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Can You Really "rebuild" A Marriage?


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I got married and started a family young.  For most of my adult life, I have poured my heart & soul into being a good husband and father.

My WIFE wanted a "traditional" relationship, she couldn't wait to leave work and become a full-time stay at home mum.  Despite that, she has always had an unbalanced view of what family life should be.  Tasks that are considered traditionally a "father's" role such as working for a living, maintenance, gardening, etc, she has always refused to help with.  But on the other side she expects me to share in all other tasks equally.

She always wanted a large family, and I obliged her, but in truth she has been a lousy mother.

 

She blames me for everything that is wrong, and has ever gone wrong in our marriage.  Sure, I have made mistakes, but she still refuses to forgive me for arguments we had 25 years ago.

She has always accused me of not communicating, but I realised some time ago that she is the one with the problem.  She would get angry with me (usually over something trivial) but refuse to discuss it.  In fact she would literally scream at me "I'm not upset, but you're making upset by asking."  She will never discuss any serious problem honestly.

 

Perhaps the most telling actor, is that never (and I mean NEVER) in 30 years of marriage, has she ever apologised for anything.  I don't mean to say that there are things I'm still waiting for an apology for (I learnt long ago to just let things go) no, I mean she has literally never apologised for anything, nomatter how serious or trivial, never.

 

At the moment, we are both unemployed.  (As in I'm unemployed, she hasn't had a job for 25+ years.)  Her SOLE contribution to family life, is that she will take the kids  to school in the morning, provided I share this duty and collected them in the afternoon.  I have to do the cooking and everything else, and the children and I share the cleaning.  I even have to do the grocery shopping, because if I ask her to go she will come back with food for one meal plus a weeks supply of ice-creams, chocolates, chips, cookies, etc.

 

She always invents excuses for why she can't do things, and makes promises that she never keeps.

For example, our ageing and dysfunctional oven was the reason she couldn't cook any meals or clean or even tidy the kitchen.  So based on her promise I spent a lot of money remodelling the kitchen, and she STILL never sets foot there.

 

For most of this time, I have battled depression.  Combine this with the unhappiness in our marriage, and I have often not been the best father.  I am ashamed to say that my kids suffered because of our lousy marriage.  I have apologised to my kids and tried to make up for it.  She has done neither.

 

She is bad tempered, and nasty with it.  When angry (which is often) she will lash out verbally with what she knows will hurt the most.

She almost seems to delight in being obtuse and uncooperative so that she can force a conflict.

 

For most of our marriage, I have tried, I really have.  I have tried to be romantic, loving, spontaneous, and showered her with gifts.  On birthdays and anniversaries, its always up to me to make arrangements, and make the romantic gestures, always with no cooperation.  It's not like she isn't fussy, because she is, but when I ask her where she would like to go she will have no suggestion, but then scorn every suggestion I make.

 

Now I will admit, that some time back, I just gave up on our marriage.  To some extent I still made the gestures expected of me, but for the most part I was just fed up.

I am usually quite depressed, prone to dark thoughts, and always worry that the worst will happen.  It shocked me to realise recently, that if she'd dropped dead, I would have been relieved.

That's not to say that was an accurate thought, I would be devastated, and grief-struck, but the fact that it even entered my head, caused me to reflect on just how far our marriage had fallen.

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Hi! 

 

Im just checking to make sure that I understand correctly. She does no or near no cleaning, no cooking and nothing else in the house other than drop off the children in the morning? Sum total = takes the children to school? You work (when you had the job), cook, do the groceries, do half the cleaning (with the children) and pick the children up? 

 

To answer the title of the thread: yes I think it is but only if there are two healthy people in it or two people working at being healthy. If one person is unable to accept responsibility then that is decidedly unlikely. And it sounds like she may have very big issues indeed. Has she ever apologised to anyone else to your knowledge? 

Edited by Fizzle
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bob77,

I can identify with quite a bit of what you wrote, on both sides.  It sounds like you have been doing ALL the work in this relationship, and it's no wonder that you have  been suffering depression.  Your wife refuses to take responsibility for her weaknesses, and the damage those weaknesses have caused in your relationship and in your children. 

Yes, a marriage can be rebuilt.  But it takes both partners working very very hard.  I don't think your wife is capable of putting forth the equal effort it would take.  I have no doubt you could do your share of the work to rebuild things, but IT CANNOT BE ONLY YOU WORKING

My advice would be to get yourself into therapy, and do your best to get back to a healthier state of mind.  My guess is that your wife will not like this, because you will be changing the status quo.  Do it anyway, please. For your children if not for yourself.   Your marriage, the way you have described it, is very unhealthy.  Your wife sounds like a very toxic person, bob77. I'm sorry you have to struggle through this.  :hugs:

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Hi! 

 

Im just checking to make sure that I understand correctly. She does no or near no cleaning, no cooking and nothing else in the house other than drop off the children in the morning? Sum total = takes the children to school? You work (when you had the job), cook, do the groceries, do half the cleaning (with the children) and pick the children up?

 

Unfortunately yes.  It wasn't always this bad, but she has always had an unbalanced view of our marriage.

Part of the problem is that she is obsessed with making me do my share, but it's a one way street.  So she'll get outraged if I don't do 50% of the taxi duties, buts its ok for me to do 100% of almost everything else. 

This weird imbalance has always been there.

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   Your marriage, the way you have described it, is very unhealthy.  Your wife sounds like a very toxic person, bob77. I'm sorry you have to struggle through this.  :hugs:

 

It's not healthy.  I have stuck with it for my kids.  In Australia when couples split the children ALWAYS go with the mother, just the way it works.  So I figure my children are better off with me in the picture.  Thing is my youngest child is now 15.  When they reach adulthood I don't know what would keep my wife and I together, and worse I feel that she will become even more unreasonable.

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Bob77,

I'm sorry that the inequality in the Australian legal system means you have to put up with this.  For what it's worth, that's what it's like here in Oklahoma.  A mother can be a drug addict and the father can be good as gold, but the mother will still get custody. Really p*sses me off. 

 

I'm glad you're making sure your kids have a good example in you, they're lucky to have you.  I hope you can find a way to keep making it from day to day.  My youngest is 15 as well, and I don't know what I'm going to do when she leaves.  Do you have any hobbies or interests that help you feel renewed, something you enjoy? I've been doing a lot of trying to figure out who I am when I'm not a mom, and I haven't been a really good mom, anyway.  Struggling with depression all these years, there's a lot more my kids will need to forgive me for than I'd like.   I really hope you find the encouragement and support here on DF that you need and deserve. 

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  • 2 months later...

She sounds terribly selfish.

It also sounds like she takes advantage of you. What if one day you just decided to stop doing everything she tells you to and make her do her part? I don't think it's fair that you carry all the weight while she sits home doing nothing.

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