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How do I commucate my needs... How do I commucate my needs...

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  #1  
Unread 08-08-2003, 12:58 AM
How do I commucate my needs...

Here I go whining again... lol... but really, I'm looking for some sort of solution. My dh has not been a very good support system for me as he tends to retreat from problems and plays golf alot. You may wonder why this is a problem if you don't have a golfer in your home, but it's worse than football. Golfing is an all day game and is also played late into the night here in Holland as it’s stays light until 10 or 11 at night. So by the time he gets home, it’s midnight or later. Although I appreciate his outside interests and wish him to have them, right now I need him with me. Evenings and weekends are especially difficult for me. I have communicated this with him. His reaction was not good... it's was like trying to take a toy from a child. He said something like 'you just don't want me to have fun'. Am I asking too much from him, just to hold off on golf for the moment? Or perhaps not play as much?

Something interesting that I found out yesterday is that my dh thinks that I will get better in 2 weeks time and be basically cured. He has only read a couple of hospital brochures on how radiation and chemo works. I told him, yes its possible but chances are remote that my tumor is gone in 2 weeks. Most likely I must have more treatment. He never goes with me to the hospital so he never talks to my doctors. I have tried to show him web-sites but he says he does not have time to look at them. Does anyone have any ideas how I can communicate to him about information, in a short and easy way and also ideas about how he can be more of a support. I don’t want to depend upon him totally, that’s too much for anyone. Am I barking up a wrong tree? Am I expecting too much? Perhaps he's just one of those people who has difficulty in dealing with things.
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  #2  
Unread 08-08-2003, 11:23 AM
How do I commucate my needs...

One thing that I realised after my first op. (a metastasis for ovarian cancer) was that how people saw me dealing with it would to a large effect determine how well they would be able to. I was on a journey, after all, and people asked me to let them be included on it, and I did. But, I quickly realised that different people dealt with being on this journey in different ways. Some wanted (or thought they wanted) all the details; others did not. They could only deal with it how they were dealing with it, I realised, each in his/her own way.

Maria, your husband should be there for you. It could be a case that he is so frightened and worried that he is in denial, and thus not dealing with what you need from him. But, then the focus is on him, not you.

From an objective viewpoint, his behaviour is selfish. Please remember that we can still love someone, but dislike the behaviour. He has given you no support, and there are no excuses, as you have asked him for it.

You are in a different culture - does that impact his reaction or lack thereof?

Do you have sisters-in-law to help you? Mother-in-law? to ask how to get your husband to open up and embrace your needs?
Can your doctor make a house call when you and your husband are together?

Now, a few weeks ago, I was reading about the use of e-mail to communicate to someone in the same house (it was a mother and a teenage son). Instead of a face to face conversation, this seemed to be more effective for some reason. I think that it gave the non-communicative teenage son a change to think about things first. Then he came to his mother, and they were able to talk face to face.

Or, you could write your husband a letter? Don't ask him for support; tell him. Be concrete in what you expect.

All the best to you, Maria. You have been through a lot and the last thing anyone needs is someone who is not there for them, but should be.

s to you.
  #3  
Unread 08-08-2003, 11:58 AM
How do I commucate my needs...

If i may be really outspoken here, and i certainly dont want to offend you, but basically your husband needs the biggest kicking up the ---- anyone has ever had. I am so angry i can barely type.
Ignorance is bliss as far as he is concerned but you need support.
You have to tell him bluntly that you need his support and love and yes there is no reason why he cant play his golf but you have to come first and surely he can play in moderation?? Clearly he cant handle it but you need his support. Does his family live near you? Perhaps you could talk to his mother? Alternatively when you are better and fully cured, which you will be, pack your bags and leave. Sorry but men can be so selfish when we are ill.
Take care

very hot
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  #4  
Unread 08-08-2003, 01:53 PM
How do I commucate my needs...

Hi, Maria. I will say a prayer tonight; not for you but for your dh... that he may find all his needs are taken care of, grow up, and start helping you. Aaarrrrgggghhhh. Just a few other suggestions:

In addition to his mother or other influential family member, what about asking for the intervention of a clergyman or woman?

Next (and probably more important than the other two items) is that you still need to get help when you need it. Is there any sort of social services staff that you can contact and enlist their help. I'm sure they could assist or at least, perhaps, give you some direction as to how to get what you need.

I read a neat quote the other day: "It takes fire to make the bread." I don't want to take anybody's inventory but it sounds like DH hasn't risen to the occassion yet.
  #5  
Unread 08-08-2003, 02:42 PM
How do I commucate my needs...

Hi Maria...

Unfortunately this is a MAN thing and we have all probably dealt with it.

I have a husband and two grown sons so I do know what you mean... When I was first diagnosed and had the surgery, they all could not do enough for me...I honestly think that they though I was dying. As the chemo went on and they saw that I was not going anywhere for a very very long time, lots of the caring and helping stopped.

Do not get me wrong.... I know in my heart that they are all very concerned but in a mans way. They like to hide their heads in the sand until the all clear sound is heard.

Everyone deals with things differently and because I dealt with everything in a strong positive manner, I think they got my vibes and decided that I could do it all!! So... I learned quickly how to play the game, and at times became the damsel in distress. It did work and was fun!!!!!

Keep in touch.

Rosalie
  #6  
Unread 08-08-2003, 06:47 PM
Oh Maria, I'm so sorry to hear what you are going through.

Sometimes our DH's can be chumps. They just don't seem to understand. Sometimes mine can be a big help, then there are the times, when I just want to slap him. He can say the most unpleasent things.

He went with me to my first couple of Dr's visits, but hasn't gone to any other visits. Then gets mad at me when I forget to ask my Dr a question.

He has, though, gone to every chemo treatment with me, and went to some of my radiation treatments. But since I was doing my radiation during working hours that wasn't always easy for him. I think he goes to all my chemo treatments since I had such a bad reaction to the first, and he wants to make sure nothing happens to me.

I don't know how to get them to open up more, but sometimes during the difficult times, when the Dr tells me something I can't deal with or I get depressed, that's when he is more standoffish. That's when I go to my friends, and you guys. He still doesn't understand, and he seems to not want to, but I think he just doesn't understand the depression, anxiety and just plain being scared. I do still try to talk to him, and try to explain. And sometimes, I just ask "Do you even want to know? or should I not even bother talking right now?" Sometimes that gets him in the mood.

's and ers to you, during this difficult time....
  #7  
Unread 08-08-2003, 07:46 PM
How do I commucate my needs...

Maria:

First of all, you look like a woman in need of a ! And believe me, you are NOT whining. You have a very valid complaint.

A lot may depend on how much "goodwill" there was in your marriage prior to all this. Did you share things before, or was he largely "absentee" from household events?

I'm an eternal optimist, and I'm hoping that the answer is that this behavior is new, and not some long-established pattern. If so:

Writing a letter to open the dialogue, and actually making a "date" to discuss things, helps a lot. My DH and I tend to let things stew a bit over-long, and sometimes it takes making an appointment for a "neutral" environment like a restaurant or coffee-house -- they can't really make a scene nor can they gracefully leave. Sometimes, too, we've made a list each, and we try to bring items up in order. Something about having it in black and white, on paper all thought out, helps when emotion overrides logic and reason.

I do have to be careful what I ask for, though. It's not easy to be reasonable in the face of such rage and frustration at his behavior (my DH has his significant flaws, too, they just don't run in the direction of neglect). And you have to figure out some consequence for your actions on either side.

I also like the idea of an "intervention" -- is there someone in the oncology clinic who could contact your DH at work, perhaps, and lay out the realistic boundaries of what you are undergoing in terms of treatment. Since he seems to have NO understanding of what you are going through (and he certainly should!), and he's not ready to listen to you nor make the time commitment to read the literature you have for him, perhaps a neutral third party will have a better chance of getting through.

It sure sounds like you are living separate lives -- and at a time when you need the most support of all. And no matter how sympathetic your cyber-friends are, it's no replacement for knowing that your partner is a TRUE partner in every sense of the word. I'm so sorry he is abdicating his responsibility in your marriage!

and I am ing that you two can find your way back to partnership again. It does require that BOTH parties feel the need and desire to change. I hope that's the case for you and your not-so-DH.

Audrey
  #8  
Unread 08-09-2003, 04:01 AM
In Sickness & In Health

Hi, Maria--

Geez, as I recall, the wedding vows my husband and I took included "for better or worse, in sickness and in health." If you and your husband took the same ones, it sounds like he may need a refresher course on the commitment he made.

He has no time to check out websites about your cancer, or read brochures about your treatment, or go with you to any of your appointments, but has time for golf on many evenings and on the weekends? I normally don't like to interject myself into people's marriages, as I believe we all weave complicated webs to some extent. However, your husband's words and actions at your time of need don't compute.

My husband still goes with me to my gyn-onc appointments after 4 years, even though I've told him it's no longer necessary. He was with me every step of the way throughout the diagnosis, treatment and recovery process and beyond. No, he's not perfect, but he's a partner, and we're a team, and we fought cancer together. I would definitely not be where I am or who I am today without him.

It might be worth your while to have the hospital social worker recommend a marriage counselor with whom you could work through this issue, sort out your feelings, and get the kind of support you need and truly deserve.

Best wishes to you.

MoeKay
  #9  
Unread 08-09-2003, 04:48 AM
How do I commucate my needs...

Hi Maria,
On top of everything else, you are not getting what you need and have the right to expect from dh. I think the women above have made some good suggestions - I think specifically if he came to some of your treatments (probably 1 would do it), and if he spoke to the dr directly that would help - but that is just one level.
I know everyone reacts differently to stressful situations, and it is quite possible that he is terrified and doesn't know how to behave.
If you can tell him specificially what you need that might help.
I know that many men want to be "problem solvers" - and when they can't solve a problem they don't want to have anything to do with it. If he sees that one part of your problem is needing support and that he CAN solve that - (and still have a bit of time for his golf) - he might respond better.
as someone mentioned, there could be cultural issues at play here too, but I think generally people who marry outside their own culture are more open to ideas and situations in many ways --- I hope that you are able to tell him what you need, and that he responds - from what you have said in the past I am sure that he does love you, - build on that.
hugs and praying going your way,
Cheryl
and
  #10  
Unread 08-09-2003, 07:24 AM
How do I commucate my needs...

Hi Maria,

My DH is a golfer and not great on the emotional front. He is a man's man. His golf is important to him and I found that it was his outlet and escape.

I am not condoning it, I can just relate to what you are going through. He will continue to need his golf because it sounds like that is how he is dealing with things. He'll never be like a good girlfriend that you can share with on a highly emotional level, because that is not who he is.

With that in mind....he needs to golf in the early morning, when you are probably busy and don't have the time to dwell on what you are going through. You need him in the evenings when there is too much time to "think". I used to get frustrated that my dh didn't go out of his way to learn anything. I finally determined, that it was my role to do that. It was the one thing that gave me the feeling that I had some control.

My friends and support groups gave me my outlet, and my husband was there for companionship. It made it easier when I didn't have expectations on that front from him. I wasn't as disappointed.

What I did find is that men don't have a "hystersisters" website. As your "protector" he probably doesn't want to show you his vulnerability. It is not a sign of his love for you, but probably his own fear and insecurity.

In your situation, you need to reach a compromise so that he understands how you feel. Good luck!
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