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Failing Communication and Perpetual Questions (sorry, it's long)


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Although I'm an older guy and have been around the block a few times, I find myself constantly questioning certain things. I find myself wondering whether it's ME or the other person in any given situation.


It's become the same with my marriage.


I was married once before for nearly five years; I was much younger, we were both in the military and both headstrong, stubborn. Occasionally one of us or the other would try, but we never tried together and were poor with communication. When we finally divorced I knew I had a lot of growing up to do.


There were other relationships in the interim; I dated, screwed around, etc., but each relationship either failed miserably OR simply drifted for whatever reason, never having been terribly serious in the first place. That aspect, at least, seemed normal enough for me BUT raised the question of whether I am capable of a serious commitment -- at least it raised the question in my head.


Fast-forward just over ten years and the woman who became my wife. It could be Freudian that I nearly typed "current wife" just now.


I've learned a lot from life and from various relationships, and I really set out to do the impossible, which is another way of saying "I tried to do everything right this time."


Before I asked this woman to marry me, I told her we needed to have a serious discussion about compatibility. I told her that while my own plans were not set in stone, they were serious plans for my life and would greatly affect the life of anyone committed to me. I explained about my desire for a country home and my reasons for seeking it sooner rather than later.


Eyes all amist, she agreed wholeheartedly that this suited her, too, and she understood my wise, wise decision in broaching this topic now.


There were other things. By the time we attended 13 weeks of pre-marital counseling (at my behest), the classes themselves seemed almost old hat; I had broached every single topic which arose, and I had done so almost precisely as proscribed during the classes -- despite that I had done so entirely on my own via life experience rather than through formal teaching or courses.


In some way that left me feeling validated, as though my mind was on the right track.


During the course of our engagement it came to light several times that my fiancee had lied to me about her past, sometimes in small ways, other times in larger ways. Always I confronted her, always I tried to talk it out reasonably, shoving my own anger aside and trying to be mature about things.


People make mistakes; I saw this and continued.


As I've detailed in another thread regarding wedding preparations, my future in-laws were less than pleasant about our wedding. I was shoved to the side, frequently reminded that our wedding was HER day and as the groom I mattered little. This bothered me deeply since as far as I could discern we were BOTH getting married.


After marriage, things continued pretty much in that vein anytime her family was involved. No matter how I spoke up my opinion was glossed over and shunted. To this day, nearly three years into our marriage, I remain firmly an outsider despite my best efforts.


Another thing which has happened during our marriage is that my wife has repeatedly demonstrated gross financial irresponsibility. The first time this happened I was shocked and quite angry. However, I've been negligent in my own past, and I tried to move on, suggesting steps to make sure we were both more responsible in the future.


More time, and more lies -- some revolving around finances, things like credit cards I discovered but which she refuses to share details about, including balances owed; things like gross overdrafts on her part, twice now amounting to not mere hundreds, but thousands of dollars. Some lies involving her spending habits. She slips up in conversations frequently and it's no leap of genius to put two and two together.


She has also refused to cut the apron strings. What might have amounted to an occasional night away with her parents due to work (they live near her place of work, which is a fair commute away) has frequently turned into entire weeks away for one fanciful reason or another. Last year this involved weeks at a time when I would not see our infant son because he was with her; this year I've taken steps to keep him at home with me more despite that it costs more money.


My work on our small farm constantly suffers because since she's discovered a new freedom by leaving our son with me (he's too small to take out to work, at a stage where he requires close attention for safety's sake BUT adequate freedom to move about), yet this is meaningless to her despite my pleas or any attempts on my part to plan ahead of time.


I know it's not yet three years into our marriage, but my feelings have changed. She's very non-communicative and quite irresponsible. Whenever I've tried to talk to her, she withdraws.


Her entire family is very passive-aggressive and she's no different. When a counselor told me we have different communications styles -- I think on the fly, she "considers" before speaking -- and suggested I learn to be patient, I tried counting to ten as he suggested, his reasoning being that the average person begins to speak by a count of eight and a habit of patience is built.


Thus far my record is (I am NOT making this up) one hundred and twenty-three. I've managed this twice. I've also fallen asleep twice because I was determined not to interrupt her while she "thought about it", woke up later to find she had gone to bed. "I'll think about it" means "I don't want to think about it".


I no longer see myself accomplishing goals with her; I see myself accomplishing goals DESPITE her.


Today is my first day seeing a therapist. I've asked for help with anger management as a first step to coping. My reasoning is that while I feel I have very good reason to be angry, anger will only cloud my judgment when making decisions which could affect the rest of my family's life. Lick the anger first then start coping with the rest. Also, in every failed relationship or problem in my life, there is ONE common denominator: Me. I have to question that, decide whether I'm a cause or just catching difficulty and blowing it out of proportion.


Any thoughts?


And please, no one say "Have you tried talking to her?"

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I've learned a lot from life and from various relationships, and I really set out to do the impossible, which is another way of saying "I tried to do everything right this time."


have you tried talking to her? no...kidding.


setting out to do the impossible tends to in fact be impossible. despite our best efforts...we can never be fully prepared for what our futures hold. there will always be unforeseen circumstances...even when it comes to the people we love and have come to know well. i can understand your intentions to try and avoid future problems...but unfortunately this isn't the nature of relationships. it's our ability to work through problems that matters...not our ability to avoid them altogether.


i think you've been manipulated. i won't go so far as to say it's your own fault...but i think your determination to MAKE things work may have affected your judgement.

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  • 1 month later...

The switch has flipped for me.


My wife spent an entire week in the city with her parents, during which time I worked on getting some things done around the farm and dealt with our bills and finances.


When she came home I found myself shrugging rather than getting upset at her extended absence and casual nature regarding said absence.


The following day we went into the city to go to church and she needed to fuel up. Stopping at the pump, she asked if she could borrow my card.


"How did you go through $250 in just one week?" I asked. After all, she'd been staying with her parents for that week and they pay for everything; she didn't have the long commute, so gas wasn't an issue. That's pretty much everything.


She just started rattling off items, including somehow filling up her gas tank twice -- despite that I had filled it prior to her leaving our home. I pointed this out and she didn't speak another word to me for the remainder of the day.


The stuff she started listing was, seriously, just a bunch of stupid, little lies, things which didn't actually happen. The fact is she just blows money, eats out constantly, goes places, and then feels no qualms about lying to me in the most transparent ways.


That's when the switch flipped.


Despite that we've all lied at one time or another, no one lies so consistently and so TRANSPARENTLY to anyone they respect; and no one so blatantly lacks respect for anyone they love. The math is pretty simple.


Suddenly I find myself glad for the moments when she stays away, glad for when I have my son while she's gone off to play.


I no longer wear my wedding ring; I simply do not care about it as a symbol of something which is such a huge lie and a constant slap in the face.


About the only fear I have is that she will decide to divorce. Her salary surpassed my own (I supported her while she got her Masters) and as a teacher, her job is secure via tenure. My job is at risk in our topsy-turvey economy. She has a family support network, I have none. She's a woman, I'm a man -- I have virtually NO shot at custody of my son.


That being the case, IF she's loathe to divorce (her family is SERIOUS about keeping up appearances) I'm content to live this way for the remainder of my son's childhood, or at least until he's old enough for the courts to heed his opinion as to with whom he wants to live.


I used to look at her and think "that's my wife"; now I look at her and feel nothing, think "I wish you'd just go back to your parent's house, it's where you want to be anyway."


It's strange how it's the little things...

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Do You Need Reassurance? Stop It Li...
Do You Need Reassurance? Stop It Like This


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