You—REALLY—only know someone after you live with them!
Or, you don't know someone until you live with them!
For those of you who are not yet married---pay attention to the behavior of your date!!! If there are signs of trouble, it won't get better after you are married.
Also, I’d recommend Dr. Weiss “Intimacy Anorexia” book and workbook. There’s activities for each of you to do alone and with your spouse. Just wonderful.
Having been married to a man for 32 years and years of counseling, I could no longer ignore what type of person I had become. At the end of our marriage I asked our counselor if it was possible that my husband was on the autism spectrum. The counselor said that he had known for quite awhile that my ex showed classic signs. He didn't feel that my ex should know because it would give him an excuse for his behavior. By that time I knew that things were over and that I had done every possible thing to make the marriage work. But it was at a huge expense for me emotionally and mentally. Thirty two years of severe depression and anxiety which have still carried over since we divorced. No one addressed the real issue. Although early on it may not have been diagnosed it is my belief that it may have been suspected during the last 20 years of our marriage. I also believe that it was a huge disservice to both of us not to discuss it.
I like your answer. I'd like to encourage the wife to think about why she married him in the first place. Maybe she liked the way he was able to handle difficult situations without falling apart. Maybe she thought he was a good (quiet) listener. There must have been something she didn't think she could live without. As for him, he may have been attracted to her easily expressed emotions, which no one in his family seemed to be able to do. If she can remember why she fell for him (even if those qualities are annoying now), she'll be more motivated. When I learned to accept my husband the way he is and not expect him to change, we both got a lot happier and connected.
I am left wondering if the husband in this letter has the same issues as my wife.
Twenty-five years ago my wife was receiving therapy for her childhood. When her memory recalled the extent of the abuse she'd endured, her emotions and feelings shut down. Every physical, affectionate, and intimate thing a couple could do suddenly carried abusive memories, and she rejected ever doing such things again. She left therapy when she got to the point of forgiving her abusers, but she sees no need to get past the rest and begin having a married relationship again. Today our hugs consist of one arm around a shoulder and sort of bouncing off each other. Kissing is barely allowed. She will give me no compassion or emotional support – not even through heart surgery. And, she literally pushes me away when I try to give her comfort or support. The only emotion she will show is anger. We have initiated couples counseling in the past, but she feels she is doing nothing wrong and cancels it. She is also a mental health professional and believes that receiving counseling would ruin her reputation. She claims that I should not be weak enough so as to need help. And now she wants to get a dog so that someone/something will be giving her affection. The affection she has not allowed me to show her for twenty-five years.
Again, I am left wondering about the husband in this letter; wondering if he has a past as terrible as my wife's past. Is there a trusted counselor who could get him to open up?
What an interesting question, I had the same one myself many years ago. My husband and I have been married over 45 years and I have felt like a robot too. (Amazing analogy). Just last year my husband brought home a framed picture with the words, “I have found the one whom my soul loves.” Never in our married life have I found any kind of emotional deep ness from him. He didn’t like to say I love you and he didn’t like to hold hands in public. My expectations must have been too high for him to reach and so my needs had to be adjusted. Now at this point in our lives, I feel like we have been connected all along, just in different ways.
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