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post #46 of 271 (permalink) Old 03-22-2017, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Question on becoming emotionally self-reliant and self-sufficient

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Originally Posted by Jessica38 View Post
Start by making sure you spend 15-20 or more hours a week quality family time.
This is more doable, as we already try our best to do things as a family whenever we can, which isn't as often as we'd like (pretty much limited to weekends), given that the time my wife has for things like going on hikes, etc., is also the only time she has to handle her own responsibilities/needs, and it's also time that I can spend doing things like getting dinner ready for when my wife and son get back from their hike.

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This will allow you to be close to your wife to rebuild her love for you while giving her time with your son.
This I'm not sure about. One, because we already do this some, and two, because she claims that her love for me isn't an issue. She often tells me (and even others) that she loves me. As far as I can tell, it's an attraction/respect thing, not a love thing.

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Few things are more attractive to a mom who adores her child than watching her husband play with him.
It of course warms her heart to watch me and my son. I'm not sure it does anything to make me more attractive or to make her want to be more intimate.

I mean, I think *ideally* she'd like to find a way to be more intimate, but it's just not one of her top priorities. She doesn't have much left for anyone else (including herself) after her career and being a mother. And, of course, my own pain/protectiveness doesn't help, but after so many years of being not her priority (not that I can't appreciate why), I am just cautious about getting too close/dependent/'needy' again. I've allowed myself to get hurt too many times. Hence my desire to stop looking to her for what I want.

I would love to get to the point where I can enjoy what others give me when they feel they can (my wife would love it if I was like this around sex/intimacy - "Why can't you just be happy for those times when sex does happen, rather than bemoan the fact that it doesn't happen more?"), and be self-sufficient the rest of the time. Sex/intimacy is one of those tripping points for me - not only do I not really desire her anymore (my attraction to her has certainly waned), but I'm not sure how much I want to enflame that desire. It's hard to be around someone that I regularly desire to be with sexually/intimately but not have that desire reciprocated except every once and a while when the stars align for her. In her words, she lives from the basis that "When I'm hot, I'm hot, and when I'm not, I'm not." And 'not' is kind of her default mode all the time.

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post #47 of 271 (permalink) Old 03-22-2017, 02:44 PM
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Re: Question on becoming emotionally self-reliant and self-sufficient

The site crashes on posting often.

I either:
- write all long responses in a word processor or
- repeatedly copy my whole response every single time I complete a paragraph (at most I lose one paragraph)



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@farsidejunky - **** **** mother****! I just wrote out a long and detailed response to your post, and my browser crashed. I will try to get back to it as soon as I can, as I sincerely appreciate your effort. Don't know when that will be, but know that I have taken it to heart and haven't ghosted...
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post #48 of 271 (permalink) Old 03-22-2017, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Question on becoming emotionally self-reliant and self-sufficient

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"We workout together, go on 2 dates a week, and have our morning coffee just the two of us.
I have no idea how you manage this.

Mornings are about getting my wife and kid out the door - she takes him to school on her way to work. There is little, if any, time to 'hang out' in the mornings.

We *might* be able to do 2 date nights a week, but they would have to be on the weekends (and my wife is usually pretty tired on Fridays). Three nights a week, she gets home in time to eat dinner and spend a little time with my son and I before it's time to get him (and her) to bath and bed (usually later than we would ideally like). By the time he is taken care of and asleep, either she's asleep with him (if she puts him to bed) or she is in bed/needing to go to to bed (if I put him to bed). Every once in a blue moon she's awake enough that we can sit on the couch together and watch a short TV show or something together (which feels like a date night or a vacation or special occasion or something, lol). Two nights a week, I work at my part-time job until after dinner time, so I get home in time to maybe grab a quick bite and catch up for a few minutes on everyone's day before helping with the bedtime routine, which is usually want I really to do anyway, given that I haven't seen my son all day - I want to cuddle up with him to read his bedtime stories and what not, even if i don't ultimately end up helping him go to sleep.


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It's not easy, but the average adult watches 4 hours/TV daily. We don't watch TV.
Yeah, that statistic has always baffled me. Even when we were childless, there is no way we watched TV everyday, let alone spent 4 hours doing so. And we have always had a high-quality home theater system, lol (we're film buffs). These days, we might watch 4 hours of TV over six months or more. It's a rare luxury treat, not a regular activity.

We definitely spend little time on frivolous stuff like watching TV.
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post #49 of 271 (permalink) Old 03-22-2017, 09:16 PM
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I think you need to talk to your wife about realistically meeting you halfway to improve your marriage. I get the sense you don't want to be vulnerable to her and admit you need her, so she may not know how much she's hurting you.

And, you don't seem to want to hear that your wife's love for you IS the problem- attraction is part of having feelings of love and motivates us to meet each other's needs. Your wife is telling you you're too "needy" when you try to get her to meet your needs. This is a huge problem for both of you.

Sinc your wife doesn't seem to be willing (or may not fully understand how necessary it is) to work with you to improve your marriage, I still think you have a great chance at motivating her by meeting her where she's at (primarily focused on saving her limited energy for your son) until she is ready to do so.

You have to take the lead here, but it will require that you make different changes than emotionally divorcing her. Focus on being positive, attentive, and light when you commit to spending quality family time together. Use the opportunity to be affectionate and interested in her. Give it a month without making any extra demands. Get your plan in place and let her know you're actively moving forward to ease her burden.

Then, when she's feeling more positive about you and feeling more attracted/respectful, she will be more motivated to meet you halfway in improving the marriage (and meeting your needs). Your wife likely has a high need for financial support, a need you're not able to meet fully right now. She's watching you struggle with this. She's standing by you, but most women have a hard time watching their husband's struggle w anxiety/depression. It scares them and is a serious libido killer.
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post #50 of 271 (permalink) Old 03-22-2017, 10:47 PM
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Re: Question on becoming emotionally self-reliant and self-sufficient

It isn't possible to understand your frame of reference because - when we had three (3) kids we had time for:
- Sex 5 times a week
- TV - a couple hours a day on the weekends

I have never seen anyone with a single child (in school) describe their schedule as so utterly - constrained.

So far - what you've said that is true is that your wife doesn't respect you (clearly true), radiates disapproval at how you DO spend your time (without ever sharing any specifics as to what she disapproves of), and is completely unconcerned with your level of marital satisfaction.

My experience on TAM is as follows:
- Posters who carefully avoid specifics (which you have done)
- And focus on why they are unhappy - as opposed to why their spouse is unhappy with them

Claim to want assistance but are mainly looking for sympathy.

Far will try and help you - and I hope he succeeds. As for me, well, this will be my last post since I am not seeing any real willingness to take a hard look in the mirror.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dazedconfuzed View Post
I have no idea how you manage this.

Mornings are about getting my wife and kid out the door - she takes him to school on her way to work. There is little, if any, time to 'hang out' in the mornings.

We *might* be able to do 2 date nights a week, but they would have to be on the weekends (and my wife is usually pretty tired on Fridays). Three nights a week, she gets home in time to eat dinner and spend a little time with my son and I before it's time to get him (and her) to bath and bed (usually later than we would ideally like). By the time he is taken care of and asleep, either she's asleep with him (if she puts him to bed) or she is in bed/needing to go to to bed (if I put him to bed). Every once in a blue moon she's awake enough that we can sit on the couch together and watch a short TV show or something together (which feels like a date night or a vacation or special occasion or something, lol). Two nights a week, I work at my part-time job until after dinner time, so I get home in time to maybe grab a quick bite and catch up for a few minutes on everyone's day before helping with the bedtime routine, which is usually want I really to do anyway, given that I haven't seen my son all day - I want to cuddle up with him to read his bedtime stories and what not, even if i don't ultimately end up helping him go to sleep.




Yeah, that statistic has always baffled me. Even when we were childless, there is no way we watched TV everyday, let alone spent 4 hours doing so. And we have always had a high-quality home theater system, lol (we're film buffs). These days, we might watch 4 hours of TV over six months or more. It's a rare luxury treat, not a regular activity.

We definitely spend little time on frivolous stuff like watching TV.
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post #51 of 271 (permalink) Old 03-23-2017, 12:31 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Question on becoming emotionally self-reliant and self-sufficient

Interesting response. Not sure where you are coming from, and I'm not sure if you have a question in there or are just registering a general complaint, but I can get off a quick response right now if you need a show of good faith. I realize I have not been able to respond to everyone yet - I plan on getting responses written as quickly as I can.


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Originally Posted by MEM2020 View Post
It isn't possible to understand your frame of reference because - when we had three (3) kids we had time for:
- Sex 5 times a week
- TV - a couple hours a day on the weekends
Awesome for you. I haven't been able to find a way to make that happen. I'm not sure if you just felt the need to crow about your achievements, but maybe you could also offer advice on how you are able to make that happen?

Quote:
I have never seen anyone with a single child (in school) describe their schedule as so utterly - constrained.
Well, the quick outline I gave above is more or less what our life looks like, so you now have the dubious distinction of having seen someone describe their schedule as being that utterly-constrained. Is there something in the description that makes you think I'm being dishonest?

Quote:
So far - what you've said that is true is that your wife doesn't respect you (clearly true)
Pretty much. Not that I blame her.

Quote:
radiates disapproval at how you DO spend your time
I wouldn't say that it's a blanket disapproval. It's more scrutinizing and judging and scorekeeping, based in frustration and resentment. An attitude perhaps along the lines of "with all that needs to be done, what are you getting done now?" or "I don't get to do things I would like to do, why should you?" or "why would you choose to do that when there are all these other things that need doing?"

I think she has had a lot of anxiety and angst regarding her/our life and how it's being managed, especially since having a kid. For example, for a long time, it looked like we were going to have to sell our house (and possibly need to buy a more expensive house) and move just to get our son into a decent school. She pounded the pavement every day and finally got him into a good school without us having to buy a new house. But that was an almost two year process, during which time we both lost a lot of sleep.

That's the backdrop of her mentality, I think, for better or for worse.


Quote:
(without ever sharing any specifics as to what she disapproves of)
I'm sorry, did someone ask? I don't know that there are that many specifics (I do have one semi-regular hobby, and it happens to drive her completely nuts), but more a general feeling on my part of not measuring up or never spending my time appropriately and/or productively.

Quote:
and is completely unconcerned with your level of marital satisfaction.
I wouldn't say she is unconcerned. She tells me all the time that she just wants me to be happy. She just feels like she is doing everything she can do right now, and I'm an adult and should be able to take care of myself. She acknowledges that our marriage probably isn't ideal for either of us right now, but that's just how it goes sometimes when there are more important matters that need her attention and energy.

Quote:
My experience on TAM is as follows:
- Posters who carefully avoid specifics (which you have done)
How have I 'carefully' avoided specifics? I will answer questions as they are asked, and as quickly as I can (I admit that losing one huge response I carefully wrote out earlier today was a major setback in this little project).

I started the thread with a general question as to how people achieve 'emotional independence' and how they overcome being emotionally dependent on their spouse, as that seems to be what is needed in my situation and what is recommended in general. I'm not sure how to be specific in that, as I'm not clear what those end states look like (which is why I asked the question).

Quote:
And focus on why they are unhappy - as opposed to why their spouse is unhappy with them
Perhaps my frustrations are coming out, so I'm not making things clear, but I'm pretty sure I started out describing how my spouse is unhappy with my 'neediness' and my emotional dependency. She would be much happier if I would just be more self-sufficient in meeting my own needs. I'm looking for how other people have been able to avoid 'neediness' and emotional dependency, how they have achieved their own emotional independence such that they don't have to look to their marriage to meet their needs.

I'm not seeing my wife as the 'villian' in this narrative. I know that she is doing all she can.

Quote:
Claim to want assistance but are mainly looking for sympathy.
I've vented, yes. I'm sure my frustration and overwhelm is apparent. But I've also asked many questions, some of which have been answered, some haven't. And clearly some have a different perspective on the role of marriage in meeting an individual needs. Where I have a question on their different perspective, I have either asked, or am in the process of asking.

Quote:
As for me, well, this will be my last post since I am not seeing any real willingness to take a hard look in the mirror.
What does taking a hard look in the mirror look like to you? What expectation do you have of what I should see? Clearly you have arrived at at least some conclusions already. I'm guessing that they are aligned with what Far wrote (in which case I would agree - I think he was on point with a lot of it, something I intend to write up in more detail tomorrow).

Last edited by Dazedconfuzed; 03-23-2017 at 12:38 AM.
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post #52 of 271 (permalink) Old 03-23-2017, 06:21 AM
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Re: Question on becoming emotionally self-reliant and self-sufficient

Dazed:

Two things:

1, @MEM2020 was without question one of the most helpful people in my journey of self discovery.

2, getting defensive towards him is not helping you.

I would suggest you take another look at his posts to you. I would argue that many of your questions in that last post will be answered.

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post #53 of 271 (permalink) Old 03-23-2017, 07:59 AM
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If you don't mind am outsider to the discussion poking in...

MEM says he and his wife had sex 5 times a week when they had three kids and can't understand why there is so little time in the OPs life for some sex or some TV.

I think the difference is that OPs wife seems to go to bed at 8 pm and that is why there is so little time for them to have together. Am I correct?
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post #54 of 271 (permalink) Old 03-23-2017, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Question on becoming emotionally self-reliant and self-sufficient

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Am I correct?
Essentially, yes. My son's bedtime is the end of the evening for us, whether it is because she falls asleep with him or because she is usually ready to fall asleep by the time I finish getting him to sleep.
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post #55 of 271 (permalink) Old 03-23-2017, 01:19 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Question on becoming emotionally self-reliant and self-sufficient

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getting defensive towards him is not helping you.
Fair enough.

I just went back and read his post again. I was not intentionally trying to avoid it, I just hadn't gotten to responding to it yet. I'll address his concerns (which are valid) now.

Then I'll respond (again, hopefully with no loss of text) to your last post, lol. I sat with your post last night, and in addition to some other reading, I think I can say that I'm actually starting to feel cracks in the deadlock I've been maintaining for so long. Something is shifting inside me. Which came as a surprise, honestly, and is quite significant, given how long I've been struggling and trying to make a shift happen. Thanks.

EDIT: added a very much needed *not* - 'I was *not* intentionally trying to avoid it...' FFS... :smh:


Last edited by Dazedconfuzed; 03-23-2017 at 04:06 PM. Reason: typo
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post #56 of 271 (permalink) Old 03-23-2017, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Dazedconfuzed View Post
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Originally Posted by Livvie View Post
Am I correct?
Essentially, yes. My son's bedtime is the end of the evening for us, whether it is because she falls asleep with him or because she is usually ready to fall asleep by the time I finish getting him to sleep.
What time does she get up in the morning? How many hours of sleep does she get a night?
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post #57 of 271 (permalink) Old 03-23-2017, 02:35 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Question on becoming emotionally self-reliant and self-sufficient

So I'll start by saying that I apologize if you thought I was avoiding your post - I appreciated it and was looking forward to responding, which I can now do.

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In a way it spoiled you.
Funny you should say that - my wife said she feels like she spent our long relationship together pre-kid spoiling me, and she now regrets that. That was painful to hear, as I didn't necessarily see her as spoiling me and didn't feel like I that was necessarily demanding in our marriage, but there it is.

Quote:
Reason I say that is you have one child - and yet you self describe as being on the ragged edge in terms of free time, money etc.
I get that. In fact, that has been a huge frustration for both of us. "Why do we seem to be so bad at this?" is an oft-asked question. We certainly seem to be struggling more than many parents.

OTOH, a lot of others in our community had kids around the same time, and I would say that as many of them have divorced as have stayed together (if not more, actually - it's depressing as hell), and of the one's that are left, a lot of them are experiencing similar difficulties/have similar complaints. Not a whole lot of happy couples with young kids around us.

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It seems like you:
Had a child
Lost your job right around that time
Lost my job at the height of the recession, which meant that similar jobs were not to be found. I applied for probably close to 200 positions over two years, and came up empty handed.

At the same time, we moved into a bigger house so we could start a family (which just added to the financial insecurity).

As I was in the process of starting my own business (another thing that added to my wife's sense of financial insecurity), my dad dropped dead, and I had to drop everything and spend the next six months or so wrapping up his business and trying to keep my mom (who lives 14 hours away) from destroying herself. No one was happy in that situation - my mom and brother felt like I wasn't doing enough, while my wife was trying to get me to focus on starting our family instead.

By the time I had that situation stabilized, we were pregnant, I still wasn't working, and starting a business looked both too time consuming and too financially risky. We took it as an opportunity for me to be the SAHP, something I had a deep ambivalence about doing (for good reason, turns out), with the idea that I would soon go back to work. The baby was higher maintenance than we expected (and higher maintenance than other babies, based on the experience of parents around us), and work was still scarce, so I ended up being the SAHP for longer than either of us anticipated (we both also had a very hard time thinking about sending him to daycare - it just didn't sit well with either of us). After a year and half, I found a good opportunity to work part-time in order to relieve some of the pressure on my wife. Didn't really seem to help her stress or attitude much, though.

EDIT: I should add that I wasn't being entirely insensitive to my wife's anxieties by only going part-time. She in no way wanted to leave my son in the full-time care of someone else. It took us a while to feel comfortable enough leaving him with a nanny in our own home a couple days a week.

A few years later now, I'm still working part-time, but part of that has been because my having a flexible schedule and a less-demanding job (that pays quite well for something part-time with some flexibility and lower demands) has been helpful. I try to take care of everything I can on the domestic front (except for things like finding schools and summer camps and activities for my son, which my wife takes the lead on, fortunately) and am available to handle emergencies (like taking care of our son when he gets sick, which seems to happen like once a month or so) when she is at work.

Quote:
This put your wife into an intensely stressful situation. She resents the heck out of being forced into the primary breadwinner role. And then career wise - she sees you as either unable or un willing to get a comparable job to what you had before.
This is unequivocal, yes. I fully aware. I killed me (still does) to see her suffer so much while I had almost nothing to offer to ease her suffering. I've never felt such shame in my life.

As far as being willing, I would love to become the career man I was before. I'm old, I've been out of the workforce for seven + years, and I have little to offer in the way of immediate skills. Getting back on top and becoming a serious breadwinner (matching or exceeding my wife such that she could relax and do what makes her feel more fulfilled in life) would seem to take a lot of resources (time and money) at a time when the resource need is immediate and resources severely limited. I am trying to figure out how I can go to school, work part-time, and still support my wife and son by making sure the homefront needs are met.

Last night, however, I started to feel something shift. I get that things might suck right now, that I might feel hopeless and alone and insufficient to the task, but my wallowing in my loneliness and misery and depression probably drains enough time and energy from my life that, were it to stop, I would regain enough time and energy to at least get a good handle on and kick some ass around my current responsibilities (which would make me feel a whole lot better about myself), and might even give me enough to take on the project of developing my professional skills such that I can provide for my family again. Whatever the outcome, I realize that a lot of time and energy is getting wasted on me not accepting my circumstances.

Quote:
Your lack of financial support stresses her out like the lack of sex stresses you out.
Totally clear on that. That's part of why I stopped complaining about our sexless marriage a long time ago. Why should she do for me when I'm not doing for her?

I have been feeling like having a close, intimate relationship with my wife would give me some much needed inspiration and energy to tackle our challenges. And I'm sure that she feels like my becoming the provider for the family would allow her to respect me again such that closeness and intimacy is possible. And we've been deadlocked for a long time now in those positions. Time for some unilateral action on my part.

Quote:
The subtext of her nasty jibes about how you spend your time is actually: I'm angry that you aren't financially contributing as much as I expect.
Totally. That's why I'm *very* careful not to push back on her too hard when those nasty jibes surface (to her credit, she's also made a concerted effort to keep her mouth shut for several months now, and that's very helpful).

EDIT: Though I should point out that, even though she has been working on keeping her mouth shut, I realize that the underlying problem is still very present for her, so it's not like I'm anywhere near out of the woods.

Quote:
What strikes me as odd - is the way you have seemingly danced around that topic.
Maybe. I don't know that I am necessarily dancing around the topic (at least, not intentionally), but I may not have focused on it because A) I get wrapped up in my own shame and hurt before I get to addressing it with focus, and B) I see it as part of a larger problem - that of me being a strong, stoic, independent leader in my/our life and marriage, regardless of whether or not I'm actually a full-on breadwinner. Which is why my first goal is to stop wallowing, and my second goal is to start really kicking ass at what I'm already doing. That alone might make a significant enough difference in breaking up the deadlock to make space for even greater things to happen.


Quote:
Because I don't see a way to repair the marriage without addressing her resentments about your financial contribution.
That's part of it, for sure. But the problem I have with getting stuck in that thinking is that, realistically, I may not ever be able to get back to where I was (or, more importantly, to where she is now, given that she now has a seven-year head start advantage over me). If repairing myself and my marriage is contingent on me becoming the primary breadwinner (or even an equal breadwinner) again, I am not at all certain of what the outcome will be for any of us.

While accomplishing that can certainly be a goal - an important goal - our marriage has to make it until that happens. Which is why I'm trying to take a more holistic view that addresses what I can do right now to start getting myself out of the hole I found myself in. Focusing on the idea that the only way to fulfillment and respect and connection with others is for me to become a high-powered career guy again just buries me in overwhelm and shame, even if that is in fact the hard truth. I've had a hard time facing up to that, even as I know that if I ever want to have a sex/love/relationship life of any kind again, that's going to have to be there. I know all too well how much contempt women (and not just my wife) have for losers, but I'm struggling to figure out how I can start winning again without becoming an even greater loser. I want to say that it can't get worse, but I know for sure that it can...

EDITED for clarification and to correct some ridiculously dumb typos... :smh:

Last edited by Dazedconfuzed; 03-23-2017 at 04:25 PM.
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post #58 of 271 (permalink) Old 03-23-2017, 03:25 PM
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Re: Question on becoming emotionally self-reliant and self-sufficient

What was your previous career field?

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post #59 of 271 (permalink) Old 03-23-2017, 03:37 PM
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Re: Question on becoming emotionally self-reliant and self-sufficient

Dazed,
You sir have just proven beyond any doubt - that you are neither dazed nor confused. The post below is clear, concise and brutally honest.

And I apologize for making a competitive comparison - that was wrong of me. The goal here is to collaborate - not compete.

In that vein I will share my personal experiences. M2 (label scheme for partners here - is to take first letter of screen name and append '2'. Your wife is D2) would tell you I was a very good provider, but a somewhat disengaged parent. Which is painful but true. That said - when I engaged and taught the kids stuff - she loved that.

There are some truly delightful dinner time games - that teach and entertain.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Dazedconfuzed View Post
So I'll start by saying that I apologize if you thought I was avoiding your post - I appreciated it and was looking forward to responding, which I can now do.




Funny you should say that - my wife said she feels like she spent our long relationship together pre-kid spoiling me, and she now regrets that. That was painful to hear, as I didn't necessarily see her as spoiling me and didn't feel like that was necessarily demanding, but there it is.



I get that. In fact, that has been a huge frustration for both of us. "Why do we seem to be so bad at this?" is an oft-asked question. We certainly seem to be struggling more than many parents.

OTOH, a lot of others in our community had kids around the same time, and I would say that as many of them have divorced as have stayed together (if not more, actually - it's depressing as hell), and of the one's that are left, a lot of them are experiencing similar difficulties/have similar complaints. Not a whole lot of happy couples with young kids around us.



Lost my job at the height of the recession, which meant that similar jobs were not to be found. I applied for probably close to 200 positions over two years, and came up empty handed.

At the same time, we moved into a bigger house so we could start a family (which just added to the financial insecurity).

As I was in the process of starting my own business (another thing that added to my wife's sense of financial insecurity), my dad dropped dead, and I had to drop everything and spend the next six months or so wrapping up his business and trying to keep my mom (who lives 14 hours away) from destroying herself. No one was happy in that situation - my mom and brother felt like I wasn't doing enough, while my wife was trying to get me to focus on starting our family.

By the time I had that situation stabilized, we were pregnant, I still wasn't working, and starting a business looked both too time consuming and too financially risky. We took it as an opportunity for me to be the SAHP, something I had a deep ambivalence about doing (for good reason, turns out), with the idea that I would soon go back to work. The baby was higher maintenance than we expected (and higher maintenance than other babies, based on the experience of parents around us), and work was still scarce, so I ended up being the SAHP for longer than either of us anticipated (we both also had a very hard time thinking about sending him to daycare - it just didn't sit well with either of us). After a year and half, I found a good opportunity to work part-time in order to relieve some of the pressure on my wife. Didn't really seem to help her stress or attitude much, though.

A few years later now, I'm still working part-time, but part of that has been because my having a flexible schedule and a less-demanding job (that pays quite well for something part-time with some flexibility and lower demands) has been helpful. I try to take care of everything I can on the domestic front (except for things like finding schools and summer camps and activities for my son, which my wife takes the lead on, fortunately) and am available to handle emergencies (like taking care of our son when he gets sick, which seems to happen like once a month or so) when she is at work.



This is unequivocal, yes. I fully aware. I killed me (still does) to see her suffer so much while I had almost nothing to offer to ease her suffering. I've never felt such shame in my life.

As far as being willing, I would love to become the career man I was before. I'm old, I've been out of the workforce for seven + years, and I have little to offer in the way of immediate skills. Getting back on top and becoming a serious breadwinner (matching or exceeding my wife such that she could relax and do what makes her feel more fulfilled in life) would seem to take a lot of resources (time and money) at a time when the resource need is immediate and severely limited. I am trying to figure out how I can go to school, work part-time, and still support my wife and son by making sure the homefront needs are met.

Last night, however, I started to feel something shift. I get that things might suck right now, that I might feel hopeless and alone and insufficient to the task, but my wallowing in my loneliness and misery and depression probably drains enough time and energy from my life that, were it to stop, I would regain enough time and energy to at least get a good handle on and kick some ass around my current responsibilities (which would make me feel a whole lot better about myself), and might even give me enough to take on the project of developing my professional skills such that I can provide for my family again. Whatever the outcome, I realize that a lot of time and energy is getting wasted on me not accepting my circumstances.



Totally clear on that. That's part of why I stopped complaining about our sexless marriage a long time ago. Why should she do for me when I'm not doing for her?

I have been feeling like having a close, intimate relationship with my wife would give me much needed inspiration and energy to tackle our challenges. And I'm sure that she feels like my becoming the provider for the family would allow her to respect me again such that closeness and intimacy is possible. And we've been deadlocked for a long time now in those positions. Time for some unilateral action on my part.



Totally. That's why I'm *very* careful not to push back on her too hard when those nasty jibes surface (to her credit, she's also made a concerted effort to keep her mouth shut for several months now, and that's very helpful).



Maybe. I don't know that I am necessarily dancing around the topic (at least, not intentionally), but I may not have focused on it because A) I get wrapped up in my own shame and hurt before addressing it with focus, and B) I see it as part of a larger problem - that of me being a strong, stoic, independent leader in my/our life and marriage, regardless of whether or not I'm actually a full-on breadwinner. Which is why my first goal is to stop wallowing, and my second goal is to start really kicking ass at what I'm already doing. That alone might make a significant enough difference in breaking up the deadlock to make space for even greater things to happen.




That's part of it, for sure. But the problem I have with getting stuck in that thinking is that, realistically, I may not ever be able to get back to where I was (or, more importantly, to where she is now, given that she now has a seven-year head advantage over me). If repairing myself and my marriage is contingent on me becoming the primary breadwinner (or even an equal breadwinner) again. While accomplishing that can certainly be a goal - an important goal - our marriage has to make it until that happens. Which is why I'm trying to take a more holistic view that addresses what I can do right now to start getting myself out of the hole I found myself in. Focusing on the idea that the only way to fulfillment and respect and connection with others is for me to become a high-powered career guy again just buries me in overwhelm and shame, even if that is in fact the hard truth. I've had a hard time facing up to that, even as I know that if I ever want to have a sex/love/relationship life of any kind again, that's going to have to be there. I know all to well how much contempt women (and not just my wife) have for losers, but I'm struggling to figure out how I can start winning again without becoming an even greater loser. I want to say that it can't get worse, but I know for sure that it can...
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post #60 of 271 (permalink) Old 03-24-2017, 12:32 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Question on becoming emotionally self-reliant and self-sufficient

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Originally Posted by Livvie View Post
What time does she get up in the morning?
Usually around six-thirty or seven. My son and I usually get up an hour or so later.

Quote:
How many hours of sleep does she get a night?
She hasn't slept all that well since having a kid. She's become way more sensitive to noises and what not.

She says that, while she is often in bed for around ten hours, she often wakes up/gets woken up a couple times a night. Sometimes when I come to bed, or, if my son isn't sleeping in our bed already, when my son climbs into our bed in the middle of the night (which he almost always does), so she isn't sleeping soundly the whole time.
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