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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
DH and I have been together for 14 years, married for 9. Our dd is 5yo. We have had some real rough patches in the past and seen a therapist off and on. We have tried some coping tools (ie schedule business meetings, have dates, etc.) but aren't able to sustain them. It seems like it is all left up to me. I feel like it is my responsibility to initiate each and every discussion. For example, when we are doing well together I schedule weekly meetings where we discuss everything from state of chores to what's coming up on the calendar to the emotional state of our marriage, how I'm feeling, how he's feeling etc. But if I fail to block out a space of time for this DH will go weeks and never ever say, "Hey, we need to talk." Or "When we going to have a meeting again?" Part of the problem with scheduling this time is his/my fluctuating schedules, trying to do it when without DD around (less interruptions and more seriousness.) Frankly I'm tired of managing all our emotional needs.<br><br>
Aside from that, we never date (aren't happy with any babysitters we have tried out) and have no family to help out. We have no intimacy and do nothing to nurture our relationship. It seems like our whole life revolves around our DD. Luckily we're on the same page where she is concerned and we really step up to work on any issues related to her. (i.e. we make time to discuss this stuff.)<br><br>
So, what do you think? Is there a way to make DH more responsible for his half of the relationship? Or is it just my responsibility? I've asked him before to take on some of this, but he's content even if we don't have meetings, while my stress level builds and builds. He feels like I'm the one who needs it so I should make it happen. While I see differently - it is for the good of the family.<br><br>
~ denise
 

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I think it's really more a matter of communication styles (at least in our case). My dh doesn't initiate conversations about our relationship. He just doesn't. He will, however, pick a fight with me when he has something to tell me that he's having difficulty expressing. Real mature. But, over the 13 years we've been together, I've learned that that is currently the extent of his ability in the matter. He's not going to come to me and say "we need to talk about ____." Sure, it would be better if he would, but I can't sit around hoping it will happen. Because that just makes me resentful. I am open to it happening someday (and we've both made progress in the area of communication, so it's not impossible), but in the meantime, I try to do what I can to facilitate communication between us.<br><br>
Sorry, this is probably not the answer you wanted to hear; and it may not apply to your situation, but it sure helped ease tensions around our house when I realized this.
 

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Kepp looking for a babysitter., All the going sleing in the world will not help if you do not find time and way to recconct to each other
 

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Agree with BensMamacita... some men are just like that, and it is difficult for them to change. Be thankful that your DH is open to the idea of talking about the relationship, even though he makes <i>you</i> schedule it.<br><br>
As for the dates, I know it isn't the same, but one thing you could do is feed your DD a kid-friendly food at an earlier time, and then send her to the LR to watch a movie while you and DH eat your real dinner in the kitchen/dining room, over candlelight. And/or after she goes to bed.
 

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This is a perfect issue for therapy. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> He's not pulling his weight when it comes to the emotional management of your relationship, and that leaves you feeling unsupported, unequal, and possibly even less valued/important.<br><br>
So...he needs to hear you, and what you need: his greater involvement, greater interest, and an awareness that he needs to keep an eye on the "maintenance" schedule. It's not fair for you to carry it alone.<br><br>
I'm betting that there are things you need to do and hear, too. Guys are different than women, there's no doubt, but sometimes women shut down men in their attempts to manage things in their own, unique, man-version of getting things done. After being shut down enough, or told that they're not doing it the right way, or just told that their efforts aren't cutting it, many men stop attempting it at all. Some or all of these things might be happening in your relationship (in an outright way, or in subtle ways you're not aware of).<br><br>
It's worth it to talk this through. This is the perfect subject for therapy: it's important, it's something that's pulling you apart rather than helping you work together, and it's a relatively clear-cut, small topic for conversation/growth. Small doesn't equal easy, though. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> Good luck.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">So, what do you think? Is there a way to make DH more responsible for his half of the relationship? Or is it just my responsibility?</td>
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Yeah, that's a tough situation. Maybe you could re-frame it a little bit. By framing it as "DH being responsible for his half of the relationship", you are implying that this is his responsibility and he is shirking it. But if he truly doesn't need the meetings and dates to feel happy in the relationship, then is it his responsibility? I guess I'd frame the issue more as "is there a way to get DH to be more sensitive to my needs?". He may not have the <i>responsibility</i> to initiate meetings and dates (because it's what you want, not necessarily what he wants) but since he knows that it is important to you it certainly would be showing his love if he did it.<br><br>
It's like, if you really wanted to go see a certain concert, you wouldn't say that your DH has a *responsibility* to buy tickets for you guys to go. But you would be thrilled and feel all warm and fuzzy and loved if he did buy the tickets. Does that make sense?<br><br>
So maybe you could frame it not as a matter of shirking responsibility, but rather start talking to each other about what you can do for each other to show love? You can tell him, this is really important to me so if you initiate a meeting even though you don't feel you need it, it makes me feel loved. And then he gets to tell you how your can show him love as well.<br><br>
Oh, and as for dates, DH and I have always just connected in the evening after the kid is in bed, snuggling and talking or maybe watching Jon Stewart. You don't need a babysitter to do that!
 

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Really can't add much to what RedOakMama and Thao said. I think they have some really good advice.<br><br>
I would second the PP who said keep looking for a good babysitter. A date night twice a month has helped turn our marriage around. No, the babysitters I've found aren't fantastic and I wouldn't have them look after DS all day long every day *but* they are responsible and nice (teenage daughters of colleagues) and I trust that DS is safe in their care, even if they aren't super creative when caring for him. We try to go out after DS has eaten (or even after he is in bed) and go to a late movie or dinner. Maybe this approach would make your "meetings" seem more fun to your DH, you know?<br><br>
Anyway, it sounds like you all have a lot to build on and a lot of positive things going on in your relationship. Hang in there!
 

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Men don't "manage" relationships, emotionally or otherwise, because they don't have to. 9 times out of 10 women will pick up the slack. All the advice I've read here requires you to change - even more work on top of what you're already doing.<br><br>
How about a radical thought - your man needs to change. He needs to learn your "emotional language" and step up to the plate and do what *you* need him to do to feed your relationship. Otherwise, yours will not be a partnership of equals, but a twisted Mummy-baby relationship where the baby holds all the power.<br><br>
Read <i>Wifework: What Marriage Really Means for Women</i> by Susan Maushart - it is really eye opening.<br><br>
In my own personal relationship, my SO reads my emotions quite well because, well, part of it is his nature and the other part is the fact that I don't shut up about it. I let it be known in the first few months of the relationship that I will not and cannot be ignored and if he can't deal with those demands he can walk himself out the door. {I can be a very selfish, demanding person when it comes to my needs, a very masculine trait} So I don't really have advice for when your in the middle of the game, so to speak.<br><br>
What I can tell you is that you have every right to expect your SO to work at your marriage, sometimes at the expense of his own needs. After all, you'd do it for him.
 

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I agree it's more a matter of communication styles. In my situation, my DF is the better communicator. He is the one who will sit me down and MAKE me talk. We are really working on me telling him how I feel or what I need before it gets to that point ... but he is still usually the one who has to open up the lines of communication.<br><br>
In your case, you have every right to expect your husband to respect your need for intimacy and time together. He needs to change. If you guys can't find a babysitter, how about doing a date at home after your daughter is asleep? Sometimes we love to share a bottle of wine, snuggle on the couch and just talk and reconnect. A night like that may do wonders for both of you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Great feedback and suggestions for me to consider. I do agree that in the big picture we're doing alright, there are things to work on but it could be a whole lot worse.<br><br>
Thanks everyone!
 

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next time you have a meeting, why not divide it up like a the chores?<br><br>
for example, this month you schedule the "business" meetings and he schedules the "dates" and "emotional talks." dates don't have to be outside of the home--perhaps you could set dates 'inside' the home once DD is in bed, but you alternate who plans them and what the "event" of the date is going to be.<br><br>
then, the next business meeting ends with a switch of who is planning the next date and emotional talk.<br><br>
this might help change the "management" process.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">How about a radical thought - your man needs to change. He needs to learn your "emotional language" and step up to the plate and do what *you* need him to do to feed your relationship.</td>
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I agree with this. I hope nobody read my post as saying he doesn't need to change. But I also think how you frame the issue to him is important. That's what my post was about.<br><br>
If it comes across as "you're shirking your responsibility" then chances are he may take offense and react badly. If it comes across as "this is what you can do to show me your love, and I am willing to do things you like to show you my love" then the chances are better for a good outcome.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Thao</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8993422"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I agree with this. I hope nobody read my post as saying he doesn't need to change. But I also think how you frame the issue to him is important. That's what my post was about.<br><br>
If it comes across as "you're shirking your responsibility" then chances are he may take offense and react badly. If it comes across as "this is what you can do to show me your love, and I am willing to do things you like to show you my love" then the chances are better for a good outcome.</div>
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OK - we definitely agree and language is very important. Oftentimes though, no matter how a woman frames it, the man just doesn't see it as his responsibility. One can use "I" statements and such till their blue in the face and nothing changes because there's no impetus (sp?) to change. Most people are extremely resistent to change until they see they might lose something of value to them. I'm not suggesting threats of divorce or anything, I'm, not sure I have anything to suggest <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"> I just know, anecdotally and statistically, the playing field of marriage is not level, and something must be done about it, otherwise the institution itself is going to implode.<br><br>
OK *huge* meta argument there - don't mind me <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/whistling.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="whistle">
 
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