“We have loved each other madly all these years and it pains me to see US like this.”

Sharing an email.

Dear IHM,

I wrote you a mail few days ago but wasn’t very clear on my problems I guess. In this mail I am giving you a complete picture of myself and my issues. Please publish it on your blog as I really need sound suggestions from all the people who comment here and in most of whom I see a reflection of my thoughts and opinions.

I am a 28 year old working and  married woman. As with most urban girls these days, I have been raised with non traditional values and never had marriage as the only and ultimate aim of my life. I am the youngest in 4 siblings and was relatively pampered as compared to my other siblings. Since I was the last kid in the family I am extremely attached to my parents and led a very, very, almost unhealthy, protected life. Due to this I became a very emotional person and I have always had trouble dealing with my emotions. I soon realized the downside of this personality attribute, esp when I started working and worked on it to show my emotions only to my family and very close friends.

My husband and I met when I was 18 years old. After being pursued by him for almost 3 years, I said yes to him when I was 21. After almost 5 years of relationship, we got married 2 years ago. This information is relevant because I wanted to point out that my DH and I have practically GROWN together. We know each other inside out. By God’s grace my PIL’s are also nice people and my MIL is a very simple woman. Although she has irritated me at times with her illogical demands (like wearing the fanciest sari for a small function etc. ), she is not an evil woman. She cooks my favorite dishes when I visit them or vice-versa and has always treated me with love and respect. No restrictions on what I wear, where I go, whom I meet or how frequently I have to call them up. So I’m blessed that way I believe. Similarly, I have adjusted and kept quiet as per the need and have never disrespected them. We share a sweet bond and we genuinely adore each other.

Now the problem – My DH has been my support through all thick and thin. We have loved and supported each other unconditionally all these years. I have been completely emotionally dependent on him. My professional frustrations, my insecurities, my hopes, my dreams, he has been privy to all. He supports my decisions and has never ever forced me to do anything against my wish. Likewise, I have trusted his decisions and respected them,  sometimes even when I didn’t like them. In spite of sharing a close bond, we have had terrible fights and arguments in our relationship on the most trivial of issues.  He is also the youngest in his siblings and is quite pampered. I felt that both of us used to behave very immaturely and hence the frequent fights. To resolve this, I thought I would try to restrict my emotional outbursts and would let go of my need to have the last word in our every argument. I did exactly this and the arguments and fights did reduce. However, stifling my emotions did not help me very much. I started having feelings of resentment towards my hubby and did not feel myself with him anymore. He sensed this and he also turned to silence so that things don’t turn ugly. This has taken a huge toll on our relationship. While I cry and let out my emotions secretly, he feels that I could never grow up. Few days ago I had been crying non-stop for almost 2 hours (amalgamation of issues in office, some problem with my parents’ health and emotional disconnect with DH) and  he could not take it any longer and said he is going out or a walk. I felt all the more hurt and then we had a very emotional conversation. I told him that since I could not share my pain with him anymore, could not tell him how he has been hurting me (knowingly or otherwise), I feel very suffocated. He let out a sigh and said in a very sad tone that he could not handle my emotions anymore. He could not handle my frequent emotional ups and downs and the fact that I refuse to grow up. Since that day we have been living a very normal, emotionless life. I am not finding any utility in staying married to him. I married him for love (which was an EMOTIONAL REASON). I don’t know if I am overreacting or this is worth calling the marriage quits. We have loved each other madly all these years and it pains me to see US like this. I also don’t know which is better, horrible emotional fights that would end within the day itself and we would be passionately back in love or the silent resentment that hangs for days and days between us.

Divorce is not a taboo in my family and I know my parents, even if it pains them terribly, will support my decision. The only sad part is that both the set of parents (mine and DH’s) have seen one of their kids getting divorced and it has broken them from inside even though they supported their kids’ decision. One more divorce in the family and it will be too much for both the parents to take. Also, I do not want to take such a strong decision without believing that it is the only way out.

Please help me make a sound decision.

Distressed

Related Posts:

What do you understand by ‘unconditional love’?

65 thoughts on ““We have loved each other madly all these years and it pains me to see US like this.”

  1. First, you have to sit back, think and decide what exactly is it that you expect from your partner and what is it that you want from your life. The next logical step would be to think about what you are willing to give up in order to sustain your relationship. The truth is, however harsh it may sound, you cannot go on thinking what you can get. Healthy relationships are built on a lot of give and take.
    The path you plan to take is very easy. Have you thought about what after that? Are you willing to take on a single life? Why I am asking you this is, you seem to have been dependent on someone or other all your life. So, do you think you are prepared and strong enough to face the world alone?
    You expect your husband to understand your emotions , are you willing and open to do the same to him? You are smart enough to have nailed the issue – ‘immaturity’. And therein lies the answer as well.
    Life can indeed be a fairy tale, but only when we know and accept the realities. Time to grow up, girl!

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    • Agree with Bindu.
      You are a kid even if you are 28.
      By your own admission, you have a nice hubby, nice in-laws, have been pampered by your parents, have a sweet mother in law who cooks your favourite dishes, and you enjoy the freedom to dress as your please.
      All the problems appear to be in your own mind.
      By your own admission you are a very emotional person and have always had trouble dealing with your emotions.
      By your own admission the issues on which you have had fights were trivial.
      You just need to cure yourself and as Bindu rightly says simply grow up.
      You have also admitted that you are refusing to grow up.
      So the solution is clear.
      Stop refusing to grow up and start actually growing up. Everything will be okay.
      Don’t think of divorce. Your next marriage might be worse. You have been lucky so far. Don’t stretch your luck.

      Regards
      GV

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      • While ‘grow up’ might be apt advice, I don’t think it’s helpful in any way. The LW already knows she has emotional ups and downs and is dysfunctional in a relationship. Sometimes, people have emotional and psychological issues that prevent them from simply ‘growing up.’ It’s like telling a depressed person to just ‘be happier.’

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        • I agree with Kay 100%. ‘Grow up’ is an advice coming from people who are not in that emotional state the LW is and is not helpful at all. From what I read, the L W needs professional help.

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        • Kay, getting professional help is also a part of growing up. She is mature and sensible enough to understand that the root cause of her issues are maybe her and her partner’s ‘immaturity’. So, finding a solution to that, may it be professional help, self evaluation or elderly guidance or whatever it may be is a part of growing up. Blaming it all on some mental imbalance alone might create the same problems later in life as well, shifting the cause from ‘I was pampered’ to ‘this is the way I am, it is my illness’ syndrome. But then, I am neither a professional psychologist or a even experienced in analyzing humans and their emotions, so I could very well be wrong🙂

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      • GV, independence and solitude might very well be the necessary ingredient for this letter-writer to grow up. Like many Indian people she and her husband found each other without finding themselves first. What do people know about love and life at 18? Whether the LW acknowledges it or not, she has been pressured by our culture to just marry the first man she had a relationship with, and now she’s feeling pressure to stay in a relationship that is not working anymore.

        I ask you: what is wrong with divorce? It’s a wonderful AMAZING invention of human society and everybody who wants to should take advantage of it. Especially when there are no children complicating

        At the very least she and her husband need to get separated for a while. Find out who they are, what they need, on their own. Grow up the way most adults in the world grow up – by being responsible for themselves in every way, including meeting their own emotional needs.

        Then they can decide whether to get back together or get a divorce.

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        • Nandini,

          Quote:
          I ask you: what is wrong with divorce? It’s a wonderful AMAZING invention of human society and everybody who wants to should take advantage of it. Especially when there are no children complicating
          Unquote:

          Divorce is akin to surgery.
          When medicines can possibly cure, must you opt for surgery right at the outset?

          We don’t know the details.
          But the letter writer admits the issues were trivial.
          She also admits she has to grow up.
          She admits her hubby is a nice person and so are her in laws.
          Is divorce the only cure for a person with such self admitted shortcomings?
          Divorce would be right if she was mature and the issues were beyond resolution, even for a mature couple and this was determined after consultation.

          This case appears to be one where a good therapist (as advised by Kay) is a better solution than a divorce which should be considered only as a last resort.
          But even after a divorce, a person who has yet to grow up, may not find happiness. Is she mature enough to cope with the after effects of a divorce? Right now she has family support, from both sides. After a divorce, she will definitely lose support from her in-laws and support from her parents cannot be taken for granted. Is she mentally ready to cope with the problems post divorce?

          I agree however that a temporary separation may have some therapeutic value.
          The fact that there are no children yet, is good but it should not be used to argue for a divorce. Instead I will recommend that she postpone having babies till she is sure this marriage is brought back permanently to a sound footing.

          This case is better left to experts who ascertain full details and then recommend the best solution. If they too recommend divorce, then so be it.

          I am sorry if my initial comment appeared to be unsympathetic to this person.

          Regards
          GV

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        • Just because the LW and her DH married after being in only one relationship does not mean that they were forced into it. From what the LW says, it seems that they both entered into the relationship quite willingly and got married very much by choice as well.

          I think the LW and her DH need to get themselves to a marriage counselor and see if they can sort their issues out before they call it quits. At this point, it seems like they both are blinded by their own hurt to see the other person’s point of view and an unbiased third party could be helpful in making them do that. In addition, the LW could consider talking individually to a therapist as well.

          Divorce is an option, true, but giving up on a relationship, that too one that seemingly does not have any major deal-breaker tied to it, at the very first sign of a hurdle seems like an immature and cowardly thing to do. There might be a few couples whose marriages have been a bed of roses from day 1 till death. Still, many couples who are not in that rare group still go on to have strong, healthy and happy marriages by getting to know each other, adapting to each other – in general, putting in the effort to make their marriage work.

          LW – ask yourself: do you love your husband enough and think he is worthy enough to put in an effort towards trying to make your marriage work? Truthfully answer the question and make your future decisions.

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        • You seem to be the only person on this thread who actually empathized with the person writing this post rather than bolting off advice to ‘grow up’ from a high horse.

          Thank you for an uplifting and practical answer.

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  2. @distressed

    Couples therapy + I’d also suggest you and your husband see a psychiatrist.

    ” In spite of sharing a close bond, we have had terrible fights and arguments in our relationship on the most trivial of issues.” This leads me to think that the terrible fights aren’t about the trivial issues at all–but there are deep underlying issues/resentments/conflicts etc that haven’t been solved.

    If you’re in the Delhi/NCR area then I could recommend a great therapist (I’d recommend personal and couple’s sessions with her) and a really good non-prescription happy psychiatrist. If you could comment with your email add below, I’ll send you an email with their names and numbers.

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  3. Not much to go by, since you don’t mention the causes for the fights – but you seem to be in a co-dependent relationship. I suggest spending time away from other, with friends. You may not always be fighting if you’re not in each other’s company all the time.

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    • The letter seem to indicate that both of them do not have proper routine or separate activities, apart from playing the role of husband and wife. People fail to see that marriage is also one other phase in a person’s life, and they stifle all their activities, just to focus on each other. Due to this, the entire relationship becomes cloyed. Too much familiarity breeds contempt, right?!
      When we pursue a degree in a college, do we stop listening to music or having fun, though we may have assignments and deadlines. Then why do we stop all these after marriage, and pressurise ourselves to focus ONLY on this relationship. To have shared activities is fun and helps in bonding, but being with the same person, almost the entire time will cause strain in the relationship (ANY relationship for that matter).
      Both of them need to space out and have alternate hobby activities, enjoy their ‘me’ time. Learn to respect each other’s space without making each other feel guilty about the same. Then automatically love will blossom again.
      To the LW in specific…ask yourself these questions –
      1. If I have stayed with my own parents, is it that I may not have misunderstandings?
      2. Even if I have, will I not go ahead and have other activities that gives me comfort?
      3. When I may have fights or issues with my own room mate or family members, if I stay with them through out my life, then isn’t it natural that me and my husband feel each other’s company boring or irritating at times?
      I do not suggest you to adjust or stay….try out by spacing yourself, physically to some extent, and emotionally and psychologically to a greater extent. You are not dependent on him emotionally; you just feel the need to express everything to him, because he is your husband. Consciously stop focussing on how you feel and focus on those things which gives you happiness, WITHOUT the need for your husband to join in it. ALL THE BEST.

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      • Marriage has become this be all.For women who are uprooted having space is very important. I can’t imagine having my life oscillating around one person.LW’s husband is bound to get tired of so much emotional drama even if he is very understanding.
        LW needs to understand that there is limit even if the other person is most patient,understanding or with great listening skills.

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  4. It’s easy to run away from not so compatible marriage. But the fact is no couples are fully compatible and perfectly matched couple is an utopian idea.
    It seems there are many positives in the marriage which is described here. Negatives are only in the mind of the couple. Both of you seems to be incapable of being happy without having the last word. That mind set has to change. Many couples live a fairly happy married life because either both of them or one of them has mastered the art of graciously losing an argument without any bad taste in the mouth.
    So I will suggest professional counseling and a give and take approach from both sides. Both sides should be ready to lose the argument so that the marriage is not lost.

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  5. LW, seems to me that you are overly dependent on your husband emotionally. (Don’t let anyone have you believe there is something ‘wrong’ with you though). Does your husband do the same with you and expect you to hear out all his frustrations with life and discuss them ? You really shouldn’t make your husband the sole sounding board for all problems in your life. He needs a break too. Do you have close friends ? Cousins or anyone else you share a close bond with ? You need to get out more with them, talk about life, your worries etc and also go out and have a good time with them. Develop hobbies and interests which you can pursue without needing your husband to share it with you. Try to be happy within yourself without needing your husband to behave in a certain way to make you happy. Things will fall in place sooner than you know.

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    • I agree with the suggestion to have a larger support circle. Sometimes husbands don’t understand some emotional things just because. Just like how you cannot understand some of his feelings. In such cases, it’s okay to have a confidante and hash things out with them and get some perspective(unless the issue is one of extreme secrecy).

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  6. Maybe do yoga – meditate? Will help calm you down perhaps and help you think with clarity. The right way will light up eventually, if you are calm.

    And counsellor – but proper one please.

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  7. I think the problem is that you have never lead an independent life. Never enjoyed being alone and single. You have literally grown up in a relationship and have lead a protected and sheltered life. Parents have no idea how much damage they are doing to the child by being over protective.

    I would suggest you both give each other space. You need that to grow as an individual. You both have might some common friends. Do you have some friends which are not common? You both need to go out with your individual friends too at times. Also have some activities which you do together and some individual ones.

    You have issues with communication. You don’t have to share each and every emotion with each other. Some you share with close friends or somebody close. Also develop a hobby. That will destress you and will be a healthy outlet for your emotions.

    Also understand you need to work on your self. You have achieved the first step that is identifying your problem. You should go for individual therapy as well as couple therapy. These problems can be sorted out provided you work towards it. Divorce will not solve your problem because their are other relationships where the similar pattern will be repeated.

    Another good suggestion which helps all problems universally. A good workout and some meditation to bring clarity in your life.

    Hope you do some work on yourself. Its hard and long road. You will feel like giving up many times but keep going because its very much needed .

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  8. I feel the problem here is that the LW needs professional counselling and help. This is not something anyone can talk and set right through comments. My two cents.

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  9. I second Kay.

    Get professional help. Immediately. If you are BOTH interested in salvaging your relationship, see a marriage counselor. Have the courage to accept if your husband doesn’t want to consider this option. Don’t judge his decision or analyze it in terms of whether he still love you or not, yada yada. Get help yourself and have the strength to accept yourself. Be compassionate to yourself and your husband.

    Your letter reminds me of something we used to say in school, “Friendship is like chinaware; Costly, rich and rare; Once broken, can be mended; But the cracks will remain” It will require tremendous courage to step back from the point that you both have reached in your relationship. Hope you have fulfilling healing journey.

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  10. I think it’s a case of both the husband and wife being pampered to be the point of being spoilt.
    Yes, the girl probably needs to grow up (maybe the guy does too, I don’t know).

    Don’t give up and get a divorce already for what might be trivial issues.
    Counselling could help.

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  11. I would really like you to differentiate emotions and expression.

    Everyone has emotions. Of course, you will be unhappy if you supress them. What matters is how you process them and EXPRESS them. Why should emotions be automatically linked with crazy outbursts and crying? Why can’t they also mean expressing how you feel without drama and explaining with respect?

    Apart from visiting a counselor, I would recommend meditation, journaling every day. Learn to express how you feel in a respectful honoring way and remember you are responsible for your feelings, not anybody else.

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  12. Growing Up Emotionally – SELF Therapy
    For People Who ENJOY Learning About Themselves! – See more at:
    http://helpyourselftherapy.com/topics/grow.html
    “The only thing worse than growing up is NOT growing up.”
    -Oscar Wilde
    I think both you & your husband need to do some growing up. Resentment usually stems from controlling behaviors in relationships.
    I know people who are in their 40’s now & still haven’t grown up.
    Not growing up has wreaked absolute havoc on all aspects of their lives- relationships, finances, health. Most of them are in 12 step programs, rehab, bankruptcy, 3rd & 4th marriages, unemployed, etc.
    Do the hard work of growing up, healing & letting go now or be doomed to forever repeat your mistakes.

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  13. Dear All,

    I am really thankful to all of you for providing me an insight into myself and my marriage. This is what I had been looking for. To see the issues from a totally unbiased POV. IHM, I am blessed to have discovered this blog and the empathetic people who take out time to comment here with no ulterior motive, with only the objective to help the LW

    This comment is just an expansion of my issue above and a clarification on few points.

    I did meet counselor personally, not one but two (I do not live in NCR). My husband was not akin to this idea so I went ahead alone. Both of them were associated to a very famous hospital and both prescribed me sedatives (I googled the prescription). Horrified, I did not go back to either of them and have become quite averse to this idea. There is genuine lack of good therapists/psychiatrist in India and I am not sure where to go.

    I have read multiple blogs (national and international), relationship books and have spoken to my closest friends about this problem of mine. I read a lot, go to dance class regularly and have regular time outs with my girl friends. I have tried to learn how to handle my emotions maturely by reading relevant articles and pasting them on my wardrobe to remind myself of it. I thought I was on the right track to build my relationship and cleanse all the negative energy, but to my bewilderment, I am not. And hence this letter to IHM.

    In response to my email, IHM asked me a few questions and I answered her in quite detail. I am pasting the relevant section from that mail below:

    “I completely stopped reacting whenever there was a difference and would keep my mouth shut till the time I knew I could not speak some sense. We have not had a single fight since I changed my attitude. I have kept quite even when he has been wrong and when he gets irritated on me for no fault of mine. I thought my silence will make him realize his mistakes, but it has made him ruder, colder and indifferent towards me.

    What hurts me most is that he is no longer the man I knew. He gets irritated when I cry and is taking my silence as my weakness. He has more than once, snubbed me even when I had not been saying a word but opened my mouth to speak my point. If I have given a silent reaction when he has hurt me, he also gets cold and indifferent. He doesn’t talk to me till the time I don’t talk to him. I don’t know what to do”

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    • “He doesn’t talk to me till the time I don’t talk to him. ”
      What does that mean?
      A marriage is a partnership, you must both work to resolve this.
      Have you told him this?
      iIn regards to this-
      “it has made him ruder, colder and indifferent towards me.”
      “He has more than once, snubbed me even when I had not been saying a word but opened my mouth to speak my point. If I have given a silent reaction when he has hurt me, he also gets cold and indifferent.”
      This is classic passive/aggressive & controlling behavior – it results in resentment & anger (not a good way to resolve issues, eh?)
      You are not ‘making’ him behave this way he is choosing to behave this way to control you.
      Have him read this blog.
      He has issues & needs to ‘grow up’ himself.

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    • @distressed–from what I’ve read, I get the idea that your husband has his own issues. In the post, you’ve written that he’s supported you through thick and thin and it’s only now that he’s getting agitated/annoyed/exasperated. I think he sort of repressed his own feelings for years, and now, even the tiniest thing is beginning to really bother him.

      Perhaps you can explain to him that sorting out your feelings/differences with a neutral third party (doesn’t even have to be a therapist, just a neutral person, not a friend or a relative) might allow you guys to clear up issues without feeling like either of you are being personally attacked.

      You do say that you’re in an urban area. If you give me an email add (you create a new email add just for this if you don’t want to publish your personal email online) I can send you my former therapist’s no. She may have colleagues she can recommend in your city. She’s a therapist and will recommend therapists who do not/ are not allowed to prescribe medicines.

      I’m glad you’ve been wary of doctors who are eager to prescribe meds as I’ve heard about horror stories in India where docs will easily prescribe benzos(sedatives) and barbiturates (old school sedatives that are very dangerous) while staying away from the newer SSRIs (modern anti-depressants, few side effects and non habit forming).

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    • Ok, here’s what I understand

      Counselor – someone who listens and advices. They typically have training as counselors/therapists. They are not necessarily medically trained. They don’t prescribe medication.
      Psychologist – Someone who has trained to become a psychologist. May have PhD. May not be an MBBS. Doesn’t necessarily prescribe medication.
      Psychiatrist – Definitely MBBS. Medically trained and licensed. Can prescribe medications.

      I think you saw a psychiatrist. Therapists are trained to identify when their clients need medical treatment and refer them appropriately to a psychiatrist. A therapist will listen to you, then give advice, ask you to come back after a week; another session, another advice, so on. It’s a process.

      If you are in Bangalore, try http://www.parivarthan.org/ for counseling. If you are not in Bangalore, but in India, you can still call them and they can help you find a reference in the city you are in.

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    • My dear, people change each day so how do you want that your man to be same like the one that you met 10 years ago? Your problem is common in all couples that start life together being so young. Relations that starts early need more hard work from both sides to make them run in long term.
      So admit that your man changed and try to understand and develop a new sort of relation. You tried to change but your efforts failed and you are in same point where you were when this relation started.
      The first question that you should ask is what you really want? What type of relation and what type of man? Then coming other questions: Do you love the man that is today with you? Did you ever loved him? What were qualities that you liked in him in the beginning and missing now? Do you like yourself the way you are? Do you think that on long term if you will live in same house with a copy of you will not go crazy one day?
      Sorry to tell you but for me don’t look that your man is having problems. I think you just need a sort of affection that he can’t offer you. He tried probably to do that for sometime but in long term didn’t work. You need the same affection and attention that a child require.
      Your man changed and is not able anymore to give you what you need. You have just two option. One easy option will be to run out from relation, to take a break and to understand yourself. When you will love yourself and will be able to live with yourself then you can start to find a man for you.
      Second option and more hard is to accept that you are in a relation with a man that you don’t know anymore and to try to know him. Talk with your man and propose him to start relation from beginning. Even if you both live in same house you can start to date and to try to discover each other once again. Really can be refreshing and interesting. You need just imagination and desire to make it work. In all this process if you are able to discover each other and to find love again all will be fine. If not then means that you both lost each other and nothing will make it work. Finally just admit that you lost each other and this is it. Unfortunatelly we grow up and sometimes loose each other even we are together. Maybe even we love each other but we can’t be anymore in the same story. This is life.

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    • Dear LW,

      I want to tell you two things.

      **First thing:** You (and others on this blog) are blaming you too much. What I see when I read your comments is your husband denigrating, belittling you in typical misogynistic ways. EVERY WOMAN EVER gets told that she is too emotional and too sensitive. It is a classic way for men to never take responsibility for the effect of their insensitive behavior and their hurtful words. Especially Indian men, who have been brainwashed all their lives to think that the ideal woman never makes any demands for emotional responsibility from men.

      And the fact that YOU are doing all the work to try and fix the relationship but he is simply withdrawing and refusing to co-operate or fix anything at all? That’s terrible! Any relationship needs everyone in it to work to fix it, not just one party. This is yet another typical way that women get the short end of the stick in relationships: we are automatically supposed to do all the relationship work and make all the compromises, the man always gets to pout and throw a silence-tantrum (seriously, it’s like a toddler holding his breath) until he gets what he wants.

      **Second thing:** YOU NEED TO MOVE OUT NOW. This relationship as it is is not working for you or for him, clearly. There is no need to torture yourself like this. Please try separation for a while. See if you are happier in life without him around constantly belittling you and hurting you. Let him see if he is happier when he doesn’t have to care about other people’s emotions. And if that turns out to be the case, don’t you think it is better to divorce now and cut your losses, than to wait and be miserable all your life?

      If you both find that you are in fact genuinely unhappy without the other person, and you both come to understand all the ways in which you add to each other’s lives, AND you BOTH decide that the ways in which you add to each other’s lives is worth putting up with the drawbacks of the other person’s personality, then by all means, start dating again, try moving back together to see how it works next time around, and then IF it works you can re-do your marriage commitment. (I write this out because I don’t think you can take compatibility for granted even if after the separation you both decide you love each other after all. Don’t rush anything.)

      Hurting parents should be the last thing on your mind (even though I know this is easier said than done.) This is YOUR LIFE. Your parents may be disappointed by they are older and wiser, they can deal! What they want more than anything is their daughter should be happy. You should work towards making sure you really are happy.

      Good luck!

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    • “He gets irritated when I cry and is taking my silence as my weakness. …. If I have given a silent reaction when he has hurt me, he also gets cold and indifferent. He doesn’t talk to me till the time I don’t talk to him.”

      OK, this has happened to me before. As in, I once reacted like this to a girl. I’m only telling you (despite the embarassment of voicing all this in public, even though it’s anon) because you might benefit somehow. I wouldn’t take my girlfriend’s silence as weakness or snub her when she spoke (so your hubby is special that way), but I would get irritated if she cried. Your case might be very different, but in my case, we had gotten to a point where we couldn’t resolve our conflict, and we just didn’t get each other’s emotions & reactions. (We both were like, why the hell is this person behaving this way?) So if she cried, obv because of the pressure of a failed relationship, but supposedly because of some trivial pretext, I’d be helpless. I couldn’t solve the big issues that had built up pressure; and I couldn’t solve the trivial issue either, so I’d get really angry.

      The crying put me in a tough spot – it exerted the pressure of a fix solely on me, when really, we had to solve it together or breakup. I had to ‘be the man and solve it’ when really, I didn’t know how – except for a breakup which was also unthinkable at the time. It was horrible, feeling stuck. So one day, I said, enough is enough. I don’t want any more crying. Not nice, but that’s how I felt. I think both of us handled our conflicts poorly. She was indirect with all her attempts to address core issues; even on the rare occasion she was direct, I was evasive and in avoidance mode. We both waited for the other to take the lead and then resented it if the other did. Ultimately, it got toxic.

      When this happens, every day looks normal outside, but resentment is increasing on both sides. And when your partner gives you the silent treatment, you become exceedingly angry and just ignore her completely. (the mind goes, good riddance. At least we won’t fight about trivial stuff. If only she would always be silent!) These are angry, egoistic, childish thoughts the guy feels ashamed of, but they’re there because the relationship has become stuck and he can’t express his anger legitimately. You start to think of it as an arranged marriage almost – ‘I just have to get through this day without fighting. Let’s be polite and not annoy her’. Or, “who knows what she’ll be angry about today”.

      Long story short, it sounds like a circle of resentment. This may not be your story – maybe your story is much happier🙂 However, I can say that I wish I had done therapy with my girlfriend, and that I could have told the therapist the truth of my feelings about her. I could have released a lot of anger I had about her and she with me. Maybe then we could have worked together on a solution.

      Like

      • Jo, I totally agree with your analysis about feeling cornered and feeling entirely responsible for finding a solution when your significant other reacts emotionally and totally shuts down. This is what I have come to understand from my husband over the many years that we have been together. I am a naturally anxious person and do get emotional occasionally but some conversations later, I started to understand what he meant when he said that he hated tears. He just wanted to have an adult conversation without involving emotions so we could come to a reasonable compromise about a situation.

        Tears are okay as long as they’re not your weapon of choice. Tears can be useful to just get rid of the emotions nagging you and being able to come to a mindframe capable enough to talk through an issue. However, if all the LW does in reaction to attempts to work through problems is cry, then I sense trouble. I would totally shut down if someone kept doing that.

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  14. Dear Distressed, give Kay your email ID and get that therapist. From what you’ve written, you have not really given therapy a try. As for whether your husband has issues, who knows? Maybe he does. Let your therapist be the judge of that after he or she has heard you out. Or maybe it’ll all become clear to you later, after a few months of working on yourself. Just take action and don’t sit around thinking about it🙂 Didn’t mean to get preachy – you asked for the reactions of people who comment here, so here it is.

    PS Exercise. minimum 30 minutes of vigorous, tiring exercise every day. It makes everything better. I say this from experience. And all the research we have shows that exercise improves emotional intelligence, positive feeling and calmness. It also helps with depression and anxiety. And if you’re reasonably fit, please don’t just walk. Swim, jog, skip, aerobics… do something genuinely tiring.

    Make decisions about your marriage a good few months later. It takes a year to work on yourself IMO. Do tell your husband you’re working on yourself. It’ll be a far more effective way to remind him to put a little effort himself than anything else you say directly.

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  15. See a therapist, go to couples theraphy and try not to worry about all of the worlds problems. If your husband is wrong in an argument tell him he’s wrong, i f you are wrong apologize. dont bring back old issues , Find hobbies, outlet , exercise etc., and go out and have some fun with your husband.
    If your work is stressful, quit or move to another job. these hold true for your husband too.

    Stress at work doesnt mean coming home and dumping on the spouse. yes he is your person and someone whom you can recount your fears, apirations and frustrations too but not all the time, 3 yrs is a lot in terms of being dependent and being the support as well. everyone needs a break.

    See a therapist, and get rid of the negative influences in your life, if you constantly have issues at work, leave. or find a new job or solve it, constantly leaning on your husband is going to achieve nothing. does he has work stress, does he come and complain for the past 3 yrs, if so he needs to stop.

    As for parents health, that’s life, parents get old, and pass away and so will you one day, it’s not easy, its agonizing but what can your husband do about it, doesn’t he have parents , who are going to get old, take care of them , make arrangements if required and yes it will feel terrible but constantly???

    I probably come across as harsh, i dont mean too, i”m sympathetic but you are young an dthere will be a whole host of issue to face as you grow older, such is life. learn to deal with problems and yet be happy an content and grow together is what life is about, he is your friend, lover and sounding board, he has your back but he s also an individual, and so are you.

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  16. Dear letter writer,

    first of all I’m glad you realized there are problems in the relationship and also don’t hesitate to admit to your own share. That’s the first step. As for the second, I would also strongly recommend you and your husband to get professional help like marriage counseling. From what you write, you love him and have a good relationship with the other family members as well, so it is a relationship worth fighting for.

    As for the “growing up” part, maybe you should start to write down situations when you react overly emotional. Examine your feelings carefully while you do so. Very often we explode in situations that simply remind us of a past, painful experience which we couldn’t resolve. Ask yourself questions like, “Is there a rational, logical reason to get upset or is the situation just a trigger for some deeper, unresolved problem? Do I improve the situation by getting upset or would it harm me/ the relationship in the long run? Is this the right person to get upset with?” Answering these questions could help you to realize what the real issue is and take away your insecurities.

    Another possibility for acute situations is the “time out”. Once you realize you are working yourself up, you can always tell the other person: “Let’s stop discussing the issue right now, I’m too upset. Let’s continue in an hour, so I have time to calm down.” Admitting that you can’t deal with a situation right now is no weakness but a sign of strength and knowledge of yourself. Besides, the extra hour gives you time to calmly reflect the situation and analyze it without being under pressure to answer immediately.

    And, most important, don’t try to always have the last word. I’m not saying you should bite your tongue all the time and swallow everything until you feel suffocated. It is perfectly fine to tell someone you don’t agree with them and that you are not happy with a situation. But having the last word at all costs means fighting for fighting’s sake and that’s nothing you should do with a person you love. Keep in mind: your husband is your friend and lover, not your rival. No need to fight a battle that’s not worth it. All the best!

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  17. I got married last month, and have been with my guy for 4 years now. Similar to Distressed, when we began the relationship as 21 year olds, we weren’t sufficiently mature enough to handle the ups and downs that come with ANY relationship.

    I think the LW’s main problems in her marriage stem from not being able to handle conflict in a healthy way.
    I’d like to try and enumerate the rules we’ve made for our fights and hopefully this will help the LW to navigate her own with her husband.

    1. We are sure we love each other, and accept our fights as inevitable, given our extremely stubborn and dominant personalities.

    2. No swearing or personal attacks allowed during the fight- we use civil language and (try) to avoid raising our voices- this magically helps to make it sound more like an argument (!)

    3.Getting emotional is not allowed. I get easily emotional too, so if I do find myself tearing up, we stop and take a ‘break’- till I compose myself. It’s obviously hard, but getting overly emotional (IMHO) makes even a trivial squabble into SOMETHING BIG and distorts your valid points.

    4.No unnecessary prolongation of a fight- we take turns in having the last word, never let the heat get out of hand and most importantly, don’t feel any negativity at the end.

    5. Using friends and family as sources of support-
    I think this is vital and important. I tell my husband my problems, naturally, but if I want to unproductively vent about issues that have nothing to do with him/our relationship, I usually talk to my siblings/dad/best friend. Treating one person as your shrink can be enormously stressful for them- so divvy it up, and (this goes without saying) , return the favour too.

    Like

    • Love your rules! They sound similar to the ones we try to follow. I’d like to add that we don’t believe in the “don’t go to bed angry” thing. I find that when we keep fighting through bedtime, I’m even more cranky than I started with. So there are times we go to bed angry, stay angry through the next day and then figure out what happened over some wine the next evening. Unless it’s something pressing, simple disagreements are better sorted out in a calm mind after you’ve had enough time pondering over them. This works for us.

      Like

  18. Well… not having been in any serious relationship so far, I find it difficult to relate to you. But I find that regular workouts can help with emotional problems. It has always worked for me and for other people I know too. Go for a furious game (any sport) or jog and you will feel great.

    Like

  19. learn to love yourself, see a therapist for couples therapy and ind therapy, it will improve you r life to hear someones perspective.
    I’d say open a blog or diary and vent if you have to , our frustrations need an outlet but c’mon it cant be the same person for years and years and your husband is at fault too, he enabled your behavior and now refuses to accommodate you, cold war never helped anyone, he needs to mature too – hence the couples therapy.

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  20. I have also been with my hubby for 8 years, since the young age of 20 years old, so in a sense I can relate to the aspect of growing together. In many ways I feel that I have become a woman over the course of our relationship.
    The fact is that all couples fight. All couples go through tough times and have different styles of communicating. I feel as though you should discuss feelings in a calm manner, so it does not turn out into a fight. What you can do, is every time you feel emotional, write it in a journal to release the emotions. If it is still bothering you after a week, then make a list of the issues and talk to your partner about it. A lot of the fights couples have are over silly, petty things – you have to ask yourself – would this matter in five years? If not, let it go. Or confide in a close friend, who will be honest with you.
    I would also recommend going to a couples counsellor to resolve bigger issues. There may be ways of delivering the message that could be hurtful, and they can help give tips of how to communicate in a healthy way.
    Sometimes all couples do is “problem talk” when the minute they sit down together alone all they talk about is problems and then it leads to a big fight, instead of just sitting and enjoying the time together.
    Another thing that I’ve found very important, as a young bride, is to have a life of your own outside your relationship. Have interests, hobbies, and a social life which is not shared with your spouse. This is healthy, it gives you a sense of independence, and it stops blaming them for all your problems.
    For more advice —> http://madh-mama.blogspot.ca/2013/02/best-marriage-advice-i-have-received.html

    Like

  21. Dear LW,
    If you are in Hyderabad, then please contact
    http://www.roshnihyd.org/ourteam.html as they have really good therapists. I personally used their services and if you can share your e-mail id here, I can mail the contact details of my therapist. Even if you are not in Hyderabad, they can arrange sessions through skype and can suggest someone in your city.

    Like

  22. I agree with others that couples therapy can be helpful. However, it can be helpful only when you have a better understanding of your situation and your challenges. Going into therapy without having some idea of what you desire or what you would like to change is often unhelpful. If you kind of know what’s broken or what’s not right in your relationship, you can start on the path to fixing it, with your counselor’s help.

    Regarding what’s not quite “right” in your relationship – 2 things stood out for me in your email. “completely emotionally dependent on him” and “terrible fights”. I will comment on these –

    “completely emotionally dependent on him” or being “madly in love”
    – It would be good to understand what a healthy relationship entails – we have so few role models in our parents’ generation, in movies and romantic novels. In a healthy relationship, both partners give each other space. They have some friends and interests in common but they also have other friends, other hobbies that they pursue on their own. This makes the relationship less suffocating and the times spent together are more joyful. Yes, you can confide in each other, especially the significant things, but no, you don’t have to keep each other abreast of every single problem, every minute of the day. That’s suffocating. We must learn to deal with some problems on our own or talk to other people (besides our partners/spouses) such as friends, co-workers, parents, etc.
    “terrible fights”
    – Yes, these happen when we don’t follow the rules of communication and the rules of disagreement. The basic rules are no name calling, attack the problem not the person, use your I-statements, listen and empathize even when you disagree, take turns talking, no yelling or shouting. Emotions are allowed as long as they are not disrespectful to the other person. When you find the disagreement turning into an unpleasant argument, you both decide to walk away, think about it on your own, and re-group the next day, and try to conduct the same disagreement with more respect and understanding. Walking away and then shutting down doesn’t help – it leads to more resentment and bitterness. Ideally, the next day, both of you must be willing to see or at least acknowledge a little more of each other’s position. Remember there is no such thing as the “last word”. It is possible to say, “So, that’s how you feel. You think my mother was behaving out of bounds.” You are not agreeing but you are acknowledging the other’s feelings. It’s okay to feel differently.

    Best of luck with the couples therapy if you do decide to pursue it. Beware of bad counselors – they come in all types. Therapy must be helpful – judge for yourself if sessions with a particular counselor are working or not.

    Like

  23. Dear All,

    I am so glad I mustered the courage to hit that ‘send’ button after writing the email to IHM.

    After reading the comments I have understood that I really don’t know how to handle my issues/emotions independently. As far as I can remember, my husband was always there to handle my emotional reactions to all the issues of my life. From getting less marks in a subject in college to colleague playing politics in office, he was the first person I would turn to.
    I got so used to this that I never realized he might get exasperated at a point of time. And this is what has happened in the last few months. He is a different man and I don’t know how to deal with it.

    I will definitely go for counseling as suggested by most of you.

    @Kay – Please share your therapists number

    pasqueflower101@gmail.com

    Thank you for the help and I hope to emerge an emotionally stronger person

    Like

    • Distressed,
      By getting professional counseling you may be able see your situation and his situation in a different perspective. But do not expect miracles. As your hubby is not yet willing for counseling you will still have to take initiative to try to repair the relationship. The communication deadlock has to be breached. Texting/emails, instead of verbal communication may help.

      Like

      • Arun,
        I can’t agree with the suggestion to text/email. Some conversations just have to be had in person because texting leaves too much open for interpretation. Tears or smiles must be shared in person. Just my humble opinion.

        Like

        • Krith, That of course is true. But a person may have a valid point to give across but may keep breaking down and crying. This exaperates the other partner. So texting can be a temporary solution. Though the verbal communication should surely start again.

          Like

    • My dear girl. Keeping quiet when your husband does something to irritate you will not help cos you will still feel resentful.
      Arguments are a part of any relationship (not just husband and wife) and if you just keep mute, you will not be happy.

      Both of you, BOTH, need to speak to a good counselor.

      Good luck!

      Like

    • all the best
      you said” handle my emotional reactions to all the issues of my life. ” the eg you gave are not just emotional issues, they are real problems that you must learn to deal with yourself , why should your husband sort those out for you and even if he does can he do it to your satisfaction.
      just a thought, but you are inthe right path, become reliant, you are a confident woman who can handle her issues , dont worry , try and it will work.

      Like

  24. Distressed… when I read this.. it was totally my case. I hav been in relation with ma cousin for 8 years since young age of 14, and married at 22. I hav literally grown up with him. 2 years back when i started ma career..i saw the same problems that u have mentioned. Exactly the same way I responded. Being quiet, letting go off things i didn’t like, not shouting back at wrong angers…everything u said. It was literally making me act in front him.

    I too experienced the same distance. But, now I have overcome it🙂 when I realised that the root of major fights were his possessiveness. That too is a part of love and I learn to take them positively.

    Just love him MORE, MORE and MORE. You can, because we have loved and grown up. Forget everything and without expecting anything…love him. This has brought only happiness to ma life. Am sure it would help you for sure. Be your own counselor. Help yourself along with him. A third person may complicate things. Love will get back your old life very soon.

    Good luck🙂
    Nisha.

    Like

        • Set the bird free, if it belongs to you it will come back else it was never yours in the first place. — or something like that..

          Nope possessiveness to a large degree and excessively causing fights is a sign not of love but of a needy inferiority complex.🙂

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      • How arrogant of you to assume that you are the only person who knows what love is. Many of us here are probably much older than you, have know love in different ways. Possessiveness is a sign not of love, but insecurity.

        Like

        • Nisha, I think you’re getting a lot of downvotes because in many, many cases, possessiveness is NOT the answer. I agree there could be a degree of it in a relationship to make the other person feel loved and wanted, but sometimes it can be terribly stifling and far too dependent.

          LW, I think counselling is a sound option. I say this as someone who has tried it, and it helps. There are no miracles but it helps to set out what you feel and what you expect and want to someone who has no vested interest in either party.

          I know it can seem heartbreaking when you realise that your partner might suddenly want space, that he finds it difficult to deal with you, that you both are unable to communicate in the way you used to. But that doesn’t dilute the affection in any way; it just means that you’re both growing and your relationship is growing too. Some amount of independence in a relationship is a good thing. Couples should have their own friends, their own venting partners, and so on to be able to shed the unnecessary baggage they’d otherwise bring into the relationship itself.

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  25. I am sorry to say this. But I don’t completely understand what’s happening here. She is a very emotional person and her husband is fed up of it and would want her to grow up is how I understood this. Is there something here that I don’t understand about this relationship?

    Sorry. To me it just sounds as if the honeymoon is over.

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  26. Dear Distressed,

    Please do not even think of a divorce. You have an extremely nice husband, inlaws and parents. You lead a life that many girls dream of. Your husband has endured all your emotional upheavals, accepted temper tantrums, and still loved you. He is the best man for you, trust me. I am an extremely emotional woman, married for the last 16 years to one of the most wonderful person on this earth. He is just like your husband, compassionate, sympathetic and loving. There is nothing that I do not share with him. Please take a deep breath, gather yourself, and think about the pros and cons of divorcing this wonderful person! I suggest you visit a therapist and talk to her about your problems at work. From your email, it is clear that your family life is settled. You may need help handling your emotions. Trust me, I have had sessions with a very good therapist and it has really improved our relationship.

    I wish you all the best, girl. But please, don’t think of divorcing such a wonderful human being.

    Best,
    Sarbani

    Like

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