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#1642087 - 11/07/08 09:21 AM My wife's a WAW
garyjlost Offline
Member

Registered: 11/06/08
Posts: 138
My story is most likely all too similar to others.

I've been married 16 years. I spent many of those years absorbed in projects that took me outside of the home. I wasn't out drinking with friends or spending time in bars. I was working on valuable conservation/wildlife projects. But the result was the same: I wasn't there for my family. I took them for granted.

Gradually, intimacy decreased in my marriage. My wife and daughter have always gone to bed at the same time. Even though, our daughter is now nine years old, she and my wife sleep in the same bed. There is almost zero couple time. We have no one that we turn to as a babysitter. We only go out as a family.

Much of this situation is my blame. While I was absorbed in projects (that required considerable computer time), I wasn't doing a good job listening to my wife. I had allowed romance to disappear. I become overally critical and negative. As a result, my wife pulled away from me. And then I responded by withdrawing further. It was a circle of behavior with no apparent way out.

My wife had checked out of the marriage. I could tell by her body language (and her lack of real interest in anything I said). She started partying with friends frequently (she might have an alcohol problem), and she entered an affair. She was just biding time in the marriage, waiting for the appropriate exit time. I became fed up with the situation and brought it to a head. I argued things had to change. We made lists of what we both wanted to change. My wife's list included me leaving. I wanted to work on the marriage with us both in the same house. But she wanted me out.

So we separated. It has now been six weeks. I understand many of the problematic behaviors that I was bringing to the marriage. I'm working hard on changing these behaviors. My wife has seen a big change in my behavior (e.g., less critical, less negative, less controlling, more romantic, more involved in family activities, etc.). I've shifted my focus completely to the family. I now derive great pleasure from the time that we share together, such as having lunch or going to church.

But here's the problem: my wife has seen 16 years of lackluster behavior from me. Now she's seen the new me for 2 weeks. I understand her hesitancy to reconcile. It will just take time. But she isn't working on changes herself. Our daughter is still in our bed. If I returned to the home, some problems will be just the same. Maybe it's just a matter of time: she needs to see my behavior changes in place for several weeks before she enacts changes of her own. Maybe?

I'm wondering what other people has experienced in situations with a WAW. After you've made changes, how long did it take for her to believe the changes were real? How long before she actually could be expected to make chages in her own behavior? She still seems so distant. (But the ice wall is slowing thawing, I think.)

Me: 50 years old
wife: 45
daughter: 9
married: 16 years
together: 19 years
separated: 6 weeks

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#1642346 - 11/07/08 01:13 PM Re: My wife's a WAW [Re: garyjlost]
OnTheEdge22 Offline
Member

Registered: 07/27/08
Posts: 130
Gary - I'm sorry you are out here with us, but welcome. There's a lot of support and comfort out here.

My W told me a year ago she wasn't in love with me any more. I made some immediate changes, less anger, more positive, helping around the house, etc... My W noticed immediately, but she didn't believe it was permanent. And it didn't and still hasn't changed how she feels about me (that doesn't mean your sitch won't be different!).

It sounds like you're doing the right things, but you absolutely need to be patient and give something like this lots of time. Read everything you can out here. Read DR if you haven't. And keep focused and working on yourself. Forget about the R for a while.

I just asked my W the other day if she believes that I had and can really change some of my behaviors. Her honest response is that she isn't sure how I will be after the spotlight is off me. I think that's a very fair assessment, and only time is going prove that out.

Take care. Edge
_________________________
Me-44, W-45
Together-25 yrs, Married-21 yrs
D-17,S-15,D-13,S-10
ILYBNILWY Bomb: 10/2007
Status: Divorce Mediation, Still under same roof
My Story

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#1642420 - 11/07/08 02:17 PM Re: My wife's a WAW [Re: OnTheEdge22]
garyjlost Offline
Member

Registered: 11/06/08
Posts: 138
Thanks, Edge.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. I read your story and was surprised to see the recommendations that you received. I haven't read DB or DR yet, although DB is on hold for me at the bookstore (I'll pick it up tonight). I assume the recommendations you received (as from Sandi) -- to stop efforts at reconcilation, to stop giving gifts, to bring confidence to all interactions with your wife, etc. -- didn't really work in your case?

It would be very difficult for me to convince my wife that I have changed if I step back. She would simply see me as the same person she has experienced for the past 16 years. She decided she didn't like that guy! I'm having trouble seeing sense in pulling back from my wife. Maybe it would show her that I'm confident in developing a separate life, but that was already me. I don't need to build on that point.

Your thoughts?

Anyone?

Thanks.
_________________________

me: 50
w (waw): 45
daughter: 9
m: 16
t: 19
bomb: 9/26/08
status: physical separation for 7 weeks, then work-in-progress R

my story

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#1644890 - 11/10/08 01:53 PM Re: My wife's a WAW [Re: garyjlost]
OnTheEdge22 Offline
Member

Registered: 07/27/08
Posts: 130
Gary - Read DR, which is an updated version of DB. Do follow Sandi's list. Not that you want to pull away, but you don't want to chase either. The changes you are making are good -- keep that up. You'll read about 180's in the book and it sounds like you're already doing some of those. Just work on being a better person and leading a good life for yourself. You don't have to ignore your W. You can engage with her, just do it positively and don't talk about your R. Your W will need to see consistent changes from you over time -- 2 weeks is not enough after 16 years. But, no one except your W can say how long is enough. Don't worry about your W making changes. The point is to get her to engage with you and want you back. If that happens, then the two of you can work through the issues later. Work on your relationship with your daughter -- be the best Dad you can be.

You are correct that this has not worked for me yet, but I did stop chasing which surely would have driven my W away. I stopped the emotions and the pleading and the feeling sorry for myself. My W is very confused. She doesn't know if she wants to stay or go -- which is fine for me right now -- better than her knowing she definitely wants out. I've seen a couple things she has written and she has noticed the changes I've made, how hard I've tried even though she hasn't and said that I'm making it much easier for her to stay than go. So, I guess in some ways it is working, although she is not ready to reconcile at this point.

Hope this helps. Edge
_________________________
Me-44, W-45
Together-25 yrs, Married-21 yrs
D-17,S-15,D-13,S-10
ILYBNILWY Bomb: 10/2007
Status: Divorce Mediation, Still under same roof
My Story

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#1645342 - 11/10/08 10:19 PM Re: My wife's a WAW [Re: OnTheEdge22]
garyjlost Offline
Member

Registered: 11/06/08
Posts: 138
Good advice. I'm definitely working on being a better father. The strange thing is my daughter sort of took me for granted also. Now when we get together, she talks to me like she never did before. She wants to tell me things. We have fun talking. This is relatively new. But it's very, very good.

My relationship with my wife has actually taken a turn for the better. We had a date on Saturday (after 6 weeks separation). Yes, according to common wisdom, a date in this situation is a no no, right? But the date went very well. Subsequently, she asked me to move back in. I have done some soul searching whether that is really the right thing to do.

I'm very aware that my wife regards my changes as suspect. Can she really believe the changes are for keeps? But she now thinks it's better to work on the marriage with me in the house. And we start couple counseling on Friday. This is good, right?

At the same time, though, she still shows reticience to completely embrace me in the role of husband. In some respects, she's still in a wait-and-see mode. (And intimacy seems on hold.)

I think it's better for me to be in the house, where she can really see my changes. So I think it's best to accept the invitation to move back ... without over analyzing the situation. After reading about other WAWs, I consider myself very lucky that I have a wife who heard the arguments that I made a couple weeks ago and then took action.

So now my wife and I will need to talk about the plans for how a trial reunion will work. We need to discuss goals and time limits, right? Maybe the therapist will be able to help in this respect.

Marriage is very complex stuff. I made so many mistakes ... so many mistakes. And I didn't listen to my wife, while she was right so often about what I should've been doing.

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#1647037 - 11/12/08 02:33 PM Re: My wife's a WAW [Re: garyjlost]
OnTheEdge22 Offline
Member

Registered: 07/27/08
Posts: 130
Gary - I'm very happy to hear that your situation is improving. I would be very cautious and take things very slowly. You didn't get here overnight and your not going to fix it overnight. I don't think the question is whether or not your wife thinks your changes are permanent, but do you? I've been working on some things for a year now, a short temper being one of them, and I still feel it rising in me at times. Depending on where your communication is with your W, I think you can and should acknowledge that you are trying to change things, to be a better person, but that it is going to take time to really have those things become a natural part of your behavior.

The is a whole forum in here about piecing your marriage back together. If you haven't been reading out there, I would suggest you do. And you should still read DR. It sounds like great progress, so keep up whatever it is you're doing, but again, be cautious, you don't want to fall right back into the same place with your R.

Best of luck and keep checking in.
_________________________
Me-44, W-45
Together-25 yrs, Married-21 yrs
D-17,S-15,D-13,S-10
ILYBNILWY Bomb: 10/2007
Status: Divorce Mediation, Still under same roof
My Story

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#1647493 - 11/12/08 10:12 PM Re: My wife's a WAW [Re: OnTheEdge22]
garyjlost Offline
Member

Registered: 11/06/08
Posts: 138
Yes, Edge, you're absolutely right. I have to make sure my changes are indeed permanent. Easier said than done. My critical nature and my negative outlook are well ingrained. I have to constantly work at being more positive. My changes are definitely a work in progress. I'm sure I'll make mistakes. But I'm now committed to making the marriage a success and doing whatever is necessary to making it work.

Yes, I'm reading books. I started DB a couple days ago. It's very good. Over the past weeks, I've read several other books. It took me a while to figure out what books I should be reading, and I went the wrong direction at first (thinking divorce was inevitable). For me, reading John Gottman's "Why Marriages Succeed or Fail" was a life changing experience. Until I read this book, I thought my wife's behavior was almost solely the cause of our marital problems. But as I read Gottman's book, I started recognizing myself: I was guilty of many destructive behaviors. Gottman has written several other books. "Why Marriages" was one of this first and his subsequent books seem to be rewrites/reconsiderations of this book. But this book was a real wake-up call and made me rethink my entire outlook on the marriage and my role in its failure. And while I can't change my wife's behavior (and she has certainly shared a role in the marriage's failure), I can change MY behavior.

This is all about personal growth, and I'm going to make myself a better person. No, it won't happen overnight. And no, there is no guarantee that things will work out with my wife, but I'm giving the marriage a 100% effort now. I can't say I ever did that before, or really even understood what it meant to be truly committed to making the marriage work.

I'm sure I'll be checking in here regularly. I need to hear advice and read how others are doing.

Thanks for your advice, Edge. I really appreciate our responses.

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#1653724 - 11/19/08 04:59 PM Re: My wife's a WAW [Re: garyjlost]
wren1700 Offline
Member

Registered: 11/16/08
Posts: 76
gary - i may be completely wrong here, but it seems like you are keeping a scorecard. you seem to also be mentally tallying up who won which fight, who was right, who was wrong. i can't say much because i am new to all this stuff myself (WAW 2 weeks), but the one thing that has helped me is to honestly, sincerely, genuinely realize that there should be no right or wrong in marraige. if you are making changes, that is fine. if she is not changing, that's okay too. there's plenty of time for that later. love her unconditionally the way that she wants to be loved, and i believe that she will slowly come back to you and even want to make the changes without you asking.

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#1656397 - 11/23/08 12:46 AM Re: My wife's a WAW [Re: wren1700]
sandi2 Offline
Member

Registered: 06/27/07
Posts: 10307
Did I hear someone mention my name? (lol) Hi Gary, I'm Sandi. So glad you have come here for support. Edge is a great supporter and friend to anyone that he can help, so try to keep him in your support group.

You seem to be on target about most things. If your wife is ready for you to come home this soon, that is a very good sign as far as her feelings about you are concerned. However, let me warn you that making your changes for improvement when you are away from the problem (your wife/marriage) is a lot easier than when you are right there in the house with it. There have been a lot of couples that went back together too quickly b/c they had not had time to get their changes "set in place" before reconciling and the changes did not stick and when the problems came back.....the changes went out the door. So, that is one thing to consider. On the other hand, if you are resolved enough, and you can handle the toughness of the stitch, being under the same roof does have its advantages. For one thing, there are many more opportunities for her to see your changes for the better and convince her that they are for life and not just to get her back. That is something you must realize also. Anyone can make changes for a couple of weeks.....but for life? We're talking a long time here......can you do it? I bet you can if you want to badly enough.

As far as having a time limit......I would not do that b/c it puts way too much pressure on the R. Take it a day at a time and make each day count. If either of you backslide, then just forgive and move on and do better the next day. As far as boundries, if I understand what you are talking about, I don't see anything wrong with that as long as it is reasonable. Now, I think the intimacy problem is the biggest thing to overcome at this time. And there again, being separated a little longer might help in this area, but I don't know. Whenever a woman allows a child to sleep in her bed, and there is nothing physically ill about the child that the parent would need to sleep with her, then my idea is that the mother does not want to have sex with the H and she is using the child as a shield. Now, I do know couples that allowed the "baby" to start sleeping with them and then they couldn't break the child from sleeping in the same bed with the parents. That is a bad habit to break. So, if you and your W reconcile, I think that one thing should definately be discussed. As the man of the house and her H, you need to take your marriage bed back. (Where were you sleeping all that time?) The D may be a problem if she is sleeping with mom all these years. Anyway, that is not to say that you have to have sex with your wife, just b/c you are sleeping in the bed with her. That is what she needs to know. Step one is to move the child into her own room and the parents sleep in the same bed without having sex (unless wife initiates it). Just getting use to that close physical environment is an accomplishment and you do not want to rush her about the sex. This will surely take baby steps, but will come if you stick to your other changes. If your W is not agreeable to do that one thing, then I don't think she is ready to reconcile for the right reasons and you need to be apart longer and get into MC, but be sure it is a pro-marriage counselor or they will be recommending divorce!

So you have a lot to think over here. We can offer suggestions to you or advise you about things to do or not do, but ultimately, it is up to you. You sound like a wise man and one that has had his awakening. That is what your wife needs to see, that you have been awakened and are ready to make amends for these years that have been wasted. That is what I would tell her when you are talking about reconciling. But, be warned, that even if there seems to be a time of a "honeymoon", some old problems will start to stick its old ugly head up, so you need to know how to deal with it. That is where this board will be a big help to you. So, stick with us and don't give up. The two things you hear the most around here is "patient" and baby steps....lol.

BTW, for what it's worth, the D is way too old to be sleeping in bed with mommy. So, try to talk positive about her having her own room and sleeping by herself, etc. I don't think it is healthy for kids to be sleeping with a parent after they get that old. And it is out of the questions for all three of you to try to sleep in the same bed. Just thought I'd throw that in.....free of charge.

Take care,
Sandi
_________________________
It is not about what you feel should work in your M. It is about doing the work that gets the right results. Do what works!

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#1656429 - 11/23/08 02:54 AM Re: My wife's a WAW [Re: garyjlost]
goldeylox Offline
Member

Registered: 07/13/08
Posts: 1518
Loc: OR
Hi Gary, I'm Goldey, another WAW. Keep up with John Gottman, he's very good. I learned how to recognize contempt from that book. As I've said to many of the fellas, if my STBX-H had done a fraction of the work you are all doing here, we may have ended up in a different spot. Or maybe not. We'll never know.
Good luck in your sitch. Peace.
_________________________
Me:44, WAW hx bi-polar H:48, hx of abuse
S:22, S:19, D:16
Filed Oct 08, dismissed
Filed again Jan 10, dismissed
Now Piecing
alter persona: SuperBoots

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