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Never thought I'd be typing this

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noxiousdog
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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by noxiousdog »

Good luck. I hope it works out for the best.

If you guys are communicating and still having physical intimacy (I disagree with some of the others here), I think you have a high probability of it working.

However, she's given you a huge warning and it's unlikely there will be another one. There are changes that need to be made. There's studies that show in relationships the ratio of good/bad needs to be over 7:1 or it builds resentment so that's a big hole to dig out of.

Unlike Jeff, I highly endorse the 5 love languages, which I'm pretty sure has been discussed here before.
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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by TheMix »

Eel Snave wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 12:15 pm
You know what can happen is that sometimes people go through the motions but don't necessarily talk about the important stuff until it becomes too much to handle. Is it possible that your wife just didn't know how much these small things were bothering her until it became unbearable? I don't know.

I will suggest a book that I've found worked wonders for me in conflict resolution: Crucial Conversations. It explains that people have a few different ways of handling big conversations, and how to cut through and fix problems when they arise. I didn't have this book available to me in my first marriage (not that it would have helped) and it was a disaster. I did in my current marriage, and it's made a world of difference.

Best of luck to the both of you.
It's funny you mention that book. I was cleaning the garage earlier this week and found a box of stuff from when I was laid off from McKesson (the box sat in the garage on a shelf for the last 5 or so years...). Anyway, I found a copy of Crucial Conversations as well as an associated cd. I vaguely remember McKesson having us take a seminar. I assume it's not that much to ship. I'd be happy to send it out. I was planning on just tossing it.
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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by Skinypupy »

I'd add a +1 for both Crucial Conversations and 5 Love Languages. Both provided some great insights into better communication.

I might also recommend 7 Habits. The practices of empathic listening (Seek first to understand, then to be understood) and proactivity (space between stimulus and response) have been absolutely critical in my marriage. I've got some extra copies...if you'd like one I'm happy to send it your way.

(And yes, I fully realize this is a biased recommendation because of where I work)
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Buatha
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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by Buatha »

I had the same thing happen to me after 15 years of marriage...and I was blind-sided and devastated. I can say that you both are doing much better than we did. She wanted to separate and I moved into an apartment in front of our neighborhood. We did go to counseling separately, but she stopped going after two sessions whereas I kept going. So, the fact that she is wanting to continue counseling is a very good sign. We did try to get back together, but in the end, the damage had been done. Unfortunately, I'm more stone than clay, and the cracks to my being didn't recover very well.

So, here are my thoughts if you want them:
1) Counseling is good. We're not religious, so we didn't do faith-based counseling, but we went to the same counselor at different times. I think it's important to keep in mind that it isn't always your fault. I don't know you or your spouse, but sometimes, people just change and not always for the better. Even before the announcement, my father and friends started noticing that my ex had started withdrawing. I've read that many women want the "tingles and butterflies" feeling which is what my ex-wife told me. I hope that's not the case with her. Has she said what is her main issue or is it just a bunch of little things?

2) You don't sound angry, but if things don't work out, try to avoid being that way. Sadness can turn to anger if your efforts don't pan out. Of course, try not to speak out in front of the kids. I'm sure you are not doing this, but I made sure to never speak badly about my ex during our separation. I don't know how old are your kids, but it was a confusing time and I tried to walk a fine line with them on what was actually happening versus what I wanted to tell them.

3) I would try to get an objective opinion from others in your life. Like you, I wanted desperately to fix things and figure out what I had done "wrong". While I was berating myself during the separation, many of my friends and family members started letting me know their feelings...and they felt that it wasn't so much me. They had noticed changes and, even to them, it felt like she just wasn't wanting to be married anymore.

So, again, I don't know you or your spouse. I do hope it all works out since I believe in the long haul. If you can make it over two decades, I think it's worth working out unless other people important in your life state otherwise.

P.S. If she is staying together for the kids, I would say that is obviously not a good reason as they will eventually be out of the equation. My kids today believe it was better for us to divorce than stay together. They are 13 and 16, so I was quite surprised that was their assessment.
Last edited by Buatha on Thu Jun 25, 2020 1:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by Smoove_B »

+1 to what Buatha said.

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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by Blackhawk »

I will second Buatha's PS. An amicable divorce where both parents stay friendly is usually better for kids than a miserable marriage. Happy parents > stressed, tired, angry parents.
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Buatha
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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by Buatha »

Fortunately, we were able to work out joint custody where we trade off each week (Sunday to Sunday) with no child support.

We sold the marital home and both of us bought houses within the same neighborhood so the kids can finish junior/high school and maintain friendships.
"Some people say never...I just say no"

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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by msduncan »

Thanks Buatha!

To answer a couple of your questions:

1. We weren't working as a team and she was shouldering everything around the house (kids weren't working as a team either)
2. She feels too tethered to the family. Meaning she isn't able to go do her own things and have some peace just to be her. We don't tell her no, but she was interpreting our sadness of her leaving for a girls weekend or dinner with a friend as being something she couldn't do and thus didn't do. So it's a bit of an identity thing too.
3. Now she has anger when we DO help, but she admits that we are having to try to prioritize her and help her relentlessly to form LASTING CHANGE and not just patch the problem. So she's accepting of the help but it still causes her some anger. She's hoping individual counseling will help her with this.

I have to think that her balking at me leaving for 30 days with no contact HAS to be at LEAST a good sign. It's a chance. The odds might be stacked against me greatly, but there is not a 0% chance. Am I wrong on this?
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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by Pyperkub »

So sorry to hear this msd.

Have you discussed getting a maid service, housekeeper /nanny /more baby sitter time/a combination thereof, as a possible, super easy solution?

Especially while your are going through counseling? It could allow you to get to deeper issues, probably around feeling un-appreciated, though clutter can be a root cause of stress in and of itself.

It will cost a bit more in tough economic times, but far, far less than the current and future devastation.

Wishing you and the family nothing but the best solution here.

If you get to a point where you think she may be able to laugh about it, you could explain to her that you may have a genetic condition known as MGDB...
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A new book has confirmed a theory that I first proposed in 1987, in a column explaining why men are physically unqualified to do housework. The problem, I argued, is that men -- because of a tragic genetic flaw -- cannot see dirt until there is enough of it to support agriculture. This puts men at a huge disadvantage against women, who can detect a single dirt molecule 20 feet away. This is why a man and a woman can both be looking at the same bathroom commode, and the man -- hindered by Male Genetic Dirt Blindness (MGDB) -- will perceive the commode surface as being clean enough for heart surgery; whereas the woman can't even ``see'' the commode, only a teeming, commode-shaped swarm of bacteria. A woman can spend two hours cleaning a toothbrush holder and still not be totally satisfied; whereas if you ask a man to clean the entire New York City subway system, he'll go down there with a bottle of Windex and a single paper towel, then emerge 25 minutes later, weary but satisfied with a job well done.

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Last edited by Pyperkub on Thu Jun 25, 2020 3:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by Eel Snave »

msduncan wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 2:24 pm
Thanks Buatha!

To answer a couple of your questions:

1. We weren't working as a team and she was shouldering everything around the house (kids weren't working as a team either)
2. She feels too tethered to the family. Meaning she isn't able to go do her own things and have some peace just to be her. We don't tell her no, but she was interpreting our sadness of her leaving for a girls weekend or dinner with a friend as being something she couldn't do and thus didn't do. So it's a bit of an identity thing too.
3. Now she has anger when we DO help, but she admits that we are having to try to prioritize her and help her relentlessly to form LASTING CHANGE and not just patch the problem. So she's accepting of the help but it still causes her some anger. She's hoping individual counseling will help her with this.

I have to think that her balking at me leaving for 30 days with no contact HAS to be at LEAST a good sign. It's a chance. The odds might be stacked against me greatly, but there is not a 0% chance. Am I wrong on this?
It sounds like she feels that she needs a life on her own without having to always worry about her family being completely helpless without her. That sounds like an entirely reasonable request.

With my current marriage, I try and make sure that we each get some time to do things that we enjoy so that we can come back together and share our experiences with each other. It makes us stronger and leads to less boredom.

And yes, you're not wrong that there's a chance. Don't get your hopes up, but there IS a chance. You just want to make sure that this time around it's based on something real.
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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by hitbyambulance »

Eel Snave wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 3:08 pm
msduncan wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 2:24 pm

2. She feels too tethered to the family. Meaning she isn't able to go do her own things and have some peace just to be her. We don't tell her no, but she was interpreting our sadness of her leaving for a girls weekend or dinner with a friend as being something she couldn't do and thus didn't do. So it's a bit of an identity thing too.
It sounds like she feels that she needs a life on her own without having to always worry about her family being completely helpless without her. That sounds like an entirely reasonable request.
i know i would be driven to madness if i were in such a situation. msd, have you done any identifying to see if you're maybe a little overly-attached to her?

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Buatha
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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by Buatha »

Okay, I believe those issues seem quite surmountable! They aren't problems with you or the kids necessarily, but how she is viewing her current existence (in my opinion, of course). I was afraid you were going to get the "I don't know what I want, but I don't want this" statement.

As fate would have it, I was actually the one who was always home since the ex traveled for work. I can understand her feelings of trepidation of having a weekend for herself. She has to learn to "let go"...but you need to give her the confidence that you are handling things in her absence to where she can do so. Would she like it for you to plan an event for just you and the kids, so she doesn't feel weird going to do something herself at the same time?

I'd like to echo what Pykerkub said about a maid to feel less tied to the house. It doesn't have to be every week, but maybe every other week (like an off-week for her). I have a maid, but I also live alone half the month, so she doesn't charge me too much for cleaning as it doesn't get really dirty.

Finally, if you guys are going to help clean, you have to make sure you clean it her way. :D If she thinks you are doing it wrong, then she feels like she has to come behind you. My daughter can't clean a litter box for shit (no pun intended). She always offers to help, but I'm like, "No, I got this one" because I don't want to go see hidden cat tootsie rolls still there.

P.S. Yes, I stopped doing things I enjoyed and going to visit friends since I felt my place was in the home with the family. Once we were divorced, my son approached me one night and said "You know, Dad, I like you better on your own. You're more, I don't know...you".
"Some people say never...I just say no"

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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by Smoove_B »

Buatha wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 3:36 pm
P.S. Yes, I stopped doing things I enjoyed and going to visit friends since I felt my place was in the home with the family. Once we were divorced, my son approached me one night and said "You know, Dad, I like you better on your own. You're more, I don't know...you".
This is where I struggle with everything being shared so far. 20+ years with someone is a long time. The relationship and the dynamics have a "rhythm' of sorts. You're not the same people you were 20+ years ago but you've been co-existing in a dance of sorts. Changing that kind of momentum is herculean in application - particularly as you get older. Impossible? No. But change is difficult and depending on the nature of the change it might actually be mentally distressing. Add in someone making changes for someone else, you're now introducing a potential scenario where there's resentment, potentially fueling future problems - particularly if those changes are going against your ingrained nature.

I guess my point with all this is that it likely took 20+ years to get to last month. It probably wasn't a single event. It's not likely to be one thing that's happening or happened that resulted in the discussion. At some point paths diverged but msducnan is just hearing about it now. Getting back on the same path is not going to be easy for anyone involved.

I think you said that (to a degree), but you did it much cleaner than I could have.

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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by Unagi »

Smoove_B wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:59 am
I've been back and forth for hours, but I decided if someone needs to be the asshole here I can wear that mantle.

Stop letting sex cloud the issue. Two people can be sexually attracted to one another but still be incompatible with respect to having an adult relationship. Getting drunk and fucking is not addressing core issues; its making them worse. Using the intimacy associated with sex to confuse judgement is not helping and it's borderline manipulative. There's a reason the therapist suggested a 30 day no-contact separation.

I don't have all the answers. I don't know anything other than what you've shared. But what you've posted here is not healthy in the short or long term.
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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by Enough »

Ugh, I am so sorry MSD. As others have said, please vent away and lots of hugs your way. I would just be an echo for the excellent advise you have been given but will share one more morsel. Make sure you have your own stuff going on and that you take care of yourself. Perhaps a healthy display of constructive passion for a pet project of yours will remind her of the things she loves about you and give you new footing/confidence as things go forward. And worse-case if things don't work out, at least you have already started building a base to carry on life with. One thing is for sure, if you look like your whole life completely revolves around her, then what is she to think you are offering? Shine on.
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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by noxiousdog »


msduncan wrote: 3. Now she has anger when we DO help, but she admits that we are having to try to prioritize her and help her relentlessly to form LASTING CHANGE and not just patch the problem. So she's accepting of the help but it still causes her some anger. She's hoping individual counseling will help her with this.
I would suggest cleaning before she even sees the messes or job to be done. She'll notice the difference, but doesn't have to watch you working, and knows you're actually trying to help and not just reacting to not making her mad.
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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by Unagi »

Enough wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:35 pm
Ugh, I am so sorry MSD. As others have said, please vent away and lots of hugs your way. I would just be an echo for the excellent advise you have been given but will share one more morsel. Make sure you have your own stuff going on and that you take care of yourself. Perhaps a healthy display of constructive passion for a pet project of yours will remind her of the things she loves about you and give you new footing/confidence as things go forward. And worse-case if things don't work out, at least you have already started building a base to carry on life with. One thing is for sure, if you look like your whole life completely revolves around her, then what is she to think you are offering? Shine on.
Unless his focus on his own pet projects has been the heart of the problem.

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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by Grifman »

Well, I originally thought you were posting that you had given up on Republicanism, but I guess there's always next time :)

On a much more serious note, I am very sad to hear this. It always tears me up when friends' marriages go sour. Being single my entire life, I always wonder how people can throw it all away (i know there is and can be more than that, but still for me that comes to mind). Anyway, I really really hope you and her can work this out. I am rooting and praying for both of you!
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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by msduncan »

I think part of the root of the problem is that I DID have my own pet projects and hobbies going on, and she has not had time to. I've radically scaled back on any personal hobbies -- both because I needed to and also because I have ZERO appetite for them right now.

So yes.... for the past 26 days I've been busting my ASS cleaning. A dirty particle of clothing doesn't hit the ground without being washed and folded. No dirty dishes-- they get washed as they get used. Entire rooms cleaned spotless. I have been making the grocery store runs a few times a week for odds and ends. This is all making her angry of course because I should have been doing it a long time ago. However, she does accept my explanation that I HAVE to change radically and IMMEDIATELY even if it makes her mad for these behaviors to stick for good. So she's letting me do them, and when she gets home from work she relaxes for the first time ever it seems.

The second issue is having her own identity apart from wife/mother. I know this is a very common issue for women in their early 40s when their kids are more grown. She feels like she's tethered to us constantly. She feels guilty when she wants to go off and do something on her own -- not because we tell her not to, but because she perceives our sadness or inability to function without her. I have told her these past weeks that she ABSOLUTELY needs to do that, and we ABSOLUTELY need to let her do it and not flood her with calls and texts while she's off doing it. So tonight she is going overnight to Atlanta to attend a funeral. About 40 of her high school friends will be there and they are meeting up tonight to socialize. You can imagine I have all kinds of nightmares and snakes in my head that I've NEVER had before because of her current level of detachment and anger. I have swallowed all of these, stuffed them down, and have mentally forced myself to understand that she NEEDS this time away to be the girl I met instead of the wife I know.

She still texts me from work about casual or silly things. She still has me rub her feet and watch shows with her. Her intimacy patterns haven't changed towards me in the least. And my biggest sign of hope was her refusal of the counselor's plan to make me disappear for 30 days.

However, she still swings over to icy cold occasionally, and I can tell she's very detached. Little things like not being the one that says 'love you' when she gets off the phone -- I say it and she responds. Kissing me on the cheek most of the time instead of the lips (but then she will swing back over to the lips occasionally too). I think all of this is to be expected though. Her emotions are swinging all over and she's going to have good days and bad days. I've set my mind to be patient and cheerful and never bring up ANY of the fact that I can feel her detachment or that she's cold one day. I just soldier on being patient, loving, helpful and cheerful.

It's been 26 days now. The helping around the house doesn't bother me at all -- in fact it has long since started to make me feel good to accomplish it. A turning point for me I think. The part that is utterly destroying me is 26 days of feeling the love of my life so emotionally distant from me. It's killing me inside.
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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by Combustible Lemur »


msduncan wrote:. I have swallowed all of these, stuffed them down, and have mentally forced myself to understand that she NEEDS this time away to be the girl I met instead of the wife I know.
I'm sorry for your struggle. I empathize greatly with both of you. Something about what you just said struck me as well.

First, don't shove it down. That's what got you in this mess in the first place, if you're jealous you have to address it. That will eat you up and cause resentment in both directions. Second, she will never be the girl you met. She's twenty years a woman, a person not defined by your childhood affection for her. She's the woman you don't know. Is that the person you want to be married to? Does she want to be married to you or is she faking it because it's easy and comfortable? She may have way more practice shoving her own resentment down than she does letting it out.
Maybe the fact that you do love the current each other but resent/ take for granted the current marriage is what will save you.



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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by RunningMn9 »

msduncan wrote:Ishe NEEDS this time away to be the girl I met instead of the wife I know.
NO.

She needs this time to be the woman that SHE needs to be. She’s not trying to be the girl you met, or the wife you know. She can’t be one, and doesn’t want to be the other.

Your role, for there to be any hope of real reconciliation, is to understand who she needs to become, for HER sake.

I understand the tendency to want to get back to a time that you thought it was all great. She’s not trying to get back to that time. Look to the future and what can be, not to the past and what was.
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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by Unagi »

I read somewhere that a lot of women in relationships have problems when the man "hasn't changed at all", and that for men the problem is that the woman 'has changed".

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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by msduncan »

RunningMn9 wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:14 am
msduncan wrote:Ishe NEEDS this time away to be the girl I met instead of the wife I know.
NO.

She needs this time to be the woman that SHE needs to be. She’s not trying to be the girl you met, or the wife you know. She can’t be one, and doesn’t want to be the other.

Your role, for there to be any hope of real reconciliation, is to understand who she needs to become, for HER sake.

I understand the tendency to want to get back to a time that you thought it was all great. She’s not trying to get back to that time. Look to the future and what can be, not to the past and what was.
I think this is the best thing I've read in a long time.

I DO love the woman she is at her core, and I'm going to work to understand the woman she needs to be. I'm not, in any way, trying to bring her back to the woman she was or the roles we played. I'm trying to adapt myself to eliminate my failures and it doesn't have anything to do with trying to get her to slide back into her old role. I'm happy to give her this time of self discovery -- her trip, time alone, independence, etc. Her proposal that instead of me disappearing, she instead has an isolated place she can be herself without being wife/mommy.... I think that's excellent. Make no mistake -- I'm determined to adapt and learn and be patient, empathetic, understanding, and allow her to flourish on her own. I love her. I want her to be happy. Selfishly I want her to fall back into love with me, but I can't make that happen. I can only do the best I can to work on myself and hope that spark ignites again.
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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by Jeff V »

Unagi wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:17 am
I read somewhere that a lot of women in relationships have problems when the man "hasn't changed at all", and that for men the problem is that the woman 'has changed".
Or, things that the woman previously ignored/dismissed/thought it a minor quirk evolves into something intolerable. In that case, the only thing that changed is her ability to tolerate things she did in the past.

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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by RunningMn9 »

msduncan wrote:
msduncan wrote:She NEEDS this time away to be the girl I met instead of the wife I know.
I DO love the woman she is at her core, and I'm going to work to understand the woman she needs to be. I'm not, in any way, trying to bring her back to the woman she was or the roles we played.
This is hard, because it’s over an Internet forum and not over a beer. All I can do is react to the language you are using. I can’t hear how you are saying it, or react to body language or any normal cue that exists in live human conversation.

I don’t know the people involved, and I’m only seeing one side presented here - but I think that like most people would do, you are hearing a criticism and trying to address it.

And that’s a fine thing to do, if the problem is really about the criticism. Like most things that involve, I suspect that it’s more complicated than that. Jarring yourself out of an unacceptable routine is good - but I don’t think that the routine is the problem.

Your wife sounds deeply unhappy with something, and I don’t think it’s the cleaning. She may not even be able to articulate it, and thus grabbed ahold of a symptom.

On your end, I would at least be aware that it might not be about the cleaning.
And in banks across the world
Christians, Moslems, Hindus, Jews
And every other race, creed, colour, tint or hue
Get down on their knees and pray
The raccoon and the groundhog neatly
Make up bags of change
But the monkey in the corner
Well he's slowly drifting out of range

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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by msduncan »

RunningMn9 wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:14 am
msduncan wrote:
msduncan wrote:She NEEDS this time away to be the girl I met instead of the wife I know.
I DO love the woman she is at her core, and I'm going to work to understand the woman she needs to be. I'm not, in any way, trying to bring her back to the woman she was or the roles we played.
This is hard, because it’s over an Internet forum and not over a beer. All I can do is react to the language you are using. I can’t hear how you are saying it, or react to body language or any normal cue that exists in live human conversation.

I don’t know the people involved, and I’m only seeing one side presented here - but I think that like most people would do, you are hearing a criticism and trying to address it.

And that’s a fine thing to do, if the problem is really about the criticism. Like most things that involve, I suspect that it’s more complicated than that. Jarring yourself out of an unacceptable routine is good - but I don’t think that the routine is the problem.

Your wife sounds deeply unhappy with something, and I don’t think it’s the cleaning. She may not even be able to articulate it, and thus grabbed ahold of a symptom.

On your end, I would at least be aware that it might not be about the cleaning.
I understand that. But that one symptom is something I can grab hold of and address, so I have done that. I've also heard her words about feeling tethered to us and about me and the kids seemingly dependent on her so that she can't do her own things. I'm addressing that as well. Being able to handle things around the house and show her that we can handle it is hopefully allowing her freedom. This trip tonight is a great example. I'm enthusiastically embracing it. We aren't going to bother her. We will be here when she gets back and everything will NOT fall apart when she's gone. Another thing is prioritizing the family and her. That will no longer be a problem -- ever if she gives me the opportunity.

RM9 -- what is your take on our counseling trip? She walked into that expecting the counselor to drag her through weeks/months of sessions that she didn't want to do. You could tell she was braced for it. She came out angry/fighting. What the counselor did instead was say "Yeah... you guys aren't ready for me. He needs to leave with no contact for 30 days and see what happens when you get back together." I expected wife to be completely neutral on it -- ok with it even. Instead, before even the end of the day, she came home and said "this isn't a good idea. you need to stay. I just need a little space. It's not fair to you to keep you from doing all the things you are doing to try, because if you leave you won't be able to do those things. Let's sit down Sunday by the pool at the sunset and come up with an alternate plan to present to her". She repeated over and over that the separation was the LAST thing she expected to come out of the counselor's mouth. It shocked us both.
It's 109 first team All-Americans.
It's a college football record 61 bowl appearances.
It's 34 bowl victories.
It's 24 Southeastern Conference Championships.
It's 15 National Championships.

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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by Unagi »

I think she is showing that when she reflects; she has no desire for you to change, and she doesn’t want to punish you.

But then she is certain of one thing, she just doesn’t want to be what she’s become, and wants something else. Something else entirely. Hard for a mom and wife to declare that.

Or a husband, for that matter.
Last edited by Unagi on Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by Smoove_B »

msduncan wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:31 am
She repeated over and over that the separation was the LAST thing she expected to come out of the counselor's mouth. It shocked us both.
Of course it did. You're likely both in shock and probably denial over the bigger picture implications of everything that was verbalized back in May. The counselor suggesting you have a 30 day no contact separation allows you and your wife to not be mired in your current existence - which is clouding your judgement. 30 days away can hopefully start providing some clarity.

I am with RM9 100% here. You seem very focused on cleaning (or whatever) but realize whatever is happening right now is probably not about cleaning. Whatever is happening is much bigger. Going back to the 30 day no-contact separation, figuring out exactly what is going on is how that would be encouraged to start being resolved/addressed (by dramatically changing the current arrangement, being free and clear of it, and trying to figure out a new foundation or rediscover an old one).

Given a 20+ year history, it's likely impossible (or very difficult) to start hammering away at your issues as a couple until you've both had that "detox" time away to sort things out as individuals first. However, after 20+ years, thinking about and actually conducting a true 30 day no contact separation is also a source of anxiety and stress. But what you're currently describing here (to me) sounds like a scenario that might be a temporary band-aid but won't actually resolve anything long term or as a core issue.

Again, like RM, it's hard to say exactly but based on what you've shared that's my take.

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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by msduncan »

Well... We are going to see what the counselor says. I was completely willing (though in grief) about leaving for 30 days. Heck...I even lined up a place. I texted it to her mid afternoon that I had a place. I didn't mope. I didn't seem upset. I just said I'd found a place.

I'm not sure it's a good idea for me to suggest we stick to the 30 days? It certainly wasn't me who called it off. Maybe the counselor will listen to her plan and strongly suggest the 30 days anyway. If she does that - then the wife will likely agree to it.
It's 109 first team All-Americans.
It's a college football record 61 bowl appearances.
It's 34 bowl victories.
It's 24 Southeastern Conference Championships.
It's 15 National Championships.

At some places they play football. At Alabama we live it.

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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by msduncan »

I will say this...... these 26 days have been the most awful hell I've been through in my entire life. I have cried until I couldn't anymore. Then something random will trigger more sobbing. I can't imagine a pain worse than this and lasting as long as this. It's truly awful.
It's 109 first team All-Americans.
It's a college football record 61 bowl appearances.
It's 34 bowl victories.
It's 24 Southeastern Conference Championships.
It's 15 National Championships.

At some places they play football. At Alabama we live it.

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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by Smoove_B »

Does you leaving and her then staying at home and being a full-time single parent and house caretaker in any way seem like it's addressing your wife's concerns at this time?

Your life together - in that house, with your kids, and with you (in part or in whole) is causing (or has caused) her distress.

You leaving addresses a single variable. Did the counselor say *you* should leave the house for 30 days and have no contact or did he explicitly tell her to do so. I would be amazed if it was the former or if they just said "you figure it out".

Regardless, I think the counselor is telling you some very specific things for very specific reasons. I don't think it's a take-out menu of pick and choose what "feels right".

Again, all framed in what you're saying to us so sorry if I'm misinterpreting things.

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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by RunningMn9 »

msduncan wrote:RM9 -- what is your take on our counseling trip? She walked into that expecting the counselor to drag her through weeks/months of sessions that she didn't want to do. You could tell she was braced for it. She came out angry/fighting. What the counselor did instead was say "Yeah... you guys aren't ready for me. He needs to leave with no contact for 30 days and see what happens when you get back together."
I avoided dealing with that because I’m concerned about my own biases at the moment clouding my judgment on the counseling front.

I think that the counselor is right about a few things. You have to be ready for counseling. Right now you are caught in the wake of receiving devastating news, and you want to fix it. Your wife is caught in the wake of delivering devastating news, but then not really committing to the devastation.

So everyone is in this quasi-state were any real progress is going to be really difficult. You are reacting to what you’re being told. What else can you do? She’s resenting the reaction, both because it’s only happening because she wants out, and maybe because it might be a symptom and not a cause. The real problem continues, because she hasn’t or can’t articulate it.

My worry is that my recent experiences, while enlightening me to the kinds of things that are possible, makes me see things that might not be there. I have struggled a lot over the past few years, with an ever-escalating situation at work. No matter how hard I tried to fix it, it kept getting worse.

If at any point during that, I started seeing a therapist it wouldn’t have helped. I wasn’t ready. I had no way to even articulate what was wrong. My brain just kept saying “work” and I just kept trying to fix it. Back in August, total protonic reversal happened (or so I thought), and I got very close to a breakdown (incidentally this is a big reason why I left the forums in early 2019).

I was finally ready to see a therapist because I was finally at my breaking point - which is what I needed to be ready (not everyone does, but for lots of reasons, I did). I went and talked all about work and what was happening and how it was killing me. She listened, and noted “it feels like I’m talking to someone with PTSD”.

I had no idea what she was talking about. I kept going weekly and it became almost amusing as I would focus on work, and she would just chuckle, “It’s not about work RM9”.

We were working through a lot of non-work things, but even knowing all that, I just couldn’t get past that it was about work, “I don’t know RM9’s therapist, it feels a lot like it’s about work...”. Until one day in November, when I was spiraling out of control internally over this work issue. It had been two days since I had slept, and I had lost about 10 pounds in the previous few days because I couldn’t eat.

I took my daughter to dance class and was waiting in the car, and doing an exercise that my therapist was always asking me to do - write what I feel. While I write prolifically at work, it turns out that I cannot write how I feel (there’s a psychological block - like I literally can’t form words or thoughts). I had discovered that I can only do it if I write to someone else about how I feel. So I did that, and over and over and over again just kept focusing on those same work themes.

Dance class ends and we are driving home. My daughter has her permit, so she’s driving. She makes a minor mistake and I start correcting her, she argues with me. For one second too long.

The work-related powder keg I had been building, exploded. I have no idea what I said to my daughter, but I will never forget the look on her face. Two days later (with almost no sleep still) I was talking to my wife, and I was trying to explain again what was happening at work.

And she just casually mentioned something from when I was 17. And in that instant, everything snapped into place.

It wasn’t about work. A situation at work developed that felt a little bit like something that happened when I was 17 that I had been suppressing for decades, and I had lost my ability to block it out.

For almost two years, I had been coming apart at the seams at work, and at home, because of things that I never learned to deal with as a kid. I spent two years trying to fix a problem at work that was utterly unfixable, because I was imagining it.

I don’t say any of this to make this about me, I promise. :)

I say all that because once you’ve lived through that kind of ordeal, knowing with such complete certainty that what you’re feeling is about X, doesn’t mean that it’s actually about X. Sometimes it’s about 4, and X just makes you feel a little bit like 4, enough for that raging torrent of 4-emotion to come back to the surface.

I’m still not healthy, and don’t know if I ever will be. But I know that no matter how much counseling has helped me, it would have been useless if I wasn’t ready for it.

So I get where the counselor is coming from. But if either of you want to be happy, you need to figure out how to get ready. Some things just won’t work themselves out on their own, no matter how badly we want them to. That’s where good professionals come into help.

I just know that at the moment, I have a tendency to project “it might not be about X” onto other situations because of my experience, so I was trying to restrain myself a little bit. But you asked. ;)

You probably both should have been shocked by the suggestion. But there’s a reason for that suggestion that maybe neither of you wants to face?

If you both knew that at the end of the 30 days, you’d be on a path to being happier, would you both do it?
And in banks across the world
Christians, Moslems, Hindus, Jews
And every other race, creed, colour, tint or hue
Get down on their knees and pray
The raccoon and the groundhog neatly
Make up bags of change
But the monkey in the corner
Well he's slowly drifting out of range

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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by RunningMn9 »

msduncan wrote:I will say this...... these 26 days have been the most awful hell I've been through in my entire life. I have cried until I couldn't anymore. Then something random will trigger more sobbing. I can't imagine a pain worse than this and lasting as long as this. It's truly awful.
I feel for you. One more thing that I’ve learned, that you seem to know already - so this is just a reminder and support.

FEEL. Don’t bottle it up. Don’t suppress it. FEEL it and process it. Society tells dudes to suck it up, but fuck that. FEEL.
And in banks across the world
Christians, Moslems, Hindus, Jews
And every other race, creed, colour, tint or hue
Get down on their knees and pray
The raccoon and the groundhog neatly
Make up bags of change
But the monkey in the corner
Well he's slowly drifting out of range

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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by stimpy »

Take this for what it's worth, but sometimes you just have to let them go and hope it is a grass isn't always greener type of situation.
It's a gamble, but after months and months of counseling and really trying, it got to the point where the best thing to do at the time was to just let her go. We didn't fall out of love and there was really no fighting. The details of our situation are kinda confusing, but at the end of the day it boiled down to her just needing to try and make a change for herself.

I was heartbroken, and when she called a month later to say she wanted to come home, it took many more months for us both to decide it was the right thing to do.

I could have been an ass. I could have taken the hardline stance of "hey, you wanted it, you left, you deal with it'.
But we owed it to each other to talk about why she left and why she wanted to try again and how or if that would work.

Not easy stuff, but with effort and commitment on both sides, a happy outcome is achievable, even if at the time all seems lost.
It makes my dookie twinkle.

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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by gbasden »

RunningMn9 wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:18 pm

I’m still not healthy, and don’t know if I ever will be. But I know that no matter how much counseling has helped me, it would have been useless if I wasn’t ready for it.
Thank you for sharing - what you wrote is super powerful and an insight that could be really useful. I'm personally very glad you feel better enough to be back here on the boards.

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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by RunningMn9 »

gbasden wrote:Thank you for sharing - what you wrote is super powerful and an insight that could be really useful. I'm personally very glad you feel better enough to be back here on the boards.
I didn’t even realize why I left until I got a message one day from Grifman asking if I was still alive. I was just angry and frustrated 100% of the time, and being here made it worse. When I started to get better it was just habit to not be here.

I’ve been dealing with the after effects of sustained emotional trauma, and what I had to do to survive it at the time.

While I can’t really imagine the specifics of what MSD is going through, I can certainly imagine going through pain better now. And I’m much more able to empathize with those that suffer from anxiety and depressive disorders.

Hopefully being more empathetic towards others and what they are going through makes me less of an asshole than I used to be.
And in banks across the world
Christians, Moslems, Hindus, Jews
And every other race, creed, colour, tint or hue
Get down on their knees and pray
The raccoon and the groundhog neatly
Make up bags of change
But the monkey in the corner
Well he's slowly drifting out of range

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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by msduncan »

I spoke with her mom. She's as close as I've got to a mom now that my parents are gone. My wife has openly encouraged me to talk to her -- and she is remaining pretty neutral on the whole thing intentionally.

Her assessment is that the ship is beginning to turn a little. She said that wife told her she really didn't want me gone (or her gone) for 30 days. She also candidly shared a line of conversation that she had with her mom (which I swore to take to the grave and not tell anyone) that does give me hope that she doesn't really want to end it after some reflection. She's mad. MAD. Angry. But from what her mother told me -- there is hope. I just have to keep my internal changes true and wake up every day trying to be a better husband/best friend/father/person that I can be.
It's 109 first team All-Americans.
It's a college football record 61 bowl appearances.
It's 34 bowl victories.
It's 24 Southeastern Conference Championships.
It's 15 National Championships.

At some places they play football. At Alabama we live it.

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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by Smoove_B »

msduncan wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 3:14 pm
I and she is remaining pretty neutral on the whole thing intentionally.
Your MIL is incapable of being neutral. We are incapable of being neutral. Go back to the therapist and listen.

And at the risk of being called alarmist or an even bigger asshole - you should be speaking with a lawyer, right now. Not to do anything but to get educated.

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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by MHS »

RunningMn9 wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:14 am
msduncan wrote:
msduncan wrote:She NEEDS this time away to be the girl I met instead of the wife I know.
I DO love the woman she is at her core, and I'm going to work to understand the woman she needs to be. I'm not, in any way, trying to bring her back to the woman she was or the roles we played.
Your wife sounds deeply unhappy with something, and I don’t think it’s the cleaning. She may not even be able to articulate it, and thus grabbed ahold of a symptom.

On your end, I would at least be aware that it might not be about the cleaning.
Or, you know...listen to her and believe her when she says it's about the cleaning. Men say women don't tell them what's wrong, and that's true, we often don't because we're societally conditioned to not verbalize our wants and needs. But when we DO, and then the person we are verbalizing them to thinks that can't be it, it's even worse. Picture the cartoon..."If only she would tell me what she wants!" "I want you to clean and help and not treat me like my time isn't as valuable as yours." "WHY won't she tell me, I guess there's no way to know!" :roll: Maybe it really ISN'T about the cleaning and that's just a symptom, but until something else comes out (and don't assume it will), please take her at her word. Feeling taken advantage of and unappreciated really can be enough to end a marriage, as can feeling patronized. Having to do the bulk of the cleaning, childcare, and social obligations (holiday shopping, wrapping, cards) is hands down the biggest gripe among every single one of my partnered female friends and relatives.

And of course, it's about the cleaning but also SO MUCH more. Every time she's cleaning and you're leaving her to clean, she's wondering why she's not worth the effort to you. She's wondering why someone who promised a partnership isn't being equitable and fair with the division of labor. She's wondering why, when you both work, she's continuing to do more work once the "work day" ends and how you can see all of that and be ok with it if you supposedly love her and want to make her life better, which is something you should do if you love someone. And she's angry now because when you do it, you're acknowledging that you are capable of seeing what you should have been seeing all this time, and doing it, but you didn't, because it wasn't important enough to you to be equitable, which makes her feel like shit AND she's also wondering (and probably assuming, because I doubt this hadn't come up once in the last 20+ years) if you'll fall right back into old habits once you're not scared of her leaving you.

Best of luck to you both. It sounds like you're both working toward making it work, and communicating well, and those things are promising. As Meal said earlier, we are proof that things definitely can seem bleak but then turn around if you both communicate, make some changes, and want things to work.
Last edited by MHS on Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Never thought I'd be typing this

Post by msduncan »

I may be completely naive and it might hurt me in the end.... but:

1. I will trust her and believe her.
2. I will definitely not talk to a lawyer. I am having faith in her, in God, and in this marriage
3. I will go down with this ship rather than betray my trust for her. She's my best friend and she's been in my life for 23 years. I'm taking her at her word about what is wrong, and trusting her.
It's 109 first team All-Americans.
It's a college football record 61 bowl appearances.
It's 34 bowl victories.
It's 24 Southeastern Conference Championships.
It's 15 National Championships.

At some places they play football. At Alabama we live it.

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