Originally Posted by allisonrose
Thank you for validating my feelings. I've told him that he's not really emotionally available. He doesn't understand what I mean.
I suspect one of his biggest issues is that he very likely suffers from sleep apnea. Sometimes he admits it's possible but sometimes he denies it. Sleep apnea can cause depression which I think he does struggle with to some extent. He is also a rather anxious person (I don't know if that is related to the sleep apnea or a completely seperate issue). He asked me just recently how he can be more happy. He realizes our life is pretty good and yet he constantly worries about something.
Yeah...I remain convinced that your DH is struggling with something emotional or mental. Sleep apnea is no joke and could absolutely contribute to a depressed state. I've just known of too many people who were that way with TV...who managed depression or anxiety or just plain hid from their lives and families in front of a TV screen. If somebody was zoned out for six hours a day staring at a wall, or looking at a tree in the yard out the window, while their wife tried in vain to reach them and their kids cried and rolled around at their feet, bored and desperate for some attention from their dad.....we'd call them depressed. We'd say "clearly there is something going on with this guy" - but because TV is such a socially acceptable way to zone out, people can spend unbelievable amounts of time staring into the screen and nobody says "hey, you okay?".
TV is not participatory. TV is not building anything. In small amounts, or if you pick specific shows you actually really enjoy and get something out of, can be a healthy and enjoyable thing for an adult to do with some "down time". But when he's spending whole days just flipping around from show to show....it's not normal.
He is emotionally unavailable. Completely so. Your marriage is crippled right now, because your partner is SO far away. Your feelings of being abandoned for TV are completely valid and totally on point. His actions and words are, to me, classic signs of depression. I don't think there is even a question about that. The question is, how much of his life is he willing to let slip by him. How much of YOUR life are YOU willing to let slip by YOU? How much of your childrens early life are you willing to let them be without an emotionally present father? Because you know, lady, that when they are tiny like this, you can "fudge it" and make up for some of it and it's not going to feel SO bad or be SO memorable that their father is not present. But you are living on borrowed time, as far as that's concerned...and much less of it than you probably even know. Kids are smart....kids get it when someone is checked out.
Pretty soon it's going to be harder to make up for everything they're not getting from the "couch lump" dad they have right now. Pretty soon, the "all you" show is going to feel more than tired and old...it's gonna start to feel like it's just not worth it. He needs some help. It seems so insignificant to the TV watcher. "I'm here, you can talk to me, I'm just watching a show" - because they don't understand that it's even WORSE that they ARE there....I'd rather my DH was out at a bar wasting his time, than right in front of my face a million miles away. :( Having him there, but not helping and participating is horrible. It feels terrible for you and pretty soon it's going to start feeling pretty terrible for your kids, too. Take care of yourself, mama...take care of your life and your kids and your DH.
When you are in love with someone and you marry them and have kids with them....you are making a lot of promises. One of the most important promises you make, is to yourself and to your partner....and that promise is:
That when they are doing something that is threatening the integrity of the marriage, when they are doing something that could put you on a road to resentment, anger and growing apart....you have a responsibility to yourself and your partner, to say "hold the phone, buck-o, this shit cannot fly" - and the person who is doing the thing which is causing anguish for the other people in the family has a responsibility to stop what s/he's doing and take note.
Don't tell him "You watch TV too much and I don't understand why it's such a big deal for you to stop" - you need to say "WAIT A MINUTE....TIME OUT.....I feel I have a responsibility as your wife and best friend to tell you that you are in a bad place in your life right now and that if this distance between us keeps up, I'm worried about where we're going to be in ten, or maybe even five, years....we need to shift this, because we're slipping, we're headed to a bad place if we don't get to the bottom of why you need to be so far away from me" - and then you need to commit to doing whatever work is necessary.
It may seem like I'm making a bigger deal out of this than it is.....but ask yourself, if you are still dealing with this issue in five years....what do you think that is going to look like, on a practical level (as far as, bigger kids....it's not diaper changes and frostys anymore, it's missing soccer games and sucking in front of all your guests at the awesome tenth birthday party you planned) and also an emotional level (as far as, the way you feel about this is going to deepen, the level of hurt you feel is going to get worse and worse...until you either snap or start to numb yourself to it so you don't have to feel disappointment and hurt anymore).
It's"little" things like this that go unchecked, that lead to couples feeling like they just aren't on the same page anymore. You fight more...he retreats more into TV. You say "FINE" and you create distance yourself "I'll show him, I'm going to move on with my life like is doesn't matter" - but then he doesn't "chase" you....he doesn't wonder where you are, why you don't try to force him to come to things and do stuff with you anymore....he just keeps watching TV and sleeping....that doesn't play out well for your marriage, long term.
You can move past this. I really believe he needs help. I know of two women who struggle with this BIG time...and the TV watching (and in one case, alcohol consumption) seemed to skyrocket after the couples had children. Their men just kind of slipped away...at first, they were just completely overwhelmed with the "baby phase" and let mom do everything...and then they stayed away and the overwhelmed feeling just turned into depression and feeling pretty useless in their own lives. They never developed the "fathering" thing...they didn't ever feel any ownership over the parenting or running of the home and so they just started sitting their. Doing nothing. Well, nothing, except tearing their marriages apart and leaving their wives so lonely and angry. It's an actual, valid issue and you need to get to the bottom of it because if you don't, you're not going to "get used to it" or "make peace with it" it's going to fill you with resentment and in the long term, do soooo much damage to your marriage.
GL. You can do this, together.