Can I make my wife happy?

Can I make my wife happy?

Postby cmhollow » Mon Jun 28, 2010 11:56 am

My wife and I have been together since the summer of 2002, and we got married in October 2008 at 28 years-old (we are both the same age). Our relationship before marriage was a bit tumultuous at times, but overall was pretty good when we were getting along. Our biggest arguments were about lack of sex. I have a problem initiating sex and do not act on my desire to have sex very often. She has always been very upset by this because it appears that I am perfectly OK without sex. Also on the topic of sex, when my wife became pregnant in January 2009, I expressed that I felt awkward having sex while she was pregnant. She was upset by this and I tried to redeem myself by saying I would put my awkward feelings aside and that we should have sex anyway. She told me that I didn't want to have sex so there was no point. We did not have sex from March 2009 until February 2010. After the birth of our son, I was very excited to be able to have sex again, but she felt very uncomfortable about her body and did not want sex.

Since our son was born, her biggest problem with me has been her view that I am selfish and have not stepped up to being a father. My wife breast fed our son for the first 3 or four months. So, she was providing all the nourishment for him and getting up with him all the time. I felt helpless and paralyzed because I didn't know what I could do to help. I was awake when she was, but I wasn't helping at all. I tried to help by picking up more chores around the house. I did the bulk of the cleaning, all of the grocery getting, and most of the cooking. She doesn't believe that I did any of this. She told me in December 2009 that she wanted to leave me. After we switched to formula, I made a very concerted effort to care more for our son. When I got home from work, I would take him off her hands for the whole night, bathe him, and put him to bed. I have done this ever since.

Things seemed to me to be getting better, and she was not being so hurtful toward me. We moved back to our home town on May 20th after living in a large city for the past 8 years to be near our families. She seemed so happy to be back and she was constantly singing my praises and being very nice to me. However, during the first 3 weeks back in our home town, I was trying to acclimate to a new work schedule (up at 5:30 am, whereas I was getting up at 7:30 for my old job). During this time, our son, who up until this point always slept through the night decided to start getting up every night. Admittedly, I very selfishly chose to stay asleep while my wife tended to the baby. And about 10 days ago, she blew up at me for this. I apologized, explained that I was just getting used to my new schedule, and that I would be more than willing to get up with him now, and I have.

Last Thursday, I already received a promotion at my new job, and my wife wanted to celebrate. (She ALWAYS wants to eat out, which we usually cannot afford.) So, I suggested take away from one of our favorite natural food places, but they didn't have anything too good. At home, I began to prepare some chicken I had thawed, asparagus, and she had a Caesar salad to eat. She is a very picky eater and does not eat meat. I said that we should just eat in and eat what was in the house. She once again blew up at me for being so selfish and not considering her and what she was going to eat. I tried to make up for this by back pedaling and suggesting other take away places. She told me it was too late because she was pissed at me and didn't want to do anything now.

Yesterday, I woke at 7 in order to help a friend of mine and my wife's with a project that I have been promising to help him with for over a month. It took longer than I expected and I didn't get home until 1:00 pm. I did not call or text my wife to let her know what was up, which I admit was a huge mistake. When I got back to her, she cursed me out in the middle of the street in front of our friends while hold our son. I was so devastated.

I do not get mad at my wife. When she tells me how shitty she thinks I am, I clam up and get very depressed. I do admit that I can be selfish, but can't we all? I have given up going to the gym, and I don't see my friends often, perhaps 1-2 times per month. When we do not have a sitter, we take turns going out. I have never once told her not to go out. I, in fact, encourage her to go out and have fun. She is easily stressed and frustrated with mom duties.

In summary, her main problems she sees in me are:

1. For the first 3 months of our son's life, she said she had no help, and that every Saturday in November, I went out with one of my friends. I must qualify this statement, however. I did go out 3 of 4 Saturdays in November from about 9 until 11 with her permission.

2. Lack of sex

3. I do not consider her or our son in anything I do.

4. I have been this way since we met and I will never change.

We tried counseling once before we were married, but we never got to any major problems. The only good that came out of it is that I went to a psychiatrist and was finally treated for depression.

I don't think she is willing to come to counseling with me, but I am willing to make every effort to keep my wife. She is my best friend and I love her so much.

I just started reading "Secrets of Happily Married Men" on Saturday, and I'm more than half way through. IT has offered some really good insight so far, but I fear my wife's stubbornness will reign supreme this time. I cannot remember a time where she told me that she was sorry or thanked me for making any effort to change. The extremely few times that I did call her on making a mistake, going out to eat when we should save money for example, she would make ME feel bad for making her feel guilty then argue with me for making her feel guilty.
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Postby ThunderHorse » Thu Jul 01, 2010 5:18 pm

Unconditional listening.

"i will try to do better"

"What else would yopu lke to discuss?

What is the first issue you would li9ke to resolve?

What do you want her to change?

How can hyou ask it simply, without arguing?

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Postby ThunderHorse » Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:38 am

Sounds like verbal abuse. Clamming up is a reward for verbal abuse, and it shows an emotional response, which is your particiaption in the coninuation of the abusive cyucle. Wife complains unreasonably, husband gives an Emtional response, repeat.

Suzette Elgin YOU CAN'T SAY THAT TO ME, Diiscussed on the folowing threads

List of threads before April 18, 2010 ... ight=abuse

Second Post to Husband who was abusive, but whose wife has turned abusive. ... ight=abuse

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Postby socialdistortion » Mon Jul 12, 2010 10:44 pm

Dear Cmhollow,

I once read that the most difficult time in a marriage is when your kids are young. Ten years ago a study in the Journal of Marriage and Family (Levenson & Gottman) found that the birth of the first child brings very difficult changes and divorces during this time are “marked by anger and vicious fights”. Anyone who has kids would understand the difficulty this time brings for couples. Having had the some of the same friends from my teenage years to mid-forties, I can safely say I never heard them complain more about their spouses as when their children were small.

Haltzman recently wrote about a talk he gave to married couples, what I found it interesting is how he mentally categorized the couples not by ages, but by the stages they were in their marriages. He says that marriages “begin in a blissful phase, and then undergo stages of extreme duress.” He theorizes that the successful relationships are not less troubled but are filled with people who choose to stick it out through those tough stages. In my opinion, you and your wife are currently in the ‘this sucks’ stage. I am also sure that your lack of interest in sex for so long must have had a significant effect on how she felt about herself and about you, not a good foundation for making things easier for you or her right now.

In reading your post it really sounds like you are making a huge effort to make things as easy as possible for your wife right now. But even if you took care of your son from the second you got home from work until you went to bed, what about the other 20 hours of the day? The new responsibility of a never ending needy infant must leave your wife emotionally and physically exhausted. Your ceaser salad story almost made me laugh at the absurdity that this insignificant situation would result is such a full blown fight. It actually might seem funny later (I once cried when my spouse brought home four boxes of cereal at the same time, it just seemed way too overwhelming to take care of the baby and the cereal).

EVERYTHING is magnified when you are exhausted. My spouse and I once had two babies in three years with absolutely no family around to fall back on. It was a never ending game of tag and took a huge toll on our relationship (worse years ever). But now that the kids are a just bit older it is easier, still challenging but nowhere near the intense stress of newborns.

It honestly sounds like you are doing everything right. My best suggestion would be for your wife to join a baby group or find other moms with infants around the same age. Sharing stories and frustrations might help her realize that everyone is going through the same thing. Hearing them complain about their husband might make her realize how fortunate she actually is. Complaining about you might help her have an emotional outlet (other than you). She doesn’t need to have a dozen new friends, just one good one. Isolation at this time can be toxic to her, you and your relationship.

Next time you see her getting exhausted or frustrated, try pointing to yourself while saying, “I will be right here if you need me”. She will appreciate it later…

Good luck.

Social D.
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Postby cmhollow » Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:34 am

Thanks for the replies.

A few updates:

Over the last few months, my wife had been less hurtful toward me, but still distant and never affectionate. She often spoke of long term wishes and dreams of our son growing up and all of us doing things together. I took this as a positive sign.

I try to make things better by doing things rather than by talking about them. My wife takes this as me ignoring the problems. I made a very concerted effort to make my wife's life at home as easy as I could. I proactively pick up chores around the house, do all of the laundry, and, as I said before, take the baby off her hands from the moment I get home. My time with him is the best of my time each day. I thought that these were ways to show my wife I was trying to be what she needed me to be.

I have been trying to arrange counseling with a marriage counselor, but one on one counseling, since she told me that she was not interested in coming with me. The counselor was very busy, and I have just been able to procure an appointment. I told my wife about this last evening when she told me she was feeling very distressed last evening about where our relationship was going. She told me that I should have been discussing this with her all along, and that she wants me out of the house. I admitted to her that I have been avoiding discussing her problems with me, but that I was trying to arrange counseling for myself to help with that issue.

I also made the mistake last evening of saying that everything we have have or have ever had throughout the tenure of our relationship has been because of me. I took her in when she moved to a large city with no plan whatsoever. I agreed to buy a house even though we had a wonderful apartment. I gave her the big wedding she always dreamed of, We had a baby right away after we were married because she wanted to. I made it possible for us to move back to our home town by applying for over a year to jobs in the area. All of the money I earn goes to her and my son, which is the way it should be, but I would like a little recognition for that. But, that was just me being angry.

I'm not sure if I should honor my wife's wishes for me to move out. She tells me that I could still come over after work and put our son to bed, but that I would have to leave after that. I fail to see how me merely sleeping in another house will make anything better. I told her that it's never too late to work on things and that I really do not want our marriage to fail. I especially do not want to be apart from my son at all. She says I'm an excellent father but not what she wants in a husband. I am going to go to counseling by myself in hopes that it gives me some tools to better deal with my wife. I just don't know how I will ever make this work if she continues to believe that I am the only one with any problems in this marriage.
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Postby ThunderHorse » Tue Sep 14, 2010 3:30 am

If your wife really wanted to end the marriage, she could move out herself.

If your wife is looking for attention and compliments, some women talk about their complaints to get attention from their husbands. When your wife talks about her wanting you to move out, do you give her blithering gibberish of compliments, as the boring barouqu response? At lest you wife is talking to you. it is just that the topics she chooses to talk about are unpleasant for you. People do not always say what they mean.

Perhaps your wife is jeaolous of the attention you give her son. Is there a way you can give her attention first, when you come home?

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Postby cmhollow » Wed Sep 15, 2010 7:53 am

She has told me that her hope is that a separation will make her realize that she misses me and needs me.

I stayed at my mother's last evening after I put our son to bed, and it was the hardest thing I've ever done driving away from my wife and child. I am trying to honor her need for space at this time against my better judgment. I gave her a hug and kiss, I told her I loved her, that I was sorry it has come to this for her, that I will do whatever I can to work this out, and that if she needs anything at any point in the night to please call me. She texted me to make sure I got there OK, and she told me that she still loved me.

She has tried to drag my mother into this mess by writing her a scathing email telling her that I have her fooled and I am not a good person. This is not the first time she's done this. My mother, step-father, and her mother are appalled at her actions. All have told me that they cannot understand why she has such hatred toward me and that they have never seen me as or suspected me of being anything but a wonderful, doting husband and father.

I cannot read my wife's mind, and I have a hard time knowing what she needs and when. I hope that counseling helps her realize that she needs to communicate those needs to me. It would be wonderful if she told me that I would like it if you kissed me goodbye in the morning and when you got home, gave me a hug, told me how pretty i am, etc. I try to touch her and she cringes. I tell her she's beautiful and she usually ignores me, sometimes she says thanks.

I don't gamble, drink, cheat. I am not lazy. I work hard to make money for us and take care of our home. When she's not in such a horrible mood, we laugh so much it hurts sometimes. I tell her that I'd rather stay home, share some wine, and watch a movie with her than go out and hang with my friends.

I guess I didn't say I love you enough. I didn't show her enough physical affection, though for the past 5 years, when I have tried to show her affection in public, she pulls away and once even went so far as to ask me "Why were you hanging all over me tonight, trying to impress your friends?" Even when I tried to snuggle up next to her on the couch, she usually would pull away. She blames me for this, saying I pushed her away from many years. I was depressed. I did get help. I have changed a lot in the past 2 years, and she seemed to recognize that until she had our son.

The up and down is killing me, and for the last few days, I feel like I've been dying more and more inside. I want to make this work, but I need her help for that. I hope she is willing to offer it.
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Postby ThunderHorse » Wed Sep 15, 2010 1:06 pm

I am still working on a thread of Compliments for Wives. ... .php?t=477

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