I need help setting boundries

I'm not very good at it.  I can set boundaries for myself but he always manages to talk me out of them with his anger.  He gets angry with me when I say No.  He feels like I'm controlling him when all I'm doing is protecting myself.  He makes me feel incredibly guilty.

Also, he rushes my "letting go" process.  We've been through a rough week this week and it still isn't over.  I still have to deal with the aftermath of his mistakes and that part has yet to come.  Once I get a letter in the mail from the apartment company telling me they received my returned check, I'm sure I will start to feel terrible all over again.  It's a trigger that will set me off.  To that end, I'm not ready to be "all in" with him again.  I'm not ready to hang out and chill like nothing is happening, but that is what he wants from me.  In the midst of a crisis he is super attentive until we have sex.  To him I think having sex seals the deal that the crisis is over and that I "love" him again.  He can let down his guard and go back to ignoring me once I've given him the green light - that being sex.

He initiated with me last night and I turned him down.  He asked me why and I told him because I am stressed out regarding our finances and I'm not in the mood.  He got really quiet.  Then I also explained to him that my fear is that he will stop paying me attention once I make love to him.  Of course he denied this, but past is prologue. 

So what do I do?  We have been getting along in spite of being in the middle of a mess, but that is partly due to the fact that it is not in my character to stay angry.  I simply don't like the feeling of anger.  However, I don't feel like everything is okay and I don't want him to feel that way either.  I need him to work on our relationship and what motivation does he have to do that if he gets all the benefits of a good relationship without working on it ie a wife with a good attitude and sex.  I do not want to use sex as a punishment, but I also do not want to make love to a man who puts very little effort into making our relationship a good one. 

I need advice.

In short, I have been there

In short, I have been there and done that. I, too, have felt like sex was his 'green light' that everything was fine and no more energy needed to be put into the marriage. Still is, to some degree, but not as blatant as before. He, too, denied it emphatically the entire time it was happening. I have theories, but none really matter. Just wanted to let you know, I know what you're going through. You are not alone.

Ok...think of it this way. One thing that a good friend kept trying to get me to SEE for so long (not someone currently here on the boards) is that I was taking a victim role in everything in my life. Especially in my marriage. Read your original post. Read it until you see how you are coming across as if you have NO CHOICE in these matters. As if you have no options, no solutions, no way to make things better. Re: finances...You're working, he isn't...lock them down and do what you NEED to do with the money. I KNOW about the guilt. I know about being made to feel like all you care about is money or that you're nothing but a horrible, controlling bitch because you want to be able to pay the bills. READ: HE WILL NEVER GET THIS. It is 100% (at least for now) UP TO YOU to take control and change things. Let go of the guilt. Think of how absolutely INSANE it is for you to be working, mothering twins, and doing your very best to provide BY YOURSELF for your family...and he is spending the money in ways that causes you MORE stress. It is crazy. You want to be able to live a life where you don't have to worry that the rent check bounces. I KNOW how they can make you feel so f'in guilty and wrong for setting boundaries that make that possible, but it's OK. You're OK. You're not horrible nor do you have any reason to feel guilty no matter what he says or tries to imply. You can fix the finances. You can remove THIS stressor from your life. You have the power, you just don't have the courage.

Are you afraid that if he has to do without something he wants, that he'll somehow think less of you? I know I was. For years and years I carried the burden of that 'mothering' role...if he did without even so much as a soda, if he wanted it, then somehow I was a failure as a wife and money handler. Sad. Sick. True story. "OMG, surely he is now mad at me and will go find someone else to give him what he wants since being with me means he cannot have that soda!" That was the underlying tone of my entire reasoning behind why I have put off paying bills in order to provide a cushion in the bank so as to ensure if it is 3 days before payday and he wants something, it'll be there. No more.

You aren't a victim...you are an enabler. He isn't doing this TO you, you are just assuming that role. STOP WORRYING about the letter from the Mgmt Company. This is why I suggested you call them days ago as to avoid any additional stress on yourself. IT SUCKS that you would have to do that due to no cause of your own, but since you're the only one prepared to handle it, then it is what it is. I understand why you didn't want to though, and that's OK too. It is not the end of the world. The letter will come, you will make the situation right, and then you will move on. Learn from this and be proactive. Stop being a victim of his ADHD and start taking control of your life. You are never going to find your happiness waiting on him to change.

If you haven't already, please get CoDependent No More by Melodie Beattie. (it comes in audiobook form..I listen to mine all the time..over and over). I relate to so much what you're saying, experiencing, living, and feeling...but it does not have to be that way and he does NOT have to change for things to be better. You've got so much on your plate and you're working and trying so hard...do something to help yourself. You deserve peace. (HUGS)

Thank you

I don't think of myself as a victim.  I let him get away with the things he does.  You're absolutely correct in your assessment that I do have the power but not the courage.  I've always known I could change things if I really wanted too (and I do), but I guess I am afraid of the tension it creates when I set boundaries.  He gets SO angry at me it makes me feel like I'm being gaslighted.  I will say something totally reasonable in my most non-authoritative tone of voice and he will come at me like I just slapped him in the face.  I am left thinking, "I know I didn't say anything crazy.  I know I didn't say it in a mean or condescending way.  Why is he angry with me?"  Which leads me to conclude that maybe I am actually wrong.  I actually read a quote that helped me not second guess myself when this happens.  It said, "99% of the time women are right.  99% of the time, men don't care."  When I read that a light bulb when off in my head.  Even if I am right, he doesn't care.  He wants what he wants and he wants it now and no amount of logic is going to talk him out of it.  His need for whatever it is that he wants supersedes my need to be responsible in his mind.  To him, I can be responsible and he can still have what he wants.  It doesn't always work that way.

I do not have the courage to do what I know needs to be done in spite of his persistence.  I give in almost every time because I can't take the anger spewed at me and the cold shoulder.  I just don't want to deal with it.  And you know what? This situation in which I want to be responsible and he gets angry at me because it interferes with what he wants, make me feel much more like we are in a parent/child dynamic than any of the other examples I have read.  The goal is supposed to be to break the parent/child relationship, but having to stand my ground to get us on the right track and say no to my husband while he is throwing a fit about it feels exactly like what I have to do to my children when they want a cupcake and I know they'll get sick if they eat one more.  It makes me lose respect for him because I am not doing anything wrong.  I'm actually doing the right thing and he wants to make it harder for me to do it.  Instead of coming up with a compromise, he just gets mad and makes me feel like a control freak. 

Basically it seems as if my only recourse it to figure out a way to not feel guilty when he does these things or to feel guilty and press forward in spite of the guilt. 

I'm still now certain about what to do when he wants to be intimate during a time when things are not okay in an attempt to make them "good" again.  Things are not good.  They haven't been good for a while and it's going to take time before they are good again.  I need him to understand that just because I'm not walking around like a sullen bitch 24/7 does not mean that I'm okay.  A couple days of attention from him does not change the fact that there is still work to be done and I know that having sex indicates to him that we're where we need to be and we are not.  I don't know what to do about this part of the equation without it seeming like I'm withholding to punish him.  I don't want him to feel punished.  I want him to stay focused on getting our marriage back together and make it a priority.


If he is using it as a gauge of how things are then

Can you somehow say that sometimes sex can be a "bonus" in relationships and not a tool to fix problems or settle discomfort? Maybe you could tell him when stressful situations keep repeating themselves it only makes you feel distant and not all warm and fuzzy. It's a tricky topic because people can use/expect it for just about anything and everything. Maybe tell him to find a better solution that actually fixes the problem instead of changing the topic and/or focus. : ) (I am not saying to use or deny to get him to do something for a "reward", i am just trying to suggest that it may not be the best way to help YOU fix or deal with a financial problem at this time).... Somehow this comes off as use it for "power" statement.... For the record - i do not suggest that - nor do i advise that... Can not use for power or control. Just sayin...

The goal is to get to a point

The goal is to get to a point where things may not be "OK" but they are not so broken that you cannot make love to your husband. Right now, the focus of your marriage is his recent mistake. You've already admitted that you own some of the fault because you have let him manipulate you into feeling responsible for HIS feelings. The "slap in the face" you speak of is intentional on his part. It is an ingrained way of coping. They want the conversation to end or they do not want to agree to what you're asking so they derail the entire point of your comments and opinions by making accusations that are way off base. Even if they make perfect sense to them, they do not have to become YOUR feelings. "I am not sure why you said that or why you feel that way, but I disagree"

Put everything in writing for him. Expenses, income, and a 'budget' that shows what you have to pay from each paycheck. Include groceries, gas, diapers, formula, etc. Send it to him (e-mail?) with concise, but short details about how you wish to get him to join you in your attempt to improve your financial situation and how you plan to go about paying everything and when so that it isn't late. Offer him what you can afford as his own to do with what he wants, making it clear that once it is gone you will not have the money to replace it. Do not give him your debit card again. Pick up what you need yourself. I know it sucks, but look where it got you. Not as much as this sucks.

I say instead of focusing on figuring out how not to feel bad about yet another thing (withholding sex) you focus on fixing the issue at hand so that you CAN enjoy sex with him again. One thing that helps me sometimes is to reverse the situation. What if you accidently forgot a debit card purchase and the rent check bounced. Even if the likelihood of him doing it vs. you doing it is much greater, we all do make mistakes. Would you want him to feel like you were 'childish' for making a mistake? Would you want him to be so upset with you that he said "I really can't stand the thoughts of having sex with you because you screwed up?"

PLEASE understand I do not condone what he did. I know that his behaviors leading to the bounced rent check are probably just the tip of the iceburg, but as long as you're looking at him through the "child" glasses, he may always act as such. I say that you're not a victim because until you REALLY get this, you're always going to justify your anger, lack of desire for him, and resentment towards him by his behaviors. When you can learn to base your feelings for him on WHO HE IS and not his ADHD then you will grow to want him and love him in ways you possibly haven't in a long time. Just the fact that you don't want to have sex with him because he caused a check to bounced says to me that you do feel like a victim. It is very hard to identify with this role (or not justify being in it) until you finally understand what "victims" do and how they react. I know...I was a victim in my marriage up until about 10 days ago. It has been 14 LONG years. (((HUGS)))

Setting boundaries

Hello NeedHope, 

I just read an amazing book titled " when Pleasing You is Killing Me" by Les Carter. It was a book/workbook and extremely enlightening! I cried as it hit cords in my heart and it is shockingly full of great advice and tools for finding and being your authentic self and learning how to set and keep your personal boundaries and your personal PEACE!!! I'm so glad I read it! Now to roll up my sleeves and live the life I was meant to live REGARDLESS OF OTHERS opinions, judgments or APPROVAL!!!  There is a great section on SELFISHNESS VERSUS SELF-PRESERVATION and how we learn how we confuse the two!!!! It's truly a GREAT READ and will help you identify areas that you need to change, and how to do it!  I hope you read it! It's very en"couraging", sorry pun intended! :)