That's a broad statement--but I don't know how to phrase it better!
Hubby is 66, still working FT (he LOVES his job!) and travels quite a bit. He has developed this 'habit' as he travels--he walks in the hotel, turns the TV to FoxNews and it's on the entire time he's in the room, sleeping or awake. He also has a continual feed of FB on his phone, so it's blowing up all day and night while he spars with "the left wing". Then when he's home, he continues this way of living. He treats our home like a hotel! The TV is on within seconds of him arriving home and even if I can coax him to the kitchen to eat dinner (he prefers to eat all his meals in bed)--his phone it right at the hand and he will barely talk to me as he watches the FB feed roll by.
He does work hard. He also relaxes hard. He will sleep for 3 days straight (I know this sounds impossible, but he does) so, a trip of a week is followed by 3 days of "downtime" in which he is asleep, with the TV blaring (he's about 75% deaf) and if I dare to turn the sound down, he wakes up and says "I am watching that!!".
B/C he will not turn the TV off, I cannot sleep in the bedroom with him, so I moved downstairs to the spareroom. He watches TV so loud, I have more than once texted him (at say, 2:30 am) "please turn the sound down".
He will not talk to me, he thinks I am dumb for not "keeping up" with the news--but I do, just not 24 hours a day! I check my FB once a day or so, but he has become so belligerent in his posts--our whole family has unfriended him.
The combination of the deafness, the LOUD TV viewing and the eating in bed and just never knowing if he's going to get up and engage with the family, or talk to me or want to spend time with me--I feel very abandoned and alone.
We NEED to move to a more "senior friendly" home. He has fought me on this tooth and nail. We have a split entry home, I run up and down stairs all day long. One car garage, which houses HIS car. I have to schlep groceries, etc across the driveway and up 7 steps into the house. Laundry is downstairs. 16 very steep stairs to the attic, 7 stars down off the porch--but since he NEVER goes downstairs or in the backyard, he doesn't see the problem. He walks in the house and goes to bed. Period.
I guess I could live with this sleeping dynamic, he's done it since he had a liver transplant, and I'm used to it. But the TV is SO depressing and angry, he's absorbed all that anger. FB is just a place for him to spout his super right wing views.
We did our trust planning yesterday with the attorney. Attorney asked if we were making any major changes in the next couple of years and I said "We plan to move" to which DH quickly said "No, we're not going anywhere". I looked a fool. Later asked him what he meant by that and he said "Oh, I was just teasing". (Any time he hurts my feelings, he always says he's just teasing).
I'm feeling so very at a loss with him. I don't *work* anymore, but I DO take complete care of our house, cars, money, meals, budgeting, family things etc. Basically, all he needs to do is go to work, I ask zero of him here at home.
Yes, he has depression and is on 4 meds to help with that. He quit going to therapy b/c he said he was "cured". He refuses to acknowledge the hearing loss, which is worsening and he misses so much.
I cannot make him change, I open my mouth and he is immediately in "shut her down" mode.
Retirement looms. I ask what he plans to do and all he says is he just wants to sleep. I believe it.
I have posted about parts of this "whole" before--but we're at a crucial point here. I want to move--he's never loved this house, so I do not get that. I am seriously looking at buying a duplex, he lives in one side and he lives in the other. It sounds crazy, but I'm beginning to think that's what I might just do.
I AM making an apt with an ENT and an audiologist. He has to go---I will not stand by and let him lose what hearing he has left. If it's MY voice he doesn't want to hear, the I'll deal with that.
Just a rant/vent. I am so beyond frustrated with him.
Once upon a time, yes, this man was a Prince Charming. Incredibly handsome (still is!) Truly. I was BABY when we met (barely 19!!) He is 5 years my senior and had been in the Army and was more traveled and far better educated than I. We dated for a YEAR..Because I wanted to graduate college--but in the end, we decided it was better to get married now (I was 20 by them still a mere child!) and get HIM through school, and then me.
Well--best laid plans. By the time he was done with school we had 2 kids and a mortgage and he was traveling. It wasn't like now, when you can take most of your classes online) there was no "online"---you had to physically be in a classroom--so my higher ed ended at my Junior Year in college. 3 more babies in quick succession and we had a full house! 5 kids in 9 years--what was I THINKING? :) They're the joy of my life!
Once hubby had his degree and began having the 'affair' with work--it's how I felt, he got his first job and he was 100% invested in it---he changed. Work became his great love, then sports, then hiking and climbing, then the kiddoes, then me. It was the 80's and jobs were scarcer and we survived more than one layoff--anybody else remember the 14% interest rates on houses in the 80's? Scary times!
Over the years we have adapted our lives to always put work first. Always. As I have said, he's a great worker--and he loves what he does. I know a big part of the fear or retirement is the sense of obsolescence that will surely come. W/O work, who IS he? I am mom, wife, grandma, homemaker, singer, caregiver to an elderly mom---he is an engineer. When he retires, I DON'T....my job actually will get much worse.
We're not atypical. Lots of people are in the same boat.
I KNOW that his depression is due in part to never have dealt with feelings of inadequacy that his mother instilled in him. He feels guilt about bringing HepC into our family and the resulting consequences (none of us have it, so it's dang hard to catch!) he feels guilty about the $250K the transplant and ensuing TX's cost us--we're still living in our very small "starter home" and I have had to work AND take care of him many times. Guilt over not being a better dad. Guilt over being an idiot about the motorcycle wreck which happened the day before a grandchild was born and I had to spend 3 months caring for HIM, when I had 3 new grandbabies born in that period of time and I couldn't give my daughters the help they needed. Even guilt and anger that I was so severely sexually abused by a brother and he never got the chance to beat him up (brother died 5 or 6 years ago, I forget).....guilt, guilt, guilt.
One thing I have learned in therapy is that ANGER is THE GO TO emotion for many people, esp men (sorry guys)...when what they are really feeling is sadness, frustration, loneliness---ANGER is an "ok" emotion for men, and they go there, rather than deal with what they really feel.
I know when he was routinely seeing his psych doc, he was really making strides...then he stopped. And reverted back. I know it's hard to change and I KNOW it's hard to look at yourself and say "I have to be different, I have to change"...and then follow through.
As for the meds--he's on Cymbalta, Vitamin D, Vitamin A and Thyroid meds (they don't think his thyroid is low, its a mood booster, supposedly). His liver is FINE. He is expected to live a normal lifespan. Most people would be overjoyed by that--for some reason, it depresses him.
He would not, under threat of ANYTHING, allow me to sit in on a session or even speak to his therapist. I have to respect that.
Last night he called, which, when traveling, for him, is unusual. He'd had an incredibly bad day--missed his flight, got a hefty speeding ticket, forgot to return the rental car keys, forgot to leave the jobsite pass at the hotel for the next engineer---really, just an awful day. All I did was listen to him (45 minutes) and say the appropriate soothing things. Finally, I told him to get out of the car, go to his hotel room and crash for 12 hours. Told him I loved him and let it go.
And that's how I plan to take it. Like I said, just love. And forgiveness. Hopefully he will be more amenable to making some changes when he sees that I am trying to help him. He's going to be furious about that audiologist's apt, but its more than a month away.
If you lasted through this whole post, thank you. I am feeling much better. Will see my therapist tomorrow and we will be working the whole hour on this subject.
(I'm wondering if "Hospice Sucks" or "prolife" will comment on this post :) They're everywhere today!!)
Thanks so much for the caring posters. We all shore each other up, and it's nice. I can't talk to anyone but my therapist about this stuff. And y'all.
The reason that I suggest getting more involved medically, is that helped me and my wife a lot when I got more involved in her treatment.
Please don't take this wrong, but it may help your own stress level to see a therapist yourself.
I, too, was raised by parents in a toxic, miserable marriage. What “we” never learn growing up is that a successful relationship takes work. And mutual respect.
We are conditioned to cast all the blame outwardly. And blind to why that Does Not Work.
I am not making excuses for your hubby. But spending your first 18-22 years with no positive modeling RE marriage/companionship = an epic setback in personal development.
Took me years to realize how much I parroted Mom’s endless chorus of “If your father/stepfather would be different, I would be happy.” And Dad’s chapter-and-verse about Mom.
Took me even more years to understand why those attitudes are utter bunk. And what to do about it.
Playing the victim and “poor me” takes on a lot of disguises. And damaged people have an astonishing lack of self-awareness.
I had to do a LOT of work to be a real partner in my relationship. It was scary and uncomfortable. And I actually wanted the change!
Midkid, do you ever wonder if hubby dumped his psychotherapist because they exhausted his favorite topic (himself), and the therapist was steering the conversation toward family life? Specifically, hubby’s role in your home life??
Sorry for the ramble. In short, my heart goes out to you, Midkid. You are clear-headed and amazingly strong. That will serve you well.
But don’t be TOO strong. Take little “resets” as needed. 😊 ((((hugs))))
This bit: "I asked why he ever got married in the first place--meaning, what made him think it was a good idea, since his parents marriage was so toxic--and he said "I just made a leap of faith and hoped it wouldn't be as bad as my parents' marriage"."
That explains why he didn't run a mile from the thought of getting married at all.
It does not explain why he chose to marry you. He didn't stumble over you and think oh well maybe it won't be that bad. He met you, he loved you (or loved that you loved him, or that you made him feel strangely happy, whatever), he chose to be with you, and even his parents' terrible example did not deter him. It's not quite the same.
I have a very good friend with a husband a bit like yours except that he has an absolute aversion to music or noise of any description, sort of a mirror image if you like, and he's an economist instead of an engineer. Now: my friend will tell you that her visa was about to expire and, sobbing, she wailed "now we'll have to get married - !" and that was the only reason her husband tied the knot. Baloney. It explains why she, who was having a whale of a time as a flighty young thing in London, shed her feminist principles and got married. It does not explain why her borderline ascetic man allowed her into his house, his life and his heart, nor why they are still together more than thirty years later and just as incompatible as they ever were.
Just because these men are crap at doing anything about love - to the point that it makes them feel so useless and at sea they'd rather drop the whole subject - doesn't mean they don't have any. If there's one thing they can't bear, it's being unable to understand something even when they put their minds to it.
Noise cancelling headphones. Do they work, does anyone know? Could you try out a pair?
It's not autism--not bipolar, it's depression, basically, and the meds are not helping. Also a tremendous amount of guilt laid on very thickly by a mentally unstable mother--who fairly recently told him he was a "mistake" she was planning to divorce his father, but got pregnant and had to stay in the marriage. (He has an older brother who IS the actual reason they married). You just didn't have out of wedlock babies in the late 40's! This made him feel awful, and much less "loved" by his mother. He deals with all feelings and emotions by stuffing them down, then lashing out---so unhealthy. Withdrawing into his shell and the noise that drowns out the hurt.
He's an engineer- if you KNOW an engineer, then you know what I'm talking about. Laser beam focus on what interests them, but only on that--unless they have been raised better ( 2 of my S'sIL are also engineers, but much more stable, emotionally).
I agree, Barb--lots of mutual agreements and a lot of lowering of expectations on my part. I have to humble myself and accept my own failings too. I'm very likely not what he thought I'd turn out to be either.
He did say something very telling a few weeks ago. I asked why he ever got married in the first place--meaning, what made him think it was a good idea, since his parents marriage was so toxic--and he said "I just made a leap of faith and hoped it wouldn't be as bad as my parents' marriage". So sad. That's all he ever saw, and he expects no better.
My friend/roommate has MSNBC or CNN blaring all day, and I get frequent texts while at work about the latest outrageous tweet and I'm so sick of it. Even during an expensive cruise last year he had this crap on in our stateroom all day, some vacation! Like many people here have done I offer my companionship only when something is on other than news. This year he mentioned an even longer cruise and I said "no way". I'm not paying all that money to feel like I'm not even away from home.
Consider the TBI aspect of this. Are you each other's health care proxy? Can you talk to the psych who is managing his meds? May this is as good as it can get in terms of attention.
He clearly loves you, but has no appreciation of how much his actions are hurting you, which is why I brought up autism.
In any event, I think there needs to be a lot of mutual change of expectations for this relationship to succeed.
Answer a few ??
Oh, my, Barb, yes, that motorcycle wreck was epic. He IS one lucky SOB. No broken bones, but a concussion, internal bleed in his buttcheek (for lack of better term) a bleed into his eye, and numerous cuts and scrapes. The EMT's who were called were called to a "DB" (dead body) and boy were they shocked to see this guy tottering out of the rocks. (we live in Utah and he went 60 MPH up one of our very steep canyons and lost control of the bike and went flying at, well, 60MPH into a field of rocks). I have NO DOUBT that wreck caused some long term effects.
After a long weekend of pondering, praying and thinking, and even talking it out with my best friend, my eldest daughter, she said "Mom, we'll support you no matter what you decide. We ALL know what a PITA dad is to live with". Well--divorce is my absolute last choice--so I am going to work harder on loving him. Forgiving freely the past, focusing on the future and trying to remember what drew me to this man in the first place.
I know he's terrified to get old. It hurts. Everywhere and all the time. His life has been his work, and it's his identity!! Retiring means his identity is gone!
I'm just choosing to love him. No matter how hard that is. I literally made a list of his amazing traits ( and he does have many) and I will focus on those. I will (sabotage the TV first) then talk to him when he gets home next week, and we'll work this out.
Funny, the answer to MANY prayers is simply: Love. Forgive. Love. (wash, rinse, repeat!)
It's not my favourite bit of the film, but there's a sequence in Life of Brian when Brian, pursued by soldiers, flees up a tower and gets accidentally abducted by aliens who happen to be in the middle of a dogfight in space. There is much shooting, then the aliens lose control of their craft and crash-land back more or less where they picked Brian up. Brian walks unscathed, if a little dizzy, from the wreckage; and an innocent bystander looks at him and says "ooooh! You lucky bastard!"
I just thought of it reading back through DH's potted biography.
Have you ever put it to him that, all-in-all, he is one lucky SOB?
Most of us share at least some aspect of your complaints in our husbands.
Trouble is some of us still love them and just have to find our own path.
It was finally proved to me how much my hubby really cared for mesas when I was literally at deaths door and he barely left my side for weeks. Even now while he has unrealistic expectations of me he still worries what may have happened to me when I go out and am longer than i said i would be.
I fortunately don't have to deal with Facebook or Fox news, although the TV is on constantly day and night. WW11 movies , documentaries, plane crash investigations, and nature programs that mainly seem to feature predators killing baby animals.
Deafness is also a problem for both of us. He won't wear his hearing aides and although i wear mine he can't hear me.
My hubby was on disability early retirement before he was 60 so money shortages constantly plague us. i think bout moving to a smaller houseand freeing up some money but rationally our living costs would still be much the same. i'd love to find a cheap fixeruppers but know neither of us could do the work anymore.
Don't get me wrong I am very comfortable with our lifestyle and have no desire to travel the world or go south for the winter.
I don’t have any advice. Just here to lend my support and let you know you are not alone in your situation.
Hubby and I went to Counseling 8 years ago. We both learned some things we both needed to work on. One thing I had to deal with was lowering my expectations a bit.
Yours and my situation are similar but also different.
I also think when hubby’s time to retire happens it will be difficult for both of us. He also works away and has for the last 30 years.
I sympathize with you about Fox News. I used to be a news junky. Had it on all the time when I was indoors. Elections, Politics, National tragedy. Not anymore. Too much ranting and raving, arguing, talking over each other on all Cable News Channels. I just don’t turn it on anymore.
I hope DH goes to his audiologist appt. Maybe if he does then he will find it easier to interact with your family.
When I cleaned out their house after mom's stroke and I found the audiologist's paperwork that ascertained that there WAS significant loss, and that my dad had filed a compensation claim with his long time employer and been awarded money for the damage, I felt a) totally vindicated and b) totally betrayed that my mom had never shared this information with us. She went along with whatever Daddy said, albeit with a lot of eye-rolling at times.
That's what a lot of those "greatest generation" marriages looked like. I think that we, as a generation of woman who grew up in those homes, are insisting on something different.
Duplex might be your best option. Both sides single-story, of course! (Does that exist?? In my part of the country, most homes — new and old — are 2-story or 3-story + basement and attic. Duplexes, too. Heck, even ranch homes around here have basements and attics.)
A burning question: How does hubby perform at such a high level at work with 75% hearing loss? Been following your saga for a while and always wondered. 🤔
My dad is sort of that way. He also watches preaching, gospel music and Fox news. His doctor told him to lay off the Fox news, because, it wasn't good for his health. He worries too much and gets upset. I'm not kidding. (He is a heart patient and also has Conversion Disorder.)
Do you have a Durable POA, so you can step in if he becomes incompetent?
( turning off the radio while she's in the middle of singing along springs to mind as an example) is due to Autism. They work their way through it, with help.
But of course, he WANTS to stay married and so does she. They BOTH end up changing their expectations and behaviors.
I could not live as you do. I lived for 24 years in a very flawed and abusive marriage because I refused to admit " failure". "Failing" at marriage made me into a much better person. In my first marriage, I was always right. In my marriage now, I am appalled at how often I am wrong. My husband never tells me I'm wrong. He just allows natural consequences to take their time and I find out I was wrong. It's kind of humbling.
I would be wearing headphones myself if I were you.
I hate to tell people to leave their marriages, but maybe he'd be better off on his own.
Thinking of you. I just wanted to lend my support. I hear you. Sometimes we women just can't tell anyone anything and its like talking to a brick wall. You are doing the best you can, short of throwing the TV and computer away.
What has your therapist encouraged you to do since such a drastic change in his life?
I have been in private therapy on and off for 20+ years.
No, he has not always been this way. He was an amazingly active, sports-freak in the first 20 years we were married. He was always playing Basketball or baseball--then time and a lot of injuries sidelined him, as is often the case. Started golfing 4-5 days a week instead, which was great.
He started having chronic fatigue about 20 years ago-- and a blood test later confirmed he had Hep C. So we lived with that death sentence staring us down for a long time--he developed Primary Liver Cancer 13 years ago and did receive a liver transplant. Miraculous, really. But the he had to do an 84 week regimen of chemo to knock out the HepC, which it didn't. Bought him some time until Harvoni was released and 12 weeks on that and BOOM--this monster that had essentially ruled our lives was gone. (Along the road after the TP, he had a stroke and a near fatal motorcycle accident.) I have been there for him through all this--caregiving, nurturing and holding the family together. It's beyond exhausting.
He thinks the HCV is to blame--but I know that isn't the root cause. He can work 72 hours in a row, if need be (he's an electrical engineer) but then he has to sleep for the same amt of time. He was seeing a psychotherapist. I know she helped him a LOT, but he said he was "cured" whatever that means and stopped going. He has to see her again in a couple of weeks for a tweak of his meds, but he takes 4 medications for the depression. Makes no difference, really.
I have offered him a divorce, if he is so miserable with me. He says he's not, says it's just my bad luck I got such a sad sack for a hubby. Rolls over and goes back to sleep.
NOTHING bothers this guys except for all Democrats. That last election--I thought he'd have an aneurysm, what with all the stupid drama.
Nope, he's not bi-polar. For sure he has ADD, but doesn't do anything about that.
His liver doc says he has a normal lifespan. The liver match was so perfect he barely takes any anti rejection meds. He plays "happy camper" for the doc.
I just don't know. It's so pleasant and peaceful when he's not home. I wish so much he would sit and talk to me, I have done so much to please him and make his life smooth and comfortable--and I know he doesn't even "get it".
I do appreciate all the replies. I have been so down about this for sooooo long. I really just don't know what to say or do to/for him anymore.
IF he acquiesces and goes to that audiologist's apt on the 28th it will mean a great deal to me ( and the kids!)--that he is listening and cares. If not (and I'd bet he won't) I don't know what to do. Duplex shopping, I guess.
I read your post just now and thought "wait, did I write this?". Hubby has also had a stroke (minor, corrected a hole in his heart and we never looked back) and he had a near fatal motorcycle wreck 5 years ago b/c he so wanted a motorcycle and thought that would make him happy. Most assuredly did not.
We could be twins in the dynamic of our marriages--and that is very sad.
Dh's family also looks down on me, in fact, his mother has often told me how I have ruined her son's life. DH does not stand up for me, and never will. He knows it's true, but he says he "won't do conflict". So I have zero relationship with his mother.
I really do live like a single person. I am lucky in that DH does work, and works hard. So do I! So, we amassed enough so when we retire, we'll be just fine. I just am terrified of having him around 24/7, TV on, bored, sleeping and doing nothing, driving me insane!
I do have hope--there is a spark of love in me, for him. He isn't a bad person, he's not a bad guy...he just doesn't exert any energy towards making our marriage a priority at all. He thinks I am crazy ( I was severely abused as a child and it messed me up something fierce) he plays on that, sometimes, and I know he doesn't realize how very hurtful it is. I've been in therapy for 20+ years and slowly, now with the greatest therapist in the world, I am making progress. Right now we ARE working on me, and what I am going to do when he retires and is home all the time. I believe I will have some peace, and it will work out, even if that means we barely communicate and we never sleep in the same room again. Or, we buy a duplex and live together, but separately.
I'm going forward with the "new house" and he can just take his bed and sleep in a different place. That's all a house means to him!
Trying to count my blessings: I have 5 of the MOST amazing kids in the world. They are married to 5 of the most incredible people I could hope for. Everyone is loving and good to me. My SIL's (4 of them) are wonderful, sweet and caring. Their love and my 14 grandbabies' love is what sustains me.
I'm trying to focus on the positive--after my initial rants. He is out of town for an extended trip and I am going to take this time to reflect, look at houses and prayerfully ask for guidance.
I feel for you, as I think our lives are very similar. I do have a very fulfilling life outside of this marriage, I learned very early on to make friends and get out, since I wasn't getting much in the way of a marriage and companionship. Still-I see couples who are our ages and I see them obviously loving each other and I want to weep.
Hugs to you--sister in heart---I think we are not very unusual in this. And that's sad. Our hubbies are men of an ancient generation--that's for sure. Thank you for your post. Knowing I'm not the only one with this dynamic is helpful.
My mom got my dad “tv ears,” a type of heaphones. If your husband wouldn’t try those, I hate to resort to sneakiness, but maybe forget to pay the cable bill, pick up his phone and “accidently” delete the FB app.
I bet being without both will help his anxiety.
I haven’t watched the news since the late 90s. (It wasn’t intentional, just forgot to pack the tv when I moved to NY. Then I was in NY, so many things to do, who has time to watch tv?) I have a tv now but I only Netflix on it. I can still keep informed with Google News. I do have FB but only view it once a week. (I started out 24/7, weaned myself to FB-free weekends, then went from there.) It’s addicitive but having a life (and you deserve a good one!) is so much better than living online.