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Old 1st December 2014, 08:46 PM   #1
bobg01
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Feeling Alone And Confused in My Marriage

Hello, my wife and I have been together for 20 years, married for ten. This is my first marriage and her second (Her first marriage ended because her ex had an affair and ended up marying the other woman). We have no kids together, only a step son and he is an adult now. I am 43 she is 49.

My wife suffers from depression and was diagnosed with fibromyalgia about 10 years ago. She does not go to therapy for her depression, all she does is take anti-depressants. To me it seems like they don't really work.

As far as interests, we don't have much in common. When I was younger I was really into outdoor recreation and atheletic activities. She never was. I would bring it up to her and she told me that couples don't need to have everything in common to have a good relationship. So I pretty much went off and did my own thing for a number of years. I had my friends and hobbies and she did her thing. Seems like the only things we had in common were partying and eating. We both got fat as the years went on and turned into couch potatoes. Six years ago she stopped working and now just stays at home. At first having her at home was good, now she does nothing but take up space. She barely gets dinner on the table and never even bothers to make herself look good for me. Everything was kind of okay up until about a year ago. Weight wise I was bordering on morbid obesity (I was 100 pounds overweight). I couldn't get it up because I was overweight and out of shape so sex was pretty much out (although it had been on the decline for other reasons as well). But the biggest kick in the rear was being told by my doctor that I was pre-diabetic. That hit me like a ton of bricks. So in cliche fashion, I made my 2014 new year's resolution to lose weight and get in shape. I'm happy to report that as of today I am 23 pounds away from my goal weight, my health problems are all but gone, and I feel 10 years younger. Everything in my life is great.....except for my marriage. I am terribly unhappy and don't know what to do. Due to a combination of her depression and pain from fibromyalgia my wife has pretty much become a recluse. Her only link to the outside world is Facebook (which she spends way too much time on-yet another problem in our marriage). She has really let herself go. She makes no effort to look attractive to me. Her daily outfit is sweat pants and an old t-shirt. No make up, no jewelery, no doing her hear. In fact, she probably only bathes two times a week. Maybe I am just a shallow jerk, but I find it very hard to get aroused when she presents herself the way she does. True, when I was a fat slob I didn't exactly care about my appearance either, but that has changed. In losing nearly 100 pounds, I found my inner vanity. I DO care about how I look. I see the way I present myself (how I dress, my physical appearance) as an outward sign of how I take care of myself. I worked hard to lose all this weight. I spend a lot of time every week working out. I am proud of my acomplishments and I want to show it off. I went from not caring to loving clothes. I have also developed a new attitude about healthy living. Not only does eating right and exercise show respect for my body, but I believe that taking care of myself shows respect for my partner. I care enough about her that I want to look good for her. I want to be desirable, I want to be a hunk. I also want to be healthy enough to be a life long provider and meet her sexual needs. Unfortunately my wife sees it differently. She tells me that I have turned into a shallow jerk since losing weight and she would love me just as much if I weighed 400 pounds.

The changes I have made in my life aren't just on the outside. I have always been a very negative person. I made a resolution to change that along with getting thinner. The problem now is that my wifes negativity really brings me down (where I didn't notice it before). I feel as if she has a very strong victim mentality. She will say that she wants to do things, just that fibromyalgia and depression keep her from living a normal life. I see it as her just giving up trying. She has no interest in giving up smoking, no interest in healthy eating, and no interest in exercise. Healthy living has become a priority to me and I want a partner who shares in that. About ten years ago we did diet together for a few months. We also worked out together. I look back fondly on those times because I think the time spent together on a common goal made our bond stronger.

Sex in our relationship is non-existant. I am horny as a teenager now that I am healthier and she is frigid as an iceberg. In fact, this is very sad to say, but in 20 years I really can't recall having sober sex. My wife is very inhibited except when she drinks. We have had some wild drunken sex. Well wild drunken sex with a party girl is cool when you are in your 20's. A slobbering, horny, alcoholic middle aged woman-not so sexy. So I became turned off by her around the same time my male troubles started. When I could not rise to the occasion, I just (sadly) wrote off sex. But now I want it, just not with the woman my wife has become, and that really doesn't matter anyway, since she hasn't expressed any desire at all now that she has given up drinking.

I feel like I get nothing from my wife. She contributes nothing financially to the relationship. She and I have no interests in common. I am tired of her depression, negativity, and unwillingness to do anything but Facebook. She does no housework at all (again claims fibromyalgia keeps her from doing anything, but I wonder if poor diet, no exercise, and smoking a pack a day has anything to do with it). She can't even be bothered to make herself look presentable to me. But the biggest issue I have lately is the lack of romance. If I am honest, it never really was there. She never was the cuddly, romantic type. I guess I was okay with that in the past, but now I am not.

I feel like I am going through some big changes in my life and now I am looking at what my relationship has been and I am no longer happy with it. When I try to bring my feelings up, I am always made to look like the bad guy. I am selfish, shallow, and uncaring for wanting a wife who looks good and shares a common interest in healthy living. I am a terrible husband for expecting my wife to do things like cook and clean (or get a job) because she has fibromyalgia. Then she tells me that all these things I say put pressure on her and make her more depressed and withdrawn.

Boy do I hate marriage. Either I make my wife happy at the expense of my happiness or I make myself happy at the expense of my wife. Is it possible to find a middle ground? For the record, I have mentioned marriage counseling and my wife has shot that idea down.
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Old 1st December 2014, 10:33 PM   #2
chosen
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Re: Feeling Alone And Confused in My Marriage

I think you need to be completely honest with her and tell her how desperately unhappy that you are with the way things are, and that you feel the marriage cant last unless real changes are made, starting with marriage counselling. She may need to chose to make some changes in her life or risk loosing you.
The thing is that the more she does nothing and just smokes and eats and sits at home, the more ill she will be and the worse she will feel. Surely she could manage some light house work, some cooking and a short walk each day?
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Old 2nd December 2014, 11:42 AM   #3
Raymond
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Re: Feeling Alone And Confused in My Marriage

I agree. Starting small like walking and things would help. The question really is how to motivate her. One good thing I see is that she has given up drinking which cannot be bad. I hope you have encouraged her in that. Encouragement in any little thing is important as she seems to have dug a hole for herself. I do agree with her that couples do not have to have the same interests but there should be a healthy interest in what the other is doing even if it is not our thing.

I think it is great what you have done in getting your weight down and getting your self esteem back. How to carry her with you is still the big question. Does she have any interests at all apart from the passive ones?
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Old 2nd December 2014, 08:54 PM   #4
bobg01
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Re: Feeling Alone And Confused in My Marriage

Quote:
Originally Posted by chosen View Post
I think you need to be completely honest with her and tell her how desperately unhappy that you are with the way things are, and that you feel the marriage cant last unless real changes are made, starting with marriage counselling. She may need to chose to make some changes in her life or risk loosing you.
The thing is that the more she does nothing and just smokes and eats and sits at home, the more ill she will be and the worse she will feel. Surely she could manage some light house work, some cooking and a short walk each day?
I have tried, maybe I am just not good at this type of communication, but it has ended badly. I try to be as nice as I can about the issues but she will burst into tears and then turn everything around to be a personal attack on her. Then it usually shifts to how life isn't all about me and I am selfish for not considering her wants and feelings. Every suggestion I make, she has an answer or excuse. I try to encourage her to not rely on drugs for her depression but go to therapy as well/instead. Her response is that she went to therapy once and the guy did nothing for her, therefore all therapists are a bunch of quacks. Marriage counseling? Pretty much the same excuse. She knows people who went and it actually made their marriage worse. I try to encourage her to try to eat better and exercise. I am accused of nagging or when it comes to things like exercise and housework, I just hear how she can't because of the fibromyalgia and what a rotten person I am for not being understanding. Look, I get it on some level. I don't know what it is like to live with chronic pain and fatigue, but I do know that they way she eats and the fact that she does absolutely no exercise can't be helping matters any. I know from my experience that when I was very fat I would get winded when getting dressed. Now that I live a healthy lifestyle that includes eating 3 meals a day of healthy food and a minimum of four hours of exercise a week I feel stronger than I have in years. It has even improved my mood without the need for drugs and therapy. I am generally happier, less stressed, and less depressed. I never set out for these things to happen, they are just a surprise side effect of healthy living. I even try to lead by example. Instead of telling her she should do this or that, I tell her about how I feel now and what I did to get there. I eve told her that part of the reason I decided to lose weight was for her. Her reply: "I don't care if you weighed 400 pounds, I would love you just as much."

I try to get her to even take short walks with the dog. "It's boring", "I don't feel good.", "I have a lot of pain" are all I hear. She seems to have an excuse (real or imagined) for everything. She also reminds me that marriage vows are "in sickness and in health" and that if I had more compassion I would just not nag her and instead try to do more for her (like all the housework and cooking).

I guess when I said "I do" I never imagined it would turn out like this. She frequently complained about not feeling good, yet she somehow managed to live a normal life. While I don't think we need to have all the same interests, I do believe (and maybe I am very wrong) that a couple should have some interest or activity that they can share. I think it is good for the bond. People who live their own lives but live together, there's a name for that-roommates. Maybe I am being unrealistic. There is a bit of jealousy because I know this couple and both of them are very into hiking. I hear them talk about hikes they went on and places they plan to hike and I think to myself "Why can't I have a marriage like that?" I absolutely love hiking, it's one of my favorite things to do. About 10 years ago we did go on a diet together, and I really enjoyed the teamwork and the together time. We hiked together a lot. I felt like it really strengthened our bond. She ended up quitting during the summer because it was too hot to exercise (another one of her many excuses). I gave up soon after.

I am going to take the suggestion to try an encourage her more. Instead of harping on all the things she doesn't do, I will make an effort to encourage the things she has done or plans to do.
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Old 2nd December 2014, 09:43 PM   #5
chosen
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Re: Feeling Alone And Confused in My Marriage

Sometimes it helps to write down how you feel in a letter. Its rather manipulative of her to ignore your feelings and plead pain and weakness as an excuse to carrying on eating rubbish and do nothing all day. Loads of people have pain and tiredness and still manage to do some housework and cooking, and as for her not wanting to take the dog out because its boring, cant believe it! I have had dogs for 24 years and they have ALWAYS had 2 walks a day no matter how I have felt, whether ill, in pain and whatever the weather, no matter what. Its actually cruel to have a dog and not be prepared to exercise it.

I think you know that nothing will change unless she makes her mind up that you and the marriage are worth it. It may well take you telling her how desperate and deeply unhappy you are, and how near you are to giving up on the marriage completely for her to act. Say that you want to work on this together before its too late, and that you are going to book some marriage counseling.
if she refuses to go, then you have to wonder if she is really committed and if things will ever improve.
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Old 3rd December 2014, 10:56 AM   #6
Raymond
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Re: Feeling Alone And Confused in My Marriage

It is a difficult problem you have. You have to make a dividing line between encouraging the little she does do in the hope that it will grow and not feeding her the negative which she says is you nagging. One thing is sure encouragement in love will be a very positive thing you can do in a difficult situation.

I agree with Chosen in that she is a bit manipulative and you must never allow yourself to be manipulated, otherwise you might find yourself enabling her wrong behaviour which won't help her or you. In that sense you have to keep your boundaries so that you are not dragged down.

I think it is good that you have outside interests to offset your situation at home. You need that I think. Meanwhile I would say find genuine ways to encourage her as opposed nagging or even flattery.
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Old 4th December 2014, 11:09 PM   #7
drleo
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Re: Feeling Alone And Confused in My Marriage

Thank you for trying all you can in your powers, you doing good to show her how much you love and care about her,but she is blind to see that. and if am not wrong she will loose you. its good you changed from the direction of gaining weight to a direction of losing it ,so what ever reason that drove you to start taking care of you weight is the same reason you should try to feed to your wife, don't let her weaken your hart by manipulating you with her excuses,try to stick to your helpful reasons no mater what she says or does.reason her out,get this feeling in you that your doing the right thing to save your marriage, ask her what wrong your doing by telling her the naked truth about doing some exercise,remind her that its your duty to care care of her and that's what you doing,talk to her about how your marriage is missing some love actions that can keep your love feelings and try and buy for her books that talk about marriage and love maybe she will start realizing what is missing in your marriage,lastly tell her to stop manipulating you because all you doing is showing her the way to improve your marriage.
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Old 9th December 2014, 11:40 PM   #8
bobg01
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Re: Feeling Alone And Confused in My Marriage

What I have decided to do is make a last ditch effort at trying to get my wife to change through positive reinforcement. We had the talk and I pretty much told her exactly how I feel, so she doesn't need to be reminded of it frequently. I decided that when she is not doing things to improve our marriage and/or improve herself, I will not say anything-negative or positive. But when she takes positive steps, even little ones, I make it known how much I appreciate her an encourage her efforts. For example, if I come home from work tonight and she's wearing her ratty old sweat pants and looks as if she hasn't showered in days, it will simply be "How was your day honey?", but if she's showered, dressed, and dinner is on the table, I will be sure to tell her that she is as beautiful as the day we met. I figure you can't build someone up by tearing them down. I am hoping that the positive reinforcement will encourage her to continue with positive actions.
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Old 10th December 2014, 05:48 AM   #9
chosen
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Re: Feeling Alone And Confused in My Marriage

Well bob let us know how that goes. It certainly works with children, and we all appreciate encouragement dont we.
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