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I'm in the same boats a similar one anyway, so there's not much I can say to help, other than you're not alone. Ultimately I do believe by doing what we think is right we effectively "train" the other partner to be the way they are. I find it hard to find whatever it takes to just break up, partly because I know she will reap everything I have sown, in terms of money and so on, while I will reap what she has sown, ie depression. I need to find the strength to deal with this, and I hope you do too.
A concise summary of your post, @matador1958 :


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Checking in on you, @Meatball.

How are you holding up?

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Discussion Starter #23
We had an extremely rough week. But in the time since I first posted here, things have been better than ever.

I owe my life to you and the others who answered my question, "Is it me?", with basically one word, "Yep".

I'm embarrassed by my lack of manhood and the little boy I've been. Only now, with a couple good books and a swift kick from this forum, do I finally see MY part in creating my own unhappiness. 90 something percent of "our problems" never would have even existed if I had behaved like a man and communicated with my wife!

I rewrote my N.U.T.S. I got them down to 12. I've created a "daily reading" for myself that includes my N.U.T.S, notes from the books, and your quote about GIVING away our power and whining that someone else STOLE it.

I KNOW that I've found the answers. Now, I just need to hammer them into my own head until they become instinctive.

We've got an appointment with a respected therapist we know, but we've already been TALKING more than we have since we were first dating. I mean hard, honest, ripping off the bandaids, painful communication. To my great surprise, humility, and delight, her only response was, "Let's do this. Tell me what to do. I WANT happily ever after, how do we get there from here?"

God knows, I have work to do and improvements to make. Specifically, I need to work on MY communication. My wife isn't a mind reader. Honestly, she's done/given me EVERYTHING I ever asked for, so all the things I didn't get over the years (and threw little boy temper tantrums about) would have been different/better had I just TOLD her what I wanted. And I need, I WANT, to improve MY fitness, my wardrobe, and my grooming standards.

PS, I told her about the forum and she read the whole thread up to this point. NOT because I needed approval or permission, but because I am the new me. The MAN me who is open, honest, and transparent with everyone he meets, but especially with his wife.

THANK YOU.
 

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All of that sounds pretty positive. I do like her response. It's entirely possible that her checking out is her response to nice guy tendencies.

That said, I want to draw your attention to one thing that is standing out to me in what you wrote.

I find it highly unlikely that 90% of the problems in your marriage were due to you. This is the nice guy trap in us assuming most or all of the failings were ours, and are consequently ours to fix.

Own what's yours.

Give her the space to own what's hers.

Implement your boundaries.

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We started as equal partners. Then, in the last month of our first pregnancy, I started assuming more responsibility, to make her pregnancy more bearable. We know NOW that she had postpartum depression. She almost never fed, bathed, changed, or played with our babies.

For 17 years now, I've been her "*". I have 99% responsibility for everything in our marriage. She gives 110% of herself to her job, then has nothing left to give at home. Every 2-3 years, I've done a "victim puke" and she starts giving more. But, the slow slide back to "normal" ALWAYS happens.

I DO NOT feel loved, desired, respected, or appreciated. I believe she gives the absolute minimum that will make me stay. I feel alone. I feel like I'm the only adult in this house.

I don't know what I expect from the forum, but I'm just wondering out loud; is it me? Am I missing or misunderstanding something? Does she really love me even? Or is she just using me?

I DON'T want to get divorced.....but I REFUSE to be unhappy for another 17 years.
Sounds like she's married to her job, not you. Does she make a lot more money than you, work longer hours, etc? I could see if she was the bread winner and relied on you for pretty much everything at home. Doesn't sound like that's the case though.

It's past time for a serious talk with her. Tell her exactly what you told us...you don't feel loved, desired, respected or appreciated. And that you are done unless she makes changes. Nobody wants to get divorced, but nobody wants to be miserable for their entire life either.

Edit - just saw your updated post a few up. Sounds like you took the right step and stood up for yourself. Just be skeptical about her comments...sounds like you've heard it all before and it never lasts. It may take you saying the "D" word to really wake her up.
 

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Having both parties working towards the same goal is a blessing. It's a key to putting aside built-up resentments so healing and progress can happen. However, it does not absolve either of you from becoming complacent or keeping their side of the street clean.

One step at a time. Even if there are missteps... and there will be. Always forward. You will find that as you address one or two problems, others will start to fall in place. Don't get overwhelmed and try to fix everything at the same time. This is not some recent hobby. This is a life change and can be a wonderful adventure for you and your family in turn.

Best
 

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I DON'T want to get divorced.....but I REFUSE to be unhappy for another 17 years.
Um yeah these two don't go together. Let me help you out.

  • I DON'T want to get divorced == unhappy until one of you dies.
  • I REFUSE to be unhappy for another 17 years = Divorce.

Those are your choices there is no door number 3.
 

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We had an extremely rough week. But in the time since I first posted here, things have been better than ever.

I owe my life to you and the others who answered my question, "Is it me?", with basically one word, "Yep".

I'm embarrassed by my lack of manhood and the little boy I've been. Only now, with a couple good books and a swift kick from this forum, do I finally see MY part in creating my own unhappiness. 90 something percent of "our problems" never would have even existed if I had behaved like a man and communicated with my wife!

I rewrote my N.U.T.S. I got them down to 12. I've created a "daily reading" for myself that includes my N.U.T.S, notes from the books, and your quote about GIVING away our power and whining that someone else STOLE it.

I KNOW that I've found the answers. Now, I just need to hammer them into my own head until they become instinctive.

We've got an appointment with a respected therapist we know, but we've already been TALKING more than we have since we were first dating. I mean hard, honest, ripping off the bandaids, painful communication. To my great surprise, humility, and delight, her only response was, "Let's do this. Tell me what to do. I WANT happily ever after, how do we get there from here?"

God knows, I have work to do and improvements to make. Specifically, I need to work on MY communication. My wife isn't a mind reader. Honestly, she's done/given me EVERYTHING I ever asked for, so all the things I didn't get over the years (and threw little boy temper tantrums about) would have been different/better had I just TOLD her what I wanted. And I need, I WANT, to improve MY fitness, my wardrobe, and my grooming standards.

PS, I told her about the forum and she read the whole thread up to this point. NOT because I needed approval or permission, but because I am the new me. The MAN me who is open, honest, and transparent with everyone he meets, but especially with his wife.

THANK YOU.
I just posted this in another thread but if fits with this situation also.


I learned passasivity from seeing my dads screwed up relationship with my mom. My marriage was getting more and more stressfull. Wife was being critical and argumentative. Felt like i could do nothing right, sex became less. I was trying to fix it and read 5LL, NMMNG and MMSLP. saw a lot of ugly truth in my situation.

I had held much resentment against my wife for how she had been treating me and how i felt slighted. I had a melt dpwn moment and told her i did not want to be my dad. Things were bothering me and i could not internalize them any longer. I let out years worth of anger and resentment on my wife. I felt a release but she was stunned i had all these issues with her and she had no idea.

Her interaction with me was her pushing me to step up and be the man of the house. The Leader of the Family. She was pushing me to stand up to her.

She once said "Women are emotional, when i am upset and all over the place emotionally, you do not need to change to match me. You need to stay the same. Like a light house in the storm so i can get my bearings from you. If you adjust to me then we will both be lost"

I became the Man of the House, there was pushback and **** tests but she now feels safe being submissive and our marriage and intimacy are at a place i never dreamed possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
@Divinely Favored, Anchorwatch, FarsideJunky....(others welcomed to reply too).

Does it get easier or do you find yourself having to spend the rest of your life on alert? If I have to completely change who I am and spend the rest of my life constantly insuring that I never "lose character" or step out of that role because my wife will then take advantage of me, I don't even WANT that relationship. It all sounds very adversarial. She's supposed to be my partner not my opponent. I can't help but wonder if trading her for a Fleshlight wouldn't make my life easier, better, more fulfilling, and every bit as sensual.

The whole "lighthouse in a storm" things disturbs me. I'm supposed to be HER lighthouse and she gets to be MY raging weather? I don't get a lighthouse? Why? Because I'm a guy? Screw that, if we are NOT lighthouses for EACH OTHER, then why do I need her?

The more time goes by, the angrier I get. It seems very common for grown adult women to expect a man to provide, do, and be everything for her in exchange for one commodity and they act like it's in short supply.
 

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I'm at an awkward point. I said I would give her time to "turn the ship", and I think she's "trying" to step up, but when I think of HOW MUCH and HOW LONG I've been investing in this relationship, her efforts seem trivial, and I find myself feeling, "Nevermind. Keep it. I don't want your token efforts or one time gifts." I reallllllly don't want a relationship (this one or the next) to be this way.
 

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Does it get easier or do you find yourself having to spend the rest of your life on alert? If I have to completely change who I am and spend the rest of my life constantly insuring that I never "lose character" or step out of that role because my wife will then take advantage of me
I don't have the same issues as you do (I'm more of a recovering asshole with KISA tendencies) but I think this gets easier in time. The more you practice being the person you want to be, the more you become that person. The goal isn't to fake anything, it's to really embrace the changes. You do have to watch yourself so that you don't fall into your nice guy tendencies, but the same goes for other people with any other number of issues. I have to watch myself so that I don't revert to asshole-mode, but it does get easier. Honestly, it probably won't for close to a year so you have to stick with it.

I can't help but wonder if trading her for a Fleshlight wouldn't make my life easier, better, more fulfilling, and every bit as sensual.
It might make your life easier in some ways, but it certainly shouldn't make your life any better or sex life any better. I think you would probably end up feeling worse about yourself.

The whole "lighthouse in a storm" things disturbs me. I'm supposed to be HER lighthouse and she gets to be MY raging weather? I don't get a lighthouse? Why? Because I'm a guy? Screw that, if we are NOT lighthouses for EACH OTHER, then why do I need her?
You should be equals here. It doesn't change just because one of you has a penis. This is something that your wife needs to work on, and you also need to be able to accept from her. If you are holding onto too much resentment, she may be ready to be that for you and you may be unable to see or accept it.

I'm at an awkward point. I said I would give her time to "turn the ship", and I think she's "trying" to step up, but when I think of HOW MUCH and HOW LONG I've been investing in this relationship, her efforts seem trivial, and I find myself feeling, "Nevermind. Keep it. I don't want your token efforts or one time gifts." I reallllllly don't want a relationship (this one or the next) to be this way.
Are you two talking with therapists? I know it's hard to see why you should give them any time to prove themselves. You said earlier in the thread that your wife has done/given you everything you ever asked for, and that your complete lack of communication caused a lot of the problems. It could really pay off to give her time to make the necessary changes, changes that she didn't even know needed to be made so it will take time.

When you start having those negative thoughts, stop yourself and think of a positive change she has been making instead. It's hard to do at first but it does get easier. If you have trouble thinking of positive things during the moment, you could write down a list on your phone or on paper and look at that list when you need to. Sometimes you just need to swap the negative thoughts for positive ones.

I think you would benefit from talking with an IC about the resentment. That may help you a lot, which in turn may give you more patience to stick around a bit longer.
 

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It does get easier after it gets hard. You've been sailing off course for 17+ years. You're not just going to make a magical correction and find your destination. You both will fall into old habits and comfortable retreats as the path will frustrate you. You, the initiator will want it to move faster along as your partner will be more than cautious as you rock the boat.

That's why it is advised that you continue to work on your growth and not focus on how she reacts to you or what you are doing. You made your decision to follow this path. If she wishes to join you or not, so be it.

Be the best man, father, son, brother, friend, provider, husband. By being the best you can be all-around, your gains will be the gains of those around you. A rising tide lifts all boats.

Nothing worth having comes easy. You already know it's worth it.

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So what stands out to me that I've not seen addressed is the covert contracts thing and the fact that you had to email her to have a discussion.

Look, covert contracts are coward jerk moves. I'll admit that I could be projecting here because my ex was fabulous at these and was only willing to discuss things via email. Also a self proclaimed nice guy, he excelled in passive aggressive douchebag moves.

He set up covert contracts all the time, and he was so terrified of conflict that he never communicated things that bothered him, chose the path of least resistance for himself, then resented me for it. All the while I never got the courtesy of knowing what bothered him but boy was he mad at me for. it. I was regularly failing tests I had no idea I was taking.

You've got to communicate with your wife face to face. At least give her the opportunity to address your grievances, preferably before things boil over. Dealing with someone who sets up these contracts and doesn't communicate is exhausting, which could at least partially explain her lack of motivation.

Just another angle to consider.
 

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@Divinely Favored, Anchorwatch, FarsideJunky....(others welcomed to reply too).

Does it get easier or do you find yourself having to spend the rest of your life on alert? If I have to completely change who I am and spend the rest of my life constantly insuring that I never "lose character" or step out of that role because my wife will then take advantage of me, I don't even WANT that relationship. It all sounds very adversarial. She's supposed to be my partner not my opponent. I can't help but wonder if trading her for a Fleshlight wouldn't make my life easier, better, more fulfilling, and every bit as sensual.

The whole "lighthouse in a storm" things disturbs me. I'm supposed to be HER lighthouse and she gets to be MY raging weather? I don't get a lighthouse? Why? Because I'm a guy? Screw that, if we are NOT lighthouses for EACH OTHER, then why do I need her?

The more time goes by, the angrier I get. It seems very common for grown adult women to expect a man to provide, do, and be everything for her in exchange for one commodity and they act like it's in short supply.
Anger is normally a secondary emotion. The primary is likely hurt or fear.

Which is it for you?

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I'm at an awkward point. I said I would give her time to "turn the ship", and I think she's "trying" to step up, but when I think of HOW MUCH and HOW LONG I've been investing in this relationship, her efforts seem trivial, and I find myself feeling, "Nevermind. Keep it. I don't want your token efforts or one time gifts." I reallllllly don't want a relationship (this one or the next) to be this way.
That is your choice.

18 months, dude. 18 months is what it took for my wife to get to the point that I was settled with not leaving her.

In that time, she was happy, sad, angry, resentful, joyful, furious...you get the picture.

My response (with a few slips here and there) was to shrug my shoulders and go do something I wanted to do.

The lighthouse in the storm thing...yeah, I don't really care for it, either. I have said it on multiple occasions: I have no interest in managing a difficult sub.

All of that said, I hear nothing but resentment coming from you. What are you resenting?



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So what stands out to me that I've not seen addressed is the covert contracts thing and the fact that you had to email her to have a discussion.

Look, covert contracts are coward jerk moves. I'll admit that I could be projecting here because my ex was fabulous at these and was only willing to discuss things via email. Also a self proclaimed nice guy, he excelled in passive aggressive douchebag moves.

He set up covert contracts all the time, and he was so terrified of conflict that he never communicated things that bothered him, chose the path of least resistance for himself, then resented me for it. All the while I never got the courtesy of knowing what bothered him but boy was he mad at me for. it. I was regularly failing tests I had no idea I was taking.

You've got to communicate with your wife face to face. At least give her the opportunity to address your grievances, preferably before things boil over. Dealing with someone who sets up these contracts and doesn't communicate is exhausting, which could at least partially explain her lack of motivation.

Just another angle to consider.
This.

LITS has a nose for these things courtesy of her XH.

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I just wanted to mention that if the roles were reversed, this would be a pretty typical family. I can't tell you how many women are doing everything while their husbands just work at their job. You didn't mention or maybe I just missed it whether you are also working a job.

I know women who are working a job and doing everything else.
 

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Discussion Starter #40
Hmmmm....where to begin?

I spent the night in a hotel.

We've reconciled again.

I was ready for divorce, but your words of wisdom really hit home. It suddenly occurred to me, "If I can't sit down with her and calmly rationally discuss our marriage, how will I be able to calmly rationally discuss our divorce?"

18 months huh? Ok. I think we're worth it and whatever choice I make, I don't want to regret my decision later. I don't want to look back and see all the other steps I COULD HAVE taken. I'll give it more time.

Why am I so resentful? I think it has less to do with her than it does my incredible immensely overwhelming sense of being screwed, cheated, and tricked out of my masculinity by the universe. I know now that I was raised, trained, indoctrinated, brainwashed to be a beta (beta-****). I've been neutered by my upbringing and now here I am at 47 struggling to be a man.

We just discovered one blinding example of this yesterday. Short version....she hates her job because they mistreat her. I hate her job because they mistreat her. Yet, she's a slave to her job. I feel second place to her job. Yesterday she told me that she doesn't feel needed or important at home. She wants be the PARTNER I want, but she's never known how to fit in because I'm so independent that she just feels in the way. Her job, as much as she hates it, gives her a sense of value and self worth that she doesn't get from me. I was shocked and horrified and told her how angry I've been all these years because I felt like she gave the best of her to her boss and left me the scraps. I told her I was done biting my tongue and watching her be abused. I said, "I can't stand to see my wife mistreated, abused, cheated, and ridiculed after sacrificing herself to them. It offends me to core and I HATE it when someone hurts my wife that way." Her answer and my response to her answer floored us both. She said she NEVER knew that I had felt that way and all these years she felt unloved because I NEVER came to her aid or showed any support. I said I thought women were "equals", wanted to fight their own battles, and resented the idea of needing a man's protection. I ASSUMED she would be offended by me trying to protect her. She's spent years waiting for me to be a man and thought she must have deserved her treatment at work because I never tried to protect her from it.

I don't know if that's clear or just a big jumbled up mess. But the point is, I was operating on a covert contract, again, that assumed I knew what she wanted, she knew what I wanted, and we both knew that the other knew what we knew, without ever talking about it, and I was mad at her for not holding up her end of the contract!

How much pain and heartache we caused each other because we simply didn't talk it over a little bit.

I've got so much work to do. But I AM hopeful. I just gotta get this train back on the tracks!
 
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