Mothering Forum banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,139 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
<p>My husband and I have a really strong, positive relationship for the most part. We share parenting and daily tasks easily and get along well. The only issue is that we bicker a little bit and I often feel irritated with my husband for no logical reason. I was listening the other day to an <a href="http://www.democracynow.org/2010/11/24/dr_gabor_mat_on_adhd_bullying" target="_blank">interview with Gabor Mate</a>, a coauthor of "Hold on to Your Kids." I have been struggling on and off with a lack of patience with my wonderful, ideal partner. That day my mother told me (when I told her I wasn't sure he liked me) that I act pretty aloof towards DH a lot of the time and that he is constantly trying to be affectionate to me and that I push him away.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I had a big realization that my difficult childhood, in which I definitely experienced "detachment parenting" as well as some neglect and abuse, made it hard for me to have a comfortable attached relationship with my partner. (I've been to counseling in the past to deal with my abuse/ect. so I'm not sure why I was so blind to this.) I work really hard to give my daughter all the benefits of attachment but she also sees (and I know will learn from) my model of being detached. I recognized that every time I am feeling impatient/annoyed, it is a sign of my being alienated and detached from my partner and where he is in that moment.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I work pretty hard at mindfulness and presence but my impatience and temper with him has been galling me and negative for our relationship since pregnancy. Anyway, my partner was happy to hear about my new understanding. But he has a hard time understanding how I could feel not attached to him after we have been together so long. He said he feels attached and comfortable in our relationship so why do I not? I think maybe he felt that I was saying he was doing something wrong even though I tried to make it clear that this was my issue that came from me and my story, but that there were things he could do if he wanted to help me.  </p>
<p> </p>
<p>I came up with ideas like, could he ask me to do him favors (he is a big giver and doesn't like to bother me), looking into each other's faces when speaking to one another (it's not as though we never do this), when I feel upset I could ask him for specific things he could do to help me instead of me getting sarcastic or shutting off (a la non-violent communication). </p>
<p> </p>
<p>But in the end this conversation exposed a big gulf in which he said he felt well-connected to me and couldn't imagine how I wouldn't feel well-connected, and I said that the fact that one of us felt attached and the other didn't was maybe an indication of a disconnect. I feel disappointed that he seems totally unable to empathize with me. He seems almost offended, and I guess it is because, despite what I said, he feels responsible for how I feel while at the same time feeling that I am making something out of nothing.</p>
<p> </p>
<p><strong>How can I change my actions to encourage a sense of attachment between us? I feel so lost and disappointed and kind of hopeless.</strong></p>
<p> </p>
<p><strong>How can I help him understand without going into all the feeling stuff that he doesn't enjoy? (He doesn't mind feelings but gets bored with all the analysis--he is not used to all the American psychoanalyzing tendencies.) Does he really need to understand this? Do I really need his help, or since I am the one feeling out of sorts, can I do this on my own?</strong></p>
<p> </p>
<p>Thanks for your thoughts on this!</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,517 Posts
<p>Well a few things come to mind.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>First, I think spouses have to be careful when they have an intense realization (like you've had).  I think one of the best parts of marriage is that we get to journey with each other - but I also think it can be really a difficult time if we expect our spouses to keep up on every leap right away, if that makes sense. So I would first of all not try to 'fix' this right away, like in one month - or 6.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Second, when you mentioned Hold Onto Your Kids I cringed a bit because it is soooooo suspicious of any relationships outside the family.  So that's why I ask: do you have friends and support outside your marriage?  How much you need/want is very personal and dependent on a lot of things, but when you mention being irritable, etc. I do wonder if you are also in need of other friendships. My husband is an introvert and I'm an extrovert, so I have friends to go out with, as an example. If I don't go out for a while I get irritated - and it's nothing to do with my marriage. It's to do with me.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Third...I'd start simply. When you feel disconnected, ask him for a hug. :)</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Fourth, I don't believe any relationship is connected all the time.  Sometimes I think those of us who have experienced dysfunctional families in our backgrounds idealize what a functional relationship looks like. This is not to say that I think you are off in your perceptions, but it's more being realistic about your end goal.</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,454 Posts
<p><strong>Does he really need to understand this? Do I really need his help, or since I am the one feeling out of sorts, can I do this on my own?</strong></p>
<p> </p>
<p>No, I don't think he needs to understand this. YOU don't entirely understand all of this, and this is the sort of thing a person spends a life time contemplating.  And while I think our spouses can be wonderful soul mates, ultimately we're all on our own journey. In the end we are completely alone. There are some things that we have to do ourselves. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Can you get yourself out of a funk?  You are the one in charge of you, no one else is. While he isn't responsible to provide you with happiness, he can provide you with affection, acceptance and encouragement.  He doesn't have to understand where you're coming from to the nth degree to still love you unconditionally.  You need friends, and yes, a good therapist can provide some much needed guidance and structure to your musings.  I'm a big proponent of individual therapy.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Don't discount the affect of new motherhood on your relationship.  Your baby is fifteen months old?  That's just plain stressful.  Stress makes anyone irritable, even super irritable. But you can't get angry at the baby, so the other adult, your dh, takes the focus of your anger.  Yes, you've got a significant issue from your childhood to deal with, in the form of abuse. I'm not minimizing it. But seriously, even without something like that in a partner's past, parenting is simply hard. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Your routine is shot. Your autonomy is gone. Your life isn't your own. Your very body isn't your own.  Your life will NEVER be the same. That's a HUGE change to deal with.  Of course you love your baby and your partner! Doesn't mean you don't get thoroughly ticked off sometimes.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>If AP is strictly defined I don't think it can apply to a marriage. </p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,005 Posts
<p>I would try reading about the concepts of emotional needs and love busters on the site <a href="http://www.marriagebuilders.com" target="_blank">www.marriagebuilders.com</a></p>
<p> </p>
<p>that has made such a difference to our marriage.</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,206 Posts
<p>I recently tried to share a big revelation with my husband and it didn't go well.  He didn't understand and that "allowed" me to feel aggrieved and hurt, which only added to my pity party.  I talked to a friend and she said she cannot go to her husband with this either, and that is what friends are for.  I think husbands are too close to the problem to be able to help objectively.</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,139 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
<p>Hey everyone,</p>
<p>Thank you for your replies. GuildJenn, the hug suggestion was a really good one. We touch much less since baby, and increasing contact helps. I have never read (only skimmed) HOld On to Your Kids and am not a devotee of the philosophy or anything. Interestingly, since writing this post, I met a friend who I connected to much more than I have with anyone since I got married. That has been really good for me, very healing. I think I wasn't sure if deep friendships were going to happen anymore, or at least not until my daughter was older.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>JourneyMom, I appreciated your tough insights. It's true that I'm the one in charge of my thoughts and feelings and that this time of life transition brings new stress and needs for support.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Roxswood, thanks for the link.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>And Galatea, thanks for sharing your experience. It was good to hear I'm not alone. I think it's hard to go from having a "best friends" type romance to having a little more distance and maturity as the mother of a family.</p>
<p> </p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,005 Posts
<p>My hubby will listen, once I've already worked things out and can explain them sensibly to him without having to talk in circles for hours just to understand myself.</p>
<p>I think we need to share everything we know about ourselves with our partners, but its a lot easier once we know what it is we need to share.</p>
<p>I tend to go down the route of telling him I'm having a hard time with something, and need to figure it out and will talk to him more once I'm feeling more settled.</p>
<p>If we're getting plenty of time together doing fun things, which is difficult when the kids are really small but with creative scheduling and planning of activities can happen as they grow even without babysitters or money, then he can cope much better with the times I need to talk out difficult subjects.</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,206 Posts
<p>Well, funny update.  We have several friends who are seeing a counselor who specializes in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples.  It boasts a 75% success rate and is based on attachment theory.  We like it so far!</p>
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top