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Should this marriage be saved?
March 5, 2007
3:56 pm
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lost_intime
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I've been married for just a little over two years, we both just returned from Iraq (only a few months over there and we were together) and I have to leave again soon...I feel emotionally disconnected from him, I love him, but I am not IN LOVE with him...we don't have conversations any more, I've been going through medical issues and he acts like they don't even matter...
I've been talking to a friend a lot and I don't have romantic feelings, but I know I can...but I can't bring myself to go there...
I've told my husband several times that we need help...that I am trying sooo hard and I need him to try too...still no changes...
I don't feel important enough to him...I have no one to talk to....please help

March 5, 2007
4:03 pm
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Shaney
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First of all, thank you for your service - it means a lot to me and I wish the best for you and your family.

Sorry you're going through such a rough time. I can only imagine how confusing these times are for you and your husband.

"...I feel emotionally disconnected from him, I love him, but I am not IN LOVE with him..."

So you think that there is a possibility that he could be feeling the same way? That could explain the disconnectedness you're feeling. How much have you two communicated about your truw feelings? The reason that I'm asking, is that there's no time like the present - especially in light of your return to Iraq in the near future.

March 5, 2007
4:10 pm
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lost_intime
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My husband doesn't seem to think I am serious. I mean we've definitely had our problems...to the point where we were in court for a physical altercation at one point and I thought we would fall apart after that...but the truth is I don't think we ever forgave eachother.
I just realized that I am a co-dependent person...I never realized it before...but it fits me perfectly.
I don't know how he feels...he is one of those people who...well, to be honest, I joke with him and say that he is "Brady bunch material" because everything, according to him, is perfect. He agrees with everything I say, he buys me incredible gifts...but there is no substance anymore, no real conversation, we can talk for hours and hours, much less over dinner...I feel empty with him.

March 5, 2007
4:30 pm
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Shaney
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Do you feel empty because of the substance that he seems to lack in in his conversations with you? If not, can you identify exactly why you feel empty with him? If you told him exactly how you felt, and he responded with true understanding, while validating all of your feelings, would your feelings for him improve? The fact that you have someone else that you're confiding in, may be just another road block when it comes to your feelings for him. We seem to be willing to give up more easily, when our emotional needs are being taken care of somewhere else. Just a thought.

In our relationships, both parties usually KNOW when things are not perfect. And the person who tries the hardest to pretend that things ARE perfect, is the one who is hiding the most feelings. You owe it to yourself and the relationship to get to the bottom of these feelings. If you get there, and you still feel empty with him, then you may need to move on.

March 5, 2007
4:37 pm
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revelation
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I believe any marriage can be saved if both are willing to put much as much effort into it. A marriage can't possibly be saved by one partner...it will take both of you to work this out.

March 5, 2007
4:41 pm
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risingfromtheashes
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there could be alot of explanations for the disconnected feeling.

perhaps since you are leaving again, he feels like he has to guard his heart to handle the leave.

serving jointly in the military and a war has to be one of the biggest stresses a relationship could endure. I also extend my gratitude to both of you for serving for our country.

How long did you guys live together as husband and wife before going overseas?

Would your husband consider counseling? I would imagine the military has counselors who are accustomed to the stress you are under and can help you get to the bottom of things.

I also agree with shaney...if you are confiding in another person outside the marriage, it can hurt your partner and the relationship...even if they don't seem supportive, it can be seen as hurtful that you are no longer communicating with him.

sometimes it's easier to pretend that things are good, than face the reality that things are going sour...it's called DENIAL...and perhaps he feels lost knowing you are going back overseas, or that he can't fix your health problems...guys are funny like that...if they feel helpless, they sometimes withdraw, instead of drawing closer. Where women tend to draw closer. I am sure part of that is the male macho ego...where they feel less of a man for not fixing things...and yet women don't mind admitting they need help dealing with something.

anyway...I'm rambling....there's alot of "possibilities"....but until you both open up to eachother, it's hard to know what's wrong or missing.

another question....did you have the meaningful conversations and such BEFORE you went overseas? Has he changed since being back or was he always this way?

perhaps he is codependent as well...the always agreeing and buying gifts and always thinking things are perfect (denial) is a very big part of codependency...and if he is codependent, perhaps the idea of you going overseas is bothering him too.

Did your marriage have substance prior to all this?

Sometimes after a long absence, you have had time to think...and realize things aren't what they appear when you got married....other times, things change....the question is figuring out if you are just now seeing the reality of your marriage, or if things are different...and if they are different, where/when did it change?

March 5, 2007
4:58 pm
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lost_intime
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We only dated for about 8 months before we got married - I guess I regret that a lot...seems to be an occupational hazard of the military. We had substance - we could talk about anything and everything, I enjoyed talking to him...we could pray together, enjoy eachother...and we got married and it was like that for a little while, but shortly after the marriage - the fighting began. In fact, we argued the day we got married! We eloped and had a wedding later, and I felt so pressured about the wedding that it wasn't at all what I wanted. He's the sweetest man I know...
I think we both changed after we came home from Iraq - I have been to Iraq twice and he has been once...and I know that I have definitely changed.
I just don't know...the friend that I have been talking to does not help...I mean HE does (first mistake...I let myself talk to the opposite sex about my marriage...something I always said I wouldn't do...I don't agree with it.) but he helps...and we talk too much and I enjoy it too much and I think that its hurting my marriage as well...so that has stopped...but the problems haven't gone away. I still feel alone...and I'm married! how does this happen...

March 5, 2007
5:15 pm
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taj64
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I still feel like there is love here between you and your husband. It is jsut hidden. But if you start connecting with someone else on a level the way you should be with your husband you could be heading down the wrong path. You might want to concentrate fully on the effort to heal the marriage and think that sometimes in marriage it is rough patch and think along the lines that you will get through it and that really your love just needs to be rekindled and might be different but also could be better. Nothing ever stays teh same but yet love can grow differently. IT sounds to me as if you were pretty much typical of people that meet and fall in love and of course everything is great in the beginning because you at the beginning stages and isn't it good and blissful? It is what come after that you need to be prepared for and 8 months is still a bit too premature to be married. You don't know each other as well as you might want to because you overlook so manyt hings. But here it is, and I do think you can make it better and you have to try first before you give up. Don't look at the arms of another man. That is very deceiving. Then the focused gets shift on that relationship. It is going to take compromise and communication so tell your husband all your feelings. You might be surprised. It will all rolls into place if both of you let it. Take a chance and if is still doesn't work then think about other options. I would want to give it my all before throwing in the towel. Change is good, change is inevitable no matter how you look at it. Hang in there.

March 5, 2007
5:49 pm
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bonni
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Lostintime,
my husband has been back from Iraq for 18 months. Our marriage still suffers. We were married for 12 years before he left and have two children. That disconnect is something i've seen in him. He's in the guard and it used to happen every drill weekend. he switches back and forth more easily now, but when he went to Iraq, it was different, more pressure and more need to disconnect from the part of him that I loved, the gentle, loving man. I was in denial about the soldier side of him.

You are both going through alot. You are facing return to a difficult situation and the future of your marriage is uncertain. If it were me, I would sit down with my husband and work together through to the decision. In my case, we have children and he wants to stay in the marriage. It really doesn't matter what I want anymore, since I can't have that, you can't go back, only forward. What we've lost, what you've lost is gone and we have to keep moving and make the best of it. The question you and your husband have to ask is whether you want to make the best of it together or not. Also, now is not a great time to rush into anything drastic.

good luck with everything,
bonni

March 5, 2007
6:30 pm
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I just read an article about an interview with 3 Iraqi soldiers and WHY they are in the military. Essentially, nothing is going well in their country and they have no choice. Half the time they don't even get paid.

As well as our government provides for our servicemen and women, it HAS to be as disconcerting and upsetting for them as well. Surrounded by bombings and fear and isolated from the normal lives they had back home. There are acts of war that are so sickeningly traumatic.

Bonni, do you feel you understand what those things are that you say are lost in the past of your relationship? I wish you could put names on those things. I am guessing "innocence" and "trust", but I may not be following your thoughts.

Lost in time, is it that you cannot talk about the essential things or that you do not feel the same way about anything anymore? Please can you talk about what "things" are not communicated anymore?

There are times when my H and I seem to avoid arguments by discussing pretty mundane things for a while like groceries and laundry.....till I want to scream 🙂 I realize he needs a breather. We cannot always be deep and serious and it is important to give each other space. He cannot willnot talk about stuff when I am angry or accusing him. STYLE of communication is something we have always struggled with.

What I'm stumbling around trying to say here (I think) is that "disconnecting" emotionally from your loved ones isn't necessarily exclusive to the war experience. It seems like the same trait lies in wanting to watch alot of TV, or getting addicted to anything so as to run away from the really painful stuff you don't want to deal with.

My advice is to look a little deeper, because the man you see right now may be looking all tarnished now that you know him better, but the stuff you saw in the first place is still there and you can still find it and encourage it to come back. (Oh yeah, that was specific!!)

March 5, 2007
7:07 pm
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Tiger Trainer
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lostint time,
thank you both for your service. It's seems to me that your experiences in Iraq may take some time to digest for both of you. Take some time to recover from that and get to know your loved one again.

March 6, 2007
6:21 am
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bonni
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lost: trust in my husband to be there when I needed him. the belief that I was worthy of love.

bonni

March 6, 2007
2:23 pm
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lost_intime
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My husband and I can't even have a conversation about what happened that day much less about our marriage - most times he is disconnected because he wants to veg out or something and others I am working alot, or things just happen to where we can't see eachother, and the chances we do get...he makes plans for himself or calls me and tells me that I have to come to the movie theater at 4:15 or something...it's just not working for me.
I am not sure when I have to go back - all I know is that it is soon...I think Iraq affected me more than it did him (his job never left the base)and he just doesn't even want to understand the fact that I HAVE to go back...I don't have a choice, and believe it or not, I want to - I have to remind myself of that sometimes, but I feel that it is something I need to do...if you could only see the little Iraqi Children smile...they are wonderful people and not everyone hates us..I really disagree with the news these days...nothing positive.
I guess I could have mentioned - I've struggled with depression off and on for a few years...I can't talk to my husband about that...he even says he doesn't understand, the conversation ends up being this big long "what? I don't understand, explain that to me? why?" and I get frustrated because I just want him to listen and he can't even do that. he doesn't get it. I've lost siblings and parents and he acts like its nothing and he loses one family member and it's the end of the world and I have to drop everything...it's just such a large combination of things...
I think we've built up so much against eachother, lied so much to eachother...I wonder it if is too late...

March 6, 2007
2:31 pm
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Shaney
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Do you really really want to save this marriage? Because when I read you posts, it seems that you may have already made up your mind that it's not going to work. You've given many reasons why it won't work, but not many reasons why you want to stay. Be really sure what you REALLY want before making any moves. You've been given lots of great advice here. Try to be honest with yourself - and then your husband.

March 6, 2007
4:31 pm
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Hej bonni, you sound so sad for the things you say are lost. I'm so sorry.

But trust can be rebuilt.

Both of you are changing.

And you are so precious the idea that you're not worthy, well.......I think if you know how to love unconditionally (like our children and parents) already, it should be easy to wrap your arms around yourself and do it for yourself exactly the way you need to be loved. Everything else is a bonus (the love you get back from others).

He still loves you. He's maybe trying to separate out feelings into cubibles and it's not very successful for him right now. Maybe it's enough that you both are trying.

<<<<< bonni >>>>>

March 6, 2007
4:43 pm
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Dear lost,

It sounds like he really has no ability to empathize with your feelings right now and could use some growth. Movies and TV are a clear runaway tactic. Denying your grief but not his own.

Before you deploy (right wording?), ask him up front if he is planning to be faithful to you while you are gone and if he plans to think about ways you two can work on your relationship (like individual counseling while you are apart?). Ask for what you need from him. Ask him what he needs. Tell him you have to have this conversation, and when you do, do it in a room where you sit on opposite sides of the room and there are no distractions between. Let him know it's dead serious and needed now. Write down your questions. Let him speak. Write down what he says word for word. Ask him to explain stuff you don't understand. Use your calmest voice. No emotions.

Set the tone for what you think is happening between you and what you hope to work through while you're away. If he recognizes you are serious, he may use this time to get in touch with how he is feeling as well.

BEST WISHES

March 6, 2007
5:40 pm
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bonni
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Lost,
some of the things you want to talk about with him, you might get more help from a counselor. I see a shrink about once a month. i think dh should too, but he doesn't. all we can work on is ourselves. maybe its too much for him to handle, on top of what he's dealing with. if you were in more danger than him, it might make him feel guilty and/or less manly. kind of the soldier equivalent of handling when the wife makes more than the husband? when there are issues that affect a man's feelings about his manliness, that can reduce his ability to discuss it

bonni

March 6, 2007
5:46 pm
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bonni
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Thanks Brynnie,
Sometimes, I just think I need more time alone, on my own - letting him bear more of the parental responsibility so I can heal. I guess I'd have thought I'd have healed more in this time, but maybe I'm being too hard on myself.

thanks for understanding. it helps me not feel so guilty for still being hurt.

bonni

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