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Discussion Starter #1
I've had terrible taste in men in the past and I think I'm pretty traumatized with emotional baggage.

I finally found someone where 90% we "just work" and are really happy. He is a really good, solid guy and I've never been happy and comfortable this way in a relationship. Mostly.

But this one scenario keeps repeating itself, just once every 2 or 3 months, but I feel incredibly frustrated. If I just "let it go" I'm fine. But I worry I'm getting entrenched in another bad for me relationship by just letting it go.

The most important thing to me in a relationship is to feel emotionally intimate and connected. I believe the most important thing to him is a friend, support, and sex. (In the opposite order.)

What happens:
I say something. He misunderstands. I try to clarify what I'm saying. He keeps saying "I know what you mean stop talking about it." but he clearly does NOT understand me. I either stop talking and feel misunderstood forever, or insist on forcing my opinion on him and he gets really irritated and doesn't want to be around me.

I've learned that if I drop it in the moment, later I can bring it up and he will discuss it with me in that he will tell me his point of view and that does really help me feel closer to him. But he has ZERO interest in my point of view. If I am demanding enough he will stand there and let me speak but there is no feedback of understanding to me.

It doesn't feel like he doesn't love me or care about my feelings as much as it feels like he is afraid to know what my feelings are. But I'm very pragmatic, not demanding at all, I just desperately want to feel heard and understood.

I could give examples but I don't want to make this post any longer.

Thoughts? I'm especially curious what men think and if other women have a similar experience and how they handle it.
 

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I think an example would help. Like what kind of thing might you be saying that he will misunderstand? And are you positive he isn't understanding and just doesn't agree with your point of view but doesn't want to argue over something he feels is trivial. Are you the type of person who sometimes thinks if some doesn't agree with your POV you assume they misunderstand you?
 

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I've had terrible taste in men in the past and I think I'm pretty traumatized with emotional baggage.

I finally found someone where 90% we "just work" and are really happy. He is a really good, solid guy and I've never been happy and comfortable this way in a relationship. Mostly.

But this one scenario keeps repeating itself, just once every 2 or 3 months, but I feel incredibly frustrated. If I just "let it go" I'm fine. But I worry I'm getting entrenched in another bad for me relationship by just letting it go.

The most important thing to me in a relationship is to feel emotionally intimate and connected. I believe the most important thing to him is a friend, support, and sex. (In the opposite order.)

What happens:
I say something. He misunderstands. I try to clarify what I'm saying. He keeps saying "I know what you mean stop talking about it." but he clearly does NOT understand me. I either stop talking and feel misunderstood forever, or insist on forcing my opinion on him and he gets really irritated and doesn't want to be around me.

I've learned that if I drop it in the moment, later I can bring it up and he will discuss it with me in that he will tell me his point of view and that does really help me feel closer to him. But he has ZERO interest in my point of view. If I am demanding enough he will stand there and let me speak but there is no feedback of understanding to me.

It doesn't feel like he doesn't love me or care about my feelings as much as it feels like he is afraid to know what my feelings are. But I'm very pragmatic, not demanding at all, I just desperately want to feel heard and understood.

I could give examples but I don't want to make this post any longer.

Thoughts? I'm especially curious what men think and if other women have a similar experience and how they handle it.
It's a communication issue and I have almost the same issue with my wife.

It is a pain and I do care for her emotions, not sure about your guy, but we have trouble understanding each other some times.

We have both had to learn patience with each other's short comings.

If everything else is solid, maybe you can work through it.

Hoping for the best.

People are kind of screwed up. Even those of us who are good mates.

We still struggle and we are nearing out 30th year together.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I think an example would help. Like what kind of thing might you be saying that he will misunderstand? And are you positive he isn't understanding and just doesn't agree with your point of view but doesn't want to argue over something he feels is trivial. Are you the type of person who sometimes thinks if some doesn't agree with your POV you assume they misunderstand you?
Something happened the other night that brought this frustration back up, but I can't explain it without too many details so here is a more "typical" example that's not so emotional -- we've learned to navigate each other a bit more to avoid this but here goes:

We're rushing around to leave for the beach.
He say's "lets take this bag of ice that's in the freezer." It's our only ice.
I say "sure, why don't we take some out now and put it in a bowl in case we want drinks when we get home?"
He says: "Forget it, that's too much trouble. We'll buy a bag at the gas station."

Our relationship was new and I think - Does he think I'll be upset if he doesn't like my idea? I don't care if we don't use my idea, this bag is here and handy. It suddenly becomes important to me that he understand I'm not so touchy that he can't just say "I don't want to rip the bag open."

I say "That's okay we can take this one, it was just an idea."
He says "Forget it, that's too much trouble, you want to rip the bag open, ice will spill, it doesn't need to be complicated. We'll just get one at the gas station."
I say "No, we don't have to open it, it was just a suggestion..."
He says "We'll get one at the gas station, it's just a bag of ice, it doesn't need to turn into such an issue."

I feel dismissed and frustrated but I drop it. We get ready and go, getting ice at the ice station. Now we're driving along and I'm hyper focused on the idea that he thinks I can't handle him not acting on every whimsical idea I have. I bring the subject up --

Me: About the ice, I just wanted you to know that I didn't care if you didn't use my idea.
Him: It's just a bag of ice, don't worry about it.
Me: I'm not talking about the bag of ice, I'm just concerned that...
Him: It's just a bag of ice, why are we talking about a bag of ice? Let's go have fun.
Me: I'm not talking about a bag of ice...
Him: It's ice. We got some at the ice station. Problem solved. There's nothing to talk about.
Me: but I'm not talking about...
Him: Oh look, they're planting cauliflower over there.
Me: silent eye roll.
Him: Look at those pretty clouds. It's a beautiful day.

Me: Wondering WTF just happened? What are my choices? Let it go and appreciate what we have? or DIG IN and INSIST on being heard because I don't want a relationship where I can't connect mentally/emotionally with my guy? Accept that men really aren't interested in understanding my thoughts and go talk to a girlfriend if I need conversation?

About him:
  • He's hard of hearing which may account for some misunderstandings, but doesn't explain why he resists my attempts to clarify things.
  • he's definitely a "manly man" which I LOVE about him, absolutely LOVE, but he's not really interested in thoughts, ideas, feeling, philosophizing, etc. Very action oriented. We have rewarding (to me) conversations occasionally, but they are me asking him about himself. He lets me talk about myself but never probes and is super quick to tell me "I've already told him that" (when actually I haven't told him the point I'm about to make). On the other hand sometimes he surprises me with deep insight into my thoughts and motivation when I thought he wasn't listening at all.
 

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OK so from what you describe, you are worrying about clarifying something that didn't need to be clarified. He didn't like or dislike your idea he just figured, you know what we need ice here too so lets get some for the beach on the way. To be perfectly honest I think I would have responded similarly to him. Sounds like your guy is decisive which is a good thing, Your idea reminded him the bag at the house was the only bag, he thought if we take this bag we will need more ice very soon so let's just leave this ice here and get a bag on the way. It really is that simple, nothing else to read into, he probably didn't give it a second thought, it really didn't require any analysis or discussion. You made a valid point he came up with a better solution.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Are you the type of person who sometimes thinks if some doesn't agree with your POV you assume they misunderstand you?
One more comment -- No, I am not that type of person. (I just assume they're an idiot, LOL, just kidding, kinda)

Seriously though, I am okay with someone disagreeing, but I become OBSSESSED with being UNDERSTOOD if the feedback I get indicates they don't understand my point.

I remember talking with my dad about getting in trouble when I was little and he said "You're biggest problem was that you just wouldn't stop talking back." And I realized, my biggest memory from being in trouble as a child was feeling misunderstood. So. Mis. Understood!

In this case though he is definitely not getting my point because the things he tells me that I'm thinking are NOT what I am thinking. And the fact that he won't pause to let me just one time explain my point thoroughly frustrates me so much. I will listen to his point of view, explain it back to him, tell him where I agree and regardless make sure he knows I understand why he feels the way he feels. He will not even let me make my point.

He did have a pretty rough childhood and his first marriage included his ex wife becoming physically violent several times. A friend said he probably has PTSD.
 

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It sounds to me that he doesn't want emotional intimacy, just sexual intimacy. Does he think you're always complaining or something like that? Or does he think you're critical or negative? I mean it's pretty serious if he just doesn't respect you enough to value your opinion or thoughts on things. That isn't going to wear well over time.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
OK so from what you describe, you are worrying about clarifying something that didn't need to be clarified. He didn't like or dislike your idea he just figured, you know what we need ice here too so lets get some for the beach on the way. To be perfectly honest I think I would have responded similarly to him. Sounds like your guy is decisive which is a good thing, Your idea reminded him the bag at the house was the only bag, he thought if we take this bag we will need more ice very soon so let's just leave this ice here and get a bag on the way. It really is that simple, nothing else to read into, he probably didn't give it a second thought, it really didn't require any analysis or discussion. You made a valid point he came up with a better solution.
Thank you, that is really helpful.

He is definitely decisive. Sometimes it really costs him because he will take action before thinking things through and not listen to details I'm trying to explain to him about the situation that could prevent a bad decision. Still, his decisiveness is a net positive, he is a man of action.

I know I over analyze things. I keep thinking, if I just let these things go then there really is no issue. But another part of me thinks if I'm a person who feels very strongly about being understood and he knows that but can't be bothered, am I with the wrong person?

This is where I get down on men though. I feel like I know what he likes - sex, companionship, and supportiveness and I go out of my way to give him those things because I love him, they are important to him, and he is important to me. And I enjoy them too. But he also knows what I want, to talk things through and express myself and feel connected, but his attitude seems to be "I'm not interested in discussing this so I'm not going to do it. She'll get over it."
 

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I read the example dialogue before and was going to respond.

My initial thoughts were that he had made a choice / decision. You then offered something by way of a question. He didn't want to do that, and so stuck with his original idea. Just stopping at that initial part, I will share that Batman and I had a brief dialogue the other night and I can't for the life of me remember what it was about. It wasn't anything either of us would feel was significant. I just remember how it wrapped up.

He said something framed as a question. I answered in a way that didn't align with his idea. He responded back. And I said, 'Why did you ask me, then?' He basically said, 'Good point.' It's not often our dialogue is this way - and it can be either one of us asking this on occasion. I guess I'm just sharing from personal experience how communication can unfold within my world view. Sometimes more dialogue is good. And sometimes, action is good too.

So with the example you provided, rather than framing as a question, why not just do the thing? And if for some reason it's needed, just state what you're doing and why. I don't know if it is at all helpful to you!

It doesn't address your obsessive need to be understood.
 
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You sound like someone who talks so much and is in need of constant validation of what you said that it is difficult to listen to you for too long.
I love my wife and always will but when she gets going like that I find myself hoping I get hit by a bus soon...... or look for a way to end the conversation and get away.

Here is a good tip: Timing is everything... it’s not the right time all day every day. Pick a time when you know you have his undivided attention.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
It sounds to me that he doesn't want emotional intimacy, just sexual intimacy. Does he think you're always complaining or something like that? Or does he think you're critical or negative?
I don't think he thinks I'm always complaining, critical, or negative. ('cause I'm not. but I could see myself becoming that bitter woman and I do not want that.)

It's almost like he goes into some kind of panic mode if I want to clarify something, like he feels attacked? Or harassed? He is impatient in general, but very good natured, not grumpy/insolent impatient. He just wants to STOP the conversation.

I mean it's pretty serious if he just doesn't respect you enough to value your opinion or thoughts on things. That isn't going to wear well over time.
THAT! I do feel like he has already made up his mind that whatever I'm trying to say is of no value. He will literally say to me "you are wasting time discussing this."

Here is another example from long ago:
background facts:
  • I had been looking at house kits on line (it's a stick frame house where they cut all the lumber then you or your contractor builds it.)
  • He absolutely does not want a prefabricated home (like a modular)

So he mentions building our own home. I told him I'd read a lot of good things about SIP boards and did he know what those were?
He starts saying "No. We are not using those. I don't want a prefabricated house."
It's not that, it's just ply wood panels with insulation between them.
He kept saying "No, I don't want a modular/prefab home, those things are junk, etc..."
I kept saying "It's not a prefab home!"
the circular conversation continues.
I ask "when you buy lumber to build don't you have them cut a lot of it to size? Do you consider that a prefab home?"
He says "You talking to me about construction is like me talking to you about computers."
Flash forward we're visiting a friend who is in construction. I ask him what he thinks of SIP for the walls and he and I discuss the pros and cons a bit while my guy, who is hard of hearing, shakes his head like I'm a silly little woman. Later he told me "I was embarrassed when you were talking to Steve about building, he didn't know what to say to you."
I said "you obviously couldn't hear what he was saying because he did not dismiss the idea."

These examples are from some time ago and things have gotten better in this regard. But I hate this feeling of "am I making mountains out of mole hills or is he really dismissive of me?"

The other day I turned the tables on him when he was upset about something I did and started cracking jokes about it and saying "why are we talking about this? This already happened, why are you wasting time talking about this? Yes, I know what you're trying to say, you already said it, relax, let's have fun, you're wasting time talking... etc."

He got so mad he slammed the door so hard some plastic on the screen broke. The next day he said he hadn't done that in years (slammed a door in anger). I said "It's incredibly frustrating when you're concerned about something and someone won't take you seriously." He kind of acknowledged that now he did understand better how I felt when he did that to me.
 

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He sounds pretty set in his ways. There are people who will just take the opposing view no matter what you're talking about. I have a friend like that. I had a serious talk with her about it several years ago after she was completely dismissive when I was trying to help her as she was getting ready to have to buy another used car. I mean I worked in an auto dealership at one time plus my dad used to sell cars as a hobby. It didn't matter what I told her she took the opposite view.

Then to add insult to injury, she talked to her brother-in-law about it who doesn't even know as much about it as I do and she just assumed everything he said was gospel. It's insulting.

Sounds like your husband is not a very good listener. Any chance he's ADD or something?

At least you made a point with him. on that deal about the house it sounds like he can't be okay if you are right about something or even entertain the idea that you might be. I wonder how hard it would be to get him in marriage counseling just to work on this issue.
 
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With regards to your ice example I would have done the same thing where I wouldn’t have wanted to rip the bag open. I would have come up with an alternative like he did.

Normally my wife wouldn’t bother pressing me on something like that (a minor trivial thing) unless she was pissed at me about something else and was trying to give me grief.

Just reading the story I could barely get through it; made me tired just reading that.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I read the example dialogue before and was going to respond.

My initial thoughts were that he had made a choice / decision. You then offered something by way of a question. He didn't want to do that, and so stuck with his original idea. Just stopping at that initial part, I will share that Batman and I had a brief dialogue the other night and I can't for the life of me remember what it was about. It wasn't anything either of us would feel was significant. I just remember how it wrapped up.

He said something framed as a question. I answered in a way that didn't align with his idea. He responded back. And I said, 'Why did you ask me, then?' He basically said, 'Good point.' It's not often our dialogue is this way - and it can be either one of us asking this on occasion. I guess I'm just sharing from personal experience how communication can unfold within my world view. Sometimes more dialogue is good. And sometimes, action is good too.

So with the example you provided, rather than framing as a question, why not just do the thing? And if for some reason it's needed, just state what you're doing and why. I don't know if it is at all helpful to you!

It doesn't address your obsessive need to be understood.
hahaha OH MY GOD, I'm going to have a melt down. Apparently I AM the crazy one! Now I feel REALLY misunderstood. I did not care about doing the thing, that was my point.

He made a suggestion - grab that bag of ice.

I impulsively suggested we save some ice from the bag. I didn't care one way or the other. I was just trying to contribute to the planning and getting ready.

so far so good.

But then he reacted like he believed I would be upset if he didn't act on an idea I had. Now we have to get a bag of ice at the gas station because I suggested something he didn't want to do. we couldn't just go back to his original idea.

I wasn't bothered that he didn't like my idea, but I was really bothered that he apparently thought I was so emotionally fragile that I would be upset if he rejected one of my ideas.

I was trying to communicate that it's perfectly fine if he didn't like one of my ideas.

And he kept reacting like I was complaining that he didn't like my idea.

When I kept saying "I'm not talking about the bag of ice" and he kept saying "it's just a bag of ice" I felt insane.

QUESTION FOR YOU:
So if you say something to your husband and you know he didn't understand based on his response to you, but it's not a life or death topic, is your instinct to just shrug it off or to clarify?
 

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hahaha OH MY GOD, I'm going to have a melt down. Apparently I AM the crazy one! Now I feel REALLY misunderstood. I did not care about doing the thing, that was my point.

He made a suggestion - grab that bag of ice.

I impulsively suggested we save some ice from the bag. I didn't care one way or the other. I was just trying to contribute to the planning and getting ready.

so far so good.

But then he reacted like he believed I would be upset if he didn't act on an idea I had. Now we have to get a bag of ice at the gas station because I suggested something he didn't want to do. we couldn't just go back to his original idea.

I wasn't bothered that he didn't like my idea, but I was really bothered that he apparently thought I was so emotionally fragile that I would be upset if he rejected one of my ideas.

I was trying to communicate that it's perfectly fine if he didn't like one of my ideas.

And he kept reacting like I was complaining that he didn't like my idea.

When I kept saying "I'm not talking about the bag of ice" and he kept saying "it's just a bag of ice" I felt insane.

QUESTION FOR YOU:
So if you say something to your husband and you know he didn't understand based on his response to you, but it's not a life or death topic, is your instinct to just shrug it off or to clarify?
Eek, I'm going to point out through slight paraphrasing of your words, that it really bothered you that he apparently thought you were so emotionally fragile that you would be upset if he rejected one of your ideas... and then started your reply post to me that you're going to have a melt down. Okay, breathe and laugh here. But I do feel I might be about to tip you over the edge. Turns out I misunderstood your written communication of the example scenario since removed, as it didn't come across to me that he reacted that you would be upset. I interpreted the scenario more like @ccpowerslave

I can't offer more on that scenario as I'm likely to make both of us dizzy. And perhaps wasn't offering much anyway!

To answer your question directed to me: It's not often that I don't feel understood. I recognize he may offer different views to mine; doesn't mean I'll necessarily agree but I still feel that he gets me. I'm really thinking about this, and maybe personality comes into it. Primarily, I trust his intention. Then it's also that we can both be verbally direct and tone and intent plays a part. He has told me before if I'm repeating something that I've just gone over. Those kind of moments typically relate to something that's just about me and within my capacity to adjust / accept. He may have already offered support and/or listened. If he points this out, it basically brings me pause to recognize that I've gotten myself into a loop. I kind of imagine that frozen circular symbol when Netflix delays. And I'm not sure how to explain it, other than recognizing that I'm not doing myself any favors as a result, and acknowledge, 'Yep, you're right.' I feel in that communication, he's either pointing it out because he knows I'm not doing myself any favors, or it could be he's given all he can with hearing about that. Sometimes both. And personally, I'm okay with both. Reason being, I also still feel heard and supported and would rather he tell me straight than not.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
You sound like someone who talks so much and is in need of constant validation of what you said that it is difficult to listen to you for too long.
I love my wife and always will but when she gets going like that I find myself hoping I get hit by a bus soon...... or look for a way to end the conversation and get away.

Here is a good tip: Timing is everything... it’s not the right time all day every day. Pick a time when you know you have his undivided attention.
Thanks, I have been working on timing. And making sure I have his attention. Which can be a challenge. And I try to get to the conclusion before he puts a gun in his mouth... ;-)

I can talk too much and ramble if a topic really interests me. But I don't talk often, and I never do small talk chatter. I'm definitely not talking at him all day every day. We might have a conversation that lasts more than 5 minutes 2 or 3 times a week.

I think you're right I may be needy in the validation part. When I do have something to say I feel really deflated if he doesn't respond or indicate he understands me.

Question - How often does your wife get going where you pray for a big bus, and what kind of topic might she go on about? When you try to just stop the conversation how does she react?

Something that bothers me is that he will talk and talk to me about things I am not interested in. And he'll show me what he's building or doing and I am genuinely interested not because I care about rebuilding cars or whatever, but because I am interested in him, he's impressive, and I get excited that HE is excited about the topic. But he does not return the favor when something interests me.

Judging from the feedback I'm getting from men on here I'm thinking that's just how most guys are and the first thing I need to do is not take it personally. It feels very one sided to me though.

I also think I may be overly sensitive to my current guy not listening to me because my ex was flat out cruel to me in withholding conversation. I need to remember this guy is not him. Not at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Eek, I'm going to point out through slight paraphrasing of your words, that it really bothered you that he apparently thought you were so emotionally fragile that you would be upset if he rejected one of your ideas... and then started your reply post to me that you're going to have a melt down. Okay, breathe and laugh here. But I do feel I might be about to tip you over the edge. Turns out I misunderstood your written communication of the example scenario since removed, as it didn't come across to me that he reacted that you would be upset. I interpreted the scenario more like @ccpowerslave

I can't offer more on that scenario as I'm likely to make both of us dizzy. And perhaps wasn't offering much anyway!

To answer your question directed to me: It's not often that I don't feel understood. I recognize he may offer different views to mine; doesn't mean I'll necessarily agree but I still feel that he gets me. I'm really thinking about this, and maybe personality comes into it. Primarily, I trust his intention. Then it's also that we can both be verbally direct and tone and intent plays a part. He has told me before if I'm repeating something that I've just gone over. Those kind of moments typically relate to something that's just about me and within my capacity to adjust / accept. He may have already offered support and/or listened. If he points this out, it basically brings me pause to recognize that I've gotten myself into a loop. I kind of imagine that frozen circular symbol when Netflix delays. And I'm not sure how to explain it, other than recognizing that I'm not doing myself any favors as a result, and acknowledge, 'Yep, you're right.' I feel in that communication, he's either pointing it out because he knows I'm not doing myself any favors, or it could be he's given all he can with hearing about that. Sometimes both. And personally, I'm okay with both. Reason being, I also still feel heard and supported and would rather he tell me straight than not.
I was joking about having a melt down. (I think.) It was just very ironic to me that you (and another poster) misunderstood what I was upset about when I thought I was being so clear...

Your answer gives me a lot to think about. I think one thing that frustrates me is that IN GENERAL, I hardly ever feel misunderstood by most people. I feel like I get them and they get me. He's the first friend/lover I've ever had this particular frustration with.

I can get into a loop and think out loud in a way that I know drives men crazy, but when he tells me "you already told me that" it's because he thinks I'm going to retell a story that I told him long ago. 90% of the time I have something completely new to tell him, but what if I was going to repeat a story? Would that really be so freaking awful? He repeats stories all the time and I don't mind at all, in fact I love hearing his stories. That's when I feel closest to him, when he's telling me things about himself and his life. I am tempted to say "you already told me that!" but then he'd stop and I wouldn't get to hear the story again.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
He sounds pretty set in his ways. There are people who will just take the opposing view no matter what you're talking about. I have a friend like that. I had a serious talk with her about it several years ago after she was completely dismissive when I was trying to help her as she was getting ready to have to buy another used car. I mean I worked in an auto dealership at one time plus my dad used to sell cars as a hobby. It didn't matter what I told her she took the opposite view.

Then to add insult to injury, she talked to her brother-in-law about it who doesn't even know as much about it as I do and she just assumed everything he said was gospel. It's insulting.

Sounds like your husband is not a very good listener. Any chance he's ADD or something?

At least you made a point with him. on that deal about the house it sounds like he can't be okay if you are right about something or even entertain the idea that you might be. I wonder how hard it would be to get him in marriage counseling just to work on this issue.
Thanks - we're not actually married. I joke that he has ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder). He has definitely gotten better with me though. Part of it is just spending more time together and learning how to not push each other's buttons. I think I'm ADD, I don't know about him. It's possible. He is NOT a good listener and he acknowledges this. We'd have a conversation where he would keep talking and I'd respond and then he'd just keep talking like I'd never said a word.

THE GOOD NEWS THOUGH is describing this I'm realizing how much better he's gotten about that. I'm realizing he really is trying and changing for me.

Your friend is a real piece of work. I hope she got a terrible deal on her car, LOL! Did she change at all after your serious talk? She sounds a bit like my mom. I used to do little experiments with my mom just putting an idea out there knowing she would take the opposite view.
 
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