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Thread: Can't tell what we're fighting about most of the time...

  1. #1

    Can't tell what we're fighting about most of the time...

    My wife and I have been married four years. We have a 20 year old daughter away at college and 4 year old boy at home.
    The first 1-2 years we bickered and had to get used to each others habits. For example, she prefers the home to be spotless but I'm OK with some messiness as long as the major things are fixed/paid for, etc. We have found some common ground in that area. I'm better about my cleanliness and organization and she's not letting a little clutter get under her skin.
    But now we constantly argue about one of us being offended by the other. She accuses me of being in a bad mood then argues with me about it. I accuse her of not caring about things that are important to me and I isolate myself. Then we argue about that. It's like we just accuse each other and fight. Rinse, repeat.
    And sometimes I step back and think, what are we fighting about?
    No major things happened. Bills are paid. Kids are happy. No one cheated. No addictions.
    I grew up in a house with a tomboy mom, dad and brother. Left at age 20, bounced around the region until I moved back to our hometown.
    She grew up in a house with parents who fought. Then a divorce and just her mom, then she had her daughter. Then she lived at home for 13 years, just the three of them, until I came along.
    Those two experiences seem to be a difference maker for us. It's like she doesn't understand men's habits very well. And I have an eager personality, not quite as sensitive to her gentle needs.
    How do we come together?

  2. #2
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Marriage therapy.

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    Platinum Member melancholy123's Avatar
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    Yes marriage therapy.

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    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    Her gentle needs??? lol....I'm sorry OP but really....open your eyes a bit.

    If she grew up in the household you describe - then conflict is the only way she knows how to communicate and be in a relationship. Your entire marriage has been revolving around conflict and since you both resolved some of it, now it's just switched to something else or even nothing else - conflict for the sake of conflict. People from damaged environments often take that damage with them and spread it around. She isn't a damsel in distress, she is the instigator of the conflict.

    What you can do is when you aren't arguing, sit down and actually try to talk calmly about what's going between you and about all the bickering. Ask her what's actually bothering her. Sometimes people pick arguments over nothing, because something bigger is eating at them. It's passive aggressive behavior. If you can't resolve it, ask if she'll go to marital counseling to address the communication issues between you.

    This has nothing to do with you being a man and this "gentle flower" failing to understand that. If you treat your wife like such an infantile fool, no wonder there is conflict. She might be a wee bit resenting you for that but that's nothing to do with her being gentle or you being a man. Just some really dysfunctional attitudes between you that might benefit from some professional guidance.

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    “ It's like she doesn't understand men's habits very well. And I have an eager personality, not quite as sensitive to her gentle needs”


    Please explain what men’s “habits” are and what her “gentle needs” are?
    Because as an unbiased reader , I have no idea what you are talking about?!

    No wonder there is bickering!!
    Do you actually ever sit down and communicate your needs and wants to each other ?

    When she accuses you of being in a bad mood , are you?
    Why would she accuse you of that if everything is hunky dory? So I’m assuming she does pick up on your moods correctly?
    But your response is to accuse her of not caring about things that are important to you and rather than discuss these things you isolate?

    How is isolating going to resolve conflict?
    Conflict needs discussion?

    You seem to think that her upbringing has caused the issue?
    All her upbringing has led to is her wanting to resolute?
    But she can’t with someone who isolates.

    So instead of being an ostrich burying your head in the sand , how about you try communicate with her as an equal and stop viewing her as the child you seem to perpetually see her as?

    IMO you are the gentle lost soul , isolating in your room until things blow over. But you are an adult.
    So deal with confrontation like an adult.

  7. #6
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    The way I'm reading it is she's sensitive to your emotions and that's what you probably meant by her "gentle needs". She doesn't like when you put on a long face or or self-isolate? There's a word for that. It's called stonewalling. It's when one partner ignores the needs or requests or doesn't respond to the other partner. It can be due to feeling overwhelmed, antagonized, hurt etc.

    Both of you have to work on the communication a bit more. If you're feeling hurt you have to express that and let her know in a bite-sizeable manner. Don't fly off the handle about it or explode. Is this what you mean about being eager? If your face is expressive, learn to control your emotions a bit more and keep a bit more of a neutral expression or be careful of your tone when you talk together. Anger, lashing out (the opposite of stonewalling) is also negative and breaks down trust in a relationship.

    So avoid stonewalling and lashing out. These are surefire ways to bring a relationship to a grinding halt.

    Practice more respect and listening. Tone goes a long, long way.

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    I agree with Dancing Fool. She picks fights over mundane thing because something else is bothering her.

    When was the last time you both your romance on? Dates? Thanked her for doing a great job as a mom or wife or anything?

    And please, don't retreat, ask her what's wrong?

    And if it's you not doing laundry for 2 months, do your darn laundry, fold, and put it away.

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    But now we constantly argue about one of us being offended by the other. She accuses me of being in a bad mood then argues with me about it. I accuse her of not caring about things that are important to me and I isolate myself. Then we argue about that. It's like we just accuse each other and fight. Rinse, repeat.
    And sometimes I step back and think, what are we fighting about?


    What is important to you that she needs to care about? If its a hobby that you don't share -- get over it. She doesn't have to care so much - or is it something that is a bigger deal and you don't properly express that it IS important to you. What are you doing to make her think you are in a bad mood. Are you "yes dearing" her. Do you come home from work and you are just really too quiet? Why not carve time out to take a walk after work or to sit in your car and read a few minutes before work or whatever decompresses you so you are present when you get home. Is she home alone with the 4 year old all day?

  10. #9
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Your stuck in attack-retreat mode. that's a vicious cycle. However you both need to lay the cards on the table with the help of a neutral professional to start learning how to not be at each others throats as a matter of habit.

  11. #10
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    Blame the parents. Okay, not seriously but her past probably does have a factor in this. She learned early that fighting is what a couple does. It's probably normal to her and she may not even realize it. But the good thing is that you have already demonstrated you two know how to work things out. So take what worked before and repeat. Any problem is solved by recognizing the problem, coming together to discuss and work on it, acknowledging each other's feeling, and finding a middle ground you can both reach. Are you in a bad mood and if so why? Can you say you need some space at the moment but will talk about it with her in a bit? Does she take an interest in things you care about? Can she agree to ask questions about those things or listen to you on those topics? Fights happen when we get defensive and are trapped in our own feelings in the moment. When it happens, step back and try to see it from the other person's perspective. If you can calmly talk through things and take a step towards each other rather then retreating away, you can work through whatever is causing you problems.

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