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It seems DH and I can't communicate. We try, but, to be honest, I feel like the only one who really cares. It doesn't seem to be a male specialty to prioritize and work on their relationships. No offense, guys; it's a matter of wiring, I think. But one still has to TRY.

I just don't know how to handle someone who is NEVER happy and who talks bad about himself every time we have a spat. Seriously? There is nothing worse than that. Get some self-esteem, and a back bone, and little less drama. I feel like I am married to a teenager. Not just on the inside, as he dresses like one, too. Fun. It literally makes me cringe to see what he throws on to wear every day.

Five years of this crap, not to mention the ridiculousness that goes along with him having a nasty ex, and kids with said ex - and he can't drive, so I get to be involved. I love the kids but they do not appreciate me so much. Their mother wants it that way, and anyone who has experience with step-parenting can probably back me up that all of that is out of my hands. I am sort of ready to wash my hands of all of that, too. We have been to court 3 times, and a 4th is upcoming. So sick of it!

I have been a SAHM, and I have no idea where I would go - home, which is 2-3 hours away? I am lonely here, but I like living here for many reasons. Also, my family is a mess and I don't know that being around them all the time is any better of an idea for me. That's how I learned to make poor decisions in the first place. I am trying hard not to keep doing it!
 

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My dh used to (sometimes still does) talk trash about himself when arguing. So annoying! One time I just agreed with him...he didn't like that. We had a frank discussion about him turning the arrgument into a pity party and trying (perhaps subconsciously) to make me feel bad...so I'd stop being mad and start stroking his ego. It didn't fly. He's much better since I called him out on it.

My advice is...find out if it's worth working on..why do you love him? If you want to make it work, tell him bluntly how you feel. Make him realize you're thinking about calling it quits. He has to try just as hard as you, if he's not willing to...don't stay. Life is too short to be unhappy.
 

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Thank you, Nadders. I think you appreciate exactly where I'm coming from. I absolutely can't stand childish games ESPECIALLY during an argument.

I am pretty blunt about everything; I know people can't change what they're doing if they don't know they're doing it. I also get very offended when people don't confront me and just let things stew and/or talk to everyone about it except me... hate that! Honesty gets so much more accomplished. If my friends want an honest answer... they ask me. Don't worry - I'm very diplomatic and tact seems to come naturally... I try to be careful how I phrase things. I would never tell a friend, "Why, yes, your butt does look big in those pants."

Actually, I probably would. Nevermind.

I am just beyond exasperated and I wonder if it will ALWAYS be like this. That's a very, very sad thought to me.

DH went off to go do his homework and texted me that his own horrible self-image is the problem and he promised to work on things. I just needed to talk to SOMEONE because he was a total ass earlier and I quite wanted to punch him. I love so many things about him, and everyone else does, too. But he saves his faults for his private, at-home life, and that infuriates me. Don't we, his family, deserve his nice side, too? Grrr!!
 

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A lot of people save the worst of themselves for the people that love them. If he acted that way to everyone, no one would like him. At least he admitted his problem. That's a small victory.

It can get better...it's only been the last 2-3 yrs with dh that have been drama free...we've been together 9 years...so yes people/relationships change. We both matured and grew up. Worked on ourselves. we could have easily parted ways (I thought about it a few times).

Dh finally realized I loved him no matter who he thought he was, but I wasn't going to play the pity game. I have my own self image issues, as I'm sure everyone does, and we weren't going to do that with each other. Instead, we work/talk/deal with them when we're not fighting. We decided our relationship was unconditional and worth working on. We're allies not enemies.

Your dh is probably an awesome guy who doesn't think he is...and likes to put himself down before others can. Like "ya I know that already, you don't have to mention it...you can't hurt me by saying that". When no one really sees him as bad as he sees himself. Therefore he sabotages himself before he gets hurt.

My dh had a lot of issues from growing up, stuff with his dad, stuff with his mom, brother, exes, guilt from a previous relationship that produced a child, he thought he was fat/stupid/ugly, couldn't communicate properly, friend issues....he was dealing with a lot. He expressed his pain by being a jerk lol.

He now says he doesn't know why I stayed with him....it's cause I loved him despite his pain. We have a very open and loving relationship now.....it's like I went from being like everyone else, to being on his side. He is now vulnerable around me.

It's hard, but if he's admitting a problem, there's always hope. Life is about personal progress. If he's willing, you should be too.
 

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I am totally willing. I always am. It just goes back and forth so much and we spend way too much time being miserable and it gets so bad that I can't stand the hurt. He has promised me today that he is going to grow up and said that he needed to grow up in ALL ways... and even wants me to help him dress better. I am not that fashionable, so we'll have to get help with that. It's not that he can't have things that he likes, in fact, I encourage him to and I like a lot of the things he's crazy about. But we're in our mid-thirties and I'm just beyond ready for us to act our age.

I've been trying to encourage him and be on his side and tell him how good he really is, but the only person who can truly realize this for him is himself. It hasn't sunk in for him in 5 years. Every time we argue he keeps talking about how I'll finally get what I've always "wanted" (by leaving) and that is infuriating!! If I WANTED that, I would not be here or do all these things that MOST women would never put up with. I'm just not very patient with his antics because I feel like I do so much already without complaining. For example, there for a long time, since he doesn't drive, I would have to spend HOURS around his ex and her family... now that's love! We have tried to set ground rules for him not saying things like this, but in the heat of the moment, he doesn't care. I don't feel respected at all when he's like that.

Really, if he just did something small each day to show me he respects me, I think we would go back to being madly in love. We'll see if he listens to me this time and for how long. :(

You really described my DH well. He seems to have lots in common with yours as far as things that have hurt him in life. He is an awesome guy... if only he could see that. When he gets really bad, I just think, "What a waste." Because he IS awesome!
 

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Sad thing is you're totally right about having to change himself. It's so hard to change who youve always been too.

I hope he comes around. You deserve to be happy.
 

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When DH and I were having trouble I read Titus 2 in the bible. Prayed a lot and reached out to my true friends to walk me through it. I put all of my trust into God and he had restored my marriage and I can't ask for a better husband.
 

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Hi
I don't know if you are interested and my ds laugh at me about Dr Phil, but he wrote some books that might help you and dh. I really think he makes alot of sense. Self matters and relationship rescue.
I've not been in your situation and sorry you are going through it and just trying to help
Pam

I totally agree with Nadders that you deserve to be happy; everyone does.
 

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I could have written exactly what you wrote over 25 years ago (well, except for the clothing - my hubby is pretty picky about that.) I also was a step-mom to kids who were encouraged by their bio-mom to discount me at every turn. I was an interloper as far as they were concerned. She even once told them that I "stole hubby from her" (i.e.: that I was the other woman!) even though I didn't even MEET him until a year after their divorce was finalized! Anyway, those are old wounds and picking at them doesn't help anything.

I always said that being a step-mom is the second hardest job in the world, especially if you care about the kids and don't want them to suffer because of the stupid stuff that the adults are doing.

You're still in the "I can fix him" stage of your marriage which is the source of much of your angst. I know, I know, we're supposed to NOT try to fix him, but you probably will end up being a good influence on him in the long run. For instance, when he is done with school, I bet you'll help him spiff up his wardrobe. But all that other stuff? You're not going to fix that. Only he can fix that.

In the end, we have to learn that the only people we can fix is ourselves. So my advice is two-fold. #1 - Whatever you're doing; however you're responding to him ... you have to start responding in a different way. If you don't respond differently the cycle will only continue - including him calling you later to tell you that it is all his fault, etc. Writing a journal can help you see the patterns in both you and him. #2 - Consider going to talk therapy on your own. As a step-mom, you need emotional support and place where you can get a reality check on all the power plays that happen in their relationship. When we marry a divorced guy with kids, we're really getting married to his ex-w, too. Having a three-way marriage is strange and dangerous territory. We deserve a little unbiased support in handling these situations.

Oh BTW, I took lots of walks. I had to, especially during those times when I wanted to bite someone's head off. Physical exercise helps to handle the stress. Good luck!
 

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I'm not in the I-Can-Fix-Him stage, I'm in the You'd-Better-Fix-Your-Crap-Before-I-Really-Can't-Take-Any-More Stage. :) I have no delusions that I have any sway with his psyche; like I said, 5 years of me trying to show him his strengths have done us no good. For the sake of my child, I am still here, hoping he wakes up. As far as the stepchildren go, I have always loved them, but I have backed off a bit, mentally, for my own sanity, and I will not let anyone make me feel guilty about that (not implying that you are trying to at all; just saying!). I've been very kind to them but I am not their doormat, which they may or may not always respond well to but here's hoping they can see through the wool. I just won't be going out of my way as much as I used to. I've seen how that works out for others, and I have my own family to take care of instead of wasting too much time worrying about what they think and whether they like me. There is no one who could have convinced me at the beginning to leave my DH when we were dating, but BOY, have I learned. NEVER date or marry a man with kiddos unless his crazy-ass ex is dead. And maybe not even then. I am just really lucky that my SK's aren't the nightmare kind, I guess!
 

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I should give him a little party today. It's his very last day to make coffee for a living. He is making really great grades in school and is really taking it seriously. Surely he will start to feel better.
 
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You know, I'm in kind of a similar stage. Here's a few things I'm trying. God knows we're still working on it so I can't say "this worked for me" but I thought I'd share.

1. Figure out what you can live with. There's a ton of things with DH that I'd like him to change, and I'm trying to figure out what I can live with and what is a deal breaker. Being more mature is a big project; if he learns to stop the self-deprecating talk in fights, can you live with the fact that he's not going to do small things for you to show his love? That kind of stuff. Figure out what you can and can't live with.

2. Change your reactions. I am very similar in that I tend to cheer DH up when he's feeling bad. I've been just trying to minimize how much I talk about it when he's in those mood. I will still try and talk to him, but on other topics. If he always complaining about X, when he brings it up again I'll just acknowledge it (you're right, that's how it is) and then change topics so he can't trap me into having the same conversations again with the same outcomes.
 

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If he always complaining about X, when he brings it up again I'll just acknowledge it (you're right, that's how it is) and then change topics so he can't trap me into having the same conversations again with the same outcomes.
I have to laugh about this part. My wife was going through a difficult time at her last job and I swear we would re-hash things 4-5 times with the same outcome. When I tried to change the subject, I would hear.. "you're changing the subject so you don't have to talk about it". Or... "It makes me feel better to re-hash it and find resloution".. though it never did.

I think a person needs to pick and choose the battles one has with the spouse because like they say.. "you can't win em all".
 

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Russ I do that. My dh hates that...I guess that's one of my issues :)

I like to talk about something that's bothering me until I've said it every possible way with every possible outcome and scenario. I play it all out in my head, but when I actual say it I feel better. Dh hates it, gets mad at me....he tries to give me a "fix" when all I want is to talk.
 
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No, I didn't mean topics specifically, but strategies. Say her DH always starts with "Oh, I'm such a failure" and then the OP says "oh, no you aren't, you're a good father and husband..." So it's the pattern of DH leading with a pity party and then the OP is forced into being nice and defensive. So instead of falling into the same pattern, you change your response to "well, I can see why you might think that. (long pause) I'd like to see you helping out around the house more." In this case the OP can actually get to talk about what she wants to talk about, rather than just falling into the "oh, I have to cheer him up" and walking away mad because she didn't get to say what she really wanted to say.
 

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Good luck, I hope you guys can work things out! I don't have any words of wisdm on how to fix the situation, but do wish you all the luck in getting through it!
 
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