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Dear Debra
Dear Debra, Advice Columnist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1852
Experience:  I have been an Advice columnist for 14 years. My column is published weekly in local newpapers.
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Today the hubby

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Today the hubby is here. I'm not feeling too great, a cold starting. I leave for work in an hour and I'm hoping I can be in my nursery, just me and the babies.

To be honest, I'm starting to think I don't want to be married anymore. Could this be like cold feet on your wedding day? Now that he is showing more interest in saving the marriage, I feel more like I rather not. I don't know where this is coming from. I'm not angry, I'm not upset, I'm still hurt, but I don't think that plays into it much. Today he kept asking me what was wrong. I told him I didn't feel well, but he persisted in asking me. Finally I said (nicely, calmly), I feel like I do better when you aren't here. I know that probably hurt his feelings, and that wasn't my is just the truth. I feel like I deserve more than a pass thru hubby and I don't see him changing...and by that I mean I don't think he will ever put me or the family above his jobs, and I really want a husband!

I guess I will continue to ride the wave and see where things go. So tired and would love to shut my brain off for a day or two.
- This is the roller coaster of emotion I tried to tell you about. Dips, dives, rises and sharp curves ahead.

Hold back on the 'truths' that you know will hurt. Many of those 'truths' that seem so clear to you right now might not be the 'truths' of tomorrow.

When he pushes for more info and you know it would hurt for him to know, say that instead.

And as much as he persists in asking, YOU persist in being gentle.

Neither of you should really be putting vocals to your bruised hearts right now.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
You know, he is so completely concerned with what other people think or say.

I got home from work and his first question was, "what did (your boss) have to say?" She didn't say anything to me. We met in the hall and she gave me a book I needed to borrow for a recertification I have to do next week. She asked me how the roads were since it was snowing. That's it. When I told him that he said he didn't believe it, so I said then don't. Never once did he ask me how my night went. He asked (again) why I was po'd and I said I'm not, I'm tired. He said tell me about it, I'm exhausted. Really? He got to sleep in at mommy's house when I was up at 7a with the kids. I'm just so entirely sick of this, he seems to almost be enjoying the idea that people think he is cheating on me with my other boss. I agree, my heart is bruised...but not my mind. I don't want this competitive, all about him relationship anymore. This is how things have been in our marriage for years, and I'm over it. Maybe I am on the roller coaster still, but since Tuesday I have really felt nothing but contempt towards him. I'm seeing that maybe the blindside was so sudden and so unexpected that I did what I felt I had to and fought for the status quo. Now that I've not only lived on my own, but have succeeded in making things really good for my kids and I...I am realizing I want more, and I don't think he can provide it to me. I deserve someone who cares more about me than what others might be saying about them. I deserve someone who would never dream about talking to a single female behind my back, not once, but twice.

It is the weekend, so obviously I can't do anything and I really need to sort through my emotions and feelings...however the more I look at things objectively, the more I realize I've grown up a lot during this situation and I think I have grown out of love with my husband. Does that mean it is coming time to cut the ties?
-- Of course right now it looks like it's over, but again, with four children of very young ages, this guy is going to be in your life for at least another couple of decades.

-- It's also very possible that you are out of love. He did a very bad thing and without taking responsibility and being determined to make amends the relationship cannot mend or thrive.

You are finding strength you never knew you had and it's understandable that you're anxious to rush ahead.

I'm just encouraging you to be 'kind'. Telling truths that hurt accomplishes nothing but ill will. Keeping in mind the future that you still have to spend raising these children is being wise.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I see what you mean. Thank you. You are, of course, right. I will have to deal with him as long as he lives, but I don't have to keep him as my husband.

How long do I give this before taking action. I'm not in any rush, but I am just wondering how much time do I give to see if the rollercoaster really is over?
-- 3 weeks. Actually it's hard to put a time limit on anything human and especially something like this, but 3 weeks/21 days is about how long it takes to break a habit from a mental/emotional standpoint.

Let yourself ride this out 'til the first of next month to be safe and of course keep up the counseling on your end.

I know this is very hard on you. It hurts a lot and then it seems to not hurt so much. You're exhausted mentally and emotionally, probably physically too. This is a huge stressor and the only thing I can tell you 'for sure' is that you'll get through this.

I'm very proud of you. I've watched you grow stronger and more confident day by day. The best is yet to come
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I can do until the end of the month, in fact, March 31st was the date I had given myself that if nothing had changed by then I would file...sooner if I found a job. Do I still attempt to go to a marriage counselor with him, or can I drop that? I think it was nice of him to say he would consider counseling, but it no longer really solves any of the glaring issues I now see in our marriage. Today they (him and my older 2 kids) leave for my son's state hockey tournament. It is a welcome break, especially since I'm getting another cold.He showed up to pick up my kids, and right away started harassing me. What are you doing (I was playing words with friends on my phone), what is your problem, what do you know or think you know. Is that a guilty conscious or what talking? I'm so tired of this game. I told him that I don't care anymore, that I don't know or think I know anything because I simply don't care. That he and her can ride off into the sunset with whatever convoluted little friendship or whatever they have going on. I wish he would get it and leave me alone. Only talk about the kids...I'm so frustrated. I can't even go to work and enjoy myself because I know when I get home he will be here harassing me about things.
-- The marriage or couple's counselor is a good idea for many reasons. Not the least of which being that you have to be 'parents' and a united front for the kids for many years ahead.

What you want to hear from your kids when they're in their 20's, 30's and having their own children is that "Even though my parents divorced, they respected each other; supported each other and ended up pretty good friends"

THAT should be your mantra. Both of you.

And perhaps the marriage isn't over, but just this one phase of it.

Don't give him permission to push your buttons 'til then. When he starts, turn the tables, ask him why he's so 'po'd' and until he makes peace with himself you would prefer he not involve you.

Excuse yourself to another room; preferably one with a lock - and rest.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I could completely see that working, turning the tables. He wouldn't know what to do. I'm going to try that tomorrow when he asks me (and we know he will).

He called me twice today. At one point in the second call he asked me what my plans were tonight. I quickly changed the subject, and amazingly it worked. I also recall at one point he was talking about what gifts he got got being an assistant coach and after going on and on about it he said something like, well I know you don't care, you don't really care much for me anymore. He said it in a jokey manner, but I didn't respond. The truth is I don't care. I don't even really view him as my husband anymore. He is more that guy who hangs around here when it is convenient for him, and that isn't so bad. Strange how a month ago I would have been in tears over his being that way...actually I WAS in tears over it.

I actually will give marriage counseling a whirl. I just need to find an actual marriage counselor. I am not entirely sure what credentials to look for?

This week he won't be around much, and that is okay by me. He works 24hrs Monday, Wednesday and Friday...then Tuesday he works a PM shift and Thursday he works all day until 5pm. Saturday I'm supposed to work nights, and Sunday I think he is off. This is no different than when our marriage was "stable" and he lived here. Looking at it now, it is no surprise we are where we are today...
-- Expect some heavy duty attempts at manipulation on his part. I am still convinced he does NOT want this divorce and is hoping that you say or do something that reassures him he's still important to you.

-- Just the fact that counseling is now on the table says a lot.

In any event, stay strong, stay determined to be true to yourself and what's right for YOU.

Then keep the wellbeing of the kids uppermost as well. You'll have peace of mind and soul

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I'm just wondering what type of manipulation might occur. I want to be prepared and know how to respond. Also, how do I respond? Right now I'm ambivalent about things, and I really don't want to give false hope and/or false responses. I don't want to game play. However, I'm really tired of my two moods around him being either angry or stoic. I just want to be me!!

Thank you!!
-- Most common manipulation (think high pressure sales people) is guilt and anger.

Somehow trying to make you feel guilty or responsible; or trying to make you feel like you've wasted his time and his efforts

Of course there's always the 'feel sorry for me', poor me road too.

And just as you're entitled to feel what you feel or don't feel, expect the same from him.

Keep in mind (for both of you) that all of this is pretty fresh and what you feel now may not be what you feel ultimately.

Rev.Dr. August Abbott, Clergy
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 7607
Experience: Ordained minister: Counselor (spiritual/life)
Rev.Dr. August Abbott and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
You will be disappointed in me. I just cannot do this any longer. I can't be told what a horrible person I am and how a marriage I thought was fine, not perfect by any means, but was ours, had been "crap for the last 5 years".

This has been going on for the last 3 months. His anger towards me has not dissipated, things get more convoluted each passing day.

Today when I asked him again about therapy, his response was, "I don't see the point." He played me. He realized I was close to ending this limbo through divorce, so he fed me a line.

He is truly enjoying the best of both worlds and tries to pin everything on me. Everything is my fault. He wants to live in the past, which is one thing no one has the power to change. He keeps saying the bigger picture, but won't exactly describe to me what that is. He claims I don't listen, yet I hang on every word he says and analyze it to how can I not be listening?

Then it hit me. The bigger picture that is so isn't just me. It is the whole kit and caboodle. The five of us that reside in MY home. I can't believe I didn't see it before. His constant comments that the kids are fine, that they don't miss him...that is HIM! His acting like a martyr because once in awhile he had to be here with the kids, watch them, help them with homework. He would get attitude from them, very few thank you's and even less validation. He can't handle it. So yes, I'm partly to blame for his unhappiness in the marriage, but to him, so are the kids. The only thing is he can't say that or admit to it without being an utter jerk.

I deserve better, my kids deserve better, and he deserves the lonely, bitter life he is bound to live when the divorce is final.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
He also made fun of the fact that I talk to you. Said if it isn't online, you (meaning me) don't believe it. Such complete crap because you have prevented me from talking to people at work. You have me somewhere I could go to vent and say what I needed. So again with him, I'm damned if I do (talk to my friends) and damned if I don't (talk to you instead).

I just can't do this anymore. He is living the great life while I pick up the pieces. I'm done. I want out. I can't relive the past anymore, he refuses to listen when I try to defend myself or explain my actions. I can't and won't do it anymore. Let him deal with the courts from now on.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

This is the new thread. Sorry about the constant posting. I'm going to accept this question now.

Thank you.
-- I don't blame you for your decision. Just be on guard and very sure that you remain in control of yourself.

That means no saying what you'll regret later; no reacting, no striking out and no 'allowing him' to push buttons.

This is the 'new' you and the one who is in control. Maintain your elegance and style. Carry yourself with dignity and remember that this is what your children will emulate throughout their lives.

And this is what your husband will forever regret losing


Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Am I an idiot? That is a very real question. I will post more in the new thread I started.


Thank you for your continued support, though I'm guessing you feel like you are smashing your head against a brick wall with me.

I have read your very first question and I want to start there in how you feel. You mentioned about your husband not putting his family first over his job. What you need is your husband just to stop and notice that you need him and that him being busy at work is something that when he comes hom needs to be put aside. You both need to put aside some time for each other so that you can reconnect. When you first met it was exciting and new, you were getting to know each other. Now there have been things that you realize is a problem. What you want to do is find each other again, find that spark you had for each other. You have children together and right now that is the most important thing is taking care of your children. What you need from him is to be more involved witht he life you are living. You want him to notice to appreciate you for all you do. What has happened is you got to a point where you have had enough with everything and you would rather instead of dealing with things step aside from the problems and just enjoy your children. But I want you to really look at how you feel about him and if you can reconnect your marriage. If you have anymore questions I am here to answer.
Dear Debra, Advice Columnist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1852
Experience: I have been an Advice columnist for 14 years. My column is published weekly in local newpapers.
Dear Debra and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for your answer. Really. I don't know why the other expert opted out, maybe because she has been thru the wringer with me. The back story to my situation is very complicated. While your advise is extremely reasonable, it really doesn't apply to my situation. First if all my husband moved out of our home into his parents on New Years Eve. There is also a "friendship" with a single female that wa hidden from me and many lies were told on his end.

I accepted your answer because I felt it was very kind of you to jump in and try to help. I really appreciate that. Thank you. I might be back with some new general questions, so keep an eye out for me. Thank you again!
Thank you very much for accepting my answer, I am here to answer any questions you may have. Your husband moved out on New years eve into his parents house. He made the decision to move forward with his life. He had hidden a female friend from you and things all came to the surface about this woman. You are trying to move forward and heal from everything that has happened. I know it is difficult but you have to think about how you feel about everything that has happened and heal from it because otherwise it will not get resolved. Even sitting down with him and telling him exactly how you feel and that you are hurt by his actions. If you wanted to try to work things out with him because you still love and care for him the first step is sitting down together to discuss the future and where you both see your relationship going. It is important for both of you to understand what you both want out of this relationship. You have to ask yourself if trust can be rebuilt for both of you or is it a matter of forgiveness and starting over with each other and forgetting the past. Relationship can be rebuilt and become stronger, but it takes time.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Trust me, we have done this. All our discussions end with arguements. Him saying "Divorce is the only answer" and me saying, "I want to work through this." Lately things have seemed to become worse, but maybe better?? I don't know. It is so beyond complicated that I don't blame anyone for opting out. I don't think he wants a divorce, yet the more time that passes, the more resentful I become and the more I lash out at him. I know I need to stop this, but it is so hard. When he is here I look at him and I think..."I'm not a horrible person, I've never done anything like he has done to me. Why am I not good enough for him to move back home?" Then instead of asking him (because I HAVE and I get silence or the "this is never going to work".) I lash out. I'm mean, I'm nasty and I'm ruining every chance I have to bring us back together.


In the beginning he declined therapy, said he doesn't believe in it. Even my oldest son asked him to get help for his anger, and my husband denied him saying, "I don't need help".

Recently, when I think he realized how serious I was about moving forward and ending the marriage (even though it isn't what I wanted, I'm just falling apart living in this limbo)...he suddenly became more receptive to marriage counseling. Now I'm on the hunt for a licensed marriage therapist, who can hopefully knock down his walls...because he doesn't believe in therapy. However the fact he is willing to go signifies to me one of two things -- and here is where I get scared -- he either doesn't want the divorce and is hoping this will help us, OR he wants the divorce and figures he will do this to pacify me and can then say..."Hey I tried it, it doesn't work". I'm praying it is the first reason. I love this man. I have always loved this man. He was here for me when my mom died, and healed my broken heart and from that moment on I knew I was meant to be with him forever. He has hurt me, but I have hurt him -- and probably in worse ways than a secret friendship. I've belittled him, I've treated him as though he wasn't important to me or our children, I've ignored his basic needs, and I've had unrealistic expectations of him, that when he didn't meet (even though he didn't know what they were)...I literally crapped all over him.


In my defense, he hasn't been the greatest husband AT TIMES. He is a workaholic. Working three plus jobs. An example is this week alone. Sunday he was off, Monday works 24hrs, Tuesday works 4pm-12:30am, Wednesday works 24hrs, Thursday works 8am-5pm, Friday works 24hrs, Saturday he is off however I work 11pm - 730am. Sunday we are both off...however we don't do anything together. I will have to sleep after working nights, and when I get up he will most likely escape to his mom's house (or as he calls it, HOME).


So talking isn't an option right now. He wants to live in the past and throw things at me that I can't change, and I resent him for walking out on me and my four children and leaving me to deal with everything while he runs from job to job and sleeps at mom's without having to really do anything with his kids.


Hopefully we can find a LFMT soon to help us, but I fear we waited too long and maybe now the divide between us is too great. I apologize for my errors, however my actions (the anger I harbor towards him right now) speak much louder and invalidate my apologies.


I'm in therapy by myself, and try to go every week, however it isn't easy with the kids and a husband who no longer lives here and works 90 hours a week.

I think he is afraid of losing you, but is struggling in trying to figure out how to make this work. You have four children together and at times there would be no time for you and him. You both need to reconnect with ech other, but you both have to make the time for each other. Often time life becomes so overwhelming that people forget what is important. What is important is both of you working to get better in this relationship and how you both need to do this is again discuss your wants and needs. Some times relationships get put on hold because life got in the way. I feel you both could work thid out if he is willing to try.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The problem is I don't know if he is willing to try. My husband has never been a "quitter", but in this situation I think he kind of is. I ask him to try, that we can have a better relationship than we ever have, but he says no, no...things will never change. I think he is afraid of living under a microscope and the trust issues we both have are huge. I also think he wants what we have now. Him coming here when he wants, then going "home" (as he calls it) to nap, or do whatever he wants with no restraints of kids and family responsibility. I asked him earlier this week two yes/no questions. 1) Do you still love me, 2) Do you want a divorce? His response: I don't know I'm confused about so much right now I can't answer. I tips him that was his answer. He asked how so. I said to him after 13yrs together and 4 kids, even with all the negative things that have happened in our lives if someone asked me that question I would have said yes, I love him.

Since all of this came to a head back in December our relationship has been on a steady decline. In the beginning we talked, a lot. I even remember him hugging me a few times. Then the talking became less and less, and the touching non-existant. In fact, the last time we hugged was 2/15. It was initiated by me and all I got were a few pats to the back. Right now, we hardly talk at all. Text messages, a few short phone calls...that's about it. Granted this week he basically worked 90 hrs between Monday and today...but he has downtime.

We go Tuesday for our first couples counseling session and I'm completely freaking out. I feel as though my entire life is riding on this, and in someway it probably is. Where do we go if this doesn't work? The courthouse to file? Keep in mind my hubby doesn't believe in this stuff. So I'm fearful he is going just so he can say he went and pacify me that he did try...
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Also, what advice is right...

I read things that say I'm not supposed to say "I love you" or pressure him in any way. I'm not supposed to email or text or call him. I've been doing this course for awhile now and in the beginning it seemed to work. He would call me more, was always asking what I was doing, who I was talking to. Now he never asks. My phone will ding with a text& he won't even comment. He never asks what I did on a day we didn't talk, he hasn't commented about my appearance (I've colored my hair and started wearing makeup...before he would make comments like "why didn't you do that before?" Now stone cold silent.) I'm scared by not telling him how I feel he is doubting things, though on whatever day it was earlier this week I did tell him I loved him (the text I mentioned in the above msg).

I really miss him. As annoying as it was when he was all over me about who I was talking to, who I was texting...this indifference really sucks more.

I do feel this marriage can be saved but I feel there is a lot going on in your husbands mind right now where he feels confused about things in his life. There are times in life where you hit a point where you don't know what you want to do with your life. You come home after working a lot of hours and your tired and all you want to do is relax, but you know that you have to put 100 percent in your marriage, but you feel defeated because you feel no matter what you do, you can't get things right. This is why you have to tell him how you feel because he needs to know that you are here through this confusing time still loving him like the first day you both met. It is important to remember how both of you once felt about each other. Some times life just happens and it leaves no room for each other. You need to both get back to each other and loving each other like you once did when you first were together you need to be reminded what you once felt for each other.

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