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Author Topic: Detached Husband  (Read 1459 times)

Basheera

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Detached Husband
« on: Sep. 25, 2010, 03:54 PM »

Salaam, I am married to a man for 6 years now. This is my second husband. He is a very good and kind man but has done something  a little over a year ago that has shaken my trust in him and I have lost my admiration in him that I once had. I love him very much but this has changed me. He also is very detached from the family. I have been carrying hurt around for a very long time over the fact that he does not embrace my three daughters as he did when we were dating. He is a quiet man and unless you speak to him he rarely has anything to say. He will not seek you out and start a conversation. It's like he's living in the home walking around with a bubble around him. I'm always the one and the kids too, to initiate conversations or physical contact like hugs. I have spoken to him about this, in a very loving way, several times and he will make an effort to act like part of the family for a while ( maybe a month) and then he's back to his old self. I have vowed to not talk to him of this anymore because I feel like a nag. I always pray that God will please speak to his heart and help him to realize that he is not being the kind of husband and father that he can be. Like I said, he really is a wonderful man in so many ways but this is a huge sense of heartache for me and my girls. He's been in our lives for 8 years now and my second daughter is going off to college next year. My husband has wasted so much time not trying to get to know my daughters. It is such a shame. I have told him he could have had a very unique and special relationship with each child. They always wanted that of him and he never delivered. I used to be so happy all the time, up until a year ago when the incident with my husband happened, I was so in love and so grateful for the type of marriage we had and the strong love we had. Now it has all changed and I don't know how to get it back. I have forgiven him his mistake but there are times when I don't trust him and feel suspicious. If he would interact with us as a family and he as the leader of our family I would feel so happy again and could deal with my lack of trust. I'm angry inside about all of this and I don't like this feeling.  How do I get through to him? Please everyone pray that God will speak to ( we'll call him "N") and help him to do better. I don't want to end this marriage and lose my husband. Advice please.Thanks for listening.
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JenBean71

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Re: Detached Husband
« Reply #1 on: Sep. 26, 2010, 01:01 AM »

Asalam alaikum,
Dear Sr. Basheera,

It looks like a very difficult situation - something has happened and things aren't the same. You don't need to tell us what happened.

I came across a link on twitter that I found so helpful and it might give you some things to consider inshaAllah. I am making duas for you sister.

*****

We’ve all been hurt by another person at some time or another — we were treated badly, trust was broken, hearts were hurt.

And while this pain is normal, sometimes that pain lingers for too long. We relive the pain over and over, and have a hard time letting go.

This causes problems. It not only causes us to be unhappy, but can strain or ruin relationships, distract us from work and family and other important things, make us reluctant to open up to new things and people. We get trapped in a cycle of anger and hurt, and miss out on the beauty of life as it happens.

We need to learn to let go. We need to be able to forgive, so we can move on and be happy.

This is something I learned the hard way — after years of holding onto anger at a loved one that stemmed from my childhood and teen-age years, I finally let go of this anger (about 8 years ago or so). I forgave, and not only has it improved my relationship with this loved one tremendously, it has also helped me to be happier.

Forgiveness can change your life.


Forgiveness does not mean you erase the past, or forget what has happened. It doesn’t even mean the other person will change his behaviour — you cannot control that. All it means is that you are letting go of the anger and pain, and moving on to a better place.

It’s not easy. But you can learn to do it.

If you’re holding onto pain, reliving it, and can’t let go and forgive, read on for some things I’ve learned.

1. Commit to letting go. You aren’t going to do it in a second or maybe not even in a day. It can take time to get over something. So commit to changing, because you recognize that the pain is hurting you.

2. Think about the pros and cons. What problems does this pain cause you? Does it affect your relationship with this person? With others? Does it affect work or family? Does it stop you from pursuing your dreams, or becoming a better person? Does it cause you unhappiness? Think of all these problems, and realize you need to change. Then think of the benefits of forgiveness — how it will make you happier, free you from the past and the pain, improve things with your relationships and life in general.

3. Realize you have a choice. You cannot control the actions of others, and shouldn’t try. But you can control not only your actions, but your thoughts. You can stop reliving the hurt, and can choose to move on. You have this power. You just need to learn how to exercise it.

4. Empathize. Try this: put yourself in that person’s shoes. Try to understand why the person did what he did. Start from the assumption that the person isn’t a bad person, but just did something wrong. What could he have been thinking, what could have happened to him in the past to make him do what he did? What could he have felt as he did it, and what did he feel afterward? How does he feel now? You aren’t saying what he did is right, but are instead trying to understand and empathize.

5. Understand your responsibility. Try to figure out how you could have been partially responsible for what happened. What could you have done to prevent it, and how can you prevent it from happening next time? This isn’t to say you’re taking all the blame, or taking responsibility away from the other person, but to realize that we are not victims but participants in life.

6. Focus on the present. Now that you’ve reflected on the past, realize that the past is over. It isn’t happening anymore, except in your mind. And that causes problems — unhappiness and stress. Instead, bring your focus back to the present moment. What are you doing now? What joy can you find in what is happening right now? Find the joy in life now, as it happens, and stop reliving the past. Btw, you will inevitably start thinking about the past, but just acknowledge that, and gently bring yourself back to the present moment.

7. Allow peace to enter your life. As you focus on the present, try focusing on your breathing. Imagine each breath going out is the pain and the past, being released from your body and mind. And imagine each breath coming in is peace, entering you and filling you up. Release the pain and the past. Let peace enter your life. And go forward, thinking no longer of the past, but of peace and the present.

8. Feel compassion. Finally, forgive the person and realize that in forgiveness, you are allowing yourself to be happy and move on. Feel empathy for the person and wish happiness on them. Let love for them, and life in general, grow in your heart. It may take time, but if you’re stuck on this point, repeat some of the ones above until you can get here.



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Al-Qamar

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Re: Detached Husband
« Reply #2 on: Sep. 27, 2010, 04:44 PM »

Assalamu alaykum ukhti,

I'm sorry to hear about the troubles you've been going through, but I'd like to offer you my opinion insha'Allah, on what I believe is happening.

For your husband to be so quiet would generally suggest he's under a lot of stress. You have to realise that men and women deal with stress differently. Whereas women want to talk it out, men generally want to deal with it by themselves (it's quite satisfying for us to resolve our own problems). If we can't resolve it ourself, we'll generally go to another man (we men like to fix problems, women just confuse the issue... generally speaking).

What we don't like is for our wives to keep asking us what the issue is, please just let us be. We will come to you in time (insha'Allah)... the only thing to bear is mind is to be ready for when that time comes. It sounds silly, but you have to be the strong one, because if your husband comes to you, and you reject him (i.e. you don't have time to give him the attention he needs at that point when he's come to you), he may not come to you again.

Seriously, you need to be the strong and patient one, and let him deal with whatever crisis or drama he's going through. Insha'Allah, he'll make it through and come back to you.

I just want to post this one story I read on another forum because insha'Allah I think you might be able to benefit from it. I can vouch (having seen people go through similar) that if you leave your man alone to deal with his issues, he'll get over it in time or come to you for help.

----------------------

Let’s say you have what you believe to be a healthy marriage. You’re still friends and lovers after spending more than half of your lives together. The dreams you set out to achieve in your 20s—gazing into each other’s eyes in candlelit city bistros, when you were single and skinny—have for the most part come true.

Two decades later you have the 20 acres of land, the farmhouse, the children, the dogs and horses. You’re the parents you said you would be, full of love and guidance. You’ve done it all: Disneyland, camping, Hawaii, Mexico, city living, stargazing.

Sure, you have your marital issues, but on the whole you feel so self-satisfied about how things have worked out that you would never, in your wildest nightmares, think you would hear these words from your husband one fine summer day: “I don’t love you anymore. I’m not sure I ever did. I’m moving out. The kids will understand. They’ll want me to be happy.”

But wait. This isn’t the divorce story you think it is. Neither is it a begging-him-to-stay story. It’s a story about hearing your husband say, “I don’t love you anymore” and deciding not to believe him. And what can happen as a result.

Here’s a visual: Child throws a temper tantrum. Tries to hit his mother. But the mother doesn’t hit back, lecture or punish. Instead, she ducks. Then she tries to go about her business as if the tantrum isn’t happening. She doesn’t “reward” the tantrum. She simply doesn’t take the tantrum personally because, after all, it’s not about her.

Let me be clear: I’m not saying my husband was throwing a child’s tantrum. No. He was in the grip of something else—a profound and far more troubling meltdown that comes not in childhood but in midlife, when we perceive that our personal trajectory is no longer arcing reliably upward as it once did. But I decided to respond the same way I’d responded to my children’s tantrums. And I kept responding to it that way. For four months.

“I don’t love you anymore. I’m not sure I ever did.”

His words came at me like a speeding fist, like a sucker punch, yet somehow in that moment I was able to duck. And once I recovered and composed myself, I managed to say, “I don’t buy it.” Because I didn’t.

He drew back in surprise. Apparently he’d expected me to burst into tears, to rage at him, to threaten him with a custody battle. Or beg him to change his mind.

So he turned mean. “I don’t like what you’ve become.”

Gut-wrenching pause. How could he say such a thing? That’s when I really wanted to fight. To rage. To cry. But I didn’t.

Instead, a shroud of calm enveloped me, and I repeated those words: “I don’t buy it.”

You see, I’d recently committed to a non-negotiable understanding with myself. I’d committed to “the End of Suffering.” I’d finally managed to exile the voices in my head that told me my personal happiness was only as good as my outward success, rooted in things that were often outside my control. I’d seen the insanity of that equation and decided to take responsibility for my own happiness. And I mean all of it.

My husband hadn’t yet come to this understanding with himself. He had enjoyed many years of hard work, and its rewards had supported our family of four all along. But his new endeavor hadn’t been going so well, and his ability to be the breadwinner was in rapid decline. He’d been miserable about this, felt useless, was losing himself emotionally and letting himself go physically. And now he wanted out of our marriage; to be done with our family.

But I wasn’t buying it.

I said: “It’s not age-appropriate to expect children to be concerned with their parents’ happiness. Not unless you want to create co-dependents who’ll spend their lives in bad relationships and therapy. There are times in every relationship when the parties involved need a break. What can we do to give you the distance you need, without hurting the family?”

“Huh?” he said.

“Go trekking in Nepal. Build a yurt in the back meadow. Turn the garage studio into a man-cave. Get that drum set you’ve always wanted. Anything but hurting the children and me with a reckless move like the one you’re talking about.”

Then I repeated my line, “What can we do to give you the distance you need, without hurting the family?”

“Huh?”

“How can we have a responsible distance?”

“I don’t want distance,” he said. “I want to move out.”

My mind raced. Was it another woman? Drugs? Unconscionable secrets? But I stopped myself. I would not suffer.

Instead, I went to my desk, Googled “responsible separation,” and came up with a list. It included things like: Who’s allowed to use what credit cards? Who are the children allowed to see you with in town? Who’s allowed keys to what?

I looked through the list and passed it on to him.

His response: “Keys? We don’t even have keys to our house.”

I remained stoic. I could see pain in his eyes. Pain I recognized.

“Oh, I see what you’re doing,” he said. “You’re going to make me go into therapy. You’re not going to let me move out. You’re going to use the kids against me.”

“I never said that. I just asked: What can we do to give you the distance you need ... ”

“Stop saying that!”

Well, he didn’t move out.

Instead, he spent the summer being unreliable. He stopped coming home at his usual 6 o’clock. He would stay out late and not call. He blew off our entire Fourth of July—the parade, the barbecue, the fireworks—to go to someone else’s party. When he was at home, he was distant. He wouldn’t look me in the eye. He didn’t even wish me “Happy Birthday.”

But I didn’t play into it. I walked my line. I told the kids: “Daddy’s having a hard time, as adults often do. But we’re a family, no matter what.” I was not going to suffer. And neither were they.

My trusted friends were irate on my behalf. “How can you just stand by and accept this behavior? Kick him out! Get a lawyer!”

I walked my line with them, too. This man was hurting, yet his problem wasn’t mine to solve. In fact, I needed to get out of his way so he could solve it.

I know what you’re thinking: I’m a pushover. I’m weak and scared and would put up with anything to keep the family together. I’m probably one of those women who would endure physical abuse. But I can assure you, I’m not. I load 1,500-pound horses into trailers and gallop through the high country of Montana all summer. I went through Pitocin-induced natural childbirth. And a Caesarean section without follow-up drugs. I am handy with a chain saw.

I simply had come to understand that I was not at the root of my husband’s problem. He was. If he could turn his problem into a marital fight, he could make it about us. I needed to get out of the way so that wouldn’t happen.

Privately, I decided to give him time. Six months.

I had good days and I had bad days. On the good days, I took the high road. I ignored his lashing out, his merciless jabs. On bad days, I would fester in the August sun while the kids ran through sprinklers, raging at him in my mind. But I never wavered. Although it may sound ridiculous to say, “Don’t take it personally” when your husband tells you he no longer loves you, sometimes that’s exactly what you have to do.

Instead of issuing ultimatums, yelling, crying, or begging, I presented him with options. I created a summer of fun for our family and welcomed him to share in it, or not—it was up to him. If he chose not to come along, we would miss him, but we would be just fine, thank you very much. And we were.

And, yeah, you can bet I wanted to sit him down and persuade him to stay. To love me. To fight for what we’ve created. You can bet I wanted to.

But I didn’t.

I barbecued. Made lemonade. Set the table for four. Loved him from afar.

And one day, there he was, home from work early, mowing the lawn. A man doesn’t mow his lawn if he’s going to leave it. Not this man. Then he fixed a door that had been broken for eight years. He made a comment about our front porch needing paint. Our front porch. He mentioned needing wood for next winter. The future. Little by little, he started talking about the future.

It was Thanksgiving dinner that sealed it. My husband bowed his head humbly and said, “I’m thankful for my family.”

He was back.

And I saw what had been missing: pride. He’d lost pride in himself. Maybe that’s what happens when our egos take a hit in midlife and we realize we’re not as young and golden anymore.

When life’s knocked us around. And our childhood myths reveal themselves to be just that. The truth feels like the biggest sucker-punch of them all: It’s not a spouse, or land, or a job, or money that brings us happiness. Those achievements, those relationships, can enhance our happiness, yes, but happiness has to start from within. Relying on any other equation can be lethal.

My husband had become lost in the myth. But he found his way out. We’ve since had the hard conversations. In fact, he encouraged me to write about our ordeal. To help other couples who arrive at this juncture in life. People who feel scared and stuck. Who believe their temporary feelings are permanent. Who see an easy out and think they can escape.

My husband tried to strike a deal. Blame me for his pain. Unload his feelings of personal disgrace onto me.

But I ducked. And I waited. And it worked.

By Laura Munson from www theweek DOT com
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