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rachellek

Relationship Problems

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well, I must admit that this thread has gone in a bit of a direction that I hadn't wanted but that's what happens when you share your dirty laundry. ;) I appreciate everyone's advice. Thanks Gfp for the male perspective and thank you Sarah for that last post, I really do like to hear others' experiences and know I'm not alone. No, I don't need a specialist and no I usually don't have a low sex drive (when I'm off gluten and not feeling as depressed as I have because of my gluten challenge). In the last few days I have been more conscious of my eating and not trusting anything but about 6-7 different foods- nothing processed. Like Sarah said, I think that I need those enterolab results so that he can listen and beleive me and I am going to make a concerted effort never to talk about my health problem.

I guess what I need to clarify is that when I say we don't communicate, I don't mean about our relationship, and what ails it, I mean that we don't communicate period...no hi, how was your day etc. we can go on like this for a month other than the curse nod and any info to be shared re the kids. You could cut the tension in my house with a knife. And in the meantime, I'm a single parent, coping with everything while he goes about his business like he doesn't have a care in the world. It's so hard not to be resentful and want better! Now, I've tried in the past to talk about things, get him to relax but all that will help is by me saying let's go have some sex. Now, usually by this time, I don't even want to be near him never mind doing the dirty. But it's all that will work. I don't know what makes him go into his cave like this, it's always something different and then like I said, I don't get communication so it's really really really hard to feel passionate and I have done very very very very many occasions like the nike add - Just do it (usually hating it the whole time).

I think that he's depressed as well because it has been getting progressively worse for two years and each time stretches on like an eternity and is not good for my mental health and the kids. I'm even evaluating what I ever saw in this man. So, these are the challenges that I'm up against and I thank you all for your advice. I think I will wait to make any rash decisions. <_< Maybe read some more self help books,...maybe look into some counselling. I'll hang in there. And thank you all again!

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Thanks Mathilda :) I think too, actually I know that when I'm glutened I feel everything so much more negatively and personally so that I can't just laugh it off and I get more tense. I hope you're the same way and them I'm not just a freak of this disease. BUT, I'm glutened, what's his excuse right?

Rachelle ;)

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I guess what I need to clarify is that when I say we don't communicate, I don't mean about our relationship, and what ails it, I mean that we don't communicate period...no hi, how was your day etc. we can go on like this for a month other than the curse nod and any info to be shared re the kids. You could cut the tension in my house with a knife. And in the meantime, I'm a single parent, coping with everything while he goes about his business like he doesn't have a care in the world. It's so hard not to be resentful and want better! Now, I've tried in the past to talk about things, get him to relax but all that will help is by me saying let's go have some sex. Now, usually by this time, I don't even want to be near him never mind doing the dirty. But it's all that will work. I don't know what makes him go into his cave like this, it's always something different and then like I said, I don't get communication so it's really really really hard to feel passionate and I have done very very very very many occasions like the nike add - Just do it (usually hating it the whole time).

Two things -

1. if you're not communicating at all, then you're also not communicating about your relationship. you two need to discuss that there are some needs that must be met, and communication - general life communication, not just the 'serious issue' communication, is one of them.

2. if you're having sex while thinking that you hate it or don't want to, you will only make the situation worse. he *will* pick up on it, and you will just make yourself hate the situation more. find something, anything, to like about it - even a fantasty that you enjoy in your own head.

it really sounds like the two of you really need to work with a third party on the communication issues. it'll kill a relationship faster than sex problems.

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Guest Robbin

I really feel for you. If there is no respect, no communication, no quality time together, no affection, what is there left ? You must wait until you are well and able to think clearly. I do have a problem with "just going for it" in your case. It is great advice however, if he is truly wanting to have a loving relationship with you as husband and wife. However, I would think it would make you feel lower than dirt to try to communicate, try to be sensitive to his needs, give yourself to him in the most intimate and vulnerable way just to be treated the same way when the morning comes (or afternoon, or whenever) . The impression I get is what Matilda commented on. It seems that he is sulking and immature. This could be as gfp said, though, the way some men are. They can't put their feelings into words until they are intimate. It is almost like it is all bottled up until they "go for it" and then they can express their feelings. Some men are from Mars, I truly believe. ( No offense, guys, I love men, really :)) I wonder if the situation were reversed, how would you be to him and how would he deal with it? I thank god for this forum because it takes the pressure off my husband to have others to relate to about this illness. You have to ask yourself, would life be easier for yourself and your children without him? Would it change for the better, be the same, or worse? Again, please focus on getting well before you make life-changing decisions. It may very well be that once you get better and think clearer, the anger and frustration you have will clear as well and you may even see him in a different light. Gluten can alter your perceptions a great deal. What seems hopeless now can be a whole different story when you are well and thinking clearer. Take care.

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well, I must admit that this thread has gone in a bit of a direction that I hadn't wanted but that's what happens when you share your dirty laundry. ;) I appreciate everyone's advice. Thanks Gfp for the male perspective and thank you Sarah for that last post, I really do like to hear others' experiences and know I'm not alone. No, I don't need a specialist and no I usually don't have a low sex drive (when I'm off gluten and not feeling as depressed as I have because of my gluten challenge). In the last few days I have been more conscious of my eating and not trusting anything but about 6-7 different foods- nothing processed. Like Sarah said, I think that I need those enterolab results so that he can listen and beleive me and I am going to make a concerted effort never to talk about my health problem.

The thing is you are still in the same catch-22 for now and the health problems do need to be discussed and he does need to get aboard, whatever the test results say!

However at the same time you need to not make it feel like its a problem that he can help with.

I guess what I need to clarify is that when I say we don't communicate, I don't mean about our relationship, and what ails it, I mean that we don't communicate period...no hi, how was your day etc. we can go on like this for a month other than the curse nod and any info to be shared re the kids. You could cut the tension in my house with a knife. And in the meantime, I'm a single parent, coping with everything while he goes about his business like he doesn't have a care in the world. It's so hard not to be resentful and want better! Now, I've tried in the past to talk about things, get him to relax but all that will help is by me saying let's go have some sex.

I am not really surprised because that is where the non communication goes... and the deeper it goes the more it needs unravelling .... imagine the problem like a ball of wool and each time you go through this cycle it gets more and more knotted and tangled and the more tangled it gets the more aspects it drag's in.

The problem is that when this sort of cycle has been going on it needs a concerted effort by both parties and a prolonged coverted effort by one of them.

What happens all to often is one party makes the effort but takes the other party by surprise by the effort and they don't know how to respond, respond badly and then the other partner responds badly to the bad response. Second person realises it was a lifeline and tries to cling to it but too late because the first person is now upset.

The only real way around this is one party to have the energy and perseverance to make the effort, be rejected and REMAIN receptive. With your health problems I appreciate how hard it is for this person to be YOU.

Robbin: All men are sulky and immature... some just hide it better!

This could be as gfp said, though, the way some men are. They can't put their feelings into words until they are intimate.

What I mean is the two are seperate but connected. Men don't like sharing their feelings unless its someone they feel very comfortable with, much less so than women which is why we have stupid conversations amongst ourselves about sport, fishing or whatever whereas women tend to discuss more personal things amongst themselves.

The feeling of being comfortable is somewhat however tied to intimacy.

However I agree completely with tarnalberries last post.... you have to feel comfortable.

What needs to be done is the tangled ball of wool needs unravelling and this happens cycle by cycle....

Its hardest at first because its so tangled you can't find the end but as it becomes progressively untangled it gets easier and easier.

it really sounds like the two of you really need to work with a third party on the communication issues. it'll kill a relationship faster than sex problems.

Gluten can alter your perceptions a great deal.

This is really so true.... and its effects are so incidious you don't notice until you are clear off gluten for a while. This is the hidden trap, its like one party in the marriage has a drug problem except its a hidden problem, not heronine or something you can point to and blame but gluten....

Just so you know this advice has a cost.... but I already paid it. Im no rocket scientist .... I paid the price which was my marriage. I have a great deal of admiration for those like CarlaB who have recognised this without having to pay that price.

Now, usually by this time, I don't even want to be near him never mind doing the dirty. But it's all that will work. I don't know what makes him go into his cave like this, it's always something different

That is because its all tangled up in the communication problem. Its all different yet all part of the same tangled mess. This tangled mess has some knots in it and one of those knots is sex ... but there are others too. The problem is you are both stranded in the eye of the hurricane and getting out requires passing through that swirling confused mass.... you have both gotten yourself to the stalemate in the middle of the hurricane, neither wants to be there but you keep taking little steps and being knocked back... when the only way through it is TOGETHER.

Even if you did leave him and divorce .... you still need to go through this together.

I can't stand people who sulk, which is what it sounds like your husband is doing.

Yes he is but then this is all part of the cycle.

Lastly for rachelk, you are not alone! If we all clubbed together we could write a book on gluten the mariage wrecker, this isn't saying its your fault.... not at all but having identified a part of the problem the wool ball can start to unravel ... unless you start somewhere it will just continue getting worse and worse.

Sulking is not contructive behaviour but it isn't exactly rare either.

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I'm sorry things are so bad right now. I think it's pretty typical for men to enter a cave to sort things out. I think it's a good idea for you to seek counseling. Don't point fingers if you suggest it, it's no one's fault, you just need help to start communicating again. Living like strangers in the same house will lead to divorce if you let it. I've been married 21 years ... we've had our rough spots, but the communication was always open. We always remembered the feelings we had for each other when we got married to begin with, we rememebered that we both desired to have a real marriage and a family that was together, we remembered that the spouse was the good guy not the enemy, and based on our original desires for our life together, we worked through the difficult spots. We do a lot of "forgetting" of the past, I hope you can get to this to because you come out with something even better. You come out in the end with something that required WORK and SACRIFICE to have ... it's worth more than something that required mutual attraction and other fun feelings. Ask him if he'd like to turn back the clock and have the good relationship you once had or if he's just finished with you. Chances are he'd like what you had, then suggest that you go to someone to help get you back there ... you'll need a "moderator." I think you'll find that he wants it back, too, otherwise the sex would have ended along with the communication.

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have you been forthright about your needs and how he can meet them? have you listened to his needs, how you can meet them, and responded? have you two discussed and responded to what compromises are absolutely mandatory to find a middle ground?

let me give you a somewhat petty example:

I'm getting back into hiking and backpacking. I love it. My husband can do it to - he's in nearly as good shape as I am, and soon he'll be in better shape than me if we keep up the hiking. But he's not a huge fan of it. Doesn't really like the 'waste of time'. :huh: The problem is, the two friends I have who are in good enough shape to go with me on the harder hikes/backpacking-trips I want to do are pretty much always too busy to go hiking. So, if he doesn't go with me, I can't go, because going solo just isn't safe enough (especially backpacking). Because of my circle of friends, and my fitness level, my challenging hiking/backpacking adventures are pretty much at his mercy. :o

Did I mention that he hates the waste of time of these activites? ESPECIALLY backpacking? :rolleyes:

We've discussed it. What do I like about these activities? What does he like? What don't I like? What doesn't he like? Can we change anything about the hiking or the backpacking to add more of the things we like and take out the things we don't like? What compromises can we make, and so on. In the end, we get to a compromise, one that doesn't make me totally happy - because I don't get to do any challenging backpacking - and one that doesn't make him totally happy - because he has to do some pretty challenging hiking. But at the same time, we respect our compromise. I don't harp on him to do more than he agreed to (I'll schedule a second, easy, hike with other people for the other day in the weekend, since he'll only agree to one weekend day) and I don't press him on backpacking trips. And he doesn't hold his decision to come with me over my head or complain about being there or try to get anything out of it. We're both adults, we both agreed to our compromise, and we both respect it.

Perhaps my point is a bit lost...

Part of the issue is attitude. Your own internal attitude. (Another thing I learned by spending too much money at my therapist.) And this attitude is something you do determine for yourself. You've made a decision, if you have a negative attitude about that decision, why make that decision in the first place? At the least, you'll have a negative experience. I hate my job, but unless I want to pay back all the money my company paid to move me from out of state, I'm stuck in it for a while. But if I go into work thinking 'man, I hate my job, this sucks, poor me, gah, this is the worst job ever', it's going to be worse than if I say 'yeah, this isn't suited to me, it's good I know that now, so I'll learned what I can about what is suited to me, get done what I need to get done, get through my 8 hours a day so I can pay the bills, and get out to enjoy the rest of the day'. It is HARD to change attitude (even worse if you've been glutened or are depressed), but if you've set yourself up to say you are against your husband, you will be. If you start setting yourself up to work with your husband (even if he's not yet working with you), you will be. Someone's got to make the first move, and if you're tired of the situation, why wait for someone else to change it?

The other part is respect, regardless of understanding. I don't understand why my husband thinks this stuff is a waste of time (well, I do - it takes him away from his computer games... but I don't understand why that's a problem for less than 24 hours), and I don't understand at all why he doesn't appreciate the "wow, I've just gotten to this bit of wilderness that most people will never see because they don't leave their cars, you can only get here by a many-hour foot journey, and it's a hard journey". To me, those are both very fundamental, amazing, experiences (disconnecting and difficult to reach vistas). I will probably never understand why he doesn't 'understand'. But I respect that he doesn't. It's just him. He's not lying, he's not covering up something, he's not hiding something; he's just different.

In the same way, when a man doesn't talk about all the little things, he's not necessarily hiding anything, he may just not really talk about those things, that's just not him. My husband does the same. And I respect that is just who he is. Like you, however, I like to be able to talk about the little things as well, and my husband and I have talked about this issue that he'll not talk about the little things, but I want to talk about the random crap. He, however, is never going to bring it up, because it just doesn't cross his mind to do so. (We've had meta discussions on the subject - they're *fascinating*.) So, here's where the mutual respect and understanding thing comes in - I respect he won't bring it up, so I ask questions. He respects that I need to talk about the random crap, so he answers them. Sounds one sided? A bit, but remember that it's my need that's getting addressed, so it *is* one sided. Side effect? As I learn more about some of his interests (which is a good topic much of the time, keeps conversations balanced, since I can talk about my interests non stop - all he has to do is listen, or pretend to :P ), he becomes more interested in volunteering information about them. (Ok, they're often about his computer games... ;) )

Anyway... regardless of who is 'the bad guy' (gah! I HATE that concept), there's plenty that you can do to help the situation if you have any interest in doing anything but walking away. (The latter is a valid option, of course, though I'm certainly not suggesting it at the time, not knowing more.) It's not easy, it's not fast, and it's not painless. But often we (I know I did) get so fixated on the "but they're the one doing this", that we don't bother to do the work that we could do that might make a difference. Maybe in your case it would make no difference at all. Maybe it'd make a difference, but only a very small one, and not enough to be worth it. Maybe it would make enough of a difference, who knows. In my case, it's helped a lot, but I know the same won't be true for everyone.

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Good points, Tiffany. Relationships can be tough, but they are worth the effort. I agree that there is no bad guy, too. It takes two to let a relationship go downhill, it takes two to bring it back. We both might have our laundry lists of valid complaints, but we both have them! And, I'm not a believer that you have to go back and hammer out every detail of every complaint. I think throwing away the list and starting over is a better way. This, I understand, is harder than it sounds. Feelings are tough little guys that we have no control over ... it's only actions that we can actually change by our own efforts. Compromise is important. Sometimes the things I get frustrated over are the same things that attracted me in the first place! For example, in college, we'd blow off the day (classes included) and go to the park just 'cause it was nice out. Now, I have no right to get upset if he doesn't do chore x around the house because he wanted to activity y. I knew this about him when I married him!!

I would highly recommend a great book I read called "The Temperament God Gave You." It's about the four classic temperaments and how they interact. It really has helped me tremendously in understanding how to communicate with my hubby and children. Different termperaments respond differently to the same thing. Just understanding your husband's will help you to figure out how to approach improving your marriage. It's not a religion book even though "God" is used in the title; I know there are various philosophies on this board.

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well, I must admit that this thread has gone in a bit of a direction that I hadn't wanted but that's what happens when you share your dirty laundry. ;) I appreciate everyone's advice. Thanks Gfp for the male perspective and thank you Sarah for that last post, I really do like to hear others' experiences and know I'm not alone. No, I don't need a specialist and no I usually don't have a low sex drive (when I'm off gluten and not feeling as depressed as I have because of my gluten challenge). In the last few days I have been more conscious of my eating and not trusting anything but about 6-7 different foods- nothing processed. Like Sarah said, I think that I need those enterolab results so that he can listen and beleive me and I am going to make a concerted effort never to talk about my health problem.

I guess what I need to clarify is that when I say we don't communicate, I don't mean about our relationship, and what ails it, I mean that we don't communicate period...no hi, how was your day etc. we can go on like this for a month other than the curse nod and any info to be shared re the kids. You could cut the tension in my house with a knife. And in the meantime, I'm a single parent, coping with everything while he goes about his business like he doesn't have a care in the world. It's so hard not to be resentful and want better! Now, I've tried in the past to talk about things, get him to relax but all that will help is by me saying let's go have some sex. Now, usually by this time, I don't even want to be near him never mind doing the dirty. But it's all that will work. I don't know what makes him go into his cave like this, it's always something different and then like I said, I don't get communication so it's really really really hard to feel passionate and I have done very very very very many occasions like the nike add - Just do it (usually hating it the whole time).

I think that he's depressed as well because it has been getting progressively worse for two years and each time stretches on like an eternity and is not good for my mental health and the kids. I'm even evaluating what I ever saw in this man. So, these are the challenges that I'm up against and I thank you all for your advice. I think I will wait to make any rash decisions. <_< Maybe read some more self help books,...maybe look into some counselling. I'll hang in there. And thank you all again!

One more thing I just thought of reading this last post of yours. Sounds like your husband is not opening up because of all of the factors you talked about. Here is an idea to get him to open up. Go for long walks with him. I read this somewhere once. The idea is that men will talk more and listen more when they are simulataneously walking, moving etc. Hopefully he will do this with you. Depending on the climate where you live, after dinner would be a good time. Make sure it isn't just to the end of the street and back. Go several blocks. It would be better if it is just the 2 of you but with small children, you have to bring them along also probably. This will also help him to relieve some of his own depression or tension. I used to do this with my husband and I know I felt closer to him because we talked the entire time we were walking. Sometimes I just listened to him vent the entire time about work, but not always. I think it helped him to feel closer to me too. AND if the walks start going well, and you are feeling good together, hold hands. This might seem like a giant step right now. You may have to just start going with the kids and let the kids start asking Dad to come along. Anyway, if this is totally not your thing, sorry.

Sarah

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I think throwing away the list and starting over is a better way. This, I understand, is harder than it sounds. Feelings are tough little guys that we have no control over ... it's only actions that we can actually change by our own efforts.

I think it took me half a year to do this - well, to start doing this. <_< But I sure am glad I did.

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A wise priest once told me to usher the bad feelings into the front door, then escort them right out the back door. Do not do what I used to do and talk yourself out of them and box them up into the attic. And don't dwell on them and give them control. If you box them, then at some point in time, you have to sort through them. Recognize that the feeling is there, then do not act based on it, your actions should reflect your free will to do what your conscience tells you is right.

It was this advice that helped me get over the verbal/emotional abuse I suffered growing up. And I mean, GET OVER!!! :) It took a year and a half to keep telling myself this as the boxes were tumbling out of the attic! Now, the attic is empty, and it feels great.

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I can relate to alot of what was said here. I ended my relationship with my b/f of 4 years yesterday. It was very hard to do, but I realize that I was using my b/f to fill my own unfulfilled needs/wants (a fool's game b/c this is impossible...ie...won't help to eat a steak when what u really want is a glass of water). I was always able to spot blatant dependency in others, and would have never thought that I am codependent. It took alot of looking inward to figure this out at age 30! It was only when I understood this that I was able to finally end the relationship.

And was not just with the b/f, but with others. Trying to please everyone, while forgetting about my own needs. I did it time and time again, and was oblivious to what I was doing. Never thought my opinion mattered, and in fact, have been so successful at believing this that I don't even know what my opinion is anymore.

Other things I have noticed that I do:

-don't really know how to love or be loved

-have trouble showing feelings

-jump from man to man and feel anxious when alone

-procrastinate

-afraid of failure

-watch tv all the time

-not returning phone calls

-don't know how to have fun

-failing to do things that are good for me

I can go on and on. It's strange to see myself as an addict, but in way it is an addiction. Focusing all of my energies on a man so that I can avoid living. When I did not have a man, I had other distractions. Someone mentioned the little things that make her happy: I'm so deep in this hole that I don't even know what little things make me happy. I know that I definitely need help to start making changes. Is very hard to admit things about myself, but I know that understanding is half the battle and lying to myself will keep me stuck right where I am.

I am still amazed at how far I have come on this. I was so oblivious that I wonder how I was able to obtain this insight without therapy. Well...actually some events/circumstances forced me to look inward, scary as this was. I have done and continue to do ALOT of reflecting. I still have alot of fear, but at least there's a light at the end of the tunnel now.

Good thread.

:)

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Phila, I'm glad to hear you're progressing, but sorry to hear it's so tough. Dependency is not always a bad thing. I totally depend on my husband, and I need his love and support. I need to be able to have him hold me when I'm glutened. It's a bad thing though if you need him to need you to feel worth something. While I need his love and support, I don't rely on him needing me to find my self-worth. I've been through similar feeling to what you describe, and it took time to make myself a complete person within myself so that I could have a healthy relationship with a man.

I do many of the things on your list when I'm sick. How is your health? I also do them when I have no "me time."

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