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How can I get my husband more involved? How can I get my husband more involved?

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Unread 03-17-2002, 09:04 PM
How can I get my husband more involved?

First I want to say, I have a great husband that tells me he loves me every single day and several times a day and in his eyes, I am already a princess

I know men don't express their feelings very well and I do have to say thet my hubby is one of the most sensitive ones out there, but I wish he'd talk about my surgery more with me. He doesn't ever bring it up himself and when I try to talk about my fears, he just tells me everything will be just fine and not to think about the negatives. I can't help but think about the negatives because I am completely freaked out about having this surgery. He doesn't make much of an effort, it seems to me anyway, to learn much about what has been going on with me for almost 2 years and to learn about the surgery. It would mean so much to me to see him pick up my hystersisters book and read some of it. Do I have to actually ask him to read about it? Is that how it works with men? Kind of like housework and changing diapers...although he has gotten sooooo much better about that

Another thing...when I am in tons of pain, doubled over crying, he sometimes gets cranky because he's doing all the housework, taking care of the kids, etc..... We are trying to sell our house and when we first put it up for sale, we were trying to clean and paint and all that to make our house look nice. Well, I was having a HORRIBLE pain day and I could hardly stand up. When I wanted to go lay down, he then told me that if he had to do all the cleaning himself that he'd be up until 3:00 in the morning! Talk about a guilt trip! So I much as I could, tears streaming down my face. Then he finally told me to go lay down and I could tell he didn't want me to.

How do I get him to understand that the pain I am experiencing really is bad? How do I get him to learn more on his own. He only knows what I have told him. How do I get him to concentrate long enough to really talk about the surgery? I love him and he is a great guy and I know he'll be there 100% when I have my surgery, but I want him more involved BEFORE the surgery. Any suggestions?
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Unread 03-18-2002, 09:22 AM

Dear Pasdechat,
Don't languish wishing and hoping that your DH will intuit your desire that he participate in a dialog about your concerns. Most guys would much rather "fix it" than "talk about" a problem. When it comes to "guy"nocology, most of them realize they're out of their league and are satisfied that your mechanic (surgeon) will "fix it". Your DH might think he can best help by Coaching you to think positive. Boys are reared to ignore pain, "Thinking about it makes it worse." They tend to get exasperated when faced with their sweetheart's chronic pain, especially since they can't fix it and be the hero.

My approach was to bookmark and highlight whatever parts of the HystersSisters book you want him to understand. Give it to him and tell him to please read those selections from the book so that there will be fewer surprises for him in the course of your treatment. Add that it will help him to help you better if he knows what to expect regarding what will be happening to you.
I went so far as to cover my book with manly woodgrain contact paper so he wouldn't be turned off by the fairy princess character on the cover.
What also helped in my case was to include DH in the last office visit with my doctor (you can say it's for moral support). Tell him that it would be a good idea to learn the specific medical terms involved in your case ahead of time so that you'll all be on the same page during the consult and the doc won't have to waste time explaining terms.
Guys are generally poor mind readers--it's works better to ask specifically for what you want.
Unread 03-18-2002, 09:28 AM
How can I get my husband more involved?

I'm sorry your husband isn't being very supportive right now. I think, in many cases, they just feel helpless and afraid themselves, but of course, they can't show that, so they withdraw. Men like to "fix" things, and if they can't fix it, they don't know what to do about it.

My husband was a bit withdrawn at first, but I finally decided to get him involved in DOING something. I had him help get the house ready for my recovery. He got the guest room ready (I slept in there for awhile because our bed is very tall, and also I didn't want him bumping into me!), went shopping with me for comfy clothes to wear, he moved everything I might need to waist-level (clothing, toiletries, cups, juice, etc.) so I wouldn't have to bend or reach, bought food and juices that would be easy for me, etc.

This way, he felt he was doing something to "fix" the problem, and it also helped him stay focused on AFTER the surgery, which helped him realize there would BE an after, and I would be coming home to him.

This was the first experience either one of us had with a hospital or illness, so he was just as frightened as I was, but didn't feel like he could show it. My mom said he actually cried when he saw me in the recovery room. I have NEVER seen Mr. Tough Guy Police Officer cry in our 10 years together!

Another woman on this site whose husband didn't want to talk about her surgery said she printed posts and information from the site, and just left them lying around in places he would see them. Apparently, he read them and realized how much support and help she needed!
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Unread 03-18-2002, 09:34 AM
I could not have said it better

I agree with Suebert

She put it very well. I hope you can get him involved with out to much effort and struggle. I am sure he just does not know how to go about what your wanting. Some gentle directing is a plus.

Let us know how your doing and keep the post coming

Unread 03-18-2002, 09:37 AM
Worth a try?

I'm not sure there is an easy answer to this, but I have found that my DH had never been exposed to any of this "GYN stuff". He was nevery married before, nor did he live with anyone before. I would print information out from the internet and give it to him, I think he felt comfortable reading it (therefore gaining some knowledge) and then when the time seemed right, we would talk. He too is sooooooooo supportive, but I think this area is just plain tough for a lot of men to even understand. The fact that you are in so much pain he may not be able to comprehend as it didn't occur as a result of an "accident" or something like a broken bone that they can actually see. Maybe at a time when things are quite and calm you might be able to relate that though he can't see what's causing your pain, it's there, very real, very upsetting and hurts even more without his emotional support. Maybe let him know that a hug instead of indifference would be a better temporary band aid until you can be on you road to recovery. I hope this helps a little....hang in there as best you can and know that it will get better!
Unread 03-18-2002, 09:52 AM
How can I get my husband more involved?

Hi Pasdechat, I agree with Suebert and wanted to add some more ideas...I don't have a DH but do have a BF who was as supportive as he could possibly be throughout and I can share with you what worked for me.

First of all, many guys are super uncomfortable with ob/gyn descriptions. It affects their ability to view us as desirable when they have mental pictures of us with stitches and swelling and bruising and all "down there". I can't blame them for that, imagine having to picture your DH with some kind of awful injury to his privates when you go to make love. Wouldn't it spoil the mood? So sometimes they refuse to discuss things in graphic detail because they don't want to carry around that mental picture later on. Ignorance is bliss, in this case.

Also, until they are able to give birth, I don't think most guys will ever understand true pain. They may think they do, but they have no clue how someone who isn't in immediate danger of dying can feel such intense pain. It's just not in their experience. All many of them can do is relate it to the worst sports injury they ever had, and, come on, how many of us moms have "played with pain" and never given it a second thought?

Plus, when a man loves a woman very much all this talk about hospitals and surgery and stuff can bring up fears of losing us. It makes them suddenly realize they've become somewhat dependent on us (emotionally at least) and they don't like that feeling. So, they tend to deny the whole thing or at least minimize it and give us the "you'll be fine" line (I think if we read between the lines what they're really saying is "I'll be fine").

About the hystersisters book, I have had some success in the past with leaving books laying around, particularly in the bathroom, but I didn't in this case. What worked for me was sitting near him reading it and occasionally relating one of the funnier passages to him. If you can put a little humor into it it might go down easier.

Getting DH to accompany you to the doctor is an excellent suggestion, and the way I was able to do that is to tell him I was nervous and might be too uncomfortable to drive myself home afterwards...I had him come pick me up and take me home from the castle after I was released even though my mom was staying with me that week, by telling him it would be so much easier for me to get in and out of his truck than my little car (which was true). While my DR was discharging me and giving me final instructions he was listening...he heard that I couldn't do anything strenuous so over the next couple of weeks he kept coming over to take me grocery shopping, do chores around the house and bring me supper. In fact, I have my 6 week checkup today and he'll be here in a few minutes to take me...OF COURSE I could do it myself but it's so much nicer to feel supported even if he just sits outside and waits for me! Plus then he feels like part of the recovery process. I guess my point here is to try to find ways to let him know you need his help without sounding "needy". The reason my BF has been so helpful is that he knows I could handle it all by myself; I think if I acted totally helpless he would run the other way. Instead he gets to be the one who continually tells me I need to rest and take it easy and let him do more things. It has worked great!

Finally, are there any other females in your DH's family who have had experience with a surgery like this? It helped me at one point when I had a generic patch fail and I went into an emotional meltdown and had a big argument with him, that the next day he was complaining to his mother and she explained to him what it was like in "hormone he!!" from her perspective and told him he needed to be more patient and supportive. And he has!

Pasdechat, you are so lucky to have a great DH, he sounds more than wonderful. He just might need some help getting through this, just as much as you do. I wish you both the best!

- Linda
Unread 03-18-2002, 09:55 AM
How can I get my husband more involved?

My husband was the same way. Very loving, but just didnt understand when it came to this "woman" stuff. They really never will because they have no frame of reference to understand the kind of pain you are talking about. Also, you have to come right out and tell them exactly how you feel and what you want from him. They really have no clue. You will probably find that like my husband, once you explain to him how you feel and what you want he will be more open. Mine actually went to my appointment with me today and asked questions to the dr about my surgery. Boy was I shocked!
Communication is the Key!
Unread 03-18-2002, 01:07 PM
How can I get my husband more involved?

Thanks everyone for your responses and very helpful advice. It is so greatly appreciated. I will definately give some of these things a try.

All I want is to be able to sit down with my best friend in the world(hubby) and have a good talk about everything

Thanks again.

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