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Discussion Starter #581
I admire your tenacity. I would throw in the towel if there was no affection or words of affirmation. I suppose that's my love language. It has to hurt a great deal when he doesn't even want to give you a hug. Well, keep us posted. I just hope someday soon he'll tell you why he's detached from the marriage.
Thank you. I am a hard worker if nothing else, so I suppose that is serving me well right now.

My therapist said that based on several things I have said, it sounds like he is going through a depressive episode (because he's withdrawn from friends, hobbies, interests, and not just me) and she said it's not a real diagnosis since she hasn't talked directly with him, but if that is the case, a lot of depression/depressive episodes start to work themselves out after about 8 months or a year without therapy or help.
 

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Does your therapist think you are doing the right thing or does she advise you to do the 180 or detach or do something differently?
 

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Discussion Starter #583
OP, you know what I see that's slowly changed over the 3-month course of this thread?

I've seen you LOWER your expectations again and again and again. Swooning because he smiled at you????? You don't even see how low you've set the bar in order to think your marriage is getting better, and it's just so sad.

Aine is right on the money. You're doing the "Pick Me!!" Dance every single hour of every single day, looking for hidden meaning in every single movement he makes and even more sadly, thinking these terribly minor, minimal things are some kind of sign that things are getting better.

You're basically taking the paltry crumbs he occasionally throws your way and desperately trying to make a 7-course meal out of them. Self-delusion makes you feel better, but honestly? It just sets you up for an even BIGGER fall when you refuse to see reality until it smacks you full in the face. Then, it's debilitating.

Take off the blinders.
Actually, my expectations are quite high. If they were lower, I'd be content with where we are right now, and I'm not.
I'd stop working towards being a better ME and I'd stop working towards envisioning a better WE and I'd throw in the towel. I'm not giving up on my plan and I'm not lowering my expectations. I believe it is perfectly acceptable to look for the silver lining, it's certainly a lot more productive than looking for the negative. If I am to do my best work and have no regrets on how I've handled this, I'm not going to get there by being angry and negative. I am not a coward either, meaning that I'm not going to NOT do this because it might hurt worse later.

It hurts. It hurt in the beginning, it hurts every day, some days not as much, and some days it's just a blip on the radar. If he leaves me and all my hard work doesn't yield the outcome that I want, then it's going to hurt then too. I know this, and I am OK with this. It's going to hurt NO MATTER WHAT. That's part of letting go of the outcome and just staying the course because I want to handle things a certain way, not because I'm trying to avoid being hurt.

Am I accepting behavior now, in the moment, while he is going through his crisis that I eventually will not accept? YES.
Am I being forgiving because it's a choice I can make right now to work towards a goal that I have in my sights? YES.
You can call me weak, you can call me sad and pathetic and delusional, you can pass whatever judgement you'd like to, but from where I'm sitting, I'm being very strong and patient and courageous. I am choosing to make my decisions based on my goal of saving my marriage, not based on my feelings. I'm honoring my vows - in sickness and in health, for better or worse. I want to break the cycle of divorce in my family and I want to show my adult children what real commitment looks like, not just fair weather crap.

I'm not begging or pleading for his attention. I go do my own thing when he's in town and when he's out of town. I still occasionally get a little snarky and push back at him. I'm still thinking carefully about my boundaries and determining what some of them are and should be. I continue to work on reducing my bad habits and develop better habits. I'm investing time and energy into my friendships and family, my children, my work.

I am highlighting positive things like him smiling at me. Because I choose to find and focus on the positive things in order to build up my morale. I am results oriented, and this snails pace of small improvements is driving me absolutely bonkers, but at least there is some improvement. And you know what, things could continue to improve, and the marriage might still not be saved. I know that. The improvements I see might not have any great or deep meaning. That's OK too.
 

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Discussion Starter #584
Does your therapist think you are doing the right thing or does she advise you to do the 180 or detach or do something differently?
My therapist continues to encourage me to work on my goals. For example, I really want to be a better listener, which is a lot harder than I thought it was going to be...I tend to listen in order to respond because I am quite a talker. I got in trouble in grade school for talking a lot and that trend hasn't really changed. She continues to give me assignments to help me build those better habits. When I told her how much I was struggling with this she said my assignment was to learn something new about somebody every day. When I'm busy trying to learn something new about a person, even a person I know well, that means I have to talk less and ask more questions. I think this has worked well so far, much better than me just pausing and taking a deep breath, old habits formed over YEARS are really hard to stop.

As for how I am being with my husband, she has been very encouraging of my plan. The one thing she's really coached me on doing or not doing is to not feed into his anger. He hardly ever directs his anger/irritation at me anymore, but he does continue to get worked up about the pandemic, the politics, and society in general, so she's coached me to acknowledge his feelings of anger, but not to encourage or engage him talking about it. She says that anger is an easier emotion to deal with, which is why he's probably more comfortable expressing that right now over most other emotions.

She also believes that when I stay calm, or upbeat, or easy going, or unpredictable, it shows him that he might just be wrong about what ever narrative he's got going on in his head about my role in all of "this" since in the past I usually took things personally and over reacted. He's so used to me acting and reacting a certain way, that by slowly and surely showing him I do NOT or no longer act/react that way, perhaps some of the other "things" he's told himself aren't true either.

I have not asked her specifically about the 180, but she does encourage me to pursue my interests, hobbies, friendships, dinners out with friends etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #585
Nothing new to report, same stuff.
Feeling tired and exhausted today...I am a results oriented person and it's exhausting to continue working and to feel like I'm not seeing the results I should, both with my personal growth and the relationship.

For a month or longer I have felt strong and determined, with only a few ups and downs. However the past week or so I have been struggling emotionally with taking things personally, feeing hurt, getting angry, feeling resentful, and now I'm just tired.

Maybe I'll just spend a day being tired and it will be OK.
 

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When it starts to weigh on you like this, it may be time for a new outlook. Did you ever go visit the business accountant or lawyer or such the first lawyer recommended. You can work toward separation and staying together at the same time you know.
 

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However the past week or so I have been struggling emotionally with taking things personally, feeing hurt, getting angry, feeling resentful, and now I'm just tired.
Considering the way your husband treats you, and the fact that he's not connecting with you on a level you need, I'm not surprised you feel this way. Actually, it sounds pretty healthy to me that you're getting angry and resentful. After all, he's not exactly being the sort of husband you want right now. It may be your gut starting to tell you that enough is enough.

Working on yourself is all well and good, but can you see where working on yourself and not changing how you behave to his treatment is keeping you in a hold pattern? My guess is your resentment and anger will continue to build if he doesn't change and you don't start to DEMAND change from him. JMO.
 
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