Conflict Discussion-release turn to no turnaround

Conflict Discussion-release turn to no turnaround

Postby moc » Thu Dec 04, 2008 7:54 am

Let me jump from my confession blog: http://www.secretsofmarriedmen.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=357 over to the conflict communication that just happened. Finally after reading the chapter on Conflict Communication, I decided to air my issues with what my wife was doing to our relationship. We were both respectful and "called each other out" when we were being unfair. As much as I still hurt it felt good to get my current pent up feelings and thoughts out to her so she knew where I stood. From that previous blog:

1. Ring: she wasn't wearing it and I felt that this was mixed signals as she was making small steps forward to possible resolution. I told her that her excuse of "winter it breaks out my fingers" was a load of junk. I guess she understood and kind of laughed it off a bit. She hasn't put it on, but probably because she can't say she loves me right now.

2. Cellphone: I told her it was disrespectful and hurtful to me. I have to sometimes walk out of the room when she is using her personal cell and texting friends (by the way, I work for a competitor cellular company so read into that what you will). I told her that I would buy her a new phone for the plan she already had, if she would shut off her new one no matter what the charges, I didn't care about the contract. She knows that it does not build trust in us. I told her it was a double-standard that if I did that, I would have been kicked to the curb. She didn't seem too fazed by this and also laughed it off but said she would think about it.

3. Smoking: I asked her to quit but I can accept this for awhile as long as she is respectful of me as I don't like it. She said she is trying not to smoke in the car (which was a load of bunk, car smells like an ash tray) for the kids.

Other things were said for clarification and I just don't understand how the me and the kids were not enough. I know she told me before and continues to tell me that this really is about her and her trying to find her identity. So in other words, I got the "it's not you, it's me" excuse, 40 years old mid-life crisis. So now she tells me also she went back on her medication (for anxiety) because her FRIENDS say she needs to. Thats what I have been saying for weeks. But because it came from her loving husband its bunk?

Even though I felt better just after the discussion, I feel like junk again only hours later. She tells me when she is done with this it will be even better than before or we will part as friends. Of course I am fighting for the first. I cautioned her (probably not the right thing to do) that I will be here but I don't know if this goes on for a year or more, what kind of shape I will be in. She says it won't go on a year. How can she know. She said that I will know, sort of like a light switch from what was like when she told me she was running away.

So I ask the panel, gentlemen, ladies, I guess I stay the course of consistency showing each day by my actions that I love her, stay in the home, take the small steps for what they are. Any other advice to ease my pain and keep my mind off this crud she is subjecting me to?
moc
 
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FWIW

Postby Scott Haltzman » Sun Dec 07, 2008 8:42 am

FWIW, moc, and I respect your efforts at resolution, you may be asking for too much too fast. If you're trying to win back her heart, discussions ought to be on listening to your wife, not telling her how you feel about things. She'll only be willing to listen to you once she feels heard.
On the positive, it sounds like you were able to approach the discussion with minimal criticism. As you know, criticism is a harsh way to open up a dialogue.
Keep reading the book--and have patience!
S.H.


Please remember that these comments are not representative of advice or medical service or recommendations, but are offered by Scott Haltzman as points of discussion and observation.
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Postby moc » Wed Dec 24, 2008 8:24 am

Update...well, not a budge on the 4 things that my crazy human being mind wants before she is near return. In my mind there is not another man, and I am not trying to search for clues either. But the craziness of the brain does make me wonder at times if she is secretly seeing someone. Especially when she leaves in the middle of the afternoon (which I come home early from hearing the stress in her voice of handling the children) and doesn't come home for 3 hours (says she went to friends house and yes, I believe her). Its so hard not to get upset and display as such.

I know its not possible and I am asking for too much at this time in the process, but I truly believe from the limited internet research I have perused that this is a Mid-Life Crisis or Mid-Life Transition. Its too obvious. I am a talker, unlike probably most guys, and have a tendency to overtalk an issue (my wife is on the bandwagon for this one). What is damaging to me is that I think about her Mid-Life Crisis and the length that it has gone on and the hurt that I feel. I feel like she doesn't even think about it. Its like a role reversal in a way where the man wants to talk about it but the woman clams up. I don't want to detach, I want to strengthen the marriage but I know this is about her. But it sure digs at me all the time, especially when I know she doesn't want to talk about it. And especially when her actions are that of a 20 year old and not of society's perception of what a 40 year old should be doing.

Anyone out there gone through their wife's Mid-Life Crisis and survived when "Dorothy Came Back From OZ?" How did those who were understanding not want to argue and fight at times? What are some ways to combat the urge?

Yesterday she started PMSing (yes, it gets bad) and I knew it but it still pushed my buttons. Coupled with the Mid-Life Crisis and my inner feelings, small things just tick me off. Somebody have advice to calm my aching heart?
moc
 
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Postby moc » Sat Jan 03, 2009 11:18 am

So a recent update for the new year. I had a bit of a freakout when my wife asked a couple of questions and I read into them more than there was.

She asked me when our son's high school play was (which was the same time she dropped the I want to run away and leave it all behind speech). So that got me thinking she knew what she did, wanted to remember when it was and calculate the time frame. And maybe, she would say to herself WOW, that long, I need to look at what my Husbands new changes are and figure myself out as he is still in pain. She also asked where her Social Security card was at (it is laminated and has stickers of each of the kids Social Security cards on it). This got me into a panic. Other than just wanting to find it, I erroneously thought (I still hope-she isn't) she was setting up for divorce.

So come New Years after the ball dropped and friends went home I opened up to her. Crying, sobbing like a stereotypical 13 year old girl and told her my fears that she was divorcing me. She said she wasnt and if she wanted the Social Security numbers that she could get them with ease anyway. She kind of laughed about it as I confessed that my mind was racing with where she was at in her Mid-Life Crisis.

Some sites recommend detachment with love, still being there but setting boundaries and deal-breakers. I think I am finally coming to that stage. Her demeanor is really well, we are still in the bed together, the "I love yous" are back but I know it is still not 100% yet.

In fact her close friend (which I am confident has good intentions on helping her save herself) stated that my wife was afraid that I wouldn't be there when she found herself/came back and that she knows that she is causing me pain/suffering. She said that my wife confessed to her that she is not in the marriage 100% yet and that she is confident she does not want to divorce me. To me it seems simple (albeit its not) in theory, if you know you have a good marriage and family, choose to change to come back. And she is not 100% gone either. But women in Mid-Life Crisis its a matter of a battle between what they know is right/good/should do to what they think they want. She shows signs of turning back to what normalcy I remember. I have made huge strides in cherishing and honoring her but its not quite there.

I need to find contenment for what I have and not want for what I do not. That is very difficult as I believe from Dr. Haltzmans book that what I am doing is taking care of the marriage. In fact, I have found out its kind of fun (yes, its a bit of work) and I enjoy finding new ways to show her that I am here and love her. For instance, for 8 weeks I have been placing a sticky-note on the mirror every Thursday with a confession/saying of how much I love her. It wasnt until yesterday that she even made mention to a note at all as the words touched her in some way. She didn't even know that it was every Thursday, she had no clue of the pattern. As small as the pattern was, that is what it is like for women in Mid-Life Crisis, centered on their own issues and not appreciating the good things that are coming. I understand she may be skeptical, and I told her so, but longevity in my actions will show her I mean business in strengthening our marriage.

Your comments are always welcome.
moc
 
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Keep on keepin' on

Postby Scott Haltzman » Sat Jan 03, 2009 8:09 pm

Hey moc,
Thanks for the update. It makes sense that your wife isn't in it 100%; can't expect her to go from 0 to 60 in 5 seconds. It's nice that you are trying to find ways to connect, including the sticky note. Women often fear that when men change, it's a "show" and that it will stop once they open themselves up. A husband's mission is to always make his wife his #1 priority--it pays off for everyone!
S.H.

Please remember that these comments are not representative of advice or medical service or recommendations, but are offered by Scott Haltzman as points of discussion and observation.
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Postby moc » Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:06 am

Thank you Dr. Haltzman,
latest update is that she says we are "OK" in the marriage but I just dont feel it yet. Maybe its about forgiveness to the hurt I felt for so long now. But its also about her disrepectfulness in some things to me. For instance take this weekend:

Tells me about birthday party only after I attempt to make arrangements with her of inviting brother and his wife over to hang out at our house (harken back to her wants of having couple friends). Well at least it wasnt the day of she told me. She said she told me as soon as she got the invitation but, I improved my listening skills more than that over the past 13 weeks. She goes out and says she will call me when she changes venues with girlfriends. I know she needs the release time (not sure when I get mine with her but...i digress) but she never calls! She calls me at 5 am and says she is on the way home.

Of course she is a bit drunk and wants to have sex. Oh heck no, its talk time. I told her it was disrespectful to not call when she said she would change venues (birthday party then dancing at club, then restaurant, then friends house) and to put herself in my shoes and she would not have put up with it from me (I have said this to her in the past a few times). She agrees that she would not have put up with it from me as you know of my infedility 7 years ago on my other posts. She continues to not understand how she is disrespecting our marriage with the other cell phone (of which she shares all thats on there) and not wearing her wedding ring.

After a bit of rest she continues to talk about want to run around with girl friend at night as they are night owls (due to night work). But I told her that I would understand a little bit of that but I do not want to be lonely in the bed without her when I go to bed to sleep. In fact, her friends husband does not like it when her friend goes out and leaves him alone either. I have communicated to her that some things she does is disrespectful to me but she just laughs it off as if it was trivial...yet another sign of disrespect. I know that most of this is the mid-life crisis/transition coming out but I cant get it through to her the decisions she makes and may continue to make is building walls between us.

Why cant she see that and understand she is disrespectful to me when I am doing all that is loving and respectful to her? Your thoughts and anyone else that may want to comment on this and mid-life crisis/transition.

** last note, I attempted to setup a date with her but she said she wanted to be with the little children and do something together. Which is great but, I was wanting some one on one time, away from the house, without children for only a bit. I tried to explain this to her but she says we would just be missing the little children. Yes, but together for a couple of hours would be good. Is she scared that she cant talk about whats going on or that I want to talk about it and she doesnt want to hear it? Dont worry, this has not soften my resolve just confuses it again.
moc
 
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Postby moc » Fri Jan 30, 2009 9:05 am

So a more recent update and some help still needed. Some of this is venting as its good therapy for a husband married to a woman going through mid-life crisis-transition. ALL RESPONSES ARE WELCOME.

As I may have stated before, my wife is going through a mid-life crisis/transition and is not the same person even 6 months ago that I remember her to be. But I know she is in the core still there. The dancing incident blew up again the next day and I was hurtful to her and apologized with flowers and a card on my knees. I accused her of things I will address below.

Of this week I have been taking more of an effort to fulfill her need to have friends over so I invited her friend/hustband/son over to hang out at the house. She has been very sweet lately, asking for me to snuggle with her, reaching for my hand to hold, checking on me at work, etc. Really great actions that show a sign of a good turn. We had another discussion about the marriage that led to revelations. She said we were "OK" and that her "hand was no longer on the door". I expressed my love for her and also told her of my concerns of the cell phone again (which probably won't leave anytime soon) and her not wearing her wedding ring.

So let me ramble on a bit on this and conclusions that I am trying to make also. Not wearing a wedding ring (to me) is disrespectful to the marriage. She never wears it around the house, never has, so no problem so far. When she does not put it on (to me) she is out with other married women...says she is married to other men...has 6 kids...has husband (at least this is what SHE tells me and I have never known her to lie)...but no ring SCREAMS "hey, I am available...I have issues in my marriage...hit on me...make me feel butterflies..." I am not so stupid I guess to think that even if she does put it on before she leaves, she could take it off once she hits the car and put it back on before she gets in the house.

We had said friends over, have some dinner, drinks, and movie watching. They left early and we remained awake watching another movie, cuddling, touching and enjoying each others company. The intimacy was wonderful and so was the sex. Next afternoon I took my daughter to church to return to a woman that absolutely ravaged me when I walked in the door. Like the kind sex one has when first dating and its over the top. Afterwards, we head to local store and I look down and she has not only put on her wedding ring but polished it. AH, that seals the comfort zone for me to relax a bit.

Until later in the week...she still has been saying the "I Love Yous" and wanting to have me close...keep her warm...caressing...sex...etc. She goes out with the girls to a bar to celebrate a girlfriends triumph. I am good with it, I assist her in getting her clothes, loading her purse, etc. I made her a meal and we shared, fed the kids, bathed them, etc. I was doing really well actually until...I saw she left the wedding ring at home. Now go back and read a few paragraphs back to my wedding ring craziness. It all comes back.

I dont sleep, I toss and turn...it eats at me. I pray to God to help me understand and give me tools to deal with it. She calls when she is coming home, arrives 30 minutes later, and crawls into bed with me. I have to work the next day and I usually dont mind anyway. But I was furious until she grabbed my hand, snuggled me close and said she loved me. All my anger went away and mutual love making commenced.

Now one would think it was resolved. NOPE, I could not let it go and struggled with it all day yesterday. Soon as I got home and barely in the door she asked me to take a nap with her. We talked about it and she said she forgot the rings and was going to come back in and get them. Why should I believe her? We talked in a calm voice that I was disappointed that she forgot and it meant a great deal to me for her to wear them when she is out.

She tried to rationalize again that she is out with married women who have been married to their husbands for 7+ years or more and not to become concerned. In fact, the married girls husbands each had issues with their wives going out that night and wanting them home with them. Cant those girls recognize that has to be comforting or maybe include their men in their time out. I read so many stories of how women would love to have their husbands home with them but not so much in reality from my world where husbands are more home and their wives are out looking for fun.

How can I not be concerned when she soon makes statements that a woman was hitting on her at the bar...she felt uncomfortable...and my wife says she is "too old" to have guys hitting on her. I guess in an evil way I can take relief that she is being turned down by other men when she has what she knows she needs/wants right at home.

After talking with her about it I feel a bit better. This is the first week that I have been comfortable at work to concentrate on my duties rather than my home situation (thanks to her exact words and especially her actions). She understands my personal issues and may try to comply. I dont want to put her in a box, I want her to have fun with her girls it just all came on so much so soon it was hard to take in. One of the wonderful guys at my mens church group made a statement that eased the pain a bit...you married the woman, not the ring. It felt better, but what is difficult in our early years of marriage is that we could be going out (anywhere) blocks from the house and if she forgot her rings, she would make me go back home and get them. Not so much of that today.

Time will tell...and thats the hardes for most FIX IT men...time kills us. It is on the right path.
moc
 
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