At wit's end

This probably doesn't belong on this forum, but I need to get it off my chest and I don't think just writing it down is quite going to do it. Sorry, this is probably going to wander a bit.

I've about had it with my hubby. He's in the army; he provides for us and I love him dearly, but it seems he does that absolute bare minimum to provide. He's an e4 and on the promotion list, but to get promoted he needs points. To get points he has to do what the army calls correspondence courses. What does he do? He looks at me. 'Hey, WE need to get these done so I can get promoted.' Yeah...we? Means Me. Not him, doing his own work so he can get promoted so he can switch to the job he wants, but me his wife.

His day: Gets up damn early and goes to PT. Comes back, either naps or eats or plays eve. Goes to work at nine. Comes home, plays eve. Eats at the desk while playing Eve. Expects me to play Eve with him. Goes to bed 'round midnight.

My day: Get up when the kids wake up. Feed 'em, change 'em, play with 'em. At some point I'm expected to clean the house, do all the laundry for four people, take care of the finances, clean the house after the kids get done with it before he gets home, and make dinner. Oh yeah, my kids are 10 months and 2 years. Now I'm also expected to do his correspondence work, which takes HOURS for me because I know NOTHING about the material. No army training, doncha know. Oh, and he calls me randomly from work to get on eve and take care of something he forgot to do in the five hours he was playing the night before.

I've learned in our almost 3 years of marriage that my husband is selfish. The day I went into labor with our firstborn, he wanted to drive both of us 2 hours away so he could get a new computer. When the car needed work, I dropped it off and walked home, then walked back to post to pick it up. (He was off that day.) Whenever I want to go somewhere and do something, the moment we get in the car he gets a headache and I get a huge guilt trip. And God forbid I ever contradict him--that's disrespectful. (He doesn't ALWAYS say that outright...) I dropped him off a couple of blocks away from his workplace so he could do some stuff and then took my kids to the store because it was over a hundred degrees in the car. He had to walk to work from where I dropped him off. I received an e-mail later that day telling me I was self-centered.

All of the above is about 'I want' or 'I don't want.' He doesn't want to do the course work because 'his brain is fried after work and he just wants to relax.' He had to get a new computer the day after our daughter was born because he was bored. Nevermind the fact that I was stuck in the hospital, and we'd just moved and there was a crapload of unpacking to do still. (I did all of it cuz he didn't wanna.)

-sigh- I'll quit ranting. I really do love my husband and I appreciate that he does provide for us, but I wish he'd grow up! And I have no clue how to help him cuz I can't be his nanny/servant/whatever. :?

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Voyeur's picture

Wow! It'll be interesting to see what other's comments are. My ex and I got in a slightly similar pattern, where we took each other for granted and it became more of a relationship of convienence than anything else. We tried seperating for awhile, which reminded us of why we cared about each other and reminded us of the things we had been taking for granted, but it didn't really last. Eventually we parted ways for good, which was very hard because there was still love there and because we had lived together for so long, we didn't really remember how to be apart.

You married someone who wanted nothing more in life than to find a replacement mommy and live at home. And it sounds like you pretty much gave him that setup. It's about time you stopped being his mommy, grew a pair and started putting your foot down. He has no respect for you because he can walk all over you and still come home to dinner on the table and clean laundry and a smiling wife.

We all think we can change someone, but we all know that it's not possible. We always tell others that you'll never change the person, but it seems we always think we can succeed where everyone else has failed. It's just not going to happen. Maybe try marriage counciling, which will help you express how much you do during the day and the problems you have with how much he does in a day in a moderated environment. The shock of losing you may change him temporarily or maybe even permanently, but I wouldn't count on it. And if you let that slide, you'll be in an endless loop of him changing for a little while and then going back again.

Though I would be surprised if anyone else will say it, I also think you need to own up to your own assistance in creating this situation. You've been essentially giving him the okay to act exactly the way he is for at least 2 years. I find it hard to believe he was the world's most wonderful, chivilrous guy before you married him and for a year of your marriage right up until you had your 1st kid. If I were you, I'd give him about a year with counciling to at least lighten your workload a little, as you cannot expect him to do much more than be marginally less selfish than he is, and then I'd start looking to leave. When the kids are that young, it won't be as bad for them as it would be if you tried to hang in there and ended up leaving when they were older.

DrMorganes's picture

Petitioner

I don't even know where to start responding to that...

Suffice to say that this will not end well if things do not change, and you and your kids deserve better than what he's giving you right now. I believe you need to stop - right now - enabling his behavior and tell him to man up, grow a pair (and a backbone!), and begin providing for his family.

The behavior you describe isn't just selfish. It's neglectful at best, and abusive at worst. He may be stuck in little boy mode now, but he may be willing to change himself if you lay your cards on the table and stop holding his hand. People do not change without a reason, and so far you've given your explicit approval - even your support! - for his current behavior.

As far as how to help him?

First step is to immediately STOP cleaning up after his messes and wiping his behind. You have two people in the house at an age that require this of you. You do not need a third. Then, ship the kids off to a sitter's for an afternoon, turn off the phone(s), and have a heart-to-heart with him. Tell him in no uncertain terms that a) you love him and appreciate what he's done for you so far, and b) what he's done so far is no longer enough. He needs to decide what is important to him and where his priorities lie. To be blunt, is Eve and relaxing more important to him than the physical, emotional, and fiscal well-being of his wife and children? If not, then he needs to get his ass in gear, cancel his Eve account, and get himself promoted on his merits. If it is, then you need to get your kids OUT of that situation as soon as humanly possible.

My wife and I have had this conversation many times over the last 14 years - in both directions. Times change, circumstances change, and people change - but they rarely all change at the same rate, and - let's be honest here - guys are often pretty thick when it comes to noticing what's not right in front of their faces. Sometimes she hasn't noticed that something she's doing isn't quite up to par, and sometimes - more often by far, if I'm being honest - I haven't. If you're marriage is going to make it even to the 5 year mark, you MUST be able to have these conversations AND get productive results from them.

Good luck. I'll keep you guys in my prayers.

Can'trememberherpw's picture

I'll go with a ditto, and then head in another direction.

You live on base, it sounds like. Use the hell out of the facilities they have available for you. There's almost always childcare and other enlisted wives to be around. There's physical fitness facilities and clubs and whatnotall (depends on the post, really). Drop the kids off for one or two days, do everything you can around the house (fall cleaning kind of thing), and then go with basic maintenance for a while.

Next, plan an evening out. For just you. I like the stitch-n-bitch groups, but a book club, or something you like to do but don't really get to do anymore is important. The point is to let your husband take care of his children for a few hours. Your mental health requires it. Let him know a week in advance it's going to happen, then again 3 days out, the day before, and the day of. If he tries to pull a guilt trip, ask him flat out if that's what he's doing, if that's what he wants his children to believe should always happen. Chances are there will be denial or stuttering, but you've planted the seed. Stay away for the whole time, no coming home early. No calling more than once.

Now for the Army crunchy bits. You said he wanted to change his MOS, needs to be at least an E5, right? Does he have all of the other points he can get from other sources and needs the courses simply to prove he knows what he needs to for the new job, or are the courses college level classes simply to give him numbers? (I have to say at this point that I like the AF's promotion system better, but then I'm spoiled. I will freely admit that.)

Katie's picture

Embodiment

Are just for numbers. Stupid Army system.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

*I* was the culprit just before I got sick 2+ years ago. I was living in Second Life and not in the real world. Whenever I get depressed I tend to vanish into the laptop, but this was ridiculous. I had to make a conscious decision to stop and pay attention to the outside world. That's step one for you guys: Turn off Eve.

The second step: Keep the focus on yourself. You can't change him. You can only change yourself. That means changing your responses to his behavior. Stop enabling him to be an asshole. You're getting good advice here on that score.

xxoo, dear.

blwinteler's picture

Supplicant

probably saved my marriage. Of course, the fact that we were both willing to go made a difference too, since it meant we were both willing to do whatever needed to fix our situation.
We get into a similar rut quite often. For my DH, he plays video games. Not online, which I suppose is good, but still to the point where everything else gets shut out. He also doesn't let me know what is going on financially until one screw up or another blows up in his face and I can't help but find out about it. For me, I get into a depressed rut and just hide. I will sleep a lot, or find a book to hide in. I'll neglect the house and myself. Over time, we've gotten better about calling each other on these things, reminding each other what needs to be done to keep from driving us apart from sheer frustration. We went to therapy two years ago. Since then, we have had problems, but only 2 or 3 big blow up arguments. We used to have 2 or 3 a month at least.
After our first session with the therapist, we had a massive fight. We were both yelling at each other until we realized we were yelling the same things. That was our breakthrough. We had similar concerns, just expressed them so differently we just frustrated each other.
If you go to therapy, make sure you like the therapist. If you don't, find another.
And I also agree with those who said to go out on your own for a few hours and let him take care of the kids. He'll see that it is in fact work and you are not being lazy. Make sure you tell him to not play Eve when caring for the kids. It is his time to spend with them, not with his game. If the kids go to sleep, he is to do his coursework. Perhaps you could also discuss an arrangement to the effect of "If you do x hours of classes, you can play y hours of Eve." Eventually you'll have to do that with your kids so they do their homework. Might as well set an example now. But definitely take a few hours to yourself every week. It will give you a break and him a chance to be a daddy.

Voyeur's picture

Besides making sure you're both ok with the therapist, be honest with them. If it isn't working with one, tell him/her why. If it continues, tell them your going somewhere else and look for another. Finding the right one may take a bit of time.

We didn't make it. I didn't like the therapist (lack of experience and I knew we were tough nuts...not the kind of people you should be cutting your professional teeth on) and insisted we find another. He insisted we give her a shot. Four months later he thought the therapist was picking on him. She wasn't, she was just too inexperienced to help us...very little personal emotional control. You have to understand, we were in the big leagues - husbands illness alone should of gotten us into one of the ten therapists in the state who specialize in families with severe medical conditions, plus we were seasoned arguers (w/him as a debate team leader and most of a degree in therapy). Twice we made her cry in front of us and once she was so angry she yelled at us then left for the day. 15 mins into the session she lost it, yelled at us, walked out, and didnt return...it was only 8:30 am. It made me sad to leave the poor child ready to cry at the end of a session. I began telling the receptionist when we left so she could send someone in to comfort her. We needed to get another one, but he wanted to tough it out. Two weeks later he wanted a divorce. After the divorce he continued to see her for individual help. It lasted two months before he gave up and changed to a specialist.

He finally made some progress, after switching twice more. I'm proud of him for not giving up. Last thing I knew he was building a life with someone else. Not exactly happy, but as close to it as he'd allow himself to be.

Take some time to find the right fit.

GreenGlass's picture

Supplicant

Some of the above posts about separation may be helpful, but may not be realistic for you yet.

I don't like how vulnerable I've made myself on this forum... but I want points, so I'm forcing myself not to go anonymous. Blum 3

It so happens that your situation sounds very familiar, the only difference is in degree. Ours is a new marriage, yours sounds like it's been struggling for a lot longer. Your husband plays Eve, mine plays WOW. We have no kids, you have two... and so on.

But lately I've been really sensitive to fairness with chores and time. I consider myself pretty permissive. We have our arguments, but he wants to escape into a world where he has control, social interaction, and achievement. Occasionally, he even gets respect. The most expressive I've ever seen him about happiness is when we've been alone at home and he finally got that super item. It was so overwhelming to him he cried (he doesn't cry very often, lol). I feel that I understand, and that I also understand his fear of having that taken away from him. He doesn't know how to cope with real life without his online network as an outlet, and I don't think he should have to. Maybe after a very long time, if he wanted to. I have mostly asked for certain days, or for him to cut back a bit (the first works better than the second). But there is so much to do, and I don't like having to do it. We try to be fair about things, but the truth is, I'm healthier then he is. I have a bit more energy (when I'm not depressed), I don't have aches and pains as often, I'm not always having digestion and nutritional problems. He washes the clothes, I fold them. If he rinses the dishes, I wash most of them. He leaves the clean clothes out, and I try not to put his away for him even though it clutters our tiny bedroom. if I push him, he's likely to get annoyed and just dump the clothes in heap and cram the drawer shut. Before me, he ate even fewer meals, and had a more isolated life. Things are a little different now, but I see where all the patterns came from and I don't feel like change can happen all at once.

But here's the difference, I DO believe in change. I do have hope (an easier thing for me to say, I know :-(), because if I gave up on him at this point, I would be giving up on myself. I'm finding that I want to find a way to do chores, have people over, do things that fulfill my needs, and still meet adult responsibilities. I want a full, balanced, adult life. And my husband doesn't. My husband wants the minimal life. He wants his most basic needs to be met, to be able to do his own thing (and respected for whatever he is), be left alone, and use his life to play games. But there's hope for us because when I force talk out of him (something he prefers to be efficient about, rather than generous), he does want more out of life, and growth and happiness, and most importantly, he wants me in his life. He wants me to be happy and wants to be part of my life. He does love me. And I love him. So even if our patterns grow apart, I keep hoping to grow more, bring a little tiny bit of balance and fullness along with me. But I have a husband who will always want less out of life than I do. And the thing will be, how much he's willing to do, how much less time he's willing to play, so that we can have more than a minimal life. It's a weird thing to look at, and I'm only just beginning.

I figure I have to work on my own problems, laziness, depressed spells, and resentment, before attacking him (which is easy to do).

So where, in all this do I have any right to be giving you advice? I don't. I can only share my story, so that you know someone else understands (albeit differently, and without the consequences you're having to deal with). If his life suffers, so does yours. If you leave him, you still loose some benefits that your relationship has brought. It is very hard to be in the position where ssuch a difficult thing to do (leaving someone), is actually tempting because of how hard things are anyway.

I agree that you need to start changing how much you let this happen. But if you have any hope at this point, you have also probably thought how impossible it would be to go to the extremes immediatly without a lot of upheaval and drama. It is something that may or may not work out. I'm not an expert, but I say start with small things and work up to the really strong protests. It takes a lot of strength, creativity, and persistence, but I think if you begin slowly, then he won't feel he has the right to be indignant because you're threatening to leave out of the blue.

See what happens if you begin in other places. Start with expressing the desire to be stronger and healthier maybe, something that is likely to be ignored, but might be remembered when you actually start changing things. Finding ways to withdraw the benefits he enjoys while maintaining your own quality of life is hard, but try it. Expressing a dissatisfaction and lack of physical (because of strong mental reasons) ability to do all the chores you've been doing should sting. He should begin to get the opportunity to notice he's been taking advantage of you. If he responds by calling you selfish because this has always worked in the past, fine (hopefully he'll feel guilty inside still). Too bad though. Everyone is selfish sometimes. And once in awhile, selfishness is necessary for survival. Right? You can probably imagine that things will get more severe from there, but I really do think that starting with yourself and giving him a chance to see you're serious might at least give you a better picture of what his priorities really are (having his way or having you happy and in his life).

Maybe I don't know anything about what might help and what you should do. I can only speak from my own experiences. But resisting these things, demanding the right to happiness, and the possibility for working hard without having to resent your partner for everything you're doing that he's not, these things are worth fighting for. So is your relationship, your future, and maybe even your health (yours and his). If your efforts spark even a little bit of understanding, compromise, and communication that soothes your weary soul, they might be worth it. I don't know. I know it's a dire situation that will take a huge change, which means a lot of effort and energy. But it also happened over time, so it also might need to be given time.

This is my best guess. Forgive my arrogance, feel free to enlighten me and point out where I am ignorant. Feel free to tell me thanks, but shut it. You may not need my kind of input, empathy, and advice. I am totally ok with that. If I can't do anything else, may I simply offer my support. You are a valuable, strong, amazing human being. You have done so much, despite being on your own. You deserve happiness and fulfillment and contentment and even a little bit of selfishness. I hope all these things for you, and more.

fremmed's picture

Petitioner

You haven't said you were even interested in therapy, but I've had some experience that has led me to have a great deal of respect for a marriage therapy method called the Gottman method. As always, a good therapist is a good therapist regardless of the methods they use, but any Gottman certified therapist has gone through a fairly hefty amount of training and observation so is unlikely to be completely inexperienced (though still might not be a good match). The method is also based a great deal of long-term scientific research and has been helpful to me in both good times and in bad.

Scorpiocrone's picture

I have been in your shoes dear and my realtionship ended after 3 kids and 9 years. Be careful how you nip it, but nip it in the bud, and I agree with the others get some YOU time. Um, if I remember right, even if YOU did do the correspondance courses for him, doesn't he also have to test in a test facility for the E-5 promotion after all of his other points are done? There by proving he DID the classes and is ready for the promotion? Something about the higher you score on the test, the higher on the list you are to get picked for promotion? AND I believe there use to be a minimum score. It has been a VERY long time since I was in the service so I am a bit rusty. *shrugs*

MeiLin's picture

Most High

As Sir pointed out to me when I told him about this, it's against the UCMJ for you to do his coursework. If it ever got out, he'd be courtmartialed.

Yeti's picture

Devotee

I'm going to project a little bit here just to get it out of the way. A few years ago I was fairly seriously injured and could not walk for an extended period of time. I developed an allergy to my NSAIDs and was basically in a state where I could not focus enough to even read or sleep. I let WoW fill the hours because it gave that false sense of getting things done while being utterly mindless. It was basically a more evolved method of staring at the wall for me while I sloughed through the most mind-numbing stages of my recovery.

I mention this just because I assume the mind-numbing yet productive feeling that continuous online games provide is what entices your husband to play with all his spare time. Whether he is dealing with PTSD, pain related to his PT, just the stress of living in an Army community, I suspect there is probably something at root of the gaming habit. [I don't want to make any assumptions about your husband's condition, and I certainly don't want to imply that gamers only play to ignore responsibilities. From observing several immediate family members and close friends that serve, I see there is a definite, recognisable pattern of coping that most of them have, varying from alcohol to sex to working out to gaming depending on the individual, and they are all basically this same situation at the root].

With that out of the way, I agree a lot with much of what has already been said. Foremost, he really does need to be doing his own course work or it will come back to haunt him later. Courts-martial are serious trouble, and would affect his ability to get a job even outside the Army if he is ever discharged with it on his record. Not to mention, his knowledge of the coursework will directly affect his promotion when he tests for it. If he's not ready to deal with the work now, that's one thing, but putting it off until he can deal with that on top of his current responsibilities will be preferable to any income lost if the Army were to ever find out about him not doing it for himself.

Definitely get some time to yourself. Coax him out of his rut gradually so it doesn't seem insurmountable to either of you. Whether you have to set time restrictions or set specific days or tasks aside, try a few different methods and see if any work for you. Maybe find a way he can destress after work that involves being with you or together as a family.

If you think therapy [couples therapy, or possibly psychoanalysis for him if this is being caused by underlying stress, or even a combination of both] is even remotely an option, seriously consider looking into it while you have all the resources available to you now. It is so much harder to get the support the Army promises once the soldier leaves. It sounds like your husband is more of a career soldier, but the point still stands. Army families deal with an absurd amount of stress and you absolutely deserve any support they offer to give you.

I don't think there is a magic bandage for any of this. A lot of this is just personality differences that any couple experiences, but the love is there, and hopefully time and some work will let you both find a happier compromise. I truly hope you find a way to manage this happily and keep your marriage strong through all the difficulties.

Katie's picture

Embodiment

Thanks Yeti! I think part of why the Eve draw is so strong is because he is well respected in the game. Eve isn't mind-numbing, though, which is why I scoff at him when he says he doesn't have the brian power to do courses after he gets home. LOTS of brain-power goes into that game.

As for time to myself, if nothing else I plan on sticking the kids in the CDC (daycare) and going to do bellydance and voice classes Biggrin Time to myself and most definitely something I enjoy! Also a friend and I go out three times a week to work out, when he's home to watch the kids.

Capriox (on hubby's computer)'s picture

Remember the tried-but-true "Dear Abby" rule, too - "Are you better off with him or without him?" You mention several times that he is a 'good provider'. From the rest of your post, it sounds like the -only- thing that he is providing you with is a paycheck. By that definition, government welfare checks/child support programs also make good providers. He's even failing to be good provider in that narrow sense by making YOU do the work for his promotion/bigger paycheck!

I also heard alarm bells from your descriptions of him frequently saying that you contradicting him is disrespectful (WTF?) and his manipulating use of guilt trips and passive/aggressive behaviour. It definitely sounds like he's immature when it comes to relationships, but it also sounds like the early stages of emotional abuse, holding your behaviour & happiness ransom with his sulking.

Perhaps it's because I'm only 24 and have been married only 3 months with no children, and probably a lot because I've also fought very hard for my self-esteem, but I wouldn't take that kind of shit from anybody, much less my husband.

But since my first thought was "Bitch-slap that ass, kick the shit out of him, and then take the kids and go find something better for yourself and provide for them yourself since you're the only one that obviously that gives a damn about them", I reaaaaaally recommend you try the sensible advice that everyone else has offered in regards to STOP enabling him by doing his coursework and doing the Eve stuff for him while he's at work (again, WTF???), finding you-time, getting outside support (where are your/his families, near enough to help babysit on the cheap? any gal friends nearby?, military wives groups?), try therapy, etc.

Maybe being the housewife is something you'd otherwise enjoy if he wasn't treating you like crap, but if you had other plans instead, that makes him forcing you into this role worse. Again, see the excellent suggestions from others.

blunt, violent, and VERY protective of her dignity (and thus in turn, the dignity & self-respect of others),
capriox

Katie's picture

Embodiment

Are across the ocean. I talk to my mom online all the time, but I try not to gripe about my spouse to her. Doesn't lead anywhere good.
And yep, being a housewife IS something I'd enjoy. I DO enjoy it most of the time. Only when the hubby gets bitchy do I get pissy about it. Biggrin

Gudy's picture

Embodiment

I can be a pretty selfish asshole at times, but that goes beyond the pale. He treats you like crap and, apparently, without the respect he demands from you, and that needs to stop. Much goodness has been said by others above, so here's my condensed take on this:

Have him cancel Eve. NOW. It sounds like Eve is more of a priority to him than you and the kids, and that just doesn't work.
Stop enabling him. Stop cleaning up after his messes. You've got two little kids, you don't need a third, you need a caring husband who provides more than a paycheck.
Seriously consider marriage counseling. But keep in mind that it only works if you're both on board.

Good luck!

Katie's picture

Embodiment

Where to start, where to start..

Well first off, I went up and re-read my original post to see if I made things sound worse than they are. Certainly I made myself sound better than I am! The house is almost never completely clean (though I've gotten better about it) and dinner is rarely made before he gets home. I hate laundry the passion of a thousand burning suns.

Most cleaning I don't mind doing. I kinda have a 50's wife mindset. What I don't like is that it's taken for granted, expected, almost forced upon me. We've gotten in major battles because the house ISN'T clean.

Other than that...well, in (almost) three years of marriage I only have a handful of incidents to point to. The straw that broke the camel's back was the correspondence courses. I refuse to do them. He whines that he works all day and doesn't have time. Yesterday I pointed out that he comes home and plays eve for 7 hours. I got 'uh...oh...'
(note*, I did do ONE course, because I enjoy learning and it looked interesting. Biggrin my bad...)
Other note, the courses are purely for promotion points. He is not tested on them in any way, ever. I think that's the air force. Tis against the UCMJ, but it's an extremely common practice for soldiers to ask spouses to do them. It was, in fact, suggested that I do them by someone in his chain of command. (Suggested in a way that it could be denied, of course.)

I STILL REFUSE TO DO THEM.

The hubby is willing to work with me. Thank you to those who suggested I grow a pair, because as the hubby said, how can he know something's wrong if I don't say nuttin'? It's been previously agreed upon that we go to marriage counseling, but neither of us know where to go. Army chaplains are all well and good, but it's hard to find an off-base person while we're in Germany. Any suggestions?

Thank you so much for your post, GreenGlass! My hubby likes spending time with me (thus the desire for me to play Eve) and generally enjoys talking to me. While I don't think I can change him much, I do hope I can at least get him to work with me. Time to go the 'tough love' route. Smile I'm always afraid to say things that will make people mad, but it's time to grow a spine especially when it comes to my own life.

I'm amazed it's gotten to this point. I always swore I'd never marry this kind of guy, because I really hate injustice. I used to get in fights with my parents because they were allowed to eat more cookies than we were! (SO unfair. ;)) Unfortunately my desire to be needed won over. Well..I'm needed by my kids. I don't need to be needed AS A MOTHER to my husband.

Thank you all so much for your comments. It spurred me into at least a few pointed comments yesterday, and hopefully more in the future.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

You sound better. Smile

Katie's picture

Embodiment

I feel better. Like I can maybe do something about my situation besides whine. Biggrin

GreenGlass's picture

Supplicant

Yeah, when talking about the problems, it does end up sounding pretty bad, huh? I didn't mean to imply my husband never talks to me or wants to spend time with me either. ^_^' Just that there's been a lot of working things out in this area, and on my part, a lot of resentment if I'm willing to sacrifice and serve and work hard and he's not nearly as ready and willing when it comes to chores and sometimes going out. So many of these things really do come down to communication and being able to know and say what we as wives need and want.

It's actually pretty valuable to talk about the problems we have in marriage! No one wants to look bad or take all the good things for granted, but then if we never talk about the things that were hard, everyone begins to think they're the only one's with a realistic marriage instead of a perfect one! I try to find a way to talk about both the bad and the GOOD with some of my closest friends, and some anonymous online communities. Blum 3

Gudy's picture

Embodiment

Army chaplains are all well and good, but it's hard to find an off-base person while we're in Germany. Any suggestions?

See the links in the German Wikipedia article for links to Catholic, Protestant, and religiously independent family counselors. Finding one who can speak English (if your German isn't good enough) well enough to help you might take some doing, though.

If you need more help, ask and I'll try to find stuff out for you.

Katie's picture

Embodiment

I can order food, and that's about it for speaking. I understand a fair amount, but as far as therapy goes, I highly doubt it would be enough.

Gudy's picture

Embodiment

You're right, it probably won't. Besides, I think it's better for you guys to communicate in your native language for this, anyway.

Most Germans know at least some English, but you want to find someone who speaks and understands it fluently enough to hold therapy sessions in it. Which I don't think should be that hard to do, actually, especially if you're at one of the bigger bases or near one of the big cities. It might take some searching (online or yellow pages) and phoning around to find the right person, but you'd have to do that in any case.

A's picture

Postulant

Is there a benefits department or equivalent on your base? If so, they should be able to give you guidance on finding a therapist.

I cannot stress enough the therapy because he clearly needs tools to deal with stress and to develop some healthy communication skills (heck, don't we all?). These kinds of tools are only learned from a third, neutral party, you cannot "show him the way" because that's not your job and he won't let you. I tried it for a couple years with my hubby and it failed miserably. You can get these tools and skills from a therapist, a workshop, a book, a lecture series, etc., doesn't matter how, but it makes all the difference.

Is the Eve an addiction? Everyone in my family has addictive personalities. My older brothers get addicted to computer games and the internet. It's the whole adult child of an alchoholic/raised in an abusive home thing. Does he need an Anonymous group? ALANON? You need not answer here, it's just something to ponder. My oldest brother had to remove Solitaire, Minesweep, and the other little time-waster games from his computer because he gets completely sucked in and addicted. He can do it with anything, running, movies, you name it. My second oldest brother is addicted to Nicotine, can't quit though he's tried many times. Also gets addicted to the internet, etc. My youngest brother's addiction was drugs. Mine is food. We all have coping mechanisms. Unfortunately, if Eve is his way of coping, or of not having to cope, in order for him to stop you have to identify what it's doing for him and address the root causes. Again, counseling.

Best wishes to you, dear. Sending loads of hugs and positive vibes your way.

Renki's picture

will get to any couple sometimes. (Bad) habits grow over time and are sometimes hard to break.
I implore you not to listen to much to the people saying "take the kids and go find something better" and stuff along those lines. You love each other still and you have kids together so your relationship is worth saving.
Your husband needs to be confronted with your difficulties and needs to understand that your relationship needs saving.

I can imagine how he feels also, it is really, really tempting to come home and flop down in a comfy seat and disappear in a game, or book or whatever. The time he spends on it seems excessive though. Online games are incredible timewasters (since it's hard to do something in a short while, often it takes hours to get ready for a mission, so you don't want to interrupt the game and playing only a short while is pointless), I for one tried a few and then quit altogether.

The best advice I can give you is to find yourself a hobby where you get away from the house while he's home, forcing him to take care of the kids ( even if it's just putting them to bed and being there if they wake up and need someone). He will have to stop playing his online game at those points. You will feel better about yourself if you don't feel locked up in the house.
Better still is finding some activity to do together something you can do while someone else takes care of the kids.
You don't want to be caught in a place where he is a burden and you are a nag for long. If he is so tired after work yet spends so much time up, he needs to sleep more. You might want to make getting to bed more interesting than his games.

Sorry if I did not sound very coherent, English is not my language.

I hope you find solutions.

GreenGlass's picture

Supplicant

Gaming is a powerful thing, and if it's a multi-player game, then the game already presents the urgent (if not truly important) demands of others. To non-gamers, it is obvious that some things are more important than "games," but to gamers, the games they play fulfill very real needs and roles, and they are just as important as any other cherished hobby, or pet, or friend. It is not wise to try and vie for the most urgent pleas! The spouse or person who does that will be resented.

Please, anyone out there, don't set up an opportunity for a hard-core gamer's children to feel even more keenly that they are not the focus of a parents love and attention. Don't create an opportunity for them to feel neglected, ignored, or put off at such a young age, when they have no defenses to such rejection. Even if the gamer does drop the game for his or her children, do you think they won't be able to tell that the parent would much rather be doing something else?

If you want to try these strategies, there are many other ways to do it that do NOT risk the security of your children's worldview!

blwinteler's picture

Supplicant

But my cherished hobby does not take me away from my family. Granted, knitting isn't as consuming as gaming, but then a hobby really shouldn't be all consuming. A hobby, pet, or friend should not take away from family. Yes, once in a while it is ok to say "you know what, I really need a break. I'm going to do this for a little while." But it is not ok to do it all the time or even a lot of the time. We make commitments to our families. These are more important than the commitments to strangers in a game.
I had a lot more ranting typed, but I realized it was just my bad mood this evening and not necessary here. But anyway, the issue of family over hobbies/friends/pets was a big problem for me and DH. At the time, he was working nights. On one night off each week, he'd play poker. The other night, he'd do something else with friends. I rarely saw him. I did all the housework and spent my time along. My knitting group met once a month. On poker night. I didn't get to go because it would interfere with his routine. Didn't matter that he had every week and I just asked once a month. This was one of the big issues we worked out in therapy. Now, he asks if it is ok for him to go out or if I'd like him to be home. Because he isn't just telling me he's going out, I'm more likely to be ok with it. And he is fine if I say I need him around. I'm happier. He's happier (I'm not angry so much now) and our son is happier.
A hobby is something you make time for, but not at the expense of your real life. It should enhance your life, not take over it. If you marry someone, that someone is part of your life. If the video game is going to get more of your time, you should have married the game instead.
Also, as many have mentioned, games can go from being a hobby to being an addiction. Anything really can. If a person is drinking all the time, rather than playing EVE or WoW, it would be a problem, right? Both take the person away from family and a lot of their life. Drinking once in a while, even a couple drinks a night, is not so bad. Playing games once in a while, even a short time each day, is also not so bad. But when it is hours and takes away from both work and family, it is an addiction and a problem.
This is a sore spot for me. I am the child of alcoholics. I had an ex with a video game habit. I was miserable, and our breakup was bad. But I'm glad we aren't together. I'm glad my husband is back in my life and that I am a part of his. To me, family is the most important thing.
Now, I'm going to go have dinner with mine.

and I'm sorry if this causes trouble. I'm in a foul mood and this really struck a chord with me.

Lala's picture

This is such a fantastic community. In my experience, when friends talks about marriage and relationship problems, the overwhelming response is “Get out; don’t put up with it,” which drives me nuts. In a relationship, especially with children, there’s a lot more on the line than the short-term and seemingly easy solution of cutting off. Maybe it’s because I’m a college student and most of my friend’s ages range from 19 to 27. I wish they would ask for advice from MeiLin and her readership, instead of each other. Way to go sound and balanced opinions!

greatmediocrity's picture

Devotee

My high school band director once told us that humans have three sexes: male, female, and musician; only musicians can understand musicians, and it often doesn't work well when a musician enters a serious relationship with someone who doesn't play or sing, because the understanding just won't be there.

I'd posit that the same is true of gamers. Even people who don't obsess over video or computer games are often ridiculed by their boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse for their desire to play. There are a lot of people who watch lots of television and nothing is thought of it because it's "normal", but to want to interact with something instead of watching idly is somehow mindless entertainment and is to be avoided at all costs lest we seem juvenile somehow. The only way relationships with gamers work to the best of their potential is if the other person is a gamer too and therefore "gets it".

I know that's not what the OP is saying; I'm just responding to the vibes I'm getting from some of the other commenters.

Katie's picture

Embodiment

That I AM a gamer. I enjoy games. I'm not addicted like my hubby seems to be, but I DO understand why he plays so much. As greenglass said, it's hard to just quit because of the 'urgent' needs of others in the alliance. Doesn't help that Recon(that's my hubby) is the alliance leader. And as Recon's Wife, I help lead too. It's a great feeling and I'm quite protective of my corp mates, almost all of whom came to us as brand-new newbies.

....yeah, I could talk about Eve for a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooong time.

Anyway, I understand his need and desire to play. Unfortunately real life gets in the way. I don't mind playing...AFTER the kids are in bed. AFTER the work is done and the dishes are in the washer. As far as free time goes, Eve is as good a way to wind down as any!

Update on the original problem; Hubby's been doing his own correspondence. He hasn't pressure me anymore to do it. He's letting me clean at my own pace and encourages me to go to the gym in the evenings. There's still stuff to talk about and work out, but it's getting better. Hopefully it'll all be good before I reach the stage of resenting my spouse and kids and housewifely duties.

blwinteler's picture

Supplicant

It sounds like things are looking up. Just remember that it is constant work. DH and I still have to make extra effort to not slip into old habits. On the plus side, we've both gotten good at letting each other know if we are slipping, without it sounding like an accusation. That is so important, and so difficult. Please do keep us updated, and know you have plenty of people here for you.

Katie's picture

Embodiment

My hubby got PROMOTED, yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! There's one big stress factor gone!

MeiLin's picture

Most High

That's got to be a big, big help!

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