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    "Don't let what you can't do interfere with what you can do."
    John Wooden, posted by David Baxter

matilda

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Hello everyone, I am seeking advice about consequences within a marriage. I have tried for years to talk with my husband, I plead with him basically to try to get him to understand how his thoughtlessess affects me and our marriage together, nothing ever seems to get resolved, I am suppose to just get over it. Nothing seems to work, so my question is - how can he be responsable for his behaviour, like what are the consequences?
matilda
 

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Matilda,

Are you talking about major abusive behaviour on the part of your husband, or annoying forgetfulness like missing your birthday or not telling you he's coming home late?

Have you ever had the ability to speak to each other about mutual concerns and negotiate a resolution?

how can he be responsible for his behaviour, like what are the consequences?

Each of us controls our own behaviour, and our partner or no one else can change our behaviour unless we recognize there is a problem and find strategies to change behaviour.

Have you ever considered marriage counseling, where an objective third party can evaluate your situation and propose strategies for both of you to be able to come together?
 

David Baxter

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Ultimately, the consequences are that you will get fed up and leave him.

Have you ever considered couples counselling ot suggested it to your husband?
 

matilda

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Hello and thanks for the replies, no its not major abusive behaviour on the part of my husband, it is "forgeting" and not doing what he says he's going to do, its not major "stuff", altho its important to me, and for us. Its just that even when I've told him and he knows how important something is to me, he just doesnt get it, he doesnt follow thru.
I've said to him that I think we should see a marriage counselor and he says no, he says that he doesnt have any problems with us, that I'm the one with a problem, I should go. Thats what i mean about consequences, he can have his cake and eat it to, so to speak. I know I cant make him do something, I cant even make him "want" to do something, I dont know how to get it across to him that it would be in our best interest, like why would he bother to change his way of "operating" when he doesnt have to, when there are no consequences.
Me getting fed up and leaving him would be the last resort, I just thought that there might be another way.
matilda
 

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Matilda,

Have you ever discussed your husband's forgetfulness and other seemingly thoughtless behaviours with your family doctor?

There may be some aspects of attention deficit your doctor may wish to investigate, because sometimes when adults unintentionally seem to be forgetful, there may be underlying conditions that can be treated.

Others may have additional comments and suggestions to offer, based on the additional info you provided, but since the behaviour does not seem to be intentionally abusive, there may be other explanations.

Does this description seem to be relevant?

Adults with AD/HD are often bored with tedious, repetitive tasks. They may also trouble with planning and organization. Procrastination is common. Impulsivity may lead to frequent job changes, troubled romantic relationships, financial problems and a tendency to interrupt others. College students may have trouble staying focused on paperwork or lectures. The AD/HD adult often becomes frustrated or angry rapidly, but may cool off equally quickly. He or she is then left wondering why everyone else is still upset at the blow up. Because of difficulties following through on commitments, the individual is often called selfish and immature.
Source
 

matilda

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I would think my husbands "forgetfulness" if it was medical would show up in all or other areas of his life, not just in the things that I think that he doesnt want to do. I dont believe its medical. He was suppose to make a phone call about 2 weeks ago, he said he was going to do it that day, when I asked about it he said he forgot, the next day I reminded him in a casual sorta way thru out the day he didnt make the phone call, I bought it up again the other night and he said he will ring - he hasnt. If it is true forgetfulness, why would he get angry at being reminded?
matilda
 

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Matilda,

I would think my husbands "forgetfulness" if it was medical would show up in all or other areas of his life, not just in the things that I think that he doesn't want to do

The only way to determine the root cause of your husband's behaviour is a professional who can properly evaluate your husband's history through a personal interview.

Since this appears to be an issue in your relationship, it would seem to be important enough to pursue.

Based on your initial comments, you may run into some opposition on his part and/or even denial, particularly if his behaviour is related to attention deficit.

I'm not saying that it is, as I am not a mental health professional, and I am simply proposing an alternative explanation. People who are afflicted with a disorder such as ADD, which would have begun in childhood, would have battled the signs and symptoms all their life.

Being reminded of the behaviour causes a sense of frustration, which can result in an outburst of anger or even rage.

Disorders such as ADD are frequently missed by doctors as the person grows up because the person is ashamed to bring it up being under the impression their behavioural difficulties are voluntary, and somehow a sign of weakness.

If indeed this is ADD, the behaviour is completely involuntary and the good news is it is a treatable condition.

Here's more for you to consider:

Symptoms of ADHD in adults
ADHD always begins in childhood, but it may persist into adult life. The core signs and symptoms of distractibility, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior are the same for adults as for children, but they often manifest themselves differently and far more subtly in adults. Hyperactivity, in particular, is generally less overt in adults. Children may race around madly; adults are more likely to be restless and to have trouble relaxing.

On the other hand, problems with organization and concentration often increase as people get older when their lives become more complicated and demanding. Adults diagnosed with ADHD often say that their biggest frustration is their inability to focus and to prioritize, leading not only to missed deadlines but also to forgotten meetings and social engagements.

As difficult as this is, the impulsive behavior of some adults with ADHD can be even more problematic. The inability to control impulses, which some experts say may be the defining characteristic of ADHD, can range from impatience waiting in line or driving in heavy traffic to mood swings, intense outbursts of anger, blurting out rude remarks and having troubled relationships.

One set of guidelines used to diagnose adult ADHD, called the Utah criteria, lists the following as characteristic of adults with the disorder:

  • A childhood history of ADHD
  • Hyperactivity and poor concentration
  • Inability to complete tasks
  • Mood swings
  • Hot temper
  • Inability to deal with stress
  • Impulsivity
Source

All I am saying, Matilda, is don't ignore the possibility there may be a medical or behavioural issue, which indeed can be treated. Your support and understanding might just be the opportunity your husband never got until now.

Find out who or where in your area you could arrange for a consultation with a mental health professional specializing in behavioural disorders. Then calmly and lovingly, tell your husband what you have researched, and would he be interested in going with you for a consultation.

Whatever you find out may go a long way to making your relationship happier.
 
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even if your husband isn't willing to come with you to therapy, that doesn't mean that you couldn't go on your own. you could still gain a lot from going yourself, discussing the situation with the therapist and maybe together you can find an angle that might encourage your husband to go as well.
 

matilda

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Thanks Steve, I'm not feeling very supportive or understanding at the moment, but I do understand what your saying. The last time my husband went to a doctor was 10 years ago, and only because he broke his leg. There is no way he would actually go to a doctor "looking" for a problem.
matilda

Into The Light, yes I've been thinking for awhile that I should see someone, alot of the time I think that I expect to much, maybe what I want doesnt exist.
matilda
 
Last edited:
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we all have needs and it is important to recognize our needs and to try to meet them. it might be that your expectations aren't unreasonable at all. i think a therapist could provide you with helpful feedback in that regard.
 

Retired

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There is no way he would actually go to a doctor "looking" for a problem

Matilda,

No one consults a doctor looking for a problem. The purpose of seeing the doctor is to maintain good health, which is done through early detection.

Avoiding regular medical check ups is an invitation to becoming seriously ill. Many medical conditions are silent killers, with no signs or symptoms and can only be detected through regular doctor visits.

You may want to have a conversation with your husband about forming a regular healthcare plan of annual medical check ups, diagnostic testing and screening.

If you both intend to grow old together, I would urge you to consider a pro-active health care plan.

Doctors don't create illnesses in their patients, they screen, test, diagnose and treat patients so the patient can enjoy a good quality of life.

Based on what you say, your quality of life is not what you would like it to be, Matilda. There are ways of fixing it, but you need to take charge and find the resources to fix it.

Getting back to your original question:

how can he be responsable for his behaviour, like what are the consequences?

Are you looking for options to end your relationship or are you looking for options to improve your relationship?

The answer to that question would determine your choices.
 

matilda

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Hello Steve, they were my husbands words, he doesnt go to a doctor if he can't "feel" anything wrong, as he puts it - "why go looking for trouble". I understand about regular checkups. And as for me having a conversation with my husband about a healthcare plan, sure I could have a conversation with him but he'll do what he wants. This is what I'm trying to get across, he does what he wants, I cant make him go to the doctor, I cant make him do anything. Thats why I thought if there could be consequences for him not doing things he might make a different choice.
I dont want to end the relationship, I want to improve it.
I dont know - is there consequences in marriages, is it reasonable for me to say to my husband "if you dont do such and such, this (whatever) is going to happen". It works with my children - consequences, but I dont know if it's appropiate with my husband and I dont really have any consequences to "use" anyway. I'm not trying to manipulate him I just want him to see that he cant keep doing the same old stuff, if how I feel about it isnt enough to make him change his behaviour, like what is.
matilda
 

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My view of a marriage is a partnership in which there is dialogue, discussion and negotiation. My own personal emphasis is on the partnership part.

Was there ever a time when you had meaningful discussion and negotiation or has the tone of your relationship always been strained?

"if you dont do such and such, this (whatever) is going to happen".

I believe this is exactly the kind of conversation you would want to have. You would want to articulate the issues that you find unacceptable, and propose that if this kind of behaviour persists, that you have concerns for the future of your relationship.

he doesnt go to a doctor if he can't "feel" anything wrong, as he puts it - "why go looking for trouble".

This is clearly faulty logic based on a misunderstanding of medical care.

Many diseases are silent killers in that they are silent (no symptoms or only vague symptoms), and that they are deadly. There are a number of diseases that are known as "silent killers" because they gradually consume you without causing any serious symptoms in the early stages. Regular medical checkups and early diagnosis of unexplained or vague symptoms can safe one's life.

Even if you have no symptoms, it is still possible that you can still be sick.

There are numerous conditions that have no symptoms. In some cases, the condition may never have symptoms, and in others there may be no early warning signs but with symptoms later (e.g. the "silent killers" such as hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, and several cancers such as colon cancer).

Many of these conditions with no symptoms are under-diagnosed conditions because they can be missed. In addition, there are other conditions that may only have mild or vague symptoms.

Of course, this list of conditions (in both men and women) can leave you in a state of worry over nothing too. Having no symptoms is usually a good place to be.

Taking pragmatic steps to have regular checkups of your overall health and for common major diseases is a good way to balance anxiety with prudent health management.

  • Hypertension
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Heart disease
  • Breast cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Mesothelioma
  • Colon cancer
  • Rectal cancer
 

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