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LH19 #2926736 11/29/21 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by LH19
So Steve what about ending it and being divorced makes you think you will be more fulfilled in the future?

Really good question and one that I have no answer for.


M(52), W(53),D(17)
M-20, T-23 Bomb Drop - Dec.23, 2017
Ring and Piecing since March 2018
SteveLW #2926738 11/29/21 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by SteveLW
So we've hit a bit of a snag.

Still trying to figure out how I feel about everything right now. And maybe it is just my usual end of the year assessment of things, and what I want long-term. But I've been having weird feelings of ending things. It is very strange since I haven't had these feelings in about 3 years. At least not this strong.

I really need to sort it all out, where it is coming from, and why. Obviously I am not acting on any of it but it has caused me to pull back from my present, listening and validating, upbeat etc. There are some non-relationship things going on that might be informing some of it, but I also for some reason am feeling unfulfilled (I think that is the feeling).

Anyway, I know others of you are going through piecing as well. Do any of you ever deal with feelings like this?
Well there is obviously other things going on because you’re not the type of person to act on emotion. Also sounds like your NGS might be flaring up a little so that might be something to look at.


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�Happiness equals reality minus expectations�- Magliozzi
SteveLW #2926810 11/30/21 06:42 PM
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Well I'm only a little over a year out with recon and piecing so I, probably a little too often, think about calling it quits.

In the beginning a minor inconvenience would put me in the state of mind to question what I was even doing. Now it's mostly when we just have spats that are more than just annoyances and when I have days where I think "god I miss the way he was in the middle of the A." Not because I enjoy being treated like crap but because he wanted to spend time with OW and because of his guilt he felt compelled to do twice as much around the house. He wasn't working like 60-70 hours a week. He was working like 50 max and would make dinner at least 2 times a week but usually it was more. Lifting a lot of mental load off of me so I could have me time. Now he's comfortable working like a crazy person because he knows I'll pick up the slack. And if I so much as breathe that it's a lot and I'm trying not to be resentful or unappreciative he then becomes a puppy and lavishes me with affection, attention, and things. So then I feel guilty. And I feel like maybe ending it would've been easier than this shame spiral I now have to deal with. Sometimes it's a Tuesday night I just wish I had space and I wish I would've ended it.

In any case it's fleeting. I love him. And he'd crawl across gravel if I asked him to. So I can't say he doesn't love me. And because we always have our friendship and that love to fall back on I don't really stay questioning it for too long. Love comes in waves. It ebbs and flows. It transitions. There's passion and there's companionship. And sometimes it's just being alone together. I have days where if he says one more word I want to smoosh his face. And days where I want to jump into his arms the second I see him. And days where I really just want to be alone like completely alone. But as far as I can tell all of that is all very normal.

In your situation though. You guys just went through a really big transition. Your daughter left the house. That does things to people. Marriages fall apart. People fall apart. It's a huge life change the kind that makes people reassess and question things. It's also the kind of change that if you didn't plan appropriately for it, it can leave you feeling empty. Empty nesters can mean a lot of things. Almost 20 years of your life was dedicated to full time parenting. And now it's simply not.

Even if none of that's the case, why is it that you think your marriage is what should make you feel fulfilled? It's not your wife's job to make you feel that way. It's not your marriage's job either. Your wife is your wife because you love her and want to spend the rest of your life with her. Your marriage is a marriage because that bond and commitment was/is important to you to show the world you love and cherish your wife, and your family. Neither of those things exist for your fulfillment. Love isn't' about you. Neither is commitment.

I'm doubling down on LH's question of why do you think ending the marriage will make you feel fulfilled in the future? And I'm adding have you discussed this feeling of being unfulfilled and all the little satellite feelings that go along with it with an IC? Also have you really sat in why you think a drastic change (just in general, not necessarily in direct relation to your marriage) would made you feel fulfilled again?

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Originally Posted by wayfarer
Even if none of that's the case, why is it that you think your marriage is what should make you feel fulfilled? It's not your wife's job to make you feel that way. It's not your marriage's job either. Your wife is your wife because you love her and want to spend the rest of your life with her. Your marriage is a marriage because that bond and commitment was/is important to you to show the world you love and cherish your wife, and your family. Neither of those things exist for your fulfillment.
Love isn't' about you. Neither is commitment.
Love is a choice, one that you must make everyday.

And sometimes doing nothing is a choice and an action. (even if it seems like its an inaction)

Last edited by Cadet; 11/30/21 07:00 PM.

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SteveLW #2926852 12/01/21 03:18 PM
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LH, not sure if it is NGS. Maybe. But it isn't any need not being filled by her. It is more a feeling of malaise in general. Like I said, there are other factors going on outside of the MR that may be impacting my overall feeling.

WF, I relate so much to what you wrote. There are some habits she has that have been literally driving me mad. Things I would have reacted poorly to 4 years ago. I try to remember how much I love her during those moments and not let the old guy come back, but lately it has been heightened. It is kind of like someone running their fingernail across your skin. Mildly annoying most of the time, but almost intolerable when you have a sunburn. It is as if I currently have a sunburn, maybe because of the factors outside of the MR.

But to the question you doubled down on, I really do not know. The best I can describe it is like being someone with claustrophobia trapped in an elevator. All you can think about is how freeing getting out of the elevator would be. You cannot think past that, or that maybe if the elevator opens you will be in another confined space that will be no better. Your other questions are outstanding as well, and I also do not have answers. Except that I had stepped away from IC, and that is something I am going to restart post New Years.

Cadet, thanks. Great reminders here. I do choose to love her. Which is why I've pushed all this down as far as I can and do not let it affect my actions (per LH's point). I am doing nothing but posting my internal struggle here.

Thanks to all three of you for the support.


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SteveLW #2926855 12/01/21 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by SteveLW
LH, not sure if it is NGS. Maybe. But it isn't any need not being filled by her. It is more a feeling of malaise in general. Like I said, there are other factors going on outside of the MR that may be impacting my overall feeling.

WF, I relate so much to what you wrote. There are some habits she has that have been literally driving me mad. Things I would have reacted poorly to 4 years ago. I try to remember how much I love her during those moments and not let the old guy come back, but lately it has been heightened. It is kind of like someone running their fingernail across your skin. Mildly annoying most of the time, but almost intolerable when you have a sunburn. It is as if I currently have a sunburn, maybe because of the factors outside of the MR.

But to the question you doubled down on, I really do not know. The best I can describe it is like being someone with claustrophobia trapped in an elevator. All you can think about is how freeing getting out of the elevator would be. You cannot think past that, or that maybe if the elevator opens you will be in another confined space that will be no better. Your other questions are outstanding as well, and I also do not have answers. Except that I had stepped away from IC, and that is something I am going to restart post New Years.

Cadet, thanks. Great reminders here. I do choose to love her. Which is why I've pushed all this down as far as I can and do not let it affect my actions (per LH's point). I am doing nothing but posting my internal struggle here.

Thanks to all three of you for the support.

I read a good book about the fact that for a relationship to survive, each partner needs to be willing to push things to a crisis when they need to. Each person needs to be willing to say "the status quo doesn't work for me" with the implication being that if it doesn't change, they're done. The other person can either ignore them, in which case the relationship ends, they can agree to fix whatever the issue is, or they can offer a compromise. This process forces the relationship to evolve, and to stay alive it must evolve. The alternative is to slowly erode through building resentments. This sounds like where you are at Steve.


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SteveLW #2926878 12/01/21 10:59 PM
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Hi Steve,

I also think about what it would be like to walk out. As you know I'm even earlier in the process than WF and I still haven't fully forgiven him. I worry that I'll never really get over the fact that he had this affair and told another woman he loved her. That still f-ing hurts and I'm not 100% sure I'll ever be okay with it. When he reverts to pre-BD habits it makes me insane and scared that I went through all of this to get back to our same mediocre pre-BD M. And then I get angry that it even OCCURS to me that D is an option, since it never had been before and he's the one that put it on the table in the first place.

I also think you should give yourself and your R a bit of a break for the feelings you're having-- I think it is incredibly common for so many right now after a year and a half of this pandemic. Don't make the mistake of blaming your current malaise on your W or your R.

What I have gone to when I have these feelings is back to DnJ (wow, I wish he would post here on Piecing one day!) What are my values and my most strongly held beliefs? What do I want out of this life? Who do I want to be? And recognizing that the feelings I'm having are fleeting and I can let them pass by. So often that immediate thought of walking is emotionally driven and passes within minutes. Focus on the good between you two and all of the reasons you are still married.

The other thing I do is go back to the basics of what do I control? Just me. Recognizing you're feeling this malaise is an important step. What can you do about it for yourself? Are there self-care opportunities you should pursue? Something new? Also, I'd question why these bad habits bother you so much. Can you disconnect your own emotional reaction from her bad habit? In the big picture, who cares? Unless it is unsafe or somehow a really serious negative for you, I'd try to not let it bother you. I was able to do this actually in the middle of my whole sitch, where I forgave my H for all the resentments I'd held for many years and stopped seeing him leaving his lunch plates around, for instance, as an infuriating character flaw and instead either picked up the dish and put it in the dishwasher (took me 30 seconds) or left it and didn't worry about it. It removed so much negativity from my life. Maybe this would help you too? Basically a level of detachment.

Finally, I see what LH is saying about the need for an R to evolve, but I don't necessarily agree that the only way for that to happen is the threat of it ending. Make it a purposeful thing to try something new together-- I remember reading a lot way back when I thought my M could still be saved by trying harder about the way that new experiences affect your brain, and that doing something new together is bonding. Are there things you can do as a couple to break out of your rut and see each other anew?

I know Gottman talks about having regular "state of the state" relationship convos-- do you guys do that? It gives an opportunity to air little things before they turn into resentment. And as WF said, you guys are facing an enormous change in your lives-- have you two sat down to talk intentionally about what you both want for the future?

Anyway, hope some of this helps.

M


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may22 #2926898 12/02/21 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by LH19
I read a good book about the fact that for a relationship to survive, each partner needs to be willing to push things to a crisis when they need to. Each person needs to be willing to say "the status quo doesn't work for me" with the implication being that if it doesn't change, they're done. The other person can either ignore them, in which case the relationship ends, they can agree to fix whatever the issue is, or they can offer a compromise. This process forces the relationship to evolve, and to stay alive it must evolve. The alternative is to slowly erode through building resentments. This sounds like where you are at Steve.

Hmmm. I will have to sit with this a bit. Not sure it is resentments as much as it is "do you have to -enter annoying habit here- every 5 minutes?" I will admit a lot of this is on me. Things like that bother me and as May said (I'll get to your response next), maybe that is more on me than her. In some ways I can't help how I feel, but at the same time I do get to choose how I deal with it. I don't really have any resentments, at least that I can put a finger on.

Originally Posted by may22
Hi Steve,

I also think about what it would be like to walk out. As you know I'm even earlier in the process than WF and I still haven't fully forgiven him. I worry that I'll never really get over the fact that he had this affair and told another woman he loved her. That still f-ing hurts and I'm not 100% sure I'll ever be okay with it. When he reverts to pre-BD habits it makes me insane and scared that I went through all of this to get back to our same mediocre pre-BD M. And then I get angry that it even OCCURS to me that D is an option, since it never had been before and he's the one that put it on the table in the first place.

I also think you should give yourself and your R a bit of a break for the feelings you're having-- I think it is incredibly common for so many right now after a year and a half of this pandemic. Don't make the mistake of blaming your current malaise on your W or your R.

What I have gone to when I have these feelings is back to DnJ (wow, I wish he would post here on Piecing one day!) What are my values and my most strongly held beliefs? What do I want out of this life? Who do I want to be? And recognizing that the feelings I'm having are fleeting and I can let them pass by. So often that immediate thought of walking is emotionally driven and passes within minutes. Focus on the good between you two and all of the reasons you are still married.

The other thing I do is go back to the basics of what do I control? Just me. Recognizing you're feeling this malaise is an important step. What can you do about it for yourself? Are there self-care opportunities you should pursue? Something new? Also, I'd question why these bad habits bother you so much. Can you disconnect your own emotional reaction from her bad habit? In the big picture, who cares? Unless it is unsafe or somehow a really serious negative for you, I'd try to not let it bother you. I was able to do this actually in the middle of my whole sitch, where I forgave my H for all the resentments I'd held for many years and stopped seeing him leaving his lunch plates around, for instance, as an infuriating character flaw and instead either picked up the dish and put it in the dishwasher (took me 30 seconds) or left it and didn't worry about it. It removed so much negativity from my life. Maybe this would help you too? Basically a level of detachment.

Finally, I see what LH is saying about the need for an R to evolve, but I don't necessarily agree that the only way for that to happen is the threat of it ending. Make it a purposeful thing to try something new together-- I remember reading a lot way back when I thought my M could still be saved by trying harder about the way that new experiences affect your brain, and that doing something new together is bonding. Are there things you can do as a couple to break out of your rut and see each other anew?

I know Gottman talks about having regular "state of the state" relationship convos-- do you guys do that? It gives an opportunity to air little things before they turn into resentment. And as WF said, you guys are facing an enormous change in your lives-- have you two sat down to talk intentionally about what you both want for the future?

Anyway, hope some of this helps.

M

Lots to unpack here May. Very good stuff and insightful. Your thought on her habits make a lot of sense. I too went through a lot of what you dealt with as I am a borderline OCD neat freak. She.....is not. LOL So I had to really adjust my expectations back 4 years ago when we were in the thick of our sitch. Socks laying on the floor, dishes randomly tossed into the sink (with an empty dishwasher next to it), being the one that has to clean (if I want a clean house I have to do it), all were things I realized I had prioritized over her. It wasn't until we were married several years that I realized she was like this when we dated. So I couldn't expect it to be different once we were married. So I had a choice to make that a deal breaker, or put it aside for love. In the big scheme of things an untidy house isn't the end of the world...even though it makes me hyperventilate! LOL

As far as the breaking out of a rut, I don't really think we are in a rut. We had actually been in a pretty good place. We do regular date nights, we have good conversations, we share, laugh and play. All good stuff. And WF mentioned the major life change (our D was just home for Thanksgiving) with our D going off to school, and in some ways that has actually benefited our MR.

She doesn't really like R talks these days. So the state of the state thing probably won't work for us. I'll mull that one over. But it did spark a memory that happened a couple of weeks ago. that could be part of my malaise.

As I said, things have been going pretty well for us. But then after I had been a way for a week long hunting trip, I had literally just returned home. Somehow we were discussing hanging out, or doing something together, and she made an offhanded comment about "We are always together." And not in the "I love that we are always together" tone, but quite the opposite. After I pointed out I was just gone for a week, she then went to the fact I have been work from home since March 2020. Now, she is about as introverted as a person can be. She really needs her alone time to recharge, values it highly. I have a lot of activities I do (gun range, hunting, hanging out with a group of friends, going up to the hunting property overnight (not just in hunting season but also to go up to maintain it), etc), to make sure she is getting alone time. Anyway, this particular comment struck me the wrong way. I didn't realize how much it had stung until just now. I think that is the point that I started having the malaise. Kind of a "maybe it isn't going as well as I thought".

IDK, I am sure this will all pass. D went back to school on Tuesday. We'll see how things go I guess. Meantime, I have kind of resorted back to DBing principles. I am present, upbeat, fulfilled, pleased, but not overly talkative. I listen. I continue to validate (validation has a huge impact on our MR since I learned to get proficient with it after discovering this site). I have a lot of GAL activities and haven't really slowed down on those even during the pandemic. Maybe my detachment isn't what it should be? I will have to work on that, get back to a good level of differentiation.

Thanks everyone for their feedback.


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SteveLW #2926900 12/02/21 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by SteveLW
Meantime, I have kind of resorted back to DBing principles. I am present, upbeat, fulfilled, pleased, but not overly talkative. I listen. I continue to validate (validation has a huge impact on our MR since I learned to get proficient with it after discovering this site). I have a lot of GAL activities and haven't really slowed down on those even during the pandemic.
This is what I mean Steve this seems like a covert contract. You just said you didn't feel fulfilled and now you are going to put on this act to try to get her to appreciate and value you more.

Originally Posted by SteveLW
Maybe my detachment isn't what it should be?
I disagree. This isn't about detachment it's about you wanting her to appreciate and value you as much as you do her.
Originally Posted by SteveLW
I will have to work on that, get back to a good level of differentiation.
I think your GAL, self differentiation is better then most.

Steve I know how you feel. After my separation with my ex and we were trying again I went away for 5 days with my friends. When I came home I was hoping for her to be happy to see me and maybe some as WF says "play slap and tickle". Instead I got the old your home look which was deflating. Anyways you know how it played out and I ended up D. The truth was I stayed in the game because an intact family and seeing my kids everyday is what I VALUED the most.

Now that I am dating I have gotten those texts "I miss you and I can't wait to see you texts and %$#&$" and I am not going to lie they feel pretty fuching good. Having said that I would rather wake up with my kids every day.

So you have to ask yourself "what do I value most"?

I think all long-term marriages have to be renegotiated at some point due to different expectations.

As for your W. You know the pursuit and distance dynamic. Time to make yourself scarce.


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I just thought about a few things reading through what's here.

1) I really think maybe you should give a look through this thread a little Steve. These 'what do I do now' feelings have basically been going on since D was gearing up to head off to school so I really think you need to sit with that.

2) You said the relationship you guys had when it was just the two of you was pretty rocky. Was it rocky because of her, because of you or because of you guys feeding off each other? Because of that past do you even know how to be a couple without being parents first? I'm not talking planned date nights and differentiation. I'm talking do you guys know how to be in a mutually beneficial relationship with each other without your D there as a touch point and a buffer?

3) As your daughter doesn't need you "any more" (that's in quotes because let's be real they'll always need us) are you feeling a little useless or aimless without her as the target? Are you feeling a little less grounded without anyone depending on you? Is there a chance there's a co-dependency thing happening here? Creating drama where there is none so you have something to fix? Please don't take that as accusatory. I have no idea if that's what's happening here. I'm just spit balling with what I know. And if you can cross that off the list of possibilities immediately then that's all I was looking for with that.

4) Given the above you may want to consider not only IC but a serious R talk. Maybe not force this as a crisis issue. Because it's not. You guys aren't in crisis. You as an individual are kind of teetering on the edge of one right now though. You might need to consider MC? A couple retreat? Some kind of reconnection reading or bootcamp? I'm not sure. But I'm wondering if it isn't so much malaise as it is you're floundering navigating a moment in your life that you've never had to do before and it seems easier and more efficient if you just called it quits and give yourself the opportunity to start over.

I'm not sure, Steve. I know you're not going to rush to act. That's not your style. I just think there's a lot to unpack here and the surface feeling of it all that you're having a hard time pinpointing feels very much like it's literally just the surface of something here.

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