Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Not Saginaw!
| | Re: Tearing down walls
Just another update, although this might be my last (connected to something below):
*Things are going well overall. I've gotten a lot better at recognizing when I'm feeling the urge to re-attach the emotional hose. I've been largely successful in resisting the urge, too, and haven't had any major gaffes in that regard. The few squabbles we've had have been about misunderstandings that, at least on the surface, aren't due to neediness on my part or anything like that.
*Unfortunately, an argument from the weekend took us down a peg or two from a high point we had built up to over the last few weeks, but it's not a permanent setback and this kind of up-and-down is probably to be expected at this point. My wife tends to get a bit depressed or withdrawn after these arguments, but I'm faring pretty well when it comes to not plugging into that and making matters worse. Since she's also sick, just emerging from a stressful run with work, and probably about to go on her period, I think her extra sensitivity in this case is understandable. Not to blame-shift, but I take those factors to be largely responsible for why the argument even started, although I should have been the adult in the room and just walked away when it started revving up. Anyway, I think it's safe to say that we'll soon be working our way back up the mountain once those things pass and we get a little more distance from the argument. Nothing terrible, but it's another one of these cases where things felt great a week ago but now are just okay. Of course, "just okay" is a lot better than where we were a few months ago, so I'll take it.
*She and I are both talked out. We've covered all the stuff that needs to be covered, at least for now, and there's definitely fatigue on both sides from the effort. It was pretty intense for a while and we have to get a break from thinking and talking about the relationship, in order to just enjoy it. So, I'm making a concerted effort to not think about what needs to be fixed, but to just go with the flow of things with her. Too much focus on every single thing that isn't just right leads to constantly taking the temperature of the relationship, which is bad for both of us. She's been guilty of this, too, so we've agreed to help each other try to keep the focus off of the relationship itself.
*What I wish I could do is rid myself of the urge to re-attach the emotional hose. This is really a major PITA, as the urge kicks in more frequently than I would care to admit. Much of this is due to some deeply engrained nice-guy tendencies that I'm still purging. I recognize that I can't make this crap stop just by being aware of it, but it sometimes feels as though I'm confronting this urge more now than I ever did before. I think I'd be enjoying things a lot more right now if I wasn't eating this anxiety so much of the time. I have some good outlets for the anxiety, but I honestly believe that the supply of anxiety is greatly outrunning the time, energy, and opportunity I have to take advantage of those outlets. I have to believe this will get better in time.
*One other thing that I've recognized as contributing to the temptation to re-attach the emotional hose and to feel all that anxiety, is fear of PA or EA. On more than one occasion, I have found myself worrying that my wife is playing me for a fool and that she's not really enjoying how much better things are between us, but is instead relieved that I think things are better so that she'll be able to more easily conduct an affair. This is completely nuts. I mean, insane in the membrane. While there is always some chance that my wife is some evil mastermind who can and would juggle a zillion things and an affair, it doesn't make sense at all. She has next-to-no opportunity, has been very sincere in her positive responses to my efforts, seems genuinely happy that things are so much better between us, clearly finds me attractive along all relevant dimensions, and has never before given me any indication that she might stray. Plus, (and this is said half in jest) she's too lazy to have an affair - whatever sex she'd want, it'd be easier for her to just have it with me than to put in all the work needed to start and hide an affair. Trust me, the one thing I know about my wife is that she'd minimize her effort if she could. So, why the worries about an affair? Well, at least part of that has to do with some things I think I've absorbed from reading posts here. For one thing, a lot of the posts here deal with actual cases of wives cheating, far more than I would guess is representative of reality, based on the research I've seen. But, it's more pervasive than that. In pretty much every case where some guy posts about a problem he's having with his wife, in the midst of a reasonable discussion that deals with the known facts of the matter, sooner or later there's a response that says basically, "That definitely sounds like she's having an affair. Classic signs. You'd better install a VAR and a keystroke logger. Sorry to break the bad news, buddy." Yes, some women cheat and I'm sure even my own wife would be tempted in the right circumstances. But it's really unhealthy, at least for someone in my position, to so regularly expose myself to stimuli in which marital problems and infidelity are automatically linked. I've learned a lot from what I've read on this board and I think my marriage and myself as an individual are much better off because of what I've learned here. But the "marital problems = adultery" equation that often crops up in posts is just mind poison for me. I'm trying to read the posts here with a filter on for unwarranted accusations of infidelity (and, to be clear, I don't think all suggestions of potential infidelity are wrong or inappropriate, it's just the seemingly large number of cases where it's totally speculative or just incongruous), but I know it seeps through. The last thing I want to do is screw up the progress that has been made in my relationship because of baseless worries about infidelity. I never had this sort of worry before I started reading things here. Some of this might simply be due to me now being better aware of what's going on inside my head and perhaps some such worry was kicking around in there without being recognized. Maybe. My guess, though, is that I'm going through some sort of "emotional hose" withdraw and it just doesn't mix well with that "infidelity is lurking just around the corner" message. Whatever the reason, if my mental filter for this stuff doesn't improve, I might have to simply unplug myself from this site. While I'd prefer not to do that, because of how much I've already benefited from this site and how much more I think I stand to benefit, it would be stupid of me to continue doing something that I know is harming me (even if the harm is due to a weakness on my part when it comes to how I process stuff that I rationally acknowledge doesn't pertain to my situation).
Last edited by Tigerman; 05-08-2012 at 05:49 PM.