I am sorry for all you are struggling with, but what an opportunity this article and your feelings are presenting you with. You are awake and peeling off the denial that has most likely trapped you for years. It sounds like Joe is a wonderful father and provider. I am grateful for that, as many times that alone can help hold your marriage together while you are both working toward a solution.
Joe is most likely withdrawing because he doesn’t know how to “fix” your pain. He may feel as though you are blaming him for your sadness, and it sounds like you may be doing that. However, this pain and sadness is left over hurt from a situation that happened long before Joe came into your life. It sounds like your anger and resentment roots from feelings from your past boyfriend. It is likely that you are angry at yourself for allowing that situation to continue. Many times, when we are hurt or angry we take it out on the person closest to us, which in this case is Joe. You talk about how beautiful you were, as if that should have saved you from an abusive relationship, but no matter how beautiful we are on the outside, the inside may suffer with insecurity and hurt. I am wondering if you ever shared the inside with your friends or Joe. Joe cannot help you feel more loved if you are afraid of being intimate and real with him. No man (or woman) can read your mind.
It is time to sit down with Joe and tell him that YOU are sorry you have been treating him with anger and resentment. Tell him that you want him to know how you are feeling and that you have expectations that he will be able to love you in a way that helps you feel connected. Tell him also that you understand these feelings are impossible for him to know without you telling him about them. Make a plan with Joe to save your marriage and your family. Below are 7 things to get you started:
1. Find a therapist that both of you like. Ask friends, family and talk to your provider to see who is on your plan. Therapy is going to help support your marriage and guide you through this murky maze.
2. Tell Joe that he is not the problem, but the way you communicate with one another is. Make a plan to begin touching more each day. You may find the hurt makes you not want to touch; do it anyway because emotion often follows behavior. You may find the connection comes sooner with touching than talking.
3. Both you and Joe should make a list each Sunday night for the week ahead, and identify two behaviors that will make you feel more loved and cared for. Make sure these are doable; in other words, if having sex is on your list, make sure you break that down to perhaps kissing, massaging, and/or cuddling. Having sex when you are angry may not be possible, but touching or kissing is possible.
4. Tell your children frequently that you love each other, and you love them. Tell them you are going to see a “teacher” just like they do at school. Kids love that and understand. Children know when their parents aren’t getting along and it does affect their ability to focus and concentrate.
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