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Angela
Angela, Counselor
Category: Relationship
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Experience:  n/a
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My husband (of 30 yrs.) and I have been having major problems

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My husband (of 30 yrs.) and I have been having major problems for the past 2 yrs. I finally reached the point where I felt I couldn't trust/talk to/believe in him anymore. I was ready to leave/He decided to change. Since he is now "behaving", he feels I should simply forgive and forget. (As he has always expected me to do.) I don't have any difficulty forgiving someone for "running over my foot with a bicycle" (so to speak), but I am finding it very difficult getting past his "running me down with the car" (not literally). I recently gave him Dr. Laura's, "10 Stupid Things Men Do...." in the hopes he can help me understand what's been going on with him/us. He hasn't been unfaithful, to my knowledge, but I can't rule it out either. He has (from time to time) been very critical, demeaning, selfish, uncaring, and intentionally(?) hurtful (not physically). He knows his mouth has been a large part of the problem. I just want to know "why"; he says there is no "why". What do I do?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Angela replied 4 years ago.
Hello my name is Angela.
I am more than happy to assist you with your questions by giving you my honest and respectful opinion.

Long term relationships can sometimes change people for the worse. In this case with your husband being critical, demeaning, selfish, etc. He definitely has a comfort level with the 30 years that you have been married which could be why he is acting this way. Since previously you were ready to leave and then he changed, I would suggest presenting him with the option of going back to counseling to work on these issues. His answer to you " there is no why" is not sufficient and he is using the answer as a way to justify him continuing to treat you in this manner which is not acceptable because you deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Therefore, you could convey to him the urgency of this situation and tell him that you want both of you to go back to counseling again and to continue the counseling sessions until you both work through these issues.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
For Angela..He no longer treats me badly..at least not in the past 2+ yrs. He's very easy to get along with now, almost too easy; but, our marriage feels empty. Is it possible for a person(him) to all of a sudden "get it" and be a changed person? (I'm very doubtful as to that.) What do you mean - "comfort level" with the 30 years? Why would 30 yrs. make him act this way? Thanks so much.
Expert:  Angela replied 4 years ago.
It is possible for him to change and to suddenly understand the things that you have been telling him over the years, however, I don't know if this is the case with him since I do not know him. Comfort level refers to any long term relationship in which the individuals involved get very comfortable with their mate and as a result they can sometimes take them for granted or no longer give as much toward the relationship as they did when they first began to date and etc. I think that he acts the way that he does due to the comfort level he has in your long term relationship. Click here to read further about this. Also, I am glad that he has not been treating you badly for the past 2 years and on.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

For Angela... As I mentioned earlier, he's been reading this book I gave him. A few days ago, he told me (rather emotionally) that he identifies with the section on "Stupid Machismo" more than anything else he has read so far. Also, some time ago, during one of our many discussion/arguments, he stated that he "didn't know how to treat me before..." In general, he has been a good husband... responsible, caring, devoted to family, loving. But, for reasons unknown to me, he could be "out of character" - hurtful, selfish...and unwilling/unable(?) to communicate. This behavior worsened over the last several years to the point I was ready to leave. Now...in your first response, you mentioned "comfort level...30 yrs....acting this way". I can imagine that getting older has been just as trying (maybe more so?) for him (and his ego) as it has been for me. Could it simply be a matter of his male ego colliding with his age? Is it possible that he really is the "great guy" I used to believe he was, and not the "ogre/jerk" he seemed to become? (He has told me, "you just don't know me... I am that guy you used to think I was.") What are your thoughts on this?

Expert:  Angela replied 4 years ago.
Yes it could simply be his ego and his age. Especially, since everyone has an ego and we have to wrestle with it from time to time in order to keep it in line. Also, I think that he is moving in the right direction by first being open to read the book you gave him and actually doing it....that is great. Also, he is now sharing with you and taking some responsibility for his actions by telling you the section that he identified with. Also, you mentioned for the past 2 plus years he has been really nice and etc., which is also good. Continue to discuss the book with him and to get his thoughts about the sections that he identifies with.
Angela, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 681
Experience: n/a
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