My husband and I will be having our 5 year wedding anniversary later this month. He has ADHD and was diagnosed as a very young child. He also had a difficult family life growing up. His parents separated when he was a teenager and I don't think he has ever dealt with his feelings about this.
My husband is a good person, but lately it seems to be difficult for him to show his good points. For awhile, I do not feel like we have been communicating. He spends much of his time using his computer, playing video games, or watching tv. We mostly interact when I initiate it, and he often sleeps on the sofa because he has fallen asleep while using the computer, playing video games, or watching tv. I have been complicit in his keeping up the situation where he doesn't have to participate in our relationship.
Recently, when the therapist suggested that many women would be angry with the amount of time he spends on video games, I had a difficult and startling realization that things are not as happy as I had lead myself to believe. I have OCD, and have sometimes had difficult anxiety, however, I now have my anxiety very much under control. When I try to discuss these communication issues with my husband, he gets angry and blames them on my anxiety or on me being in a bad mood. He also doesn't pick up after himself and neglects the household chores that are supposed to be his. I have been letting his things pile up and not picking them up like I usually do, but it is hard for me to live in such a messy environment, and sometimes I have to pick things up so I do not feel so scattered.
We have 2 dogs and 2 cats (they are our children) and I worry that if I leave him the job f feeding them that it will not get done. One day I was gone all day and when I came home the cats had no food and water, and the bowls had not been refilled at all that day. So I take on the job of feeding the animals because although my husband will do it, it is usually only after I remind him, and if I don't say anything and I don't do it, it often will not get done.
My husband is also very sensitive to criticism and seems to need a lot of praise. When I have attempted to discuss things in our relationship that bother me, he either completely shuts down and we cannot talk about it for several days, or gets very angry and raises his voice, often leaving the house, and a couple of times not coming back until the next day. I have come to the conclusion that he doesn't seem interested to know what I am thinking and feeling unless my thoughts and feelings are positive and don't suggest that he has any flaws.
Additionally, my husband has difficulty with my success. I finished my Master's degree in the summer with a 4.0 grade point average, and he got angry with me when I was talking about it. He told me that he could have had straight A's when he was doing graduate coursework, but that he didn't because we were fighting a lot at that time. I got extremely angry and told him that he had a problem if he could not accept my grades, and that his grades were his responsibitlity and not mine. (There were also sometimes during his graduate coursework when he did not finish assignments on time, but I don't think he remembers that).
Recently, after reading The Dance of Anger and several other books by Harriet Lerner, I have resolved to change my role in our "dance." The other night, after he said something very sharply to me in a way that I felt was rude, he asked me if I was in a bad mood. I told him no, and explained (with loving kindness and no blaming) that the way he had said something to me had bothered me. He began raising his voice and left the room, saying that he would give me time to get over my bad mood. A few minutes later, I found him and calmly said that I was not in a bad mood, I was simply not happy with the way he had spoken, and just wanted to discuss it. At this point he began screaming at me about how I nitpick and I always find things wrong with him. I told him that he was going to have to stop screaming at me before I talked to him, because I can't allow myself to be screamed at if I want to feel like I have self respect. He continued screaming and I told him that if he was going to continue screaming he would need to ind a place to stay until he could talk to me calmly. He banged around, getting a suitcase, and packed his things. He hung around for awhile, because our tradition when he gets like this is for me to beg him to stay. But this time I just told him that I really did not want him to leave, and that I would prefer for him to calm down so we could have a discussion, however, if he felt he needed to leave he should do what he needed to do.
He refused to acknowledge anything I said after that point, and went to a hotel, later texting me to tell me where he was, a text to which I did not respond. The next day, when I came home from work, he was at home acting like nothing had happened. I had seen my therapist that day, and said what I had planned, which was "I'm glad you're back."
Since then I have been trying to give him the opportunity to initiate more contact or a discussion. I am trying to let him begin things, however, am wondering if he will. I feel very lonely and incredibly sad, because I am wondering if my husband wants to be married to me anymore. Last night we went to a movie with our closest couple friends. It was a long movie and a little while in I started to feel really hot and overwhelmed with the sadness of the situation. I calmly decided I would need to go and I told my husband that I needed to leave because I was feeling very hot and ws having difficulty focusing. I told him with a smile to enjoy the movie, gave him a kiss, and told him I loved him. I came home and went to bed.
Later, I woke up and he came in the bedroom, home from the movie. He said I was asleep when he came in, and I told him sleepily, that I was not trying to prove any sort of point by leaving the movie, but that I was feeling sad and unable to do anything about it. I cannot remember the other things I said because I was half asleep, but this morning we are back to acting like nothing has happened. Just wanted to see if anyone has any feedback. I love my husband with all of my heart, and very much want to communicate with him openly, but I have no idea how that is going to happen. I am assuming he is probably feeling pain, confusion, or other troubling emotions at this time also, and I wish we could support each other as we work out these issues.