You are here

Marriage Advice

zerostepdrama's picture

DH and I have been having a rough 6 months or so. I need to find the best way to bring up the issues and get him to listen. When I try to talk to DH about how I am feeling he just hears nagging.

In the past I would write letters, long texts and try to talk to him and really press for communication. Over time I realized I only end up frustrated by the lack of response I get from him so I just tend to not address issues with him because I feel it's pointless.

I am very independent and very busy so we both have no problem ignoring each other for days.

DH used to be a "runner" where he would physically leave when I was trying to talk to him about stuff or we were fighting. He no longer does that (he did in the past and I told him that that was not going to work and he worked on it) but now I think he just mentally shuts down.

DH is a functioning alcoholic. Has been for at least 20 years. Because he drinks every night everything seems "fine". Because of course when you are buzzed everything will be "fine"! But since this is all DH knows he doesn't see it as a problem. He has basically numbed his feelings for all of his adult life.

DH is more enjoyable to be around when he drinks because on the rare occasion he doesn't drink he is even less social and sometimes says 5 words to me all day. He's not a talker anyways but it's almost like when he doesn't drink he just shuts down and lays in bed all day and just watches tv.

I think he has some resentment towards me in regards to the skids. He won't come right out and say it because it would require a discussion and he does not want to do that and he would have to address his own faults in the situation and he doesn't want to do that either. But I think the situation with the skids weigh on him more then he lets on to me and himself.

We are complete opposites. How we were raised, what we believe in, our views on things, etc. I didn't realize how different we were until we started bumping heads on things. I don't think being opposites is a deal breaker but it definitely means we have to work harder.

DH doesn't understand the "extras" that I do for myself and BS. Volunteer work, boosters, helping at the school, helping out with the sports, work networking,etc. He grew up where these things were not the norm and it wasn't the norm when married to BM/with the skids. DH's mother and then DH/BM never were involved in anything other then work and the skids weren't involved in anything either.

Important statement here- He honestly doesn't understand why I do extras and then I am too exhausted to take care of him. He thinks if I can help the school with something for example, if he needs something from me I should be fine to do it, since I was fine to help the school.

DH grew up seeing his mom NEVER putting him or his siblings first and ALWAYS putting her boyfriend first so he thinks that is how it should be.

This leaves me feeling very unsupported and very frustrated.

Another big issue is sex. Again he grew up in a very unhealthy environment with views on sex. It was not always like this but I feel now that sex is a chore, I could be any vagina hole and it's all about him being taken care of. No foreplay, no warm up, nothing. We have gotten to this point- partly because I was just giving quickies more as a means to just shut him up and "do my duty". I don't have a high sex drive but I have sex way more then I "need" to because I want that bond with DH. Sex isn't about bonding to him. It's about fulfilling a need. As you can imagine over time this has made me feel very upset and used and that he isn't respecting me as his wife. I feel like telling him- go get you some hoe because that sounds like all you want.

Obviously with all of his faults there are a lot of good things about him, hence why I married him in the first place. Yes he sounds like an ass here and yes he can be an ass and yes we are having a hard time right now but there is good in our marriage though lately I've been feeling Sad about everything.

Any constructive advice is appreciated. No offense but I don't want to hear "Well my DH would never do X, Y, Z" because that isn't going to help me. (Sorry I have seen it on here so many times (and myself guilty of doing that) and I'm just not in the mood).

We haven't been in counseling in a long time. I think it would help but it's going to be a pain getting him there. He seems to think everything is okay. Not 100% okay but as long as we aren't screaming and fighting (like him and BM) and we still love each other that everything is okay.

And to add- our issues aren't really skid related.


SonOfABrisketMaker's picture

I guess all I have to say is "what are you getting out of this relationship?". Why are you with this man when it seems that literally every interaction is a struggle?

zerostepdrama's picture

Being honest-

I love him, he's supportive outside of the issues I wrote in the original post, he's good to my family, good to my BS, my BS loves him and our family, it's comfortable, it's nice having 2 incomes, the things we do have in common bond us together because not a lot of people can relate, he's a hard worker and I think he has sacrificed a lot to stay married to me.

SonOfABrisketMaker's picture

That's a lot more than many people have.

After all this time there's probably not much of a chance that he will change any of the things that bug you so you'll either have to find a creative way to bend his behavior or suck up and let his emotional squirrelliness be the thing that you have to live with.

zerostepdrama's picture

Yeah I have been doing that for so long sometimes it gets lonely and frustrating and gets to me. But I know marriage is give and take. There's going to be things about him that I don't like and vice versa.

strugglingSM's picture

My advice would be for you to find a good marriage counselor who could try to facilitate a discussion of your issues and also enable your DH to share his issues as well.

It sounds like you and your DH have different communication styles and different views on things.

The one caveat with that is that counselors can be helpful, if you both are ready to listen and reflect. If one or the other or both is not really ready to do that, then it won't be worth your time.

It can be challenging to get many men to really sit down and be reflective about their feelings. They've been conditioned not to have any or have been taught that they should be problem-solvers, so not always the best therapy patients.

DH and I went to counselor before we got married. I found it helpful to work through some of my issues and also to validate that my emotional responses were normal, but overall, it wasn't the most helpful for us, because DH approached it as "just tell me what I need to do to make you happy?" He wasn't reflective and he never got to the place where he articulated what he wanted or needed from our relationship. What he wanted or needed was for me to be happy, but he didn't see that unless he decided that he was going to actually listen and respond in a non-emotional way or unless he was actually going to do some things differently, I wasn't going to be happy.

zerostepdrama's picture

We did do pre- marriage counseling and it did help a lot. I do think it would help. But when we went before we got married DH knew the counseling was a last resort thing or we were breaking up. Now he is comfortable so he doesn't see the importance of it.

WagiMorri's picture

I always advise counseling and not necessarily for couples, go for yourself. Get your OWN needs out in front of you with the help of a therapist. If you find the right therapist they are a great help with teaching you how to effectively communicate with others. My therapist helped me communicate better with my mom without ever having us both in for a session.

If a therapist is out of the question, have you checked out any Al-Anon resources? As a spouse of an alcoholic, you definitely need compassionate support:

zerostepdrama's picture

I had a really awesome counselor but he is no longer in my work plan (we get 6 free counseling sessions). So I tried someone else and I didn't like him. He was more interested in DH's upbringing then what I was feeling. I just didn't like him.

Before I would be really excited to do counseling (for myself) because I knew it was helpful but lately I haven't felt like putting the work into finding a new one. But I probably need to.

nengooseus's picture

Have you considered individual therapy to help deal with this stuff? Frankly, it sounds to me like you've been entirely too self-sacrificing and haven't done enough to take care of you in the relationship. When we feel drained, this is often the case, and your observations about having sex to meet his need is indicative of this, too.

I struggled with feeling alone in my first marriage. He was rarely there physically, and even when he was physically there, he was emotionally unavailable. He expected me to take care of everything, and I did, so that I could keep the peace.

2 years into individual therapy, I allowed myself to recognize how I was really feeling. And 5 years in, I did something about it. I couldn't do it before then.

Couples therapy is great when you're both in. You're describing that your DH doesn't think anything is wrong, so for him to engage would be difficult, at best. Ideally, he would hear you say that you think things aren't OK and that would be enough for him to work on the marriage in a meaningful way. I don't know that this is an ideal situation, though.

zerostepdrama's picture

DH is very much emotionally unavailable and I think this is because of his drinking and just ignoring the issues. I tell him I feel an emotional disconnect from him. He doesn't understand what that means.

And I probably do sacrifice more then both of us realize.

secret's picture

It sounds like he wants a wife who is like his mother, and that you don't want a husband who is like a child.

My ex of about 6 years was a functional alcoholic. He sounds a lot like you describe your DH... in that he expected me to be the caretaker.

When he questioned why I did something for my kids but didn't do it for him... I told him that I did my job as a mom to my kids, and that maybe he should call his mom to do it for him. He didn't like that.

He used to always say things like "my mom did it this way..."

Eventually, I started replying "But I'm not your mom."

He might feel that you are putting more energy into raising your kids than you are in your marriage... it's how my ex used to feel. Eventually I told him that if he wanted me to spend less energy on the kids and more on him, the burden needed to be shared... that he could give me a hand, and in turn that would free up some time and energy that I could then give to him... he didn't want to... ok, no problem... but my responsibilities come first before I stroke your ego or your manparts.

Eventually I got it through to him that it wasn't just taking care of the kids that took my energy... it was things that needed to be done whether the kids are there or not... grocery shopping... and that if he took care of some of the household stuff, maybe I wouldn't complain about having to do it all... so he started doing the dishes when I was cooking. In turn, when he cooked, I did them, without being asked. Laundry - he started throwing in towels and bedsheets instead of me doing it all.

He soon realized that if he shared the household stuff with me, I had more time for him... and like you, I had an unfulfilling sex life... well, he also realized that if he helped with cleaning the house... I might be a little more receptive to some nookie.

In the end, he claims he was under too much pressure, and needed to sort himself out... went to rehab...counselling... and decided that drinking was more important to him, so if I could give him a little more time to figure himself out.... I cut him loose. Enough was enough.

zerostepdrama's picture

I'm the ONLY one that does anything for my BS. Doctor appointments,driving to sport events, homework, school stuff, sports stuff, entertaining, etc. I get help here and there from DH but it's rare. And it's more of an exception. If I don't do it, it wouldn't get done. BS's father lives in another city and does not drive.

He does not understand the responsibility (and stress) that comes with being the only person taking care of my BS who is a very busy and active kid.

I am also the only one that cleans (though I pay my mom sometimes to clean), does the laundry, grocery shops and cooks.

He often makes comments- if you weren't running around you'd have more time for me.

And 100% he wants a mother and a whore. As long as he is fed, has clean clothes and sex every night he would have ZERO complaints in life.

secret's picture

He often makes comments- if you weren't running around you'd have more time for me.

"If I didn't have to do all the running around and had your help, maybe I would have more time for you"

zerostepdrama's picture

Exactly! He thinks all the "extra" stuff I do is unnecessary and I bring it on myself.

Extra stuff: Part of the wrestling boosters, volunteer for wrestling meets, other volunteer stuff.

secret's picture

those things, you do because you want to. The other stuff, you do because you have to. Big difference. It's not your job to cook and clean. If that's your job, then DH better bring home the bacon lol

Cooooookies's picture

"And 100% he wants a mother and a whore. As long as he is fed, has clean clothes and sex every night he would have ZERO complaints in life."

Well, zero, I think it's come to the question of are you happy to live like that? It takes a lot for someone to change. Even then, it has to be because they want to. If he sees no issue with how things are, this isn't going to go too far.

If he's willing to do counselling, that would be a step in a positive direction. If the therapist can make him see the light you might have a chance. Otherwise, I'm not sure what to say...rattle his cage by saying you've been thinking about time apart? Is that an option?

I suggest this because men need very clear, black and white, right in your face actions. If you keep quiet, in their minds, everything is perfectly okay. If you say you want time apart because of x y and z it may open his eyes and clear the alcoholic fog for a moment.

zerostepdrama's picture

I don't think we are at the point of a separation. But at the same time I sometimes think a break would be good so I can figure out how I feel and what I am willing to put up with and what I'm not.

advice.only2's picture

"DH is a functioning alcoholic. Has been for at least 20 years. Because he drinks every night everything seems "fine". Because of course when you are buzzed everything will be "fine"! But since this is all DH knows he doesn't see it as a problem. He has basically numbed his feelings for all of his adult life"

This is the answer to all your questions, right here in this statement.

zerostepdrama's picture

Yep. And I don't think he will ever quit drinking. And as long as he drinks it's always going to be the same because that is his "normal" now.

WalkOnBy's picture

Oh man, I am sorry to hear this.

I suggest sitting him down and telling him exactly what you told us - in the comfort of a therapist's office.

How do you get him there? Be honest with him and tell him that you are feeling like things are going off the rails, that you are having some issues with his behavior and it seems like he may have some with yours, so why not take it to a neutral third party?

Zero - it's perfectly okay to want to be happy. It's perfectly okay to want to be recognized for all that you do. It's perfectly acceptable to go to individual therapy and find out if this is the life you really want. A functioning alcoholic is still an alcoholic.

I am sorry that you are going through this. It's not fun Sad

zerostepdrama's picture

It's just blah! Like things aren't awful but they aren't good either. But we still have good times. But I think there are starting to be issues and they are weighing on me more heavier the past 6 months and I think they need to get worked out before they get worse.

WalkOnBy's picture

Well, getting ahead of them before they become big fat issues is a great place to start. I agree that it's gonna get worse. I am sorry you are feeling Sad - that is the worst feeling in the world.

Sit with him quietly, tell him your concerns and how much you love him. Then ask him to help you figure it all out. I think deep down he resents all that you do for your son because you don't do that for his kid. A skilled therapist - one who understands step families - will be able to help you navigate.

I wish you lived near me - Jeannette would be the perfect fit here Smile I am thinking about seeing her again because I am seeing some "disney dad" dumbassery sneaking back in to DH's parenting.

zerostepdrama's picture

I agree what you said about the resentment about what I do for my son but won't do for his kids.

Obviously it was the first year we were together, so things were better because it was still "new" but he was a different person when I did stuff for the kids and planned family stuff, etc.

I think if I was to just say FUCK IT let's have your kids over and I'll forgive and forget everything I think it would make him a VERY happy man. But it would not make me a very happy woman and I'm sorry but my own happiness and self worth is more important.

I know when DH is involved with my BS and does things for him/with him it makes ME feel good and look at him in a new light. So I can understand his feelings.

zerostepdrama's picture

Thank you for what you wrote... definitely makes sense and something for me to think about more. You put it into another perspective in regards to what you wrote about his drinking.

zerostepdrama's picture

Agree... this is how it always has been for the most part. Sometimes it's just easier to deal with or doesn't bother me as much.

DaizyDuke's picture

You know, sometimes I will look on Facebook and see couples out doing fun stuff like going to concerts, going to the wineries etc. and I think, man it sucks that my DH won't do this stuff. He has chronic headaches and neck pain from a work injury and he is very self conscious about how much weight he has lost due to his suffering, so he hates going out in public. He will if he HAS too, like go to the grocery store, or pick BS up from school, but if it's something other than that, it's a rarity that he will go. I have pretty much given up on asking.

BUT with that being said, I look at the things I DO like about him. He's funny, he's thoughtful, he never goes out to the bars, if I ask him for help with something ( can you bring the horses in so I can go to the gym, or can you take my car for an oil change because I can't stand to sit there) he will do it.

I guess what I'm trying to say is... while it might seem like I am "settling" for an anti-social husband, (when I am very social), I'm really not. I'm OK with him being antisocial, because his good qualities balance things out. My ExH was very social! So social that he was going out to the bar every night and found himself side pieces and enjoyed cheating on me. so now I so appreciate the fact that DH a. doesn't even drink and b. never goes to bars.

I don't know what to tell you about the sex thing though, that would bother me. And having to tell a man to be more romantic or be more caring etc kind of defeats the purpose. It's really not fun having sex with someone because you know if you don't he or she is going to act like a petulant child.

zerostepdrama's picture

There is a lot about DH that I do like. It's a give/take. But sometimes I feel like the things that I "give" on are the most important to me or are at least right now.

That's the thing with marriage there is going to be things I like and don't like and I have to decide what I can deal with.

Yes he drinks. But he drinks at home. He only goes to the bar if I make a plan to go to the bar (which is rare). He's at home. So it's not like he's out at the bars every night. He's not an angry drunk either. LOL. So I guess those are positives Wink

futurobrillante99's picture

I can give you a perspective from the other side. I am with a people pleaser who went through a phase where his schedule was WAY overbooked with work, hobbies and helping out OTHER people. I felt like I was getting the exhausted, aching left overs. It's a terrible feeling and makes a person feel unimportant, needing gobs of reassurance, and looking for PROOF of their place in a person's life.

I understand being active and busy, but you MUST not give your spouse leftovers on a regular basis. You should start scheduling things to do to take care of him in ways that are meaningful to him.

I am also a person who had a higher sex drive than my partner. I wonder if he felt like he was mostly wanted for sex. I can't tell you. The playing field has been leveled. My theory is the either it's the birth control pills I'm taking to address heavy bleeding OR it is the lingering effects of being depressed for the last 3 months. I was just not interested, and most days, I'm still not. I'm not as satisfied by our encounters and achieve better results by myself. We're both a little fatter, so I think we're both feeling un-sexy at the moment.

What works best with DH is to tell him what I need. Some things you can say in the moment, sometimes you have to talk at a neutral time and place. I explained to DH that my engines aren't revving the way they used to and it would really help me if we had a bit more time for a warm up. Things that weren't sensitive before, are more sensitive now. I need him to move a little slower and be more gentle.

I miss the days of laying in bed for hours and all the romantic BS you see in the movies. We've just been too busy for all of that lately, and we're both having back pain.

I suspect there is some resentment on you about certain things. Is there anyway to address those things with him and then to try to make time for him AND explain to him what you need to be more receptive to sex?

zerostepdrama's picture

I am going to sit down with him this weekend and tell him what I need. I feel like he should know but I think I need to do it again.

I just think when it comes to the sex DH doesn't really correlate it with intimacy or bonding he just wants sex, the end result. It's a HUGE turnoff and makes me feel very disrespected.

blueskies4me's picture

I believe in honesty, generally speaking and I’m not above straight up asking my DH if he’s pissed at me. I can’t stand tension and I simply can’t let my marriage die, even when stepbrat actively tries to sabotage. Unfortunately, we don’t make love nearly enough and that worries and scares me a lot.

Also, I can’t be in a marriage where my spouse drinks daily, gets shit faced, does drugs, smokes or gambles. I don’t do any of those, either. I have an old fashioned streak, I guess.

zerostepdrama's picture

He tells me that he is okay and fine with the way the skid situation is. I don't always believe him.

And not to justify his drinking but he doesn't get shit faced at all. It's like he's the same person before he took his first drink as he is when he took his last drink. With the exception of when he doesn't drink at all (usually a Sunday and he'll lay in bed all day and unwind, watch tv, etc.) his personality is pretty much the same and it's just mostly monotone/chill I guess would be the best way to describe it.

zerostepdrama's picture

We've never gone this long with having "us" problems before. We are coming up on 7 years in March so I wonder if it's the "7 Year Itch thing".

I hope you and your DH have a better 2018.

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

Males communicate differently to put it bluntly... I know my husband does and something we just clash because of it... If I question things sometimes he literally things I'm talking bad about him or questioning his masculinity or loyalty. I'm not, but it takes it a while to get through that thick skull... He normally realizes a while later, or after a LONG discussion....

You might just need an unbiased third party to help (like a counselor, lol) help bridge the gap between the sensitivity on both sides and the miscommunication... Because sometimes communication is hard, no matter how close you get to someone.

zerostepdrama's picture

Agree about communication styles. We have both made an effort in that department, though I feel like I have learned to live with his style more then he has learned to live with mine. BS is going with his dad this weekend and we'll have some alone time so I am hoping we will talk this weekend.

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

Probably the best time to talk. I know we struggle with communication and "love languages."

My theory on love languages is that you tend to want what you didn't have when you were younger, because when someone did do that it made you genuinely feel love. DH grew up poor, his is giving gifts, we're dirt poor... So there's not tons I can do in that regard, but I try little momentums... He has a tendency to buy lots of random crap for people though because to him that's how you make someone feel loved. I was emotionally abused growing up... I was completely provided for physically, but emotionally I struggled... My love language is a mess of being told and physical touch. Because I never really had to want growing up for material items, those completely lost meaning to me, everything I own can fit in my little car with room to spare even... But being told I'm loved or frankly that I'm doing an okay job, REALLY resonates with me.

So we have a disconnect sometimes. Which has been a mad struggle! We've worked through most of it... But I know we still struggle to communicate some times... I know our most productive moments have been when we actually get the super rare alone time and we just start talking, then the conversation changes... The most important thing I've found is not to lay blame... I'm VERY direct, he's doing something I don't like I tend to bluntly tell him he's doing that wrong and it needs to stop... He does the same lol. Part of what I found so refreshing about him was zero sugar coating... BUT if I try to have a serious convo with DH and lay it out that way it's basically an immediate shut down... So I normally just address the issue and lay out what I'd like to see... Make him think without directly telling him he's f***ing it up. Then he says what he hasn't been doing and he's going to try harder. Normally works. Easy fix.

Keep us updated!!!

HowLongIsForever's picture

It sounds like something has changed for you. You referenced the last six months or so.
Can you identify any specific differences between then and now? Has anyone's behavior (DH, BS, co-workers, boss, wrestling team, etc.) changed?

If you've overextended yourself (physically, mentally, emotionally) everything can look like an uphill climb. From what you've said here you're worn down in at least one area. You need to get yourself recharged. Try to identify what would help you do that and then take steps in that direction. Even if they're baby steps.
It sounds like you're dealing with issues across various roles and relationships, see if you can really define those.
There will likely be some overlap but there are definitely different issues at play here.

DH's approach to sex is bothersome to you (I don't blame you at all, I would've shut down). You feel used, unfulfilled, unsatisfied. I assume that wasn't always the case. What changed? What might help you move back to that place? What might help you move beyond to something greater? What do you need to do for yourself to allow that to happen? What does DH need to do for you to allow that to happen?

The seemingly always on the run for activities surrounding BS sound like its been a little more hectic than usual. Or maybe it has just reached a boiling point. Is there a new factor at play here? If so is there something that can give way to the new direction? If not, is there a way to prioritize without leaving you or BS feeling like you've not done enough? Will cutting down some of the volunteering for wrestling for example be detrimental to BS and/or the wrestling team? Are there other ways to support? Any chance of killing two birds with one stone in some of these activities/situations? Is any of it being used to fill the hole that is left open by other areas?

Maintaining the household is not a one man job unless the household only consists of one man. Ask everyone to pitch in. Expect everyone to pitch in. Enforce that everyone is to pitch in. This should be a team effort between you and DH. BS should also have some responsibility here.

It sounds like he will automatically be on the defensive unless he's the one who initiates the conversations.
That is not something you can entirely prevent though you can prepare for it.

I think it would be best for you to identify and give life to your specific needs.
And not just the bare minimum. You deserve more than the bare minimum from everyone in your life. Including you.
That needs to happen before any truly constructive conversation can take place.
When you're to that point, it sounds like a neutral third party would be best for mediating that conversation with DH.

I wish you the best, I'm sorry you're hurting.

zerostepdrama's picture

Lots of good questions for me to think about.

A lot of the problem I think is that DH is lazy. He thinks he already has "won" me so there isn't much more he needs to do. He also believe as long as we love each other that we can survive anything and that is not always the case.

I've had a "tough" time the past 6 months in terms of relationships all around. I feel like I had this awakening of wanting to cut out the people in my life who aren't bringing anything positive into it or who try to walk all over me or negative people that I wasn't even sure why I was keeping them in my life.

DH does not help with the day to day in house stuff. BS does help but when it's wrestling season I do let him slack on his chores because he is so busy.

It is a more hectic time right now because it is wrestling season so I am feeling more overwhelmed with all of the running and driving and helping BS watch what he eats, spending all day Saturday at a tournaments, etc.

HowLongIsForever's picture

If DH relates to the all you need is love theory then perhaps your in on getting him to understand is what makes you feel loved.

You know he loves you but it doesn't make you feel loved when x, y, z happens.

As for the whole maintaining the household - if you're generally okay with his lack of participation but it all becomes too much during wrestling, work out an agreement for him to help out during the season. Ask him to take on x specific task, no more no less. And as silly as it sounds/feels, praise him for it. Negotiate a trade off if necessary.

I would work out something similar with BS. If wrestling is all consuming and interferes with day to day life during the season he makes up for it off season by taking on more, just another part of the sacrifice to participate in wrestling.

It sounds like wrestling season throws the house and routines into a bit of chaos. I would say if what you want is to be 110% in during wrestling season that you'll need to sacrifice something else during that time, prioritize.
No shame in keeping your extracurriculars to wrestling in order to keep your sanity.

That's not to say it's so you can sit at home and not enjoy watching tv in the man cave. It's so you can recharge in whatever way you want. If you'd rather be elsewhere when you really look at it, cut down on the wrestling. You can still be supportive without eating, sleeping, living wrestling.

It sounds like once you can breathe a bit you'll be able to reconcile some of the changes you've made recently. Letting go of toxic relationships is a difficult thing to do even when we know it's right - don't underestimate the effect that conclusion can have on your other relationships. It's draining. You'll need to find a new center, a new peace.

DH can help you with that by showing you love in a way you understand it (unloading the dishwasher, going out one evening instead of sitting in the man cave, being considerate in bed).

Just remember that he'll need to see/feel results of his efforts, too. From where he's sitting life is fine and there's zero reason/incentive to do differently. Show him how one or two small tweaks can make it better than fine. During strained times it can be borderline offensive to look at it that way but ultimately you guys need to find the right currency and help each other fill your piggybanks.

I hope you guys are able to have a productive conversation this weekend.

ntm's picture

You lost me at functional alcoholic. He needs a sober up deadline or you walk. As long as he’s drinking, you’ll get nowhere.

zerostepdrama's picture

I doubt he will ever stop drinking. I drink too, obviously not like him so I feel like I can't tell him to quit drinking unless I plan on not drinking either. Which I am not opposed to if it helped our marriage but I just don't think it's something that he will even consider. Since he's not a crazy, mean, blackout drunk he doesn't see anything wrong with having some beers after work while he watches tv.

BethAnne's picture

I would treat the situation like a negotiation, identify the problems and work together to find solutions. Give and take with clear actionable points on both sides. Try to avoid analyzing the whys of the way he acts now but to address how what he does affects you and concrete ways to improve your lives together.

First though I would ask your husband for his preferred way of communicating issues, if it is a discussion in person perhaps you can have a phrase that you say which he will know that he really needs to make time to listen and then you two can schedule time to sit together and talk. If it is a written form of communication see if he can agree to reply within x number of days.

I would tell him that you are concerned about his drinking but that you will never badger him to give it up as you know he needs to be the person driving it for it to be successful. Let him know that if he does get to a stage where he is ready to take steps to giving up you will be behind him all the way.

I would tell him that you have heard him when he says you two don’t have enough time together and that you agree to give up one/two specific activities if he agrees to take on one or two specific household chores. Then identify the time that you two would be able to spend together with those consesions and think of things you two could do. Tell him that would also like a dedicated intimacy time scheduled, perhaps weekly, where sex is not the aim but being together, being sensual and intimate are. Tell him that intimacy is important to you in feeling valued as a partner. Give him specific examples of things that you two could do together. Ask if he has any ideas.

I would ask him if he wants to discuss the situation with his kids. Restate your position and boundaries towards them but ask if there is anyway that you can help him to improve his relationship with them.

zerostepdrama's picture

The whole thing with us spending time together- we do spend time together. I make sure there is at least 1 or 2 nights where we watch tv together. Not that that is super romantic or exciting but we hang out, have some drinks, watch tv together. (because that is what he wants to do after work all day) so I do that. Even though I would much prefer for us to do an activity, get out of the house, etc.

And really he would be satisfied with 5 minutes of "alone time" just long enough to take care of himself and then he'd be fine. I am not okay with that.

I do try to talk to him about his kids and he will swear up and down that he is fine with the way things are. I know that is not true. I don't even like his kids and I'm not okay with how things are.

BethAnne's picture

What I read in your reply is a list of reasons and excuses. Perhaps that is because it is never nice to have anyone pick apart part of our lives, let alone internet strangers. Perhaps I am way off in my advice. But perhaps you do feel defensive about the efforts that you already put into your marriage. You feel that it should be enough for your husband. Just as he feels quickies should be enough for you.

But neither of you are satisfied with how things are currently so you need to give him a little extra time focused on the things that he would like to be focused on and he needs to give you time for intimacy. Being a partnership and being lovers is about putting in effort in places that mean a lot to our partners, even if we cannot understand why what is happening now is not enough. In the end those efforts are worth it when everyone gets more satisfaction.

Attempting to deal with needs, wants and desires without projecting or feeling blame and staying focused on practical steps that you can each commit to will be a difficult task, but it will help to move things forward without you both resenting what the other is asking if you.

zerostepdrama's picture

I think he's the one that has set the tone for our relationship. After work all he wants to do is come home and watch tv and drink beer. So obviously that is not what I want to do or can do every night but I do do it a few nights because it makes him happy and I'm fine with doing it. But that is the extent of what is going to happen on a weeknight. He's not going to do anything that I want to do. After he's done drinking/watching tv he eats his dinner and then goes to bed. Around 9pm. We rarely have night time sex.

He wants a quickie in the morning. He thinks I need to get up even earlier then I already do (5:30am) so that I can "take care of him".

On the weekends he wants a quickie. He doesn't want to put the work into getting me "ready". I told him- women are crockpots, men are microwaves. LOL.

Acratopotes's picture

Zero - why oh why did we get the only 2 guys in the world that believes if you ignore problems it goes away, if you talk about an issue your are simply nagging, if something is troubling you take a beer and fart... just don't talk about it...

Letter, long or short, crying, screaming, ghosting, nothing works on them cause their solution - have a beer and be happy....

We might love the same guy but our situations are different.....

This is what i started doing after the break up and almost back together, I treat SO the same way he treats me, I plan my life and ignore him, if he asks me to come over I reply, nah not in the mood, too lazy you come here, sorry busy... all his answers.....
Last night he invited me for dinner - out.. wow first time in 14 years, and e asked me if something was wrong, I replied with.. oh please can't we just enjoy dinner without you nagging my ear off.... he started laughing and said, yeah I'm not a nice guy you sounded like me... then we started talking and it was all positive.... SO was amazed that you have to compromise in a relationship and work on the relationship...
He grew up in a 1805 home, the men do nothing and the woman jumps... that's not me.... for the past 2 months I've done exactly what he does to me,
If I depend on him for help - I'm forcing him into marriage, you should never depend on your partner you should simply enjoy time together...

the past 2 months he realized how much I use to do for him, yes I'm playing the card - you are forcing me into marriage, why can't you simply be with me...... things changed dramatically between last night and this morning.... He knows I struggle with my garage door and he was there early this morning to help me, it's way to high for me to fasten a screw and he did it before work..even oiled the door... I asked him months ago to help me....

I don't know if it will help you, but start treating your DH like he treats you, and I would do a bit less charity/helping work, you need time for yourself and for that gorgeous boy of yours... it's time to slow down Hon ..... from 35+ we still think we are young, we are not, it's a time to calm down and really focus on yourself, and nothing wrong with a bit of foreplay or foreplay only.... our sex drives takes a dip with menopause... and as explained by SO.... he feels we bond through sex, I feel it's a chore, I bond through other ways, making out, foreplay, teasing, cuddling, depending on my partner..

We made the rule now... cuddling and playing no sex... for at least 6 months, just to re connect... will let you know how it goes

zerostepdrama's picture

Oh he is definitely on lock down right now. LOL!

BS is going to his dad's this weekend so I am hoping we will have time to talk and work through some of the feelings and issues and hopefully have time to reconnect.

Acratopotes's picture

Blum 3 Blum 3 Blum 3 Blum 3 how are you going to do it with him already telling you stop nagging hiehiehiehie

if you get it right let me know....

I simply disengaged till SO came to me to talk, took him 14 years and a break up and a further 2 months... before he asked to talk
I let loose like a volcano and he did not switch off after 3 seconds

Indigo's picture

I spoke to SO tonight about your post --- just skimming the hightlights. Many here on the board are my virtual friends and sometimes those lines blur a bit into real life. SO is quiet, an introvert but a wise man sometimes. I was thinking of a response for you of a more traditional counseling/Al-Anon format, but SO surprised me with his firm response: "Tell her to get a double-wide, snuggler recliner."

(Caveat: male advice problem-solving)

We are on our second cuddler recliner. I argued about price and changing decor but he was surprisingly adamant. Not a loveseat with an armrest, not a long sectional sofa, nor two adjacent comfortable chairs, but a slightly-too-big-for-one recliner. We use ours all the time after kicking out kids and cats. Snugged up together. If we're squabbling, I may sit there checking STepTalk and looking for recent mugshots of SD while he is deciding if Jockey or Fruit-of-the-Loom make the best shorts. Hip-to-hip. Sorta like tying two dogs together, I guess. After a bit I wind up snoozing on his shoulder and drooling while the Broncos lose again. After a bit, SO begins to get a bit frisky under the throw which we have pulled up over us. Quiet foreplay.

Thanksgiving squalls where I yell at the SGkids ... annual visits by SD where drug paraphernalia falls out of the car ... calls to CPS ... aging parents ... all the daily crappola is shared and released in that recliner. SO shows his care it seems by wrapping his arm around me and snugging me closer. It's OUR place that we have carved out. Sounds silly, perhaps but I agree with SO that this one piece of furniture has helped us to stay close through lots of craziness. Our first recliner broke "due to activity for which it was not designed," (evil, delighted grin).

SO is housebroken & was successfully married for 30 years before we reconnected after his wife died. This was his advice: a double recliner without an armrest. Maybe there is some mystic male reasoning that I don't understand.

zerostepdrama's picture

Ha Ha! I'll have to look into that!

We do spend time together. I make sure 1 or 2 nights a week at least that we are watching tv (I go to his man cave and sit with him doing what he wants)so it's not like we aren't spending time together but I think it's how we are spending time together that we need to improve on.

zerostepdrama's picture

Thank you everyone so much for taking the time to read my post and respond. It really means a lot to me. BS will be at his dad's this weekend so I am hoping that DH and I will take the time to talk about stuff.

hereiam's picture

I'm really sorry that you are going through this, Zero. I hope he is willing to hear you out and talk to you about this.