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SteveLW #2926904 12/02/21 06:51 PM
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Hi Steve,

I'm wondering about going back to the DBing principles in your sitch. Yes of course the GAL, self-differentiation, validation, etc is all good regardless. But for a M to work, you both need to be fulfilled, and focusing on your PMA and the distance/pursuit dynamic feels a bit manipulative rather than collaboratively addressing issues in your R with your W.

the idea of your W not being into R talks... that rang a bit of an alarm bell for me. She's a grown woman in a M that has had some pretty rocky points. I'm sorry, but whether she likes R talks or not, she's got to participate. As WF says, maybe not a dire "we have to talk" kind of thing, but at least get some of this out in the open. I think you need to be able to be honest and open with each other about your feelings. From my perspective that emotional intimacy is a big part of a healthy relationship. (And when that doesn't happen, when instead of sharing your feelings with each other you swallow them-- that does build resentment and distance, exactly as LH says.) Maybe she's just feeling sad about your D being at college and she could be misplacing those negative feelings on your M instead of where they belong, and maybe you need to have a good MC help you guys navigate this period of your lives together. Have you two talked together about your D being away at school and how that feels and what you want to do now as a couple that you have more time?

And a clarifying question to be sure I understand: when you say she doesn't like R talks, what do you mean by that? How do you define an R talk?


Me (46) H (42)
M:14 T:18, D9 & D11
4/19 - 12/19: series of escalating BDs
9/20 - present: R and piecing
LH19 #2926905 12/02/21 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by LH19
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.

Thanks. This is what I meant by detaching and differentiating a bit more. Making myself scarce. She has asked for space, I am going to give it to her. Not be omnipresent.

Thanks for sharing your perspective on the dating/freedom vs. intact family. Even though my D is out on her own now, I get it. She was just home for Thanksgiving, it would suck to not be with her 50% (or more) of the time.


M(52), W(53),D(17)
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Originally Posted by wayfarer
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.

WF, as always, poignant and well said.

1) I agree. Solid observation here. I will continue to process the feelings without acting on them.

2) The relationship when it was just the two of us AND pretty much my daughter's entire life has been pretty rocky. I could probably say that other than the last 4 years, the previous 19 years there was probably 2 years that were not rocky, and most of that was following the first sitch in 2005. But your point still stands. I think there is a bit of, to #1, what next, maybe storming phase going on here. In some ways it has been beneficial. Rolling over in the morning and having sex without regard to doors open, other people in the house, certainly has been beneficial. She is a woman that has to be relaxed and comfortable to be in the mood. Ironically, my libido has slowed down....maybe because I am not used to it being so available. But you are spot on with this. We need to learn how to be each other spouses without being fulltime parents too.

3) Interesting point on this one. I do not think you are off base at all. Let's face it, a big part of our identity is being so-and-so's dad or mom. There may be a bit of an identity crisis going on related to that. Maybe it is codependent, maybe it is me facing the end of midlife, and moving into old age. I have been really thinking about retirement, and getting all my ducks in a row so that in 7-8 years I can retire. All of this goes into what you are hitting on here. I will continue to consider this, try to keep this in mind. You are right, I haven't had to deal with this before and maybe that is part of what I am struggling with.

4) As I stated, I am not sure she is willing for a serious R talk. She loathes them. Not that I won't have one if it gets there, but since right now this appears to be more on my end than hers, I think IC in the new year is a definite must do. I agree this is not a crisis. I agree that we probably do need something. I like the idea of a retreat. I'll be honest, we have an elderly giant breed dog that is in need of a lot of care, so getting away right now may not be possible right now. But I will keep this advice in my head.

I agree, maybe these is just on the surface of something deeper. I am hoping IC will help me get to a deeper level on this.


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may22 #2926908 12/02/21 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by may22
Hi Steve,

I'm wondering about going back to the DBing principles in your sitch. Yes of course the GAL, self-differentiation, validation, etc is all good regardless. But for a M to work, you both need to be fulfilled, and focusing on your PMA and the distance/pursuit dynamic feels a bit manipulative rather than collaboratively addressing issues in your R with your W.

the idea of your W not being into R talks... that rang a bit of an alarm bell for me. She's a grown woman in a M that has had some pretty rocky points. I'm sorry, but whether she likes R talks or not, she's got to participate. As WF says, maybe not a dire "we have to talk" kind of thing, but at least get some of this out in the open. I think you need to be able to be honest and open with each other about your feelings. From my perspective that emotional intimacy is a big part of a healthy relationship. (And when that doesn't happen, when instead of sharing your feelings with each other you swallow them-- that does build resentment and distance, exactly as LH says.) Maybe she's just feeling sad about your D being at college and she could be misplacing those negative feelings on your M instead of where they belong, and maybe you need to have a good MC help you guys navigate this period of your lives together. Have you two talked together about your D being away at school and how that feels and what you want to do now as a couple that you have more time?

And a clarifying question to be sure I understand: when you say she doesn't like R talks, what do you mean by that? How do you define an R talk?

I will try to keep an eye on the manipulation. Certainly not what I am after here. As I said to LH, she has essentially asked for more space, so I need to give it to her. So I am going to be a bit more busy both while home and certainly when out, to let her have that decompression room, that room to really recharge her introverted internal self.

My W has a skewed view of R talks. In her mind she thinks that you only discuss it if there is an problem. So a state of the state talk, in her mind, is going to be me thinking there is a problem to be resolved. I did mind to say we never discuss the R, but it tends to be very organic, very spontaneous, kind of like the discussion where she said "we are always together". I really do not think this anything on her end at all. It isn't her being sad, withdrawn, etc. Nothing has changed (other than what I told WF about more intimacy) before this malaise to now. This is really totally on my side, and with me.

As far as your last question, it is a "hey, let's sit down and discuss the MR." That is what she doesn't like. If it is just something that comes up in the course of conversation, she is fine discussing it. If I make it a "thing" she doesn't. But at this point I don't even have anything to discuss. "Hey, I am in a malaise and kind of thinking I might be happier on my own." That seems like something I shouldn't be saying at this point.


M(52), W(53),D(17)
M-20, T-23 Bomb Drop - Dec.23, 2017
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SteveLW #2926911 12/02/21 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by SteveLW
As far as your last question, it is a "hey, let's sit down and discuss the MR." That is what she doesn't like. If it is just something that comes up in the course of conversation, she is fine discussing it. If I make it a "thing" she doesn't. But at this point I don't even have anything to discuss. "Hey, I am in a malaise and kind of thinking I might be happier on my own." That seems like something I shouldn't be saying at this point.

I'm with May on this. Not that that's particularly unexpected I'm sure, but she is a grown woman in a marriage. One that has a storied past. R talks shouldn't be a "thing" in any context unless it's a full blown crisis. One of the things my H has gotten right this side of the A is that he checks in often with me on how he's doing as a husband and father. He also makes it a point to check on my mental health. These little check ins give me opportunities to say what I need to say. And it sets me up to be in a completely non-defensive position when I reciprocate the questions. He was a big let's not make this a "thing" kinda guy prior. And that really led us to some ugly places. Barring communication if it's not being done the way you want is a pretty big hiccup in any long term relationship.

That being said. You don't need to frame this as a you (meaning her) problem to her. Honestly in your position I'd frame it as a we problem where the focus is on me. What I mean with that is you need to tell her how you're feeling or you're going to blindside her. You don't have to come out and say "Yeah so i've been thinking about a divorce lately. D's outta the house so..." You can say very diplomatically "I'm really struggling with the change in our household. I'm going to start up with IC again in the new year. I'm finding myself being irritable because I'm struggling. Including some of it being directed at you, and to be honest when I'm being logical I know it's not you, it's me. I'm a little raw/on edge/whatever right now. If I'm being unnecessarily gruff please let me know so I can correct myself. If I'm hurt by you can you be understanding even if it seems ridiculous. I love you and I'd really like your support through this."

Every R talk doesn't need to be heavy on the R.

SteveLW #2926912 12/02/21 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by SteveLW
My W has a skewed view of R talks. In her mind she thinks that you only discuss it if there is an problem. So a state of the state talk, in her mind, is going to be me thinking there is a problem to be resolved. I did mind to say we never discuss the R, but it tends to be very organic, very spontaneous, kind of like the discussion where she said "we are always together". I really do not think this anything on her end at all. It isn't her being sad, withdrawn, etc. Nothing has changed (other than what I told WF about more intimacy) before this malaise to now. This is really totally on my side, and with me.
I disagree here Steve and you have a right to question/ be disappointed that when you come home from being away for seven days that she doesn't want to spend any time with you.

So correct me if I am wrong but this is what I think is going on. You have always admitted you were a pretty crappy h throughout your marriage. You have made the changes necessary the last 4 years happy, upbeat, validation, GAL etc. Now what does come out sometimes was that also your W was a pretty crappy W. EAs, nude pics, withheld sex, stay at home mom with one D and no cleaning etc. So for 4 years you are holding up the bargain of a good H but she doesn't change much. So every once in awhile as resentment is building you think about leaving and something ends up changing your mind. That something more then likely is your daughter. Now that she is out of the house that may change your feelings a little bit. I think you are feeling under appreciated and I think that is something that should be discussed.


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Originally Posted by wayfarer
Originally Posted by SteveLW
As far as your last question, it is a "hey, let's sit down and discuss the MR." That is what she doesn't like. If it is just something that comes up in the course of conversation, she is fine discussing it. If I make it a "thing" she doesn't. But at this point I don't even have anything to discuss. "Hey, I am in a malaise and kind of thinking I might be happier on my own." That seems like something I shouldn't be saying at this point.

I'm with May on this. Not that that's particularly unexpected I'm sure, but she is a grown woman in a marriage. One that has a storied past. R talks shouldn't be a "thing" in any context unless it's a full blown crisis. One of the things my H has gotten right this side of the A is that he checks in often with me on how he's doing as a husband and father. He also makes it a point to check on my mental health. These little check ins give me opportunities to say what I need to say. And it sets me up to be in a completely non-defensive position when I reciprocate the questions. He was a big let's not make this a "thing" kinda guy prior. And that really led us to some ugly places. Barring communication if it's not being done the way you want is a pretty big hiccup in any long term relationship.

That being said. You don't need to frame this as a you (meaning her) problem to her. Honestly in your position I'd frame it as a we problem where the focus is on me. What I mean with that is you need to tell her how you're feeling or you're going to blindside her. You don't have to come out and say "Yeah so i've been thinking about a divorce lately. D's outta the house so..." You can say very diplomatically "I'm really struggling with the change in our household. I'm going to start up with IC again in the new year. I'm finding myself being irritable because I'm struggling. Including some of it being directed at you, and to be honest when I'm being logical I know it's not you, it's me. I'm a little raw/on edge/whatever right now. If I'm being unnecessarily gruff please let me know so I can correct myself. If I'm hurt by you can you be understanding even if it seems ridiculous. I love you and I'd really like your support through this."

Every R talk doesn't need to be heavy on the R.

Great point. Yeah I will consider having this conversation by the end of the year. I think framing it more about a me problem than an R problem. Especially since she hasn't changed anything at all, the only thing that has changed is my feelings.


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LH19 #2926919 12/02/21 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by LH19
Originally Posted by SteveLW
My W has a skewed view of R talks. In her mind she thinks that you only discuss it if there is an problem. So a state of the state talk, in her mind, is going to be me thinking there is a problem to be resolved. I did mind to say we never discuss the R, but it tends to be very organic, very spontaneous, kind of like the discussion where she said "we are always together". I really do not think this anything on her end at all. It isn't her being sad, withdrawn, etc. Nothing has changed (other than what I told WF about more intimacy) before this malaise to now. This is really totally on my side, and with me.
I disagree here Steve and you have a right to question/ be disappointed that when you come home from being away for seven days that she doesn't want to spend any time with you.

So correct me if I am wrong but this is what I think is going on. You have always admitted you were a pretty crappy h throughout your marriage. You have made the changes necessary the last 4 years happy, upbeat, validation, GAL etc. Now what does come out sometimes was that also your W was a pretty crappy W. EAs, nude pics, withheld sex, stay at home mom with one D and no cleaning etc. So for 4 years you are holding up the bargain of a good H but she doesn't change much. So every once in awhile as resentment is building you think about leaving and something ends up changing your mind. That something more then likely is your daughter. Now that she is out of the house that may change your feelings a little bit. I think you are feeling under appreciated and I think that is something that should be discussed.

You're not wrong. At least completely. Look, she is not a neat freak like me and never will be. Is she better now than 4 years ago? Absolutely.

I do need to correct something, it wasn't that she didn't seem happy to see me after the week away. Met me at the door. Hugged and kissed me. But then a couple of days later she made the comment about always being together. I get it, she really enjoyed her alone time. I do not resent that even a little bit. I think those breaks are important in most MR.

Maybe you are on to something what past resentments? IDK. Again I think part of my struggle is I cannot pinpoint how I am feeling nor why I am feeling it. Things I probably need to explore in IC.

Not 100% on the under appreciated part yet. Maybe there is some truth? I hadn't considered it before so I will have to mull that one over a bit.


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SteveLW #2926937 12/03/21 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by SteveLW
Maybe you are on to something what past resentments? IDK. Again I think part of my struggle is I cannot pinpoint how I am feeling nor why I am feeling it. Things I probably need to explore in IC.
Maybe start with deciding if your needs are being met. If these needs are reasonable. How important are these needs for you. Is she capable of meeting these needs.


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SteveLW #2926940 12/03/21 02:32 PM
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There is a minimum amount of time that you both need to contribute to being together in a marriage.
I have forgotten the specifics but lets say its around 12-18 hours per week together.

So while I love the pursuit and distance other marriage experts do feel that a certain amount of time together is a neccesity.
I am not really sure or don't remember what MWD says about this but I feel confidant that you need to come to some agreement about how the two of you both choose to love everyday.


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