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Discussion Starter #1
So this is my cry for help...

Quick history for those who don't know...

Been together for 5.5 years. Married since March this year. Me: two children from a previous relationship, two together.

First came on TAM a couple of years ago mainly talking about IIRC his reticence to show affection. Five months later I was reporting his EA with a girl at work when the youngest was a baby.

Worked through it and got married earlier this year.

I think it's safe to say we're in a rough spot. I feel pretty unhappy. We've only been married six months and I feel sad that I feel like this in our first year.

What's the problem? Well... It's difficult to pinpoint one single thing but I will try to summarise.

My self-esteem, which took a hit, has never really recovered to a manageable level. This seeps out in many areas. I have an increased need for him to show his love and desire, and for whatever reason, he is reluctant to follow through with this. He kind of goes in fits and starts. I have been quite specific in what I need from him and it usually trails off.

I have always been quite HD but it is becoming more apparent of a gulf between our drives. The reason for this I cannot be sure of, though he swears nothing has actually changed on his part. He sees it as a normal part of life together for things to settle down.

It appears to me that he is happy for whatever reason to carry on. He is happy until I bring up something he promised to do but didn't, then this results in the "you're never going to be happy" argument. He recently admitted that he rarely thinks about such things I ask of him that would help rebuild my self-esteem; he says relationships shouldn't be such hard work that we need to keep talking about these things, but he neglects to see that if he actually DID these things, we wouldn't need to keep talking about them!

A side-effect is that I doubt his desire for me. I find him very attractive and let him know. He rarely says anything to me, or shows me; in fact recently when we do have alone time together he very much expects things to happen "just like that." There is no build-up, seduction, anything. In truth on my part I stopped making as much effort because I felt very much taken for granted. I feel that most times, any effort on his part is him making a show - like, if we've just had a falling out, he will do something to "show" that, yes, he does make an effort... But then, that will trail off. He doesn't appear to do it just because he could, because he thinks I'd like it, to show he loves me, it's like he does it to tick off a box then it's done. The fact is, I probably get the same amount of attention from guys I walk past in the street as I do him.

We were talking last week and he said something... I was explaining how I compared myself to the OW and how different me and her were. He spoke, saying that he felt I'd really built up the relationship between him and her to be more than it ever was. Said she was nice but not *that* nice. A light bulb went on in my head. He was minimising completely what went on. He doesn't truly "get" how it has affected me and I don't know if he will.

It is apparent that I am not going to get the reassurance I continue to need from him to feel secure in his love. The sad thing is, it looks like it is possibly not to do with the way he actually FEELS, but that he simply does not prioritise AT ALL what I am asking of him. And it REALLY isn't that much.

So I am faced with knowing that my future consists of knowing that he can't effectively be bothered to give me the affirmation I need. I am looking five, ten, twenty years into the future and considering how I will feel if things stay like this.

I genuinely felt that the progress we had made would continue after getting married and we'd eventually get to a place where things were "even", good going. But I feel like we've stalled and I don't know where to go from here.

Thoughts?
 

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My H minimizes his EA's also. He says they were just friends and there wasn't ever any sexual tension or interest in them. Yet he had a PA with at least the one during his previous marriage.

It does put a kink in your self esteem if he is trying to tell you that she "wasn't that nice, or that special",,, then why was is so important to deceive the one you say you love so much to talk to her? Why put your marriage in jeopardy?

I know,, I'm asking all the "why's" that don't get answered, but what else do we have to know.. they don't tell us anything.

I don't know if this is the TT, so it betters their chances at staying with us?

It's just all so aggravating. I was so back and forth with decision... until I had a friend give me some spot on advice.
She said that I have to decide "what I can live with"...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
My H minimizes his EA's also. He says they were just friends and there wasn't ever any sexual tension or interest in them. Yet he had a PA with at least the one during his previous marriage.

It does put a kink in your self esteem if he is trying to tell you that she "wasn't that nice, or that special",,, then why was is so important to deceive the one you say you love so much to talk to her? Why put your marriage in jeopardy?

I know,, I'm asking all the "why's" that don't get answered, but what else do we have to know.. they don't tell us anything.

I don't know if this is the TT, so it betters their chances at staying with us?

It's just all so aggravating. I was so back and forth with decision... until I had a friend give me some spot on advice.
She said that I have to decide "what I can live with"...
I can relate...My husband has flickered back and forth about his feelings for the OW. I think as time has gone by and he came out of the fog, and he began to comprehend the dynamics of what happened, he realised she wasn't actually that nice a person. So, with hindsight, it is clearly very easy for him to say that he didn't really like her, she wasn't that nice, she wasn't that attractive, etc, when at the time it was a different matter. She pursued him initially and in hindsight the red flags were there that he did find her attractive but it's almost anathema to say that to him.

FWIW I think maybe "minimising" isn't the right word. I think he genuinely believes he didn't like her that much; I think what he actually means is he doesn't like her that much NOW.

Your second paragraph is one I have brought up before, and often mulled over. The simple answer is "the fog." Mine doesn't really understand the fog but it is the motivation for the crazy stuff they do. There is no rational explanation they can give; he just says he was an idiot.

The "what I can live with" is what I am contemplating. I can't say he is all bad and this is what complicates the issue. Quite frankly to the average outsider, they'd probably say he was a good, loyal family man. Obviously I see his good qualities, which is part of why I am still here.

My worry is I keep on giving him time to change his ways, and I find myself here, with him, in exactly the same situation, in twenty years' time and kick myself for not taking action and letting life pass me by.

Thus I am asking myself, are my expectations realistic? Am I asking reasonable things of him? Although I feel upset, is anything he brings up in relation to this, actually a good point I need to think about?

Some things he has said about my requests of things I think would help rebuild my self-esteem:

"I just don't think about things the way you do. These things are at the forefront of your mind because it's you. I have a list of things in my head I need to deal with and I'm usually thinking about them." Ergo, it's okay if I forget stuff because you're nowhere the top of my list of priorities.

"I forget things. You should know what it's like, you're forgetful too. You need to remind me when you want me to do something." The implication being if I don't remind him, it's MY fault if he doesn't do something.

"If I told you you were beautiful two or three times a week, how do I know that would be enough? You might want more and I might end up having to do it every day."

"If I do that, then there'd be something else after you'd want because you're never happy." I'd better not do this in case she asks me for something else after. She'll bleat on about it for a bit then get fed up.
 

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Some things he has said about my requests of things I think would help rebuild my self-esteem:

"I just don't think about things the way you do. These things are at the forefront of your mind because it's you. I have a list of things in my head I need to deal with and I'm usually thinking about them." Ergo, it's okay if I forget stuff because you're nowhere the top of my list of priorities.
[/I]
I used to get this from my ex husband too! Everything else was obviously his priority over me and our marriage. (he was in EA with his ex wife)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I used to get this from my ex husband too! Everything else was obviously his priority over me and our marriage. (he was in EA with his ex wife)
I don't know what your exH meant when he said this, but I think my husband is saying that he's busy making his way through the day and just doesn't have time to think about us because it detracts his focus from elsewhere.

It's unfortunate but he has said it before that he thinks relationships should just "happen"; any hint of having to work at it and he's up in arms saying this isn't how it should be.

He's actually in really good spirits today having had some good news. He is a lot more interested in me and responsive when he's like this. What is pretty sad though is when he came through the door before he told me the good news, he'd already let his best friend know the news before me, and arranged to go out and celebrate with a few beers. He knows I wouldn't be able to come out at such short notice with the kids at home. He could easily have gotten some beers in and we could have spent the evening together but when stuff like this happens, he always makes plans to go out without me. Says it's too much trouble for us to both go out together midweek and offers consolatory stuff, stuff he knows I like but only pulls out when he's done something to upset me or is *going* to do something to upset me, or to prove a point. Like asking if I want a massage, or promising some "quality time" later.

Thing is I'm saying this like it's new, and it's not.
 

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Tobio,
I like reading your posts. You have a lot of passion and a genuine desire to be fair and balanced.

Does he generally pull his weight? Is it primarily the flirting and pursuing that is lacking or is it in many areas that he does the minimum needed to avoid immediate friction?

There is a subtext between lovers, there is a 'do you?', 'yes I do! '
My wife asks for a glass of water, and in my smile as I bring it, she hears me saying,' I love you'.

You asked him about the wedding many times. He made his lack of excitement plain. It is not possible for someone on a forum to understand if he is low affect, or not as 'into you', as you wish him to be.

We always tell the men here to improve themselves first. I get the impression you have done some of that already.

The tough thing is if you were to ask him: How can I be a better wife, he likely won't want you to do more for him, but rather for you to ASK less from him.
 

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My self-esteem, which took a hit, has never really recovered to a manageable level. This seeps out in many areas. I have an increased need for him to show his love and desire, and for whatever reason, he is reluctant to follow through with this. He kind of goes in fits and starts. I have been quite specific in what I need from him and it usually trails off.
Because what you're asking him to do is sure to end in divorce. Women always say they want a guy who is madly in love with them, but we know for a fact that it drives women away roughly 100% of the time. Every guy, including me, has tried being nice. It never works. Women seem to show more interest when we're slightly rude and inconsiderate.


"you're never going to be happy" argument
And he's right. Self esteem is internal. You can tell a man or a woman that they're attractive, and it never sinks in. Lots of people have said that I'm attractive but I still see myself as unattractive. Similarly, nobody can convince that fat chick with the muffin top that she's brutal to look at. She's sexy and she knows it, even when everybody else in the world tells her otherwise.

He recently admitted that he rarely thinks about such things I ask of him that would help rebuild my self-esteem; he says relationships shouldn't be such hard work that we need to keep talking about these things, but he neglects to see that if he actually DID these things, we wouldn't need to keep talking about them!
Requiring work means your relationship sucks. I can't think of any friendships where I've had to work hard to maintain the friendship. Requiring constant work means you're probably not a good match.


A side-effect is that I doubt his desire for me.
Because you've told him what to say and do. Now that he does exactly what you ask (say you're attractive), there's no way to tell if he feels that way or if he's saying it just because you told him to say it. This is why he shouldn't do what you're asking. It blows the credibility of every nice thing he does.
 

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He isn't changing. You knew who he was before you married him.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Tobio,
I like reading your posts. You have a lot of passion and a genuine desire to be fair and balanced.

Does he generally pull his weight? Is it primarily the flirting and pursuing that is lacking or is it in many areas that he does the minimum needed to avoid immediate friction?

There is a subtext between lovers, there is a 'do you?', 'yes I do! '
My wife asks for a glass of water, and in my smile as I bring it, she hears me saying,' I love you'.

You asked him about the wedding many times. He made his lack of excitement plain. It is not possible for someone on a forum to understand if he is low affect, or not as 'into you', as you wish him to be.

We always tell the men here to improve themselves first. I get the impression you have done some of that already.

The tough thing is if you were to ask him: How can I be a better wife, he likely won't want you to do more for him, but rather for you to ASK less from him.
Thanks MEM - I DO really try hard to be fair, which is a continuous job for me as I *am* passionate and emotional and very introspective.

Generally he pulls his weight. He likes to be the provider, and also does a lot of stuff around the house and is really involved with the kids. A quality of his I really admire in his day-to-day life is that he is very decisive. I notice this as I am the opposite. An example I use is we were looking for a walker for the baby last year. If it were me, I would spend time researching walkers, brands, perusing websites and shops for prices and take time to make a decision. I told him I was looking for one, he agreed it would be a nice thing for the baby, picked up the laptop, found a preloved one on a local website, phoned up and had bought and picked it up twenty minutes later and brought it home.

*thinking* It seems to be just in the romantic areas. I feel that he dismisses some of the things I say, and certainly doesn't prioritise any of them. I think carefully about what I have asked of him and if it is reasonable, how would *I* feel if he asked the same of me, what impression does it give to ask x,y or z and how important that impression is.

He is very laid back. I am not-at-all. In a lot of ways this is really good because we complement each other and work well together. If asked he says of course he loves and desires me but "doesn't know" why he doesn't do the stuff I ask except that he forgets.

And as for your last paragraph; I can be 99% sure he would say that. He has often said he wouldn't change who I am because I am fine the way I am but I think he would say this.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hi, do you two do date nights or just go out and have couple time together?
Not very often. We have often clashed over this as my LL is quality time. We have four young kids so organising the logistics is daunting but it is do-able as we have helpful family. It usually falls to me to do as he wouldn't think about a night out together until, say, Saturday at 5pm then be disappointed because we wouldn't be able to sort it out.

For him, he is quite happy with the time we spend sat together after the kids are in bed or the time we spend as family time. I like both but I would also like us to get out more, but that would be on my shoulders to do as he wouldn't think to do it.

He regularly goes out for beers maybe two or three times a week with his best friend, but we don't go out together in the week as he says it's just more trouble than it's worth to organise.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Because what you're asking him to do is sure to end in divorce. Women always say they want a guy who is madly in love with them, but we know for a fact that it drives women away roughly 100% of the time. Every guy, including me, has tried being nice. It never works. Women seem to show more interest when we're slightly rude and inconsiderate.
I totally understand what you are saying. However to me, his lack of engagement says he has the same level of regard towards me as when he was having his EA and that he doesn't feel he has to help mend the damage he caused. I would be over the moon if he actually did the things I said I would like. I would feel cherished and loved and listened to and also that he really cared that he had damaged my self-esteem and wanted to help make it better.



And he's right. Self esteem is internal. You can tell a man or a woman that they're attractive, and it never sinks in. Lots of people have said that I'm attractive but I still see myself as unattractive. Similarly, nobody can convince that fat chick with the muffin top that she's brutal to look at. She's sexy and she knows it, even when everybody else in the world tells her otherwise.
Mate, I am quite happy with me as me. Look in the mirror and most of the time - yeah baby I look good! I'm not perfect but I like me. I like who I am as a core person. I know my strengths and my weaknesses I am working on continuously.

Now, if you asked me what I thought my husband saw or felt... THAT is different. THAT is where things fall down. Logically I can say, well he married me so he must love me. He is here so he must love me. Do I feel loved? Sometimes. A lot of the time I feel ignored or dismissed.


Requiring work means your relationship sucks. I can't think of any friendships where I've had to work hard to maintain the friendship. Requiring constant work means you're probably not a good match.
I understand what you are saying.

I think in the context of a romantic relationship, the "work" thing is different though. I see it like this. If he DID the things I needed, then we wouldn't be requiring constant work. It is the fact that he doesn't do these things for whatever reason that perpetuates the feeling of requiring constant work.



Because you've told him what to say and do. Now that he does exactly what you ask (say you're attractive), there's no way to tell if he feels that way or if he's saying it just because you told him to say it. This is why he shouldn't do what you're asking. It blows the credibility of every nice thing he does.
I have totally thought this too. I think of it like this. When he DOES tell me he finds me attractive, for example, what I hear IN ADDITION TO him telling me he finds me attractive (I believe he wouldn't say something unless he meant it), is that he has listened to me and chosen to do something he knows means a hell of a lot to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
He isn't changing. You knew who he was before you married him.
I can't tell you how many times I have thought this.

From where I'm standing, my thought process was that we had made progress from when he had his EA. I felt that it would be a continuing process. I wanted to get married and I believed that was part of our journey together and that the process of healing would continue through and after that.

Maybe I was wrong. Maybe I saw things wrong. I don't know yet, I'm not sure tbh. I'm trying to work it out.
 

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Yesterday was interesting.

He is still in good spirits after some good news (a new job.) He made a flippant comment about being busy before he starts his new job, he is helping two sets of relatives with some work in their house. He added after that as well as that, his marriage was "falling apart." Said in an almost jokey fashion but I know that is his way of acknowledging that he is thinking about it.

At various points he was quite attentive. Wanted to lay on the sofa with me snuggled up. Got the littler kids looked after in the afternoon so we could have some free time before the older ones finished school. Then found out he'd planned to go out for a few hours with his brother. I had hoped given he starts his new job next week and he'd decided to spend the other evening celebrating with his friend instead of me that he'd want to spend child-free time together. But no he did not mention this *shrugs*

He was out for about 8 or so hours then came back with ice cream for me. He sat with me and his phone was on and off beeping all evening with text messages from his friend (they send each other silly texts.) We chatted and he rested my legs across his lap and massaged them for a while. I got tired and asked if he wanted to go to bed but he wanted to have another beer then go up. I waited but fell asleep on the sofa waiting then woke up around 2am to find he'd gone up and left me there :(

These cute things he does for me: they're the stops he pulls out when I have been upset. I appreciate that he is obviously listening to me and what I am saying. But from experience I can say for sure that in a couple of weeks he won't be rubbing my legs or asking to lay on the sofa with me. It will stop and if I want those things I'll need to ask for them.

Oh and something that struck me but not sure what to make of it... I commented the other night when he went out to celebrate with his friend, that I had noticed that he also offers massages etc on an evening when he goes out. I also see that he "ups" the "offerings" if he goes out when he knows I would like him to stay in, say if he's been out a few evenings in a row, or I've mentioned I'd like some "us" time and he's opted to go out instead. Like it makes him feel better because he feels guilty. He knows I don't ask him that much because he has refused so often so stay in with me.
 

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T,
I might have asked you this before.

Have you ever asked him this direct question:
Do you feel like you are already doing "enough" because you are helping me raise two children who are not yours? Does that factor in to what you think is a fair/unfair level contribution on your part?

This does not make him a bad person. Many men would factor that in either consciously or subconsciously.



Yesterday was interesting.

He is still in good spirits after some good news (a new job.) He made a flippant comment about being busy before he starts his new job, he is helping two sets of relatives with some work in their house. He added after that as well as that, his marriage was "falling apart." Said in an almost jokey fashion but I know that is his way of acknowledging that he is thinking about it.

At various points he was quite attentive. Wanted to lay on the sofa with me snuggled up. Got the littler kids looked after in the afternoon so we could have some free time before the older ones finished school. Then found out he'd planned to go out for a few hours with his brother. I had hoped given he starts his new job next week and he'd decided to spend the other evening celebrating with his friend instead of me that he'd want to spend child-free time together. But no he did not mention this *shrugs*

He was out for about 8 or so hours then came back with ice cream for me. He sat with me and his phone was on and off beeping all evening with text messages from his friend (they send each other silly texts.) We chatted and he rested my legs across his lap and massaged them for a while. I got tired and asked if he wanted to go to bed but he wanted to have another beer then go up. I waited but fell asleep on the sofa waiting then woke up around 2am to find he'd gone up and left me there :(

These cute things he does for me: they're the stops he pulls out when I have been upset. I appreciate that he is obviously listening to me and what I am saying. But from experience I can say for sure that in a couple of weeks he won't be rubbing my legs or asking to lay on the sofa with me. It will stop and if I want those things I'll need to ask for them.

Oh and something that struck me but not sure what to make of it... I commented the other night when he went out to celebrate with his friend, that I had noticed that he also offers massages etc on an evening when he goes out. I also see that he "ups" the "offerings" if he goes out when he knows I would like him to stay in, say if he's been out a few evenings in a row, or I've mentioned I'd like some "us" time and he's opted to go out instead. Like it makes him feel better because he feels guilty. He knows I don't ask him that much because he has refused so often so stay in with me.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
T,
I might have asked you this before.

Have you ever asked him this direct question:
Do you feel like you are already doing "enough" because you are helping me raise two children who are not yours? Does that factor in to what you think is a fair/unfair level contribution on your part?

This does not make him a bad person. Many men would factor that in either consciously or subconsciously.
I haven't asked him that, no.

However I do know that he feels emotionally "burdened". He provides practically, ie goes to work and provides for the family. Drives us around, takes them here, there and everywhere. That part doesn't phase him. We have had issues with a lack of contribution financially from the elder two's dad and he has felt resentful in that case for paying for someone else's children, which I understand.

Emotionally, I do pretty much everything. He isn't really involved with my two except as a sort of voice of authority. I have said I'd like him to take more of an interest but he feels his time is spread thinly enough, and wants to spend all his free time with our younger two.

I have for a while thought that his reticence to fulfil my emotional requests is in part a passive-aggressive response to the fact he feels resentful of my two children. There are times when me and the older two are "excluded" from certain things he does with the younger two, that I am involved in when the older two are away at their dads. He will not say this is the case but simply says it is "easier" with just the two, or that the older two are demanding, or will be naughty.

And do you mean it does not make him a bad person to feel that, if that is indeed the case? The thing is, if he does feel that, I don't know how to work with that.
 

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T,
Let me net this out for you in a way that has no ambiguity.
1. He loves you and it is also true that he didn't really want to get married. He was willing to, but he didn't want to. And he conveyed that in the low key manner of a guy who has decided he will do what his lover wants, because she wants it, while at the same time letting her know in a non-confrontational manner than it is not what he wants. Or at least, not what he wants at the pace/schedule that she does. It doesn't matter why he didn't want to, though it is possible that more an more men, who are the primary breadwinners, don't like the fact that divorce courts are generally "no fault". So the lower income spouse could really hammer you, and then you still have to write them a series of big checks. This is not a political commentary on my part, it is an observation of "perception". Regardless, he loved you enough to do what you asked.
2. From what I have read, the way he is now, and the way he was prior to marriage, are largely the same. Yes there are some small variations, but generally he hasn't changed.

However, you are pressing him hard to now "improve himself" to address the things you don't like about him.

IMO - the only areas where you can legitimately press him are those where his behavior before/after marriage changed substantially. And you need to factor in the up side stuff as well. It is not fair to say, you got a bit better in these areas and a bit worse in those areas, and I only want the improvements.

I think you are a good person. I think what you are asking for is absolutely reasonable. I also believe that you married someone the first time who is not making good on their financial responsibilities and the consequence is falling on your current H. And just as you resent some aspects of the marriage, rest assured he resents that part very much.

He loves you. He is supporting two children who aren't his. Overall he sounds like a good guy to me. Shaping his behavior with aggression and anger may work, but not for all that long.

I haven't asked him that, no.

However I do know that he feels emotionally "burdened". He provides practically, ie goes to work and provides for the family. Drives us around, takes them here, there and everywhere. That part doesn't phase him. We have had issues with a lack of contribution financially from the elder two's dad and he has felt resentful in that case for paying for someone else's children, which I understand.

Emotionally, I do pretty much everything. He isn't really involved with my two except as a sort of voice of authority. I have said I'd like him to take more of an interest but he feels his time is spread thinly enough, and wants to spend all his free time with our younger two.

I have for a while thought that his reticence to fulfil my emotional requests is in part a passive-aggressive response to the fact he feels resentful of my two children. There are times when me and the older two are "excluded" from certain things he does with the younger two, that I am involved in when the older two are away at their dads. He will not say this is the case but simply says it is "easier" with just the two, or that the older two are demanding, or will be naughty.

And do you mean it does not make him a bad person to feel that, if that is indeed the case? The thing is, if he does feel that, I don't know how to work with that.
 

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As women we tend to seek our self esteem from our partner, and in my opinion, you have to stand up and love yourself, value yourself, and realize what he did is not because you are lacking anything. It is because somehow this OW was for a moment meeting his needs. The thing is he probably does not know what his needs are. You seem to know that you need words of affirmation from him, and the fact that you have to ask for it I know is agrivating becuase as women we expect men should know we need to hear nice things. Fact is they really dont know that alot of the time. There is a great book called the 5 love languages. It helped me alot. If you both love eachother and want to save the marriage maybe sit down and talk about what each of you need. Then make a plan to do those things. Sounds like he shows you he loves you by being a good provider, father, or doing things around the house. If you can figure out what his way of showing you appreciation and love is, you can recognize it and it will make you feel better, even if its not the " words" you need. And if he is willing to try there is nothing wrong with putting reminders in his schedule or phone to take a second and tell you something nice. Trust me it still feels good even when you know they had to remind themselves to say it. The best advice I have though is to respect and value YOURSELF. You dont need someone else to validate you. And if you exhude self esteem, he will respect you more.
Good luck, hang in there
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
T,
Let me net this out for you in a way that has no ambiguity.
1. He loves you and it is also true that he didn't really want to get married. He was willing to, but he didn't want to. And he conveyed that in the low key manner of a guy who has decided he will do what his lover wants, because she wants it, while at the same time letting her know in a non-confrontational manner than it is not what he wants. Or at least, not what he wants at the pace/schedule that she does. It doesn't matter why he didn't want to, though it is possible that more an more men, who are the primary breadwinners, don't like the fact that divorce courts are generally "no fault". So the lower income spouse could really hammer you, and then you still have to write them a series of big checks. This is not a political commentary on my part, it is an observation of "perception". Regardless, he loved you enough to do what you asked.
2. From what I have read, the way he is now, and the way he was prior to marriage, are largely the same. Yes there are some small variations, but generally he hasn't changed.

However, you are pressing him hard to now "improve himself" to address the things you don't like about him.

IMO - the only areas where you can legitimately press him are those where his behavior before/after marriage changed substantially. And you need to factor in the up side stuff as well. It is not fair to say, you got a bit better in these areas and a bit worse in those areas, and I only want the improvements.

I think you are a good person. I think what you are asking for is absolutely reasonable. I also believe that you married someone the first time who is not making good on their financial responsibilities and the consequence is falling on your current H. And just as you resent some aspects of the marriage, rest assured he resents that part very much.

He loves you. He is supporting two children who aren't his. Overall he sounds like a good guy to me. Shaping his behavior with aggression and anger may work, but not for all that long.
I understand that perception.

Re: 1. I don't think the financial aspect factors into any decision he made. Fact is, he is a semi-skilled worker and has been for years. I worked when we met and only left because I got made redundant (laid off I think?) My career plans for when the littlest starts school mean I have the capacity to earn nearly double in my field and opportunity to work my way up.

His words have been that he always DID want to get married but you were right about the pace/schedule thing. FACT is with that, at the end of the day, I had to issue an ultimatum because I was so sick of feeling I was being strung along. A "set the date by the end of last year or I am reconsidering my future" ultimatum. He took it up, but if I am being honest, that would have meant 1000 times more coming from him, ie "let's set a date baby."

Re: 2. You are right, he is pretty much the same post-marriage.

About your idea that I can only legitimately press him about things that have changed dramatically post-marriage...

I really see your logic in this thinking. Here is how I see it.

Had we married with no EA having happened, I would say this was spot-on. Totally agree.

However, my feeling is that however long it takes, he needs to show the effort in helping mend the after-effects of his EA.

I did indeed choose to marry him knowing the state of play at that time. I was always clear that there was further work to do, and if he was not prepared to put in the effort then he was of course free to leave. I didn't feel we had massive hurdles to overcome as we have done a lot of work, but I felt there were things that still needed doing, and that we were on a journey to a point of things being settled.

Because I felt that we had "done good" so far, I was happy to get married when we did, feeling that the journey of us mending things was going well and it would continue like that post-marriage. In hindsight... Yes I could have done with viewing this more logically than emotionally and waiting until he had fulfilled my requests before we married. But in my defense as I said, I was clear all along that I needed some more from him until I had fully healed.

I just feel so incredibly sad that he cannot or will not do the things I ask to help me heal. I think it probably makes it worse that some of the things I ask are things I do for him automatically. And that he often says I am "really good" to him. It is like these things are a sticking point for him. If he said to me, "baby, it would really help me if you told me x,y or z/ did x,y, or z because I would feel really loved," I'd be all over it. I can think of such things I have done.

I guess the problem is for me that I don't know what I do now he continues to NOT do the things I ask. The thing is that the way we are living right now is not sustainable. The tension is constant on my part and of course he feels it too. I am angry (I am not usually an angry person) and I am constantly worrying that the next thing he does or not does is going to tip me over the edge to feeling unlovable (I do already) and I will in anger tell him to leave.

My alternatives are to decide I can live without the things I have asked. This would be his preferred option I think. Or to decide I CAN'T live without the reassurance I need and leave. Of course I don't want to leave, I want things to be better but I don't know what I can do that I haven't done already.

I have worked on myself. I have communicated, over and over to him. It is clear he is completely aware of what I ask. There is NO POINT WHATSOEVER in me continuing to have these sit-down, "I'm not happy" talks because they pan out EXACTLY THE SAME, EVERY TIME.
 

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Tobio,

I was in exactly the same type of relationship you describe, minus the EA.

I cannot tell you how it made me feel inside, but you know that all ready. It was crushing, it was bad for myself esteem. I was afraid to move on, stuck really.

But eventually I had enough and broke it off.

I had some time alone, and now I'm with someone new.

Sometimes I still have feelings of not being enough etc.. probably because my self esteem took a hit being in a relationship that was so damaging. However most of the time I feel wonderful, and when I don't he does what someone who really loves you does do, he makes me feel good.

I can't tell you how wonderful it is to feel wanted and loved and adored, and like I excite him and that he wants to love and hug and kiss me. He understand that relationships take two people putting a in a lot of effort. And he wants to do this, because he loves me and it feels good and right for both of us.

I really hope you move on and get what you deserve one day.



As a side note for men thinking being a nice guy doesn't work. Yes it does, it's being a doormat that doesn't work. Find some balance, because women don't usually stay with Jerks for the long haul nor do they stay with doormats.
 
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