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Hello, you seem like helpful folk so I would like to see if you have any thoughts on this.

Over the course of my marriage I have made some silly mistakes as a result of not always being completely open. I would detail them here, but in hindsight they seem so silly & embarrassing I am loath to do so. Nonetheless, I believe some of them are the root of why I believe my wife no longer has any respect for me. We have many arguments over money/time/stress/housework/our marriage (novel I know) but in essence it's always the same argument, her listing my faults: I don't help enough, I'm not concerned about our finances, I'm only concerned about myself, etc. When I try to defend myself with examples it falls on deaf ears. When I point out her failings (admitting to mine) that no one is perfect, she just gets more angry. She never seems to take my concerns seriously. If she is legitimately angry with me, I will, over the course of the argument (sometimes sooner), acknowledge her position & apologize. The opposite is almost never true. If I feel legitimately angry with her, I am only met with anger, hostility & vitriol. Hence, I believe she no longer respects me.

I know there is much blame to lay at my feet and I would like to repair our marriage. I've been reading here & there about reconciliation strategies and one is to simply start giving with no expectations. Now, I am all set to do this, but it feels like this is not a sound way to try & regain respect; by being an unconditional giver as a strategy to try begin to right this ship that is vastly off course.

I am sorry, this is rather unfocused and I don't have time at the moment to post about our relationship in its entirety (who wants to read that book?), but I did want to try & start a conversation. Respect, once lost, is it gone forever?
 

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Take a look at the "She divorced me" thread. It is in the General section.
 
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@ConanHub

Could you link the thread, please? For some reason I cannot.
 
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It sounds like she wants you to take more of a lead and discuss issues a little less.

Try improving without looking to see if she approves.

Start taking charge and repairing where you need to and don't let her behavior influence you one way or the other.

Improve, take charge of the issues and start leading without worrying about approval, though she will probably start approving.

While doing this, don't fall into the trap of trying to do anything just to get her approval.

Do what is right because you know it is right, regardless of how she behaves.

She might require a dominant man.
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It sounds like she wants you to take more of a lead and discuss issues a little less.
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Yes, this is true. Unfortunately that goes against my natural disposition. Hence, we have this argument over & over.
 

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I am becoming concerned about my own relationship the more I read about BPD.
Pan, welcome to the TAM forum. You made this statement today in Manslave's thread. I don't know if your remark is intended to be serious or facetious. If the former is true and you would like to discuss the red flags for Borderline Personality Disorder, it would be helpful for us to know which of the 18 BPD warning signs you are seeing at a strong and persistent level. It also would be helpful to know how far you got into your marriage before those traits started showing strongly.
 

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Pan, welcome to the TAM forum. You made this statement today in Manslave's thread. I don't know if your remark is intended to be serious or facetious. If the former is true and you would like to discuss the red flags for Borderline Personality Disorder, it would be helpful for us to know which of the 18 BPD warning signs you are seeing at a strong and persistent level. It also would be helpful to know how far you got into your marriage before those traits started showing strongly.
Thank you.

I should have kept that comment to myself. And I was confusing BPD with signs of verbal abuse (sorry to have raised the BPD flag); but a few of Manslave's comments rang true.

my wife explodes when she is even slightly criticized.
She didn't want [marital] therapy
made me question my sanity
She has exhibited jealousy & controlling behavior that has isolated me from some of my friends. Once, for one of my friends (usher in my wedding), he was having a bachelor party that I wasn't made aware of the invite until the day of. We had already made plans for a movie night in. I really wanted to go but she made me feel guilty for bailing on our plans, so I never went. I didn't get invited to his wedding.

But all in all, nothing like what Manslave described. So I don't think BPD is accurate. But she does commonly insult my hobbies, passions & interests. And call me names when angry. And she destroyed one of our wedding photos in a fit of anger. And a kitchen cabinet door. She also told me once in the heat of an argument, bantering about divorce, that she would kill herself if she didn't get custody of the children (the only time she has ever mentioned suicide).

And money, that becomes the climax of our arguments, no matter how they began. And I always get an email the next day about separate finances. She's closer to the world of finance than I am, so I ended up letting her handle the finances when we kept arguing about how to do it when we were first married. Now it's her burden that I haven't consistenly helped with, though I've told her I would. When we were having a particular blowup I asked her if she would agree to counselling. The cost was her primary concern as was the time to do it. Both valid concerns as we both work full time; but it struck me as odd that those were her first responses.

I wouldn't marry her if I could do it over again & she has said as much herself. But we have young children now which makes separating far more complicated so I feel utterly trapped. I can't afford divorce & I don't want to be away from my children. I was looking at divorce lawyers this morning again & then going through some old emails from Mort Fertel I had signed up for a while back. And one thing he said was true: I haven't given it my all to save our marriage. And obviously I am no saint & I have done things that have unintentionally pushed her away. Miserable as it feels right now, it seems to be my lot in life so I best make the most of it for my children & my own sanity. Which is what prompted my question of regaining what I feel is my loss of being respected. Because right now, even when things are good, it's as if we're merely roommates, cohabitating for the sake of raising children. And that's not how I want to spend my life.

I know I'm leaving a lot of salient details out & I'm afraid I'm still just rambling but I'm tired & no one comes here to read a book.
 

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The answer to your question is "Maybe, but only if you start to assert yourself."

Unfortunately you can't do that if you take divorce off the table.

Sorry you are here.
 

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Hi Pan,

First of all, I want to say that there are some issues only your wife can sort out for herself. In other words, it's her responsibility to work on her insecurities, figure out why they're there and how to calm her brain. It's not your responsibility to do this for her.

I don't know your wife, but she seems to be taking control of a lot because she doesn't think you can handle it. She needs to let go some and you need to stop talking and do. The more you talk and reason with her, the less convinced she'll be that you can do it.

Are her concerns founded? Think about them and be honest about the answer. If she's worried about money, could you be spending it better? Etc... Take ownership of what you should, and delegate ownership to her of the things that matter most to her.

When she complains about something "silly" to you, that's an emotional response from her. It's less about the thing itself and more about how your actions (or lack of) make her feel. Even if she's an engineer, I'm sure she'll do this occasionally. My mother is a C-level engineer, and she still manages to have irrational, illogical worries. Again, only she can process her emotions, but simple reassurance goes a mile sometimes. "I took care of it so you wouldn't come home to a mushroom cloud" is usually my choice of a reassuring phrase when she complains, lol.

It is possible that maybe there's no solution to this. Sometimes people grow apart or life changes too much. You're living in this life so it's a bit too easy for me to be objective. You must do what you believe is best. Sorry you're here.
 
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It's always about her needs, isn't it?
I think it starts there.

If I were you, I would really listen to what she is saying. Be empathetic. Don't try to defend yourself. You don't have to agree with her, but hear her out.

Feeling listened to, and understood, generally makes people feel respected. When they feel respected, they are more likely to treat you with respect, too.

Of course, your own comportment is what will truly earn you respect. So be honest with yourself about your shortcomings, and strive to improve them.

Are you familiar with Active Listening, pan?
 

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It's always about her needs, isn't it?
I think it starts there.

If I were you, I would really listen to what she is saying. Be empathetic. Don't try to defend yourself. You don't have to agree with her, but hear her out.

Feeling listened to, and understood, generally makes people feel respected. When they feel respected, they are more likely to treat you with respect, too.

Of course, your own comportment is what will truly earn you respect. So be honest with yourself about your shortcomings, and strive to improve them.

Are you familiar with Active Listening, pan?
Thank you for your response.

Active listening, as in repeating back salient points to demonstrate you are focused on what is said?
 

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Thank you for your response.

Active listening, as in repeating back salient points to demonstrate you are focused on what is said?
Yes. Or asking an open ended question to get more feedback.

She needs your acceptance of her feelings in order to feel trust in you.
 

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You said you made some silly mistakes.... does this mean you were lying or was it something other?

My husband has lied a lot throughout our marriage and majority of it has been over the most stupid stuff. I'll be honest, after so many years, I have lost respect for him. I think I could regain it back for him... if he could stop lying. But he thinks white lies are ok and won't make an effort to be 100% honest. Of much of an effort on our marriage, period. After awhile of this it's like what's the point? why bother?

so I would agree with the posters who said you need to work on her needs first if you want to get respect gained back... I do think it can be done, but I think it is a lot of work that you have to be willing to do. If you made the mistakes, then you have to work to repair it. That is, if you want too.
 
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