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No affection in marriage. So sad and lonely.

(64 Posts)
MadameFeuveral Wed 10-Jul-19 11:51:13

Hi everyone. I’d be very grateful for any advice you can give me.

I’m in my early thirties with three D.C. I’m so unhappy but I don’t know how to turn things around, or accept them as they are.

We’ve been married for nine years. Since we married he’s become less and less affectionate. He no longer kisses me or hugs me, and we haven’t had sex in months. Since we married and I had the children I have put on weight, which I think is a big problem for him, although he won’t admit it. I used to have time for the gym and the hairdresser, and I used to look lovely - now all my time is spent looking after the home and children. I have no time for myself, and he won’t come near me. Because I feel so repulsive and lonely I comfort eat, which I know doesn’t help, but I don’t know any other way of coping.

We’re very polite to each other on a surface level - both of us hate confrontation and there are no arguments. But every six months or so the loneliness gets too much and I break down - I tell him how unhappy I am, he takes pity on me and will make an effort to hug and kiss me for a few days, and then we’re back to living as housemates again. I don’t know if he’s unhappy- he won’t talk to me or tell me so.

I feel misled, like he married me under false pretences. Before we were married we was the most affectionate, loving, caring, generous man - but he’s since told me he doesn’t like talking about his emotions or feelings, finds my desire to show him affection suffocating and finds me boring. I don’t have any input into our finances at all. I don’t even know how much he earns. I can’t plan birthdays or holidays or buy birthday presents.

I’ve begun to think that he knows what he’s doing. He knows exactly how to hurt me - because I’ve broken down and told him - and now he’s doing it purposely. If I cry, he ignores me. If I try to talk to him, he leaves the room. I have so much love to give him,
but he doesn’t seem to want it.

I have to accept this though, don’t I? I made this bed - I must lie in it. I can’t leave him, I won’t do it to my children. I want them to have the stable home and parents I didn’t have. I just wish acceptance came more easily, that’s all.

Merseybelle2 Sat 03-Aug-19 21:28:35

Sweetheart, this is a form of emotional abuse and controlling behaviour. It’s not HIS money, it’s joint money because you’re a family. You’re blaming yourself for everything when the problem is HIM.
Why not look online and see if there are any women’s groups in your area you could join, or if there’s a programme running anywhere that’s called The Freedom Programme which is about breaking free from domestic abuse. Also you could perhaps get counselling via your GP, or contact Women’s Aid type of organisations for advice. You can get through this my pet and you and your kids deserve better. Nothing is worse than living in a miserable marriage. Chin up angel face.

Eloethan Sun 14-Jul-19 23:31:45

MadameFeuveral I am so sorry to hear of your situation and your unhappiness. I would have, to some extent, agreed with Monica's view that your husband may feel similarly sad and powerles and "misled" because you have changed. However, it seems to me that this relationship has drained you of all your confidence and belief in yourself - and your husband is at least partly to blame for that.

You say:

"He’s since told me he doesn’t like talking about his emotions or feelings, finds my desire to show him affection suffocating and finds me boring."

This just seems cruel to me.

You go on to say:

"I don’t have any input into our finances at all. I don’t even know how much he earns. I can’t plan birthdays or holidays or buy birthday presents."

This really doesn't sound at all OK to me. You have three children and all the work which that entails. In my view, a partnership where one of the parents stays at home to do the bulk of the childcare and domestic duties should be a financially equal partnership. You should know how much your husband is earning and not have to exist on "housekeeping" money.

You then say:

"I’ve begun to think that he knows what he’s doing. He knows exactly how to hurt me - because I’ve broken down and told him - and now he’s doing it purposely. If I cry, he ignores me. If I try to talk to him, he leaves the room. I have so much love to give him, but he doesn’t seem to want it."

Your husband's behaviour feels like a sort of emotional abuse to me. To leave the room, when the person to whom you're married and with whom you have three children is so distressed, is very unkind.

It's all very well people blithely saying get out of this marriage. It really can't be easy when you have three children and no independent income (or, presumably, savings). First of all, I think you need to get some legal advice as to what your rights are in relation to finance, housing, etc. You need to outline your present situation - your complete lack of knowledge and control re financial matters, etc. The Citizens Advice Bureau may be able to help you on this and/or suggest a solicitor who will provide some initial free legal advice.

I agree with those who say it would be a good idea to speak frankly to your GP as to your situation and how your are feeling, and perhaps get a referral for counselling - which I think would be helpful. As someone else said, if you can possibly set aside some time each day to go for a walk and get some fresh air, that might also help.

I hope some of the advice on here has been of help to you. I'm sure I speak for everyone who has read and contributed to your post when I say that we are all rooting for you and hoping that you will find the self-belief, strength and energy to start making the changes you need to take back control of your life.

wondergran Sun 14-Jul-19 22:28:21

It is very tiring looking after 3 children I know but it is time to start looking after yourself too. Go to WeightWatchers, go to the gym, swim or exercise somehow so you can lose a bit of weight and to therefore start to feel much better about yourself for yourself. Think about doing some courses that could lead to employment, Open a bank account in your own name and start being a strong, independent woman. If he doesn't want you then bugger him. Start loving yourself and start taking control of your own life.

Nannanna Fri 12-Jul-19 11:59:51

Your advise boosted my day ! Thank you 💐

Peonyrose Thu 11-Jul-19 15:56:47

MadameFeuveral, you have become in such a downward spiral, you need to start valuing yourself, work on the weight, start studying again, it's has to affect your husband too how you have become depressed. You say he won't care if you end up in a wheel chair, but I doubt that, he knows your diagnosis. I bet if you start to discover the true you, things will improve. I bet nearly all couples have their lows, but they pass. Start to believe in yourself, you're worth it.

M0nica Thu 11-Jul-19 15:26:14

The first step in the rest of your life.

Hetty58 Thu 11-Jul-19 13:23:26

MadameFeuveral, you feel run down and unattractive so do something about it. Demand time to get your hair done and go to the gym (maybe swap babysitting with a friend). You have no confidence so won't radiate warmth and affection, however you look or feel.

Maybe he's not the love of your life, after all, but regardless, you have a duty to look after and enjoy yourself to be a good mother.

Don't expect him to make you happy as it's too much for one person to do. You need to get yourself out of this rut and fill your days with as much interest and enjoyment as possible - for everyone's sake!

Septimia Thu 11-Jul-19 13:13:05

Firstly, take heart from all the kindness and good advice on here. It really demonstrates that you are valued, even by people who only know you through GN.

Secondly, you will feel better by doing something, however small, and it will help you to be more confident about the next step, whatever you decide to do.

Finally, education. As said above, you can go back to uni any time, either the OU (brilliant organisation, got my first degree there, ideal for you with children) or somewhere near to where you live. I went to 'proper' uni in my 50s. I thought I'd need all sorts of qualifications to get in, but I didn't - one advantage of being a mature student. You'll probably still be entitled to some funding, too, even for the OU. I know people who started degree courses in their 70s and older.

You are worth it!

Forestflame Thu 11-Jul-19 12:58:27

Keep in touch and let us know how things are going. XX

annep1 Thu 11-Jul-19 12:48:41

Good for you Madamefeuveral.
Can I recommend a little book called Feel the Fear. Some of it could be helpful.
One day at a time 😊

jaylucy Thu 11-Jul-19 10:25:16

So sad for you but I have always believed that it's 50/50 in any relationship and having been through something similar, where my ex didn't seem bothered about me, I was treated like a nuisance to him - I had to undergo a lot of tests during my pregnancy as I had lost 2 previously. Each time I told him I needed a blood test was met with a big sigh and a mutter "oh well we'll go when I've finished work" and after my baby was born I was made to feel stupid and fat - I had put on weight but he always used to make comments about his weight (he was stick thin) and if we did go out, he usually ignored me - we were usually with his friends and work mates that I didn't know.
I eventually moved out when it came to light that he was seeing someone else. It was the best thing I did! A tough struggle, financially sure but I was so much happier not having his constant criticism - I apparently didn't even shower the right way!
I know that you have had an unstable childhood, but quite honestly you are the stable one for your children and it is not being helped by your unhappiness. Visit your local CAB to find out what help you can get.
As a last shot - get him to look after the children and either go for a walk (you could do that with them of course) or find out what excercise classes are nearby that don't cost much, go to a Mum's and Tot group to get out of the house and meet new people - your local library will have info of when or where

Startingover61 Thu 11-Jul-19 10:07:19

I just want to point out that you're never too old to get a degree or other qualifications. Someone has already mentioned The Open University (OU). I worked there for many years and saw people in their 90s graduate, so don't give up. If you have a long-term medical condition, you might be able to get financial help from them or from another source. It sounds as though you have given up a lot for many years to look after your children and husband. Time now to focus on yourself and get yourself better. Start by going to see your GP and take it from there. As for financially and emotionally abusive husbands, I've been there, got rid and lived to tell the tale. Now single and in my early 60s, having been divorced for just 2 years. I'm actually going to start another degree with the OU next February. Life can begin again and can be better. Let us know how you get on.

Grannybags Thu 11-Jul-19 09:53:30

Well done MadameFeuveral smile flowers

So much good advice. Hope things improve for you

Olderthanmost Thu 11-Jul-19 09:50:22

Great to hear that. You are beautiful, valued, and loved always. Xx

MadameFeuveral Thu 11-Jul-19 09:32:21

I just wanted to thank you all again for your advice and support here - it really meant a lot to me yesterday. I had a really bad day... I was so desperate to talk to my mum or my grandma, but all my family have gone now and I feel very lonely sometimes. But you’ve all helped me enormously and given me so much good advice. I’m amazed that so many of you took the time! Thank you all! smilethanks

I’m going to act on your suggestions, starting today with getting myself to the doctor, eating properly and doing some exercise rather than the same old chores around the house. It’s amazing how much a kind word from a stranger online can totally shift your perspective - I’m in a much more positive frame of mind today. I’m sure I can improve things for myself.

MovingOn2018 Wed 10-Jul-19 22:45:05

Yes, he gives me a housekeeping allowance. It’s humiliating, but after all, it’s his money. I’ve raised the subject but he absolutely refuses to let me have any input into our finances. I don’t know what any of our bills are

So sorry you going through any of this. I don't mean for this to be harsh so kindly don't take it that way, but I just don't have a better way to say it. My mother always told me that dependency breeds abuse. She always taught us never to depend on anyone for the things we need, for then they turn around and treat you carelessly, and without any respect.

Have you considered getting a job? Your husband is financially abusing you. I hope he's not having an affair of any sort either. I'd advise you to get a job first and accomplish the long term goals slowly. Do not waste your life.

Grammaretto Wed 10-Jul-19 22:44:09

I would concentrate on getting back your happiness. It won't be easy but small steps.
If you want to lose weight, you can and make friends at the same time. Although the slimming clubs are often ridiculed, they do work which is why they continue to be popular.
Find the kind of exercise you like and go for it. You are half my age. I go to a yoga class and love it.
You are an intelligent woman who has some regrets but you have three wonderful children. They are your treasures.
There will be time in the future to get back to study if you want to. Sometimes you can make a hobby pay. I started studying genealogy and quite soon took on helping others and they paid me! I'm thinking about things you can do from home while looking after it. Remember work expands to fill the time available - Parkinson's Law so you can whizz through the housework and cooking (batch cook) so you can do something pleasureable in your freed up time.
I wish you the very best for the future. flowers

annep1 Wed 10-Jul-19 22:16:43

Yes sorry. The autoimmune thing does make a difference. Counselling of course is always good but it costs- unless you wait for NHS. Doctor is first place I think.

M0nica Wed 10-Jul-19 21:09:24

Realising you have a progressive auto-immune disease does put a very different slant on your problems. Bringing up three small children when you are easily tired and struggling with illness is a very different thing from simply having become swamped by domesticity in possession of good health..

What was your husband's reaction when your illness was diagnosed? Do you think that it may be feeding into his behaviour? That he too cannot see any hope of life improving and in the current situation feels helpless and hopeless. Is he too suffering from depression.

I do not know what your illness is - and I am not asking. But most such illnesses have national and local societies that can offer help and support to those with the disease. If you are not already in touch with them I should contact them. My DiL has an auto-immune disease and when it was first diagnosed when her children were small, she found the information they provided very helpful.

I do find myself coming back to counselling. It may help both of you to seek counselling together and apart.

And once life does improve, do not give up on education. There are so many ways of getting an education these days and agewise you are mere chick. My DD will graduate from the Open University this year, she is 46 and started her degree after a serious accident that disabled her right arm. It nearly cost her her job, so she decided to gain extra qualifications so that she could change professions. The degree she chose and her success meant that she moved into the new profession before she had even finished the degree.

As for graduating with your children, why not? You will certainly not be the first parent to do this. There are so many ways you can study now: full time, part time, online. And most universities will work with student's disabilities to make it possible for them to study.

But first, gain some agency. See the doctor, talk about how difficult you find life and ask for help. they must know all about you and your illness and the problems it can cause. Start to make small changes in your life. It will not be easy, remember that,. But I am sure you can do it.

Minniemoo Wed 10-Jul-19 20:39:07

So sorry to read of your position, MadameFeuveral. It sounds awful for you and depressing. Have you actually told him that you are thinking of leaving? How would he respond to that? If he's all 'ha, you'd never manage without me', just put him straight. Be firm. Tell him you would (and you would). Sorry if this point has been mentioned, I too have just skimmed. All the best and just remember that you are worthy of having a happy and decent relationship

annep1 Wed 10-Jul-19 20:29:07

I do though. I do. My unhappiness shouldn’t be their unhappiness. Maybe it’s because I had an unstable childhood that I feel this way, but I won’t do it to my children
But your unhappiness willbe their unhappiness. They will see the marriage for what it is eventually and that it is not a close happy family. Unless you are going to put on an act the whole time and what will that do to you? You can give your children a stable one parent home. Lots of people do.
However if you want to make the marriage work in a way that satisfies you then you must do something about it. You sound too accepting of everything. You sound worn down and depressed.
Allsortsofbags has given you lots of good advice as have others. It will take a lot of effort so get some people on your side to support you.

sharon103 Wed 10-Jul-19 19:07:23

I totally agree with Monica.

MadameFeuveral Wed 10-Jul-19 18:31:15

He comes home each night to an overweight woman who is harassed by small children and probably has nothing to talk about but children and domestic matters

Absolutely true sad

Thank you for all your good advice Monica.

MadameFeuveral Wed 10-Jul-19 18:26:04

Gosh, thank you so much everyone for your advice. Thank you for taking the time! I have so much to think about.

You clearly do not feel valued or worthwhile and even after you have laid your soul bare you don't feel any better you sound as if you feel worse. Seems as if you are picked up by the improvement then dropped lower than before once his behaviour drops off again

That’s exactly what happens. I know I’ve lost myself over the years and I’m not the same person he married, so I probably brought this on myself... I know I’m a lot less interesting these days. I don’t have hobbies anymore, don’t have the time to look after myself, don’t even have time to read the news... I do all the childcare and everything around the home, and we have no family support, so it’s difficult to see how I could do things differently, but I must try.

I dropped out of university to get married and have our eldest, and I’ve been a stay at home mum ever since. I haven’t had a job for a decade. My youngest is still a baby, so won’t be in school for another few years. I made a big mistake in not finishing my education, I know. I’d caution any woman against doing what I did. I now have a progressive autoimmune disease and my memory is bad, so won’t be able to return to it. Anyway, I’m too old. My eldest will be at university a few years!

My husband has no interest in me now - he won’t want to care for me if I end up in a wheelchair. Someone mentioned upthread about being useful and valuable (apologies, I can’t see your name as I’m typing this!) - this is what I’m trying to tell myself. I’m not valuable, I know that, but I can be useful for as long as possible. I need to get the children on the right path into adulthood. And not lumber anyone with my care once I’ve outlived that usefulness.

M0nica Wed 10-Jul-19 18:14:51

I do not disagree with most of the things said above, but that is only looking at one side of the story.

Perhaps we should look at what may be MF's husbands view of the situation. He married a lively young woman, presumably with lots of interests. You have been married 9 years and have three children assuming they have all been born during the marriage the youngest is probably only 2 or 3. While children always changes the way life goes, you have on your own admission
I have put on weight, which I think is a big problem for him, although he won’t admit it. I used to have time for the gym and the hairdresser, and I used to look lovely - now all my time is spent looking after the home and children. I have no time for myself.

I actually have some sympathy (note, only_some_) for your husband. You do not say you work. I assume you do not. He comes home each night to an overweight woman who is harassed by small children and probably has nothing to talk about but children and domestic matters. I can understand, to a certain extent why (he)finds my desire to show him affection suffocating and finds me boring.

He may want to do something to change the situation, but given that both of you are non-confrontational doesn't know how to broach the subject. I am sorry to say but while excess weight would never stop me loving someone, as far as I am concerned it is a bit of a passion killer.

I think that the first thing you need to do is gain some agancy over your own life. By posting on GN you are starting to do that, but I feel that much of the advice being given is very negative and assumes the only answer is to leave your husband and separate your children from their father - and I am not sure life will be much better foryou as a single mother. I think that before your do that you should see what you can do to resolve the problems you have.

The first thing is, as others have said to go to your doctor, speak about depression and ask for counselling. I think that getting counselling, which will mean you needing to organise an hour when you can visit the Counsellor, will be the first step of a new life you control.

While the first years with young children can be overwhelming, for you that must already be easing a bit. Your eldest child must be at school now and the others at nursery a few mornings a week. Next time they are all off your hands, instead of trudging home and immersing yourself in housework, go for a walk. The exercise will do you good. Find out where the nearest gym is, possibly one with a creche, where you can start doing a class again. This will get you out of the house and meeting other people.

As you take more control of your life through counselling and getting exercise, you will then be able to address your weight problems, You were slim, not that long ago. You can make decisions about not snacking, not eating what the children leave. The moment they stop eating douse their plates with washing up liquid. You won't eat the remains if you do that!

Once you are slimmer and fitter and less depressed you will have more confidence and feel in more control of your life. You will then be in a better position to address the real problems in your marriage. I quote:
I don’t have any input into our finances at all. I don’t even know how much he earns. I can’t plan birthdays or holidays or buy birthday presents.

Marriage is the coming together of two equal individuals and where all the financial power is in the hands of one member there is no equality.

It may be in the end that there is no way out but separation, but I would still start to see if your relationship can be revived and put on a better footing. If you can return to your old self, you will feel much better and can then address the imbalances in your marriage. If your husband will not do that then you need to look atother options.