Originally Posted by AnotherConfused
It has not always been this way for us. For 4 years he was playful, lighthearted, emotional, warm, and affectionate. Then we hit a period in which his dad died, our first child was born, he was promoted into management, and his mother came to stay for three months, and everything between us shifted drastically. The tenderness and affection were replaced with a kind of hard work ethic that he applied to himself and to me. I know people change, and I've been trying to love who he is and not just who he used to be. I do want us to stay married, and for our marriage to be strong.
I think this period of your lives together is something that needs examination in your therapy/counseling. What happened when his mother stayed with you? Is she warm to you? Is she very traditional in her culture, as far feeling that Indian women should be subservient to their men? Because I wonder how much judgement she directed at your marriage, about you not measuring up as a suitable wife or anything like that, and if so, how it affected your husband as far as the role you are supposed to fill as his dutiful wife - there isn't a lot of room for a woman to be an individual in Indian marriages, and the parents are also very dominant over their sons and daughters. He could've felt that he disappointed his parents by not marrying an Indian woman, and so tightened up his boundaries and expectations around how everything should be if he is supposed to be seen as a husband who is respected properly. I know I often mention his culture when I post to your threads, and it is just an assumption on my part, as I don't know how steeped in his heritage he actually is - but these sort of things run deep and often play a very unconscious part in how people are in relationships, so forgive me if I am way off base.
Even if it wasn't about being Indian, what was it that changed him so drastically after she stayed with you? There was an event that took place early on in my marriage that took me years to get past, and it hit me hard and strongly affected how I related to and trusted my husband. Then, later on, when my mother passed away, my sense of who I was radically shifted (I was her caregiver and legal guardian), and affected my relationship to my husband in very insidious ways. So, I still think it could be important to discuss that time in your lives in therapy.
I hate hearing how much you have to keep under wraps, even in your counseling sessions. I think he just needs to hear more, no matter how painful it is. He'll get over it. He is cocooning himself from anything that might upset the apple cart, and this is not really satisfying to either of you. You want to save him from the pain of hearing what you want but why martyr yourself? Is protecting him from pain more important than protecting yourself from pain?