Help: Husband Won't Participate

Terese - posted on 07/07/2014 ( 6 moms have responded )

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My husband works a lot and it is very rare that we get to spend time together. Lately, when he does have time off, he sits around and complains about how tired he is. He growls at everything and won't snap out of it. He is 29 going on 80. He doesn't help around the house, can't manage to keep his phone on him (I have anxiety and need him to do so re: baby stuff) and when I wait up for him to get home from work (1130) he won't come to bed. Needless to say, we are barely communicating and at this point he comes off so dense that I am starting to resent him. He stays up until 2 AM watching videos on the iPad or spending time in the garage with friends chatting (when all I want / need is to be spending that time with him) and then he gets angry when the baby wakes up in the morning because he didn't get enough sleep-- but it is his fault. I work in the mornings so he has to take on this responsibility. This past week was the last straw and I really need some advice before I just walk away. My cousin passed away a few months ago (more like a brother) and I was unable to attend the funeral. I have been grieving and it has been hard for my family. They all decided to come out my way this summer for a family reunion and for a small memorial to honor my cousin. My husband spent 1 day with us and it was the best time I have had with him in a long time. Then I came to find out the whole time he was there he was texting his brother about how he didn't want to be there--complaining and moaning. He said he had fun in the long run but it broke my heart. He has never met most of my family and this was extremely important to me. Then, the next day, he got off work early, I just assumed he would make the effort to be with me and my family for the last day they were here. He bailed. He was too tired and didn't see the problem. I'm just so hurt and disappointed. I feel like I can't rely on him emotionally anymore. Please, any advice would be appreciated.

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Rachel - posted on 07/07/2014

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I have to tried to sit down and talk with him, or both of you go to see a counselor to see if they can help and figure out what is going on.

Guest - posted on 07/07/2014

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It sounds like he is craving some space--both work and family are very demanding, so he needs time for himself to relax. I know when my husband comes home from work, it takes him a few minutes to switch from his professional role to his fatherly role and demeanor (He escapes to his home office for an hour without interruption, as long as he has that time, he will come out and be with us the rest of the evening, but if he doesn't get that time, he is craggy all evening.) This might explain the time awake after he gets home from work--he is still physically charged from work, and his body just will not sleep at that point until he physically relaxes and the brain can begin to produce melanin and serotonin which encourage us to sleep. It is a transition time, we all need one, but the more stress and emotional detachment the job requires, the longer it will take. Imagine trying to go to sleep as soon as you got home from work. It would be very difficult. It doesn't matter what the time of day is, even if it is late, you still need that time to relax, which affects your internal clock. Most people sleep nights, go to work in the morning and relax in the evenings--this is the natural order of things--but if you work later, you end up going to work in the afternoons, relaxing at night, and sleeping through the morning. You can't really change it.

The best solution is for the two of you to find jobs where you work the same hours, or at least have the same two days off in a row. The first day can be used to rest and relax, then spend the 2nd day doing things together.

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Terese - posted on 07/07/2014

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He does not like his job but does not dislike it. He shows no interest in it other than it pays well and provides . I can understand that is why he wants to hang on-- but it is jeopardizing our relationship. If he showed some sort of ambition or was present in his family or just showed something in the lines of interest maybe I would be less agitated. He is content to be miserable and content with his behavior and content to remain stagnant while I feel this need to progress. Now, with the lack of communication and intimacy-- along with the dwindling prospect of change or romance or just the simple gesture of choosing me over his iPad every once in awhile is defeating. I have no fight left.

Guest - posted on 07/07/2014

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I wanted to add that I have spoken to my husband about changing careers to something less demanding, but he resisted, much like I assume your husband is resisting. Does your husband love his work? My husband could move up to an executive position that would pay significantly more, and require less time at work, but the burden of responsibility would also be higher, and the nature of his work would change drastically from hands on management of specific projects to overseeing all of the projects together, so he continues to decline the promotion (3 times now!!) because he doesn't feel like he can handle that kind of burden.

I used to feel like his refusal to take the promotion meant he loved his job more than he loved me because if he loved me, he would do what I wanted him to do and take the promotion, but over time, after looking at my own life decisions I started to see a lot of things he had asked me to do, and that I had refused to do because it would too drastically impact my overall happiness.

Our compromise came with A LOT of work and effort. Over the course of about 3 years working with two of the best psychologists in the Southeast, we found our balance and compromise. Sometimes we still slip, but we know enough about the dynamics of our relationship, what we both crave, and what we can provide for each other, or what needs to be found elsewhere to interact in a very rewarding relationship that fosters an environment for us to best parent our son together.

Guest - posted on 07/07/2014

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Have you spoken with any counselors or therapists who specialize in marriage?
What specifically is he "adjusting" to?

I agree the funeral bit would have been a major issue for me. I can't imagine my husband brushing off something like that, and I'm sure if he tried to it would need be addressed, though I am not sure exactly how.

What field does your husband work in? Mine is in Industrial Data management and security engineering. It is quite demanding, but he loves it, and it provides well for our family so I have to find a balance. It means often putting up with him being "not present" while he is with us because he is worried about some corporate merge that will affect his system, or some new ally hackers have devised that his work might not stand up to or whatever. (I'm sure you heard about Target's recent breach where thousands of credit cards were stolen--he's been a space cadet for quite a while now). I have learned that sometimes, he just needs to be "away" and I don't let it affect me or my mood. There is no reason *I* need him around to enjoy my family. If he is there, of course I enjoy more, but if he isn't, I still get to see my family and enjoy their company--no loss. Same for home. While I do love him very much and I want as much time as possible to spend with him, I will not allow the fact that he is not with us at the park or the beach or wherever to spoil the fun I and our son will have there.
I guess I sort of look at his presence as a bonus--if he is there, great, if not, oh well, I'll have fun anyway and do what is important to keep ME happy. That might sound selfish, but I am not going to sit at home waiting for him to want to do something--I just go do it and issue him an invitation. If he misses out, it is more his loss than mine.

Terese - posted on 07/07/2014

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I understand this but he refuses to even look for another job. He has convinced himself that he is not qualified for anything better-- I believe in him more than he does. This down and out attitude is crippling and he seems content to stay in that head-space. Its been 2.5 years of this-- I have been asking for things to change-- just little things-- and he tells me he needs time to adjust. How much time?? Because I can't keep living like this-- a non-relationship relationship. Then the family reunion thing was like the straw that broke the camels back. If he can't even make the effort during a time like that , which was noticeably important, can I expect that this is it and I either deal with it or walk away? Thank you for your help! My frustrations are obviously getting the better of me at this point.

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