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I thought I married a man, not a little boy!

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Question - (31 December 2010) 10 Answers - (Newest, 1 January 2011)
A female United States age 30-35, anonymous writes:

I am at my wits end with my husband and do not know what to do anymore. We have had issues for a while, I will address them, for two weeks he is good and then goes back to his old ways. My husband is 13 years older than I am. I have been successful from a very young age, purchased my first home at 21 and have been on my own since 18. I have a son who is 7 and my husband is all he has known and my son adores his "daddy" and my husband feels the same way about my son. I do not think I could ever leave my husband because I could never seperate the two of them. My husband and I have had issues for a while. He is an extremely selfish person and the sad thing is, he doesn't even realize it. He has been at a dead end job for about three years now and his income isn't helping support our family. He refuses to move on despite the sheer fact he won't go anywhere. He uses excuses and refuses to do better for himself, let alone our family. He sllows me to work my full time career and a part time job in order to keep what we have. Last year he got us into a financial situation where we almost lost our house. I saved him that time, I gave him a year to change, the year is up and we are still grinding the same gears. He has not change and he refuses to see the sacrifices I make for our family, he sees my son more than I do because I am so busy working trying to keep our heads above water. I buy everything in the home and wouldn't mind killing myself workwise if he showed some appreciation but instead I get the back of his head because of sports, video games, or the computer. I go without and he always has and resentment has begun to set in. He embarasses me in public, for example on more than one occassion when I'm not walking a way he likes or he likes I might bump into someone he grabs me by the arm and jerks me out of the way. Like I do not know how to walk. He spends my money, sometimes even before I get it. My grandmother passed away and I am set to receive a large amount of money. He has said well when we get the money we can pay this, this, and this. I have even said to him, "what's with this "we" crap, the money was left to me not us. I'm not wasting money that is meant to be saved to gt ahead not to pay YOUR bills. He doesn't even ealize he has alienated me from most of my friends because I have no time, I barely have time to sleep let alone socialize, he is happy being a loner, I am not. The friends that he does have he insults on a daily basis and they come complaining to me because he thinks he is better than everyone else. At 25 I have the life of someone much much older and there is so much I want out of life and have given up everything so much so I've given up myself for the sake of my family and my career. I cannot live like this much longer and I do not know what to do. We have tried counceling and somehow he twists everything around to where he plays the puppy dog ears down eyes up and I am the bad guy who is so mean to this sweet innocent guy which is so far from the truth. I don't want to struggle for the rest of my life I don't want my son to grow up with a workaholic mom who he resents. I have suggested down sizing and moving to my husband who down right refuses. In order to progress in my career I have to go away for training for 19 weeks and then work in another state for a year my husband (figuratively speaking) is ready to pack my bags. I mean what person in their right mind would say leave your child for a period of time and leave the home you helped build so we can make more money.I do not know where I stand with this situation and I am out of ideas. When I try to talk to our friends about it (mostly mutual friends)they say "oh but he loves you so much, he is crazy about you." Love only gets you so far. When I threaten to leave he starts this fake crying scene about how he doesn't want to loose me or my son. He changes for a few days then back to the way things were. I feel so stuck, the friends that I do have say leave him but I don't think I can do that to my son. I feel like I am a mother to two children not just one and I thought I married a man not a little boy. His family used to be close now due to a fight we haven't spoken in two years, the ignore my son too who they claimed they loved liked their own. Help me see the whole picture or the options I have.I can see why people have affairs because they don't feel loved or wanted. I would never consider that I have too much dignity but I can honestly say I understand where people come from.

View related questions: affair, grandmother, money, move on, period, video games

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A female reader, Dorothy Dix Australia +, writes (1 January 2011):

Hello again. Further to my last message. If there is a way that you can still do what you do, but in some way find it possible to not have to go away quite as often, or for quite so long.

Like instead of 19 weeks - which is the best part of almost half the year (at one single time), if it was possible for it to be just a week or a few days away, every 2 or 3 months or so. This would be much more manageable for him, and your relationship.

It's great always wanting to be the best you can be, but that's not entirely who you are. Sometimes, it comes at a very high price, and I believe you are seeing signs of that happening now.

Work aside, there is your soul as well, do you know who that special person inside of you is? Do you feed your soul every so often? It's important that you do that, for your own health and well being.

What I am really talking about here, is getting some balance into your life - on a regular basis. To balance out the work side of your nature.

By "balance", I mean doing all the things you have to do, and enough of the things you want to do - the fun things, that really feed your soul, and make it worth your while getting out of bed each morning for.

Do you do any of these things? Hobbies and interests, keeping in contact with your friends? You and your husband and son spending some good quality time together - picnics, going to nice places together, just enjoying each other's company generally.

Because you are a high achiever, it's also possible that over the years it has become your whole life (well almost anyway). Possibly, to the exclusion of almost all else. It's an easy rut to get into, even though you love your work so much, it can take over everything else. To the point where everything else comes second to it.

In the grand scheme of things, maybe your husband doesn't quite know where he fits into the big picture. It's possible he might not know if he fits into it at all.

He might even compare himself and what he does to what you do, and feel that he is outclassed by you, in some way. Even though he might not say it at all.

But in any case, he might at least feel that he comes second in order, behind your career - in importance. Although, he would not know how to actually articulate this thought to you, so he doesn't bother trying to.

If over time, you can manage to get some sort of balance between how much time you spend on the job, and what you do with your spare time and your family, then you will truly find the happiness you are looking for.

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A female reader, Dorothy Dix Australia +, writes (1 January 2011):

Hi. What type of work do you do? I don't think you said.

Another key point I just picked up on, is you said he was fine until about 2 years ago - so it was fairly sudden that his loss of passion happened. Is that about right?

If this is the case, can you possibly remember back to what might have happened two years ago to cause this change in him?

Did anything major happen then, in either his or your life?

I just realized another point you made to me, that - "We just spend so much time apart".

Did this absenteeism by you, (because of your work), begin about 2 years ago? If so, it coincides perfectly with his change in moods.

So the work you do, requires you to be away from home for many weeks at a time, on a regular basis.

I'm just guessing this, but are you in the regular army?

Even if you are not, I think that a major part of the problem here is the time spent apart from each other. For him, it's probably a very lonely time whenever you are away from him. No doubt it's lonely for you also, but more so for him.

Women in a relationship, can do quite well on their own in their own company, but men aren't so emotionally well equipped for this type of existence. They like company. Having your son helps him somewhat, but it's not equal to your company.

He probably doesn't like to bring it up, because he already knows how important your work is to you, plus how hard you have worked to get where you are today. It's understandable. You don't spend years at University achieving degrees, just to sit back on your laurels and do nothing. That would be wasteful.

There's probably all sorts of things going round and around in his head that worries him, but he feels (like most people in a situation like this), that to actually mention it would seem like he is complaining over something trivial. Yet it's clearly not trivial at all.

If the time you spend apart from each other bothers him, then it bothers him. He can't pretend it doesn't. But rather than complain, which he believes probably would just put you offside, he chooses to just keep his thoughs and feelings to himself instead. He just stews it over in his mind from time to time, but tries not to show it.

Unfortunately, he also chooses not to talk about it either - which doesn't help things at all.

He might even feel he is in a situation which he can't possibly change - in any way. It's really an uphill battle for him, I believe. In fact, it's a situation which is completely out of his control. He feels there's no choice in the matter of your absences from your family home.

It's probably hard for you to see this, but if you can, could you imagine if it was you at home with your son, and he was the one always going away with his work? Could you imagine how lonely you would be? If so, this is exactly how he is feeling.

All the things you see in him that concern you in a negative way, are merely symptoms of what's really going on inside his mind.

It's a pity that in many relationships today, couples put up with so many things - but say nothing. They instead, just keep it inside themselves, and the problems or issues never get to see the light of day. Many problems are not even major ones, they are just little niggly things that people do - ideosyncrasies (character traits), and most things can be ignored as not important enough to even talk about.

The more I think about it, I think possibly the only problem you both really have is the long absences by you, because of work.

If that situation can be somehow changed, I really believe most or all of your problems will no longer exist.

Now, regards the financial issues you have with him. If you are the one who is good with money, just keep doing that. You look after all things to do with money matters - bills paying, mortgages or rent payments, savings. Leave each to what he is good at. We are all good at some things, and not so good at others. We all have our talents.

Each week when it comes to payday, just work out (if you aren't already that is), and you both put in equal amounts to put in your bills account and equal amounts each for the food kitty. Just work out a set amount each week, and you both just contribute that amount each and every week. Try to save the rest in a separate account if you can, for a rainy day (or to save to big ticket items, holidays etc.).

In any case, you sound like you are doing just fine in the finance department. That's great, because everything will always be looked after well.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (31 December 2010):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Cerebus you are correct that I do let him get away with too much I do not sacrifice my happiness my happiness for my son to have a father to clarify I only quotes it because I was quoting what my son calls him. To furthermore explain, my husband legally adopted my son so if we were to divorce they would still have a connection. My problem is that I do not want to break up something due to miscommunication and misunderstanding. I can be forceful and driven and am concerned my actions aree causing my husband to react and how do I change I cannot just fall back and say "ok you handle it" I need that healthy medium and am lost on that quest.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (31 December 2010):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thank you so much dorothy your words do help and I can see where perhaps my ambition has a tendancy to complicate things with my husbands"laid back" attitude. My husband went from a home with a doting mother to a home where he was subject to the same. My husband says he wants me to go because its the job I have been waiting for forever. I tell him but I don't think he understands that I want to be able to enjoy a life together we just spend so. Much time apart and I get so caught up in everything. I come from a family of veruy successful people, nothing was ever handed to me and our parents really pushed us as kids to succeedn captain of this president of that, harvard, princeton, united states naval academy, we were acheivers and are extremely driven. I am a leader and tend to take charge and I can see where like you said he is so used to having me in charge he has forgotten how. But I tried to take a step make and let him take responsibilty for certain things and he expressed an interest in handling finances and that's when he got us into trouble. I always feel like I have to save him. Thank god I had saving I was able to fix it but if I didn't we would have been in serious trouble. I plan on taking the money from my grandmother and investing it further as it has worked for me previously.I just feel like we were doing so well and it was a great relationship he is a professional bodybuilder and nutritionist we had so much fun working put together and doing certain things and our relationship was so fulfilling. I don't think I would be trying as hard as I am and working myself to the bone if it weren't for love, we have been through so much. Therapy seems to offer a non bias enviroment but my husband feels forced to share when he is not comfortable, so I told him when he feels comfortable come to me and we can talk TO eachother not AT eachother. It just seems as though about two years ago a switch went off and the dynamic changed and his attitude and his spark for life ceased. He loves being a dad, football gamesn christmas and talks about both us to anyone who will listen.his passion is gone though. I know he worries too.I wondered at time if he were jealous of my success, he stayed in the same place and was perfectly happy there. I don't care what he does professionally as long as he is happy and we can support our family. But the economy being what it is the money is just not in that market. I just want a life were we arent going going going 24/7 its exhausting and like you said I'm burning myself out. I would be lying to say that part of this stress is brought on by the fact that I am being relocated for work and like I said I get shipped off for 19 weeks of training then deployed for 1 year then depending on where I am stationed next we will adjust our living situation. Dorothy I have no other choice if I didn't love him or trust him I wouldn't go. I just feel like part of me has died and I have forgotten who I was or are because I am so consumed in being in the provider role. I am not afraid of hard work and or sacrifice and my husband knows that and I just don't feel like I have the tools to help him out of the hole he has dug himself into. Our relationship has been so cyclical though its frightening repeat repeat repeat year after year I don't know if I can take one more year of it? I don't know if our relationship can. Our vows were for richer or poorer sickness and health I want to be there forver I just don't know if I have the strength to battle for much longer.

As for "LAZY" ....Well there is a line that says assuming makes an ass out of you and me... The cockiness to which you write either proves you think very highly of your sophmoric approach to life or your derive some type pleasure ou of assuming you know everything or are better than everyone else.Not that I need to explain myself but perhap I can knock your pedastal down a few pegs..#1 false assumtion I was already in college a year and a half when I had my son. So while your astute grasp of pre k mathmatics should be applauded, the cirsumstances surrounding my sons conception are one I do not wish to discuss here. #2 I choose to stay in the usa full time and my parents have a house in Canada and live there most of the year now they are semi-retired and run their business there. My parents would love to have me live near them its not condusive. They are very much active and supportive of ALL my life choices and are proud of the decisions and successes I have made #3 I work in the protective service-law enforcement field just as someone in the armed forces gets deployed so do we for long periods of time for work and training currently I am up for a position that requires such a committment. #4 My husband and I met while I was still in college and I was working in the same company, our supervisor actually introduced us and set us up (no issue with company on dating) he was not "loaded" or a security provider when we met, we built a life together from very little. I bought my home as an investment on my own with a sizeable down payment it is something I pride myself on, so do not try to belittle my successes as I am sure you are writing this from your apartment or your mothers garage (figuratively or relatively speaking). I have worked hard to build and provide for my family with very little help from anyone. The sacrifices I have made on behalf of my family and my career are to secure a future for all of us. Even my advisors and supervisors have commended me for the strides - have made on behalf of my family. You sound like a very bitter person who uses harshness to sound brutally honest and your distain I pretty obvious in your comments. I am asking people to show me both sides of the story so I can better understand a situation so I can solve it, not sit here and be bashed.

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A male reader, Cerberus Ireland + , writes (31 December 2010):

Cerberus agony auntHave you not considered the effects of that kind of man raising your son will be? What having an irresponsible manipulator as a male role model will do to him?

When he grows up you'll have two irresponsible lazy men in your life, men that will suck you dry. Your son will become a man that never thinks he has to do anything for himself, never wants to go on and achieve things because he'll learn that being a man is being a person who takes advantage, he'll learn that as long as he acts sweet and plays the victim that he won't ever have to make his own way in the world. What's worse then is he'll see his mother, his God and most important female role model, degraded to level of provider, to a person that allows herself to be used. He'll learn that women will let you get away with anything because that's what his mommy let his "daddy" do. Daddy never had to do anything but have fun, he never had to take responsibility and he got to have the easy life while the woman in his life picked up the slack and did everything.

You see you're the Big Bad Wolf and your husband is the little piggy and you know all you're doing is huffing and puffing at a brick house. Seriously, you're doing nothing but making threats, why would he change when he knows you're not going to leave him, why would he change when all he needs to do is turn on the water works and you'll stop complaining because you know what, that is all you're doing.

It's all you're doing now too and it's not going to work because you never follow through on anything. You see you think his bond with your son is too good a thing for you to break, so let me ask you, if love is not enough for your relationship with him, then what makes you think it's enough for your sons relationship with him? Your son is your priority are you really going to let him be raised to be a man like your husband? Just because your husband is great at playing the "daddy" role? but is in fact a grade A loser. A manipulator and an emotional blackmailer.

You see your husband knows how to play you, he knows as long as he maintains a strong bond with your son you'll never leave, he knows that all your mutual friends will tell you to stay because he plays them too, he is very good at looking like the puppy dog and you're in for a very tough life when you realize that your son will develop those traits too. You'll have two of them.

You actually have to do something about this. He's ready to pack your bags because he wants his provider to start making more money for him, he also wants you to go away for a while so he can relax and just enjoy his easy living.

You have to rethink this entire thing, you need to actually make a move and not just talk, all you do is talk, all you do is complain, all you do is loo for advice but you never follow through, there are no bad consequences for this guy and until he sees there are then he'll always be this way.

You have to show him you're serious and if I were you I'd ask him to go stay with friends for a couple of weeks or you go stay at your moms with your son. Enough is enough now, you need to take a few weeks away from him to take stock of things, you can no longer live this way unless he changes if you can show him that you leaving is not only a possibility but an actual inevitability unless he changes then nothing is ever going to happen and you'll be stuck like this.

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A male reader, LazyGuy Netherlands +, writes (31 December 2010):

LazyGuy agony auntGosh, sometimes I HATE myself for being so good at math.

Lets see, 25 year old woman with 7 year old son. Add 9 months for the stork to land and voila, your "on my own since 18" becomes "kicked out by her parents at 17 for being pregnant with a male she did not later marry".

That changes the story just a tiny bit I think and might have a bit to do with why you married him. Not many guys your own age are willing to take on a ready made family but someone 13 years older with issues can't be so picky. Young wife for a bit of a looser, that is worth raising some other guys seed.

What exactly DID you think when you married him? You mention nothing of affection for him? Bought your own house, that is easy enough in the USA, they gave mortages to everyone. It kinda made the news a while back.

Whenever there is a large age gap, I am wondering, why are these two people getting together and in this case I think it is clear. You were looking for something stable, he was looking for a woman of a generation that had not rejected his childish ass. Two people rejected by their own age groups finding that in the long run, there is a reason the two didn't find anyone else. You probably have noticed by now that single mothers are not the hottest item on the marriage market. And if he is the little boy you claim, women probably weren't beating his door down either.

Harsh? Yes, I often am and I am often also right.

What are your options? What is it you got? I don't think this is a marriage out of love. Is the convenience or stability it gives worth the lack of love? Why are you with him and are you getting what you want?

"In order to progress in my career I have to go away for training for 19 weeks and then work in another state for a year my husband (figuratively speaking) is ready to pack my bags. I mean what person in their right mind would say leave your child for a period of time and leave the home you helped build so we can make more money."

What is it you want here? Do you want him to shout "Don't leave me, I need you here" or do you want him to support you in following your career?

I got the line in my head from Private Dancer. Is all you want a husband (provider) and maybe an extra kid and a family to love? Bit old fashioned? Do you expect him to be more forceful?

Fine, but more masculine man MIGHT object to a woman who has a kid with another man. You married this guy for a reason, he married you for a reason and those reasons might be more complex then love. What you got to figure out is what it is you want and what you are willing to sacrifice for it.

If you want a different type of marriage, is it worth sacrificing this one? If you leave him, won't you have to work even harder and your kid might hate you even more especially for removing the only father he ever knew.

Welcome to real life, where every choice has nasty consequences and things we did in the past just don't go away anymore.

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A female reader, banditsmom1124 United States +, writes (31 December 2010):

banditsmom1124 agony auntok so your think because your son has only know the "daddy" that leaving will crush your son...imo your doing more harm by staying! what your son is learning is how to be a selfish controlling jerk. you have the means to support both you and your son...sure itll be hard at first and your son will have to goto daycare most likely but consider the influence hes getting now. you need to do things to better your life! oh and a suggestion to the money your inheriting...cash it and put it in a safety deposit box altho you might need the advice of a lawyer for that but id hide it before he gets his paws on it.

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A female reader, Dorothy Dix Australia +, writes (31 December 2010):

Hi there. From what you are saying about your husband, I am wondering if you do still love him.

I can quite see why you may be having doubts.

Even if your son and your husband do get along well, it doesn't seem to be improving your relationship with your husband.

Although your husband does work, you are carrying the whole household really. If you are not careful, you will burn yourself out completely and could become totally exhausted. Then you might not be able to work at all for a while.

Surely it's not worth working yourself that hard.

It seems that your husband is taking you absolutely for granted. The inheritance that you say is soon coming your way, you will have to keep a close guard on. To get the best from it, I would invest it in your local bank in what is called in Australia where I live, a term deposit, where you put it away for so many months at a certain percentage of interest then at maturity, you renew it at the highest rate of interest for that time. The money will earn well for you and it's safe.

Don't whatever you do, give any of it to him. He'll send you broke! What you could do though, is to mention to him that you will be doing this, while you decide what else you might want to do with some of it later on.

You are really going to have to ask yourself, how you do feel about him. Weighing everything up, the good qualities (if there are any), against the bad qualities.

It seems he doesn't want to change from what you have said.

There is a chance he feels emotionally insecure, because you are really successful and he isn't. This type of thing can make some men very insecure about themselves.

Perhaps a good thing to do, would be to just sit down with him and have a talk about everything. I realize you have said you did this, but you might have said what you thought was the problem and then offered a solution to him - and that was that. If this is the case, when you have spoken before, it might have been only you who had any input - he might not have.

Any discussion about relationship issues, needs to be fully discussed by both parties - not just one. Both of you need to air your thoughts, feelings and concerns.

You could bring up the subject to get conversation started, but you do need to give him a chance to air his views on life and your relationship. If he never gets the chance to talk about how he feels, well then after a while, he will clam up altogether and just won't bother. Instead, he might withdraw into himself, as it seems he does, when he turns to his computer games etc.

It needs to be a two way thing. Only then, can you both reach some form of compromise, that will be manageable for both of you. Then you can really start to work things out together, once and for all.

He might feel like you run the whole show, and that he has no say at all, so he has become complacent. Then he acts like he doesn't give a dam. If a person is in a situation in which they feel they have no control, they just give up altogether and stop trying. It does seem like this is a possibility.

Having equal say in what happens inside a relationship, makes a huge difference to happiness levels.

Good luck and best wishes.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (31 December 2010):

i was in a similar relationship where i was with my gf for it a long distance relationship but i was there alsmost every weekend and still did my best to support her. i tried everything to get her to be more responsible but it just made us further apart. she has 3 kid from prior relationships and did not see the whole picture she lived a one of my properties during the entire time. i would speak to her about her finances but she did not cared. be had our ups and down last year we broke up for a while and i kept trying i thought by proposing it would make her happy so i did i even bought a house for her and her 3 kid to live in but still she did not appreciate anything i was even thinking of leaving my current job where i make close to 100k to move there to be with her. in a twist of fate she told me several months ago that she felt that see did not love me and wanted to be alone. this was back in sept she did not move out until nov becasuse he did not have any money to move. he even accused me of throwing her out. people like this have alot of issue and just need to be alone. i would suggest that you move on before you get hurt as i did. we always say that they are crazy but in reality we are the ones that are crazy for staying with them so long and putting up with it. good luck.

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A male reader, Myau New Zealand +, writes (31 December 2010):

Myau agony auntI alway wonder when I read these type of questions, What did you like about him in the first place?

But life is about balance you know, work and play :).

Dont ask for your time take it, and let him clean up

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