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Needing some help with perspective and thoughts.

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I haven't posted at mothering for a long time, but I'm hoping that you can help me gain some perspective and figure out what I'm doing.  I don't have anyone IRL that can help me with this and I'm just feeling so lost right now.

DH and I have been together almost 20 years, married 15.  We met when we were 18, at the start of our first year of college.  We dated a couple of years, split up for a year, got back together and got married.  We have three wonderful boys, ages 14, 11 & 8.

I'm feeling so frustrated and lonely and I'm just not sure what to do.  We have a good life - DH & I don't fight, he's a good provider, we're financially comfortable - I'm very aware of all I have to be thankful for.  And yet, I'm so sad and hurt by how our relationship is.  DH is very emotionally distant (we're pretty sure he has Asperger's) and he's uninvolved in the family.  He works from home as a computer programmer, so he's on the computer all day for work.  However, it never ends.  When he's not working, he's gaming.  A typical day is work from 6am-3pm; he may come upstairs a few times throughout the day, for a few minutes at a time, to grab food.  Other than that, he rarely comes up before evening - occasionally before dinner, and he'll take a nap in the livingroom; otherwise he comes up at dinner, usually halfway through the meal.  He'll scarf down dinner and head back down to the computer.  Most nights he'll come out around between 8:00-9:30pm and fall asleep on the couch.  Occasionally he'll wake for one show.  I head to bed between 10 & 10:30; he usually heads back to the computer then, but sometimes stays asleep on the couch until the middle of the night before moving to the computer.  Weekends aren't much better - he sleeps until nearly noon & will sometimes spend some time with us while he works on a crossword, read a book or play a game, but the majority of the day is spent at the computer.

Most of this is not new.  He's always been a workaholic and spent a lot of time gaming.  The amount of time on the computer has gone up quite a bit in the last year or so.  The napping is new, but he's never slept a lot at night.  I'm just so fed up with not having a partner.  He doesn't consistently interact with us - I don't think he knows how.  He'll wander upstairs for a couple of minutes, but if we don't actively engage him, he wanders back down.  Sometimes he'll cook, but not often lately.  Other than that, he doesn't do any "chores" or projects or day-to-day stuff that is involved in running a household and raising three boys.  We moved to a 5 acre property 6 years ago, so there are always extra things to do - I raise a flock of ~25 chickens, garden, otherwise keep up the property, make all of our food from scratch and preserve tons of food throughout the year.  He rarely helps with any of this.  I was in poor health all summer (severely anemic) and had no energy to do anything and would get major heart palpitations constantly - was warned by my doctor not to exert myself or it could mean a heart attack.  So, everything got put off until the last few weeks when my health finally started improving.  Then I had to bust my but to get things in order before the snow flew - the biggest projects were building a roof over the chicken run and covering an area around the garden with cardboard and chicken litter.  I still have a huge freezer full of fruit that I need to can/dry and other projects that I just had to realize were not going to get done.

I'm worried about DH's health.  He's been overweight for years and personal hygiene has never been his strong suit.  He makes motions to do something about his health - he's gone through a number of different fad diets in the last couple of years and makes noise about exercising, but it never amounts to anything.

I know I'm not perfect.  I don't communicate well and I get frustrated easily.  Our sex life is nearing non-existent. 

I've told him many times over the years that things need to change.  That I need him more involved and that I need him to be on the computer less.  As the boys get older, I'm seeing them slip into the same computer habits and it makes me so angry and sad.  We don't see eye-to-eye on most parenting issues, though, so he's never supporting any parenting choices I make.

I'm just at such a loss right now.  The last couple of years it's all become too much.  But, I don't know what to do.  Some days, I feel as though I should leave - that this is an unhealthy relationship for the boys and I, but I'm scared to leave, especially financially.  On the other hand, it's not that bad - it's not abusive, we're comfortable financially; maybe I'm overreacting - I don't want to divorce.

If you've made it this far, I truly appreciate it and hope you can give me some thoughts.

post #2 of 7

Wow, that is difficult.  I kind of understand some of what you are saying, because my husband basically does very little but work and then game.  Except he does shop for himself and prepare himself food, and he'll do his laundry on Sundays.  Plus he helps the kids with their homework on the days when they need it, which is really useful, and he takes one of them to school on his way to work.  We communicate more often, but not a lot, and he goes to bed early and we don't have a sexual relationship.  I sort of feel like I just have to make my own life with the things I want to do.  He would have no interest in many of these things.  He thinks I take on too much, and that I belong to "masochist clubs" but he doesn't really see volunteering as something necessary, whereas I feel like it is. So a lot of times even if I don't want to do it, I can't really just quit like he thinks.  


I have one daughter who is like him on the computer a lot, and one who is becoming more social and more willing to do things out of the house, although she used to want to just stay home most of the time.  I live far away from my family, and he had said if we moved cross country, he would be willing to do more social things, but he really isn't.  So I just kind of look upon it as I have a good life, I will do the things I need to do for me and my kids, he will support us financially and with a few things (like homework and occasional chauffeuring).  And we'll just keep doing this as long as it works.


I think the kind of life you have is one that is difficult to do alone.  It is HARD to do all the cooking and cleaning along with tending animals. I have to walk my dog several times a day, and that is hard enough, although my older daughter helps out with that.  I can't imagine having the wellbeing of that flock of chickens plus a large garden in addition. My kids are 14 and 10 and they don't do enough chores, honestly, but I am making them do more lately.  I'm not cooking for them as much as I might have in the past.  Cooking has always been a difficult thing because of feeling like I have to cook these really well balanced meals, only to have them rejected.  So now I just make sure I have food on hand, a lot of it is already prepared stuff, not from scratch.  I offer things, if they don't want them, I just leave it alone and don't cook.  Last night I roasted brussel sprouts. No one ate any but me, but my 10 year old had a sandwich and my 14 year old didn't eat as she had had a veggie burger after school. The night before I boiled potatoes and made a salad, and she ate the potatoes (my teen was away for the evening, and I had given her a meal to take with her).  

I think you should decide what is really important to you and how much effort you have to expend on it, how much you can get your children to do--and I think they could take over some of the property, chicken or cooking work at this age.  Then I think you should cut the other things out.  This might be unthinkable for you, but I feel like the only thing you can control are your own responses and actions.  So don't take on more than you can personally handle. For example with cooking, maybe you can make simple things and freeze them so your kids can heat them up, and you could stop cooking for everyone.  Unless cooking and food prep are something you really enjoy, but even if you think it is really important, the others in your family might not value it in the same way.  And if you stop, maybe they would see the value. That's the only suggestion I have, but I admit I'm seeing this from the lens of my own life, so I don't know how it would really work in yours.

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thank you, Viola.  I appreciate you taking time to share your thoughts.  It definitely helps me.  

I, too, have come to realize that I just need to make my own life and do what I need to do...in many respects.  I strive for the life I envision living, which is why, although it's a lot of work, I got the chickens last year and have been working to improve my garden.  I love gardening (although I'm not very good at it) and love being outside in the summer, although my family does not.  It just makes me frustrated and sad that I don't have someone who wants to share in my life and work with me.

I can totally relate to 'taking on too much', like you mention.  My husband's the same way - he doesn't understand why I do what I do and why I can't just ignore things and let them slide like he does.  I, too, believe that volunteering and helping others is very important, whereas my husband is more of the viewpoint that everyone should fend for themselves.

I need to get the boys to help out more, on a regular basis.  They each have chores they're expected to do, but they often slide.  The oldest has a very heavy class load this year and winds up spending 5-7 hours/night on homework, so I feel bad trying to get him to do chores.  I need to be more consistent on that.

Thankfully, my kids are very un-picky when it comes to food.  I have a love/hate relationship with cooking, but it's necessary due to dietary issues for the boys and I (no gluten, dairy or soy).  In general, I enjoy cooking, but I don't do well if I haven't planned and then I wind up hungry and resentful at dinner time.  The boys like cooking and do some; when they have time they'll cook a meal or bake for all of us; regularly they make their own breakfast daily and lunch on weekends.

I'll ponder if it would help me to let some of the workload go.  It might, but much of it, I feel, is necessary.

post #4 of 7

I wonder what could help with your DH being willing/able to interact with the family a little more?  Maybe someone over in Special Needs Parenting could point your towards some resources for working with Asperger's.  Once you have a little more interaction - and it doesn't trigger or drain him, but helps HIM feel more connected - you may be able to talk about some of your other needs?  


Also, I know depression can lead my DH to withdraw.  He's very introverted and works in a position that requires constant interaction with the public.  If he's feeling stuck, down about his weight, or worried about anything, I can tell because he spends more and more time on the computer.  It's a hard cycle to break out of.


Do you ever go down to his computer space?  Could you head down there after the kids are in bed and interrupt his gaming?  How would he respond to that?  Would he respond favorably if you just sat down on his lap and enticed him with sex?  Then you could say "tag, your it . . . next time you have to come upstairs before 9pm!"  . . . or something like that?


Sending you warm fuzzies and wishes for more connection.

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks, OrmEmbar.  I just requested a book on Asperger's partners that I found recommended on another thread.  That's a good thought though - I'll check in with the special needs forum to see if anyone has other suggestions.  I came across a book a couple years ago about someone with Aspergers that helped a lot, so this is definitely a good direction to go.  If I could just figure out how to get him to interact with us, it would be so much better.

I don't know if he's depressed - it doesn't really seem in his nature.  However, he does retreat to the computer more when things aren't going his way (ie, he's not getting as much sex as he wants).

I do go into his office for random stuff - to ask him about something or show him something.  Most of the time I just get ignored for the computer game.  You're idea would definitely get his attention, as that's really all he wants.  However, my libido has been low for many years and non-existent since the spring due to health issues, combined with resentment toward him.  Sex is the only way to get him to 'be human' - it used to carry over to him interacting with us for the next day or so, but lately it doesn't even do that. So, while I know it would work, I don't know if it's something I can do right now.

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

I thought more about what advice was given here yesterday and decided I needed to make the first move to see if things can change.  I've tried before, but nothing's come of it.  However, we'll see.

Had a glass of wine and we had a good night ;-) and morning.  Actually talked through some issues today and he seems willing to work on things, so I'll cross my fingers.  I'm also finding more information about Aspergers, which is very helpful.  I just need to keep reminding myself that he's not capable of responding to some situations like I need him to, and move on.

post #7 of 7

Thanks for the update!  


I totally hear you on the no-libido-when-abandoned-to-do-all-the-house/farm/kid-work-alone thing.


And I want to say that I think you are absolutely entitled to be happy and have fulfillment in your relationship - being financially secure and having your dream property and beautiful children are all lovely.  But your lack of happiness is a big message that some things need to change.  Glad you are not trying to talk yourself away from your discontent and making some positive moves.  If your DH cannot give you what you need in certain situations I hope he is giving all he can wherever he is capable.  


: )

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