My distant husband has left me sad, hurt and confused

For the past 10 years my husband has been distant and has no interest in any form of intimacy. I often caught him in lies, which really made no sense. He would lie about having coffee instead of pop. Silly issues. It often would become so unbearable I would beg for him to talk to me and help me understand what was going on and he would ask for forgiveness and promise me he would work on our relationship. Things would be better but within a month he would revert back to ignoring me. Two years ago my husband ran in an election and won. Gradually he began to be cruel. In between bouts of verbal cruelty he would be distant and unfeeling. I had had an accident 10 years ago which left me unable to work and he would treat me like I was a burden. I often believed that the changes in our relationship were due to the accident and I just kept waiting for my husband to come back.

My frustration finally got the best of me a little over a year ago and I told my husband that I would not take his disrespect anymore. I told him that I was going to stand up for myself. I began to challenge him and tell him when he was being a jerk. Sometimes I called him names. He never accepted responsibility for any aspect of our deteriorating marriage. Then he lost his job. We are in our fifties and we had just bought a new home. Our life was a mess before the job loss! Six months ago, during an argument, he said he wanted a divorce. He said he had not been in love with me for the past ten years and only felt an obligation to take care of me. I fell apart. I had waited and fought for so long believing we could work through anything. For the following two weeks he played with me saying he wanted a divorce then taking it back. It was a roller coaster of emotions. He finally decided that he had been under so much stress that he had had a meltdown. I really wanted to believe him.

We began to talk. I felt we had reached a turning point.

One day three months ago I saw a text on his phone from a young woman who sits on a committee with him. It was a confusing message so I asked him what it meant. My story has gotten pretty long so I am going to cut to the chase. My husband has been having inappropriate relationships by text, email and phone for our entire marriage. So far he has admitted to thirteen. He secretly flirts with them until either they stop contacting him or he shuts it down. In the past two years (since the election) it has progressed to actual contact such as coffee at a coffee shop and asking women to meet up. Also he has met with a woman that he knew long ago and thought he might have sex with her. He admits that he is not sure if it would of happened if I had not found out about his infidelity.

So hear I am. I struggle with my situation. I cannot see myself having to live off my children and I cannot financially care for myself. He lies constantly and will not stop ogling or contacting other women. I know my marriage is probably over even though he is in counseling. He keeps asking me to give him time to figure things out. He says he realizes that there is something truly wrong with someone who does these things. Is there any hope for someone who has had secret relationships over many years and lies daily? How can I still care for this man? I feel trapped. Sometimes I feel as though there is no real solution for me. I am now 60 years old and unable to be financially independent. He still has not found a job and we are living off our savings. Any thoughts?

Response:

Sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately, it is common. For many couples, feelings for each other are not mutual. Someone loves and cares for a partner more than their spouse does in return. In many cases, this happens when someone with a dismissing style of attachment gets involved with someone who is more concerned about the relationship (see attachment styles).

Dismissing individuals also lie frequently, have romantic interests on the side, show little concern or interest in their partners, and are often confused or don’t understand their actions.

And here is the problem, people who date or marry dismissing individuals often deeply care about their partners and their relationships because its in their nature to do so. However, such relationships don’t work out in the long run. The person who cares often ends up with little to nothing to show for their years of love and concern.

Becoming aware of this pattern at this point in your life may not provide much comfort. It may only provide an explanation for why relationships often end up the way they do.

We hope that more people become aware of the role that attachment plays in romantic relationships (see truth about attachment).

By sharing your experience, we hope that other people in similar circumstances become more familiar with this dynamic in their relationships before too much time as past and too much damage has been done.

 cheating husband | dismissing attachment | lying husband

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