Talk Is Worthless

Reading all the stories on EP, including my own, I'm so struck by how we desperately look for signs of hope in what our spouses say.

"But he SAID he's trying."
"She SAYS she loves me."
"We TALKED about things."
"She PROMISED to work on her issues."
"He AGREED to go to counseling."

Etc etc etc.

What if we ignored words completely and just concentrated on their actions? My H is a master at excuses, smokescreens, denial, blame, empty promises, etc. But if I subtract all the talk, it's pretty obvious from his behavior how much he ACTUALLY cares about meeting my needs: zip, zilch, nada, niente, bupkus. He's never actually done anything to fix our marital problems, he's not doing anything now and he never will. objective data is much harder to dispute than bullshit empty words that never are backed up by real, committed, ongoing action.

Doesn't matter what they say: ALL that matters is what they do.
nyartgal nyartgal
36-40, F
39 Responses Sep 17, 2012

Yes y ever seen yes..everything I have I read about passive aggressive state ignore what they say look at their actions. Their actions show you how they REALLY feel.

What you say is SO TRUE. Mine doesn't even talk, doesn't say anything when I say the most heartfelt things. I've been talking separation and he just ignores me.

What an eye opening post! So true, I have always said actions speak louder than words... I can walk around telling everyone- everyday how nice I am and then kick them in the shins ... I'm guessing after a day or two... they would come to the conclusion that I am not so nice! :)

You hit the nail on the head..Ive heard..I love u, I swear I stayed at her house n slept n her bed but didnt touch her, I will never lie again, im going to really try....blah blah...ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS.

My wife speaks to me and says things to me I would never say to her (and if I did, she wouldn't tolerate it). Neither have any interest in sex - how could anyone? When the kidlets are up and out (4 more years), we have the conversation. I don't care about relationships or "finding someone" - gag - I just don't want to live the rest of my life walking on eggshells waiting for her to get mad (again) over something/anything. Mentally, I've made peace with what's coming - just hope my children don't hate me ('cause it'll be my fault - EVERYTHING is my fault). WTF was I thinking so many years ago?

Yeah after the verbal slap down I got last year I will never, (well I don't think I will ever) bring it up again unless we go to marital counseling.

Truth spoken.

Look at you, thinking, writing, trying to figure it out. Did he ever do that? My thoughts exactly.

Hey, I agree One Hundred Precent.
Actions mean much more then words ever will.
And motives behind the actions define the character and their ambitions.

Bad deeds done for noble reasons are much more tolerable,
Then good deeds done for negative reasons...

My two cents...incase you needed one more random opinion from just some stranger :-)


I just signed up here and I have come on to read maybe 4 times. Each and everytime I have come to your story. I see some similarity in my journey. Someone once told me something that really helped me. "If you want to change your life, change your behavior." Took me a while to figure it out. People that are around us learn our behavior. They know what we will do. They know what they can do, as well and get away with it. They know how we act, how we react, what are worst threat really is. So how do you change your behavior? It is difficult at first. You have to act, react and do the opposite of what you would normally do. When I first clued into it, I got rid of five friends. They were a bunch of users. I couldn't believe how much free time I had and a lot more money. Applying the magic to a spouse is a little more difficult. It has to be much more suttle with very odd moments to get their attention. Then steadily increase it. Not knowing what you are going to do is sort of a loss of control on his part.

yes... my ex was like that.. breaks promises all the time... says he feels bad but never does anything about it... he talks about leaving his ex and i tell him he won't cause he hasn't. Actions always speak louder then words.

So why are you still married? You seem very unhappy.

there is a book called "the 5 love languages" it talks about how everyone "speaks" a language of love and sometimes when we speak a different language than our significant other it causes our relationship to suffer. I don't know if this in any way will help you but I found it to be an eye opener. I did not see his love because I was looking for him to show me the same ways I showed him. turns out, he "spoke" a different language and once I saw that I was able to see the things that he felt were ways of showing love.
best wishes in this difficult time!

Unlike so many post I will resist the urge to slam the opposite sex simply because I made a bad choice. People get married for all the wrong reasons. Woman and men alreadyhave list they carry around and settle for someone who has a few characteristics that are at the top of their priority list. Then a few years down the road they are upset because they had their priorities screwed up to begin with. You look for best looking book on the shelf and find yourself unhappy with the story inside. Get your priorities in line. If you want a relationship where you get everything you want get a Hooker or friends with benefits. As for me I'm looking for a woman I'm willing to give all of myself to. Marriage is about giving. If the one you desire to be with doesn't already make you complete keep looking. Otherwise learn how to make your bad choice enough. Quit blaming all men or all women. Take responsibility for your choices

I have come to the conclusion the following is the necessary treatment:

1) have the person get blood work / hormones measured
2) have them take testosterone supplementation (men and women).. get their hornyness amped up .. ya know the "mojo" . Now they will be all juiced up but maybe a little confused by their ego / brain. Get enough so they feel like ******* naked in the park at noon during a work day.
3) Body issues (worried about how ya look).. get fit, eat right, and get over it .. (plus their probably so horny from step 2 it may not matter). The hot guys or girls at the gym will begin to peak their interest.
4) got mommy / daddy issues... fine .. have them do some "role play" (and / or see a therapist, sex or other). Maybe they can work this into some kinky sex.
5) Got religion issues? The religion is against hot sex or for anything other than procreation. Have them talk to a priest who is getting some on the side ... they'll be able to tell them how well abstinence worked for them...maybe they can change their mind. Also, have them read "Songs of Solomon" in the Old Testament (its like an erotic novel only translated from whatever they spoke back then).
6) Worried about how to perform in the bedroom. Have them get some ****... watch and learn. Go to a ***** club with your partner and get comfortable with the (hmmm) hotness .. then work it out on each other.
7) Dont have time for sex? Dont worry ... they'll be so horny and amped up from the testosterone, ****, and ***** clubs they'll want to take a week off from work to **** your brains out.

This protocol has not been approved by the American Medical Association, nor have clinical trials been done. There have been significant differences between the control group where they did nothing and wouldnt even take a placebo, and the test group that went through this protocol... In fact, every individual who took the protocol started buying sex toys, acting slutty or like a gigolo, and became a male or female ******** amoungst the sought after desired increased sexual compatibility between the two partners.

This stuff works...

OK ... thats my solution.

You ever read any of it?

Guess you didnt the "SATIRE" amusing........
Im in a sexless marriage and IM NOT THE REFUSER" !!
It was actually a release for me to write it ;-)

I'm glad someone understands me... lmfao ;-)

A friend of mine has truly pounded into my head through her actions and those of the men she has dated that actions speak louder than words. It is incredible how often people intend to do the best, but they fall flat. Yet, she CONTINUALLY fell for what they'd say and was then surprised when history repeated itself later leading to heartbreak. It is almost like she has a pair of love goggles that blind her. Time to take the damned things off, and keep them off!!

seems you have a big ole clue, act on it and take vera good self o' your own bad self!!

Amen sister

Spot on as our own honest intuition is usually the answer, yet most people wish to delude themselves and not face the reality of their situation..

You could try a different approach, maybe, make him realize that something that he holds close to his heart is at stake if he does not start taking things seriously. I understand that you must have tried everything in the book to make him a responsible person, but try looking at things from a different perspective, like, the glass is half full instead of empty etc etc.

sometimes when men cheat they can go into a form of numbness.. they live out fantasies until the mental stimulation of one woman just isnt enough.... I dont know from personal experience but I've seen this happen with some of the people I work with

Well is true that actions speak louder than words...

Very well put. After a time; if the talk does not meet the action, it may be time to walk.

I couldn't have said it better myself. But my H dont say anything about anything. Help!

Very well put.

That is what I was trying to explain to the one I loved! But he always act like he was trying!!! Lie after lie.. and another excuse!! Finally he blamed me for being rough with him!

Words are doing nothing.. They are actually false promises..
We need ACTIONS!

I couldn't agree more. I frequently comment to my H that he should have been a politician. He has been campaigning this marriage for 25 years.

I agree. I recently asked my husband of 13.5 years why his first wife divorced him. He said, "Aw, some **** about me not being there for her emotionally." Ding ding ding!! Guess what?? God, I wish I had asked that question years earlier!!

This is good advice for anyone marrying someone who's been married before. Explore the previous relationship best you can. It's like talking about a "bad boss - always a BAD idea BTW!) Those that are (more than) willing to talk about it usually place an emphasis on what was lacking in their former partners. People w/ emotional intelligence pretty much know to beware but those of us less endowed and left to our own devices find some sick charm in the complaints. Guess what? Ding ding ding!

True! If your partner does not listen to you or consider your needs or is not interested,.then it may be time to reassess. Cheers.

I cant Im in love.

Rated up... I wish I could do it a few more times... there's truth in this that just cannot be escaped!

Trying the last ditch effort once again(just to make sure).
One sided conversations.
The response most likely being (and has been) as recently as this evening...I don't know.
followed by a half hour of silence (waiting on my part) for a response...
Final answer

Words with out action mean Zero.

There are a number of ILIASM truisms.

Assess things on actions not words is one of them.

That one goes hand in hand with another - 'the why doesn't matter'.

Tread your own path.

word up

"it's pretty obvious from his behavior how much he ACTUALLY cares about meeting my needs" -----------

It depends. He might care for you and love you, but might feel uncomfortable having sexual intimacy with you. There are many people in my life who I love, but who I wouldn't feel comfortable having sex with. There are also people I care about very much, who are quite special to me, AND who want to have sex with me, but sex with them doesn't feel right, at the moment anyway. I'm not going to have sex with them to "meet their needs", when it doesn't feel right.

In your case, and in most of ours, we had this ceremony a number of years ago in which we made a promise that made sense at the time, but it was a stupid, useless promise, because it was about something we can't control. Our feelings are subject to external change.

I propose a better promise --the only one of any worth on your wedding day. And that is the promise not to bullshit each other or yourselves about your relationship and what it is.

He could bang you every day, and you will still be unhappy. Why? Because he doesn't DESIRE you. You WILL realize this, even if he gives it up for you to "meet your needs". You can't make someone desire you. You can't demand that they do. It makes no more sense to argue that they SHOULD desire you now, being married, than it would if you were dating. So let go this contractual argument and start from whatever is left. I suggest you forget about the marriage for a bit and go for a while without "defining" what the two of you have. You have a relationship. The nature of that relationship is open ended. You also have certain needs. Decouple those from the relationship slightly. Dial everything way back and start with what you have right now - being honest about what it is, rather than drawing it up as something that it isn't. Maybe you have the potential to build it into what you want, or maybe you don't, but you need to be honest with each other about what the two of you are living right now, first.

I totally agree that you can't make someone desire you. But when I said "meeting my needs," I wasn't just referring to sex. I was also referring to not procrastinating, not lying, not blaming me (or the world) for his unhappiness, not doing nothing to work on the relationship on all levels but saying he's trying. My H is not a bad guy, he's in many ways a terrific guy, and yes, I DO still love him. We were very happy once. But a relationship involves two people, not one who want to make it work and one who is completely paralyzed but unable or unwilling to do whatever it would take to get out of that paralysis. The point is, as we both agree, that his actions make it very clear that for WHATEVER his reasons are, he doesn't want to have sex with me. As we all know, the sex is often just a symptom of other issues, individual or shared.

Being in this marriage is torture for ME. And that's all that matters at the end of the day. I can abide a lot of things, but someone who is not even trying is not one of them.

Completely agree and understand what you are and have been going through nyartgal.

"But a relationship involves two people, not one who want to make it work and one who is completely paralyzed but unable or unwilling to do whatever it would take to get out of that paralysis. " -------

I absolutely agree. It reaches stalemate --a mutual state of misery where familiarity is the benefit and the cost is misery. It's like people who hoard things around them until their house fills up. It's tempting, because they choose it, to say they are content to live that way, but they aren't content; they are trapped by their own choice, their fear of the unknown cost of change. It takes outside intervention to compell change. What if their house burned down? What if it simply wasn't an option anymore to stick? I'm of the mind that the only way to compel someone to flee their nest is to blow it up - to make the cost of doing nothing higher than the cost of doing something - anything. This plane is going down, hubby is terrified to move and too heavy to carry. The parachutes are on the floor. All he has to do is take one, jump out the door, and take his chances, vs the certainty of what will happen if he doesn't. That's his choice. What's yours?

Well, I'm in Rome at the moment, just came from a museum opening where I would have gladly slept with about 10 of the gentlemen there (at least) without hesitation. THE MEN HERE, OMG. So maybe it's not so much about what I'm going to do, but whom? ;)

In all seriousness, I don't think I can do anything else to fix the marriage. Your metaphors are spot on, and in the case of my H his entire life is falling apart, not just his marriage. I feel terribly guilty on some level to be part of that but I know that these are all consequences of his own bad decisions and only he can make the changes necessary to get his life back on track. Or not. I can't wait any longer, though. I have to save myself from a lifetime of unhappiness. I offered every possible thing I could think of to him to make it work, but he refused---other women, an open marriage, all of it. He is like the hoarder who is about to be evicted and still can't throw away so much as a pipe cleaner but is furious at anyone who tried to help him save his house.

The behavior on his part is someone who is practicing passive aggressive withholding abuse. For him it is about power and control. Nothing you do will make a difference. Read about passive aggressive people. They with old intimacy all the time. They blame and project onto their partner. It is a sick dance. Yes, when you stop giving them the time, energy, and reactions they crave, they loose interest, and then blame you for changing. You are not a puppet on strings they can manipulate anymore. Stop trying, stop trying to reason with them. This is a waste of energy. Stop responding with any emotion at all. Protect yourself and leave.

Thanks, Unlucky!

3 More Responses

I would have to agree.

Rated WAY UP!! 100%agree

WHAT IF he has redeeming qualities?
As in:
He's a good father. I know the argument can be made he isn't really when he doesn't participate in sex with the children's mother but - is there another viewpoint on this?
He supports the family. I know the argument can be made he doesn't "really" support the family if he's not participating in sex w/ his wife - but you know what I mean. I think lots of us "settle" because of this.
He's amenable in other areas. I know the argument can be made because he isn't "amenable" in sex he's not really amenable but - again - is there another viewpoint? Again, I think many of us settle because the scale isn't absolutely much heavier on one side than the other.


You can be a co-parent, friend, business partner without being MARRIED!

VERY good point!

I started ignoring his words a long time ago. His actions (inaction is more accurate) spoke volumes.