Thursday, March 23, 2023
HomeRelationship AdviceMarriage is hard.

Marriage is hard.

Sigh…my husband and I have been together for 9 years, we have a 5 and a 2 year old and we’ve hit quite the rough patch…I thought I’d get some sexy but tasteful photos done to surprise him…I showed him the photos, so excited because they turned out so well..
and I got no reaction at all. In fact, he couldn’t be bothered. I can’t help but think he doesn’t find me attractive anymore, or doesn’t love me. He’s currently unemployed, shaved his beard off “just to see” and I sense he’s feeling self conscious and projecting that onto me…he’s so short with me, and lazy at home. I’m trying to finish post secondary school, while working and taking care of the kids, animals and house chores…I ask him to help put the kids to bed and he doesn’t. I just feel like he’s give up completely and I’m BURNT out. Are these all signs of a failing marriage 😩 or is this just the “thick of it” stage 😓

*Okay, serious question for husbands/partners! How do you like to be supported by a spouse/partner when you’re feeling low/inadequate?”

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  1. Honestly it also seems like he’s depressed. Before you immediately jump to divorce like the others are saying, try getting him a therapist and then a relationship therapist for you both. I got a relationship therapist for myself not out of problems but I thought I was a bad communicator and it worked really well. Give those a try and if they don’t work then perhaps divorce

  2. Wow, most of these comments are really dickish and unhelpful… OP, I’m sorry you’re going through this. I know from experience that living with a depressed/dysfunctional partner is incredibly exhausting, painful, and heartbreaking, and sometimes comes with a sprinkling of guilt on top because you don’t know how to help them, and feel like you’re making their struggles about you any time you acknowledge your own emotions. And you’re dealing with all that while raising kids?!!? You’re a superstar.

    I want to make sure you know that it’s ok to be angry with him even though he’s going through something. It’s ok to tell him how his behavior hurts you, and it’s ok to expect more of him. Because as hard as it is, mental health still isn’t an excuse to hurt the people we love.

    I would begin by sitting him down and telling him that as much as you love him and want to support him, something needs to change. Explain in detail the overall harm that he’s causing you amd your family, and focus on a couple specific behaviors that are hurtful and that you need him to stop immediately for *your* wellbeing.

    Then tell him that you need to make a plan. The plan could involve mental health treatment for him, couples counciling for both of you, specific duties he can take on at home while he’s not working so that you don’t feel so alone, or any combination thereof. It doesn’t really matter what exactly the plan is, but he needs to make some kind of decision about how to move forward, because the current state of things is not sustainable.

    And this part is really really hard, but you need to push him to come to some kind of conclusion (even just one partial one or a single step to take) before the conversation ends, because otherwise it will just feel like more fruitless labor he’s put you through, and you’ll end up even more hurt.

    I’m not any kind of expert, but this style of communication is what’s worked for creating positive change in my relationship while my partner’s mental health was going to shit. For me, the worst part was feeling trapped, like nothing was ever going to change, and even seeing him take small steps lifted a ton of weight off my shoulders. I hope you find what works for you so that you can regain your peace and get back the partner that you love. Remember that you deserve all the same patience, kindness, and compassion for yourself that you’ve shown to him!

  3. I don’t think there’s anyway to know for sure what you’re husband is going through, but being unemployed is a HUGE burden for anyone when they’re in a relationship with kids. He sounds extremely depressed. If there’s any way for him to get counseling, please convince him to do it. Same for you as a couple, and you, yourself.

    The reason people say “marriage is hard” (which goes for any long-term relationship) is that people are complex and it’s very easy for communication to break down, and without good communication the relationship will deteriorate.

    Tell your husband that you love him and support him and want to work on your relationship. Trust me, he feels exactly what’s going on and probably feels like a failure and is in a downward spiral. Do what you need to do to get help for both of you and your family. It’s not hopeless, but there’s just more work to do.

    Best of luck!

    >*Okay, serious question for husbands/partners! How do you like to be supported by a spouse/partner when you’re feeling low/inadequate?”

    I think you just need to be persistent in telling him that you love and support him. A good question is “What can I do today to show you that I love you?”

  4. Marriage is hard. I’ve been married for almost 12 years and we have had a number of rough patches. My husband was also unemployed for a number of years which brought a whole other level of stress to our marriage. Then add in young kids (which we also have) and it’s a lot. All you can really do it keep trying – try having these conversations with him, try seeing if there is a way you can support him. But at the same time – don’t stop focusing on you/don’t lose yourself due to his issues. I did that for awhile and it made it all worse. Now I make a huge effort to focus on myself and that has helped – and what I continue to do. Because ultimately I can’t fix the issues in his life, I can’t make him be someone he isn’t, but I can make my own dreams a reality. I wish you luck.

  5. As said – Sounds likely he is suffering from depression. Assuming no addictions. Or both. Covid response has significantly increased mental illness, domestic issues, and substance abuse throughout North America.

    It takes a fair amount to get people into therapy when they are suffering from depression, so may be best to suggest you need help and ask him to be involved. Regardless, couples counseling is a good idea.

    You don’t say why he isn’t working, but men often need to work to have value. If there are any hobbies, projects, anything you can get him to do will potentially help to get him going.

    With what you’ve said, I certainly wouldn’t end a relationship over it. Marriage *is* hard.

  6. Ya’ll are in the thick of it. 2 little kids, a house, chores, a lost job. You guys are stressed to the max and not communicating well. Have you asked him what you can do to support him ? Had a conversation about what both your needs are? Made time to be intimate ? Taken some “me” time ? Its hard for all these because there aren’t enough hours in the day to attend to everything plus your relationship and personal needs.

    I’m so sorry OP, I can see the seas are high for you right now. Job loss can also be uniquely emasculating for some men, even if finances are covered by the wife. He may be somewhat depressed.

    I remember this time for myself, it was not easy. And I will tell you….this may not be the only “thick of it” you experience but once you get through the first wave, you have a few tools up your sleeve for the next one. Hang in there and keep trying to communicate.

  7. If you don’t have a partner, what’s the point? Why isn’t he working? Honestly, if he’s not working, he should be taking all of the burden off your shoulders. It’s the least he can do. If he’s uninterested in you, he needs to leave. If he’s depressed he needs to get help. You don’t have to be unhappy just because you have kids and are married. Have an honest conversation with him. Tell him something has to change and that you’re not going to do it all alone with another person living there. If he’s not going to be a true partner, you can do it all by yourself without him being there. You’re already doing it!

  8. That’s definitely rough and I can relate in a big way. It’s a challenge and to make a marriage work you both have to be willing to work at it and evolve together

  9. Hey OP. Sounds like he’s got a few issues to deal with on his own and might feel a bit overwhelmed/unworthy. If that’s the case sexual stuff is the last things on his mind, unfortunately that includes your recent effort. Don’t take it personally, he might come back to it later.

    As for what you’re supposed to do, I can say what works for me. Just be nice and supportive, that’s it. Maybe let him know that bad times are like bad weather, it comes and goes and you got his back.

  10. I can relate to you. My husband is depressed but won’t admit it, but I know he is depressed. He was depressed even when we met and started dating.

    My husband also lacks motivation and inspiration. He sleeps way too long, drinks to numb whatever pain he has, and doesn’t communicate with me when I’m trying to help. He also projects his depressed stuff onto me and then I’m the punching bag. It’s really frustrating and hard to handle because I need a supportive partner too. Definitely needs to see a therapist and maybe start working out. Divorce is the easy way out but sometimes we end up drowning with them and then the household becomes toxic. He needs to try and step up a little more. He won’t cope without you either.

  11. He’s definitely struggling. I’ve been down that road and it’s tough because men are lead to believe we have to be tough and don’t show emotions however there is an impact to those around us. Therapy is the best option for him and then both as another suggested. The pictures should have thrilled him and if they didn’t his mind is definitely not in the right place

  12. Married 25+ years here.

    My spouse went through a dark time and his personality got dark and depressed. I reacted to his behavior at first.

    Eventually I sat him down and described what I noticed and that I loved him and wanted to help. He is the type of person to internalize or not even realize he’s feeling a negative emotion even if he’s acting it out.

    Short story – he got counseling and he realized a traumatic event he was exposed to at work messed him up.

    Marriage is up and down. A partnership. I wish you the best. And take care of you too. You deserve it.

  13. From an outsiders perspective, with the little information given, those photos might have made him feel inadequate, like he doesn’t deserve you. To be clear, that’s not an excuse for him to be doing anything in the realm of lashing out at you. In any case, consider that this is all on him and has no bearing on if he finds you attractive.

    This could be a “thick of it” moment or the sign of a failing marriage. What determines that answer is how each of you two respond to the question. And, with the little information I have, it looks like it’s the latter with how he’s responding to the situation, and also how you’re responding to his response of the situation.

    My advice: take that “*” question at the end of your post and present it to your husband. Take a chance and be prepared to be really vulnerable when you ask it. Take your time before you ask him to really identify how you’re feeling so you can present that to him. Then give him time to really think about his answer before he responds. An hour, a day, a week, whatever he needs.

    If successful, you’ll reconnect in this process enough to bring you two back into the “thick of it” stage while continuing to improve yourselves and your marriage. If unsuccessful, this will be another brick in the road to a failed marriage. But at least then you’ll have an answer, because even if this is another brick on that road, it can serve as a wake up call to take drastic action for your marriage, before the pain and resentment builds to insurmountable levels.

  14. I agree with the many people that feel he may be depressed, having experienced depression in bouts on my own. Many men may not be open to the idea of therapy or asking for help. One of the keys to relieving depression is helping oneself. Try gifting him a copy of “Feeling Good” by Burns and maybe reading it yourself to give you a better understanding of the depressed mind. The book is also full of little exercises that may help him help himself out of depression. Best of luck to you. It seems like you care about your husband. Remember to keep that central in your communication with him. Use kind words to speak to him and don’t let your frustration get in the way of expressing the love and care you have for him in every discussion.

  15. Him being depressed? Okay, that’s fair if he’s in a rough place looking for a job. He deserves patience and love through that process.

    Not helping at home or with the kids? No excuse there. All of that shit can’t just fall on you entirely. It’s rough if you’re in a bad place mentally, but your kids, your home, and your wife don’t just disappear because you’re in a bad spot. All of that is unfair to you.

  16. Don’t listen to people telling you to divorce. Honestly, this is why western society has the highest rate of divorce in the world. First talk to him about it, and make it clear that he needs to make efforts of you will start loosing feelings for him and that will lead to separation. I find out that telling someone the potential outcome of the path they’re on, in the relationship, usually works. Heck show him this post. Stay strong and protect you marriage at all cost. Do it not for you but for you kids and family!!

  17. Doesn’t work, doesn’t do chores, take care of kids or pets, ignores you despite your best efforts… Sounds like he’s depressed, for one thing. He needs a good kick in the ass to start acting like a husband/partner/man/father/human being.

  18. Some horrible comments around here saying he’s useless (paraphrasing). He honestly just sounds depressed but there’s not much help out there for men in that position which brings feelings of futility and self worth issues.

  19. Tbh it’s all well and good saying he’s depressed. But long term it’s not an excuse. Not if he’s doing nothing about it and everything is falling to you. He needs to get better. Because the situation he’s putting you in is just going to end up with you depressed. You sound like you’re heading that way as it is.

  20. Wow there are some serious things going on here. Lack of communication, lack of shared workload at home, lack of interest in you. Lack of compassion for you. Get into couples therapy. But this man is physically in the house but completely checked out of the marriage. This may not be salvageable. It takes effort from both people to make a marriage work.

  21. Yup, marriage is hard. People go through stages, sometimes together, sometimes not and while the books and everyone around you may tell you how you should support your partner, it isn’t generic and they don’t know the dynamic of your relationship. Only you know that because you live with him. Both of you should be open books to each other, learning each day about one another. Only you can tell how best to support him.

  22. I see people on here suggesting “Therapy” as if it a magical fix all. It isn’t. Lots of people hate the idea of therapy because its admitting there is a problem. This might be a reasonable reaction to losing your job. He is obviously very emasculated at the “failure” and inability to provide as he wanted to his family. What hubby needs here is a job. OP didn’t say how long this is going on but jumping to therapy immediately is disregarding the emotions of her husband and not allowing him time to saddle up and find a new job.

  23. First, if you frequent this sub, you’ll see that these posts about the boudoir photos are very common. It’s really for the woman, men usually aren’t very interested. It sounds like your husband is depressed and should see a therapist.

    Are you still “dating” each other? Make time once a week or biweekly to go on a date, and get a babysitter. Spend quality time together that’s not just about the kids. Talk openly with each other. Let him know that you value his contributions to the family whether he’s between jobs or not, and that he needs to be doing a lot more at home while he’s looking for work, and that it’s valuable also.

  24. He sounds depressed. You should get him to see a therapist. You may find he starts paying more attention to you once he’s dealt with his problems.

    When I’m down, I just want an occasional hug. Maybe a shoulder rub. Most of all encouragement.

    I’m a pretty upbeat guy normally and I don’t get depressed often. If I do, I usually come back up on my own fairly quickly.

  25. I’m really sorry you’re both going through this. When men (and people in general) lose their jobs and go through a stint of unemployment, it really impacts how they feel about themselves. So I think you’ve gotta have some compassion for that. Alison Armstrong has some great material… an inexpensive book of hers that is very helpful is *The Queens Code*. The Amazing Development of Men is probably more helpful in understanding this specific topic of loss of confidence around jobs, but I think book is a helpful start and I believe it’s a smaller financial investment.

    It’s important to have some compassion for what he’s going through, and Alison Armstrong helps with learning some ways to approach important conversations in a more effective way.

    It’s also important for you to be aware that men who are feeling like and behaving like your partner, are very likely to be in cheating territory. Cheating, sexual addiction and other self-sabotaging stuff around sex is often triggered by times when the perpetrator of the behavior is having struggles around his ego, loss of self-esteem or self-respect. So be aware of this risk and don’t tolerate it. But if it’s not too late yet and he hasn’t cheated yet, communicating with him effectively is very important to not add any fuel to the embers of those thoughts around sabotaging the relationship.

  26. I know this sounds a bit callous but I’d he watching porn at all/more than normal? Partners often overuse pornography without noticing and it can really impact the relationship. It’s not necessarily that he’s no longer attracted to you, but if he was using porn as a way to get through the long separation periods of even just to pass the time, it can really mess with his libido and attention span.

  27. He sounds like he’s depressed and it may not even be you at all…so please don’t beat yourself up.

    I don’t know if there is anything that you can do. I went through a bout of depression after my mom died and I had recently lost in court to get custody of my son at the same time. I was tense, drunk, and in a hole on a daily basis. It’s not easy to climb out of that. The sad part was that my fiancé at the time had to see me go through it and she really felt helpless. I ended up going to see a trauma therapist and went to a recovery center for a month. It was life changing. If he’s feeling the way I felt, the only person who can take that first step to get him out of that hole is him. Do your best to encourage him. He may be fighting something that you can’t see and he’s not willing to share yet.

    I wish I had a better answer for you, and I truly hope this helps.

  28. I’m with you, carrying the burden of a home and children with zero support or help really gets you down. You’re only one person with needs and feelings. It sucks when your significant other is so deep in their own mud puddle that they cant see clearly through that shit. But, it’s also YOUR life. If he wants to wallow, let him. Communication didn’t work, you tried. Move on. For your children, for your health. Move on. Focus on them and yourself. You are worth it. Even if HE doesn’t realize it. You are sexy, gorgeous and a freaking super mom!! Prioritize your health and your children. Forget about the dead weight. Perhaps he’ll come around. If he doesn’t, you won’t regret living your life. It’s your life, you gotta live it. It would be waste for you to wait on him to get his shit together. You’re not alone.

  29. Seems like your husband is depressed, it’s very hard when you are in between jobs and stay at home all day, been there myself. For love part, you could loving into the triangle love theory. There is 3 types of love: lust, intimacy and commitment. In start mainly honeymoon phase you have all 3, most marriage couples have only 2 intimacy and commitment. Lust part usually fades with honeymoon phase, but like honeymoon phase events and things can reignite it. (Some couples are able to keep the lust part up for many many years, because of the things they do and etc). Depression in this case doesn’t help you case. I think start with conversation on how you feel, ask how he feels about things and suggest to seek help.

  30. You know him best. You know his history, his breaking points, his philosophy, everything. So what major changes or stressors happened when this began? Has this been a long time coming?

    My first impression is stress or depression. Which could have something to do with a life event. Or leaving his job and not making the money he used to make. If you forced him to quit or he was fired, it could be defeatism.

    Another possibility is erectile dysfunction. Most men would have a hard time telling his partner about this problem.

    No matter what the issue is, you need to communicate. Fighting can be healthy. Find the problem and then you can find the solution. Together.

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