Need advice WARNING: very long
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Going anon on this for now, I may reveal myself later. Not even sure about going Anon now.
Background: Married 14 years, together for 18, 3 teenage children.
Over the course of the last few months my husband and I have drifted apart. It's not something I am happy about or with. And I'm not even sure how it happened, it just sort of did. In that time I grown closer to my friends, male and female. We've started chatting either daily, or almost daily. About a week ago my husband broke down crying and told me that he felt neglected. He was sure that I was in love with one of the friends that I have been chatting with. He also told me that he felt jealous because I spent so much time online. In an effort to appease him and work on our marriage I have stopped going online at all when he is at home, and stopped chatting with my friends as well. I've spent every moment that he is home this last week with him. Every minute trying to make him feel better and reassure him that I wasn't having an affair of any sort. He says that he knows I wouldn't cheat on him as far as a sexual affair. But he thinks I was having an "affair of the heart". In one way, I understand where he is coming from. When he started spending more time doing his own thing (hunting, chatting with his brother and sister, playing games,etc) I started talking to my friends more and more. They became my support, kept me going through the drudgery of daily life. But it wasn't only one friend that I talked to, it was all of them.
My husband has some very old fashioned ideas about men and women, and some I have no idea where he gets them from. He doesn't believe it is possible for a man and woman to simply be friends. Three of the people that I talked to almost daily were men. And so I must have had something going with at least one of them.
At first he started listening in on my conversations, reading my conversations online, and reading my emails etc. Everything I did he wanted to read it/be a part of it. I tried to be patient with this, but it really irked me. Why should I have to prove myself after 18 years of marriage? Really ticks me off. But I dealt with it, hoping that it would help his insecurities. It didn't, every time one of my male friends would say something he'd read more into it than was there. If they said, "I miss you" he'd go off. So he asked me to stay offline completely when he was home. And I have done that. But I am tired of giving up my friends, who have carried me through some rough times, just to make him happy. It's making me a little angry. And I don't want to be angry or resentful of him. When I try to talk to him about this all he hears is that I don't want him or don't love him, which isn't right or true. He's fine with me talking with my female friends, just not the male friends. And for whatever reasons the male friends are some of my best friends. My stomach is in knots typing this up.
He keeps asking "are we going to make it through this" Which honestly right now I wish he'd just stop asking me that. If I said no, he'd concentrate on that answer and not work on our relationship. If I say I don't know he'll freak out and ask why I don't want to be with him. If I say yes, he latches onto it like a lifeline.. and I feel bad because so far, nothing has changed for me, you know? It's hard for me, I spend my days waffling between smiles and tears. I didn't realize how much I'd missed my husband. Since we've been trying to reconnect, when he isn't being weepy (which for some reason is getting on my nerves) I'm loving it. He actually took me around and introduced me at work today. Something he hasn't done in a long time. I was thinking he was ashamed of me. So, I am enjoying some of our time together. And I really want us to work this out. I just feel like I am the one giving up everything. I give up my male friends, my time online, my privacy because he wants to read/see/know EVERYTHING I do .. and he gives up.. what? So far nothing. And these thoughts keep tripping through my mind. How do you know that it is over? That you are finished? Is there some defining moment you look for? Or do you just keep going until you can't go anymore? I don't know how you'd decide something like that. I just want a time machine, I wan't to go back to a simpler time. When I knew he loved me and he knew I loved him and I didn't have to prove anything.
Honestly, I am not sure what you are asking. Towards the top it sounds like DH had an issue out of the blue for no reason. Yet then you ask "How do you know when it is over?". Were you not having these thoughts before he decided he didn't like you being friends with other males?
Bumping you to the top, maybe I am just tired and missing something.
my advice would be to initiate a conversation with your husband every single time you feel the need to chat with one of your male friends.
Yeah, call me old-fashioned too, but I don't think it is wise to have male friendships once you are married. I have always had good guy friends all through high school and college. Those relationships were purely platonic too. However, I think the rules change a bit once you are married. I still have male friends, but they are mutual friends that DH and I share. I would never just call up a male friend or send emails back and forth without DH knowing about it and probably being there. It's just playing with fire.
As for your comment, "Why should I have to prove myself after 18 years of marriage?"...because affairs can happen at anytime. Just because you have been married a long time doesn't mean you are immune. You said that you are enjoying a renewed relationships with your DH. Focus on that and enjoy it right now.
Well, first I would try to look at things through his point of view. Your relationship is falling further and further apart, but yet you want to be friends with other males. Quite honestly, I would have a HUGE problem with dh doing the things you are doing. Instead of turning to the other men, you should be turning to dh and talking to HIM about the things you are sharing with them. He is feeling threatened and I honestly can't say I blame him. I would feel that way too. You say three of the people that you talked to daily were men friends. I don't even talk to three female friends most days. It sound to me like he wants to work on things.... what if it were you that really wanted to work on things and he was turning to other women to talk to instead of you?
I agree. I had more guy friends than girls when I met my hubby. I understood that it wasn't right to continue seeing the guys when I commited to my hubby. I certainly wouldn't want him to be hanging out with a bunch of women.
If talking online or chatting is taking away from your relationship. You must put your relationship first.
Try not to look at it as giving up something. Maybe you can look at it as reinventing your marriage.
Another old fashioned one here. I don't have male friends. I do have some mutual friends with my husband, that if I were to really need a man for something and hubby was out of town I could call. But it would be really awkward I think.
Men need to think they are everything for you. It is hard wired for them to want to think they can provide all you need.
You ask what is he giving up. Honestly, ask him. I think it is okay to say, I have really worked hard on changing my side of things for us to reconnect. What do you feel like you have had to change? You might be suprised.
I think we have to constantly be on guard with our relationships. Especially after 18 years. It is so easy to take one another forgranted. And really if you don't "need" your hubby, then you have to figure out that you "want" him.
I will say our stats are pretty similar (my kids are a bit younger though). My hubby has been going through a hard time at work, and I am a stay at home mom. He has been quite difficult lately, but I think it stems from being jealous. Work is tough and he would rather be here. So I have had to humour him a bit more. So I wonder if you husband is going through something at work that is stressing him and since he can't really control that, he is reaching out to the relationship that has fallen a bit by the way side. It certainly would be nicer if men could reach out to change a relationship by improving their qualities (ooh baby mop my floor..lol), but very rarely have I seen that in action. Mostly they say I need, can you please do this.
Oh and you ask how you know it is over. I think it goes both ways. However divorce is not really an option for me. So I wouldn't choose it over just getting tired of all this. So the single offense is more likely, but I would like to think we would try to figure it all out. But life happens and we can only control so much.
Ok, so I am like to polar opposite of old fashioned, and I am also a person who generally has more male friends than female. All of my closest friends are male. BUT... when I was married, most of my friends were couples, and I didn't really talk to single guys unless it was with my husband. It is just not the natural flow of things. Now, my very best friend is a guy, and if I got married again, that wouldn't change, but my husband would have known from the time we started dating that this was the case, and it also doesn't hurt that my best friend lives in another state. So, if you just started talking to these guys more since you have been having problems in your marriage, it's probably not a good idea. I would feel very upset if I were in your husband's shoes. That's not to say you should cut off all your friends completely, just focus on female friendships, and start talking to your husband more. Things can snowball quickly when you are unhappy and there is a strong shoulder to lean on, attached to a single, attractive man. And even if it doesn't get physical, an emotional affair is a VERY big deal, especially for a woman, because we are emotional people. Men can have sexual affairs and not give a hoot about the other woman, only the physical act. KWIM? And my ex-husband ended up talking to a woman he went to HS with, she was also married, and I found IMs of him telling her he loved her all this time, he was so glad they were back in contact, and that one day he hoped they would be together again. He never touched her, she lived 2 states away, but you'll notice he is my EX-husband, and that is one of the reasons.
Ditto to most of you. I had tons of male friends before getting married, but then we all went our separate ways as life progressed. As far as a confidant or best friend, I don't see how that could be an outside male once you're married. I certainly wouldn't like it if DH had good female friends he talked to all the time, and vice versa.
Keep enjoying the time you're now sharing with your DH. It really just takes 2 people who are committed to making things better, and it's one step at a time. I do believe that your spouse should be your best friend, your biggest fan, and your #1 go-to guy/gal.
My hubby and I went through a rough patch (to say the least) a few years ago ..... without getting into too much detail, I'll tell you the bottom line for us .... divorce wasn't an option. I was married before (and divorced) no kids with that husband, so it's not like I'm not anti-divorce .... sometimes it's the only option, but not always.
It sounds like you do enjoy being with your hubby at times .... it also sounds like you guys could maybe use a counselor .... we had one who helped us out a LOT ..... just gives you a time and a place to work on some things .... another biggie ...... SPEND TIME TOGETHER ! Now, I can't say that my hubby and I do that, it's one of those things that gets lost in between helping out with homework, job, and sleep ..... but everytime hubby and I make the time for each other, I never regret the effort (huge effort trying to get somebody to drive an hour to watch your munchkins so you can go out on a date !) but I NEVER regret, and afterwards, I feel the reconnection .....
So, what I'm saying, is that it sounds like you still like being with your hubby, not even going to ask about love, I'm assuming that's still there also .... when it's over you KNOW it's over, as long as you're asking "how do you know", there's still a chance.
Good luck and many prayers hon !