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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5192
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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my husband and I have been married 5 years together for 9 have

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my husband and I have been married 5 years together for 9 have 2 beautiful boys but have always struggled. I got pregnant with our first child 2 months after we me and was only 18. we didnt get along through the whole pregnancy but stuck it out. things got better after he was born but only for a few months. my son got rsv and was hospitalized and his father never came to the hospital. I was scared and alone and I hated him for leaving me that way. tjings were up and down from there 4 years into the relationship I decided we should marry as we had a house and a child and that maybe that is what he needed to feel better. he never proposed I bought my own ring and planned the wedding and basically said I hope you show up. he did. 6 months after our wedding we were fighting terrible we separated and Ihad an affair. he was ddevastated and we decided to try to work things out. I was upfront and honest about the affair and let him decide if he still wished to continue. he said he did a month later I discovered I was pregnant with our second child.we were shocked but excited this time. throughout the pregnancy things declined he never attended any doctors appointments or really showed any interest. I got very sick my third trimester and our son was born 5 weeks premature. he spent 20 days in the nicu in which I had to bounce back and forth between the hospital and home every day to see both children. I was heartbroken. he hardly came to the hospital and when he did it was short he didnt seem to connect. finally we got to go home and things frew worse with the stresses of a newborn. we seem to go in cycles we fight then he tries for a few weeks thibgs gwt better then he stops trying. I give it time and then get frustrated and we fight again. he is a very needy person and but never gives in return. I am at a loss on how to save this marriage that seemed doomed from the beginning. i have not been happy in years and its not fair to me or to my children to have to suffer with unhappiness. he is not very present with the kids as far as he will watch tv with them but not engage in an activity with them. was there ever anything but attraction to begin with?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

DoctorZ :

Hello I believe I can help you with your concern

DoctorZ :

I am so sorry that you have been experiencing this behavior and lack of connection, compassion, and love from your husband, I can imagine how distressful and hurtful this must make you feel

DoctorZ :

You mentioned trying conversations with him, love languages, positive affirmation,and other things, how has he responded to those? Does he usually dismiss your concerns as he is pretty indifferent, or does he start an argument when you try to bring up issues?

Customer:

it is tearing me apart. I never want to give up on him bit he doesn't seem committed to change

DoctorZ :

I agree, he really does not seem committed to you or your children and this has been going on for a very long time from what you are telling me

Customer:

he always tries when I get completely stressed out and irritated but then stops trying when I confront it again all I get is excuses he is tired or lacks self confidence. his older brother has a mental disability so he was.homeschooled with limited interaction and didn't receive much attention fromhis parents growing up

Customer:

when he found out I was pregnant the first time he was awful told everyone I did it on purpose to trap him as I was 18 and he was 25

DoctorZ :

it sounds like he is unhappy in your marriage, but is not communicating this to you and being proactive to help change the relationship for the better. Do you think he would be willing to go to couples therapy to help him learn how to better communicate what he is thinking and feeling to you and to help him also understand your feelings and why his behavior is tearing you a part?

DoctorZ :

By saying that, he is showing other people that he does not have a lot of respect for you and this is considered emotional abuse in many respects

Customer:

he says he is but never acts on it. he doesn't see things from my point of years of broken promises and lack of affection and support. so to him I overexaggerate everything. any time I talk about counseling he gets defensive and says I just want someone to tell him everything is his fault and says he lacks the confidence to believe he can change things for the better.

Customer:

believe me I was scared to death yo be a parent at 18 but I stuck by him hoping that holding this child in his arms would change his mind that I ruined his life

DoctorZ :

Well in that case what about if you both go to counseling separately, where he can work on his issues of self-confidence and you can talk with someone to help you deal with his behavior better. A therapist may be able to give him a different perspective on his behavior and help him communicate better with you.

DoctorZ :

I understand at 18 to have a child can be quite scary, but you did it and I am sure you are a great mother, but this does not mean that you have to be the only parent and spouse in the relationship because your husband is absent emotionally from the relationship

Customer:

I dont know how to make him see how serious I am. iI have openly talked about divirce and being unhappy and he gets depressed but no action. every time I suggest he get couseling he says he has no time as we commute to work so we leave at 630 in the morning and get home around 7. I think he is afraid to learn about himself because he always sets himself up to fail and I pick up the pieces

Customer:

I feel like a mother of 3 not a wife

DoctorZ :

He is definitely making excuses, if he really wants this relationship to succeed he will make the effort. So may I ask you a blunt question, why do you want to continue with this relationship when it appears you have made a lot of effort but your husband has not made any?

Customer:

I am by no means perfect I have been unfaithful to him but it is hard to be with some you have no connection or communication with

Customer:

I have never met my father. lived my whole life with step dad and I amm worried for my children. honestly the only reason I stayed to begin with. and I am afraid of his reaction to being alone as he bottles up everytr and doesn't communicate with anyone.

DoctorZ :

I understand that having an affair was a mistake, but you are in a marriage that provided you with no love and someone else gave that to you and you welcomed that feeling of being loved and wanted.

DoctorZ :

Being worried for your children is admirable, but you also have to look out for yourself as well and if you are unhappy then that can cause a depression that will impact your ability to be a mother. In addition the arguments that you and your husband have probably does not help raising your children either.

Customer:

I am depressed on medication for it as well

Customer:

he is a wonderful person and a great dad when he. chooses to be present but I have to fight him to get him to s

DoctorZ :

You mentioned being separated for short periods of time, how long were those times?

Customer:

spend time with the kids. he resents his parents for the love he wasn't shown but acts the same to his own children

Customer:

the longest was a month. we lived in the same house but were not home at the same times and slept in seperate rooms

DoctorZ :

And what made you get back together after the separation?

Customer:

he was super depressed and it broke my heart listening to him cry in the other room every night. I felt that I was too hard on him.

Customer:

so I gave in and askes if he wanted to try to work it put

DoctorZ :

You are a very compassionate person. I do not think your husband will change his behavior for the long term unless he gets counseling, possibly couples counseling would be best. A father should never be pushed to play with his children like you have to do to him and a husband should never be dismissive of his wife like he does.

DoctorZ :

I think possibly a longer trial separation may be better, like around 6 months, to see if he shows in his actions for a long period of time that he has changed and that if he will go to therapy during that separation to work on the relationship, not to blame one person over the other, but to work on the relationship together

Customer:

he even told me not long ago if I hadnt bought my own ring we still wouldnt be married because he lacked the confidence to ask me. I dont know that I honestly ever loved him I always tried to do what I thought was the "right thing" now I feel like I just pitied him

Customer:

how can I feel so bad when I have been hurt so much

DoctorZ :

I think you did pity him in a way and you were in love with the man he was, but I do not believe that he is that same man anymore. His low self-confidence that he says he has is used an excuse for his behavior. If he wanted to gain self-confidence and be a better husband/father then he should be adamant about going to therapy

DoctorZ :

I think you feel bad because you do not like to hurt other people and you know he will be hurt when you ask him for a trial separation or a divorce. Also you mentioned that you never knew your father growing up and that is something you do not want for your children too.

Customer:

how do I explain it to my kids. I dont want to speak ill of him or put him in a negative light to them

DoctorZ :

Well you can explain you and your husband still love your children very much and that they were not at fault for any of this, but that you and your husband grew a part and think it would be best for the family is you and your husband go your separate ways, but that both of you will still be in your children's lives very much

Customer:

should I move out?

DoctorZ :

I think moving out would be best, XXXXX XXXXX can either be you or him that moves out, but it will give you both a since of independence and freedom and to really ponder the relationship

Customer:

what about joint finances?

Customer:

I run everything

DoctorZ :

You both can share finances during the separation like you normally would, but cannot have any big expenses obviously unless it is necessary and if both of you are involved with that decision. The trial separation is meant to give you a feeling of what a divorce is like and if your life is better or worse with this trial separation and to help your husband understand the seriousness of your feelings and pain that you are going through

Customer:

I dont even know where to begin all I can do right now is cry

DoctorZ :

I am sorry, I understand that this is a tough time for you right now and it will not be easy, but I think this is best for you and for your children.

Customer:

its like I knew the answer all along but hoped I was wrong.

Customer:

that maybe I could do something different or missed the big picture. but I am enablung aren't I?

DoctorZ :

I know, I think you knew the answer too. I do believe that your husband has a chance to redeem himself, but it will take a lot of effort on his part and he has to go to counseling in order to help himself. Also you cannot pity him when he cries, he has to prove to you that he has changed by his actions

DoctorZ :

I think you are enabling him to a degree, but I also think he is so despondent and unhappy that he is indifferent to the situation and needs to this as a wake up call to get help for himself and for the relationship

Customer:

he has no where to go. I do. do I take kids with me or leave them home where they are comfortable and just take my time with them?

DoctorZ :

It sounds like you are the primary caregiver for the children, so I would take the children with you if you can. I know it would be more difficult for the children to leave their home, but I think you are more responsible when it comes to the children by what you have been telling me

Customer:

I am I guess I just worry once again that all of us would be too drastic of a change for him and am worried how bad his depression could get

DoctorZ :

Well you can talk to him about it first and say that if he goes to couples counseling with you, you will not necessarily leave if that is a compromise that will work for you, but it he does not agree to that then you should move out

Customer:

I dont want to leave but at the same time I dont think he will ever understand and severity it I dont

DoctorZ :

That is my thinking too, which is why I think a trial separation is for the best

Customer:

what is the best way to approach it with family and friends? his mom already hates me and I know will blame me

DoctorZ :

Just emphasize that this is temporary for now, but that both of you were unhappy, both of you were arguing a lot, and that both of you feel this is best to see if the relationship should continue. This is a way to show that no one person is at fault and that both are to blame because a marriage is a partnership

DoctorZ :

That should ease the impact the family and friends will have over this news

Customer:

should I go right away like after talking to him

Customer:

what do I say to him?

DoctorZ :

Well talk to him and listen to him first, keep an open mind and then plan a good transition for moving out if that is what you decide. This transition period can allow for both of you to talk to you children and put them at ease

DoctorZ :

You can say what you have been saying that you are unhappy and that he has been absent from the marriage and is not seeking help, so you would like to try a trial separation to see how it works out for the both of you

Customer:

my mom lives just accross the alley so like at first only leaving after they are in bed then slowly bring them with?

DoctorZ :

Also you should encourage him to seek therapy, possibly couples counseling with you once a week if he wishes to help save the relationship

DoctorZ :

That sounds like a good plan

Customer:

what about communication between us. is it best to not communicate much aside from finance things and kids or should we talk regularly

DoctorZ :

I would refrain from talking for at least 1 month, unless it is about finances and your children, unless he agrees to go to counseling then you can talk during counseling. After that month you can talk and see if he has changed or what has been thinking about for the last month.

Customer:

should we still eat dinner with kids or anything?

DoctorZ :

I think you can have special occasions of going out with the children, but do not sit next to each other

Customer:

I know he will be upset and try to get me to come home. how do I keep firm

DoctorZ :

Well seeing a counselor on a regular basis will help you keep an objective opinion on the matter. But you cannot pity him and you cannot cling to hope, you have to remember the bad times and how unhappy you were. Then if he keeps pushing you to come home, write down in the journal tangible evidence to support you going home and against going home. Most likely you will have more evidence of not going home and the things you put in the support of going home will be words he said like "I promise to change," not actions. Remember you need to see actions

Customer:

I know. that is my biggest downfall is I always give him the benefit of the doubt because I want to believe that he really will change every timw he says it

DoctorZ :

This is why seeing a therapist will give you an objective opinion and bring you back to reality on this issue.

DoctorZ :

Did you have any other questions or concerns?

Customer:

would it be best to seek individual counseling first to work on our own issues before going to a marriage counselor?

DoctorZ :

That is a matter of opinion, while an individual counselor is good and helps you both work on your individual process, how would you know he is doing better unless you see the progress and witness it, that is the downfall with individual counseling in marriages

Customer:

so at the same time

Customer:

individual and marriage

DoctorZ :

That would be the best option, but some couples may not be able to have that kind of time or finances, so it is up to both of you. But individual therapy or couples therapy is better than nothing

DoctorZ :

Would you like me to look for therapists around your area for you?

DoctorZ :

Is there anything else I can do to help you tonight?

Customer:

my chat session kicked me out

DoctorZ :

Really, that is unfortunate. I am sorry you were experiencing that technical difficulty

Customer:

I just wanted to say thank you for everything hard answer to hear but definitely what I needed

DoctorZ :

Anytime, I am always happy to help

Customer:

have a good night

DoctorZ :

If you have any other questions or concerns, you can ask for me at anytime

Customer:

thank you

DoctorZ :

You have a good night as well and best wishes to you and your family

DoctorZ :

I hope I provided you with excellent service tonight

Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5192
Experience: Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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