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My husband is not my soul mate - Page 2

post #21 of 35
Its not unreasonable at all to expect to be treated with respect at all times. I understand what its like to want to be the bigger person by being tolerant and forgiving no matter what. You see the good in him, thats the part of him you fell in love and still love, so its understandable you dont want to give up on him. Words hurt, though, they can cut like a knife, and over time even the most understanding, tolerant person can become worn out by it all.

I think you need to ask yourself how much longer you're willing to wait for him to change. Going to counseling is great but it can often take years before real change happens. Can you live with this possibility? Also, you mentioned that you think he has ADHD, would he be willing to see a psychiatrist and possibly get on medication? It sounds like the ADHD is a major problem for him since it makes him feel really frustrated and impatient and then he spirals out of control from there. If he had medication that regulates his mood then there probably wont be spiraling much, if at all. Also, if he's more stable then it'll be easier for him to work on his issues with a counselor. I'm just putting ideas out there in case any of it helps.

It could very well be this aggressive behavior is part of who he is. If you dont want to put up with it anymore you dont have to. No one is making you victimize yourself for the support of someone else. It sounds like you're his punching bag, the person he unloads on because he thinks you'll never leave him. Supporting this behavior will not help him, in fact, it will only make it easier for him to continue to act this way. It sounds like maybe the reason the progress is so slow is because he doesnt truly want to change, he is only doing as little as he can get away with so you dont leave him. I'm not sure if thats the case but it sounds like its a good possibility. Bottom line is: you dont need to put up with this abuse, it doesnt make you a good person, only a victim. You deserve to be treated with respect ALL of the time. Your son deserves to be in an environment that doesnt include violence. Just because he seems happy now doesnt mean he's not internaizing what he sees and hears. He could very well grow up and treat women the way his dad treats you because thats what he has learned.
post #22 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by gitanamama View Post
...rooting and waiting for him...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PrimordialMind View Post

I think you need to ask yourself how much longer you're willing to wait for him to change. Going to counseling is great but it can often take years before real change happens. Can you live with this possibility?

It could very well be this aggressive behavior is part of who he is. If you dont want to put up with it anymore you dont have to. No one is making you victimize yourself for the support of someone else.

gitanamama, you mention waiting for him which to me implies that you have an expectation that he will change. I agree with primordialmind that you should question whether you could deal with him not changing at all. How would you feel about that? How would that fit into the expectation you have of your relationship etc.

I've heard people mention before that a marriage is like a business partnership and while I don't want to discount the value of romance, physical attraction etc. there is a level of practicality and agreements that is very business like that has to work on a daily basis.

post #23 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dakipode View Post

 

gitanamam How would you feel about that? How would that fit into the expectation you have of your relationship etc.

 

This is what I'm really trying to wrap my head around right now-- would I be ok if things never changed for us? After nine years of clinging so hard to hope, it's hard to let go! But I feel like I've entered a new stage where it's time to be more honest (or less naively optimistic) with myself. I think I can accept that DH is not my soul mate and still be happy and content with our relationship, IF he works on his temper/patience. I don't know if I can drop that last expectation though. That's where I find myself totally stuck. When things are good, I feel like we have an awesome connection and just need to smooth out the creases. But when DH is being an ass, I feel so hurt that it seems like the good times aren't worth putting up with the BS. It's these constantly changing, extreme feelings that have me confused and unbalanced and ambivalent, to put it lightly. 

 

For so long I've tried to find a way to stay balanced and "detached" from DH's moods (through meditation, mantras, physically leaving the situation, etc.) but I realized that it's not possible. I can't share space and coparent with DH and not feel the waves of his emotional storms. And neither can DS-- which is even more worrisome to me. I think I'm a better person for all of the relationship books I've read and meditation I've done, but it hasn't helped me feel less pain necessarily. 

 

Primordialmind-- thank you for your honesty. I feel like I'm slowly trying to move out of the victim/co-dependent mindset, but still slip back into it far too often. I guess I'm trying to find the line between being compassionate and setting boundaries, with the realization that my "compassion" in the past has been thinly veiled co-dependence and enabling. I'm hoping the counselor can help me with setting boundaries and help DH with practical techniques for controlling his emotions. I guess we'll see...

post #24 of 35

What was your primary model for relationship, such as what kind of relationship did your parents have? I see so often that people look for what was normal to them from childhood, what they saw others modeling as relationship. If one can become aware of that- then sometimes they can deliberately choose a different way to be, or be the same way if it was a good model. I just find that looking at your primary model of marriage can help you to identify the aspects of your marriage that might be mirroring that, which is actually empowering because then one can say- oh, I see how I believed this is what I should have, but I se actually this came from such and such, an now I can decide that actually I want t try to have this type of relationship.

anyway- long winded advice of using that as one tool to help you find your footing.

 

I think my best advice is in your own mind try to find your footing, Try to figure out what your ideals are in your life, and which of those are realistic goals.

Try to make your ideal goals at least be clear to yourself-- what your ideal relationship would be, and if it would ideally be with your current husband or not. Try to get really clear about your situation inyour own mind so you can seewhat power you can find for yourself to make decisions.

post #25 of 35

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post #26 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by dakipode View Post

There are so many aspects to a relationship that I think it's very hard to agree on every one of them. I think the "soul mate" type relationships are rare in real life but they are totally glorified in the media etc. and we end up feeling inadequate if we don't conform to that perfect picture.

 

A big distinction that I find helpful to consider is goals versus expectations. People often confuse the two thinking that meeting a goal is the same as fulfilling an expectation. e.g.: I've always wanted to be a mom, and I very much want my husband to be a dad. That will become a reality in September. However, I am aware that I have expectations around what kind of father I want him to be and he may have a different idea.

 

What I'm getting at is that your expectations of what a relationship should be like very much define the idea of a soul mate. I think if you can get clear on a lot of things then your relationship will be smoother in general. You can have different goals, DH and I have very separate lives, different interests etc. but we also have common goals and for the most part we are clear on the expectations we have of each other in this relationship.

yeahthat.gif

 

Is there respect? If no respect, then you absolutely have to change something fast. 

 

I think those glorified 'soul mate' relationships also depend a lot on the people in them and their temperaments and their personalities. We are conditioned to relating to other people in particular ways by these things, including how relationships were modelled to us and experienced growing up. The best way to be happy in a relationship is to not expect your partner to 'complete you' or make up for some of your shortcomings or to fulfill some holes you feel in your life. That's when you get in trouble. A truly healthy, strong relationship involves two individuals who respect each other tremendously but who aren't dependent on the other to make them happy. Only you can make yourself happy. You are there to support each other, experience joy together, but as two complete and independent individuals, not as one conjoined being. 

 

I'm always rather skeptical about why people feel the need to tell the (fb) world that they love whoever so much. That seems to represent a need for approval or validation or attention, or something. 

 

This has made a lot of sense to me as I journey through the most challenging time of my life right now. Take a look at the different concepts. I know a theory is just a theory, but it is just a concise way to understand what all psychological theorists talk about - how families are a system, how we learn from our parents (good and bad), and how all relationships involve power of some kind. http://www.thebowencenter.org/pages/theory.html  

 

Good luck. 

post #27 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgreen View Post

 A truly healthy, strong relationship involves two individuals who respect each other tremendously but who aren't dependent on the other to make them happy. Only you can make yourself happy. You are there to support each other, experience joy together, but as two complete and independent individuals, not as one conjoined being. 

 

I love this concept of a marriage lilgreen-- thank you. It's what I hope DH can create in our marriage.

 I do feel that DH generally respects me and treats me with respect most of the time. But the times when he doesn't leave me reeling and hurting. 

 

We saw the marriage counselor for the first time today and it went really well. DH is open and willing to work on his issues with his temper-- but it was evident that he feels totally powerless and clueless about how to do things differently. We have a couple strategies or techniques that we're going to try, to avoid the "explosions" that happen when DH is frustrated. 

 

We talked a lot about our parents' relationships and how that influences our expectations and actions-- which a few of you have brought up. My parents rarely raised their voices with one another, and I never saw them "fight". I always thought they were the perfect couple, but now I'm realizing that conflict was swept under the rug, which probably had a lot to do with their divorce a few years ago. DH's parents were the complete opposite-- violent physical and verbal fights-- and they also ended up divorcing. So DH and I have very different ideas of marriage and what it looks like.  I'm realizing that my ideal of a smooth, conflict-free relationship is neither realistic nor necessarily healthy. But I also refuse to be at the receiving end of DH's anger any longer. I want to find a healthier way of dealing with our disagreements (DH being mean and accusatory, me shutting down and soaking in self-pity and resentment....) Somehow we need to find a balance between the two extreme examples we grew up with. 

post #28 of 35

gitanamama, I loved what you said about realizing how your parents' relationships influenced your ideas of what you think things should or shouldn't look like and then realizing you may not have seen the true nature of their understanding. I think a lot of us grow up with this idea that a relationship without visible conflict is ideal but maybe it ends up leaving us with a false notion that we can have "perfect" relationships. I think it's similar to the topic of money and whether or not that gets discussed openly in the household. I grew up totally clueless about how close to poverty we were and while on the one hand I think my mother gave me that gift of not having to worry about finances as a kid, it also left me sort of in the dark about household budgeting as an adult...

All that to say that it sounds like you're doing the empowering thing: taking action, speaking up, working with you partner and being open to re-examining your own notions of relationship and marriage. Thank you for being so candid about your situation. I am far from perfect in my own partnership and this thread has helped me think about some aspects of my marriage as well!

post #29 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by gitanamama View Post
We saw the marriage counselor for the first time today and it went really well. DH is open and willing to work on his issues with his temper-- but it was evident that he feels totally powerless and clueless about how to do things differently. We have a couple strategies or techniques that we're going to try, to avoid the "explosions" that happen when DH is frustrated. 
 

 

I just want to say that this is huge. If your husband is open & willing to work on himself, and you are open & willing to do the same, that is a really good sign.

 

I am appreciating this thread a lot. It's helping me think through some things that have been on my mind in my marriage a lot lately. The transition to parenthood has been huge for DP & I...it's almost like we started over again after 15 years together. We're having to re-learn all kinds of stuff, because the context of our relationship is so different now that we're raising a child.

post #30 of 35
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for your encouragement, perspectives, and advice....and just for being there and listening! I've never really opened up to anyone in real life about the issues in our marriage. My family and friends are pretty much clueless about our "rough patches" so it's hard for me to get an outside perspective-- and since my own thoughts and emotions can be at either extreme, depending on the day, it's hard to really see the whole picture. Taking a hard look at our marriage is also making me take a hard look at myself-- which is really good. I'm examining a lot of my beliefs and behavior patterns and learning to discard those that no longer serve me. Progress!!

post #31 of 35
Thread Starter 

It's been awhile, and so much has changed, so I thought I'd come back and update here. My first post was right in the middle of a storm of soul searching-- I felt trappedin my marriage and angry/resentful (irrationally so, which I did realize) at my DH for not being the man of  my dreams. I didn't want to throw away the good things but I didn't want to continue putting up with the bad. And then somehow, everything just blew wide open for me. I read a book by Bryon Katie ("I need your love-- is that true?"..or something to that effect), which helped change my thought pattern. I realized I was letting myself get pulled into a really negative place-- every time my DH acted in a way that I didn't like, I started questioning his merit and "goodness" as a person, and my decision to be his partner. I felt like he had no right to be angry or grumpy, and that it was somehow a reflection on our marriage or my role as wife. I took on his anger/grumpiness as my own, and the cycle just continued. And I felt angry at DH for not being my soul mate, for not being the perfect partner that I'd created in my head. I think he definitely picked up on that-- even if I never verbalizied my feelings to him, and that feeling of not being "enough" just made him distance himself from me by being unkind. 

 

When I stopped letting those thoughts and emotions control me, I found that I was happy and at peace (even if DH came home grumpy after work and spoke to me in a tone I didn't like.) And somehow, keeping myself out of that negative space has made DH a muuuch more cheerful, pleasant person. I realized that I only have control/responsibility for myself and my happiness-- and that realization released all of the resentment and ambivalence I had been feeling. I feel content and in love with DH in a way that I haven't in years. 

 

I know I sound like the back of a self help book right now..... :)   DH still isn't my soul mate. He still has qualities and does things that don't align with my values, but I can also see the beautiful, wonderful qualities in him again-- and I can simply love him for being himself. 

 

Thanks to all of you for sharing, supporting, and bearing witness to this journey. I am so grateful to be in touch with a diverse group of women here on MDC-- it's been an invaluable resource during times of change and growth. 

post #32 of 35

Gitanamama - thank you so much for posting this thread and sharing your experience. It mirrors so much of what I have been experiencing with my partner. I can tell you that this is an experience you can have with anyone at any time of life after any number of relationships! I am in my thirties, had several long-term healthy relationships with others, lived with other partners, had a lot of experimentation, and ultimately ended up with a partner / co-parent who I have not felt in sync with for quite some time. I don't believe in marriage for myself and even so, I am sticking things out right now in a relationship that is working on a functional and co-parent level while feeling unfulfilling on a soul level. 

There is so much out there in mainstream media and culture about "soul mates" in marriage and after having this first two years of a child with someone and trying to make a household and functional situation just *work* I can tell you that I understand why people stay in marriages that do not feel good for them outside of the basic everyday business of things. 

I'm taking it day to day right now, just watching my expectations and reactions, being open to seeing something new and looking for fulfillment in different areas of life. Not closed to wanting something else, but also truly watching my expectations and how they manifest into some unnecessary stories and troubles.

I am glad to read that you are learning so much from this process. I wish you the best. :)

post #33 of 35
Thread Starter 

Hugs mamaleila! It's so good to hear from others who have similar experiences. I think my last post came off as way too peppy and optimistic :). I still don't have it all figured out. I still have questions and doubts that feel paralyzing at times. These questions are so much bigger and heavier when kids are involved, like you said. I remember looking at some adult relationships (family and family friends) as a teenager and wondering why the women put up with some of the things that they did. And now, as a mother myself, I realized it's so much more complicated than it seems from the outside. Sometimes I want to just throw in the towel and do some exploration-- or just get a break from the hard work of marriage. But it's not just about me anymore. If our marriage was toxic, or abusive, or dysfunctional, I'd feel more validated in leaving I think, but it isn't any of those things. 

 

I try now to focus on myself when we get into a rough patch (as we currently are.) I've spent so many years focusing on him (if only he would do xyz, we'd be ok and I'd be happy....) and very little changed. But I'm learning that I have to take responsibility for my own happiness (easier said than done when co-parenting/living/ and running a business with someone who can be very grumpy and negative.) I'm getting better at it though. And like you said, I'm practicing awareness with my feelings and expectations-- really looking into how the stories in my head create much of the pain I feel. 

 

It's both relieving and sad to discover how many people have similar feelings of ambivalence in their marriages/relationships. I really question the institute of marriage and the ideal of spending one's entire life with one person. But at the same time, I think having two united parents is in the best interest of kids--most of time (I have nothing but the utmost respect for single mamas!) No answers-- just lots of heavy questions. :/

post #34 of 35

I just ordered that book you mentioned...I could have wrote almost everything you posted on here, right down to the age you settled down (give or take a tiny bit), the ADHD, the blaming him for everything, the co-dependence. I'm glad you're figuring out a way to get past it all!

 

And I have to agree with what others say about FB- you can post anything you want on there. I don't think some people are as happy as their FB makes them out to be, and I don't think others are as sad as their FB makes them out to be. I guess it just depends on what exactly they need in their lives at the moment.

post #35 of 35

I met my DH at 14, started dating at 17, and got married at 22.  We have both only been with each other.  We are best friend, and work well as a team, but he does not meet all my needs, and there are aspects of or relationship that continue to need work.  Several years ago I read a book (that I can not remember the name of now), that said that even in an "ideal" relationship, your partner could only meet about 80% of your relationship/emotional needs.  That means you have to fulfill the other 20% elsewhere.  I think many times we look at other couples, or even potential partners, and see that 20% that we are missing and think they are better, or would have been a better choice.  In reality, they would not be able to give you everything either.

 

Over the 19 years of our relationship I have come to believe that if he has not changes yet, he probably won't.  So I need to decide if that is something I can live with.  Otherwise, he will never live up to this expectation that I have set for him and I will continue to be unhappy.  If I decide I can live with it, then great.  I have also learned, that sometimes communication is very HARD!  We can come out of the same conversation with different ideas of what the plan is, so I have stopped trying to be subtle and just spell it out.  "DH, I am trying to teach DS to put his dirty clothes IN the laundry basket instead of in the general area of the laundry basket.  It would really help me if you could make sure your socks get in the laundry basket, because he does not understand why he has to do it and you do not."

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