I feel trapped, beat down and discouraged


#1

I feel like there is no hope for my marriage. Maybe I am being overdramatic. I don’t know if anyone remembers my previous posts about my weight issue–dh has made some insensitive comments about my weight (I was 6 months postpartum and 20 pounds over)–now I’m pregnant with #4. I can’t get over these comments! Mostly because I know how he feels, and how shallow he is, and he vehemently defends his “need” to have an attractive spouse. To be fair, he has always been this shallow, but I think at the beginning of our marriage 9 years ago, I matched him more. I had the hot body that he “needed” and I can’t say there was a whole lot of substance to our relationship. In the meantime, I feel like I have grown up some, but he hasn’t grown up with me. I want him to see me as attractive BECAUSE my body has given him beautiful children, not just love me in spite of a few extra pounds. There is so much junk there, there is just no way I can write it all down. I suppose I just need to try to find a counselor, but we have done that before, and here we are in the same old mess. I feel totally unloved AND disrespected (for all those love and respect folks out there!) and I truly do not know why we are still married, outside of the fact that we have children to raise together. I have never let my mind go this far as to consider divorce but I just keep thinking that child support for 4 kids would be a pretty nice chunk and I could live with it. I am not getting anything here anyway. Maybe I should move on and let him find himself a little hottie to fulfill his life because I am obviously not doing it for him.

The other issue is that I converted to Catholicism a couple of years ago, with his permission, as long as we agreed the kids would be raised Protestant. You can imagine all the issues there. His mom is a blatant ex/anti- Catholic and is very open about her opposition to my conversion. We just spent a lovely 2 weeks at the inlaws house for the holidays. We also have NFP issues, in that I did alot of reading about birth control, even before I converted or thought about converting, and he agreed to go along with NFP–we took a class together, etc. He is still opposed to the whole idea, as apparantly he can’t go a week to 10 days without sex without his falling over dead or something. He says he would be fine with it if we could do “other stuff” in the abstinence periods, which from time to time, he talks me into doing, even knowing how strongly I feel about it, and how much I hate having to go to confession for that. We have also had 2 unplanned babies as a result of NFP, because I got pregnant while nursing the last 2 times. My last 2 are 15 months apart, and now I’m pregnant again, and the youngest will be 19 months apart. I feel like he blames me, even though I have told him he is free to contracept if he chooses to (I also told him I would be very disappointed and if he used the withdrawal method or condoms I would feel very used, so I suppose I left him with not much of a choice). When we were at his family’s house these last 2 weeks, I heard him constantly bemoaning the fact that we have so many kids.

It was a miserable 2 weeks for me. He was really mean to me the whole time (up until it had been about a week since we had sex, and he started trying to be nice, but once he figured out he wasn’t getting any, he went back to normal). We made up for New Year’s Eve (my doing), had relations, and now I feel so yuck about it, like it was just using each other. Obviously we don’t love each other, so why would we do something so intimate. I guess I was hoping it would solve things, although I should know that never works, I always end up feeling like an object used for his urges.

Anyway, I just feel so hopeless right now. I feel like we are just so different now, that there is a gap there that cannot be closed. I don’t want to divorce, for my children’s sake only… But in a way I wonder if we would all just be better off. I would rather live alone with my kids and not have to see him or deal with all of this junk. At least if wasn’t expecting love from him, I wouldn’t be disappointed all the time.

I guess I’m just venting. But if anyone has some great earth-shaking advice, or if you just want to tell me to get over myself, go right ahead. I know there are people out there with way worse problems.


#2

Consider yourself (and your family) remembered in my Rosary intentions :slight_smile:


#3

I don’t really have any advice to give you Lone Catholic other than to say you are not a lone Catholic.

I did wonder about your statement about his giving you “permission” to convert. Marriage is not about permission.

Maybe this is what you should discuss in counseling?


#4

[quote=iamrefreshed]I don’t really have any advice to give you Lone Catholic other than to say you are not a lone Catholic.

I did wonder about your statement about his giving you “permission” to convert. Marriage is not about permission.

Maybe this is what you should discuss in counseling?
[/quote]

Maybe I just used the wrong term… I wanted his blessing before I converted, and I would not have done it without his ok. We came into our marriage Protestant, we had children as Protestants, it would not be fair for me to change the rules on him. At least that is how I felt and I had a priest and other wise Catholic advisors tell me the same. I had no idea how hard it would be to stick to the agreement to raise the kids Protestant though, or exactly what that would mean. Right now I feel like they will be raised as nothing, besides going to a non-denominational church on Sunday. Dh doesn’t really give much spiritual direction around here, and I feel that if I don’t instruct, they will get nothing. I try to keep things pretty simple right now, and it has been ok, since the kids are young still.

I know I’m not a lone Catholic, but it certainly feels like it sometimes, especially when at the inlaws…

Thanks CatholicSam for your prayers.


#5

You are in my prayers as well. You have an incredible cross to bear, and I do not envy you. I do, however, admire you. I know that, as a ‘spoiled Catholic’ I can forget how difficult coming Home to Rome can be for some people, the hardships they face and I am ashamed at how much I can take my wonderful Church for granted. You are truly an inspiration; in ways you will never know you have touched hearts and lives.

Someone in my 12 step group suggested - and I am mulling this over right now in meditation, so I’m not saying it is the truth - that when we get up in the morning and turn our lives, for that day, over to the care of Our Higher Power we are agreeing to accept whatever happens that day as* His Will.* In other words, if nothing happens in God’s Universe by mistake, that whatever is going on in the world is being permitted to happen for a reason. Our challenge, as recovering alcoholics (or as Faithful Catholics) is to align our wills with the Will of God. How is that done?

It was suggested that, at times, the only way we can do that is to truly focus on one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time. And for that time in which we are fully engaged, we resolve to do the ‘next right thing’, as our conscience - formed by the Teachings of the Church - tells us.

I don’t know why you have been handed this cross, and I don’t have any solutions other than to make sure you are protected legally and financially. I do not, however, that nothing happens in God’s Universe by mistake and you are going through this time for a reason not now known to you. Stay strong, and know that you are loved.


#6

LoneCatholic,

I just wanted to say that the way your husband feels about your body and sex is not your fault. I can see why it is so hurtful, and I hope that your husband will come to understand that physical beauty is not all-important, it fades and there is great beauty in each and all of your little ones.

Also, your husband will not be fulfilled by some hot young chick. Maybe he thinks he will, but looks can’t fulfill a person. He needs you.

My only advice would be to try (and I realize it would be very difficult) to love your husband just the way he is, with all of his faults. Hopefully a loving example will soften his heart.

God bless you.


#7

On my Lone Catholic, as I read your letter it sounded just like my youngest daughter was writing it. She has been married 11 years has 5 children, birthed 4, oldest is stepdaughter. MIL is very anti Catholic. Husband said he wasn’t in the beginning, then got that way, wouldn’t let her have first couple children Baptised, then finally converted. He was always putting her down, very emotionaly abusive. She would try and then they would nearly split up and he would beg and promise to change. It would be okay for a while and he would gradually go back to as it was before. Maybe a little better but still the same old thing. He was very immature, very jealous and controlling. He didn’t want her to have any relationship with anyone else including us. There was always a big fight at Holidays because he was jealous of her relationship with everyone. If they got to come for Christmas she paid for it a long time. His father actually told him one time that he wanted a relationship with him, but not with my daughter and the grandkids (must be hereditary)!

But on the outside and to the world he was a wonderful husband and father. Very involved in his kids sports. Mr. Wonderful all around. But people couldn’t see in behind the closed doors.

After a year of life threatening health issues for my daughter she just couldn’t take it anymore. She filed for legal separation and he countered for Divorce…(always has to have the last word!). Anyway he ran all over town running her down, saying she was unfit, mentally unstable, whatever he could do to hurt her. Then he would turn around and say how much he loved her and how she has lost touch with God by giving up her Catholic faith and not coming home to him!! If she would come home and put “him” first then he could be the kind of husband she wanted. He turned all the kids against her by dragging them into it saying they could fix it. He has probably ruined her relationship with her teen daughter.

That went on for months until they finally went to court. The judge saw through him in a minute. Gave her all the kids, generous child support (even though he lied about his income) gave her control of the house. It all went her way.

Now all that being said, we hate that it has come to this. She did not take this decision lightly. They went to counseling, they went to Retrouvaille, they saw many Priests. But when all was said and done and they went back home she knew that whatever he said had a motive and whatever he did was only temporary. He had major charactor flaws that were not going to change. It came to a point that she just had to move on and leave him behind. But because he wasn’t actually cheating on her (if you don’t count porn) and he wasn’t physically abusive it was hard to find that moment to leave. I think her health was the deciding factor when she had to be put on heart medicine for stress.
I know that probably doesn’t help you but I just wanted you to know that you aren’t alone.

God Bless


#8

We also have NFP issues, in that I did alot of reading about birth control, even before I converted or thought about converting, and he agreed to go along with NFP–we took a class together, etc. He is still opposed to the whole idea, as apparantly he can’t go a week to 10 days without sex without his falling over dead or something. He says he would be fine with it if we could do “other stuff” in the abstinence periods, which from time to time, he talks me into doing, even knowing how strongly I feel about it, and how much I hate having to go to confession for that. .

If you are being coerced into doing “other stuff” I don’t think you would be freely sinning and you might not have to confess this. I would talk to the priest though and mention your husband wants you to do things against your will and ask what is your culpability in this matter. I think that it would be similar to say…him using a condom…you would not be sinning as long as you request that he stop using ABC from time to time.


#9

You guys definitely should talk to a Catholic counselor

My dh and I have had a lot of marital discord over NFP. I know it is so hard.

Here are some things that have helped me/us:

  1. I read a study that found that couples that classified their marriages as terrible and on the brink of divorce–five years later, most were very happy in their marriages. Having young kids is very stressful, so look down the road.

  2. I had a friend who would call me every morning and pray with me for five minutes.

  3. Go on Dates!!! Very very important.

  4. Get help–tell your friends, your mom, your sister, whoever, that you need help. I wish people would automatically help a mom with several young kids. But, I guess we are so self-involved, we don’t see it. But, once you ask, your family and friends will help. Even an afternoon off a week or a few meals will do a lot for you. Don’t be afraid to ask some to do a couple loads of laundry for your. Or, to help with some housework.

  5. Offer your suffering as a penance for past unchastity or for your children’s purity or for your husband.

  6. I avoid my husband during Phase 2. I sleep on the couch. I try to go out or I send him out.

  7. Forgive him over and over. Remember he grew up hearing all sorts of nonsense about sexuality. He has been indoctrinated.

  8. After you have the baby (CONGRATULATIONS–THAT IS WONDERFUL!!!), find a OB/GYN who knows about NFP and ask for help reading your internal signs.

  9. Thank God for your beautiful children and your marriage. Even when it is difficult, it is sanctifying you.

I will be praying for you. Our worst period lasted about two years.
Since then it has improved remarkably, though we are still not of one mind.


#10

I feel for you, I really do! Please be comforted, knowing that many people are praying for you and your husband.

I know there *is *hope for your situation, but the hard part is that in the end it’s all up to your husband.

I’m speaking from experience… please never let him talk or force you into doing things you know are sinful. I know that in situations like these sometimes we can convince ourselves that bending God’s rules will help in the long run, but it doesn’t. God’s plan for you is beautiful, even if it may involve much suffering now. Stick to your guns and follow His will, which takes priority over your husband’s. You are doing the best thing for you both, even if your husband can’t see that now. Another “little hottie” wouldn’t enrich his life, but you do every day. Hopefully he’ll come to realize that before it’s too late.

I don’t understand what kind of wise catholic advisors would have told you to raise your children protestant, however. Maybe I don’t understand something, but that doesn’t look very wise to me. :confused:
My priest has always told me that if I can’t have both, the welfare of my child is more important than my marriage. I’m glad you take your marriage seriously, but I’m of the opinion that staying together “for the kids” is a bad idea. I guess in my view it can’t really be “for the kids” if daddy finds no problem with announcing he never wanted them born.


#11

I’m no counsellor…but you sound overwhelmed and depressed. Your self esteem has take a real beating and it seems as if you have no emotional reserves to draw upon to face the challenges posed by your husband’s thoughtless behaviour and comments. Is personal/individual counseling an option for you? At some point you do need to address some of your marital/ couples issues, but perhaps it would do some good to get some strategies in place that would allow you to dispose of the garbage you are handed day in and day out in a healthy way.


#12

I guess it is hard to understand without knowing our whole situation. But let’s just say I have done a lot of research and gotten alot of advice about what to do in my situation. We have had the children baptized and they are being raised in a Christian home (despite all the junk that my posts reveal).

Also, the “announcing he never wanted them born” is a bit harsh… it is all done in his “joking” matter, and he is a great father and loves his children more than anything. I don’t think staying together for the kids is always a bad idea, especially if they are not being affected. Well, they will be affected no matter what, but being raised by divorced parents is not a better alternative to me at this point, since he is a loving father and there is no abuse, etc.


#13

[quote=Mercy Alvarenga]I feel for you, I really do! Please be comforted, knowing that many …
[/quote]

I agree with the full quote from Mercy Alvarenga, I just don’t want to waste space. My heart breaks for your situation and like Mercy, I must have missed something because I have never, ever heard of children being raised Protestant in a mixed marriage. They are your charge, you hold the truth…stand up for that.

As far as the rest of the cr_ _ he has put you through… well. I can’t say how I feel about that, it’s very unchristian of me. Arm yourself with prayer and good information from our Saints. Daily pray the Rosary between 3 & 4 in the afternoon and attend daily Mass, if at all possible. Perhaps seek a spiritual director. Also, I hope I’m not sounding too whacky, but pray for generational healing. This is a sin carried down from his father, and so on. The cycle needs to be stopped before your sons become like that too. I have seen angry people stop being angry just from generational healing. I wish I had more to say. I wish I could hug you and pray the Rosary with you. :frowning:


#14

I apologize! I didn’t realize that the comment about not wanting the children was made in a joking tone. It’s good that he is a loving father directly toward the children. I pray he may realize that a very big part of being a loving father is providing his children with an example of a loving husband as well.


#15

I know some have mentioned marriage counseling, but frankly, if you’re that angry and disappointed with him, get counseling for yourself first.

Dump on a counselor and then start working on how to change yourself. You can’t change him, but you can change how you react to him.

—KCT


#16

[quote=KCT]I know some have mentioned marriage counseling, but frankly, if you’re that angry and disappointed with him, get counseling for yourself first.

Dump on a counselor and then start working on how to change yourself. You can’t change him, but you can change how you react to him.

—KCT
[/quote]

Just to clarify, I don’t mean there’s something wrong with you. What I mean is, if he treats you badly, you need to set boundaries regarding what you will and will not put up with.

If he’s happy the way things are, why would he see the need to change? However, if you’re unhappy, take responsibility for yourself and change how you react to him. —KCT


#17

[quote=wannabesaved] I must have missed something because I have never, ever heard of children being raised Protestant in a mixed marriage. They are your charge, you hold the truth…stand up for that.
:frowning:
[/quote]

I’m sure it is different if a Catholic marries a Protestant, in which case the Protestant agrees beforehand that the children of the marriage will be raised Catholic. Our situation is different in that we both came into the marriage Protestant with the understanding (unspoken) that our kids would be raised Protestant. I don’t feel it is my place to change that now, although I am hoping and praying for change, and I do teach my kids whatever I feel like I can. I say jokingly that they may be raised Protestant, but they will have a Catholic flavor. Better than being raised anti-Catholic like I was!


#18

You definitely need counseling and I have a spouse who refuses counseling but I prey you will have better success. The issue seems to be he wants a girlfriend and not a wife and mother.

However, a marriage is the start of the family and if the spouses put each other first the rest falls in line. That is not to say the children don’t matter but he has needs and meeting those needs does not go away just because there are children in the family.

As far as raising the kids Protestant in your situation that makes sense. My wife is Presbyterian and our kids are being raised Catholic but what if she became a fundamentalist Christian or a Muslim or an Orthodox Jew? I would not want to say oh okay now the kids are going to be raised that instead of what we agreed to.

It would be nice if our spouses lived up to expectations but keep praying and talk to someone even if it is you alone and not as a couple to give you guidance and advice.

I will keep you in my prayers too.


#19

LoneCatholic,
Does your husband know how devastated you are by his “vehemently defending the ‘need’ for an attractive spouse”?? Do you allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to him so as to truly and authentically show him/tell him how crushed you are by the continual insensitivity?

Because after reading all about his “needs” and how he goes about lamenting how they’re supposedly not being met, it seems like there are only two explanations: 1) He just isn’t informed how much it hurts you or 2) He is an exceptionally cold and selfish person who doesn’t care if it hurts you or not, because his ‘needs’ are foremost.

It seems like he is unwilling or unable to face reality. Reality, of course, being that you are attractive whether or not you have a belly full of baby. Your face doesn’t change, your hair gets fuller and more lusterous if anything, your smile is the same, your laugh, your personality, the crinkle of your eyes…You are still the woman he loves and married, regardless of the baby-basketball you’re carrying around.

As for the whole “issue” of raising the kids Catholic vs. Protestant, I would not even consider thinking about that at the moment. You don’t need to take another emotional/spiritual obstacle upon yourself which will surely alienate you and your husband further from one another. It seems that the children are young enough that for the time being, the status quo will do. In time, God will lead you as to what to do in that area, if anything further need be done. A praying Catholic mother can do wonders…

It sounds like you really should pursue individual counseling. You can’t change your husband but you can change how you interact with him and what you will accept from him. If it is so unbearable that your very spirit is being crushed by his outrageous expectations and comparisons, you need to save yourself before the time comes that you start feeling that this treatment is what you deserve. It will affect your mothering, your personality and your spirituality. It may mean separating from him if he truly can’t keep his mouth shut about “needing a hot wife” and disparaging you in the process. Or at the very least requiring him to go to counseling if he wants to keep you around.

As for marital relations, we are required to fufill this gift to our spouse when there is no legitimate reason not to. But if you feel sickened and terrible afterwards most times, believing it not to be an authentic expression of love and therefore injuring yourself emotionally, you may want to speak to your priest and get some guidance about whether or not taking a break from this act is what might be needed to help you begin healing. Subjecting your emotions to his battering and then sharing your body in a way that is not always moral or comfortable to you–which, your body does belong to him but which he abuses by declaring it not good enough–can do damage to your emotions and self-worth even more.

Do you have any daughters? Something he may want to consider is whether he likes imparting the idea that being “hot” is what their role as a future spouse should be to their “needy” husbands.

I am so sorry you’re going through this and feel so alone. Please get a counselor! And always come back here when you need support.


#20

Great advice, PA! I also wondered as I read through the OP’s posts if her husband might have some underlying narcissistic tendencies. Some one on another thread (maybe it was another of Lone Catholic’s threads) recommended a book called “Why Is It Always About You?” or something like that. Perhaps you can do some research on this issue, which is a pyschological problem requiring focused help to overcome. Not that I’m trying to diagnose anyone here, but I want you to look deep for the causes to these problems in your husband’s mind and soul. The more information that you understand about what underlying issues your husband might have (there is definitely something there or else you wouldn’t be having these problems), and a possible list of symptoms that might help you understand your husband, the better you will be to communicate with him in an efficacious manner, either with a counselor on one-on-one. Remember that when you go to counseling it shouldn’t be open-ended, you should have a treatment plan and a time table that your counselor establishes for you. If psychiatric problems are present, your insurance company may well pay for part or all of the therapy, depending on the benefits. Let me tell you, LC, that if your husband has deeper problems, a divorce would be extremely detrimental to him. Within the security of a stable marriage, one fares so much better. Don’t forget that he is the father of the children you love (of course you wouldn’t forget that!) and that his future emotional health, just like your future emotional health, will have a life-long impact on your children’s well-being. Don’t give up without a fight. Your family is worth it.


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