

halo1998's picture

However, I'm not exactly the most needy person.  I really don't ask for much so I have a hard time with DH's reactions for what amounts to about maybe 3 or 4 times a year.  Not only that..Dh is always waxing on about having a connection, blah, blah, blah.  Yea a connection is much but you have to foster the connection and not listening or taking an interest in your wife won't go far in creating a connection. 

I'm getting better at being specific.

thinkthrice's picture

Men as a rule are NOT good about emotional support aka empathy.   They would rather come up with a solution which is most likely a pat answer.  

I feel you though having recently retired from 24/7  IT support of the medium sized county's 911 system, sheriff deputies, state police, fire depts, ambulances and campus security.

For example.   I caught a cold at Mardi Gras.  When we got back home, Chef chastised me for not shoveling the back walkway to the hot tub.  I took no naps or got any extra sleep.  One week later, Chef caught the cold and he turned into a giant baby, taking naps and expecting to be waited on.

I will be so bold as to say MOST men are like this.   The problem is that in modern times, women have taken on the responsibilities of men that were once exclusively held by men.  This has added an extra layer of complexity and stress for women.    JMO.

thinkthrice's picture

I told him "and that's why i didn't shovel the walkway"


SeeYouNever's picture

I think he's just self-centered and self-absorbed and that if you have any problem it's an inconvenience to him.

You give him Grace and you do things that you don't otherwise want to do because he's your spouse and that's what you do. But he doesn't do the same thing for you.

You are there to give him support. He doesn't see it as support should go both ways. A relationship like that is not one of love it's of convenience, for him. When guys act like this it's like he's treating you as his household staff, like an employee rather than in equal partner. That's why he gets resentful when you ask him to do things for you but he also gets resentful if you don't do what he wants. It's plain selfishness.

I keep seeing articles and anecdotes about how men are more likely to leave a wife who is diagnosed with cancer than the other way around. Women are supportive, women are caretakers, men aren't. Men are takers.


halo1998's picture

I'm not an employee and yep he can be selfish.

We were watching a movie the other day about a someone that gets ALS.  Her husband has an affair etc while she is losing her ability to just live.  DH was like..if you got sick I would take care of you.  I just smiled but in my head I'm like....bullsh*t there DH.  The minute it got hard and you had to give more than you can get you would be out of here."


ndc's picture

Face it, Halo, your DH is a low effort individual who can't or won't be the support you need. From what you've written over the years, he really doesn't provide that support to his kids, either. You are stronger and less selfish than he is and as such, you're always going to be the giver in this relationship. He's trying, and it sounds like a lot has improved, but his effort, and maybe his capability, likely aren't what you're hoping for.  He is who he is.

Yesterdays's picture

It's true and Halo you are such a selfless individual, who is so thoughtful and caring all of the time, and very supportive. It's too bad he can't offer the support for you in this time. You've sure had to go through a lot and put up with a lot. 

grannyd's picture

Halo, you are the best of people; too empathetic and supportive to ever enjoy an equal relationship. You will always be the preferred choice of spoiled, selfish men so hey,  better the devil that you know. At least he makes an effort. 

Shieldmaiden's picture

Its interesting that these dickhead DH's don't think its "their problem." 

So, what their saying is, I could bring home an enormous Rottweiler who hates him, and only loves me, and this dog could eat, sleep, and poop wherever he wants?   This dog would sleep in his bed, eat his food, and leave poo all over the floor for him to clean up, and it WOULDN'T BE MY PROBLEM?  Really?