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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 9:56 am 
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Semen Strong
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I just need to vent.

My husband is such a "No" to everything. He is feeling overwhelmed with work and bills, which I get, but whenever I suggest anything, he is just so quick to shoot it down. And if he doesn't shoot it down, then he undermines it.

I wanted to set up garden, he agreed to get me raised bed and install them etc, but now every time I want to go get stuff, he wants to rediscuss everything from scratch - so we agreed on raised beds 3 months ago, but today again he was all "Hey, let's just plant them in the dirt and see how they do." It feels like it takes every ounce of effort for me not to just give up - and the only reason I don't is that I want L to have nice things and nice memories. Our yard is basically an unfenced in dog and cat toilet - I'd like there to be something in the yard for her and to fence it in to keep her safe. But instead its just a lot of excuses and reasons as to why he can't do it and helpful suggestions that he makes but won't follow up on. So we have now had these conversations for months and he is outwardly somewhat helpful but refuses to do anything to actually set up the yard. And yes, I know I could do it myself, but doing it all with no help and a toddler running around just sounds like hell. Esp because whatever I do will end up being criticized with his "helpful" comments about how he could have done it cheaper and better and blahblahblah.

And we set up a "family day" when he agreed that I could plan stuff for us as a family and he'd go along with it, but Every Single Forking Time, he whines and bisques about how its his only day to relax and he wants to just stay home. And its nice to have him home and get to relax too, but seriously, we do nothing together. We went to the PPK meet-up last Sunday and he whined and complained about it the whole way there and got annoyed that he had to wake up early (because L wakes up early and if we do stuff before her 1pm nap its fun otherwise its a disaster) and then had a great time and on the way back was all "That was so great! I had so much fun!" Which is lovely, but why do you have to wear my energy down to the tiniest nubbin in fighting me every step of the way before you can have fun?

And yes I know, "date night" "therapist" and "do something special just for you" but it just ends up being either outright rejected or undermined. And then we have conversations, he promises to do better and nothing ever changes. I am just tired and worn to a rag. Maybe its my period. Or else my life.

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You’re sure, doctor? Premenstrual syndrome? I mean, I’m getting divorced. My mother’s getting divorced. I’m raising twin boys. I have a lot of job pressure – I’ve got to find one. The ERA didn’t pass, not long ago I lost a very dear friend, and…and…my husband is involved…not just involved but in love, I’m afraid…with this woman…who is quite a bit younger than I am. And you think it’s my period and not my life? – Lily Tomlin

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:16 am 
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Semen Strong
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"Why do you have to do what all your friends do? Why not just throw seeds in the dirt? Why make things difficult, you douchebag croissant."

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:21 am 
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Nooch of Earl
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What? He said that to you? Is that a filter for croissant? Yikes. *hugs*


^- yes apparently the filter is what I thought it is. That really does sound verging on verbally abusive. I know what it's like to have a husband with super high work stress, but he needs a different outlet for it than you and Leela. Brent finds bicycle riding helps - he does a 13 mile commute by bike and without it he's a bear. Is Brett well enough for some sort of physical activity? Would it help him relax/destress/vent a bit?


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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:29 am 
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Semen Strong
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Honestly, I want to vent, not defend him or get advice on things for him to do. Brett isn't going to change anything. He doesn't like any physical activity. He likes watching self-improvement shows and taking courses and hanging out with his friends. That is how he destresses, which is fine, but none of that is with us.

His stepfather was the same way, everyone thought he was the greatest guy - he was a teacher who was beloved by all his students, but at home all the kids knew to stay away from him and whenever B's mom would plan something, he would torpedo it and make it horrible. They fought before every car trip, every vacation, every outing to see family, and then his stepfather would have a great time and be charming and the life of the party in public. All that my husband remembers from his childhood are those fights though, not the events his mother planned. He knows all this and admits to it, and swears he wants to change it. But knowing doesn't make any difference.

And he apologizes right after he yells at me, its just that that doesn't really make anything better for me at the moment. Its really frustrating, because he is always lovely to Leela, no matter what, which is great, but I wish that extended to me.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:41 am 
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Nooch of Earl
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Fair enough. That really sucks. I find the "you can't change other people, only your reaction" attitude comforting in general but it's so hard with a partner, where their own actions just affect you so much whether you want them to or not. Good luck going forward.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:08 am 
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Tofulish wrote:
And yes I know, "date night" "therapist" and "do something special just for you"

I haven't ever done any of those things!

BTW, accept my sympathies.

Also, Mr. Crabby is on this medicine for his prostate and, I swear, it was making him really irritable. The past few days have been a lot better (mind you, he was working on a paper for school and then was out all yesterday, so maybe that's why), but other than that, we've been fighting WAY more than usual and he's been accusing me of all these weird manipulative conspiracies and stuff that he's never accused me of doing ever before. And he totally doesn't think we're arguing more than usual and doesn't think he's been the least bit more irritable or acting any differently. It's all in my head, apparently, because I'm pregnant. :p

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:26 am 
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Geezus. I'll kick him for talking to you like that!
HUGS.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:28 pm 
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Crikey. I'm sorry T. I think the only solution is for us to open that PPKommune ASAP and all run away to live there. I am pretty much in the same boat except the insults are coming from the official spokesperson for Why I Suck: my kid. I'm so tired of being on the wrong team all the time.
today someone asked me how things were and i just let it all come out. everyone sat there aghast. this is why i don't tell people what's really going on. ugh.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:53 pm 
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Tofulish, with the garden can you get a mom friend to come over and hang with leela while you build the garden? I built one last summer before grey was crawling, he sat on the driveway while I did it. It then became incredibly neglected and is empty now because I can't work on it with him around, he runs into the street! I guess that is the other thing, if you don't have time to build it, you may not have time to maintain it. Of course, I don't know your yard situation.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2013 5:51 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:
"Why do you have to do what all your friends do? Why not just throw seeds in the dirt? Why make things difficult, you douchebag croissant."


He called you a WHAT??!!! That is NOT OKAY!

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2013 6:26 pm 
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choirqueer wrote:
Tofulish wrote:
"Why do you have to do what all your friends do? Why not just throw seeds in the dirt? Why make things difficult, you douchebag croissant."


He called you a WHAT??!!! That is NOT OKAY!

Yeah, I've been thinking about this a lot since yesterday. Name calling like that? It's just not OK. At all. It makes my heart hurt that someone could talk to you that way.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2013 6:38 pm 
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Tofulish, I don't post much anymore, but you've always been one of my favorite PPKers and you were so kind and helpful during my pregnancy. Your post just hit so close to home and I feel like I need to share this. Just food for thought, I'm really not trying to be pushy or a crasshole or say you have to make any certain choice.

So... this sounds exactly like my best friend's ex. They were together 8 years. She was unhappy for 7 and planning (at least in her head and talking to me) to leave for 5. When she finally did leave, all of their mutual friends sided with him because he was so good at wearing her down that whenever they were in public she ended up looking like the bisque - no one had seen all the shiitake he'd been putting her through in private. When he'd apologize, there'd always be some reason "I'm bipolar!" "you just have to help me drink less!" "my job is so stressful!" and she felt sorry for him and worried about who would take care of him if she left. That coupled with self-esteem that was just beat to a pulp from his constant insults and nitpicking kept her around for so long.

Anyway, she died a year later. It was last August. I can't even imagine how forking pissed she'd be if she knew that so much of her life would be wasted being unhappy. I'm grateful that she had some time, but so little just breaks my heart at the same time.

So I guess I'm trying to say, life is short (maybe really short) so don't let someone else ruin it.

And also, you are awesome and Leela is the second cutest baby ever! :P


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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2013 6:39 pm 
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Except for the name calling, you could be my partner talking about me. This is an ongoing issue for us, I neg things all the time, but am usually happy when I'm pulled out of it and do the thing she suggested. The problem is it takes emotional energy to always risk rejection by bringing stuff up and having it shot down, so she may give up.
We had a big conversation about it a few weeks ago. Something that's helped me is to understand it as rejection, as doing something hurtful--not just as not wanting to go for drinks with friends or do that project in the house or whatever, but as rejecting something that she is wanting for us, and offering. When we were dating I was always up for whatever, why is it ok now to just sit on the couch? So I push myself a little more; I think it's getting a bit better. I try not to just reflexively say no.

I don't know if this has anything to do with you guys, but we think part of this is the class background difference we have-she grew up with upper middle class immigrant parents who reached and took risks, I have a lot of the American working class pragmatism (or negativity, depending how you see it.) If I said I wanted to go somewhere as a kid, my dad would say, start walkin'. Or if I wanted something "fancy" it was, hope you marry rich. Wanting to study something impractical, like literature, got "want fries with that?" predicted as my career plan. We didn't travel except to visit family. We didn't eat out except Burger King once a week. Socializing was church or cousins. For all that I've moved away from that, I think it's part of what's going on when she suggests something and I respond with humph why do we have to do all that. I can imagine myself saying why can't we just throw the seeds in the dirt.
No advice, but can relate. I think the name-callings a separate issue from the rest, tho, and it makes me worried that it's not a one time thing, and he knows it's a problem but it still happens.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:47 pm 
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I'm having similar problems, Tofulish. My partner, the SAHP, is an ultra runner. He's getting ready for a 100 mile race in a few weeks which requires lots of all day runs for his training. I'm so sick of working all week, going to my grad classes, and doing homework, and then spending all weekend alone (with babynut) while he runs. It's like we tag-team child care; we are never together.

I told him how unhappy this is making me and how I want him to cut back on races after he finishes this one he is training for and he got so annoyed with me. He doesn't seem to realize that we are both working all week during business hours. I take over when I get home (from my full-time job) and he thinks he can do whatever he likes. When do I get my break? When do we spend time together? Blah! I am so tired and lonely.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:31 pm 
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Ugh butternut, I've only trained for a half marathon (not actually done it, was planning on running w/ husband and then he had to do 12 hour weekend shifts blah blah sob story), but I was floored by how much of my life it started eating up.. and this was when I had neither job nor kids!! When I was pregnant my husband was threatening to sign up for the Marine Corps marathon a few weeks after my due date. I tried to convince him it would not be good timing - not even "don't run any marathon," just "please not training for one while I'm taking care of a newborn with peak training weeks right as she's due - and he had kind of a pouty fit.

I was SO damned happy when that race filled up much faster than he expected. (like, a few minutes after it opened for registration) Ultra running, I can't even imagine. Ugh.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 5:22 pm 
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I suppose for ultra running there could be no running strollers involved, eh?

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 8:28 pm 
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yeah, i had to put a stop to the marathon running training. i feel bad, because i know mr bird loves it, but fork man, it takes up a shiitake load of time. the stupid thing is that running should be a cheap, flexible, easy method of exercise. you can even take your kids! but oh no. we have to join a running group that meets at dinner time 3 nights a week, and we have to drive out to the middle of nowhere to do our long runs on saturday mornings (leaving me home without a car), and we have to spend hundreds of dollars on new shoes and gear, and we want to spend all our vacation time running marathons in various cities and we discover that we don't really LIKE the jogging stroller we spent $500 on, so we don't use it.

so yeah, now he's fat and grumpy, because i won't "let" him run.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:16 am 
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Along the same line of things - my husband stays at home with our baby all day so I have tried to encourage him to get out in the evenings a couple times a week to socialize/exercise/do whatever. He mostly refuses. Recently he has been complaining about his weight gain and so I have suggested 3 or 4 evenings when I get home from work he go out for an hour or so and exercise. He has decided his exercise will be a weird internal martial arts class in a city 1.5 hours away from us every saturday morning. That means that every Saturday he will be gone from 8am to 1pm for a class that is mostly NOT exercise (lots of meditation). I mean I want him to go have fun but half a day every Saturday? We don't always go out and do things on Saturday, but that would pretty much mean we can't do anything on Saturday. Why can't he do karate 4x a week in the evenings!!!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 2:11 pm 
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That doesn't sound good, annasrobbie.

lycophyte wrote:
I suppose for ultra running there could be no running strollers involved, eh?


He does run with the stroller pretty much every weekday when I'm at work. He just can't do that for his long runs. I guess I'm mostly sad that he doesn't want to spend more time with me and babynut all together.

Blech! We've been fighting all day so I guess I can't blame him.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 2:50 pm 
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I don't think that is fair to you Butternut! I think its totally normal to want to spend time as a family, just as its totally normal to want to do stuff on your own and get away from your partner and child. We fight because we're trying to negotiate that balance - how can we each resource ourselves and be better in the partnership and marriage.

I think every relationship has ups and downs and when you have a kiddo there is a reshuffling of roles and a new being that needs one person to care for her constantly, so instead of each having independent time, space and money you now need to consult eachother more. And that can throw even the most stable relationship into a bit of disarray. And its hard to adjust to losing even part of your autonomy. And I think we're also fighting old roles, where Mom used to be almost completely responsible for childcare and housework, with Dad stepping in every weekend to toss the ball around or bring a present, so often our partners feel like we're asking too much in not just doing everything.

I really appreciate all the feedback and it gives me a lot to think about. I guess the question is how do you know if your relationship is fundamentally flawed and you need to get out because your partner's behavior is irredeemable or if you're just going through a rough patch adjusting to new circumstances?

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 3:41 pm 
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that is the $50 million question, T!

i have just decided to take things one day at a time. in my opinion, the kid needs a continued father presence, and the benefits to her outweigh anything else. [this is for my situation only]. when she reaches 1, things may change. i am OK with a few more years of this.

i don't miss that younger kid time. we may have had a better partner relationship back then but the stressors of toddler/mess/work/need for 24h presence and care/etc were so HARD. they made everything seem so much more hopeless. hang in there.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 4:24 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:
how do you know if your relationship is fundamentally flawed and you need to get out because your partner's behavior is irredeemable or if you're just going through a rough patch adjusting to new circumstances?


abuse is a sign things are fundamentally flawed. obviously we're only getting your side of the story, but many of the things you've described i would categorize as verbal or emotional abuse. sorry to be blunt. things may very well be redeemable because people can change, but they have to decide they want to. but i would not necessarily think a relationship worth redeeming in abusive circumstances.

i will say this too, while the first two years of a child's life are very stressful, and not necessarily the best indicator of what your family life will look like in the future, things COULD get worse. anyone of you could develop serious medical needs. there could be financial hardship, mental illness, outside stressors. what if you have another child with medical/developmental issues? if the stress now is putting a serious strain on your relationship and causing one or both of you to exhibit abusive behavior, leela turning two isn't going to make that go away.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 11:49 pm 
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Tofulish, I don't think any of us can know when enough is enough for you or if you guys will be able to work things out. Frankly, we only hear one side of things and it is generally when you are upset. I agree with littlebird that from what you have told us for the last 1.5 years things sound like they are abusive. I also agree that the first two years can be the hardest, do you feel like things are better than they were a year ago?

After we had Grey, Nate and I had a really hard time. He was working a lot, but mostly he was used to being able to ride his bike whenever he wanted. That hadn't been a problem before we had Grey, but after being alone with a colicky baby all week I needed some help and he was nowhere to be found. I finally asked him what he wanted and if he wanted us in his life, he said he did, so I told him what my needs and requirements were if I was going to be in his life. It took a while, but he came around. I know that you are hesitant to leave Leela with other people, but maybe you will feel like you get some time to yourself if you do start to leave her for just a couple hours here and there. We do trades with our friends so that we can all have breaks/dates/alone time and it doesn't cost us anything.

Does Brett understand what you need? Does he care? I know you have mentioned that he has a father who was pretty absent and he didn't want to be that way yet he is falling into that role, maybe you can talk to him about it without using accusatory language. I have found, when talking to Nate, that we have to be careful about the words and tone we use so the other one doesn't feel like we are being belittled or accused of something. We have also gotten really good at pointing out to the other one when their language does make us feel bad. I am certainly no expert, but it often sounds like you are not happy.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 7:05 am 
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I agree with both lb's above, and the questions they're giving that you have to ask yourself. Only you can answer them. Obviously, we're only getting one side of the story in your relationship, but there does seem like there's a lot of red flags that make me very concerned for your wellbeing.
There were a lot of things that contributed to the demise of my marriage, but the statement that helped me realize that I was in the wrong place was that I realized I was happier living by myself (even though I'd be poorer, busier, and a whole lot of other negatives) than I was with him. That's something only you can decide for yourself though - but the fact that you're even asking yourself these things should say something.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationships and Parenting
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:43 am 
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Hello Flava! We've missed you! (lovelovelovelovelove!)

My question was rhetorical, but thank you all for the input and thoughts. For me, that is the question that you're always looking at when you're not happy in a relationship, and the decision is a very personal one, so I am definitely not asking the internet to tell me what to do. :)

I started off this post because I just wanted to vent, mostly because sometimes things get frustrating for me, and it helps to get advice here and to hear that I am not alone. Things have gotten better in some ways, (thanks for that question LB!) I have a lot more support from him. I get Tuesday and Sunday mornings to do whatever I want, he is trying to take Leela out alone and he is doing really well with giving me alone time. Plus he still does all the vacuuming, laundry and most of the cleaning, non-food shopping and all the garbage, fixing stuff, car stuff and garden stuff, which is great.

That said, he used to be very active in his recovery community (he is 22 years sober (I have never disclosed this on the PPK and generally think its not my issue to disclose, its his, but here I wonder if this is at the root of some of our conflicts, so I wanted to mention it)) and do a ton of meditation and that gave him a really balanced way of being - he used to be the calmest person I know, and he still is in most areas, just not with me. So we were talking about how to make things better, maybe him going back to meetings (he's been staying home to help me put L to bed), go on more meditation retreats, trying to recognize when he is starting to get angry and heading it off with a phrase.

Its just tough, because while I like to talk things through, he often will shut down, and he recognized the need to try and stay open even if I am not saying the perfect thing. Our communication problem is that he gets triggered and either shuts down completely or allows himself the space to get really positional and fights about some small tangential issue, when I am trying to talk about stuff that needs to shift. And that combines with me feeling angry, anxious and unheard and so I ramp up my efforts to be heard, which is really not good - so I am working on seeing the anger and walking away, knowing that he generally apologizes and defuses if I leave him alone for even 5 mins. If I ask him to do anything concrete, he will do it, but we need to have a way to figure out solutions together to stuff in our marriage. He said he has this gut level reaction to not wanting to tell me anything because I'll use it against him, so his fight or flight mechanisms get triggered. And the thing is that I can't police myself and say nothing that will trigger him, because anything about relationships etc will trigger him. So I've explained that I need the space to say the "wrong" thing and not get hit either with an aggressive fight or a sulking fit. His parents had a similar mechanic - his mother couldn't say anything without triggering a fight and so she ended up doing almost everything alone with no support because it wasn't worth it to her to have these interactions and then was angry about the lack of support. And my parents had a dynamic where my father would try and avoid talking about stuff and my mother would get frustrated and have these huge angry blow-outs. I think my mother's response to feeling unsupported was to get more and more bitter and angry, and she took that out on her kids and my MIL's response was to get more and more needy, until she ended up getting all her emotional needs met by her kids. And we both agree that isn't what we want.

It feels like its a work in progress, but it is hard. And to be honest, I've had a few relationships like this, so I think if we separated, we'd end up with someone new doing the same things. So I want to try and work on dealing with how to handle the communication issue - whether it is to recognize when we are triggered and stop or to defuse our anger before we even start. And even on the PPK, I'll say something that isn't intended to provoke people, and I get an anger response that I don't understand, so I am looking at how my speaking lands for people.

Its a tough space to be in, but I'm hopeful that the reason it is so tough right now is that we're both getting really clear on what we need to be happy going forward and that we can work on creating love and respect for one another.

_________________
But on a cold winter night, when the wind whispers through the trees and a bright, white moon hangs heavy in the air, you might hear a sad cry like someone thinking he knows what's best for you, and that'll be the white man a-passin' you by. just mumbles


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