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View Full Version : Married or relationship people - HOW DO YOU DO IT???



kelliope
Apr. 18, 2007, 03:48 PM
Ok, I am really struggling here and think I may be missing something. I am specifically posting in the dressage forum because I ride dressage and feel it is quite a time commitment - more so I would say than trail riding or recreational riding. So here is my situation:

I have been married for 3 years (with the person for 9). I have 1 horse and 2 dogs. I have not been able to have children so my horse and dogs are like my children - meaning that I have probably transferred some maternal instinct to my care of them.

I have a full-time job. I am really struggling to be a good wife, good rider and good pet owner.

Here is my schedule:

6:30 am - up and get ready for work. 12:00 - 1:00 go home - walk dogs - grab a quick bite to eat. Then back to work. 4:45 drive home, pick up dogs, change clothes and head to barn. 5:15 arrive at barn, ride and care for horse. 6:45 - 7:00 head for home. 7:30 - 8:00 get home, start dinner, do laundry, do dishes, hang out with hubby. 11:00 - 11:30 collapse. I also often have to race to the store to get groceries/household items.

Now it probably doesn't help that left to my own devices I would be sleeping 9 hours. Yes, this is what my body seems to need. I always am a bit tired.

I do chores and most shopping on weekends. I have taken to ordering everything online (including my makeup!) just to save time driving to the mall.

I ride 6 days a week (unless my husband has plans for us then I will skip riding in favor of husband). I am very serious about my riding and my horse seems to need to be ridden that often.

I would like to squeeze in some other excercise besides riding. But I just seem to be out of time!

How you do (or don't) make it all work...

rileyt
Apr. 18, 2007, 03:51 PM
Marriage is a "team sport".

What is your husband's schedule like?

What does he do to help around the house?

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Apr. 18, 2007, 03:53 PM
Not married to a guy, but to my work.

I think the different passions within your life should balance and refresh each other. I left relationships because I felt the energy flow and positive-ness were flowing only one one direction - from me, to them, and nothing back.

Does your husband have a passion like horses? He doesn't need to share the doing - just the feeling. And, what does he do around the house?

I joke and say, "I don't mind doing Ted's laundrey," but it's the truth. He doesn't demand I do it, I do it because I want to. But then, the time spent with him refreshes and rebalances me as well.

And when I run on talking about some exciting result, he never EVER says,"Honey, can you shut up? That stuff bores me."

class
Apr. 18, 2007, 03:55 PM
your schedule sounds pretty similar to mine, what helps though is that my boyfriend works about 45 minutes from home so has a longer commute and he also goes to the gym after work so he usually ends up being home around 7:30 or 8 himself. i try to make the weekends as much about him as possible and ride from about 7 AM to 10 AM so that i can get home when he is "just waking up." does your husband have any hobbies or other interests so he's not sitting there watching the clock and waiting for you to get home? that would definitely make things harder.

ania
Apr. 18, 2007, 03:56 PM
I'm neither married nor in a relationship, but I don't think it's very fair for him to say that it's your job to do all of this stuff at home -you mentioned laundry, dinner, walking the dogs, and shopping. It takes 2 to make things work and I wonder how much he is doing to help with things around the house.
Ideally I think these sort sof situations should work where the person with more free time offers to take on a few more responsibilities to keep the balance going.

Bogey2
Apr. 18, 2007, 03:59 PM
He plays golf... I ride horses;) It works well for us!:winkgrin:

kelliope
Apr. 18, 2007, 04:05 PM
My husband's schedule is usually that he wakes up about the time I am leaving for work and leaves at about 8:30 - 9:00. He is usually home around 6:30 now (used to be 7:00-7:30 before I got the horse). He is self-employed so he can be flexible when he wants.

flshgordon
Apr. 18, 2007, 04:05 PM
I feel for you!

On paper, I have it "easier" as I have no husband, but I do have a full time job, a dog and THREE :eek: horses. There is no way in this world I could keep up everything with the house, dog, work, myself and ride 6 days a week!

It's just not feasible for me and there's no poor husband to worry about!

There are always considerations and allowances that have to be made no matter what your lifestyle but riding 6 days a week with a husband and a full time job sounds like more than a full plate to me.

Devon
Apr. 18, 2007, 04:06 PM
I confess I don't quite get catering to a SO, if that person isn't catering to you as well. So what if he is sitting there watching the clock, waiting for you to get home? that would be his choice. Are you his baby sitter?
And of course, my husband does come first, but he also respects my passion and the time I need to pursue it. On weekends, when we don't have any thing planned, I ride when I want to, not just when it is convenient for him.
So enough about SO, regarding time in general, I do get tired. I work full days, then go ride after work. to make my life easier, I ride both weekend days, and then just 2-3 days during the week. I think riding 6 days would be too exhausting for me. I couldn't imagine what I'd do if I had kids, thank God I don't.
I would not be married if my husband expected me to do laundry, grocery shop, clean, etc., by myself. that is just insane. We share everything. On the days we're both too tired, we just have a can of soup, or get some takeout. It's really quite nice having a compatible partner, I couldn't imagine having to live with someone's unfair expectations of me.

kelliope
Apr. 18, 2007, 04:07 PM
He plays golf... I ride horses;) It works well for us!:winkgrin:

I AM JEALOUS!!!!! I wish mine had a hobby that didn't involve me. When we met he had a houseboat (and still does). He used to jet ski and hang with his friends, but now doesn't want to go unless I go (which I do, but don't want to be up there from right after work on Fri. to late Sun. night - it is just too much work.)

Equibrit
Apr. 18, 2007, 04:07 PM
It really doesn't matter who does what, and what doesn't get done. As long as you are both enjoying life. What messes it all up is when one half of the partnership starts complaining. Why do they feel they have to do that? It's usually the husbands of horsewomen. What is THEIR problem?

thumbelina115
Apr. 18, 2007, 04:07 PM
Both of us work crazy hours. We're both out the door by 5:15 AM (we exchange plesantries at the coffee pot) I'm home at 6:15 PM and he's home at 6:30. We're both exhausted. I talk and talk about all the ponies, barn cats and the absurd price of April hay deliveries. He talks about his man job and his man life and his golf/video game skills. Then we laugh about our crazy life, sing songs about stupid things, are happy that we are two like people and fall asleep. I work limited hours on weekends, but still a 8 hour day. We're glad for the time that we have together, and are also glad that we are very independant people who don't need constant togetherness (good thing we don't!!)

Perfect Pony
Apr. 18, 2007, 04:11 PM
He plays golf... I ride horses;) It works well for us!:winkgrin:

My husband rides motorcycles and works on cars and has a large group of friends. He loves it when I am busy with the horse, he gets to hang out with his friends.

My husband and are are also DINKs with dogs. Some chores are mine (shopping, vacuuming, bathroom cleaning) and some are his (the kitchen floor, the garage, mowing the lawn, all the mechanical work on the cars). We split the cooking, although on his night we end up eating frozen pizza or canned chili ;) It has to be teamwork and you have to agree to your fair share. You also have to be happy that your SO is happy even if it's not always with you!

Roney
Apr. 18, 2007, 04:11 PM
Kelliope, your schedule (and hubby!) sounds SO much like mine - except that I come home, make dinner, THEN go to the barn, and do the hanging out when I get back. I also don't have kids but always feel pressed for time... also have a horse that really needs to be ridden min. 5 times a week, 6 is better.
Sounds like you're a pretty darn good wife. :yes: The thing I've found with my hubby is that it's a bit hard for him to have to share my time and attention with a horse. To be fair, if I were not a rider, he probably WOULD have more of my time and attention - and I try to keep that perspective in mind and have a little empathy when resentment (on my or his side) rears its ugly head. Of course, I was in a "non-riding" period when we got married, so he did get gypped a bit! Sometimes it just takes a little over-the-top attention when I'm home to counteract the hours spent at the barn...
I do second the poster who says try to get him into a hobby! Mine is really into the video games, which helps distract him a little... :winkgrin: That being said, I don't think it ever stops being a balancing act... the trick is finding the right balance.

imapepper
Apr. 18, 2007, 04:15 PM
I know exactly how you feel. I work a fairly demanding job that requires some weekend work and my hours are little different. I work from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and usually I work later than that. I try to ride in the mornings before work and try to only go to the barn 1 day on the weekend.

My husband gives me more help around the house than your husband but he sometimes resents the time I spend at the barn. I tend to feel guilty about that and I also feel guilty about the $$$ I spend sometimes. He is very supportive of my happiness...but I am pretty sure that he would prefer that I had a different hobby that was less time consuming and less expensive.

I don't know how people with children do it and we are trying to have one of those as well....I am terrified. I have changed my riding goals in the last few months as well. I wanted to ride at a much higher level than I am currently riding at and felt I was not successful rider because I was not achieving the level that I hoped. I have since realized that I do not have the time (will not sacrafice my husband/family time) and money (I refuse to spend our money excessively on MY hobby) to ride at the level that I hoped and now am enjoying my horse time much more because I am not putting pressure on myself to move up.

Roney
Apr. 18, 2007, 04:16 PM
I am a very very poor cook :lol: but found a soution: I discovered those meal-prep places (like Let's Dish) and life is SO much better. They set out all the ingredeints for you and you just prep and freeze the meals. Pop them out, quick time to cook, and voila - looks like you're a star chef.

Spent two hours laughing with two other time-starved buddies from my barn as we prepared the dinners and came home with 16 meals all ready to go. I can't tell you how much easier it is!

Kelly G
Apr. 18, 2007, 04:16 PM
Sorry, this is going to sound a bit blunt, but I've been there and only got my life back two years ago after twenty years of marriage before putting my foot down. I don't think "old fashioned" relationships/marriages, with the wife/girlfriend being the one expected to do all the menial stuff and always be there for the husband/boyfriend, work well for "horse women", and having put aside my horses partly for ten years and then fully for another ten [admittedly, to a large extent, because of an injury I got that kept me from riding, but also to minimise hubby's complaining], it certainly didn't work for me. I think relationships where the woman has her own passions/interests only really work when that's accepted rather than resented, and from experience I can say that giving up the horses to keep the hubby happy is no way to improve a relationship. So, I guess what I'd suggest you need here is a happy medium and making sure that hubby [unlike my ex] doesn't spend the coming years trying to make you feel like you failed just because you weren't willing to give up what you loved and make it all about him!
Kelly.

Trot Left
Apr. 18, 2007, 04:17 PM
No, you are not a bad wife. You just have other directions in life, that does not mean that you don't love, or don't do for your husband and his needs. Is it that maybe he just is not as busy in schedule as you are?

I noticed that in my relationship, which my daily schedule is almost identical to yours, that I am just a busy person and also noticed that he made his life fuller thanks to me. He has a bunch of hobbies and I think just "fills" his days with "something" just because he knows that my days are always full. Does that make sence? What does your hubby think about the horse? Does he have any activities that he does? Is he home alot more then you are? Or are you equal as to when you meet up at home? Do you take time to vacation with hubby? Do you share interests?

You sound like a good wife that is trying to please him, the horse and the dogs but maybe not thinking about you as often as you should?

The only thing I found odd about your post was you said the only time you don't ride is when you "skip riding as a favor to your husband" ... Being married, having a husband or wife should never be in "favor", should never be a chore to please. If it becomes that then maybe it is time to move on.

My feelings are that if your married you keep it a two way street, once it becomes a one way that is when the marriage crumbles. Horses are my life too but my s/o is a person, yup a person. My horse is my love, my savior but he does come second to the people I love in my life.

I think maybe something else may be bothering you? You seem to run down, maybe your husband is too! Talk to him and good, good luck!

egontoast
Apr. 18, 2007, 04:20 PM
You have posted about your husband before. I think your problems with your husband are deeper and more profound than schedule juggling.

Oakstable
Apr. 18, 2007, 04:23 PM
Maybe get a physical, and at least have some lab tests done.

I go to a naturopathic doctor these days. Much to my surprise, I am anemic and I am out of balance even though I have a healthy diet. Feeling run down is most likely related to some physical issues.

If you feel strong and healthy, the mental/emotional stuff will be easier to sort through.

dressagedevon
Apr. 18, 2007, 04:24 PM
My husband and I have been married for only a year but have been together for 11 now. If you were into horses and rode before you were married even if you didn't own a horse then, it isn't like you pulled the wool over his eyes. He knew about this addiction :) before hand. I was in a similar situation, I was in college full time and rode 5-6 days a week and also did alot of shows over the weekend, but my husband knew before we got together that horses were my passion and I wasn't gonna give it up. A hobby is also a good distraction for him. Even still like the second or so post said, it is a 50-50 partnership, and since his job is flexible he could do some of the shopping and if he likes to cook he can do that also, even if it is considered a "woman's job"!

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Apr. 18, 2007, 04:26 PM
I like what Devon said.

It is not wrong to be passionate about things. What needs to happen is that you both agree on priotities.

If he stormed out of counseling - without having a good reason - I'd saythat doesn't bode well.

Maybe it's my bias. I just had too many relationships where I was expected to fit in my career and hobbies around taking care of a healthy adult male. As the t shirt says, I wanted to have a baby, not marry one.

Bugs-n-Frodo
Apr. 18, 2007, 04:26 PM
Trot left, I think she meant not AS A FAVOR to her husband, but that she skips riding IN FAVOR of a "date" with her husband.

Kell, I wish I had some miracle suggestion, and, please, if anyone does, tell us now. We could be one in the same, however, in my case, I have ridden all of my life and have never once thought I could live without it, I can't, I don't want to.

I will be sending you a PT shortly.

Aggie4Bar
Apr. 18, 2007, 04:27 PM
You have posted about your husband before. I think your problems with your husband are deeper and more profound than schedule juggling.I have to agree with Eggy. The pony thread plus this thread.... :no:

neVar
Apr. 18, 2007, 04:35 PM
It's about having an open agreement about who's responsibility is what.

MY husband works night shift (and this year is in school full time during the day). I work full time- plus kids and the horse.

I make sure that Once a week i choose him over the horse (EX i could go ride saturday nights- but i don't- that's when we get groceries- spend time together with the kids (he has them that day) and then we have the evening together.

As to house work- IKE i think this is a huge thing for ANY marriage to figure out at one point or another. Truthfully i do the majority of it right now- but he's got more hours/day that are 'work' then i do. BUt he does the laundry (i put it away) and i just keep up the dishes. we don't really cook at home so there is less there.

BUt what REALLY makes it not an issue is that we have discovered how to talk to each other. And truthfully that came form ME going to counselling (only ever got his arse there once)... and learning how to communicate... do we fight of course- though we've only had one BIG fight now in probably 2 fights- there are days we've pissed each other off.... but we communicate now better then ever... So when things need to be discussed (house hold chorse- money issues what ever) it's not AS big of an issue

Kimberlee
Apr. 18, 2007, 04:44 PM
The fact that he only wants to go out on the water when you will go with him is my "red flag" moment in this thread. Also, that he quit on the conseling thing.

Marriage is a two way street. He sounds like he may need to get more of a life that doesn't involve you. In a good way, like a hobby type thing.

My husband will play his guitar for hours, perfectly happy I am out doing stuff.

kelliope
Apr. 18, 2007, 04:51 PM
The only thing I found odd about your post was you said the only time you don't ride is when you "skip riding as a favor to your husband" ... Being married, having a husband or wife should never be in "favor", should never be a chore to please. If it becomes that then maybe it is time to move on.

Oh, I just meant that I would skip riding "in favor" (not as a favor) of my activities of my husband - meaning that say he wanted to have dinner with friends. Well I would skip riding that day so that we could do dinner without any time stress. And I would not be even a little resentful or sad about that. I like going out and doing things and try to be flexible when things come up. I am trying to point out the difference in when I would skip riding. Dinner/movies/plans with hubby - yes! To skip riding for no reason other than to sit in front of the TV for several hours? That I am not really into.

Bogie
Apr. 18, 2007, 04:56 PM
The balancing act is tough. I have two horses, two dogs, five cats, two children, a husband and a consulting business. I also swim competitively. My DH doesn't have a lot of friends, does has a hobby (but can't do it during the winter) and has, at times been very resentful of how much attention my horses and other animals get.

My advice is:
- scale back your expectations. I ride 4 or 5 time a week, usually, but sometimes other stuff takes precedence. I keep my horses in a place with 24/7 turnout and they do fine.
- go to counseling even if he won't. My DH doesn't get a lot out of counseling, but it's sure helped me. My favorite part was when my therapist asked him how long I'd had horses (longer than we've been married). He then asked, what are you complaining about then? It's not like it came as a surprise. He's also helped me change my own behavior so that I no longer react in the same way to my husband's requests/demands. By changing how I behave, it's caused him to change his behavior. If you don't play the "game", it stops being so much fun for the other person.
- learn what a personal boundary is then enforce it. I was at my wits ends trying to "make" my husband happy. He was knocking me off balance (emotionally). I have learned to be a much stronger person and no longer get swept up with his hissy fits. I've come to accept that I can't make him happy, only he can make himself happy and I've given that job back to him :D.
- make sure you schedule some time for him in your day. Try to find something the two of you can do together.

What has helped me was starting my own business as it gives me far more flexibility in how I spend my time. Unfortunately, that might not work for you :no:.

Good luck. Take a deep breath and try to relax. Don't let the emotional upheaval keep you from enjoying the things that you like (if he's making you feel guilty, think of it as a gift you don't have to accept!).

kelliope
Apr. 18, 2007, 04:59 PM
deleted

kelliope
Apr. 18, 2007, 05:02 PM
Bogey, I like your reply. It makes sense. I remember the counselor telling us just that - that we are each responsible for our own happiness. It is our job to be happy - not our partner's job to make us happy.

knz66
Apr. 18, 2007, 05:08 PM
Well, after having a marriage disolve because we went our seperate ways and did nothing about it, I made damn sure this one knew what he was getting involved in.

Horses are my prozac. Without them, I am bitchy, mean and nasty. LOL He knows that. He recognised that right away. Will even send me to the barn if I am in a bad mood. LOL However I did luck out and he is an animal lover in general. He likes the horses. He likes seeing my daughter compete, knows it will help her stay out of trouble in her teen years (crossing fingers). He is the "treat man" at the barn. the horses see him and start banging on the doors.

But its still hard. I still feel torn from time to time. I do try to have set days at home. Give him the week's schedule so he knows what to expect.

As to home, he is home during the day so he does do the majrity of the housework and cooking.

egontoast
Apr. 18, 2007, 05:15 PM
Good luck, kelliope. Sounds like you need more personal support than you can get from a discussion board. Hope you get the help you need.

west5
Apr. 18, 2007, 05:16 PM
The balancing act is tough.
- scale back your expectations.
- go to counseling even if he won't. My DH doesn't get a lot out of counseling, but it's sure helped me. My favorite part was when my therapist asked him how long I'd had horses (longer than we've been married). He then asked, what are you complaining about then? It's not like it came as a surprise. He's also helped me change my own behavior so that I no longer react in the same way to my husband's requests/demands. By changing how I behave, it's caused him to change his behavior. If you don't play the "game", it stops being so much fun for the other person.
- I was at my wits ends trying to "make" my husband happy. I've come to accept that I can't make him happy, only he can make himself happy and I've given that job back to him :D.
- make sure you schedule some time for him in your day. Try to find something the two of you can do together.

Ditto :yes:

Also it took a lot of time for me to realize that my husband was not necessarily upset about the amount of time I spent with the horses but jealous of my PASSION for them.

Learning how to ask what your partner really wants in a way that gets an honest response is an art form. Cooking someone dinner does not work if what they really want is your full attention or a hug. This goes both ways.

It took time (and to be honest cancer -- my husbands-- and a $hitload of therapy) for he and I to be able to really discuss what we wanted from the other person in a way that was effective.

We were in a very very very dark bad place and worked our way out of it. It wasn't fun and it wasn't easy but it can be done. (We also had already had children and I do believe this helped us as we really wanted to try to save our family.)

Oh and we still fight but in a "healthy" "shrinky" way:lol:

kelliope
Apr. 18, 2007, 05:26 PM
I like that - still fighting in a "healthy" "shrinky" way! :lol: I think I know what you mean.

I know I probably need more help than people think I can get on a BB. But in all honesty I have already received much help from you all and from another BB. Sometimes it helps to be able to hear other's experiences and (like someone posted on another post) not have people that you actually know talking about your dire situation behind your back! :)

So thanks, everyone, for your posts. You guys really make me think! I am not really sure everyone realizes how helpful they really are on this BB - it even surprises me!

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Apr. 18, 2007, 05:29 PM
It is also a means of talking the situation out loud...that means that you are moving to the phase where you have recognized the problem and need to make a Big Decision and Accept the Consequences.

Best wishes, whatever you decide.

kelliope
Apr. 18, 2007, 05:32 PM
Thanks! :)

LLDM
Apr. 18, 2007, 05:40 PM
Okay, I am gong to pontificate a bit - sorry in advance!

It's not about stuff, nor time, nor division of chores. It's about feeling like your wife/husband/SO/whatever has your back. And your feeling that you have theirs. The rest of it is all just noise.

Marriages and relationships have to find their own pace and balance. My husband and I are very different types of people, but that doesn't matter one bit. Whether your jobs/lives/interests/whatever keep you apart or too much together doesn't matter either. It's the feeling that you would crawl over broken glass to be there when it matters for each other and then diligently going about NOT NEEDING that from each other very often!

No one is perfect and no one can fill another's every need. Tend your own soul and expect your partner to tend their's. That way, when the real problems come along, you will be able to be there for each other. Without that it's just too hard. And any little thing can bring the whole relationship down.

You can't be responsible for someone else's life and happiness, as someone else said. You are responsible for you and, yes, the relationship. But no one can be responsible for another fully grown adult person - how they feel, what they need nor the quality of their life.

SCFarm

lizathenag
Apr. 18, 2007, 05:45 PM
My partner got unhappy when I suggested that maybe I should sell my horse who I hadn't ridden in almost a year (but had board and training bills) due to my broken ankle. Now I am riding again. It was clearly a weak moment on my part but that is the value of having a partner--someone who is strong when you are weak.

I feel your pain. Relationships can work. We went into couples counseling as soon as we got serious. After all, between the two of us we had one hundred years of baggage. . .(both being 50ish).

atr
Apr. 18, 2007, 05:51 PM
My husband and I work together--share an office, in fact, so we are quite glad to get a couple of hours apart in the evening :)

He also has a passion that requires constant practice and regular commitment--he sings. (Horseladies, never marry a man without a passion of his own :)) I make a point of going to all his concerts so I can hold them over him in the show season :)

As far as domestic tasks go, we have a reasonably fair division. He handles all of the financials, pays all the bills and does all that boring crap I'm REALLY bad at, and he ploughs snow (a big deal).

I cook (self defense), and do the laundry (clothing has a get tough or die policy in this house.) I do the grocery shopping mostly, he does booze, chocolate and videos--if he did all the food shopping we'd be in the poor house in about 2 months.

If anything needs to go to the vet, I take it. If I'm out of town, I get an animal sitter. I never leave him in charge of the horses for more than one meal.

We have been married for nearly 20 years and are well past caring whether the vacuuming gets done if there is something more interesting to do. My squalor tolerance level is somewhat lower than his, so I do most of the cleaning.

Works for us--but the thing is, we actually like each other and are prepared to accomodate each other's idiosycracies. This is really rather important.

ivy62
Apr. 18, 2007, 06:05 PM
I have not read all the suggestions so sorry in advance if I repeat anything. It was my husband who got me back into horses after an 18 year absence. It is not a juggling act in our realtionship but a partnership, he goes fishing and I ride! NOT! it was much easier before I had a baby, now I have a 5 year old in the mix, yeah my horse would probably do well working 6 days a week but my life just cannot handle that. If you have a trainer or a friend who might be able to pick up a day or 2 and free you up might help. My husband has an understanding of this is a living being and cannot be left alone for months.
Best advice is get a husband horse! draft cross that he can join you at the barn with. Remember he knows nothing and has to learn. include him if you can...makes things easier.
I work about 48 hours a week and have a kid to take to ballet, arts and crafts and play dates, and a dog and cat at home and have the house to take care of too! BUT he helps with the laundry and grocery stuff, he also takes care of the kid when I work late, including baths!
Men do not do well playing second, even to their own children but a horse some just do not get it....
I say try and get him involved some how and take a few days off and let someone else ride your horse if he must be worked 6 days a week.....
Marriages are hard enough and take a lot of work and understanding but most all ATTENTION is very important...

kelliope
Apr. 18, 2007, 06:07 PM
It's not about stuff, nor time, nor division of chores. It's about feeling like your wife/husband/SO/whatever has your back. And your feeling that you have theirs. The rest of it is all just noise.

Marriages and relationships have to find their own pace and balance. My husband and I are very different types of people, but that doesn't matter one bit. Whether your jobs/lives/interests/whatever keep you apart or too much together doesn't matter either. It's the feeling that you would crawl over broken glass to be there when it matters for each other and then diligently going about NOT NEEDING that from each other very often!



This is a great post!

I think that is my philosophy exactly! I think we need to be there for each other but also have enough sense of self to be self-suffient and be able to be on our own. I like to be fun when we do things together. I really hate it when being together starts to feel like just one more chore that has to be done or else!

I read a book one time called "Everything I need to know I learned from my cat". I loved the book and it was so cute and TRUE! Two things I remember most from the book were "Be hard to leave" and "Be easy to come home to". At that time in my life (long before I even knew my current spouse) I wasn't always those things (insecure and sometimes bitchy) and I set about changing that in myself. I try to live by those rules now. I sure wish he would too!

IdDynamic
Apr. 18, 2007, 08:11 PM
Every working woman deserves a house cleaner. Instead of scrubbing the tub, I ride! Also, I send out clothes for pressing and cleaning. I also got a trail horse for my husband, so we can ride together once or twice a week. He likes it, and it gives us time to spend together. It's good for my horse, too.

tempichange
Apr. 18, 2007, 08:19 PM
I don't think I could survive someone who wouldn't go out unless I was there, or wanted to do everything with me.

I need space! And he needs a life and not yours.

My boyfriend and I are two seperate people with the same philosophies and wants.

I have my horses, and I made very if not extremely clear to him that they are a priority. This can mean: late nights, me on the road competing and the cell phone never gets turned off (but put on vibrate). I also told him there was no way around purchasing land.

But at the same time, he has his own thing in addition to building guns, he bikes (pedal not hog), loves to cook and is a general computer geek.

We work together, share a floor (not an office) and ignore each other. We keep our private life private and our public life public. I get home later than he does, so by the time we both decompress from stress we're pretty much on the couch together, eating and talking about stuff.

We also go out frequently, driving, going for walks and travel. The point is, we make time for each other and are together, but we are our own person.

Kel, be yourself, and tell him to get his own life and be his own man.

OdhinnsMom
Apr. 18, 2007, 08:37 PM
It can be done..but it takes an understanding, secure relationship..this is where the jealousy comes in. My hubby doesn't even consider that I might 'love' my horse more, or spend more time with him. In fact, he loves animals..but he doesn't LIKE my horse (youngster, pushy...has a 'green person' radar).

My hubby and I are pretty independent individuals...so we both do our 'thing' and then we do our 'things' together. I have a similar schedule that you do, really...but I try to line things up in a row. Like, I go directly to the barn from work, and to the grocery store from the barn, etc. to save time.

We do eat out A LOT. My hubby never complains when I cook, no matter WHAT it is, and since he is home all day, he does laundry. We both spend (or try) to spend 15 min. a night just 'cleaning'..and we do this 'together' (bizarre use of 'our time' I know...:lol:). And, if I cook, he *always* cleans (his mom raised him right :yes::yes:). I don't have to ask...he just does.

I DO limit my horsey activities on the weekends (except for a show), and if he asks me to go somewhere, I NEVER use the 'but I want to ride' excuse. He lets me ride (both financially and emotionally) very often, so it is only fair I give him my time too.

It gets expensive, and *occasionally* he will point out that my board/training fee is less than a second mortgage on a city/mountain home somewhere...and then I point out what my therapy bill would otherwise be, and he acknowledges defeat. :winkgrin:

We just have different roles...if ONE of us was insecure, then it wouldn't work. And, it works for right now. We don't have kids yest, but I KNOW that will change things. This is also why he is indulgent to my training costs now. I have a youngster that I have in full training with a fabulous trainer, so that in a few years down the road we won't need as much support.

It is possible, but it takes a healthy relationship...because there is just too much 'ammunition' that comes with horses.

Mercedes
Apr. 18, 2007, 09:42 PM
Your husband needs a hobby of his own...besides his business.

I think he could cut you some slack and do the cooking at least during the week and if he doesn't want to cook one night, order in.

I've never been a believer in 'this is a man's job...this is a woman's job'...I think it's BS.

I think you should build a dog run in your yard and save that hour of driving/walking dogs at lunchtime and use it to do those odd errands.

I think if you need 9hrs of sleep for your health, you'd better find a way to get it. If you get sick, you're no good to animals or your husband...put that to him...what is he going to do if you get sick?!?

I don't think you spend that much time with your horse. I'd have a hard time getting a ride in with the amount of time you spend at the barn. It usually takes me 2hrs to groom, saddle, ride, groom and if I have to bath and do mane and tail (both very long and thick).....cripes sometimes I'm lucky to get done in 3hrs.

I think your problems run much deeper and it might be time to take a serious look at the relationship and if this is the man you really want to spend your life with. I tell ya, if my husband gave me half the grief yours does, I'd pack his bloody suitcase IN A SECOND.

On the other hand, it takes two to tango and others treat you the way you allow them to treat you.

Good luck!

Majestic Dream
Apr. 18, 2007, 10:10 PM
I am not married, but my boyfriend and I have been together for 3 1/2 years. He is a chef, starting his own business which will be taking virtually all of his time and he runs a farm. I work two days a week, have class all day two days a week for college, ride seven days a week, babysit, and still have the family at home who can't feel neglected. I basically have the same schedule you do getting home or back down to school between 630 and 7 each night.

Maybe you can talk to your husband and convince him to cook dinner since a) he gets home before you do
b) you say it's always better than when you do it
c) he claims you don't do it with love, to be honest I think you're doing it out of habit or necessity, if you're tired of course you're not going to care too much as long as it curbs your hunger

Date night once a month might be a good option too! I'm sure your horse won't mind having one extra day a month off. :-)

Or what if you designate Sundays as couple time? Leisurely wake up and have a quiet breakfast together and then get the gardening and yard work done together.

These are just a few ideas, just remember its the small things that matter. Your horse will forgive you if you miss one ride, he won't go anywhere. Your husband on the other hand, takes it a little more personally if you're not around.

Sabine
Apr. 18, 2007, 10:43 PM
There are many angles on this story- but I get the feeling that the most basic ingredient is somehow missing- or has gone astray...:(

LOVE

IfWishesWereHorses
Apr. 18, 2007, 11:07 PM
My ex and I were together only 3 years..but our relationship was very much like yours. I would finish work at 3pm and be at the horse by 4pm...and boy would I need to be home by 6pm at the latest to be there when he got home from work. Why? Because it wasn't worth the silent treatment or the grumpy attitude all the time if I wasn't home when he got home.

he hated the fact that the horses were a 7 day a week thing, and made sure I knew it. I would go to a show and rush home early to be there for him.

Yet when we had *us* time, hello..he pretty much did his own thing anyway!!!

I don't think it was so much that he wanted me at home for him, it was more about the fact that he didnt' want me at the horses...which I loved much more than him thats for real.

One weekend I gave up the horses to go away with a bunch of his friends and their wives etc. Over dinner everyone raised their glasses to give a toast to my partners new horse. Yes, HE BOUGHT A HORSE...a BLIMEN RACEHORSE!!! Without telling me...yet we had a big mortgage, were struggling to make ends meet..and I was suffering through his horrid attitude..and he buys a horse behind my back.

I left him the next day and never went back. That was the kick i needed.

Now...fast forward a few years, and Im happily married t the most wonderful man in the world who adores me and my fur kids as much as I adore him. He never begrudges me the time with the horses, and he works damn hard (up to 100 hours a week) yet I work from home and can ride as much as I want to.

I will give up my shows for him any day now (and often do) because I can't wait to spend time with him and love having us time!!

Theres the vast difference between what I have now and what I used to have.

The ironic thing is that one of my best friends has a partner who is identical to my previous one...I wish she too would see th elight

Sorry this is rambling on..but your situation is so similar to what I used to have, and I cant believe that I have it so different now.

Surviving the Dramas
Apr. 18, 2007, 11:24 PM
This is the first time that I have ever posted on here (though have lurked for quite some time), but thought that this thread was something which I could relate to.

I am a full time Law student at University, and have currently been with my BF for three and a half years. Under NZ law, now we share ownership of everything (whats mine is his and vice versa). I have 5 horses currently in full time work, and spend around 4 hours a night with my horses.

I have the odd blow out at BF when I get home and he is sitting in front of the telly, or playing XBox when tea is sitting on the bench ready to be made. We try to evenly share cooking responsibilities, housework only happens in the weekends (when I'm not competing) and everything has to be super organised. I write out a list of what is for tea each night (and BF can just get over it if it isn't what he feels like for tea that night!!!) and we have alternate nights for cooking.

Ultimately though, if your husband is making your horse riding a burden then he needs to sort out his priorities. My BF knows that if it ever comes to a decision of him vs. the horses, the horses win hands down;)

I keep saying that I'd drive my BF mad if I didn't ride I'd spend all my time moaning about how I wanted to ride, and I would probably suffer from OCD.
He has his own hobbies thankfully, and I think that does make a difference to how he sees my riding. I love his hobby too, and support him wholeheartedly and I expect the same from him even though he doesn't like horses:eek:

Adamantane
Apr. 18, 2007, 11:34 PM
I'm not big on the "rock music school of human relations" or bearing personal stuff on a public bulletin board but if any of you ever have heard the Scorpions song, 'Soul Behind the Face' [from 'Pure Instinct' which in my opinion is probably their best album] I suggest you listen to it again and answer each questions with respect to your spouse or S.O.

Even if some of the questions don't exactly apply, the gist of each does. [The song doesn't sound as sentimental in the context of being a cut on a Scorpions album.]

Once upon a time I did that. When I realized that the answer to each and every question came back a flat 'No,' I knew it was time to jump ship:


Would you care for me if I was deaf and blind?
Would you hear my voice if I was always quiet?
Would you hold my hand if I was going to fall?
Would you cry for me would you know my name at all?

Would you be there if I was on the ground?
Would you be my friend if no one was around?
Would you hold me close if I was in the cold?

Would you pray for me would you know my name at all?
Would you care would you be there
For the soul behind the face?

[Refrain I:] Would you love me for what I am?
[Refrain II:] Would you care would you be there
For the soul behind the face?

[Refrain I][Repeat Refrain II twice]
[Repeat Refrain I four times]

citydog
Apr. 18, 2007, 11:37 PM
DH and I have been together 16 years, married 8.5. We met at a time when I was taking a break from horses, and I only had one small dog (was living in city and doing the career thing). He really didn't have any reason to expect we'd end up in rural VT with a farmette, 3-5 dogs, a couple of pet sheep and horses.

He basically has two careers, one in advertising/design, and one in music (which occasionally takes him on tour for 3-6 weeks at a time). I chucked the career thing (design/marketing) to do dogs and horses full time.

I could *never* do anything to discourage him from doing what he loves (music). It's a major part of who he is. Yes, it can be expensive (very difficult to make money in music, and certainly he's lost opportunities in his other work because he's needed to be flexible with those commitments), and I miss him (and sometimes get a little envious when he gets to go somewhere cool and I can't--last summer he played several dates in London and throughout Scandinavia and I had to stay and take care of the critters...) but he wouldn't be him without it. I can't imagine telling him that it was costing us (via lost promotions/lost accounts etc.) and I wanted him to be home more and that he had to quit (or being passive aggressive about it).

And he's never *once* given me a hard time about spending time at the barn, and even gently encourages me to go if I seem "stuck" at home and in need of ponytime. I spent 12 hours at the barn today (unusually long day). He came over after food shopping and dropped off a little bag lunch (dinner) for me (sandwich, baggie of carrots for human & horse, banana, peppermint patty and a Red Sox schedule :) ) with when I said I'd be there late. He also fed the dogs and exercised the two that most needed it.

We do out own laundry, roughly split cleaning and household stuff, have no kids and no plans for any. We endeavor to do "date night" (something outside the house) at least twice a month, and tend to do Netflix on the weekends, and watch the Simpsons together every night before bed.

As someone on here said, he's got my back, and I've got his. What makes him happy *genuinely* makes me happy, and vice versa.

We had a rough spot in the relationship after we'd been dating for about six years (there was some freaking out about how this seemed to be turning into a long term commitment, and that was a cause for big spooking!). Separated for five or six months. It sucked. We (both) did therapy. It worked.

We've had rough financial times, and rough health times. While both of those are huge stressors, we seem to have figured out how to keep those things from wearing on the relationship as much as possible. We contribute financially according to ability (my income used to be way higher, so I paid more for living expenses now he's doing better and paying more than I am).

I'm extremely happy with my mate/marriage, and still very much smitten with him. And it's mutual. I don't say this as a "goody for me" sort of thing, but in a *YES, this sort of thing *does* indeed exist" way. I wasted three years with someone who tended to guilt me (however gently) about anything I did without him, who worried when I was successful that I would leave him, and who sucked me into the most absurdly dysfunctional behavior. He was attractive, successful, etc. etc. and thank god I moved on.

There *are* good guys out there, and I'd far rather be on my own (and I was for quite a while) than with someone who was squelching me and limiting my doing what I loved.

Sorry, this is kind of rambly (loooooooonnng day). I guess it all works for us because we have our own interests and give eachother the space and time and finances (as possible) to pursue what we love. :yes:

IfWishesWereHorses
Apr. 18, 2007, 11:54 PM
.

I could *never* do anything to discourage him from doing what he loves (music). It's a major part of who he is.

I can't imagine telling him that it was costing us (via lost promotions/lost accounts etc.) and I wanted him to be home more and that he had to quit (or being passive aggressive about it).

And he's never *once* given me a hard time about spending time at the barn, and even gently encourages me to go if I seem "stuck" at home and in need of ponytime. I spent 12 hours at the barn today (unusually long day). He came over after food shopping and dropped off a little bag lunch (dinner) for me (sandwich, baggie of carrots for human & horse, banana, peppermint patty and a Red Sox schedule :) ) with when I said I'd be there late. He also fed the dogs and exercised the two that most needed it.

As someone on here said, he's got my back, and I've got his. What makes him happy *genuinely* makes me happy, and vice versa.

We contribute financially according to ability (my income used to be way higher, so I paid more for living expenses now he's doing better and paying more than I am).

I'm extremely happy with my mate/marriage, and still very much smitten with him. And it's mutual. I don't say this as a "goody for me" sort of thing, but in a *YES, this sort of thing *does* indeed exist" way. I wasted three years with someone who tended to guilt me (however gently) about anything I did without him, who worried when I was successful that I would leave him, and who sucked me into the most absurdly dysfunctional behavior. He was attractive, successful, etc. etc. and thank god I moved on.

There *are* good guys out there, and I'd far rather be on my own (and I was for quite a while) than with someone who was squelching me and limiting my doing what I loved.

Sorry, this is kind of rambly (loooooooonnng day). I guess it all works for us because we have our own interests and give eachother the space and time and finances (as possible) to pursue what we love. :yes:

WOW! City dog, you sound just like me! I agree 100% with what you wrote....thats me and my other half to a T!

Sabine
Apr. 18, 2007, 11:58 PM
WOW! City dog, you sound just like me! I agree 100% with what you wrote....thats me and my other half to a T!

but that is what love is...loving what the other one does- supporting it and getting the same back- being really as close to possibly at a 50/50 spot...like in a boat when you sit across from each other- and it's in balance...of course it will get out of balance once in a while...but the out of balance can not be the norm- or it will ruin your mental and physical health.

Nice stories Citydog, and IWWH- I live the same way- well- a little different but close- and the emphasis is really on respecting/supporting and loving each other- JUST LIKE WE ARE!!

Don't go in there and try to change someone...it's not gonna happen in your lifetime...LOL!

pvcjumper
Apr. 19, 2007, 12:46 AM
I think this is what we call life sadly! I am in the same boat as you schedule wise almost exactly, except i dont have time to come home at lunch, and throw in 5 college classes plus that 8am-4:30 job, riding, 3 household pets, 1 SO, my barn is an hour away because of traffic, my trainer is an hour away with NO traffic (2 hours with) ...and take into consideration that I am writing this post at 12:40 midnight EST.

I ask myself the SAME question all the time. But then ...here is another way to look at our situations...would you honestly have it any other way? I ALWAYS say I wish i had more spare time and talk about the things i want to do. But even when i DO have spare time, i stick something else into a time slot that is too small for what i want it to be for! Normally i take only 4 classes per semester... somehow i managed to juggle my schedule JUST enough where i could fit one more class! Just today i found myself pondering my summer schedule, do i take classes over the summer, or spend the 2 1/2 months chock-ful-o' lessons... the possibility of enjoying summer with no classes and just a normal office work schedule NEVER entered my mind.

It seems like people like us are never happy with down time, we dont feel productive if we have time to just laze around or catch a show on the boob tube. We'd rather run ourselves into the ground! And on that random day when you have nothing to do, or refuse to do anything (however you want to look at it) we manage to sleep until 5 or 6PM and then wake up and blame ourselves for WASTING a whole day!

Take a deep breath, re-evaluate your schedule...find where you have a tiny bit of spare time... AND FIND SOMETHING NEW TO STICK THERE!! :winkgrin:

pvcjumper
Apr. 19, 2007, 12:50 AM
WOW! City dog, you sound just like me! I agree 100% with what you wrote....thats me and my other half to a T!

wow indeed city dog! Maybe we should make the men join the 'horse women supporters clique." My SO does the same thing. "Why dont you go see pony babe. Take a break and go enjoy the nice weather with him."

Though i suppose thats also a nice way to get me out of his hair so he can play video games or work on coding on the computers (yes, computerS with an S...we have 5...and only me and him in the house) without me whining every few hours about being bored! :cool: :sadsmile:

AllWeatherGal
Apr. 19, 2007, 01:12 AM
I AM JEALOUS!!!!! I wish mine had a hobby that didn't involve me. When we met he had a houseboat (and still does). He used to jet ski and hang with his friends, but now doesn't want to go unless I go (which I do, but don't want to be up there from right after work on Fri. to late Sun. night - it is just too much work.)

Why doesn't he want to hang out with his own friends? This is the problem to me ... I'd go nuts if my BF insisted that I do things with his friends ... abalone diving and duck hunting is just NOT how I want to spend my weekends.

The man needs interests of his OWN, Kelli.

Maybe he should take a cooking class.

Sunny Santa Cruz
Apr. 19, 2007, 08:50 AM
We've been married 13 yrs and he married me knowing full well about the whole horse deal. I have 2 horses I'm competing and he has 1 horse. He rides a couple days a week. I board at a place that is a co-op to help keep the cost down. This means I'm at the barn every morning by 6:30 cleaning stalls and feeding. I ride everyday.

I have DH that helps me. He does housework, shopping, gardening, feeds and cleans horses....he'll do what ever it takes. He is 100% on my side and does this from his heart. I feel so fortunate to have found such a wonderful man....but I did not get married till I was 40 :eek: He was worth the wait. :yes:

It's about team work.

horsepix76
Apr. 19, 2007, 09:34 AM
My current SO and I have been together for 5.5 years. We are both really independent people and I think that is what makes it work. We love doing things together, but we are comfortable enough with our selves to do things alone. We also know that we need our own time to do things for ourselves (as individuals).

I'm divorced and my first husband had a whole slew of issues, one of which, he just couldn't ever be comfortable doing things by himself. He needed someone else there to validate him all the time. I gave up almost everything that was me (including horses :eek: ) in order to try and save our relationship. In hindsight, it almost seemed doomed from the beginning.

A healthy relationship allows both people to be themselves. But both people have to be comfortable with themselves before that can happen.

purplnurpl
Apr. 19, 2007, 10:22 AM
I kicked the guy to the curb

moved into the 2nd house (attached to barn) on my parent's property

took a pay cut to have a job with lots of flexibility

but, my equestrian endeavors excede that of a hobbie. trips up east are in my future.

relationships with those other than my eventing friends and sponsors (my parents of course! love them) are impossible.

Arcadien
Apr. 19, 2007, 11:00 AM
Ditto decided it wasn't fair to any guy, the little amount of time I could spare him. I suppose it would only work if I met someone totally into his own thing and low maintenance relationship wise, if we both wanted something like that...

But for now, VERY happy single, and sometimes wonder why gals pressure themselves to have to have someone else, is it societal pressure getting to you? I do get a lot of that, people don't "trust" a single woman, especially if she is still young & attractive - they wonder what she is after. Me, I'm not after anything! So I brush off the comments & raised eyebrows, enjoy my friends, and thoroughly enjoy my horsey focused life... Oh, and I have the Full time ++ job, and the graduate degree at least for another couple years (one course at a time - don't know how are coping with 5!!!)

Oh and yes, I'm happiest busy, so I guess that is part of it, and an introvert in temperament. I know some who go bonkers if they have to manage 30 minutes alone with their own company. Obviously my solution wouldn't work for them.

But for me, the best part of each busy day is sitting on the porch, sipping wine, quietly admiring my horses munching on their supper hay.

Well guess my story may not be anyhelp, so heres my only possible helpful comment - I think it's good you're asking questions, expecting more than status quo, and trying to make things better; keep asking questions, and keep evaluating what you really want - and have the courage to move on if you find you need to do that.

Good luck!
Arcadien

kelliope
Apr. 19, 2007, 11:41 AM
You all have very good stories and very good points.

tbtula
Apr. 19, 2007, 11:44 AM
I didn't read all of the posts but,

My SO and I have been together over 6 years. Not married, but we just bought our first house together.

I usually am out of the house by 8 and back by 6 or so, then go to the barn. He usually doesn't get home till 7:30-8.

Luckily our schedules work out really well, and we do get to spend a good amount of time together. On the weekends, I am usually told to get out of the house and go to the farm (he plays the drums...loudly...or goes fishing) We'll meet back at home for dinner.

As for the housework, we each do our part but it does get tough trying to get everything done.

NEVER ONCE has he tried to make me feel guilty for doing something that I LOVE to do. Everyone needs "their own" time, and it looks like your hubby needs to find "his own" thing to do.

Good Luck!!

kelliope
Apr. 19, 2007, 12:09 PM
Oh yeah.

lizathenag
Apr. 19, 2007, 12:11 PM
GET OUT NOW

I know I am shouting.

Often it seems impossible to do what you know you need to do.

After you have done it, you will wonder what took you so long.

kelliope
Apr. 19, 2007, 12:16 PM
I know.

hb
Apr. 19, 2007, 12:16 PM
Oh yeah.

Is that in response to the question I posted and deleted? I re-sent it to you as a PM.

PM me if so.

slc2
Apr. 19, 2007, 12:22 PM
"he has already had two crashes in road rage or...." the way you mentioned this, on page N+10, really would be funny if it weren't so serious.

He may have some other problems that make the horse stuff relatively minor. Two accidents in close succession suggest many things - substance abuse, inordinate risk taking, suicidality, physical health issues left untreated, mental health issues left untreated.

It's just possible that, like in most troubled marriages, the horses have become a focal point, rather than a cause, of problems. The problem may be something completely different.

As a mentally retarded but very wise friend once told me 'Men get mad, women get sad'. A man may tend to storm and yell when he's faced with something he can't figure out how to fix, and a woman may tend to get tired, sit on the couch doing nothing, feeling guilty, wondering, ruminating.

In most cases, children, horses, debt, illness, job changes, are NOT the 'cause' of divorces or strife, but more a focal point for an incompatibility or a problem to boil over onto. Then comes the ultimatum, 'it's the horse or me', when actually, in most cases, the horse didn't really have anything to do with it.

But when the problems are there, the horse becomes a focal point, even a weapon, so can kids, money, even alcohol. I've seen it in many marriages. The wife is unhappy, so she goes to the barn alone, complains to barn friends, and spends money on the horse. The husband doesn't like any of it, and he may retaliate by insisting she is spending too much money, or, if more childish (or wealthier) by buying an expensive toy of his own.

There are cases in which you will see that say, due to the death of a child or some other tragedy an otherwise sound healthy couple may break apart.

But think about it...if two people are on the same page, and respect eachother, and have a deep commitment to eachother and a deep love for eachother, they can, quite often, weather alot, and their relationship can weather alot.

You can see a counselor. If he won't go, you can go. It will do you good, whether he goes or not. You can organize and review your feelings more effectively with someone who is 'not the husband'. Don't get counseling from friends. Go to a professional who works with couples. Friends do WAY too much sympathizing and side taking, which doesn't help. You won't fix this till you get past the 'crisis thinking' and the 'catastrophosizing'.

You need to be CHALLENGED, and a professional, with some distance from you, is the better person to do that. Fixing a marriage, OR ending it, isn't something you do easily or comfortably. It's HARD. Either choice is hard. It is WORK. Like anything else worth doing, it's DIFFICULT. Get help from a pro.

To the more basic question, horses are a BIG problem in marriages. They are expenisve, and they DO cause problems, just in and of themselves. They are expensive in time, and in money.

How do I handle it? I don't have to. My partner has stated very clearly how much he will support it financially and what his role will be. Which is not at all ($, ie, month to month), but our finances are completely separate and I think that works very well. How much he supports it with his heart and hands matters far more to me anyway.

My suggestion? Keep your finances separate, pay for it yourself, spend a specific amount of time at it, don't hang out at the barn - RIDE, take care of the horse and GO HOME.

kelliope
Apr. 19, 2007, 12:32 PM
Thanks slc. This is a very insightful post. I agree, the horses have become the focal point of the problem, but are not the cause.

I am going to seek counselling today for myself.

Thanks again! I'll be OK. I just need to get a grip (on my backbone!)!!!! Now, where is that slippery little thing...

Adamantane
Apr. 19, 2007, 01:09 PM
There have been many threads on COTH about the tensions between riders and non-riders (or nearly non-riders) in relationships. There have been horror stories about the antagonism that some non-riders show toward the riding spouse.

Since among English riders, anyway, the vast majority of riders are female, the stories tend to mostly be about the way male non-riders behave or are felt to behave toward their female rider SO, whether the stories are good bad or downright ugly.

Unfortunately this complicates the situation because it isn't always clear whether problems, when problems there are, have more to do with riding and horse-related issues, or have more to do with the relationships between men and women in general, with the riding/equine piece simply being a common thread among posters here.

If people aren't well suited to one another, or 'grow' to be unsuited, they will find many ways to express this unsuitability, to express any growing antagonism between themselves and to find fault about whatever is handy.

Having been a horse husband for a couple of decades before I decided to learn to ride, I've been on both sides of the rider/non-rider 'divide.'

For example, it was illuminating for me to discover what a black hole for time the simplest trip to the barn could turn into. Dropping off the fly spray could turn into a three hour detour. I came to appreciate that unexpected things can happen, and that dealing with them in some cases can be very urgent. It was an education.:yes:

That said, I also came to realize that the horses can become innocent pawns in a relationship, convenient excuses to justify behaviors and attitudes on the part of either person that have nothing whatever to do with riding or the necessary commitment to it that anyone who rides either casually or competitively must make.

We all know of instances where the non-riding partner's attitude toward the time commitment required to ride was overbearing, unjustfied, immature and totally out of line. I've heard it, pardon the pun, right from the horse's mouth.

But let's be honest with ourselves.

How often have riders made up self-soothing stories about supposed childish resentment of the horses on the part of the non-rider, rather than to recognize that something else is going on in the domestic situation and the horses are merely a smokescreen?

It can be a lot easier to convince onesself that one's partner is being a jerk than it is to admit one is treating that person badly and that what the partner may resent or complain of is the bad treatment, not the horses.

Whenever I hear phrases like 'you knew I was committed to horses before we got together' I have to ask myself whether the person at whom this is aimed is indeed being a jerk, or whether the person saying it is hiding behind the horse issue as an excuse (sure to gain sympathy at the barn), so as to deflect personal responsibility for failing to honor commitments or maintain their end of the relationship.

It's tough to sort out, because the kind of smoldering anger that is completely legitimate in the first case, from a distance can appear very similar to the counterfeit blaming concocted in the second.

Whenever I encounter a whiff or two of 'my way or the highway' from one of the parties to these things as they tell their story, I quickly suspect the fault primarily lies with that individual, rider or non-rider.

And in any event the poor horses get caught in the middle.:yes:

Adamantane
Apr. 19, 2007, 01:12 PM
It's just possible that, like in most troubled marriages, the horses have become a focal point, rather than a cause, of problems. The problem may be something completely different.

But think about it...if two people are on the same page, and respect eachother, and have a deep commitment to eachother and a deep love for eachother, they can, quite often, weather alot, and their relationship can weather alot.

My suggestion? Keep your finances separate, pay for it yourself, spend a specific amount of time at it, don't hang out at the barn - RIDE, take care of the horse and GO HOME.

Gee, if I'd seen your post while working on my own just now, I wouldn't have had to spend the time finishing mine.:yes: :D

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Apr. 19, 2007, 01:27 PM
slc and adamantane gave you fabulous advice.

And you won't be alone. We're here. And you have your furry family as well.

slc2
Apr. 19, 2007, 01:36 PM
not a prob for me. writing it is good for your health, adamantine. writing leads to a lot more thinking than reading.

MyReality
Apr. 19, 2007, 03:49 PM
"It's just possible that, like in most troubled marriages, the horses have become a focal point, rather than a cause, of problems. The problem may be something completely different."

by scl. I very much agree.

Obsession like too much time on horses, too much time on tv, just points to couples giving up on each other. Finger pointing is nothing but the same shutdown.We rarely say what really hurts us, so where is the real injury?

In a relationship, we support each other, compromising becomes not a big deal. And I wouldn't even call it something we do for love, it's something we do because we care enough, and we want to make things work. There are always always solutions to problems. For instance, my guy spent a whole day at the show, boring his skull, to be my groom. So this weekend, we are going to drive 3 hours to visit his dad.

When you take away the love and friendship, compromising becomes like moving mountains. It's not we can't, we just don't want to, we don't see the possibility anymore.

Bogie
Apr. 19, 2007, 03:53 PM
I am glad you are going to get counseling :). I know that it's helped me -- and my marriage -- considerably. It's very helpful to have someone there to help you sort through your feelings and your reactions. You can only change yourself -- but hopefully, the changes you make will resonate (in a good way) throughout your relationship. I know it's helped me stop reacting in negative ways, which is makes my life less stressful. I've been married for 20 years and it's easy to fall into set responses. Having someone identify for you what you could do differently is a big help.

Good luck!

ania
Apr. 19, 2007, 04:02 PM
You can only change yourself -- but hopefully, the changes you make will resonate (in a good way) throughout your relationship.

What Bogie said here is really good. I'm in therapy right now and it's something that I see too. And it's very soothing to have someone outside of your life to listen to you talk. Good luck :D And remember, aside from "real" counseling, you always have your pony to talk to :D

Adamantane
Apr. 19, 2007, 06:04 PM
What Bogie said here is really good. I'm in therapy right now and it's something that I see too. And it's very soothing to have someone outside of your life to listen to you talk. Good luck :D And remember, aside from "real" counseling, you always have your pony to talk to :D

Corgis are very good listeners, too, with very expressive, kindly and soulful brown eyes. (Not sure I'd confide in a Jack Russell on this; their opinions tend to be more reactive and impulsive.)

While "therapy" by the way tends to sound alternately intimidating and dependent, what it amounts to is getting a fresh perspective from someone who (hopefully) has good sense and a coherent view.

Sometimes when you are in the middle of a major situation that has gradually developed with seemingly continuous and inexorable logic, it is very difficult to back up far enough from it enough to see the big picture. (Not unlike some situations with certain horses.:yes:)

Getting feedback from someone who has your interests at heart and who hasn't been drawn through all the daily twists and turns isn't much different than going to a clinic and getting feedback from a clinician with a lot of experience and both a long and objective view. It couldn't hurt, it might help and in any event it provides an opportunity to take a deep breath and then slowly look at what is happening with fresh(er) eyes.

Seeking advice is not a confession of failure or of weakness, it is merely a statement that you may not have considered every possibility, and would like to be sure that you have.

Not every clinician has useful solutions or suggestions for someone's particular situation, but some clinician probably has some extraordinary and valuable interpretation. Even with the journeymen, the very process always catalyzes some helpful insights. As some wise engineers and scientists say, a closed system generates no new information. No downside to new information.

kelliope
Apr. 19, 2007, 06:18 PM
I have my pony and my chihuahas! Both are quite good listeners and have great soulful eyes... I never laugh so hard as when I take my little 3 pound Chi out for a "field walk". I have her on a long retractable and she will fly to the pony as soon as she sees him - hoping for carrot scraps. :lol: She is hilarious - get so happy - its like trying to hold a fly on a string! Truly, my pony and my dogs are what keep me keeping on.

I will never be embarrassed about counseling. It has helped me in the past and it is my hope it will help me now. I need it for me - even if just to figure out how to not make the same mistakes again in my life.

LeightonFarm
Apr. 19, 2007, 07:00 PM
You are a good wife who deserves support. I get up at 4 am and go to the track to train. I then get to the farm by 11:30 to train the babies. I have more at a farm next door and by 3 I head over to the dressage barn to ride my guy. I normally get home around 5, if things go well. My husband bought me the farm we live on. He never had a horse in his life but he loves animals. He does laundry, all the mowing and farm upkeep, etc., etc. In addition he is the bread winner. I do prepare dinner, but not every night. You've made me feel like the luckiest person in the world because I have the support and backing of my husband. He understands when I can't go out because one of the horses isn't acting right. I don't know your situation but I am sharing mine with you because I think it would be unreasonable for you to give up something so important to you. If he really loved you wouldn't he want your happiness and fulfillment?

Mercedes
Apr. 19, 2007, 07:56 PM
If he really loved you wouldn't he want your
happiness and fulfillment?

This reminded me of a saying my husband (and his buddy's) have:

If 'Momma' (as in the wife/mother of my children) isn't happy, the entire world isn't happy. :-)

IfWishesWereHorses
Apr. 19, 2007, 08:11 PM
Yes, I am really coming to terms with things. I have definately made mistakes. I have actually become withdrawn and not quite myself. This I am going to fix - immediately. The marriage I don't think I can.


Oh my..this too was me to a T with my ex. I didn't even realise how withdrawn and "not myself" I had become. Even my own mother said to someone after we broke up, that she hadn't realised how happy I used to be until I broke up with XYZ and went back to being the real "me".

I couldnt believe the change in myself, it was absolutely incredible.

But, having been there totally, I also understand how incredibly difficult it is to actually decide to leave. So many of my friends couldn't understand why I didn't just up and leave....of course its easier said than done.

Best of luck in whatever you decide ;-)

Oh, and I agree, the horses are not the issue here, but they are an easy target (as was with me).

I once sat down and wrote a list of pro's and con's (ie reasons to stay, reasons to go). I had nothing on the reasons to stay list. Nothing. Nada.

What did I do? I screwed it up and pretended I didnt' do it...lol...it still took a year after that list to actually leave.

slc2
Apr. 19, 2007, 09:04 PM
Counselors do not 'make suggestions' that fix your problem. Better counselors do not make better suggestions.

Counselors give you the tools you need to make your own decisions, and run your own life better. When the counseling is done, you have your tools. You don't need to call up the counselor and ask her what to do. You know what to do.

Counseling isn't about fixing things for people. Counseling is about giving people life skills. They teach you how to process things that are holding you back, and they help you find what you need to change.

A good counselor is exactly like a good dressage trainer. They guide you to being independent, and training your own horse.

Going through counseling - 'good counseling' - is an arduous thing, much harder than getting to Grand Prix on a horse you train yourself :yes:

And people do it anyway. Nothing great is easy.

CJ4ME
Apr. 19, 2007, 09:11 PM
I wonder why he has given up doing the things he loves and has started coming home earlier? :confused:

IMHO a happy marriage is made up of two people who are individually happy and just happier together.

My husband and I are MUCH happier these days since I have my horse and he has golf, tennis, softball, skiing and all his other activities. It was worse when we didn't have our own interests or tried to always do stuff together and one person inevitably didn't enjoy it.

My mother's therapist told her: When you are unhappier IN the marriage than you would be OUT of the marriage then you know its time to leave.

I think people owe it to themselves and eachother to do anything to save a marriage...anything except give up their own happiness.

You have my heartfelt sympathy. What a tough spot.

Trakehner
Apr. 19, 2007, 09:55 PM
So many of the same stories...he's selfish and doesn't want to spend our money on my horses, he's jealous of the horses/my time with the horses, my love for and my saying the horses always will come first...you're the victim, he's the jerk.

It's really simple...don't get married to a guy. Stay single, have fun, do everything you want to do without worrying about pleasing anyone else. It's never selfish, no matter what you choose to do, if there isn't another person being effected. You can't have it all...something has to be sacrificed.

I grew up at barns, I heard these same stories over and over...more-so as the girls I grew up with and was friends with, turned into women and got more and more bitter and pissed at not having everything they wanted and somehow always blaming something lacking in the males in their lives. I still keep hearing the same whines and complaints..never the problem being them.

Stay single and have fun. I love it when my wife goes on a trip for work or with a bunch of girlfriends. I don't worry about spending hours at the barn or doing anything I feel like doing. I don't feel the least bit selfish getting home late or eating dinner with friends (the cats don't seem to mind either). It's a nice break. I prefer it when my wife is home though. I don't see her with the attitude so common her of: "she'd better not get in the way of my horses, or she's gonna' lose"...If I felt that way, we wouldn't be together. When she got hurt on her horse, I didn't get to the barn once that first month...I had more important things to worry about and to deal with.

Oh well...get a divorce, and then go enjoy yourself. It probably bothers you that you're feeling a bit selfish (6 days a week riding is selfish) and you don't like that feeling. You'd probably prefer he kept saying "I know how important the horses are to you, please ride, your happiness is all that matters to me"...this would absolve you of all blame and any feeling of being selfish. Wrong..you know when you're being self-centered and not being fair.

He deserves better, so do you. I've shown male friends who are thinking of dating girls with horses the COTH forums...there are some real eye-opening forums they get to see. I just tell them, "read the forums, these aren't rare opinions, these attitudes are common, do you really want to deal with people who think about you this way?" Most guys don't want anything to do with it.

Adamantane
Apr. 19, 2007, 11:38 PM
Counselors do not 'make suggestions' that fix your problem. Better counselors do not make better suggestions.

Counselors give you the tools you need to make your own decisions, and run your own life better. When the counseling is done, you have your tools. You don't need to call up the counselor and ask her what to do. You know what to do.

Counseling isn't about fixing things for people. Counseling is about giving people life skills. They teach you how to process things that are holding you back, and they help you find what you need to change.


Who can disagree? Of course you're correct on a much more fundamental level. Indeed it isn't about 'advice' per se and certainly not becoming reliant on a third party. (To be sure, some counselors are wiser teachers than others.:yes:)

Whether one focuses on the short term, process or eventual payoffs, the interaction is safe, supportive and worthwhile to investigate. Stick with it for a while and it will lead anyone to useful life knowledge, and happier outcomes.

[slc2, your mailbox is full.]

camohn
Apr. 20, 2007, 07:55 AM
Well on one hand I HAVE a horsey husband, So he does understand. We also have a farm and a kid. He works full time and I work part time. This is how we work it...
As I work part time I do all horsey chores during the week/he does them on the weekends.
I do all cooking/he cannot cook!
Whomever is near the store does the shopping...though usually that is me as I do the cooking and actually know what we need! If I give him a list he will go though.
Exercising the horses: I ride my own and he hires a local girl to come keep his fit so they are ready to go when he has the time to hop on.
Trailer sharing: he gets the trailer on Thursday and Sunday (polo practice and game days) and I can have it the other days. Every Sunday and Thursday night is spent at polo practice June through October. Every once in a while there is something I want to do with my horse on a Sunday and he will take the day off from polo so I can have the trailer. If I occasionally want to go to a non polo event w/out horse on a Sunday one of the other polo palyers families w/ kids will watch her at polo.
Kid related stuff: usually me
Housecleaning.......the big bone of contention!! I am not a neat freak to start with.On top of that I do the farmwork during the week, the shopping and most kid related stuff. Soooo housecleaning is at the bottom of the list. I do it once a week when he is out doing the stalls on Saturday mornings. He is a neat freak at heart and the lack of more frequent cleaning does bother him. And he helps out somewhat with the cleaning. He would be happier if it was clean more often/more thoroughly. We tried hiring a cleaning lady. Had issues with finding one that did not steal stuff (just one) and did not progressively do a worse job than the week before for the same $$ (several) and gave up. He now lives with the fact that it only gets picked up on Saturdays and for company. With farm dirt, 2 dogs and a kid that can be quite muddy by Friday night!!

NCSue
Apr. 20, 2007, 09:51 AM
He always tells me that I don't do things with love like he does.

(SNIP)

Anyway, he is not into horses and is basically resentful (though getting better or just more used to it?) about anything that I do that he doesn't do

(SNIP)

But I still need help with my original question, because even if this marriage doesn't work out - will this problem rear it's head again?

I haven't read everyone's replies, but you are saying some things that you really need to listen to. Are you able to financially maintain your horse and dogs without your husband's income? To stay in a relationship b/c of fear of loosing your animals is a horrendous way to spend your life. You are saying many things that point to the fact that your husband is not emotionally mature or secure so he wants control. He may mature, but most likely this basic personality of controlling will not change. As for not doing the basic chores with love. What nonsense. I've been married for almost 30 years, have raised 4 of my own and 3 foster kids -- some are still at home. When you are tired nothing much gets done with love like your husband is referring to. But it is love b/c you are doing it and carrying on. Love comes in many different shapes, sizes, and degrees. Tiredness isn't just a lack of sleep. The emotional drain of always feeling that you are not coming up to standard will make you sick and tired. It's not healthy. Eventually it will eat away at you. Some women will choose to stand and fight. Others try to balance things out and end up being eaten up with nothing left. Your horse is probably keeping you more sane and healthy than you realize. I can't tell you what to do about this marriage. It does take a willingness to dance together and sometimes it's more give than take. Only the two of you know whether you have the grit and willingness to make this work. And as you said it's more than just the time you spend with your horse or your dogs. No one is ever all wrong or all right. If it doesn't don't rush into another relationship but take time to make sure the next man in your life has his passions and is secure enough within himself to allow you yours. Also make sure he is aware of the financial and time commitment involved.

Roney
Apr. 20, 2007, 10:08 AM
So many of the same stories...he's selfish and doesn't want to spend our money on my horses, he's jealous of the horses/my time with the horses, my love for and my saying the horses always will come first...you're the victim, he's the jerk.
(snip)
You can't have it all...something has to be sacrificed.

Amen, Trakehner, to the whole post. It takes two - and someone has to be first. I've found that if I sacrifice the horse stuff for the hubby first, he's more than generous in sacrificing back (usually sacrificing time spent with me while I'm at the barn). Tough to take the first step, but in the end, we are both better off, and he's become almost completely non-resentful of the horse because he knows he comes first. It's win-win.

Everyone's situation is different, of course, and the idea of self-sacrifice to achieve a better end might seem counterintuitive, but if nothing else is working, why not try it?

Adamantane
Apr. 20, 2007, 10:34 AM
Amen, Trakehner, to the whole post. It takes two - and someone has to be first. I've found that if I sacrifice the horse stuff for the hubby first, he's more than generous in sacrificing back (usually sacrificing time spent with me while I'm at the barn). Tough to take the first step, but in the end, we are both better off, and he's become almost completely non-resentful of the horse because he knows he comes first. It's win-win.

Everyone's situation is different, of course, and the idea of self-sacrifice to achieve a better end might seem counterintuitive, but if nothing else is working, why not try it?

Give a little to get a little (both in terms of fair trades and a healthy vital relationship) seems to me to be very good advice. Not only does it 'prime the pump' but it reinforces the notion of mutual commitment and good will.

(There can be a risk that if one person is more committed/'in love' or whatever, the exchanges may become markedly inequitable over the long run and one day the person on the short end of the stick may wake up to feel they've been used as a doormat or patsy. But that is a different issue for a separate context.)

I'm not sure I think of this exchange of mutual good will and help as 'self-sacrifice,' which to me means giving up something more important to you for something less important or because of a dreary sense of fear or duty. (To be sure, Abraham and I would have pursued far different courses at Mount Moriah.:yes:)

kelliope
Apr. 20, 2007, 11:50 AM
I really do appreciate everyone's responses - regardless of whether the responses are in line with my own thinking or whether they are different. After all, that's why I posted.

Valentina_32926
Apr. 20, 2007, 12:20 PM
7:30 - 8:00 get home, start dinner, do laundry, do dishes, hang out with hubby. 11:00 - 11:30 collapse. I also often have to race to the store to get groceries/household items.
I do chores and most shopping on weekends. I have taken to ordering everything online (including my makeup!) just to save time driving to the mall.
...He feels the shopping, etc. is my responsibility and that if I wasn't off having fun all the time I would have more time for our marriage. Is he right? I just don't know anymore...
What "chores" does he do? Sounds like you're doing a LOT - so my question is what does he do? My husband does more than I should ever ask - cooks dinner every night except when we go out, does some laundry (especially if I don't get his done when he wants/needs it as I wait til the weekend), waters horses for me, and cleans stall - occassionally.

I suggest listing all chores (down to doing check book, feeding dogs - suggest you don't list horses since it's a hobby UNLESS he lists his hobby needs as chores) and approximate amount of time pre week it takes to do it.. then see who is doing the most. If it turns out to be you (which I suspect it might) then he needs to step up to the plate and handle more "womanly" chores - this is not the 80's - it's 2007.

Once you have the listing written down, sit down with him and have a heart to heart. See if he can add any more chores to the list (things he does that perhaps you've missed - like changing oil in car, etc.) then go over the 'His vs Hers' chore time and even it out (trade chores).

If he doesn't "want to" then stop doing some of the chores til he steps up (washing dishes, laundry, etc.) and take time to teach him anything he needs to know - hint - be sure to write it down and keep it in plain site - e.g. above washr - so he can't forget. Forgetting / not knowing how is the way I got my husband to assume some of those chores cause like you when we got married 26 years ago I did the "womanly" chores - no longer.

Aggie4Bar
Apr. 20, 2007, 01:23 PM
Kelliope... {hugs}

You just described my ex-fiancee to a tee. He had (still has) an amazing capacity to suck the energy right out of the room with all his whining and negativity. Like an emotional anchor. It's been five years, but I still talk to him from time to time. Absolutely nothing has changed. Frankly, I think he needs to be in therapy for depression. I'm not sure why he still calls me since my response to every whine is to blame him for his own misery. There's nothing I - or anyone else - can do about his choice to be unhappy.

Anyway, I have no advice to give you. But I sympathize with the situation and the tough questions you're asking yourself.

Adamantane
Apr. 20, 2007, 01:46 PM
What "chores" does he do? Sounds like you're doing a LOT - so my question is what does he do? My husband does more than I should ever ask - cooks dinner every night except when we go out, does some laundry (especially if I don't get his done when he wants/needs it as I wait til the weekend), waters horses for me, and cleans stall - occassionally.

I suggest listing all chores (down to doing check book, feeding dogs - suggest you don't list horses since it's a hobby UNLESS he lists his hobby needs as chores) and approximate amount of time pre week it takes to do it.. then see who is doing the most. If it turns out to be you (which I suspect it might) then he needs to step up to the plate and handle more "womanly" chores - this is not the 80's - it's 2007.

Once you have the listing written down, sit down with him and have a heart to heart. See if he can add any more chores to the list (things he does that perhaps you've missed - like changing oil in car, etc.) then go over the 'His vs Hers' chore time and even it out (trade chores).

If he doesn't "want to" then stop doing some of the chores til he steps up (washing dishes, laundry, etc.) and take time to teach him anything he needs to know - hint - be sure to write it down and keep it in plain site - e.g. above washr - so he can't forget. Forgetting / not knowing how is the way I got my husband to assume some of those chores cause like you when we got married 26 years ago I did the "womanly" chores - no longer.

Seems you were fair even though it annoyed you. That is probably why things smoothed out for you both. When people feel they are being treated fairly and respected for their efforts, life gets a lot smoother. (Perhaps being more direct with "ran out of time this week" or "was just too tired to do it this week" rather than forgetting or 'not knowing how' might have played against the old stereotypes better, but whatever works.;))

Of course sometimes these things can get turned on their head.:yes: I was told on several occasions that I was wastefully doing the laundry too often (could have waited and crammed more in) and doing the dishes too often (dishwasher wasn't quite jam packed yet). This was in the 80's. So sometimes you just can't win, even when you'd think the other person who didn't do it that time would have been without cause for complaint. Control freaks of the world unite! (Finally just left her free to do everything exactly whenever and precisely however she wishes.:D Probably much better now than when I was doing it, but incorrectly.)

Dixon
Apr. 20, 2007, 01:52 PM
Kelliope, I haven't read through every post, so please forgive me if this was already pointed out, but you are very fortunate to get to ride 6 days a week with a full time job. Most full-time jobs that support horse ownership do not allow that much time for riding. You are also very fortunate that your husband WANTS you to join him at the houseboat, at the motorcycle shows, at the motorcross races, and in generally spending time with him. It would be a bad sign indeed if he preferred going to the houseboat, etc. without you, as the likelihood that he'll find a woman who DOES enjoy those enjoyable activities is high. So be careful what you ask for.

kelliope
Apr. 20, 2007, 02:07 PM
Yes, Dixon, I have thought of those things as well. It's not just being lucky though. I planned for those things. I worked hard and have made adjustments so that I could still have a personal life. I didn't have my own horse for many years because I wasn't in a postition to have that kind of responsibility.

I also make a big effort to really get involved in the things my husband likes.

I am a person who actually thanks God and the powers that be for all that I do have in my life. Every single day when I am driving that is what I am thinking about. All my blessings. I am truly blessed in many ways and quite fortunate. Sometimes though, I think my trying to be positive so much has worked against me in making some tough decisions.

Adamantane
Apr. 20, 2007, 02:47 PM
I DO make my husband a priority. My question is - would he do the same for me? Sadly, I think I know the answer...

Maybe I missed it, but have you ever just outright asked him?


I think sometimes things just don't work out. Sometimes despite your best efforts...sometimes there is just too much water under the bridge.

Sure sounds to me as if you've stood on your head to please him. Paradoxically, maybe some of that is the problem. Maybe he's come to figure that this is unconditional and limitless on your part. Maybe he's oblivious. (There's a lot of that going around.)

Does he know that without evidence of reciprocal good will and commitment from his side, it can't remain that way indefinitely?

Picasso
Apr. 20, 2007, 09:24 PM
I have 2 kids, 3 horses (one for me, one for my daughter, a pony for my other daughter), 3 dogs (ok, not really. 1 German Shepherd Dog and 2 Chihuahuas), 2 cats and a husband. When he is here (he is in the Army and currently in his home away from home, Iraq) we divide and conquer. I have a very demanding job, too. We deep clean the house weekends, during the week we do the best we can. When he is home, more gets done. With him gone, well...its not up to Army standards, but we aren't in danger of being condemed or showing up on the news for the mess! I very recently made the change from moving my horses from the back yard to a boarding facility so I could actually ride instead of spenind my horse time mucking stalls, buying grain, planning to get hay, etc. Best thing I ever did!

He plays golf, but as the girls have gotten more serious about showing, he really wants to be there to watch. That is why I love this man the way I do, he is such and active Daddy! As far as sleep? We don't need no stinkin' sleep! I am part vampire I guess as a good night for me is 4 hours. More on weekends, but not much!

Trakehner
Apr. 20, 2007, 11:28 PM
"...Unfortunately, he is not as interested in immersing himself in my life. Which actually is OK with me - I just want to be able to do some stuff on my own then with his blessing. He refuses to do many things - like bike ride, go for a walk or hike, or if he goes, he makes it difficult."

And as I said, you can't have it all...you don't have the partner you want. It doesn't make him or you bad...just not the right people for each other.

For someone having a family, 6 days a week riding I still consider selfish...my wife, since her riding accident, isn't very active when she's home from work. Sometimes spending time with her is just playing cards or keeping her company at dinner and watching TV. Would I rather be out at the barn? Lots of times, you bet. But I also like being with her, even if it's sedentary, it's company she likes (and yep, I cook about 99% of the meals and do my own wash..cold wash/cold rinse and nuke setting on the dryer). She doesn't bitch about the time I spend at the barn, she knows she's always welcome to come with me and she knows she'll always come before the horses...but she doesn't make me prove it playing games.

You dont' have a partner. I'm a believer where better no partner than a bad one. Sounds like the cost is too high to have him as a partner...figure your cash situation, find a way to keep yourself going...and go be happy. Life's too short.

Sabine
Apr. 21, 2007, 12:01 AM
TRakehner- It sounds to me like you are a great and faithful partner- one for better and worse- which is really great and lucky for your wife- since she had a bad accident- that apparently changed her preferences and physical involvement.
I think you are lucky to love her so much and she is lucky to have you- adapting to the new life style- with apparently not too much trouble...

in my world - the horses are living creatures and they deserve a loving word everyday- this doesn't mean ride or spend 3 hours but attention in some form or another...and I don't have to explain that to my family- thank goodness...so although I 'only' ride 5 or 6 times a week- I do know that my family looks at my horses as mainly living creatures- with a brain- with a capacity to love and recognize their owner- with a need for attention and an appreciation to be part of OUR herd. As such they deserve a certain part of our lives and this is undisputed...if we lived in another part of the country the horses would be in the backyard and my family would watch me ride everyday- but the way our world works this is not practical...but that doesn't mean it's not realistic or appropriate.

I think the amount of time couples decide to spend together is totally subjective and decided on a case by case basis..there is no standard that you have to live up to. The stuff about cooking and duties in the house- they belong to both- or a jointly paid housekeeper...that's all...there is no claim to a wife that does it all! Those times are gone- long gone- and if you let yourself be drawn into that role than you need to start over and explain your expectations and hopes for this relationship...apparently some clear cut facts were not explained going into it...and they don't have to necessarily be commodities- it has to be an understanding about giving each other ROOM TO BREATHE!!!


"...Unfortunately, he is not as interested in immersing himself in my life. Which actually is OK with me - I just want to be able to do some stuff on my own then with his blessing. He refuses to do many things - like bike ride, go for a walk or hike, or if he goes, he makes it difficult."

And as I said, you can't have it all...you don't have the partner you want. It doesn't make him or you bad...just not the right people for each other.

For someone having a family, 6 days a week riding I still consider selfish...my wife, since her riding accident, isn't very active when she's home from work. Sometimes spending time with her is just playing cards or keeping her company at dinner and watching TV. Would I rather be out at the barn? Lots of times, you bet. But I also like being with her, even if it's sedentary, it's company she likes (and yep, I cook about 99% of the meals and do my own wash..cold wash/cold rinse and nuke setting on the dryer). She doesn't bitch about the time I spend at the barn, she knows she's always welcome to come with me and she knows she'll always come before the horses...but she doesn't make me prove it playing games.

You dont' have a partner. I'm a believer where better no partner than a bad one. Sounds like the cost is too high to have him as a partner...figure your cash situation, find a way to keep yourself going...and go be happy. Life's too short.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Apr. 21, 2007, 08:44 AM
Sabine, terrific post. Said better than I ever could.

Flameborne
Apr. 21, 2007, 09:47 AM
I too have been in the same situation. My ex was extremely controlling -- his trick was also guilt (combined with verbal abuse). I did everything that I knew how to do to try and make his life "better" and be the "good" wife. From helping him launch a business, attempting to manage the office (which he'd come behind me and undo everything -- hence the attempt), supporting and trying to encourage him to further educate himself in his field, financial assistance, supporting at least one of his grown children, and fitting the things that I loved (horses and riding) around his schedule. And yet, he was still so jealous of the once a week riding lesson -- and about the only time I got to ride -- that he would do such things as hide my trailer hitch while he was conveniently not going to be home when I had to leave. Initially I was so sold on the "I don't believe in divorce" that I just fell into a routine, functioned around a loveless marriage, and in the end it all broke down over a dog...

The dog in question is nothing particularly special. In fact the dog bugs the heck out of me now -- very sweet, too "in your face". But the dog had gotten out of our fence and run off for a second time. The first time he killed the neighbor's chickens. (oops!) I was paranoid about the second time and the ex had seen the dog back at home while I was away and refusing to do anything to confine him. He told me he was going to "take care" of the dog. At which point I told him what I thought. He actually asked me if I was choosing the dog over him... and all of a sudden it hit me. Yes. I was. Intentionally. ANYTHING to get rid of him at that point.

No one can function in a marriage or relationship that isn't equally supportive of one another -- no matter whether it is career, horses, anything. I know that I did my fair share of wrongs in my previous marriage. It always takes two. At the same time... often wrongs are employed as a reaction. And not all wrongs are fault-carrying... they just happen when two people are incompatible.

I have remarried a man that is very supportive, even though he complains about the work related to the horses. In some of our less productive arguements I have thrown out that the horses can go... and he wont LET me do that even if he's in a fit of annoyance over some issue on our farm. (Not that I want to, just one of those mad outbursts) He understands that the horses are a part of me. And when we have discussed what would happen in the event one of us suffers an untimely death (will planning etc) he has actually admitted that he wouldn't sell the horses just to free his own time because they mean so much to me.

As we have had children he has proved to be an equal partner with the household chores. Where my free time is involved with our son, and soon to be second child, he no longer feels that it is my responsibility to handle all the housework. Previously we'd agreed that if I was staying home, it was. He offers to do things that were previously my job.

In return, I support his goals for the future and am working on establishing our farm enough to be able to assist some of the finances -- and that establishment doesn't necessarily mean income, but things like simplifying chores, etc. He has hobbies and the only time I complain about them is if he is doing something and we are going to be late for something we have to be on time for. Sometimes, admittedly, I have to remind myself NOT to complain and to allow him his time to do as he wishes.

I don't begrudge some of the things that he has to do -- such as being out of town frequently.

All of that though takes work on both of our parts. I am certain that there are many occasions that he has to remind himself not to complain as much as I remind me.

I look at the complaints of my women friends -- some horsey some not -- and the theme I see across the board is a lack of mutual ENGAGEMENT with each other. Each partner has to be just that... a partner.

Your husband probably has valid complaints about you as well. That's not relevant. You cannot spend your life making someone else happy at the expense of your own happiness -- even if that person is Midas and you are catered to completely. If YOU are miserable, it does not matter what people might believe is justified or not justified. It doesn't make you a bad person to recognize that your partner is not suited for you. And, honestly, while your partner isn't cutting it for you, he might well be someone's dream come true... and if you are going to consider any outside feelings beyond your own... consider allowing him to find the happiness that he wants while you find the same.

Look inside yourself. What do YOU want. If what you have isn't what you want, and what you have can't provide what you want, then take the steps to correct that. But be very candid with yourself about what you want. And in the future, should someone come along, be certain you analyze the same things long before you begin a life with the person. You need to fullfill yourself and make yourself happy and be happy with you long before you can offer the same to anyone else. That goes for your husband too.

Picasso
Apr. 21, 2007, 09:54 AM
After actually reading some of the posts, my first response sounded flip. That was not my intent. Kelliope, you are really hurting, so much so you are reaching out to strangers to share your pain rather than family. Maybe that is safer for you, you described your situation as a "house of cards" that looks good on the outside, perhaps you are trying to maintain that facade to your own determent.

What this comes down to is do you even WANT to stay married? Or are you looking for someone else to tell you that is what you should do? If you do want to stay married, perhaps you should tell your mother that you are in a crisis and though you don't want to impose, you do need her help. She is your mother, this is what mommies do when their babies, no matter the age, are hurting. Tell her you need 1 night a week or 2 nights a week where she checks on your horse for you. Just for a while, so you can do what needs to be done in your marriage. And then get counseling. Go to a marriage counselor, with him, and if he won't go, without him. If you do get divorced, you are going to need support. If you stay married, you are going to need support. I know its embarrassing to let your family know you are having troubles such as this, but you may be surprised how much support you have in you circle. All are assumptions on my part and for your sake, I hope I am assuming correctly.

As in the pony thread, I had real issues in my marriage. We committed to saving it. We reaffirm that each and every day of our marriage. I send him love notes to Iraq, I shoot him emails with xoxo on them and nothing else depending on the time. I make sure at least once a day I send him a long round up email of what is going on over here with his girls, the family, etc. If I have to stay up an extra 30 minutes, so be it. He calls me every chance he gets (he is fighting a war, I forgive him if he can't call or email daily!) and ALWAYS tells me he loves me. I told him to treat me like his girlfriend, not like his wife, and that is exactly what he does. Its a partnership, not always 50/50, but over all, we work it out, and at the end of the day, when all else is going wrong I know he loves me and will support whatever I do (maybe needs a bit of convincing, but we get there!). I have never been happier, sometimes, before I go to sleep, I realize how blessed I am...a house, cars, horses, gorgeous children, a husband that loves me, no worries about food on the table. I wish that feeling for you, I really do.

Good luck, no matter what you decide. Oh, and my Chis are equally hysterical, I have a 3 pounder and a 4 pounder, both of whom are convinced they are pit bulls. Use that joyful feeling you get from playing with yours and build on that, you deserve more moments of happiness.

Elfe
Apr. 21, 2007, 01:09 PM
It sounds to me that your problems have nothing to do with horses.
Your husband, for whatever reason, is unhappy with himself and feels he has no control over something in his life. So he tries to control his environment (i.e. you) to make himself feel better. It has nothing to do with you. You could give up everything and he still would gripe.
He needs to figure out why he has such low self-esteem that he has to make you feel bad in order to make himself feel better.
Some questions:
- Is there a substance abuse problem?
- Is his business doing well?
- Who makes more money?
- What kind of relationship does he have with his parents/ family?
- What kind of friends does he have? Are they subservient to him? In other words does he only have friends (like employees) that have to cater to him? That he can feel superior to?
He needs professional help and might never be the person able to fill your emotional needs.
I wish you all the best, I have been there and know what it is like.

kelliope
Apr. 21, 2007, 03:03 PM
deleted

Adamantane
Apr. 21, 2007, 08:34 PM
Thanks everyone for your replies. I struggle so much because I think that I have things that I need to work on as well and it makes me waffle about leaving because I am unsure of my part in this. He says he only does his stuff because I make him. I feel the same way sometimes. So who wins? No one.

This is my plan. I am seeing a divorce attorney to get a grip on how this would work...

I think seeing a counselor for yourself is the best first step.

Some divorce attorneys are sensible folks who put their clients' interests above their financial concerns. Not all are.

It may be, or may not be, that you want to split from your husband. The counselor -- especially if both of you eventually go -- can give you a better take on that.

Your husband's concerns about the business may reflect intrinsic negativity about life, or they might reflect his concern that things aren't going well and he feels an obligation to both of you to make it successful no matter what which pressures him to the breaking point. Who knows? Counselors can help assess that. Divorce attorneys generally cannot.

You both are so caught up in your history that it is difficult for either of you to be objective without supportive guidance.

Does you husband have any idea that you have reached your breaking point? Sometimes we all try to avoid conflict to the point that the other party hasn't a clue we're in the red zone. Anyone who watches the film "War of the Roses" sees clearly what's actually happening from the perspective of each character, but neither of the Rose characters can appreciate what is happening in the mind of the other.

Take only for information legal options from the lawyer, unless and until you have decided what you want to do after working with a competent personal and marital counselor.

kelliope
Apr. 22, 2007, 02:45 AM
I just finished reading Chronicles of the $700 Pony. Loved it by the way! (reminds me so much of my mom and I) But what struck me was that the husband seemed proud of her blue ribbon and wanted to hang it. Something I haven't experienced.

Anyway, thanks EVERYONE for all your posts and help. It is truly helpful. I thought about it and I think the reason I don't wish to talk to family and friends about it is that it seems unfair to discuss my husband/relationship behind his back with people who know him/us without him there to defend himself. This is a fairly anonymous forum with (hopefully) no one personally knowing me. Therefore, I can listen to everyone's views without unfavorably coloring my husband with those that know him personally.

Anyway, I am going to let this thread die off as I feel I have received some very insightful and helpful advice. To go on would be to continue complaining without really have a reason.

Thanks again!!!! :)

Adamantane
Apr. 22, 2007, 12:37 PM
He has walked out of counseling twice before. If I go to counseling it will likely just be me. He has threatened me with divorce many, many times. ...

I think those details make the picture clearer now. Probably I missed something along the way but I didn't realize things had devolved that far.

First, he has been involved, at least reluctantly, in a process that could have helped with the situation. So for a long time he has perfectly aware that you are very unhappy with the status quo. If he's been talking about divorce, too, then he's not disengaged, he's unhappy with the status quo, too, or maybe just unhappy that you keep wanting to change the dynamics. Might his view be that the problems in your marriage are really just your problems alone and that if you'd just learn to deal with 'your problems' and quit grousing about them, then everything would be just fine? If one person is unwilling to modify anything on their side and expects the other to do all the accomodation -- it sounds here as if you have been doing all the accomodating -- then whatever you have, it isn't a partnership, and unless that person has a lasting change of heart on that point or the relationship ends, nothing will ever change for the better.


I think the reason I don't wish to talk to family and friends about it is that it seems unfair to discuss my husband/relationship behind his back with people who know him/us without him there to defend himself. This is a fairly anonymous forum with (hopefully) no one personally knowing me. Therefore, I can listen to everyone's views without unfavorably coloring my husband with those that know him personally.

That sounds like a very fair-minded way of looking at it. Is he so thoughtful about you? Maybe you also wish to avoid the 'embarrassment' of seeming to be part of a failing or failed relationship? (When parents or friends had strong reservations about a marriage beforehand, it can seem awkward to air the problems to them for fear their reaction will be one other than support.) Perhaps you're also a bit concerned how your husband might react if something you said were to appear to cast him in a less than favorable light to others?


Anyway, I am going to let this thread die off as I feel I have received some very insightful and helpful advice. To go on would be to continue complaining without really have a reason.

Okay, I'll stop offering thoughts beyond this post, too.

Whether we are talking good things or bad, endings, or new beginnings here, my personal wish for you is that you and your husband make your decisions on the future without getting trapped for long in the process, because whatever the outcome, there is no joy in the exhausting process of weighing things like this. (While there is the peculiarly resigned and passive false bit of folk 'wisdom' that "all good things must come to an end," no complementary optimistic slogan "all bad things must come to an end" ever took root, maybe because left to their own devices, unpleasant things can go on forever.)

Best wishes whatever you decide.