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WRT selfishness, virtually anything we do can be spun as being selfish. i.e. if I buy you lunch, you could argue that I only did it because it made me feel good and that was selfish. Therefore, I think the test is if you're more selfish than "normal" and I don't think I am. If anything I think I'm more giving than normal, but once again you could spin that as being selfish because I like to be acknowledged.
I had an interesting back and forth with Oldtimer on this thread related to giving W an O. Oldtimer said that was selfish if W wasn't looking for an O -- I understand that.
1) When I say "it's all about me", what I meant was that I acknowledge that working on my own issues is more important than worrying about W's issues. Does that make sense? That's all I meant.
2) "Until such time" means that I know if I leave now with my personal journey incomplete I'm likely to do more harm than good and likely find myself back in the same place with someone new. Once I achieve a new level of personal growth and acceptance, I will reassess my decisions.
One of my fantasies is that someone who has read my sitch and is well-schooled in DB would have a heart-to-heart with W and then 2x4 me where I'm being an idiot.
I also think it would be pretty cool if she were posting on here and I found it and was able to read it from her perspective. I don't think she's interested in this kind of introspection, it's not something she'd do, but I would love to read it, because I really want to know what she *really* thinks.
According to her, she just doesn't spend any time thinking about this stuff. Because I spend so much time thinking about it, that's hard for me to identify with. It's hard to know if that's true, or she just doesn't want to share.
I distinctly remember that when she got really mad and was screaming at me after the bomb, my overriding reactions were relief and happiness because I was getting a genuine response from her and knew exactly where I stood and what she was thinking. Over the course of our marriage, that's only happened once.
When she gets really upset she's told me that I smile and that drives her crazy. I didn't even know I was doing it, but I've since learned it's based on the relief from feeling I've broken through. That's kind of sad isn't it?
Sad, but completely understandable. We had a MC once that described exactly what you're talking about. He said he had had a heated argument with his W, and when he was done, he said he felt almost like it was better than sex. I completely get it. H thought he was completely nuts and still does.
I've also thought how wonderful it would be to find that my H was posting on here, so I could read his thoughts. AND the responses to it. But he'd be good for about a post a week. He's more like your W in that respect.
I'm not sure if it's been a good thing or a bad thing for me to find this site. In one respect, I get to hear insight from other H's. On the other hand, it just emphasizes how lacking that is in our R.
Pursuit and distance -- good stuff! I've been distancing for a couple weeks now, although it feels like longer. One impact is that I just feel like I care less -- maybe that's why I'm not posting as much.
In any case, W has been generally happier, although last night she seemed to suddenly notice how different things have been. When we were in bed she tried to pull me into an R talk. I maintained that nothing is wrong, I'm happy, talked about what I've been doing that I've been enjoying etc.
She said it feels like I've been withdrawing. I asked her if she's felt I've been expecting things from her the way she did in the past. She said "no". I asked if I've been making her feel inadequate. She said "no". I asked her if there was anything she'd like to share. She was quiet for a while, then just said that I've been on a different tack, she's noticed it and doesn't know what's going on.
In the past I would have explained it, but last night I did not -- I just stuck to "everything is fine".
I would say that not only am I not pursuing, I don't feel like pursuing, and that's a pretty big change. What I've been trying to do is "mirroring". If she hugs me, I'll hug her. If she kisses me, I'll kiss her. If she says ILY, I'll say ILY, etc. Basically I'm letting her set the bar, and I'm trying to deliver at that level.
I have noticed that she's been more affectionate than she was a few weeks ago, but we're less physically affectionate than we were when I was "driving".
I am concerned about the "withdrawing" comment and here's where I need some guidance. (Captain? Cadet? someone with distancing experience?)
Distancing and withdrawing can look very similar I think, but they're not really the same. How do I distance, but not make W think I'm withdrawing? Any advice on how to walk that line?
Have I gone too far to the side of not initiating anything, or am I just in a transition phase and need to hold course?
From my perspective, W said she wanted more distance than I did, she wanted me to have no expectations, and to treat anything she did for me as a gift. She's got that now, but doesn't seem happy with it. Is this a "be careful what you wish for", or is it more an issue that she knows deep down I'm not happy here and that bothers her?
She really wanted me to talk about my feelings last night, but still wouldn't talk about her own. I believe that she's used to "mirroring" and since I'm not leading, she assumes I don't want affection and therefore isn't willing to lead.
It will be interesting to see if she steps up or gives up. So far she's been stepping up a little, but is clearly torn.
Accuray I'm currently doing what you are doing with mirroring, and tit for tat. Even the part about not engaging in unproductive R talk. I'm also getting similar results to you. I think it's because like I had said before she is used to givin you 5 for your 10.
I think one of two things will happen, either she'll escalate affection on her own slowly, which will allow you to escalate with her, or she'll confront you for not returning a 10 for her 5.
If she reall thinks its an issue, and wants to talk about it, it's your chance to let her know that you too feel like you are not getting enoug, and want to work to make sure both your needs get met.
Just be aware she may just say she'd rather get divorced than give more than 5. Well if it gets to then IMHO it's decision time for you accept an unequal affection exchange arrangement or move on.
Btw did you see the MMSL blog today? The story in the entry shares a lot of similarities with yours.
Just to clarify: By her bringing it up I meant she specifically says you are not meeting her needs.
When she asks what's wrong, she's really fishing for criticisms from you, so she can do her routine of getting emotionally upset for not making you happy, and then making you look like the bad guy, for being "a demanding meanie!"
How is your sitch going? I asked you before and I don't think you replied. Do you have an active thread somewhere?
I appreciate your input, the only place I disagree is I don't think I should tell W she's not meeting my needs either -- that would be the complaint she's looking for. It also implies that my behavior is a form of punishment and that's not what I'm trying to do.
I'm trying to back off and give her space to step up. So far that's working, but it's a challenging line to walk without appearing to completely withdraw. I don't think the strategy should ever be verbalized.