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Discussion Starter #1
What do guys want when they apologize? Is the required response an immediate make out session or something equivalent to indicate "It's all good" no matter how frustrated I still am at the situation? My DH has a habit of getting upset, saying something mean or rude and then walking away, then a few minutes or an hour or so later he comes back and says "Listen, I am sorry I said that" and if it doesn't just "go away" then he is madder than he was to start with. I am just so frustrated by this dynamic!

one of the biggest problems in our marriage is that we never resolve anything. The fights are always about the same stupid things. I personally think that if we could address the actual issues we could quit fighting around the issues and have a great relationship.

One of my biggest complaints is when he gets irritated with me it is usually because I don't check to see if it is a good time for him to talk etc and I just start talking to him. I get that I need to be better about that and I am SOOOO much better about it than I used to be. My other issue is that he is a total perfectionist and gets so annoyed at people who are not. He has impossibly high standards for everyone, himself included. When I don't "measure up" he chastizes me like I am a child.

Tonight's example was that I came in from going somewhere with my son and I started talking to DH about something to do with the kiddo on the main level. He said something about how it wasn't proper to talk about these things where the kids could hear. I didn't cease talking about it immediately. granted, his background is that his parents had no common sense and the kids were always present for every adult conversation so he is totally over the top with this. So he was reprimanding me for not having any decorum or whatever with talking about something to do with the kids where the kids could potentially overhear if they were evesdropping. He kept going on and on and finally I told him HE was not showing much decorum by chastizing me like I was a child where the kids could overhear. He got upset and walked away. Then when he apologized I told him I accepted the apology but that I wanted to talk about how that made me feel. I was as polite as I could be explaining that it hurts me to be belittled and talked down to when I am and adult. He said something rude about if I was an adult I wouldn't forget to ask if the timing was right for a a conversation and I certainly wouldn't insist on having inappropriate discussions in front of the kids.....whatever, I just quit talking and he walked out of the room saying all kinds of rude things under his breath.

I know this is long, but I know that very soon he will come back in and say he is sorry and the only way to have peace is just to say "I am sorry too" and pretend he wasn't rude.

How do I do that without feeling bitter all the time? What does the man-brain expect and how can my girl-brain process that? Help please!
 

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You have to check if it's a good time to talk to your husband?
Wow.
And he lashes out at you like a child. And immediately wants you to be OK.
You need marital counseling.
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When he comes to apologize to you, hear him out, then calmly say, "I understand that you are sorry and I accept your apology on that basis. It does not, however, mean that I am over feeling hurt about this. You want 'forgive and forget'. I can FORGIVE YOU, but I am NOT at the FORGET stage right now."

IF he can't understand this or wants to argue, tell him, "If I sucker-punched you in the gut RIGHT NOW, then apologized SINCERELY 30 seconds from now, it wouldn't stop your stomach from hurting, would it? You have sucker-punched me in the heart/soul/whatever; although you have apologized, it doesn't alleviate the pain. I do, however, thank you for sincerely regretting your action/words/whatever."

Then drop it. Let it go. YOU will get over it WHEN and only WHEN YOU feel like it. It is NOT up to him to dictate how SOON you should recover from a hurt. Wow! Talk about being self-involved!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank-you getting wiser -
I appreciate your input very much. I like the way that you say to phrase that and I am going to try that. And yes, he is self involved. He is much better than he was 18 years ago and it has been a slow process, but he is all about protecting himself. The many various counselors we have seen have told me that it is typical behavior a person who was so severely physically and emotionally abused as a child. I love him very much in between times, but the "conflict times" are so hard for me. He was raised by a mother who is BPD and despite numerous counselors telling us both that he is NOT borderline himself, he displays many borderline traits. He is better than he used to be but this is one of those things that is so hard for me to tolerate.

To Deer - that was not a helpful statement, instead it was very nearly unkind. We are in counseling, have been off and on for 18 years, and more than one counselor has supported his request that I check the timing to find out if it is good before launching into a parenting/relationship/money etc discussion. They have stated that it is a matter of respect and it is not respectful to him not to be aware of his mood and timing. I accept that but I just forget sometimes.
 

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What does he consider 'inappropriate conversation" to have in front of the children? Things of a sexual manner would be inappropriate but beyond that I can't think of anything I wouldn't want my children seeing my wife and I discuss.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
What does he consider 'inappropriate conversation" to have in front of the children? Things of a sexual manner would be inappropriate but beyond that I can't think of anything I wouldn't want my children seeing my wife and I discuss.
This particular thing revolved around my son having some health issues and my 15 year old son getting angry because I told him he had to go to the doctor and get these things checked out (long history of epilepsy etc and needs to go to the neurologist again) anyway, I came into the house and started discussing this with him and he says those things are disrespectful to discuss where the kids can hear. I don't necessarily agree, but he has his ideas and I try to respect them...except when I forget.

The thing is, he was abused so much and his parents were so dumb about stuff that he thinks gets these ideas and they come from his personal experience. If I agreed that it was inappropriate to talk about those things where the kids might overhear if they came up from the basement and hovered at the landing of the steps, then it might be easier for me to comply with the go into a different room and shut the door to talk about these things!

He has some strange ideas and I know he has some damage from his parents and his upbringing so I try to be patient with stuff like this, but I am like you - if it is not something really stressful that is going to result in an argument or something very personal and of a sexual manner then I don't know why it is a problem to discuss where kids could over hear.
 

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IMO kids learn how to communicate by watching their parents do it. They either mimic the behavior or do a 180 like your husband has. It is up to the parents to set a good example and communicating in secret seems just odd to me.

But i can relate to your husband about expecting things to be better with an apology. For most men that is how we work. Apologize, apology accepted, problem over. We do not usually dwell on it if it is minor in our eyes. And sometimes we forget or don't realize that some people don't think and rationalize like we do and that can be frustrating.
 

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Just an idea, but I think that he is irritated with himself, not you. Your actions bring his own irriation to the surface. He knows he is wrong so he appologises, not for you, but to get over his feeling (his own feeling that is) of feeling wrong and as a bad person. I think your husband might be struggling with himself rather than with you. He might feel you are to blame, or you might feel you are to blame and he may not try to correct that because he still doesn't understand his own emotions clearly enough to overcome them and see it as it really is.

The point is that you can start to see that you personally are not a catalyst in this, it is something going on inside him. You might be able to start having some inner space or distance and you might start to see his inner dialogues being played out like a record, over and over again. This will help you to help him (and yourself).

This is just an idea to consider and I am not suggestion I am right of course.
 

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Carisma, if you know he doesn't like to discuss certain things within earshot of the kids then you have the opportunity to stop/prevent part of the cycle. I personally (that's just me) don't think it is appropriate to have discussions about our kids when they are within earshot. But I will simply ask to move to the porch or bedroom. I agree with you that his reaction is not appropriate. But to be blunt, you can't change him, you can only change you.

Can you just say "we need to talk about xyz, do you want to step outside or upstairs?" Then let him take it from there. If he blows it off or responds inappropriately, then address that instead. You know his history. I don't think you have to walk on egg shells, but you could avoid the triggers. I'm not saying avoid the discussions, just try a different approach.

As for the apology, saying sorry doesn't fix anything. When he comes to apologize, you could say OK, now can we finish the discussion about xyz that started this whole thing. It sounds like you never get back to the original question/discussion/decision, so nothing really gets resolved.
 
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