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We, or Me

I am presuppossing here that you (the reader) are past the stage where "everything is great bar the sex" and are at the realisation point that the dysfunctional aspects of your marriage ain't changing.

Essentially, at the point where you suspect that the "we" dynamic no longer exists (if in fact it ever did) or at least, does not work in any useful way.

At this point, a change in your focus is well in order. Continuing on in "we" thinking is highly inadvisable at this point. "We" thinking is only going to hold you up, at best - or stall you completely, at worst. The refusive party in the dynamic will gobble up any "we" thinking and apply it selectively to suit their agenda - which essentially is buying more time. To spin the free ride out as long as possible. There will be (as usual) no reciprocal "we" thinking brought to the table by the refusive that has the remotest relevance to YOUR interests.

You are, (as you have probably been suspecting), on your own with advancing YOUR agenda. There will be no assistance or support from the refusive party for you. Indeed, there is far more likelyhood of obstruction and undermining by the refusive in an attempt to de-rail your agenda.

If you continue with "we" thinking, you are complicit in your own problem, for THERE IS NO "WE".

Rather there is "me" the refusive (and believe me, they have, are, and will continue to operate on a "me" basis) and there is "me" (as in 'you').

If you continue to make choices on a basis of "we" then you will be assisting the refusive in their time buying agenda. That is most definitely NOT in your best interests.

Your choices have to shift to a focus of "me". Your best interests. Your future. Your aspirations. Your personal growth. Your evolvement as a person. 
There are no "we" best interests / future / aspirations / growth / evolvement. For there is no "we" anymore (if indeed there ever was)

This does NOT mean you have to start acting like an arsehole to the refusive. Not at all. But it does mean that you have to undertake your choices on a "me" basis, and, there will be times in this that it displeases the refusive (because they are not getting 'their' way. You'd remember that feeling well I should imagine, after all you had many years of exposure to it. It didn't kill you, did it ? Nor will it kill the refusive to get a dose of reality)

Nor does it mean you have to rush off to divorce (although as ever, it would be wise to see a lawyer in your jurisdiction to see how a divorce would shake out for you).

What it DOES mean, is that you tread your own path. Making your choices on a "me" basis. Just as the refusive did in the past, is still doing now, and will do into the future. Two unique individuals.

In rare rare rare cases, this might have the effect of both parties "me" choices having a lot of common ground, and the relationship might even get to a functional status. I wouldn't be holding my breath, but there have been a couple of cases on these very pages where the relationship got torn down to bare metal and rebuilt into a new and functional state by this process.

Far more likely is the scenario where the process of you adopting "me" choices (and the refusive continuing with their "me" choices) reveals a yawning chasm of irreconcilable differences. And, the stark truths this process will uncover mean that the marriage is highly unlikely to survive the process.
Such a result, painful and difficult as it is, is the right result, for it is based on the core truth. And that is a good thing. A great thing actually.

Tread your own path.
bazzar bazzar 56-60, M 16 Responses Jan 5, 2013

Your Response


Makes you stop and think.

Another brilliant story from Baz. The uncoupling process is a natural response to an imposable situation. Some of us take longer to get to this point but we all get there. It usually occurs when we cross the threshold of what I call the "last rejection". This is the point where incurring another rejection is more painful than not fulfilling our desire for intimacy. "ME" thinking will usually begin around this time.

I believe it marks the beginning of the end of the marriage. Putting Humpty back together after an extended period of "ME" is not realistic. "ME" thinking represents the end of our pursuit of intimacy with our spouse. Overtime the intimacy is gone and cannot be rebuilt as it is an elusive product of love.

"ME" time is a dangerous time for us. Many of us will feel a weight lifted from our shoulders as we uncouple from our spouses. We may go out more alone or with friends and the binds of our marriage commitments now seem less burdensome if noticed at all. It is a good time to consult an attorney and seek a path to complete the uncoupling process.

This is a great read read, thank you Baz.

Good Luck!

And I've always thought that the only reason men would get into a long term monogamous relationship was to ensure a steady supply of sex. So I am bewildered by a man who wants to keep me around, w/o the sex.

Miss Kat, You are so Wrong. Men get into a *Monogamous* relationship for more than a Sexual mate. How dare you think this. Are you Married?? I think not?

OK, I read it. I hope you're wrong, but I have a feeling you're not. It's just hard to believe that a man who behaves in such a loving way (other than the obvious) might not really love me at

I better understand your ME proposals now having read this post but I am still deflated by your stats in this group. Perhaps a lot of the folks that come here are looking for support while they take the next step in their SM (divorcing, separating, etc...) and they just need to hear that they are doing the right thing. On the other hand there may be some who are looking for direction to help resolve their issues or perhaps, as am I, looking for answers that will bring some understanding to the whole issue of a SM. How can we help the "refusive" (now there is a label that takes the human being out of it) maybe its an issue of communication, embarrassment, ignorance, mental illness, fear of doctors or therapists...who knows. I think all should be examined as thoroughly as the ME vs We scenario.

Truth is, gftgwn, by the time people get to this forum they have ALREADY done all the things you have alluded to. They have worked themselves into exhaustion.
By the time they are driven to seek an internet forum, and spill their guts to strangers, their marriage is in terminal dysfunction.
The type of dysfunctional marriage attracted onto this board is very much at the arse end of the demographic. Basket cases.
Keep reading. Look up member mvcmvc and read her stuff (in conjunction with the story she comments on). I am sure you will find it most illuminating. "enna30 is worth following too. So are many others.

I think you are right Bazzar. This isn't the place for me. I am looking for answers to questions that probably will not help me anyway. He loved me. We had 10 yrs of a SM, the last 2 in complete abstinence. The feelings, arguments, depressions etc... about our sexless marriage continued for the first 8 yrs just as I have read in some of these stories. He became terribly ill and died within 2 months of a cancer diagnosis. The doctors tell me that his sexual dysfunction was physiological and directly related to his cancer which they believe had been ongoing throughout these 10 years. He was relieved when the doctors told us this. Guilt now, for me. So many pleadings and arguments...what a waste. Hope that others cross all their T's and dot all their I's before they throw away what might be what you call "the stage" when everything is ok except the sex. Maybe it is.

This is very much a group of "i" dotters and "t" crossers Ms G. Read on, if you wish.

Thank you for your companionship this evening Bazzar. I can see you do good work here. Have read and learned much.
Best wishes to all in their quest for a better quality of life. As for me, perhaps I need another forum to address my particular issues. This was a good place to start.:)

Tread your own path.

I hear your pain and your guilt. But would your husband have wanted you to feel bad/ guilty? Could it be he understood ( or if you believe it goes on) or understands? My guess is if he were here he would totally forgive you every recrimination. It's really just about the journey...but sometimes it's a little hard to imbibe the philosophy without feeling like you are drinking the koolaid!

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nicely written & thought provoking as always.

transitioning from we to me can be difficult. but, I think, we should all also look on this process as a chance for unexpected joys. falling in like with ourselves. searching for what really does and does not work for us in our lives. and btw, this isn't a process that should begin and end only now. our relationship with our own self should be life long. evolution happens every.single.moment. what works for me today might not, tomorrow. you get the idea.

in my own rediscovery, like txmg, i recognized a while back my own give give give till it hurts tendencies. no use kicking myself over the past. Learn, grow, set limits that are livable for the future. and check in with ones own values and core set of beliefs, needs, on a regular basis.

the day we stop learning & discovering is the day we stop living. i am thinking of the past few years as suspended animation for myself. i am moving forward slowly, with as much planning & deliberation as possible. it's painful to realize how much of myself i gave up and changed or buried in an effort to be part of "we." my h has been thinking & acting purely in his own best interests in so very many ways even from the very beginning. much of it he hid from me. painful as a very smart person to realize how thoroughly hoodwinked he had me. that's okay. i AM smart and have documented so much that in the upcoming process he doesn't have any leverage to overcome the documentation. facts and documentation are incontrovertible.

i can only hope he will step up and become the kind of co parent our daughter deserves

Well written Bazz. Very true. Nice to be back here reading your stuff after the holidays.

I agree that most of us, when we first stumble through the doorway of EP, want very much to believe that ...WE still possible. that somehow we can make that happen and become a normal couple. It takes us awhile to accept the reality of what is really happening, and then decide what we can really do economically, spiritually, physically, mentally. and so it is a process. But, the sooner you are willing to deal with the reality of your situation, the sooner you are able to deal with options. You have the possibility of changing your life for the better. Even small changes matter. The other huge difference, is being able to talk about what is happening in your life. That is a huge help. So, being here and sharing, is already a reality changer..

you are so full of wisdom. This forum is start to being honest with oneself and then hopefully with one's spouse. Ladies and Gentlemen, fasten your seat belts turbulence ahead

Whereas in a good, growing marriage, there is indeed a shared being, something that transcends our petty autonomy, your excellent exposure of that not being there highlights the dichotomy. And perpetuates the disaster, and is our responsibility.

I was thinking recently about the phrase "my word is my bond", which once had a real meaning in banking. These days, if you operated that, you'd be shafted.

And I think there is a similar clash of expections (even if they "should" operate, they do not), in a marriage. We get people here who are hung up on the vows or promises, when the other person never bought into that, certainly not in action where it matters. They might trot out nice sounding things, but when it comes to the crunch, don't deliver.

Much as we might not and do not like it, exposing the "stark truths" is a very good thing.

Thank You, bazzar. As I said to one of your comments, I'm working on the me for now to then decide if there is a we.

The step this week is to go through some of the past issues that have caged me. That is going to be a very, very, hard discussion to get through (just thinking of it gets me anxious). But hey, regardless of the outcome for the "we" I'm going to be the better for it.

Baz: You are one of the few from this forum who is both direct and kind. That is why I read what you write. I find your words valid. Step 2 of my divorce commences Jan. 11, 2013. Then in 6-12 weeks I am free. I used my maiden name all along. I liked it better. All these years I felt like I really wasn't married or loved so maybe that was an omen. Right from the start...Happy 2013, Baz! It is going to be my BEST yet! Hope it is for you too. Keep on with your treading on your on path advice. Many get free. Others settle or linger or stagnate. But for the survivors who live and grow like me....It is glorious! kissesssssssssssssssss.....And smiles. xox

There is a very good description of 'we' becoming 'me' in the book 'Uncoupling' by Dianne Vaughan.
I recommend this book to anybody negotiating a sexless marriage.

In the end, we are always alone. I have tried to crawl under the skin of my lover and she's tried to crawl under mine, and in the end we always found ourselves alone. Together, alone. People admired our closeness, our intimacy, our mutual understanding and affection, yet one day she walked away from me and never looked back, never even thought to inform me that she was going.

We, most of us, are born alone, and we leave alone. On the way we may be loved, cherished, we may love in turn and work in harness but those of us who have an awareness of self are, in some inner mental place, alone. My wife has no understanding of my take on death, and so she cannot succour me in my moments of despair. "We" is not guaranteed.

The preservation of self, for most of us, takes priority over everything else -- or it should anyway, for those who are sane and aware and not beaten into a mental fug of co-dependence or dull acceptance. Those closest to us should come next in our priority list, but what if they are starting to hurt us, break us, make us over in their image or in the image of something they desire. What if they abuse? If you're taking the unhealthy approach of putting your S.O. above yourself, and thinking of that as 'we', then you're rooted at this point.

The "we" is always temporary, is what I am trying to say. It is always open to review. Just as you can't ever take your S.O. for granted, so they can't take you for granted either. Anyone who makes their SELF dependent on that 'we' is skating on very thin ice.

You need to define that inner fortress, the inner moat. I've put up with neglect and being taken for granted way too long myself, in my current marriage. This last year has been quite a journey. As far as I am concerned, the "we" is still there, but it's been redefined very nearly from the ground on up.
I've picked myself up, I'm prioritizing differently, and she is constantly surprised by the 'new me'. It isn't new .... I've just been waiting for way too long for her to engage in a way that isn't in her. She seems to enjoy the 'new me'. I enjoy her smiles and spontaneous gestures of affection and support. Who would've guessed!

You always have to look at yourself in your relationships. Are you getting what you want, are you being treated with good will and respect? With love or at least friendship?
Is the other person behaving ethically?

I think this is the hardest lesson for me to process from my dead marriage...that safety and love I've always craved is really an illusion, that I will always really be alone, and that the people who love you really are the ones who destroy you.

Oh, I don't think it's an illusion, love can be real. But can your inner self ever meld with the other inner self? I think not. And so it's always 2 people negotiating, and re-negotiating. Not taking anything for granted is the biggie in my opinion.

I can't believe in it any more. *Shrug*
It seems like a destructive lie.

this is what i allowed to happen in my marriage. i let go of ME and put all my eggs into the basket of WE. i dropped friends, social situations, fun activities, exercise, etc. because i fell into the 'hermit' trap that my husband lives in. i resented him for having somewhere to go when he went to practice with his band/record/see shows, etc. but in reality, all i had to do was assert myself for what i needed for ME. and i see that now. and i actually allowed it to happen, although it was much easier for me to 'blame' him for my reality. which, in turn, is just not fair. i've never put myself first, i've always put others first, and then when i hit a wall out of frustration of others not putting me first, i get resentful and angry. when in actuality, all i needed to do was to give what i could to others to make myself happy, not to gain something from it, and not expect anything in return. these are harsh realities that i am just now seeing, as my marriage dissolves. i think i should really look into codependency and enabling. i think i might be showing those behaviors. ugh.

TXMG, your journey of self discovery is awe inspiring. Your ability AND willingness to examine and understand your own role in your situation is amazing for someone who is so "early" in the journey. I think I speak for many of us (certainly for myself!) when I say it takes most of us MUCH longer to understand our roles in the dynamics of our marriages.

Congratulations on your self awareness - it is your greatest asset as you move forward in life IMO.

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Well said Bazzar. I, for one, have been in the me stage for awhile. Its one of the steps along the path.

I struggle with this daily. I am so accustomed to keeping him happy that making choices for me is unnatural.

Now that hit home...

The biggest challenge for the long term refused in these dynamics is not their spouses behavior, but the realization and ultimate acceptance that they are no longer (or never were) a WE.

They must mourn the death of their WE dream and go back to being a ME.

The timeframe for the process of going from WE to ME vary's widely from person to person and is an individual and highly personal journey.

A journey one will, ultimately, have to travel alone.

this is the mourning that i've been going through, even though technically, our marriage was over a long time ago. it's these volatile emotional stages of grief that i've been going through that catch me off guard sometimes. like, "why am i so sad and heartbroken about this?" or, "why am i so angry about this?". i sometimes i really could be emotionally detached like my H so i didn't have to 'feel' all of this at one time, and that it didn't affect me so much. the journey back to ME without WE is so odd, i don't even know how to visualize it.

The most intimate relationship you will ever experience is with yourself. The journey can be a challenge but ME is worth it.

i agree completely. and i have de-valued ME for so long, i don't even know who ME is anymore. it's going to be a long journey, but one i really look forward to, because this is the catalyst i need to make the changes i've needed to make my whole life in all facets of life. i'm looking at this as a step to re-invent and re-create myself into the person i want and should be, and learn healthy behaviors and patterns that will allow me to be confident, not angry and defensive, assertive and not aggressive, calm and not irrational, etc. i feel very fortunate that i have found a good P-Doc and therapist as well as this board for support. I also feel very blessed to have wonderful and beautiful boys. they give me reason to live every day and to learn to love ME so i can love them even more.

txmusicgal, you said " myself into the person i want and should be ...". Go lite on the "should". Whenever someone says the word "should" I look around to see whose idea is being pushed on me. Look for who you really are when you're not stressed out and trying to deal with a crazy relationship, and yes, calm and rational. Enna30 talks about "your authentic self".

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