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Give walkaway a chance, she helped me understand something.and I am trying her idea, actually we came up with it together. AS for NICKY's thread, it is good to read, it's old, but Nicky is no longer here. Maybe, if we as Walk, she will start a thread so we my get an understanding. Who knows, we may even find a way to use a 2x4 on her H, to say: WAKE UP YOU DOPE! George
My W's main issues with me are inattentiveness, feeling that I am not a good partner, and that we don't bring out the best in each other. I've acknowledged it all, belatedly, and have tried very hard to change. I feel that all of these problems can be worked out.
New wrinkle...as of yesterday, even though I still hope that we will eventually reconcile, I was emotionally prepared to deal with whatever happens. Then this morniing I went to a camp open-house for my S (who is 8) and my oldset D (who is 5) and was disturbed by how uninvolved they were with singing/dancing, etc. I am starting to wonder if they way things are at home is starting to hurt the kids. It has given me renewed determination to "try" to save our M. I don't advocate staying together only for the kids sake. I advocate trying to make our marriage good, partly because we have an obligation to them.
My wife is very confused, crying a lot. I can't understand it because I thought it was very clear to her what she wanted. To work, to have more freedom, to be away from me. This S was supposed to be the first step in that direction. She's very hesitant about things like separate bank accounts and the like. I have been doing the LRT the past month, try to give her space and not be pushy.
That more or less sums it up for us right now. Any insight. I'd love to hear your story. Also, any way I could convince my W to read DR? She considers all the self-help I've read total nonsense. She it completely closed to other alternatives.
hi george! thanks for that vote of confidence, i would feel great if i was able to help. i will get over to your thread today.
jim - first off, what i would give to have a husband willingly read all the self-help books! i think i have the world's biggest library. my H thinks like your wife, that they are just someone's opinion, no better than his own.
one book my H did read on his own, was Chapman's Five Love Languages. i personally found it enlightening and it explained to me that many of my husband's controlling behaviours (cook dinner, get cleaning, clean house) were really because they are acts of love for him, and he was trying to get me to show him love in his language. (I, of course, was rebelling against being a domestic slave.) H liked the book a lot and found it an easy, non-preachy, read.
you might read it, and then offer it to your wife, with the words that "this book might help in any relationship you are in." it might give her another perspective about both of your actions in the past.
her tears, confusion, hesitancy (my clothes and belongings are still at H house, 1 year later) are because she really doesn't want to be divorced, but she wants you to offer whatever the OM is filling in.
feeling wanted, validated, loved, cherished...all pretty heady stuff when you've felt neglected for many, many years.
so, take all that as a GOOD sign. she is smart enough to know that OM isn't the answer. (FWIW, there is an OM in my life too, but that doesn't negate that i wish my H would change)
can i ask what your actions have been that show you have changed? (not giving her space, etc, but what have you actually changed about you?)
what do you think she is most angry with you about?
i am very angry with my H for many years of no intimacy and being dismissive towards me. he acknowledges it, but says "all couples do that." or "you weren't nice to me either" which isn't really acknowledging it at all. it isn't validating me. it isn't hearing, listening. it is deflecting blame. it makes me realize that despite his words, he doesn't understand. you don't want to fall into that same trap.
my personal experience is that LRT by him, doesn't work for me. my issue was not having his attention, so his distance doesn't influence me one way or another. i wouldn't want him hounding me about getting together, but i would like him to show me the changed him and invite me on "friend" dates. let me see that we can have fun in ways that would be fun to me (instead of fancy dinner/drinking -- inviting me to miniature golf).
but you guys are living together, so maybe LRT is necessary in close quarters.
Thanks for the suggested reading. I'll look it up. As far as my wife goes, she isn't receptive to suggestions from me about what to read. But it wouldn't hurt to try.
My actions which show I've changed? I have tried really hard to be more attentive with the kids and honestly feel I've made progress. I have definitely been more helpful (laundry, dishes, picking up after kids, etc.). The interesting thing there is that my W has said (once to our therapist), that I am as good as a husband & father can be, except she just doesn't feel the right kind of love for me anymore. I haven't a clue as how to rekindle that.
I have tried to be a better listener, but mixed success there since I'm not naturally good at it. The partnership thing has always puzzled me. My W is a controller and I have let her walk right over me for 12 years. It was something I did because I thought it worked for our marriage. Ironically it was a major cause of where we are now. And sadly, a lot of her controlling behavior was probably her way of expressing love. If I had realized that before I would have thanked her.
I don't think she is particularly angry at me at this point. She just doesn't really think about me at all (her words). Nor does she say anything specific she wants me to change. Again, she says it's only that we bring out the worst in each other. It's a cliche she's using very often these days but is unable to explain.
Your comments about validating, listening (I mean REALLY listening) are food for thought.
I would love to do something with my W that we would enjoy together. I made the mistake a few months back of secretly planning a big night out (expensive hotel, the theatre, etc.). Not her cup of tea. We've done a few nights out since our crisis began and actually enjoyed ourselves. But that was all before the S. Now she feels there is no point in spending quality time together. She doesn't even feel maintaining a friendship is particularly important. Sound like a lost cause? But I still have to question what she says given how upset she's been lately.
Tonight we had a good talk and agreed she would stay put for a while until she got her footing (job, etc). We are trying to figure out how being separated and living together will work. To me having her close is an opportunity to demonstrate my new listening skills, etc .
Tomorrow is our 12th anniversary. We haven't mentioned it to each other at all. I did write a card saying (I'm paraphrasing) "I couldn't ignore the day. Something that resulted in 3 beautiful kids was not a mistake. I'm proud of them, you and what we've accomplished together". I left it in the book she's reading. May mean nothing to her but I wouldn't be myself by letting the day go and doing nothing.
Anyways, I appreciate your time and am eager to continue the dialogue with you and anyone else who might have some insight. Thanks so much!
I do not completely understand why my W wanted the S, other than what I've already alluded to (not listening, no partnership, inattentiveness, helpfulness, "not bringing out the best in each other"..., etc). So, I can only focus on those areas to change.
She has also said that the reason she wanted out is because she has always been dependent on someone (her parents, then me), and missed out on some life experiences. She wants more freedom. She says that getting married so young (she was 21, I was 29) was a mistake and having 3 kids was too much for her. She wants something significant in her life other than family. So I guess part of the reason for this has nothing to do with me. I can only be supportive in those areas but I can't solve them for her. The thing that confuses me is why she feels the M has to end so that she can obtain what she wants?
My desire is that we commit to "working" on our relationship, based on what we've learned, agreeing to try to change our behaviors in a constructive way, and see what happens (no guarantees, perhaps we realize we can't be together). Again, she's unwilling to try unless she has that love in her heart. I feel we owe it the kids to try. She feels the kids are resilient enough to deal with it (I'm not so sure, being a child of divorce myself and seeing the damage it brought...her parents are together so I don't know if she really "gets it").
You asked about her controlling behavior. She is a perfectionist and a controller (if we are ever try to reconcile, this is the main area where she will have to change). I am VERY accomodating and laid back. My favorite response to her regarding a lot of things was "whatever you want". I concluded after a while that eventually she will get what she wanted anyways so why fight it. I became basically passive-agressive (something I would need to change). Again, the irony is that she lost respect for me (referred to me as a "wimp").
Believe it or not, you are helping. Your probing questions make me think.
Jim, It is eery how much your W sounds like my W. She is a perfectionist and has controlled the M since day one. I always found it so much easier to just say "whatever you want, I just want you to be happy". We moved 6 times in 17 years of marriage. I went along with her even though I had no desire to move. I wanted to avoid confrontation in the marriage. She is such the perfectionist that she gets home from work at 3:30, finishes two loads of laundry, starts dinner, and packs lunches for the next day. All this is done before 4:00 and if it isn't done by 4:00 she would be upset. Even with her controlling nature and habit of telling little white lies continually I would never think of throwing in the towel on a 17 yr M. Marriage is about being accepting of our spouse's faults. Jolsin