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assumeLove

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  • Birthday 05/17/1952

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  1. If the people asking "what are you thinking??????????" are happily married themselves, I'd take a good, long look at the person you're marrying. If they're single, remember that your marrying says, "I don't want to be like you anymore." Be gentle with them. If they're unhappily married or recently divorced, your decision to marry says, "I think I'll be better at this than you." Ask their advice on ways to avoid marriage problems other than not marrying, and you'll put the two of you back on a level playing field.
  2. It's not over until the fat lady sings. When you are with the therapist, ask your wife what was missing from the marriage. Ask it genuinely and bite your tongue every time you're tempted to disagree with her view of how things were. Even if she says something outrageous, say something like, "If that's what you were experiencing, I can understand you'd be very upset. I never wanted to do that to you." Then ask for examples of what happened, so that you'll understand how she could have seen it that way. If she's out of line, projecting her personal issues onto you unfairly, the therapist will guide her back to reality. Let the therapist do this. Don't try to do it yourself, because it will drive you apart. If your goal is to save the marriage, you gain nothing, maybe even lose everything, by convincing her she's wrong about what's wrong with the marriage or by defending yourself to her or the therapist. Focus only on how it could be if your wife stays. That will be difficult to do, because we all have a natural tendency to defend ourselves. Right now, though, you have to listen and learn. She saw everything you saw very differently, like the blind men describing the elephant based on which part of it they touched (tail, trunk, ears, etc.) Instead of insisting the elephant really looks like a huge ear, listen to her description of the trunk and empathize with how frightening this was to her. She cannot listen to your description while she's still frightened. And once she's now longer frightened, it serves no good purpose to go back and convince her things were different. Just offer her a better future. The past was good only for you. The future needs to be different. It must include what you need AND what she needs. Until you get to the therapist, you might want to take a look at Gary Chapman's book on the Five Languages of Love. There's even a version of it just for men. Use it to figure out which language your wife responds to (gifts, acts of service, etc.), then speak to her with that language as much as possible.
  3. Yes, they do, lots of them. What's your take on the reason for this? Were they wrong about the person? Or does successful marriage require something other than finding the right person?
  4. Sorry. I was disputing your usually, but you were talking about your experience, and I should have agreed that in your experience, it could usually be true.
  5. I disagree. Steven Stosny's had significant success even with physical abusers ordered into treatment by the courts. And much of this out-of-control behavior is fueled by addictions, which can also be treated. If a woman (or man) is committed to someone who can't control his or her harmful impulses, tolerating it for a while is the worst possible move. The lack of impulse control can be fixed in most cases, given some motivation, and separation from a spouse is pretty good motivation. The damage to her view of him and his view of himself (or vice versa) if the behavior is repeated will be much, much harder to fix. Many see separation as something to do when you're fed up, but it can also be the most loving thing to do if you want to keep the marriage.
  6. That's not marriage, that's a wedding. Two very different things. I believe you can recognize someone you could spend the rest of your life with very quickly. I don't think you should commit to doing so until you've seen that person in a wide variety of situations over a period of time. If you marry young (as I did), I strongly recommend a few marriage education classes. Life has many trial-and-error lessons in store for you, and if you don't complete a bunch of them before you marry, they can damage your relationship with the person who matters most to you, if you don't know how to protect it. And, please, before you set a date and start discussing the wedding, discuss the marriage.
  7. Amaretto, how's the rest of your life? Do you do things you enjoy, or do you wait for him to want to do them, too? Have you maintained other friendships, so that you can talk about your life with people who are more skilled at such conversations than your husband is? Do you find opportunities to use the special gifts you bring to this world, whether that's creativity, humor, a love of beauty, a generous spirit, kindness, courage, or something else? What's his experience when he gets home? Are you cheerful and excited about how you spent your day and grateful for his efforts to support the two of you? Or is his behavior a way to avoid a litany of complaints? Does doing things with you look like fun or duty? If you two split, how much housework would it spare you? Not much, I'd guess. Like most of us women, you care what your home looks like, and the effort is worth making. Why ruin your sex life by insisting he do work he doesn't value just because he's there? Why not juice it up by letting him know what a great deal you've got, getting to stay home while he works? What would your life be like if he were gone? You'd need to get out and do things. Get out and do them now, while you've got someone to love you. You'd need to dress up more and take better care of your appearance. Do it now, while you've got someone to love you. You'd need to find friends. Find them now, while you've got someone to love you. You'd need to keep your house clean. Keep this house clean, while you've got someone to love you. Don't make yourself miserable by deciding he should do the parts you don't want to do, but would have to do on your own. If you can't stand his mess and don't want any extra work, put it in a large basket behind the sofa -- it's not likely he cares where it is, as long as he doesn't need to pick it up prematurely. He probably won't even care if you mix newspapers, dirty laundry, and glasses with dried orange juice in the bottom in there. When my first husband died (I was 34, he was 35), I had just read him a list of all the things I needed from him -- the same sorts of things you've listed. The next day, I realized I still needed the same things with him gone. My needs had nothing to do with him, and I'd been using him all those years as the excuse for avoiding doing what it took to make my life the one I wanted. Without him, it was a lot harder, and it was eleven long years before I had love in my life again. Marriage is for love. Love will bring you many gifts, many acts of kindness, many caresses, many happy moments together, many beautiful words of endearment. Don't chase it away by demanding other things. If you need other things, go get them; they are your responsibility. Don't let the weight of your needs keep your husband from feeling free to give you love in his own wonderful ways.
  8. If the crap were treatment that he'd protect me from if anyone else tried to inflict it (physical abuse, words that crush my spirit, loss of my home, raping me, risking infecting me with an STD without my knowledge and consent, etc.), I'd separate the very first time it happened, even the first time he threatened it. I'd separate while I still loved him, before he had a chance to do something he'd feel like crap about when he regained the ability to control his impulses, before I had a chance to form an image of him as a less of a man than the man I married. I'd leave it in his hands to do whatever it took to regain control over his impulses, his integrity, his compassion. And I'd give him a deadline of a year or two, then divorce him if he wouldn't or couldn't do it. Other crap -- like not keeping the house and toothpaste cap the way I like them, not doing the things I want to do with me, not sharing my opinions on political or religious issues, not dressing the way I think he should dress, etc. -- I would not allow to make me angry or bitter. I'd work around them and focus on the love in our relationship.
  9. They happen sometimes, but so do hurricanes in June. It's a terrific solution, and it will probably save you a lot of money.
  10. As long as you approach this in a "who's right" frame of mind, divorce is far and away the most likely outcome. If you'd like to regain your marriage, you must take each of her stories not as untruth or truth, but as a breadcrumb on the trail to finding your way home. If she claims you wear size 15 shoes, and you've got on size 10s, you have two choices -- try to prove to the therapist that she's wrong or work with the therapist and your wife to figure out how she came to believe this, so you can fix the real problems. We're all conditioned to defend the truth as we know it, but even if you brought in 5 shoe store managers to measure your feet in front of her and the therapist, even if you convinced both of them your feet are really size 10s, this will only make your wife wrong, not more loving. You can't win her back by showing she's wrong. You can win her back by looking at your marriage from her point of view. When she says you wear size 15 shoes, you could say, "My feet look really big to you. Have they always looked so big?" in a gentle tone. This gives her a chance to talk about what's really bothering her -- the futiility of washing the kitchen floor, ending up walking behind you instead of beside you, or the holes in your socks, things you'd never guess on your own, things you can fix easily to win her back.
  11. Oy! What an uncomfortable situation that must be. Here's my suggestion. Instead of making it you vs. me, make it us vs. a problem. Tell him you will help him honor his commitment to his friend, but you can no longer do it by letting the man occupy the living room and deplete your bank account. Then invite him to think through, with you, some other ways that might work. If at first you can only think of two options (he stays or he goes), throw in some completely off-the-wall options, like "we rent out this place and all move to a place where he can walk to work, until he can afford a place of his own" and "we take in laundry, enough for eight hours of work a day, and he washes and irons it and we keep the profits, until he can get a license to find a better job and a new home." Talk about what's good and bad about those ideas. From there, you two will get to a solution that pulls you together, instead of pushing you apart the way you vs. me thinking does.
  12. Catholics can't divorce (in God's eyes). In the US, they can often get an anullment, stating they were never really married, but there's no guarantee. If you divorce her in court (which in most states will take a year or more), and she can't get an anullment, any future marriage she might have will be seen as adultery in the Catholic church. And kids have a funny way of showing up unexpectedly. Do not marry her until you are committed to working your way through whatever comes up. Do not marry her until you're sure she's just fine the way she is. Do not marry her until you're willing to accept her parents as your kids' grandparents. If her changed appearance is making her less appealing to you, don't make coy remarks about looking better for her wedding day -- tell her this is something you need from her to make this marriage work for you, not just for a day, but for the entire marriage. If she won't be the go-between to tell her parents what you want them to know, make a real effort to develop your own relationship with them. Ask them about their childhoods, about what they've learned from life, about what they hope to do in the future. Take Spanish lessons if you need to. If you don't want to go into debt right after a business down-turn just so she can act out her fantasy, start talking with her about which parts of the fantasy are essential and how you two can bring the costs in line with your reality. If you don't want the added headache of different religions in your marriage, give some serious thought to whether you want to become active again in a church you know your wife will never be part of. You're standing in the headlights letting her and her parents and a wedding happen to you and hoping there's an escape hatch if it doesn't magically turn out OK. Embrace the opportunity to create the marriage and family you want.
  13. Steven Stosny, You Don't Have to Take It Any More (book) or link removed (website). Great advice, great track record with marriages like yours. And SummerGirl38 gave you some wise advice. Refuse to let him destroy your relationship. You've got some very good reasons for getting past these problems. Don't delay.
  14. They would have made their marriage stronger and themselves happier if they would have joined forces to find a way to get what both of them wanted. Compromise is something you do with a rival. "If you loved me" is emotional blackmail. I can almost guarantee that getting rid of the guinea pigs was just the only thing he could think of to get what he really wanted, whether it was more of her attention, less odor, less mess, or something else. And what she wanted probably was just to enjoy her four guinea pigs, not to keep things exactly as they were. Together, they could have surely found a way for BOTH of them to get what they wanted. It might have required something as simple as changing her schedule for caring for them or cleaning their cage more often or building a new space for them or loaning out two pigs at a time to local schools. Neither of them could come up with this sort of solution alone, because they wouldn't know what the other really wanted and they'd be working with only half of their joint creativity. When you marry, you'll do better than they did.
  15. It takes at least 3 months for some serious personality flaws and addictions to make themselves known, so I think everyone ought to wait at least that long, and longer if they're not really quick at picking up on such things. And if you're not yet thinking this person you're dating looks like really good marriage material (good character, compatible habits, an approach to life you could live with, a good heart, shares your views about having kids), 3 months is time to get out, because time only improves things if it's a marriage-worthy match by this point. Living together instead of marrying increases your chances of breaking up and your chances of divorcing if you do marry, especially if you're not already engaged when you move in together. Lots of us expect it might help us figure out if we've found the right person, but statistics from thoudands of couples says it has the opposite effect. If he's not marriage material, don't live with him. Your parents' unhappy marriage most likely has nothing to do with choosing the wrong person. It comes from marrying without learning how to be married and from accepting the anger, resentment, and unhappiness as normal or necessary. They aren't. My first husband died before I learned (or even heard of) any of the skills that make marriage easier. We loved each other fiercely and still ended up almost as unhappy as our parents before us. My second marriage is a piece of cake, because we both learned how to avoid the pitfalls before we married.
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