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Lack of respect? Illness? I'm Struggling...

Husband and I will be married 6 years in June, together for 10.  A little background: we have no kids, both work full time.  I make more money, but he does more around the house.  He has narcolepsy--not the fall down and fall asleep kind, but the 'always tired/always crabby' kind.  He's on medication that he's tried tweaking several times but nothing really works, except he's a teacher, so summers that he has off are always terrific.  He's happy, considerate, and easy to get along with during the summer!  I fell in love with him during the summer and didnt know he'd be so crabby/hard to get along with the other 9 months of every year, and only recently figured out that this really is a pattern of behavior for him.  School years are HELL and I find myself looking forward to "really living" and happiness each summer brings.  The thing I'm struggling with is the other 9 months of the year!  I take my vows very seriously, and especially think about "in sickness and in health", but we rarely get along during the school years, and I'm thinking about leaving this marriage.  He's disrespectful (ignores me when I'm talking, gives me one word answers as he seems too "busy" to be bothered while playing his computer games or correcting papers to answer more than that.  When I call him out on it that if I'm speaking, he needs to pause his game/work and participate, he guilts me by saying "its the only way I can stay awake" or tells me I'm being to sensitive).  He's quick tempered over the littlest things.  99% of our arguments stem from his lack of respect for me.  (He'll leave the table while I'm still eating to do dishes, or not answer if I'm talking to him, faces away from the table while we're eating because he says his legs don't fit under it--yet it's a table and he's a normal sizes man, so they do fit).  Yet he'll buy me extravagant gifts or make me dinner, but the minute I open my mouth, he acts like he could care less.  I feel like a houseplant, not a wife.  He's Jekyll and Hyde--outgoing, attentive, happy when we're around other people and my family no matter what time of year it is, but when we're alone, he won't talk to me and rarely smiles.  So of course when we've been to counseling, we don't get anywhere since he puts on a "show" that everything is fine and I'm the one with the problem for thinking there is one!  It's so manipulative, that it makes me feel like I'm losing it!  He doesn't hit me, but I feel the emotional neglect or whatever it is makes me want to leave!  Am I being stupid?  My family of course thinks he's Mr Wonderful, since he is when he's around them, so it makes it that much harder to leave.  What do I do?  I want children, but I'm 34 and beginning to realize I can't bring them into this mess (or what I think is a mess anyway--everyone else thinks he's wonderful and thinks he'd make a good father.  I dont doubt that, I just think he's a shitty husband!). I have nothing on paper or proof that he is this way.  I know hes better during the summer, but I hate living this way.  Any advice?

Re: Lack of respect? Illness? I'm Struggling...

  • So you're miserable 9 months out of the year? I don't think you can blame this on illness. Why have you stuck around for 10 years? That's 90 months that you have spent being miserable.

    Life is too short to be miserable all the time. There are so many other men out there that can offer you what you want in a relationship. Why not find one of those guys? 

  • Yeah, I'm not sure that not enjoying his job and being a jerk to you while he seems to be capable of being pleasant to everyone else is a legitimate illness.

    Was his selective crappy mood really diagnosed as a form of narcolepsy?

  • Did you know of his narcolepsy from the beginning? If so, then you should have known that it isn't something that is easily 'fixed'.

    I know some professors and teachers in the family and they are very stressed out most of the time (depends on what grade they are teaching as well), more so when midterms and finals are up. Being a teacher is not a 9-5, five day a week job, it is every day, all day usually.

    Now I am not one to nitpick, but I think you are overreacting a bit about the whole leaving the table to do dishes.. and arguing over whether or not his legs can fit under the table... 

    Has he always been distant like this? Some men are like that. If he has just recently changed though, then there may be some underlying problem. But, if he has always been this way and it is now just bothering you... you can't really do much except do what you think will make you happier. 10 years of being with someone is a long time, even longer if you have put yourself though misery for 9 months out of the year.

    Just remember though, he does things for you, he still cleans and cooks and buys you things. He hasn't totally forgotten about you.

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  • image ClandestineX:


    Has he always been distant like this? Some men are like that. 

    Just remember though, he does things for you, he still cleans and cooks and buys you things. He hasn't totally forgotten about you.


    WTF? Really? Sure some men are like that, but a lot aren't and it doesn't make it acceptable. Also, just because he cleans, cooks and buys her things doesn't mean he is a quality husband if she is MISERABLE the majority of the time in her marriage.  

  • Some men are like that, and so are some women, and regardless of gender, no one should have to tolerate a split personality and being ignored just because his or her spouse does housework sometimes.
  • image doglove:
    image ClandestineX:


    Has he always been distant like this? Some men are like that. 

    Just remember though, he does things for you, he still cleans and cooks and buys you things. He hasn't totally forgotten about you.


    WTF? Really? Sure some men are like that, but a lot aren't and it doesn't make it acceptable. Also, just because he cleans, cooks and buys her things doesn't mean he is a quality husband if she is MISERABLE the majority of the time in her marriage.  

    It makes it acceptable if that is how they were raised. My father in law says maybe one word a day to his wife, they hug and sit next to each other on the couch, but he doesn't answer all the time nor does he talk hardly. Some men are like that and it is perfectly fine, just like some women are like that. Your man doesn't have to be chatty to be "okay". Sometimes stress makes us more quiet as well.

    Like I said, he still does things for her and if he didn't care about her, he would not being doing those things, simple as that. I am wondering if she has been going through this for 10 years and just now tired of it, or it has been progressing. If she knew about it from year one, why didn't she get out then? 

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  • image ClandestineX:

    It makes it acceptable if that is how they were raised. My father in law says maybe one word a day to his wife, they hug and sit next to each other on the couch, but he doesn't answer all the time nor does he talk hardly. Some men are like that and it is perfectly fine, just like some women are like that. Your man doesn't have to be chatty to be "okay". Sometimes stress makes us more quiet as well.

    Like I said, he still does things for her and if he didn't care about her, he would not being doing those things, simple as that. I am wondering if she has been going through this for 10 years and just now tired of it, or it has been progressing. If she knew about it from year one, why didn't she get out then? 

    You need therapy, seriously. Just because someone was raised to be a d-bag, doesn't make it acceptable behavior. Someone does not have to ACCEPT that kind of treatment. Grown adults are capable of making changes if they want to, people are not stuck in the ways that that learned when they grew up.

    Being quiet, thoughtful or reflective is NOT the same as being treated disrespectfully all the time. Two totally different things here. This poster is telling us that her husband is crappy, in a foul mood all the time and just plain miserable. How is that a behavior she should accept because he does things for her? 

  • image doglove:
    image ClandestineX:

    It makes it acceptable if that is how they were raised. My father in law says maybe one word a day to his wife, they hug and sit next to each other on the couch, but he doesn't answer all the time nor does he talk hardly. Some men are like that and it is perfectly fine, just like some women are like that. Your man doesn't have to be chatty to be "okay". Sometimes stress makes us more quiet as well.

    Like I said, he still does things for her and if he didn't care about her, he would not being doing those things, simple as that. I am wondering if she has been going through this for 10 years and just now tired of it, or it has been progressing. If she knew about it from year one, why didn't she get out then? 

    You need therapy, seriously. Just because someone was raised to be a d-bag, doesn't make it acceptable behavior. Someone does not have to ACCEPT that kind of treatment. Grown adults are capable of making changes if they want to, people are not stuck in the ways that that learned when they grew up.

    Being quiet, thoughtful or reflective is NOT the same as being treated disrespectfully all the time. Two totally different things here. This poster is telling us that her husband is crappy, in a foul mood all the time and just plain miserable. How is that a behavior she should accept because he does things for her? 

    Cool, you want to attack because you have nothing else to refute? Go ahead, be the 'mature' one in this situation. 

    Just because someone isn't like how YOU want them to be doesn't mean they are all bad. She said she is being disrespected in the sense of he isn't talking as much to her, and she has stated that his mood is because of his illness. Go ahead and pick and choose what you want to hear from the OP. What I am doing is taking in ALL of what she said and telling her that sometimes, a stressful job makes people quiet. It isn't disrespectful if someone does not want to talk all the time, maybe you should grow up.

    I am not telling her to accept that behavior either, so stop putting words in my mouth. What I am saying is she has either known this behavior for a long time and just now figured she was done, or this is progressive behavior. If it was the former, then she knew what she was getting into and I am wondering why she didn't leave way earlier than now. If this is progressive, then they will need to work it out or she can do what she thinks is best for her happiness.

    Like I said, please grow up. Your posts are ridiculous.

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  • I'm just pointing out the obvious. 
  • She said his "illness" only seems to affect him negatively the nine months out of the year that he has to work, and when he's in a crappy mood it's only directed at his wife- he's outgoing and friendly to everyone else.  That's very different from just being a somewhat reserved person.

    And no, no one gets a pass to be a jerk just because they were raised that way.

  • At least I know Im not the only one who is grappling for an answer.  Its a fine line between being married to someone who is ill and someone who is a jerk.  I've wished it was addiction or something like that, like I could just send him off to treatment and he'd be better when he got back, but I can't.

    He was finishing a master's degree the first year I was with him, so I chalked it up to stress of that.  The following year we moved in together, bought a house and pets.  The year after that we bought the house we were renting and got engaged, following year married,etc.  It doesn't really matter though.  There are always going to be stresses in a relationship and marriage, and I knew that going in.  The trick is to work together through things with good communication, respect and love, and I don't feel I'm getting that.  It's just really confusing to me when my own husband won't answer me when I'm speaking and isn't the same happy go lucky, caring person he is around me as he is around everybody else unless he's not working. I'm trying to figure out if its worth staying when I'm miserable 9 months of the year.

      I want kids, but I don't want to have them with a man who can't even communicate with me now.  He seems to think a baby magically fixes everything, that somehow he would be better once a baby comes, but I know it only makes problems more evident when you're exhausted and stressed.  Plus he doesn't function at night or in the morning when he's not on medication, and we're both at work during the day.  I would be all alone taking care of the child if we had one, but I already feel like I'm alone now.  I feel guilty wanting to leave, but I just don't know how this can continue to work, and yes, I have been putting up with it for years and am just getting sick of it now.  Maybe I'm dumb for not leaving sooner or selfish for wanting to leave at all, but that's why I'm here asking for advice.  I appreciate all of it.  Thank you for your input.  I need it!

  • image ClandestineX:
    image doglove:
    image ClandestineX:


    Has he always been distant like this? Some men are like that. 

    Just remember though, he does things for you, he still cleans and cooks and buys you things. He hasn't totally forgotten about you.


    WTF? Really? Sure some men are like that, but a lot aren't and it doesn't make it acceptable. Also, just because he cleans, cooks and buys her things doesn't mean he is a quality husband if she is MISERABLE the majority of the time in her marriage.  

    It makes it acceptable if that is how they were raised. My father in law says maybe one word a day to his wife, they hug and sit next to each other on the couch, but he doesn't answer all the time nor does he talk hardly. Some men are like that and it is perfectly fine, just like some women are like that. Your man doesn't have to be chatty to be "okay". Sometimes stress makes us more quiet as well.

    Like I said, he still does things for her and if he didn't care about her, he would not being doing those things, simple as that. I am wondering if she has been going through this for 10 years and just now tired of it, or it has been progressing. If she knew about it from year one, why didn't she get out then? 

    Being quiet or introverted is really different from being a complete and utter jackass and being disrespectful to your spouse. 

    And it should all be ok because he "does things for her"?  No.

    OP - you tried counseling and clearly he wasn't willing to put in the effort.  YOU are taking your vows seriously.  HE is not. 

    My sister and Dad are both teachers - my Dad raised both me and my sister and my sister has 2 little ones at home.  They clearly have/had their plates full and neither treats their spouses this way.  And PP had a really good point - if he can put on a show with everyone else, why are you getting beat up everyday?

    I don't like him and I would not blame you for leaving him.

  • I'm not familiar at all with narcolepsy, so I can't help you with that. But, if this illness means he's more cranky when he's really busy, then it is probably from the illness.

    Has he had his meds readjusted recently? Is it possible that he needs a higher dosage during the school year? Also, has he ever been tested for ADD or ADHD? My son had the hyperactive aspect of ADHD, and had some other really weird behaviors before his meds that sound like things you have mentioned. However, once the stress was gone in our home (my daughter's dad, who I asked to leave), we got him off his meds at that time, he was about 12 y/o and was fine afterward. Stress can impact many other illnesses than simply narcolepsy.

    I hear what you are saying, he's a wonderful guy in many ways. No one believes what you see in him because they don't see it. My ex was like that, but very negative, critical and mean-spirited toward my son (not his child). No one believed me. He also lied during counseling and got mad at me when we left because I told the truth. You can't change anyone who doesn't want to change.

    Good luck with your decision. Hopefully you get everything you want in life.

     

  • He can't keep treating you like this. Not acceptable.

    And has he been screened for cardiac and ciruclatory issues? I think narcolepsy and cardiac/circulatory problems usually go hand in hand --- get him to a cardiologist for a new evaluation.

    There is also a CPAP machine. I think I also remember reading that a tracheotomy can also lessen narcolepsy problems.

    Maybe his meds and condition are contributing to the grouchiness and divisiveness -- why I suggest he be reevaluated and possibly given new medications that won't cause behavorial issues.


  • image ClandestineX:

    It makes it acceptable if that is how they were raised. My father in law says maybe one word a day to his wife, they hug and sit next to each other on the couch, but he doesn't answer all the time nor does he talk hardly. Some men are like that and it is perfectly fine, just like some women are like that. Your man doesn't have to be chatty to be "okay". Sometimes stress makes us more quiet as well.

    Like I said, he still does things for her and if he didn't care about her, he would not being doing those things, simple as that. I am wondering if she has been going through this for 10 years and just now tired of it, or it has been progressing. If she knew about it from year one, why didn't she get out then? 

    FFS this is the most ridiculous thing I've ever read.  Well then it's perfectly acceptable that I set kittens on fire and shoot puppies because that's how I was raised.

    OP if he's capable of being nice to others that 9 months a year, then he's capable of being respectful to his wife.  Therapy stat.  And your instincts are correct - do NOT bring a child into this.  It will only make the problems worse.

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  • Honestly, leave him. You're better off being with someone who will make you happy and respect you. This isn't healthy and will take more of out of you and the relationship as time goes on.
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  • Jekyll and Hyde=abuser.

    Leave. Run for the hills. Babies are really stressful and make no problems better.

    Being a jerk is not the same as taciturn. 

  • If he can pull it together during the school year to be nice to your family and a counselor, then it's not caused by his illness, is it?
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  • You need to get your finances in order and leave him. What he is doing is emotional abuse, very manipulation, and really disrespectful. You say you do not have a child, but you do, and it is your DH. A child turns their head when they're spoken to and a child ignores when being spoken to. It is not his illness! His illness isn't just out in full terror for 9 months out of the year. This is no way to live. I would want to go away for those 9 months and then come back in the summer when everything is peachy. I bet he probably thinks everything is grand during the summer months; therefore, you should deal with the 9 months of man period. You're right; a child would complicate and make the stress worse. I am super glad you recognize that. I just think it's time to go for you; it's been too long of his behavior that you've put up with. He isn't going to change, regardless, of what you say and do.

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  • Your Husband sounds like he is the social type... and he can enjoy himself when he is 'busy' doing things he enjoys and his home is his place to quiet down and do nothing.  

    It's kind of odd to say, but you, being as close as you are to him, are on the inside of his social behavior, and he doesn't view you as someone to be bright and cheery around (not in a bad way).  He just views you as he views himself and he doesn't feel the need to put on the front that he does with those outside of your relationship.  

    He is TOO comfortable with you, and feels that you'll always be around and him home is his safety zone where he can veg-out and do nothing.  He is unaware of the fact the it affects you so much, cause he doesn't have the same emotional need nor understanding (no matter how much he is told).

     

    My Wife and I have a similar relationship, but we have learned and are still adjusting to the way the other communicates.  When I come home, I like to do nothing (especially after work) for at least a half hour to an hour... nothing but sit on the sofa and veg-out.  after that, I feel much more refreshed and feel I am able to get on with my evening in a normal fashion.  But, if I come home to my wife asking me question after question, no matter how simple the questions are, it post-pones/eliminates my chance to relax, which is what I need. (BTW, vegging-out in front of the TV mindlessly, is not a good way to unwind).  Also, I am very social and can put on a front and authentically enjoy the company of those around me, but my wife gets exhausted through those same situations.

    On the other side, I have to be sensitive to my Wife's need to be understood on the emotional level (this is extremely difficult to do, as it is like learning a completely new language... I came from a family of 4 brothers).

    I'd suggest a few things:

    Identify each others 'languages' ( I recommend the 5 Love Languages book) 

    Be sensitive/aware of each other's way of communication 

    Also, plan things for you two to do together after work (after he gets a chance to veg for an hour), like a simple dinner out, an improv show, a baseball game, a place where he can fulfill that social need... just a break in the monotony of the daily grind.

    In the meantime, if you are feeling emotionally neglected, find a way to fill that need for yourself... go out with the girls, speak candidly with a best friend (female of course... it is not wise to invest your emotional need in another man, while that can lead down the wrong road), or you could even take a little trip by your self, just to get out for a bit and enjoy your time.

     

    Anyway, I feel I have rambled on, quite honestly, reading this post was a bit self-therapeutic for me, seeing the ways I can better fulfill my wife's need for the emotional connection.  It is not an overnight switch, this may be a process, but you will find more fulfillment the other 9 months of the year.

    I also recommend the Movie "Fireproof" and the book "The Love Dare"

    Taking your vows seriously is amazing, I wish more people were like you... 'till death do us part' means commitment.  

    As to his illness, to me this seems, predominately psychological, and it has now become a crutch... I believe with the right efforts towards communication and 'speaking the other's language' that he can slowly wean off the meds, and begin the rich fulfilling marriage you two both desire! 

  • I wonder if he even realizes how he is treating you. Try getting him on videotape to play back to him. It might be an eye opener to see just how ugly he is being. Or you could bring the footage to counceling.GL

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  • [quote user="JRJacobsma"]

    Your Husband sounds like he is the social type... and he can enjoy himself when he is 'busy' doing things he enjoys and his home is his place to quiet down and do nothing.  

    It's kind of odd to say, but you, being as close as you are to him, are on the inside of his social behavior, and he doesn't view you as someone to be bright and cheery around (not in a bad way).  He just views you as he views himself and he doesn't feel the need to put on the front that he does with those outside of your relationship.  

    He is TOO comfortable with you, and feels that you'll always be around and him home is his safety zone where he can veg-out and do nothing.  He is unaware of the fact the it affects you so much, cause he doesn't have the same emotional need nor understanding (no matter how much he is told).

     

    My Wife and I have a similar relationship, but we have learned and are still adjusting to the way the other communicates.  When I come home, I like to do nothing (especially after work) for at least a half hour to an hour... nothing but sit on the sofa and veg-out.  after that, I feel much more refreshed and feel I am able to get on with my evening in a normal fashion.  But, if I come home to my wife asking me question after question, no matter how simple the questions are, it post-pones/eliminates my chance to relax, which is what I need. (BTW, vegging-out in front of the TV mindlessly, is not a good way to unwind).  Also, I am very social and can put on a front and authentically enjoy the company of those around me, but my wife gets exhausted through those same situations.

    On the other side, I have to be sensitive to my Wife's need to be understood on the emotional level (this is extremely difficult to do, as it is like learning a completely new language... I came from a family of 4 brothers).

    I'd suggest a few things:

    Identify each others 'languages' ( I recommend the 5 Love Languages book) 

    Be sensitive/aware of each other's way of communication 

    Also, plan things for you two to do together after work (after he gets a chance to veg for an hour), like a simple dinner out, an improv show, a baseball game, a place where he can fulfill that social need... just a break in the monotony of the daily grind.

    In the meantime, if you are feeling emotionally neglected, find a way to fill that need for yourself... go out with the girls, speak candidly with a best friend (female of course... it is not wise to invest your emotional need in another man, while that can lead down the wrong road), or you could even take a little trip by your self, just to get out for a bit and enjoy your time.

     

    Anyway, I feel I have rambled on, quite honestly, reading this post was a bit self-therapeutic for me, seeing the ways I can better fulfill my wife's need for the emotional connection.  It is not an overnight switch, this may be a process, but you will find more fulfillment the other 9 months of the year.

    I also recommend the Movie "Fireproof" and the book "The Love Dare"

    Taking your vows seriously is amazing, I wish more people were like you... 'till death do us part' means commitment.  

    As to his illness, to me this seems, predominately psychological, and it has now become a crutch... I believe with the right efforts towards communication and 'speaking the other's language' that he can slowly wean off the meds, and begin the rich fulfilling marriage you two both desire! 

    [/quote]

    This automatically invalidates any advice that may be given. 

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  • I feel for you! I don't think this is an illness, since like you say, he can keep it together around family. I'm married to someone very similar (without the narcolepsy excuse) and it is very painful and exhausting.

     I'm still trying to figure out what exactly our problem is too, but one thing that struck a chord with me was reading about passive aggressive men. You might want to look into that. They tend to control you and get their way through sneaky moves like ignoring, silence, sulking, etc. When you get the picture that they are cheesed and ask them about it, they deny it, blame you, make excuses, etc., which makes the issue and solutions very hard to identify. Could your husband be doing this? Would a counsellor help? Obviously something is wrong and he's not cooperating in finding the issue or the solutions.

    Also, do NOT have a kid with him. I have a one year old and although I'm happy as h!ll to have him, I feel like I also became my husband's mother. My husband doesn't do much without being asked, is even more tired and crabby all the time, and makes my life much more stressful by being miserable to be around and unhelpful. He also thought having a baby would solve everything, and let me tell you, it doesn't. If your DH is like mine, he'll use the baby as a new excuse to be crabby and space out even more. I feel lonelier now than when I was single because even though my DH is there, I can't talk to him and he doesn't participate.

     Trying talking to your DH and going to counselling before leaving or having a baby. And remember that both partners have to contribute to the marriage and stick to the vows. Is he loving, honoring and respecting you? 

     

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