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+1 vote

I am writing my story here because I have no close friends to share with and I would like to get outside perspective on this. The real question is in the 2nd paragraph. But a little background here -I have been married for more than 5 years. For most of these years, I have experienced emotional neglect by my spouse. He does not want to hear if something bad happens with me and I need somebody for support.  He does not want to hear if something good happens with me and I want to share. He does not want me to talk when he is eating, relaxing, working, taking a break from work, driving, or getting ready for sleep. If he does grant me a few minutes to speak, he remains glued to his phone screen throughout and when I am finished speaking says “ok” without looking up. This includes the times when I have something important and meaningful to share. He finds a way to punch holes in my happy cloud if I have something happy to share. I am a small artist of sorts and if I want to show him my creations, he has no interest or time for it. If I want us to spend time together, it feels like I have to ask him for an appointment and it always has to be an activity of his choice. And even if we have set this time for us to spend together, he doesn’t want to talk with me meaningfully, or let me show him my creations. His expressions change sharply. Condescension and devaluing my interests or thoughts is common.

Anyway, recently, he complained about me giving him his breakfast late. So, the next day, I gave him his breakfast early. To this he commented sarcastically about how I normally give him breakfast at 2 pm..which is way overexaggerated. I tried to explain to him why it gets late sometimes, to which he continued to comment sarcastically, briefly, and then ignored me completely, all the while glued to his computer screen. Now, looking back, there was no need for me to explain anything, because he is a grown man and can get his own breakfast when he wants it. But at that time, I was feeling really bad, like I had failed him, and was desperately trying to explain. Its common for him to condescend or say something sarcastic, belittling and to ignore me or dismiss my concerns. I am tired of it. This time, I got indignant, and swiveled his chair around to make him look at me. This action put him in a rage and he got up from the chair with a menacing look, grew tall, expanded his chest and advanced towards me with angry words. I was in shock. We were physically very close and the 2nd step he took towards me (still with menacing look) sent me crashing onto chairs and boxes behind me. I got up and left for the sake of my safety. But it has been a few days since then and he has not apologized and has not shown any sign of remorse. I am talking with him only when necessary and keeping it as short as possible. (I still reminded him by text about some documents that were due for his parents to submit). He on the other hand acts as if everything is normal, nothing ever happened.

Frankly, I don’t know what to do. I personally think it is unacceptable to threaten your spouse with show of superior physical strength for any reason. I can never knowingly or unknowingly bring myself to slap anyone, and if somebody fell crashing onto chairs and boxes because of me, I would instantly apologize and help them get up and try to make sure they were ok. But my spouse is acting as if everything is normal.

Any advice and thoughts would be welcome.

in Married Life by (5,030 points)

6 Answers

+3 votes
Best answer

What you are describing is bullying, abusive behavior. You need to decide what you want your life to be like and then follow through on it.

It sounds to me as if you are in a situation that -- at BEST -- is a "roommate" situation.  He is not your spouse any more; he isn't your loving husband, nor are you considered an equal by him.  The best you can do is to mentally adjust to the idea that there will not be any "relationship" left in your relationship.  Don't expect praise; you won't get it.  Don't engage in conversations in which there is no real dialogue.  Just live your life.  Continue with your work, your hobbies, etc.  Expand your social life to include your friends more often.  Perhaps become more involved with community or church activities.

Don't punish yourself by attempting to create what isn't there.  Just leave him alone; obviously, he prefers living his life in his own head.

When you are criticized, respond not with hostility but with what *I* call "compassionate indifference."  For example, if he says, "My breakfast is really unacceptably late today.  What's wrong with you that you can't get breakfast on the table on time?"  You might respond with something that re-states his concerns without accepting any blame.  "Oh, I'm sorry you are upset over not getting breakfast at this time. I can see how you would be disappointed, and I'm sorry you feel that way.  However, I'll be having breakfast in about 15 minutes.  If you would like to join me, you're welcome to do so."  Then just go make your breakfast and if he shows up, he get some.  If not, his loss.  After a couple of days with this, he should figure it out.

On the other hand, if he becomes enraged by your "refusal" to have his breakfast ready for him, then you need to get ready to move out.  Contact a counseling service through your community or church.  Check on the location and services of women's centers in your area and talk it over with them about what steps you may have to take in order to protect yourself from being physically abused.

To review:  1) Ignore him when possible  2) limit your expectations and interactions with him  3) be polite but not subservient  4) make plans for leaving should that become necessary (this will avoid having to try to leave in a panic late at night and not having an idea of where to go) 5) contact shelters/authorities to alert them if your situation deteriorates or becomes threatening.

by (949,270 points)
+2 votes

You wrote this: 

Frankly, I don’t know what to do. I personally think it is unacceptable to threaten your spouse with show of superior physical strength for any reason. I can never knowingly or unknowingly bring myself to slap anyone, and if somebody fell crashing onto chairs and boxes because of me, I would instantly apologize and help them get up and try to make sure they were ok. But my spouse is acting as if everything is normal. 

    And I think that its high time that you left this person you call your husband. He shows no respect whatsoever to you, he doesn't have time for you, has you walking on egg shells and he is now acting with threatening behavior. Before it gets any worse, find a way to leave this man.  Stay with a friend, family, or on your own if you can. Do not tell him of your whereabouts, and if he should threaten you again or comes out to heart you in any way, contact police about it and tell them you fear for your safety because of what he did. Try to get some sort of protection from them on paper. You don't say if you work, but if you do the better for you. 

    Good luck to you and I wish you all the best. Keep in touch. 

by (1,251,850 points)
+3 votes

Amy has given good advice.

by (1,626,610 points)
+3 votes

It’s not acceptable behavior from a stranger let alone from a spouse.  Why are staying with someone who so obviously doesn’t want you around unless you’re waiting on him? I’d leave. Being single is better than being used and disrespected. 

by (2,506,670 points)
+2 votes

Are you serious? IMO, you just described the worst relationship one would want to find themselves in. From what I read there is no mutual respect, no adoration, no compassion and least of all love. You appear to be taken for granted, there to serve your husband's every whim. Do you consider how you're treated to be fair? Loving? Now he has become physical with you? Wrong. I'm no professional, but, IMO, this a very unhealthy arrangement you're in. You deserve to be treated better than this. I'm not trying to sound insensitive, just how I feel. 

by (325,210 points)
+2 votes

It's not acceptable. But that doesn't stop people like yourself putting up with it. People crave being in a relationship so much they will tolerate anything. This guy is an idiot, sorry. You have two choices. Keep putting up with it and stop complaining or leave him.

by (4,305,761 points)
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