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Author Topic: Married to an unhappy person and in limbo

June 04, 2019, 10:11:35 AM
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I don't really have a question, just some venting and maybe someone will find it interesting and have a perspective I hadn't thought about:

Counselling has devolved into defending myself against exaggerations of what is wrong with me.  That’s what she does whenever we argue or fight.  She doesn’t want to get to the source of the problem.  She wants to be right and have the problem be everyone else.  She will bend facts or straight up make something up so that she’s right.  Then the argument detours into refuting those facts and we’re no longer talking about the actual problem.

Or at the very least, she wants the problem to be not just her.  Even when she acknowledges that she’s got things to work on, it’s “Ok, I know I need to work on that but you need to…”.  It’s like she thinks she shouldn’t have to do anything unless she’s getting something in return.  It’s like she’s at the grocery store and she thinks she can pick something she doesn’t like about me and change it.  “Oh, I have to stop taking my frustrations out on him?  What should I get in return…. Hmm….  I don’t like how he thinks so logical all the time.  I want him to think more like I do.”

She’s not a happy person.  She’s negative and cynical and she hates herself.  She’s not at peace.  Combine that with she blames other people for her problems and we’re stuck.  I’m done getting the blame.  She needs to take a step back and do some introspection and figure out why she’s unhappy and take some action.  But she won’t.  Not unless she gets some concessions from me.  I’ve been catering to this trying to keep her happy for years and now she says she needs more from me.  No.  Until she owns this and does something about it, we’re spinning our wheels and I’m fed up with it.

I know her and I know how this works.  She will NEVER be willing to sit back and say “I am happy.  I have a good life and a good husband who loves me and is good to me.”  That will never happen no matter what I do.  She will lose this perceived power she has to try to change me.  My guess is that she thinks if she ever concedes that there’s nothing majorly wrong with me or our marriage, then she thinks that I’ll just coast for the rest of our lives and ignore her and stop trying to make her happy or something.  I’m not really sure.  The logic behind it confuses me but that seems to be how she’s thinking.  Maybe it’s because that’s how she thinks so she assumes I do?  She doesn’t do anything just to make me happy.  It’s a foreign concept to her.  If she’s not getting anything in return, I don’t think she sees the point.  It’s why our whole life is about her and on her terms.  Lucky for her, I do things for no other reason than to see her smile.  But it’s not good enough, she needs more.

It’s like chasing a carrot on a stick.  I’m the mule, she’s sitting there dangling a happy marriage and everything that goes with it in front of me.  I used to think that when my divorce to my first wife was final, she would finally be happy.  No.  Ok, when I move out of my small house far away from her and where I work to a bigger closer one, she’ll be happy.  No.  Ok, when we get engaged she’ll finally be happy.  No.  She complains that the house is messy and feels it’s up to her to keep it in line.  Ok, I’ll listen and try to take things off of her plate.  Happy?  No.  You don’t take an interest in her day enough to ask about it.  Just listening as she tells you isn’t enough, you have to ask.  Ok, I’ll make a point to ask.  Happy?  No…  Ok, once we’re married and the wedding is behind us she’ll be happy.  Nope.  Found an idea online when searching ways to make your relationship better.  It was to take her to bed and kiss her goodnight if I’m staying up later than she is.  Still not good enough. 

Every time something is checked off the list of things she thinks she needs it will be replaced by something else forever.  All the while my wants and needs are ignored.  I’m not dangling any carrots in front of her.  I’m trying to keep her happy and hope things fall into place.  Nope, not working.

She does that same thing with sex.  Or maybe they go hand in hand.  She uses it as a weapon to keep that power to dangle the carrot.  “I’m not happy so no sex”.  I don’t know if it was a slip of the tongue or if she thinks it's a reasonable thing to do or what, but she admitted this once.  I was trying to initiate and she said “I want to, but if I do I don’t think anything will change.”  If I try to say how unhappy this makes me, it gets turned around on me and I’m blamed.  And accused of only caring about sex.  It’s all on her terms too.  When she wants it (or will tolerate it).  How she wants it.  No imagination or creativity or fun anymore.  No thought to trying something I might like because she’s too busy thinking about herself.

As the mule, the only option I have now is to lay down and stop playing the game and break this cycle.  It has already forced me into two mistakes.  Getting engaged and then following through with it and getting married.  If we were dating, I’d be breaking up right now.  I’m not getting divorced again though.  If she wants one, she can drag me to a courthouse and force the issue but it won’t be my doing.  But what I’m done doing is wasting energy on things that go unappreciated and taken for granted.  I sent her a message the other day, and I mean this sincerely.  She will wake up one day sometime down the road and realize I really did love her and I really was good to her and she was too blind to see it before throwing it away.  Or maybe she won’t.  Maybe her mentality of blaming everything on everyone else all the time will just tell her that I just all of a sudden turned into an uncaring jerk.  Not that she drove me away.

Something has changed in me recently.  I may have reached the end of my strength to try to hold this together against her mental state.  Until she owns it and does something about it, I’m done fighting against it.  I have no desire or motivation to connect anymore because I know I can’t swim upstream against a current that is so strong.  The current in this metaphor is her emotional issues that she won’t own.  She and she alone has the power to slow or stop this current or at least seek help in slowing it.  Until she does, I’m not fighting against it anymore.  Not because I don’t want a happy marriage but because it’s a waste of energy because it’s doing no good.  For now, we’ll be in limbo because I don’t trust her not to perpetually stay unhappy and wanting more.  The ball is in her court.

June 07, 2019, 11:21:52 PM
Reply #1


Hello @ChasingTheCarrot -

First and foremost, I'm sorry about how the relationship between you and your wife is going down. I'd imagine it must feel like a very frustrating and tiresome situation to handle and maintain for a long period of time.

Secondly, I do have a couple of insights on the situation that might help:

Are you familiar with the phrase, "hurt people hurt people"? A few paragraphs down from the beginning you had mentioned that your wife is negative, cynical, and tends to hate herself. Could it be something from her past such as a rough childhood experience that might've caused her to act that way towards you? If so, she might be projecting those said feelings from a person from her past onto you. If she has gone through a negative past experience, then maybe she isn't quite sure how to handle that type of love and care that you are giving to her. She could be using cynicism as a defense mechanism in order to protect herself from any potential harm that might come her way (even from loved ones) if she opens up to someone.
Some people tend to hide away whatever fears or disappointments that they may have by complaining or blaming other people. Maybe she has some sort of hidden fears that she's holding back from you. Perhaps due to that cynicism that she carries, she could be afraid of opening up and displaying her vulnerability to you since you are close and you know her well. Does she only act that way towards you or does she also act that way towards other people as well?

June 10, 2019, 09:53:07 AM
Reply #2


Hi @lyras66,
Thank you for taking the time to read and reply.  Unless she is hiding something from me (very unlikely), she had a very good childhood with wonderfully caring parents.  Her family is amazing and they have taken me (and my daughter from my first marriage) in like we're their own. 

She definitely is hurting though.  She has high anxiety and I'm afraid she might be battling depression at times.  My fear is that she won't own those problems and seek help.

Since I posted my original post though, we had what I really hope is a breakthrough.  She was walking around the house clearly upset and I stopped her and asked her what was wrong.  She started crying and said she was "just sad".  I took her in my arms and finally just point blank asked her if she was depressed and if she didn't see that this wasn't normal.  She said she's going to go to her doctor and try to get help.  Whether it's some sort of prescription from her doctor or a referral to a therapist or something, I don't know.  It's a step in the right direction though.  I thought she would be totally against the idea and even offended if I tried to push in that direction.

She was taken aback that I told her I was concerned and that I hadn't said anything about it.  I feel like I had, but I hadn't been very direct.  I didn't want to insult her or make it seem like I was telling her she was crazy and needed a shrink.

The next day we had counselling and these things were brought up.  I was finally more direct about my concern and she seemed to be receptive.  I really hope she follows through with this and the doctor that she sees doesn't just throw a prescription at her but actually refers her to a therapist and she can be heard and find out why she's so sad and what to do about it.

I'm very encouraged that she seems to want help.  I was so low before when I made my original post and I honestly thought we were heading for the end.  She seems like she got a weight off her chest too.  We had a good weekend.  We even had sex multiple times on Saturday which hasn't happened in a long time.  Lately, if we have sex at all, it's once and she just tolerates it.  This was very different.

I'm so encouraged!  I know it's a baby step but it is a step.  I hope so badly this is a good sign for us!

June 10, 2019, 12:45:36 PM
Reply #3


@ChasingTheCarrot  -

That's wonderful news! I'm also glad that she was able to come out to you openly about her feelings and attempt to reach out to a counselor for additional help. That is an outstanding step!

Sometimes it can be hard for a person to admit that they're struggling with mental health problems. I kind of know how that feels coming from experience because I'm also struggling with a few mental health problems. Whenever I'd try to somewhat bring that up to my parents, whom I tend to feel pretty close to, they don't see it as an issue compared to some sort of physical pain. Like if I ever go through a panic attack, all they'd ever say to me is to "just relax" or "it's not a big deal, everybody has anxiety." Those reactions from them make it harder and harder for me to be more open with them concerning my mental health, so I'd just push it down and hide it from them instead and not speak about it anymore. Whereas, if I were to get a broken ankle, all of a sudden it's like they're superheroes ready to save the day. Instantly, they're quick on their feet, truly concerned to ask if I'm okay, and flying me off to the hospital. On the bright side, I am going to counselling and I am benefiting from that. For me, it's nice to find someone that truly care about you and is willing to listen and understand as you talk through different complications as well as the good things that go on throughout your life.

But, I do agree with you. I think that it's a healthy step in the right direction and an incredibly brave one at that. Throughout all of the things that you've mentioned within your second reply, it sounds like she truly does want to get better. I'm happy that you're there to love and support her through everything that goes on. I really do hope that everything goes well and continues to get better for the both of you! I would honestly love to hear about any other updates that you might have in the future, whether that may be experiences that bring you to a high or ones that might make you feel low. Life can be like a roller coaster but that doesn't mean you have to ride it alone. I'm here for you!  Feel free to PM me :)


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