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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!
This is a great post. You are illustrating the wonderfully painful experiences of self-actualization and growth.

A few things for your consideration:

First, who are you really mad at for being 'cheated'?

If you think it's your wife, you are dead wrong. Here is a fantastic quote that will drive it home:

"People give up their own power, and then blame others for stealing it from them."

Own your ****. She took nothing that you didn't willingly give. She doesn't deserve to have misplaced anger projected upon her.

Second, stop with all the alpha/beta ****. The problem with those titles is that it often gives us a false idea of what we should be, rather than us focusing on being who we actually want to be. A prime example is your statement about not wanting to be the dominant person in the relationship.

Be the man you want to be, with your priorities at the forefront of your decision making. If that makes you alpha...great. If that makes you beta...great. Be true to yourself first. Once that happens, the people who are supposed to be in your life will remain, while those who have no business being in your life will slowly disappear.

Third, you just learned how important true communication actually is. Not coordination, which is discussing who picks up the kids and what we need on the next grocery trip...but actual, emotional communication.

You want to know what's really going to boil your egg? Your wife is just now...after years of marriage...getting a chance to know the REAL you. Let that one soak in for a while.

Fourth, your wife looks at you as being independent likely because you don't give her much room in your life to be able to assist with things. A few years of things moving that direction, early in your relationship, was all it took for her to believe her effort was not really needed there.

And despite what your words may say, your actions were saying something entirely different.

Lastly, If you focus on what happens from day to day, your marriage will end, likely by your hand. You have to look at it strategically, from the 50,000 foot view, and watch the trajectory of the proverbial graph rather than the incremental ups and downs.

Keeping your eye on that overall trajectory will keep minor setbacks in perspective. And if you are deliberate about what I suggested in the second note, this will solve itself anyway.

Be patient...especially when you don't want to be.

Keep working. You're already making progress, even if it doesn't feel like it.

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Assuming can really throw a wrench into a relationship. Never assume. Seems like you both are on the right path, but before you get all pissy at her, remember that things become habit forming and the things you were talking about in your op can be construed as habits ( stretching a bit here, but). Once things start getting done it does become habitual. I do like your wife’s attitude.
Unfortunately sometimes realization comes too late, but in your case, better late than the other option.
 

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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.
The lighthouse analogy means when she gets emotional to not give in to appease her. Stand your ground if you are in the right and she eventually sees and returns and apologises for her behavior and being upset for no valid reason.

Also women have an innate need to be safe and protected. They will at times **** test you to reassure themselves that you are still the man.

My wife was going to do something one day and was adamant she was. I told her No you are not and get your azz down off the ladder! She did as she was told with a smile. It turned her on i put my foot down and was about to spank that azz. Its in asserting masculinity.
 

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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.
My wife could compare notes with you to a T. Until about 7 yrs ago when i broke and we had a long talk and over 2 days unloaded alot of things i was resentful for that she had no idea. I had learned from my parents marriage. After that i communicated and also resented my mom for how she behaviod and my dad for being a weak dpormat and not standing up to her. My marriage has moved to a higher level that the previous 15 yrs. Thanks to HNHN, MMSLP AND NMMNG
 

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If you only get angrier and believe she's not bringing anything to the relationship then by all means to the respectful thing and D her swiftly.

That simple. Do or do not. There is no try.
 

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My wife could compare notes with you to a T. Until about 7 yrs ago when i broke and we had a long talk and over 2 days unloaded alot of things i was resentful for that she had no idea. I had learned from my parents marriage. After that i communicated and also resented my mom for how she behaviod and my dad for being a weak dpormat and not standing up to her. My marriage has moved to a higher level that the previous 15 yrs. Thanks to HNHN, MMSLP AND NMMNG
I'm so happy you were able to deal with that.

My ex was unwilling and unable to deal with it. Throw in the fact that hw kept an ex gf around for our entire relationship and that was it for us.
 

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Discussion Starter #48 (Edited)
If you only get angrier and believe she's not bringing anything to the relationship then by all means to the respectful thing and D her swiftly.

That simple. Do or do not. There is no try.
I appreciate your input and your sentiment about taking action when action is needed.

I think though, that I only really agree with your Yoda quote. I WANT to fix this marriage, and to THAT, I would say "Do or do not. There is no TRY."

As we've talked over the recent weeks, we've both grown. Therapy has helped but so has simply talking with each other about our feelings, needs, wants, and I think most importantly, our previously held ASSumptions.

I fully intend to continue working on my MAP.

One startling revelation I've had, SINCE dropping the D-bomb, is the fact that MY problems would only manifest themselves in ALL of my subsequent relationships with any woman. So, divorce is NOT the solution I need. It would cause a ton of hurt all around and do nothing to make ME a better man.
 

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Discussion Starter #49
The lighthouse analogy means when she gets emotional to not give in to appease her. Stand your ground if you are in the right and she eventually sees and returns and apologises for her behavior and being upset for no valid reason.....
.....Its in asserting masculinity.
I get it. I just don't like the implication that the woman gets a lighthouse and the man does not.

But I realize now that she HAS always been the light in my storm. She's tough, resilient, and never tried to lash out or hurt me the way I have her.

And you, and others, are 100% right. My wife is a woman who WANTS a MAN, NOT an imitation or a look alike, but a REAL MAN.

I'm getting there!
 

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Discussion Starter #50
The lighthouse analogy means when she gets emotional to not give in to appease her. Stand your ground if you are in the right and she eventually sees and returns and apologises for her behavior and being upset for no valid reason.....
.....Its in asserting masculinity.
I get it. I just don't like the implication that the woman gets a lighthouse and the man does not.

But I realize now that she HAS always been the light in my storm. She's tough, resilient, and never tried to lash out or hurt me the way I have her.

And you, and others, are 100% right. My wife is a woman who WANTS a MAN, NOT an imitation or a look alike, but a REAL MAN.

I'm getting there
 

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I'm so happy you were able to deal with that.

My ex was unwilling and unable to deal with it. Throw in the fact that hw kept an ex gf around for our entire relationship and that was it for us.
Im very anti ex. Unless there are kids involved, i believe one should cut ties to an ex. No contact!
And warn a spouse if they should end up working with or start to become friends with one of your exs.
 

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@farsidejunky: Who am I really mad at? I DON'T know, but I'm rereading NMMNG and in the very beginning Dr Glover says, "Their inclination is to hang on to belief systems that have PROVEN to be consistently unworkable, yet are SO imbedded in their unconscious mind that to challenge them is tantamount to heresy."😧 I told you I'm the guy he was writing about!

Everything else you've said is also spot on. I appreciate and am trying to apply all of it. I especially like watching the overall trajectory instead of the minute to minute ups and downs.

I'm done (mostly) being angry. I read once, "You can get bitter or you can get better." I'm ready to be better.

Thanks again!
 

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@Meatball Long story short I stayed for the last sexless 10 years of a 30-year marriage for the kids. On the outside, everything was normal and my ex was perfectly happy. I tried everything to fix things. My ex would always say that she knew, she'd work on it, etc. but nothing ever changed. I finally decided that being trapped in a miserable, unhappy situation was no longer acceptable, and when my youngest graduated HS, I was out. She was none too happy but I finally decided to put my happiness first for the first time in my life.

I would say that my great Life's Regret is not pulling the trigger ten years earlier, but then I wouldn't have met the amazing wife and have the awesome relationship that I have now. If you find yourself bored, wade through my thread in this section and you'll see that it wasn't easy, but ultimately worth it. I wish you the best.

Edited to Add: I am not recommending that you leave, just telling you my story from the benefit of hindsight.
 

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What are you doing for exercise?

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Discussion Starter #56
Cromer, I'll check it out. Thanks.

FarsideJunky, I do Taekwondo with my oldest son twice a week and try to bike ride 2-3 hours a week.
 

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@Meatball , something to consider is that your wife, in real time, is being subjected to the emotional roller coaster we've seen here. Your posts are those of a man on a jouney, but it's a life-long process that you're necessarily compressing into a very short period of time because you're frustrated, you've had that come-to-Jesus moment, you feel you've articulated your needs to your wife and, from your point of view, all she has to do is accept your entirely-reasonable position.

Except that your entirely-reasonable position continues to evolve and you continue your journey from the guy you wish you never were to the guy you want to be.

There is no guarantee that you can become the guy you want to be. It's not a vision that your wife can likely share in a helpful way, either. And your wife, seeing the roller coaster of emotions you're displaying, has to be wondering who's sleeping next to her tonight because it's not the same person it was a couple weeks ago nor is it the same person she'll be sharing a bed with two weeks down the road.

So here's the ultimate paradox. YOUR patience is wearing thin because your wife still doesn't really get it; she makes little changes here and there, but you see her back pedaling. If you're damned lucky, you're seeing two steps forward, one step back. More likely you FEEL like it's a groundhog-day thing, where she continues to reset things back to where they were. Like a cruel game giving you hope, just enough to keep you going, while you're not really moving forward.

And your wife? She feels pretty much exactly the same. HER patience is wearing thin because she doesn't understand what she's expected to do. She understands enough to know that agreeing to what you say is a good thing, because it calms the discussion, gets her off the hook for a while, and APPEARS to validate your concerns. But she gets tired of the expectations, thinking that "trying" is something she should get credit for, and when are you going to give her credit???!!!

I know nothing about this. Absolutely 100% nothing whatsoever. I wish.
 
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