Post

I Can't Understand Or Accept The Way We Are

From reading many of the stories here I guess I am in denial. My ten year wedding anniversary will be here this December unless the Mayans are right! My marriage is very cold and has been for years. I love her terribly but she is unable to return it. I find myself looking back wanting to have the old spark. I even drove to our old house the other day wanting to sense the woman I loved there and the life I loved there. The memories were great and I was by myself so I didn't have to deal with any of the usual rejection. Whatever books and magazines say women want in a man does not apply for my wife. I can't make her happy. She never even initiates hugs. Sec maybe once a month. Its very mechanical and she seems almost put off by it. My counselor has me practicing unconditional positive regard toward her but I still feel emotionally abused by her. The last six months I've gotten paranoid that she is having an affair or wants someone else but all of that is coming from me. I told her not long that I was the only guy I know in a midlife crisis who wants his wife to be his girlfriend. I'm just frustrated. Thanks for letting me vent.
sacredheart2 sacredheart2 41-45, M 8 Responses May 17, 2012

Your Response

Cancel

Uh, I picked out a couple of big red flags from your post.<br />
<br />
1. "I can't make her happy." <br />
<br />
Right. You can't make her happy. You never will be able to be the one who made her happy. This is not a bad thing. It is a good thing. <br />
<br />
SHE is the person capable of making herself happy: not you. And the more you take that on yourself, the worse it is going to get. The reasoning is simple to describe but not so simple to live. When you take this on, you take the potential of that achievement away from her. You do not have the ability to pull it off because none of us have that capability. We cannot fix other people. So in attempting to do so, you are guaranteeing failure and at the same time preventing her from being able to get her own **** together. That's called codependency and I lived 25 years with it. Its a *****. <br />
<br />
You have to accept that the business of her happiness remains in her control. She must be made to own those choices she makes hundreds of times each day - to choose life instead of lassitude, to choose happiness at the expense of despair, to acknowledge joy instead of cowering in its presence. You must devolve from your belief that you own her choices. You don't and you must not try to take the freedom to make them away from her.<br />
<br />
<br />
2. "My counselor has me practicing unconditional positive regard toward her but I still feel emotionally abused by her." <br />
<br />
Say WHAT?? My friend, go back to your counselor and try to get straight what the counselor wants you to try doing. I guarantee if you have a real counselor, it isn't that. In fact, print out this entire thread and bring it in to share with your counselor. It may well result in a productive session.<br />
<br />
"Unconditional positive regard" invites you to enter a world of fantasy - none of which benefits you. If it is a method to bring your reactions back towards a norm from some extreme position, well maybe there's a method in there. But the only person entitled to unconditional positive regard would be a young infant. Try to get your reactions to her grounded in more reality than that.<br />
<br />
I'm great at criticizing here, but I also want to give you kudos for doing the hard and courageous work of rethinking your assumptions and facing down your own denial. That is hard, hard work and you are showing real courage to tackle it. You have my respect and brotherhood.

For your sake and that of others at this merry party, I hope to hell the Mayans were right.

Ulae-if the Mayans were indeed right, we all better get moving on those unfulfilled needs before it's too late! :-P
DB2

I have done the same thing - visiting the places I used to live, trying to get a sense of my past, or feel something. I did this after we separated. To my surprise, I felt nothing. It made me realize that our relationship was not what I thought it was. <br />
<br />
Leaving was not a loss, it was a gain. I gained the ability to have some control over my life, I gained the ability to find someone who loved me the way I loved them. I gained far more than that as well. For me, right now, it stands as the single best decision of my life. Am I doing cartwheels? No. I am sad about it sometimes. But that would be true no matter what kind of marriage we had. After 10 years, you are very attached to someone, even if they are a horrible spouse. <br />
<br />
Your counselor is a f'in joke. "Practice unconditional love?" Human beings do not work that way. You are not god almighty. Unconditional love is for your children. Unconditional love for your spouse will simply give her the power to keep grinding her staff into your neck. <br />
<br />
Read the stories here. Pick someone who has posted many stories in this group, and start with their oldest stories, and read them all. Then move on to another. And another.

You are in your forties. I assume she is as well. You have fond but sad memories of a different past with her, but now she is cold towards you. You are having to contemplate a much different future for yourself. Have you ever had the curious thought that if she is so cold towards you why she sticks around? Do you think that she has changed so radically and permanently or do you think it is a dynamic of the situation ? It is a difficult thing to contemplate and it is something I am not sure I would want to know.

I'm all for generating your own meanings about your life in a way that serves you and is fun. Yet the counsellor's unconditional positive regard towards her sounds somewhat Polyanna, even though I think that it is valuable at least to prevent negative spirals taking hold. Could you challenge what you are trying to achieve there?<br />
<br />
Yet your feelings are telling you something important: you feel emotionally abused by her, because you are emotionally abused by her. Whether she is or is not having an affair, you know this is wrong, is dysfunctional.<br />
<br />
But this is not about her, it's about what you are doing for yourself and to yourself. As you vent and grieve, you are recognising what the situation really is, and in your own time will come to take action.

So sad to read this. I understand the pain - miss the early years. I hope you find happiness. If you suspect infidelity its often there...keep your eyes open. Protect yourself. Here's a virtual hug from me! Xxx

If you are starting to suspect an affair your first instincts are usually right. I was reading and thinking possible affair here, than bingo you named it.<br />
<br />
You have every reason for suspecting affair so dont be too hard on yourself. I suggest you dig into this a little deeper and monitor her actions whereabouts etc. Be smart about it and dont make it obvious to her.<br />
<br />
Unfortunately it sounds like the only thing you now have left is memories of a happier time, and place at your old house. Perhaps those memories and version of the wife you fell in love with are best left there.<br />
<br />
You have some tough choices to make. I would suggest you at least see a divorce lawyer and find out how you would come out if a divorce was to happen.<br />
<br />
Stay Strong & Good Luck

Nice vent.<br />
<br />
At some point, you'll do well to move onto the next phase of the process, examining your options.<br />
<br />
As you have been reading extensively in here, you have likely seen the options. They are a pretty small number and all are painful and awful.<br />
<br />
Usually, the choice comes down to which of the options is "least worst".<br />
<br />
Tread your own path.