What are REAL relationships like?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by army wife, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. army wife

    army wife New Member

    I watch t.v. shows and movies where relationships are much different from mine. mainly shows. The man usually listens to what the women says and the women makes most the decisions and when the women is upset the man usually comforts her. Is it really like that in real life? :crying: I feel like my relationship with my husband is rare. My husband deff wears the pants in the relationship. anything he says goes. He makes all the decisions regarding the money, anything to do with the money and I'm not just talking about $200 investments I'm talking about what kind of toliet paper we get and what brand of foods we get. for example he won't buy me real butter only margine and won't buy me any shampoo other than suave and v-8 (I think that's what they are called). :angrygirl:every once in a while he will but only 10% of the time. My husband NEVER comforts me when I cry! Is he suppose to? I thought that was only on t.v. until recently. he just rolls his eyes or tells me to leave the room. I rarely start crying in front of him unless I just can't help it. Like if I'm upset about something. Crazy, but he's usually the reason why I'm crying. So, as a couple are we odd or are my t.v. shows full of lies? I have social anziety so I seldom spend time with other couples other than my husbands cousin and his wife but he emotionally abuses her too and calls her fat and cheats on her all the time. I never see them any more anyway only when we were moved at Fort Campbell. But in ways I am jelous of her because he is better than my husband in three ways, he lets her make more decisions with money, he is more of a father than my husband, and they do more as a family.

    So I have always told my husband I had social anziety, ADD, and depression, learning disability. :tongue:and he has always told me I was using excuses and basically to get over it, and then all the sudden he comes back from Afghanastan with these anziety problems, social anziety mainly, and I hate saying this about my husband because he is usually the opposite, but he is milking it I feel. And one day i finally said something to him about how he had PTSD and i thought I had PPD and he told me I don't even know what that means and I don't even know what anziety is and I don't understand. :pouting: No I don't understand what he went through but I understand what my problems are. grr, so anyway thank you for reading my rant. I'm not sure if I'm looking for advice or sympathy,comfort or an answer. I guess a little of all. I'm not the type of person to make up disorders i really don't feel like I have, nor am I the type of person to make up any lies at all about my situation. :frown:
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Just my take on this, ok? I'm an ultra-conservative type of person in an ultra-conservative family...
    My man wears the pants, too. VERY much so.
    But... while he has input on and veto over financial decisions... my opinion counts, too.
    Either of us has veto rights, in fact, on most things. Decorating. Who wears what. (I got him into wearing jeans, he likes certain styles better on me than others... we don't dress to please ourselves, we dress to please our partner.) What kind of vehicle to buy, and what brand of winter tires to use. (what I care about in a vehicle and what he cares about are totally different... as long as my needs are taken care of, I don't care what we drive... and no, a Corvette doesn't meet my needs, but it doesn't meet HIS needs either, Know what I mean??)

    But... lack of empathy? THAT is not real.
    What you see on TV isn't real either. No man I've ever been around is THAT "romantic" and "sappy" and gooing and cooing over a spouse or SO.
    But in a "real" relationship, there is mutual respect.
    For each others needs, wishes, tastes, opinions.
    Not that any of us get anything close to all of that going our way... but we are HEARD. Respected for having an opinion.

    No advice... as you can see, I have a "keeper" for a husband. But I can tell you that something is out of whack, somewhere.
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I dont think anyone lives Leave it to Beaver or The Cosby Show though when I was young I used to long for Bill Cosby to adopt me...lol. The shows in the 80s that were all perfect happy families were just good wholesome tv families. I think most families are a whole lot more like Roseanne. She had a houseful of difficult child's and her and her husband were fat and worked blue collar jobs that barely paid the bills. I really related to her. LOL.

    Now I do think there is a whole lot going on with your husband his having ptsd and there isnt much you can do about that. I would definitely look into some type of support group for you as the spouse of a Wounded Warrior. Im sure they are out there. In fact,that is who I would contact for support. My oldest son is dating a woman who served overseas and she has some physical injuries as well as PTSD and it is hard. He does support her and even attends some of her counseling appointments at the VA. That would be another resource for you. The VA is free for vets who are discharged. Or at least she is going free. She has been approved for some amount of service related disability. Maybe you could talk your husband into going to see someone there. I do know it is tough for men though.

    Your husband is probably trying to control you as a way of trying to control everything in his life because he feels he cant control anything else. I think if you go to therapy on your own they can advise you best as how to proceed. While our first instinct is to say "oh hell no" that might not be the best thing in your situation. Your situation is unique. I do think you need to get into some sort of therapy though with someone who specializes in the spouses of men and women coming home from the war. We really cant tell you that exact information.
  4. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I'm used to seeing/being in relationships that are closer to partnerships or where the woman does most of the decisions and the man does the heavy lifting. My Dad took care of everything (and I mean everything, from shopping and cleaning to finances and all the minor detail stuff) because Mom was in bad health and couldn't really do much, but you better believe she spoke her mind and would override him on stuff when she felt like it. Every now and then when he felt it was really warranted he would override her (when it came to how to raise me, mostly).

    In both my previous marriages all the major decisions fell on me because my ex's just didn't want to be responsible for making the choice or didn't have the knowledge to decide financial matters, etc. In the first marriage I was also the main money-maker as well, though both expected me to do all the domestic stuff that I hate so much.

    All of the men mentioned above had times when they would comfort and times when they felt it best to walk away from a crying woman or girl and let them sort it out for themselves or because they couldn't handle a crying woman (some men just get lost in that situation and don't know what to do).

    The guy I'm with now will always try to comfort me with a hug first unless I signal to him that I need to be alone. He's very domestic (like my Dad) and I'm content to let him be domestic. I'm the one teaching him how to shop but he's not picky about what gets bought too much (he has his own place anyway, but he's here so much it's like he lives with us). We take turns dealing with Kiddo when she's in one of her nasty moods and he's great at keeping me on an even keel (which keeps the whole situation calmer). It's a true partnership all the way around. We take turns doing things. Some chores he doesn't mind and he does, others I don't mind and I do. Obviously our finances aren't combined but I have the feeling if we were one household we'd discuss the big purchases and also keep separate accounts for our own spending.
  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Seems like if you're at home, those are your "front lines," just as his front lines are true military maneuvers.
    I would hire a babysitter and get away to sit down and renegotiate your marriage.
    Most marriages need to be renegotiated every 10 yrs or so.
    If he won't cooperate, sign up with-a marriage and family therapist. If he won't go, go by yourself.
    You are clearly unhappy.
  6. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Ditto to this. To me it sounds like your husband is controlling you because he feels out of control. It has probably a lot to do with anxiety.

    Those TV-shows are just TV-shows. The ones with relationship stuff are made for women and the relationships in them are made to look that production thinks women would like the relationships and men be. They are simply not real.

    However there are different kinds of relationships and power and control can be divided different ways. Around here where i live, power balance in relationships tends to be strongly tipped to women advantage. Women tend to make the everyday big decisions and men do mostly heavy lifting. In really big decisions also mens tend to get a veto though. It often works just fine, men don't have to take responsibility of every day matters, just do as they are told, women get to decide how things are done and both can complain (men that they are treated like kids and women that they have to make everything happen.)

    My own marriage goes bit against the norm around here. My husband is loud and likes to control many things. When we married I came part of his and his family's life, not so much other way around. We for example live in the house that has always belonged to his family, we are living surrounded by his family, all the family things are done with his family etc. I wanted that and I'm mostly okay with that still. My husband is also social and outgoing and takes a lead publicly. I tend to follow and smile and nod and be pleasant. So for the outsiders it probably looks like husband is certainly the one controlling our family life.

    More privately we have separated our responsibilities and we don't much interfere to other ones responsibility areas and decisions made in those. Of course for the big things especially when it comes to kids we do interfere if we feel a need. husband tends to be more vocal also privately and wants to make decisions, but he does listen when I put my foot down. And if I really want something I tend to get it.

    Our finances are only partly combined. We both have our own accounts and we have combined saving account for bigger purchases together. Our everyday expenses we have divided so that husband pays the bills, I buy food and kids clothes. He makes more money than I so he pays bigger part of our expenses but we are both left with some of our own money too. husband more than I because his bigger income but he also contributes more to our joined savings account. We don't much question how other one is using their 'own money' and only discuss about big purchases (like cars and such.) We both also have our own investments and property, much of it being non-marital property. I have to say that I wouldn't be able to live in relationship without my own money. Even if finances are tight it is very important to have some own money because without that one has to feel trapped even if the spouse would be providing well. When kids were young I was home few years and that was something I wouldn't had been willing to do if I hadn't had some of my own money also then. Other than those years I have been working and it has always been important for me to know that I could provide myself and my kids by myself. Even when husband has much higher income and his income makes it possible to have a lifestyle we have and I enjoy that, for my self esteem it has been important to know that I can make it also without him.
  7. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hi, army wife. I think for me the nub of the matter is not what sort of relationship you have and how the power/decision-making is divided but how comfortable you are with the arrangement you have. And clearly you are not comfortable with it, and that has to be a matter of concern for you. I remember a speaker/therapist/writer with whom I did a little work talking about how there were two fidelities in any relationship - fidelity to the relationship, to the other person, and fidelity to oneself. It sounds very much like your fidelity to yourself is being badly compromised and you are unhappy about it, unsurprisingly. How do you sort this out? I would second the advice of therapy, though I think if you embark on therapy it may take you to unexpected places.

    Don't put up with being treated like rubbish, my dear.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there, hon (I call everyone hon...I'm a woman...hehe). First of all, forget TV. Most relationships aren't like that. Most men are not that sensitive and have trouble showing emotions and caring. My husband is a good man who would do anything for us but great displays of affection embarass him. As long as his heart is good, I don't care. However, he is not controlling. But a lot of men are.

    I agree that if you aren't happy in your relationship, you need marriage counseling. There is nothing wrong with getting a little outside input. It's like tuning up your car. Every long term relationship needs adjusting and tweaking. Would your husband agree to see a therapist?

    Having said that, I do think your hub is over-the-top controlling. Personally, it would have to change if it were me. I couldn't live that way.
  9. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Army wife -

    There are lots of different kinds of relationships. The "man wears the pants" kind is probably more common than you think. I know there is a lot of that here in my ultra-conservative, bible-thumping, old-fashioned-family-values area...

    But to your REAL issue -

    Anxiety can manifest in control issues. A person with anxiety will often try and control absolutely everything in order to avoid the anxiety (that includes their emotions as well as little everyday decisions). If your husband is newly home from the front....AND you are first seeing these kinds of extreme control issues...I would agree that he is suffering some major anxiety or PTSD type of stuff.

    Is there help available for him? Is he willing to attend counseling for his issues?
  10. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    AW, first of all, many gentle hugs for you......you are in need of some comfort. Others have offered good advice, I would agree with not only couples counseling but individual counseling as well. You have every right to be in a relationship where you are comfortable, feel heard, feel seen, feel safe, feel valued, respected, nourished and connected. It sounds to me like you need to find yourself, to determine who you are, what you want, how you want to be loved...........you will likely require help to do that. For me, relationships have been a mirror for how much I love, accept and value myself. As I have learned to understand my own needs and how to communicate them, all my relationships, with everyone, have improved dramatically. And, I got a lot of help to do that since I wasn't taught that in my childhood family. I think Janet said it well, you're in a unique situation with various anxiety and PTSD issues which will require a professional trained in those issues to help you to untangle it. I'm sorry you are feeling the way you do, it hurts to not feel understood............I hope you find a way to feel the love you deserve in the way you need to feel it...........Lots of gentle hugs coming your way............
  11. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    I hope you seek some assistance to tackle the variety of issues from proper diagnosis for both of you, to marriage counseling to just how to get along.
    I think healthy relationships change as life circumstances change. While he was away in Afghanistan I'm sure you had to do everything. It worked out.
    I don't know what works for you both but I had a dad who was definitely"he who earns the money has the power" so I really made sure A) I was not financially dependent B) I never married a guy whose overiding reason for marrying me was a paycheck.
    I hope you come to peace with who you are and find a way to make things work with husband and that he wants a better healthier relationship.
  12. bby31288

    bby31288 Active Member

    AW. Hugs to you! Tv shows = not real life. How long have you been married? I'm going to go with the fact that your husband will not go to counseling. Or probably allow you too.

    You two need a break. So you can talk. Is there any way you can get someone to watch your kids even for an hour? Have you had check up with your own doctor lately to discuss your anxiety? You cannot control DHs PTSD but get help for you. When your feeling better you might be able to help him more. Start a journal. Write down your feelings. Get it out. Brainstorm on things you can do for you and the kids.

    If he sees positive changes in you he might decide to want help for him. As far as him controlling the food shopping. What if you wanted something like shampoo and you give him a coupon. Maybe if it goes on sale with a coupon he will buy it. Here my husband does the food shopping. Whatever he buys is fine. My kids are grown now and work. If they want special shampoo they buy it themselves. But I'm a lucky one. My husband is very caring and hugs me multiple times a day. We try to be equal on bills and stuff and if I need to be heard I speak up.

    I guess what I'm saying is work on you. Be the best you for the kids. Hopefully your husband will follow.
  13. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Army Wife.......

    Hi and Hugs. Big ones. I think a lot of people have suggested many wonderful things either from a perspective of what they've been through or from a perspective of what they feel would be right. Until you actually live with someone that is a control freak, to the point of picking out your clothes, and choosing what shampoo will be purchased regardless of why kind of hair you have, that is very much MY WAY OR THE HIGH WAY in his personality and thinking to an extreme? It's hard to be a free thinker and imagine having your every move controlled. I had no free will...and odder yet was the fact that mine was on drugs 90% of the time and addle brained - so he wasn't around TO make the decisions that put him in control - so if I made a decision outside of HIS thinking? The abuse was worse. I guess what I'm saying is I don't walk in your shoes so I don't know how severe your isolation is. I do know that if I cried? I got beat for it. After a while it got to the point where I had no tears left. None. The mind control and the abuse were of a level hardly seen by even my therapist. AND I knew it was going on, but I felt so helpless to do anything about it. It was like if I tried to make a move and change anything to help myself he would have surely killed me for it for exposing ANYTHING he deemed as a weakness in running his "ship". (hope that makes sense).....

    So what I did was -----pretend to go out and shoot pool, and have a drink or two with a friend on Tuesdays and what I really did was go to counseling through Mental Health. I had suggested the marriage counseling for both of us.....at ten years of marriage? We were beyond an impasse. He even wanted to renew our vows, and to me that was sublime because I kept thinking - You never honored the first ones. WHY make a mockery again. When I kept putting off the ceremony? I took a beating, but in a sense for me it was worth it. I kept on with therapy for over a year to devise a plan for MY LIFE. Not necessarily HOW to leave him....or what was wrong with HIM.....but to figure out and prove to everyone else......that "IT IS SOOOOOO NOT ME" that has the problem. See.....and I'm saying this from my heart....and brain....(years later) but while he is controling and manipulative and has issues? So do you. Lots of them. At this point in your life? You're asking US "Why do I stay????" And the serious truth of that is......"WE DON"T KNOW"......the answer to that question lies in your past, and how you reacted to situations in your youth, and tons of things that formed your personality and made you who y ou are and created the person that is the one that accepted this man for his behaviors......and .......WHY you stay. There is an answer to the why....but it is a journey for YOURSELF to figure it out. It's an awesome one that you don't have to face alone.....but you do have to initiate.

    IF he won't go? If he feels he has NO ISSUES? Well-----what did you expect him to say?????? Seriously???? "UM....Oh yes I''ve been meaning to talk to you about that darling, I see you are unhappy, and I'm just not able to respond to you, YES YES lets do therapy and work on MY issues of how I treat you like dung?" ..........<-------SURE that will happen........OR you can get yourself into some FREE/SLIDING scale therapy.....and figure out WHAT IN THE H@()* is up with YOUR life and WHY you put up with the WHAT y ou do.....and WHERE you are going and WHEN you are going to make changes.......and HOW to get yourself HAPPY. Don't depend on anyone else to figuire that out......YOU DO IT.

    And by the way......if it takes 12 years........to do that? Well then? That is 12 years that you could have spent doing NOTHING......and being MISERABLE......with NO end game ressult OR.........12 years invested in YOURSELF wiith goals towards your happiness, possibly figuring out what makes you tick, do you WANT to salvage this relationship ........why do you.......don't you? And have a better life. Maybe with maybe without him. That's up to you.

    Hope this helps.......But I'll be damned if Ill ever sneak around to do what I like because it makes someone in control angry.

    Hugs & Love
  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Im sorry, I think we are being way too hard on her husband. None of us has walked in his shoes. At least as far as I know we dont have any currently serving or recently served members here. I personally know some guys who have recently come back from Iraq and Afghanistan and they are having a very hard time dealing with what went on over there. Simply seeing certain sights, hearing a car backfire, smelling certain smells can make them flash back to being back over there and they are not the people they were before they went over. These are not bad people, they have a bad disorder. Something none of us can even imagine. These people put their lives on the line for us and we shouldnt just assume that he is wanting to be an ass. Maybe he is but I think we should give him the benefit of the doubt.
  15. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    AW... The real question for me is, has he always been like this or is it new since returning from the desert?

    I am a control freak. REALLY bad. The more things fall apart, the tighter I pull the reins. Unfortunately that tends to make things worse, not better. If your husband is a step-in-take-charge kind of person... Type A personality... He is like me. And when there is nothing to control? Anxiety hits.

    If this is new, see if you can contact the VA... If he has PTSD he needs to be treated.

    And... :hugs:
  16. Parker

    Parker New Member

    I really don't get why a man cannot comfort someone who needs comforting...this is beyond my realm. If my wife is upset, I hold her and let her cry, I'm her husband, that's what I'm here for. Today I comforted a woman I didn't even know but she was so upset it would have been cruel to walk away. I'm lying here awake thinking about her when I should be sleeping.
  17. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I'm not going to offer any advice except to tell you what my mother in law told me.

    father in law was in WWII. He saw some nasty action in China, lived through some pretty horrid conditions. He was over there for at least 4-5 yrs. A long time. When he left to go over there they were a young married couple with a baby. Not super young, but late 20's. They'd known each other nearly all their lives. mother in law said she'd only come close to divorce once in 50 plus years of marriage. It was during the months following his return from the war. She said in so many ways he was not the man she married. He was harder, harsher, had little to no patience. At times he could seem cold and unfeeling, he could be unyielding, "my way or the highway". At first mother in law tried to be patient and understanding. He'd been through heck and back. He needed time to adjust to being back. But as time went by it didn't improve. In some ways it got worse. Finally, unable to discuss it with him without it becoming a major blow out, she packed her bags and those of husband's older brothers. (he was now 5 yrs old) father in law was stunned when she headed for the door. mother in law was not one to threaten. In fact, she'd not said a word. He asked her what she was doing. She told him she was leaving until the man she married finally came home to her. Her dad picked them up.

    mother in law didn't say how long it took for father in law to realize that his actions (even due to good reasons) pushed away the woman he loved so very much. But he showed up one day, humble, near tears asking for her forgiveness and to give him another chance. It wasn't happily ever after. But if she pointed out he was reverting back to previous behavior he would at least listen to her and try to correct it.

    father in law had men he was responsible for over there. He took that responsibility very seriously, being the man he was. During those years he got used to telling, not asking, ordering....expecting those orders to be carried out without question ect. He'd carried that back with him and didn't realize until she walked out the door. Being stubborn as he was it took him a while longer to admit it. They came extremely close to divorce over it.

    Guess what I'm saying is that habits of behavior form over time, especially during time of war. Maybe your husband has not realized that he is ordering you around like a soldier, instead of talking to you as his wife?
  18. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Parker... war does strange things to men (and to women, just fewer of them that serve in active duty).
  19. Parker

    Parker New Member

    I totally agree, I come from a long line of armed forces men.
  20. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Armywife, are you still here?