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Is 27 years enough time for change?

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Inky 3 days ago.

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  • #303033

    Amanda
    Participant

    Let me begin by saying, I openly admit I am not perfect and share some responsibility in our marriage.

     

    My husband and I have been together for 27 years. We met when I was 14. I was instantly smitten. He was handsome and the bad boy type. He smoked pot and drank. Hook…line…sinker.

    We mostly had a sexual relationship. Never went on a date until long after. At 18 I moved in with him. We never went out just hung out and got high. A year later I had our first child. I didnt have a job at the time, or a car. I was home 24/7 with the baby.  By that time I stopped getting high, but he didn’t. I caught him smoking crack. He convinced me it was a one time thing. I wanted to believe him.

    Almost a year after that, I had our second child. Again, home 24/7 with the kids. He worked and hung out with his friends. I had none. Just my kids. I started begging for his attention and time. It always seemed to fall on deaf ears.

    I eventually got a job. That helped. But he still really didn’t seem to want to interact with me unless there was sex.

    Fast forward 2 years. I was working, raising our kids, babysitting for extra income, and planning our wedding. I was miserable. I asked for help, but again it fell on deaf ears. He always had good reasons why my unhappiness was not his fault.

    Shortly after or wedding, I started having panic attacks. I realized something had to change. I became attracted to a coworker who was very kind. We talked and hung out a few times. I knew there was more than what I had, even though I loved my husband like crazy. I asked him to leave.

    He moved out and began a 10 year addiction to meth. I was still in love and in his life. He needed help. He said he wanted to get clean and never would have started if I hadn’t kicked him out. Now I feel obligated. For 5 years, I fought to help him. Risked losing my kids because he needed me. I accepted all the lies upon lies. I just wasn’t helpful enough.

    I finally ended my spiral and moved on. I moved back home to raise my kids.

    Fast forward 5 years. He went to jail. He convinced me he wanted to be the man I deserved.  I took him back. He has been clean ever since (still smokes pot). Hes a great father and provider. But my emotional needs are still not met. He says things that are hurtful and says he was joking. When I asked for help around the house because I was working 70hrs a week,  it was my fault he doesn’t clean because I am messy. We go out but only if it’s something he enjoys or the place he wants to eat. I go along because I want him to be happy. We dont talk.

    I had to go out of town for a month. The time j was gone was enlightening. I realized the depth of my codependency. When I got home he told me he didn’t really miss me much and couldn’t have the bed to himself anymore.

    I told him that I realized I have issues and need to fix them. I suggested he do the same. He said hes working on them and just cant do it in my timeframe… 27 years….

    I suggested we spend a few days apart to digest our conversation. He opted to go stay with his uncle. Turns out, he stayed a his friend Cathy’s house and cant understand why I am upset and doesn’t think it was disrespectful.

    I stayed at my dads for a few days. I have never left him before. He was baffled that I did. Now he realizes the error of his ways and is really going to work on it.

    Should I continue this cycle? Or go with my gut and run before I waste another 27 years?

    #303047

    Amanda
    Participant

    I forgot to mention I have a chronic illness and wanted to cut down my work load and was told I couldn’t because then we wouldn’t be able to build the garage he wants.

    #303055

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Amanda:

    It is painful to realize you invested so much time and resources on the wrong person, but investing yet more time and more resources is not going to turn a bad investment into a good investment.

    It is often the case, investing in the wrong people, the wrong relationships and we people sure waste a whole lot of time and our youth..  so it is the norm, more than the exception, really.

    Accept what you cannot change (him) and have the courage to change what you can (being in a relationship with him, outside co parenting, that is).

    anita

    #303089

    Mark
    Participant

    Amanda,

    It is telling that you are asking this question rather than knowing what the answer is.  It shows you still need more work on helping yourself deal with your co-dependency and any other blind spots that is keeping you from the wisdom you already have.

    You look at the last line of your posting, your question.  You are posing it whether to deal with your husband for another 27 years of behavior that makes you to blame for a messy house, that there is no communication, that he does not really care that you are with him or not, that he does not see an issue by staying with another woman while you are gone, that he says things are hurtful, and that he wants his own way – for going out to dinner and probably other things as well.

    Should I continue this cycle? Or go with my gut and run before I waste another 27 years?

    Just how you word these questions points to the answer.

    Mark

     

    #303101

    Amanda
    Participant

    I do know what I need to do. However,  I am still struggling with feeling selfish for putting myself first. I have joined this forum and a codependency group. I am no where near where I need to be emotionally but proud to be taking the first steps to get there.

    Thank you for your support. I need all I can get right now.

    #303105

    Mark
    Participant

    Amanda,

    It is common for women to be raised and expected to put themselves last.  There are many articles why self care is critical.  See the Tiny Buddha’s article on this: https://tinybuddha.com/blog/why-put-ourselves-last-why-self-care-priority/

    Good for you for being proud of yourself.  Doing this work is hard and takes courage.  I hope you have a therapist to assist as well but being in a codependency group is great as well.

    Supporting you for taking care of yourself first.  By the way, you will find out that your husband will do just fine without you.  In fact, isn’t that what he told you by going to his girlfriend’s place, by being disappointed that you came back, etc.?

    Plus don’t forget that he is an adult.

    Mark

    #303127

    Peggy
    Participant

    Hi Amanda,

    It’s easy being an outsider, standing back and telling someone such as yourself what the solution is.  You were 14 when you met and he was the bad boy.  He didn’t take responsibility for himself then and he isn’t taking responsibility for himself now.  Your relationship with him will not change – he will always be like this.

    I am baffled by your statement that he is a great father and a great provider.  I can’t see how much of that there was when he was in jail.  A great father and a great provider takes responsibility for himself.  Being a great father is, in my opinion, someone who teaches his children how to have respect and consideration for other people (spouse) and codes of conduct by which to live.  Children learn by example and the example their father has set is not a good one (understatement).

    Your relationship was only ever based on sex.  You may have fell for him hook, line and sinker but that does not mean that he felt the same about you.  It seems to me that you have been nothing more than a convenience for him and even when you’ve tried to discuss things with him and asked for more help, he’s just put the blame straight back on to you.  Even now, he’s making excuses – he can change but not in your time frame (in his eyes, it’s your time frame that’s wrong).  I find it really sick that he doesn’t think you should cut your working hours because he wants a new garage even though you are chronically ill.  What’s most important to you – your health or a new garage?

    Women make the mistake of thinking that putting themselves first is selfish.  You don’t seem to be putting yourself anywhere other than in the place where you are at his beck and call.  Even now, he seems to think that if he clicks his fingers (says the right words) you’ll go running back.

    You should take a leaf out of your husband’s book and put yourself first (long overdue), go with your gut, cut your losses (27 years) and move on to a much brighter, happier, less stressed future without him.  Think about it!

    Peggy

     

    #303135

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Amanda:

    You shared that you met a “handsome and the bad type” boy when you were 14, and you were then “instantly smitten”. At 18 you moved in with him, “hung out and got high”. At 19 you had your first child, no longer high but he continued to drink and smoke pot and crack. At about 20 you had your second child. “He worked and hung out with friends” while you were “home 24/7 with the kids”.

    “We mostly had a sexual relationship… he still really didn’t seem to interact with me unless there was sex”, you wrote.

    In your twenties, you worked and raised your two children, became attracted to a coworker “who was very kind” and you “knew there was more than what I had”, so you asked your husband to leave. He moved out and he “began a 10 year addiction to meth” and blamed it on you saying it “never would have started if I hadn’t kicked him out”. You tried to help him for five years, “Risked losing my kids because he needed me” and finally you “moved back home to raise my kids”.

    Five years later he went to jail and once released he moved in with you, been clean since, other than pot, “a great father and provider”. But he “says things that are hurtful and says he was joking”, will not help you around the house even though you were working 70 hours a week and he is otherwise selfish and most recently he told you that he will be staying for a few days at his uncle’s place, but you found out he was staying at his friend Cathy’s place. You talked to him about it but he doesn’t see that as a problem. Most recently he “realizes the error of his ways and is really going to work on it”and although you have a chronic illness and will benefit from working less, he wants you to work just as much as you are so that he can have the garage that he wants.

    You wrote later: “I do know what I need to do. However, I am still struggling with feeling selfish and putting myself first”-

    My input this morning: you are now 41 and your children are about 22 and 23, adult children. They must have suffered during this turbulent marriage, their father on drugs, in jail, gone.. even you were gone (at one point, you “moved back home to raise my kids”).

    I don’t know if your kids are  living with you at home or on their own, but think of them first. It is difficult for you to put yourself first, so put them first: what is best for them that you do next?

    * I will soon be away from the computer for the weekend and will be back in about 48 hours from now. If you respond to me I will read and reply to you when I am back. (There is a lot here in your life situation, and if you want, we can communicate about it for a while for the purpose of becoming more clear about the situation and what to do next).

    anita

     

     

     

    #303153

    Inky
    Participant

    Hi Amanda,

    First thing I want to comment on (DYING to comment on!) is: The Garage!!! Cut WAY back on your working hours and laugh in his face when he cries about the garage!! Tell him that YOU are worth more than a garage!

    If you have a joint checking account, please withdraw ALL the $$$ and put it in an account in YOUR NAME. Again, laugh when he cries he can’t get his pot money, or whatever.

    Next, tell him that you are moving in with your co-worker for a few days, but then don’t understand why he is upset and thinks you are being disrespectful???

    Lastly, by the math, you are surely an empty nester. Write a long overdue list of things that YOU WANT to do! Travel, friends, a project, your own cottage without a garage….  And dare I say a lover?

    Best,

    Inky

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