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Discussion Starter #301
Excuse me? What are you, 3 years old? You don't insist on anything. You TELL her to unlock the internet and when she refuses, you go call AT&T or somebody and have them come out and set up a new one just for you.
You're right. I need unrestricted computer access. However, I also need to stop lusting after women. Maybe I could get a filter installed.
 

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Yes, I like that women in videos never reject me are always available. I'm addicted to the dopamine hit of seeking and finding fantasy, release, pseudo-desire. I feel like doing it often, especially "triggered" when things with my wife are rough. It is a tiny area of my life that I feel that I can control. And yet I am ashamed by it. I am reading NMMNG, so I should get to the boundary part soon. My wife requires that I give it up. I have tried in the past to do so, but I eventually return to it. I am trying again, being "sober" for 1.5 weeks now.

You are attempting to self-medicate. Which isn’t a problem in and of itself, there are far less healthy ways to do this, like drugs or alcohol.

However I wonder if this coping strategy has become a crutch to you, making the unbearable just bearable enough to keep going.
 

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My wife and I have struggled to have a healthy marriage. We typically have some good days, maybe even good weeks, talking to each other, being intimate, doing our jobs. We look like the perfect couple. We put up a front that all is well with us. However, inside there is much strife. My wife has always compared me to the great men in her life (her dad and her brother in law), to which I fail due to differing theology. The pattern is basically I screw up somehow (porn, advocating public school, financial restraint, etc.), and then she criticizes me and my opinions greatly. I usually protest or defend or explain why I did what I did, but that often results in a fight - raised voices, silent treatment, no intimacy. I then change my ways trying to appease her (tried to get rid of the porn [redoing it now], given up the idea of public schools, stopped scrutinizing her spending, going wherever she wants to go, etc.) Honestly, the only thing that I can remember asking her to stop was her anger/outbursts. I am low maintenance, and I have capitulated to almost anything that she wants in an effort to garner her approval and peace in the house. I am realizing now that this has built frustration within me and resentment towards her (thank you Dr. Glover).
All of this behaviour is designed on her part to control you.



As a new piece of information to add, my wife confessed in the past that she has been "having feelings" towards my brother, who is going through a divorce. Basically, his wife stopped sleeping with him, talking to him, and controlled who he was allowed to see or not. My brother has theology that is more in line with my wife's theology. My brother almost always sides with my wife on any matter that he is privy to. Last night, I had a dream that my brother was naked in a bedroom with my clothed wife, and I just happened to see them. Back in reality, we are going to his house to spend the weekend with him, so I am going to be on high alert for any of the signs that my wife might be interested in him.

Listen man, this is likely another attempt to control you - through fear of her cheating on you, or even her idealization of another man.

I wouldn’t put it past her to actually act on it, though.

You need distance long enough to see her for what she really is.
 

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And how does your wife say THAT fits in with her theology? Did she ever hear about the 10 commandments? What is her view on this. Does she also not see the irony that she feels bad about your BROTHER and HIS wife trying to control HIM, and what she is doing to YOU?



You better be VERY aware of this -- do you have access to her phone? Have you had any suspicions of them being together alone? How do you get along with your brother -- do you think he would do that to you?

I can’t be the only one that’s not surprised at her hypocrisy?

There’s a reason she’s on a pedestal and acting like judge, jury, and executioner: rules are clearly for other people to follow. She’s above them, and above reproach.

This is why negotiations in good faith are likely doomed to fail. They will be ignored at best and used to manipulate him further at worst.

I’ve been married to a woman like this. Very much like this, minus the religious stuff. I never shaped up to whatever random **** she came up with to judge me by. There were always more hoops to jump through. I could never win, because only she got to make the rules.

And I couldn’t see any of that until I wasn’t around her any more.
 

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I am very aware of my wife and her relationship with my divorcing brother. I have access to her phone, and have never seen anything suspicious. When she texts him, she includes me, which is very open of her. My wife and my brother are both VERY religious, so an affair would be WAY out of character for them. My brother and I get along wonderfully. I don't think he would do that to me. Having said all of this, I will be on them like a hawk this weekend.

You have to know this is all perception management, right?
 

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fwiw, you can survive without (hand) sex for a week, a month, even a few months. What's it worth to you to be a man with integrity?

I agree. He should have stopped having sex with her a long time ago.

Honesty, if she tried to seduce him, my advice to him would be to laugh at her.

He has to break the cycle, and has to level the playing ground.
 

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Discussion Starter #308
Lots of stuff in two paragraphs. You count a week good just because your wife doesn't get mad? Would you have kept dating her had you known that your only joy in life was from not getting yelled at?

She was only nice because you complimented her more. Were you not complimenting her at all before? If so, how would YOU feel if she never showed admiration for YOU? That said, if the only way to get her to be nice to you is to flatter her, you have a problem.

Are you going to a therapist to figure out why you're driven to porn? I suggest it has something to do with you being treated like a 3rd child, thus you are reverting to a 12 year old boy's way of relieving stress and gaining pleasure. Grown men don't need that crap. Grown men don't let their wives walk all over them; they simply don't tolerate it.

Did you buy Hold On To Your N.U.T.s yet?
Oh, good stuff turnera. What drove me to TAM was how I could get my wife to stop being upset by me so frequently. Yes, I have been measuring the goodness of my days by whether or not my wife is upset with me, because I just hate feeling downcast, like I have failed her, like I can't measure up to her standards (unlovable, unacceptable, unworthy). I would have stopped dating her if I knew what I know now.

I don't think that we were complimenting each other much at all over the past few years. I would do my job at the office, and she would do her job with the house and kids, without much said with admiration. I have started complimenting her more and touching more over this past 1.5 weeks in an effort to build up our relationship, given previous advice on this thread. My fear is that I am doing this as a "covert contract," that if I show her more attention, then she will be nicer to me and we will get along well.

No, I have not gone to a therapist at this point. I have been reading NMMNG right now, as the library did not have Hold On To Your N.U.T.s.
 

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I can’t be the only one that’s not surprised at her hypocrisy?

There’s a reason she’s on a pedestal and acting like judge, jury, and executioner: rules are clearly for other people to follow. She’s above them, and above reproach.

This is why negotiations in good faith are likely doomed to fail. They will be ignored at best and used to manipulate him further at worst.

I’ve been married to a woman like this. Very much like this, minus the religious stuff. I never shaped up to whatever random **** she came up with to judge me by. There were always more hoops to jump through. I could never win, because only she got to make the rules.

And I couldn’t see any of that until I wasn’t around her any more.
Gold, Marduk. Pure gold. DIGB, Marduk sums up your predicament in four sentences.
 

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Marduk, I don't know what you mean. What is perception management, and how is it applicable to this situation? Thanks.
I think he means that Wife is trying to keep you in line by illustrating interest in / support of somebody she views as "better" than you. i.e. Wife is subtly telling you that "if you want me to love you, act more like your brother and be a good little fundamentalist."

To which I would say: "F*ck that sh*t."
 

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Discussion Starter #312
fwiw, you can survive without (hand) sex for a week, a month, even a few months. What's it worth to you to be a man with integrity?
Yes, I would like to be a man of integrity. I'm trying to stop watching videos, and I have gone months in the past. What happens though if I fail at some point? Does that mean that I have no integrity? I'd like to be open with my wife about it, but when I admit that I failed she gets very upset and has threatened to leave.
 

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Maybe this weekend, I could plan to do something as a test, like the neighborhood pool or a mall, and then announce that I will do it, inviting her to come with me if she wants.
I became so enmeshed in keeping my spouse happy that I no longer had a life outside of him. At one point I went through 2 years of therapy where my only homework was to announce that I was going to go to the mall by myself (he always went everywhere with me). Two years, and I never got up the courage to do it, for fear of his reaction.

I'm past that now, but the old ways are still strong. You have to literally fight YOURSELF to do the right thing until it becomes second nature.
 

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Marduk, I don't know what you mean. What is perception management, and how is it applicable to this situation? Thanks.

She is actively managing your perception of her and the world.

She’s trying to make you think she’s an ideal wife. An ideal Christian. She’s trying to replace your worldview with the one that she wants, so that she can control you.

This has always been about control, and one of the easiest ways to control someone is to manipulate their worldview.

I know, because this happened to me. She got into my head, convinced me that I had all kinds of psychological problems requiring extensive therapy, that I was delusional about her abuse, that I was weak, and that I should be just like her father, who she idealized.

That when she emotionally abused me, it was my fault, and that I needed ‘correction.’ That when she physically abused me, it either didn’t happen, was exaggerated, or was my own fault. Or better yet, that I was the one abusing her!

Classic DARVO - which stands for Deny, Attack, Reverse the Victim and Offender roles. Which is a classic mechanism that emotionally abusive people use.

There’s also narcissism written all over her behaviour. This pattern may seem familiar to you:

A Narcissist's Prayer
That didn't happen.
And if it did, it wasn't that bad.
And if it was, that's not a big deal.
And if it is, that's not my fault.
And if it was, I didn't mean it.
And if I did...
You deserved it.

I’m sure you’ll soon be hearing, or have already heard, that if it’s demonstrated that she’s not acting like a good Christian, it will be your fault. You’re holding her back, you’re not a good man like your brother, anything she does wrong is because you deserved it.

I know, because I heard that, too.

It actually took me almost a year of intense therapy with multiple therapists to get me to understand that I wasn’t insane. That I didn’t have all these kinds of conditions she had convinced me that I had - she was a psych major, and very smart.

I don’t want that to be your path, brother. I think you need to get out. I think you need to protect yourself from this person. The faster, the better. The more you are around her, the more damage she will cause you. The more ego depletion, the more your worldview and personality will be replaced by hers.

I’m actually scared for you, brother.
 

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That you seek her approval only digs the hole deeper.

When you find yourself in a hole, the first step is to put the shovel down.
It's good that you said those things to her - once, but now step back and work on yourself. I do think that the way you describe the 'talk' was more of asking permission and her sanctimoniously patting you on the head. So work on not talking to her that way. If you have talks coming up, tell us ahead of time and we can tell you what to say.

Next homework: Find a friend. Call up an old friend you gave up for the marriage. Make a new friend by joining a club in something you like to do. BUT GET A FRIEND. You'll understand it once you read Hold On To Your N.U.T.s.
 

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I think he means that Wife is trying to keep you in line by illustrating interest in / support of somebody she views as "better" than you. i.e. Wife is subtly telling you that "if you want me to love you, act more like your brother and be a good little fundamentalist."



To which I would say: "F*ck that sh*t."

Yes, and more: “don’t believe your lying eyes... only believe what I tell you.”

She’s getting him to mistrust his own sense of self, and trust her opinion more.

This is why she made him ‘confess’ to her father that he feels lust for other women: to shame him into rejecting his own personality and the reality that everyone lusts for other people occasionally, and replace it with only her own opinion (and by extension her idealized father figure).

This is why I freaked out so many posts ago, and insisted that he should leave, and why she doesn’t love him. This has never been about love, it has always been about control. Her need to control is likely rooted in her own insecurities, maybe about her own faith. But this doesn’t matter. He cannot change it. She will not ‘see the light of day.’ Words from ministers will not reach her. The more he slips away, the more she will tighten her grasp. She needs him much more than he needs her, and this is what she is likely terrified of. Because if he leaves, she will be a failure.
 

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Yes, I would like to be a man of integrity. I'm trying to stop watching videos, and I have gone months in the past. What happens though if I fail at some point? Does that mean that I have no integrity? I'd like to be open with my wife about it, but when I admit that I failed she gets very upset and has threatened to leave.

You’re setting yourself up for failure by playing by her rules, and reporting into her either your success or your failure.

Integrity is that which no one can give you, and no one can take away from you. It’s yours and yours alone.

You exist separate from her, you know.
 

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We met through a church outing in her home state. We dated for ~6 months long distance, with a handful of personal visits in there. We found each other attractive. We both claimed Christianity. I thought she would be a good, faithful wife and mother for my kids. I started changing my theology over the years of marriage.

My brother married a woman who limited his access to family and friends, who had a spending problem, who could not accept anyone else's opinion than her own, who stopped sleeping with him, who stopped talking to him, who hired a private investigator on him (finding no affair), who refused to ever admit that she was wrong (maybe one or two apologies over the years of marriage).
Curious, what was you dating history prior to meeting wife?

Given the Christianity angle, I'm assuming you were not intimate in the "biblical" way prior to marriage. The long-distance nature of the relationship suggests you might not have recognized her controlling tendencies during courtship. At what point in the marriage would you say you started noticing your own dissatisfaction. Is this something recent or long brewing?

Do you see the parallels with your brother? While his soon-to-be-ex is not religious, he also selected a wife who "could not accept anyone else's opinion other than her own." I would suggest you married two variants of the same wife type: only one holds and credit card and the other holds a bible. This particular angle could be particularly fruitful if/when you decide to pursue counseling. It may suggest something in your shared upbringing that both linked up with domineering spouses with inflexible outlooks.

It's very "Maury Povich" in nature, but the idea of pawning your wife on your unsuspecting brother is looking better and better. While probably not practical in the real world, it would seem to solve a lot of problems.
 

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Curious, what was you dating history prior to meeting wife?



Given the Christianity angle, I'm assuming you were not intimate in the "biblical" way prior to marriage. The long-distance nature of the relationship suggests you might not have recognized her controlling tendencies during courtship. At what point in the marriage would you say you started noticing your own dissatisfaction. Is this something recent or long brewing?



Do you see the parallels with your brother? While his soon-to-be-ex is not religious, he also selected a wife who "could not accept anyone else's opinion other than her own." I would suggest you married two variants of the same wife type: only one holds and credit card and the other holds a bible. This particular angle could be particularly fruitful if/when you decide to pursue counseling. It may suggest something in your shared upbringing that both linked up with domineering spouses with inflexible outlooks.



It's very "Maury Povich" in nature, but the idea of pawning your wife on your unsuspecting brother is looking better and better. While probably not practical in the real world, it would seem to solve a lot of problems.

Insightful.

She may also see his brother as more easily manipulated, hence her attraction to him.

My ex wife cheated on me with a very low paying, unattractive security guard in her office building. One of her primary complaints of me is that I never made enough money. But it wasn’t about money, it was about control. He was likely easily manipulated now that I think about it.
 
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