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#2243465 - 05/07/12 10:51 PM Re: Hello, WAW. Is anyone there? [Re: sandi2]
sandi2 Online
Member

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 11109
You don't set a meeting up to discuss how you will back off, you just do it. But I'm wondering what backing off looks like to you. I'm not sure you really understand what it means.to not smother her and let her get some air.
_________________________
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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#2243482 - 05/08/12 12:08 AM Re: Hello, WAW. Is anyone there? [Re: sandi2]
AlwaysTrying Offline
Member

Registered: 10/27/11
Posts: 243
You may be right. I may not know what it means. I thought I wasn't smothering her, but I was.

My vow is for the next four weeks to drop all texts, emails, calls, etc. And even to avoid hanging out with her when I have another place I can go.

Is my tone is punitive? I think she should be punished for putting us all through this. But I'm not trying to punish her.

I have very simple motivations. Decisions should be easy. I feel confused.
_________________________
- All for the kids -
Me:34, W:35
M:7, T:13
S6, D3 + my D15 from previous marriage
July 2011 "I think I need a separation"
W filed D September
Currently living apart - she has the house, I rent a room

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#2243485 - 05/08/12 12:24 AM Re: Hello, WAW. Is anyone there? [Re: AlwaysTrying]
AlwaysTrying Offline
Member

Registered: 10/27/11
Posts: 243
When we talked to the DB coach today, she said she wanted me to stop sending the mean texts. She specifically called up a series of texts I sent her after she turned down some help I offered her.

My wife was sick, feeling terrible, looking awful and my daughter was not sleeping well. I stay at the house Friday nights, but this was a Thursday night. I offered to take care of the daughter for the night, and she said no. I should have just left and not texted her at all, but I got upset about it instead and sent her these texts:

Quote:
You leave me so confused. I'll admit that I like being here and being near my kids and seeing them a little extra. I'm not sure exactly why I like sleeping in the attic better than my apartment. I'm disappointed for me you won't let me stay. But I'm confused why the help is so unwanted. If I stay here another night, does it make our custody battle harder for you? Are you afraid of the kids enjoying some extra time with me? You certainly act like it. I want badly to understand you. And to understand why it is so hard for you to imagine being happy with me.

I am so confused why you resist the good that comes from me and focus so intently on the bad - and mostly on the past. Why are our hopes for our family so different? When did that happen?

I feel like you go out of your way to be not happy with me. I wonder if you put conscious effort into preventing us from healing or ever getting close again. I think you know for a fact if I knew what behaviors were hurting you, I would spare no effort into changing them into something positive. You would have to be crazy not to see that at this point. I am so confused.

If you wonder why I'm always assuming there is someone else, its because your pattern of behavior toward me matches that profile and at least it makes some sense. Ok. Now it sounds like I'm belittling your point of view. I know you act and feel the way you do for a reason. I know that you feel the way that you do. I just want to understand.

I'm sorry I'm being an ass.


I get that the texts were unwanted and unhelpful. I get that I should have held my tongue. The frustration wasn't about being turned down for help one night, it was me blowing a gasket that she has been impossible to reach the whole awful time.

But it didn't register as a "mean" email for me. And I guess that is the problem.

I thought I was doing better than this. I think I was once, but fell off the wagon when the illusion that things were getting better shattered.

I'm just going to shut up for a while.
_________________________
- All for the kids -
Me:34, W:35
M:7, T:13
S6, D3 + my D15 from previous marriage
July 2011 "I think I need a separation"
W filed D September
Currently living apart - she has the house, I rent a room

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#2243639 - 05/08/12 02:47 PM Re: Hello, WAW. Is anyone there? [Re: sandi2]
AlwaysTrying Offline
Member

Registered: 10/27/11
Posts: 243
Originally Posted By: sandi2
You don't set a meeting up to discuss how you will back off, you just do it. But I'm wondering what backing off looks like to you. I'm not sure you really understand what it means.to not smother her and let her get some air.


I might not know what it means. I've been living separately for around 6 months now. I have my own apartment. But occasionally, W will say she's not getting enough space, and I will ask how. What do I need to do differently? "I don't know." She never knows. She can rarely do much to describe what is bothering her. And when she does describe something, I act on it immediately.

So, the fact is that we see a lot of each other. I am at the house 3 days a week to be with the kids. W might choose to be out of the house, but when things are good, she doesn't. We go through stretches where we spend more time around each other, things seem a lot better, and lines of communication open a little. We might be doing the dishes or cooking and we can talk about more sensitive subjects without getting emotionally out of control.

Then she will say that she's not happy. She's not getting enough space. She wants to move on. She's made up her mind and she's not changing it.

I get upset because she never warned me. Things seemed to be getting better and then whatever bothered her was not something she was communicating with me. It feels infuriatingly obvious to me that if we were doing some counseling during this time, we would have the kind of communication so that I knew when I wasn't giving her enough space and what needs to change. Also, I would know something about whatever change she is looking for in me and how she would know that it is happening. (She says that I have made progress and she's happy about it, but that I still have a lot of work to do. She won't go into specifics. )

I get angry. This is unfair! Play by the rules! You never gave us a chance! I'm trying so hard and you're not helping at all! We owe this to our kids! I'm asking for so little. Why won't you try? Then the restentment builds and the texts start flowing. All I want is for her to back off, tell me what is wrong, let me back off, and give it time.

Then I will make some sort of radical adjustment and beg her to come to counseling to make sure we are going in the right direction. Sometimes she initially agrees and then backs out. Some times she goes to talk to the counselor independently, with the plan of following up with me, and then decides not to meet with the counselor together.

In two months, it will be a full year of this pattern.


I asked my W to speak with a counselor with me to try to get some issues out in the open so that I can make changes that have the best impact. Yes, I plan to back way off, and that is something I could have done without her input, but my hope was to have set some goals so that 2-4 weeks from now, she can see that there was obvious improvement in those areas and hopefully postpone her plans to move out for another month. And then another.

Her moving out will be an economic disaster, and will affect the kids in a negative way. I want to prove that we can make progress without her doing that.

Of course, she says her goal is to get divorced, so proving those things means nothing to her.


My plan at this point is to do a 180 on communication. No texts, no emails. I will try to be out of her space as much as possible. She mentioned my clothes still in our previously shared bedroom. I'm going to take them out of there today and she'll definitely notice.

I had planned on buying her a punching bag for her birthday this Saturday. (She is into kickboxing now. That started up about 2 months before she decided to leave me.) I don't know now if I should do this.
_________________________
- All for the kids -
Me:34, W:35
M:7, T:13
S6, D3 + my D15 from previous marriage
July 2011 "I think I need a separation"
W filed D September
Currently living apart - she has the house, I rent a room

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#2243640 - 05/08/12 02:48 PM Re: Hello, WAW. Is anyone there? [Re: AlwaysTrying]
AlwaysTrying Offline
Member

Registered: 10/27/11
Posts: 243
Obviously, I have to break the pattern by not going back into panic mode 2-4 weeks from now when she tells me my efforts are meaningless.
_________________________
- All for the kids -
Me:34, W:35
M:7, T:13
S6, D3 + my D15 from previous marriage
July 2011 "I think I need a separation"
W filed D September
Currently living apart - she has the house, I rent a room

Top
#2243646 - 05/08/12 03:12 PM Re: Hello, WAW. Is anyone there? [Re: sandi2]
horsewnoname Offline
Member

Registered: 02/16/12
Posts: 32
Please listen to what sandi2, hangten and others have posted here. Many of us (including myself) are going through nearly identical situations. To my W's credit she has done a good job in helping to minimize conflict. Like you I'm terrified of damaging my kids emotional/physical well being. The best way to do that is to bring the conflict down to near nothing (please read Robert Emery's book - THE TRUTH ABOUT CHILDREN AND DIVORCE...though the book is about divorce many of the things the author recommends is applicable to a separated and still married couple...I'm not at all advocating divorce by the way).
I'll give you an example of what not to do (and what to do if you freak out)...a couple of weeks ago I found out for certain that my W was moving out - I blew up, totally lost it...the effect on my children...they were completely terrified. I quickly realized what I just did and did a 180 - I stated to my W that the apartment might be a good idea and that I would help her move. This really shocked her into silence and defused the situation. And we were able to calm the kids down as PARENTS.
So what we are recommending is that you give your W some space, do 180s, be positive, be your W's friend, and most importantly GAL! GAL! GAL! And read Michele's book DR.
This will be the most benefical thing you can do for your children right now.

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#2243735 - 05/08/12 08:54 PM Re: Hello, WAW. Is anyone there? [Re: horsewnoname]
AlwaysTrying Offline
Member

Registered: 10/27/11
Posts: 243
There isn't any conflict going on that the kids can see, except for my D15/16 knows a little too much. She knows I'm trying to save the marriage and that W doesn't care.

I get aggravated reading books about kids and divorce when rule number one should be "don't do it. figure it out". I have the sandcastles book.

I accept now that I'm not going to stop W from moving out. The struggle will be still accepting that 4 weeks from now when I'm hoping all along she'll change her mind.
_________________________
- All for the kids -
Me:34, W:35
M:7, T:13
S6, D3 + my D15 from previous marriage
July 2011 "I think I need a separation"
W filed D September
Currently living apart - she has the house, I rent a room

Top
#2243794 - 05/09/12 12:05 AM Re: Hello, WAW. Is anyone there? [Re: AlwaysTrying]
sandi2 Online
Member

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 11109
It doesn't work on a WAW when you try to "teach her", as you've stated. You've tried to fix the MR, and you've tried to fix her.....and you can't. You say you're going to back off and stop emailing.....but you haven't. You think she should be punished....but I can predict that if you try to be the one to punish her, she won't go running into your arms.

You must stop acting like this b/c it is making things worse. Stop trying to fix everything! And, here's a tip in case you ever get another chance to hear her talk again (or any other woman, for that matter).....when she's unhappy about something and is trying to talk about it, she doesn't want you to come riding in to fix her problem. She wants you to HEAR about how she FEELS! Look into her eyes while she talks to you, and keep your mouth closed. Really listen to her instead of your brain going 90 MPH, all ready to jump into the conversation to tell her the solution to her troubles. Women don't want that!

You need to stop spending the time with your kids at her place. As long as you keep going back there, then she's not going to miss you, and you'll continue to suck up all her air. Arrange to meet the kids at the front door or some other place, but stay away from her.
_________________________
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!

Top
#2243847 - 05/09/12 03:27 AM Re: Hello, WAW. Is anyone there? [Re: sandi2]
AlwaysTrying Offline
Member

Registered: 10/27/11
Posts: 243
Sandi, is it possible that being at our house some of the time is helpful? She seems to like it when I make her dinner or lunch, for example.

I'm open to going that way if needed, but I want to put in two weeks of the current plan and see how she reacts. I'm going to try to stay away as much as possible, and refrain from texts, emails, etc.

We have a session with the MC on the 18th, and I plan to ask her then at what times she feels she doesn't get enough space. I know now that she will complain about behavior that I've already long stopped. That's frustrating for me, but it's still going on in her head. When we had the DB coach on the phone, W brought up that dishes were a sore spot for her because for years she felt like she had an unfair share of the cooking and cleaning responsibilities.

I guess it would have been great for her if I could have intuited that and taken them over. I did about 5% of the family cooking (not including breakfast, which was mostly me making oatmeal or cereal or scrambled eggs or pancakes, etc) and about 45% of the dishes (not including pots that needed to be scrubbed or anything "gross" - those things were all me).

I thought we had a division of labor. She cooked, and I did projects with the kids. I tried to clean the dishes if she made dinner, but it didn't always turn out that way.

Well, if she had said to me, "AT, I want you to do more of the cooking." or "I don't think you appreciate how much I do the dishes." or something, it would have been on my radar. That's a shortcoming of mine. I'm very bad at reading minds and I need to be asked.

Finally, about 3 months ago, I pick a few comments of hers and realize that she's still cooking for me and the kids on my nights because she thinks that I'll feed the kids junk food if she doesn't, and since then, I cook and clean at every opportunity. Good food that meets very high standards - gluten free, dairy free, fresh vegetables, few processed ingredients.

And finally on this call yesterday she finally acknowledges that dinner and dishes are a sore spot for her, after I have clearly made serious adjustments in that area.

I'm just saying that it seems clear that good changes will be ignored for a long time before they register. And if I am finally able to give her the space she needs, it will be a long time before she is able to tell me as much. I'm hoping to just get her to give some examples of when she has and has not felt comfortable with her space in the last while.
_________________________
- All for the kids -
Me:34, W:35
M:7, T:13
S6, D3 + my D15 from previous marriage
July 2011 "I think I need a separation"
W filed D September
Currently living apart - she has the house, I rent a room

Top
#2243849 - 05/09/12 03:44 AM Re: Hello, WAW. Is anyone there? [Re: AlwaysTrying]
AlwaysTrying Offline
Member

Registered: 10/27/11
Posts: 243
I had a nice day today. W was unexpectedly at the house when I was preparing for dinner, and she was cleaning in the kids' room. The mess in the kids' room is a sore spot for me because every time I see it I get angry that I don't have time at the house without the kids to get it straightened up. The kids are 3 and 7 and should do more of their own cleaning, I know. Don't judge me. I have an ADHD kid and keeping him on the rails is a big job many nights and on the nights when it isn't... well, we try to catch up on reading, etc.

Reading makes me angry, too. My kid needs extra time and help with his reading and instead he gets ZERO. 3 kids, two parents - reading can get done. 3 kids, one parent, with ADHD and a toddler in the mix - reading rarely gets done. And my WAW is able to think to herself, "Well, we're doing the best that we can, considering that I have no choice but to end this marriage." bah!

I'm sorry, I was saying how I was having a good day. Well, W was taking time off to clean the room and I was overjoyed. She wanted to move the bunk bed and I said, "Fine. We can do it when I get home from work when you've got the floor clear." I had to get back to work. Then she begged me to do it right away because she was feeling motivated about cleaning. It's been a long time since she's begged me for anything. It is rare for her to even ask for anything. She mainly just scowls when she doesn't get what she wants and I have to guess what that happens to be. Anyway, she used her old tricks on me... got really cute and smiley and really excited when I finally agreed to do it before I went back to work. It really reminded me of better times.

One thing W mentioned during our DB call was frustration that my clothes were in her room, so I came home on lunch today and took most of them out. There is no way she did not notice it, but she didn't mention it. It's possible that helped put her in the happy mood I mentioned before, but I think that was already going and not really related.

I made dinner. It was a hit. I did some more cleaning of the kids' room before bed and got the dishes done before W got home from kickboxing.

I left the house without any kind of incident and really didn't feel at all resented at any point today.

It was a good day.
_________________________
- All for the kids -
Me:34, W:35
M:7, T:13
S6, D3 + my D15 from previous marriage
July 2011 "I think I need a separation"
W filed D September
Currently living apart - she has the house, I rent a room

Top
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