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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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Thoughts on time limits

Does anyone have any thoughts on setting time limits when working towards relationship goals? And if setting a time limit, would all of the relationship issues have to be fixed by then, or just get a start on fixing some, and keep progressing? Or, do you not believe in setting time limits, and just keep working on things for however long it takes?

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 01:20 PM
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Re: Thoughts on time limits

I'm generally in favor of setting time limits, because without them I could let an unacceptable situation continue far too long. Mostly, though, they're for my own reference. If I feel significant progress has been made, I'll consider extending a limit. If there isn't even an attempt to fix the issue, then I may move up the deadline for consequences, even to immediate. It's when there hasn't been much progress that a limit helps you be accountable to yourself to take whatever predetermined action you thought of when setting the limit in the first place.

Love is an ideal thing; marriage is a real thing; a confusion of the real with the ideal never goes unpunished. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 01:56 PM
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Re: Thoughts on time limits

I'm with Married but Happy on this one. I set time limits in my own head on how long do I go without seeing any type of progress or signs of progress. My wife's stance is that you can't set a specific time and we have to just wait and see how thing go, so I don't tell her about my time limits. And when I set the time limit, it's not a definitive "If things aren't improving I'm filing for divorce" kind of thing. If I see some progress but not as much as I'd expect or if I see things as being civil, no real arguments or things dropping off, I'll just readdress a couple of the issues again and see where her stance is and how she reacts to me bringing it up again.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 02:19 PM
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Re: Thoughts on time limits

I agree with MBH. I see nothing wrong with setting time limits but they need to be flexible if you see reasonable effort or progress being made.

For the most part though I would argue that they should be kept to yourself.....way too much opportunity to manipulate and jerk around if one knows they have X amount of time.


If a partner was inclined to address marital issues in a timely manner they likely wouldn't need a time limit.

If my hb gave me 6 months to improve our sex life and I waited until the last 3 days because I knew I had 6 months, that's one way to manipulate and jerk around.

OTOH, if I had a real physical condition that I started addressing right away bur it took longer than 6 months, I would expect flexibility.

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 02:33 PM
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Re: Thoughts on time limits

I set a six month time limit at two months in to telling my wife we get better or end it, so effectively eight months.

I wholeheartedly agree with a time limit. If you set one, and are disciplined enough to adhere to it, it will prevent you from prolonging the agony.

"Our ability to feel joy is directly related to how much pain we are willing to feel." - Mavash.

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 03:34 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Thoughts on time limits

Okay thanks guys! Two weekends ago, H and I talked about going through our recommended book, and I asked him about setting a time limit on improving things. He said that he would like an indefinite amount of time, and didn't respond when I said that my therapist suggested a 2-3 month time limit. This past weekend, when we sat down to talk about chapter 1, he said that he was taken aback by the 2-3 month thing. I do agree with him to a point (in that if things do start to improve, to keep on working towards further improvement after that time limit). BUT, we've been talking about improving things for over 3 years now. He feels like things have improved loads, and I don't feel like they have much at all (mostly because I stonewall). He said that he hates it when I stonewall, and bottle things up, so I asked him why he hasn't brought up any issues over the last couple years. His reply was that nothing bothered him in our relationship enough to bring it up. I should also say that I told him how checked out I am in regards to "us", and that I wasn't sure I could check back in. He would like to keep trying. A part of me is grateful that he doesn't want to give up.

It amazes me how different our perspectives can be though! And it also made me feel a little like any issues that are here are because of my bringing them up in the past; otherwise things would be hunky-dory. The (lack of) sex doesn't even seem to bug him!

So, back to the original question, I guess that if things begin to improve in the next couple months, we'll continue working at them and see where they go.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 04:57 PM
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Re: Thoughts on time limits

I got engaged to my wife 3 weeks after we met. We were married 9 months later. We do not know, why but we knew that we were perfect for each other with no unacceptable issues. Married for over 44 years in a great and loving marriage. We both want to please the other and that is what makes it great.

I was with my ex fiancee for 5 years before she cheated on me. I would not stay in a relationship that had unacceptable issues. I do not expect an adult to change who they are. I either accept them as is or tell them goodbye. A good part of the 50% of divorces is because people thought that they could change their spouse or work out their problems after they got married. I would not waste time trying to fix something, but rather look for someone who does not need fixing, even if they are imperfect. Sort of like buying a new car. You can accept that it is not a Mercedes, does not have real wooden interior trim or even not your dream car, but you cannot accept that it is missing a steering wheel or has a rough ride, hoping that those things can be fixed when other options are open to you with other cars.

Many prefer to drown in a pool of their own morality rather than seek the safety of a different morality.

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 08:39 PM
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Re: Thoughts on time limits

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Originally Posted by Ursula View Post
Okay thanks guys! Two weekends ago, H and I talked about going through our recommended book, and I asked him about setting a time limit on improving things. He said that he would like an indefinite amount of time, and didn't respond when I said that my therapist suggested a 2-3 month time limit. This past weekend, when we sat down to talk about chapter 1, he said that he was taken aback by the 2-3 month thing. I do agree with him to a point (in that if things do start to improve, to keep on working towards further improvement after that time limit). BUT, we've been talking about improving things for over 3 years now. He feels like things have improved loads, and I don't feel like they have much at all (mostly because I stonewall). He said that he hates it when I stonewall, and bottle things up, so I asked him why he hasn't brought up any issues over the last couple years. His reply was that nothing bothered him in our relationship enough to bring it up. I should also say that I told him how checked out I am in regards to "us", and that I wasn't sure I could check back in. He would like to keep trying. A part of me is grateful that he doesn't want to give up.

It amazes me how different our perspectives can be though! And it also made me feel a little like any issues that are here are because of my bringing them up in the past; otherwise things would be hunky-dory. The (lack of) sex doesn't even seem to bug him!

So, back to the original question, I guess that if things begin to improve in the next couple months, we'll continue working at them and see where they go.
How can you expect anything to improve when you stonewall?

With stonewalling there is no conversation. He doesn't bring anything up because when he does you just ignore it.

You need to work on yourself here, it doesn't sound like he's the problem.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-21-2017, 09:04 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Thoughts on time limits

I've actually never ignored him or anything that he's brought up. The reason I started stonewalling is because when I've brought things up in the past, he would focus on my wrong tone and wrong words, and that's what we would end up talking about instead of the issue at hand. Why would anyone continue to talk when they're just going to get picked apart? And, I don't expect things to improve when I stonewall; that's just silly. We're status quo at the moment, and trying to work on things. I also continue to work on myself because I'm half the problem, but certainly not the entire problem. It takes two!

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Originally Posted by WonkyNinja View Post
How can you expect anything to improve when you stonewall?

With stonewalling there is no conversation. He doesn't bring anything up because when he does you just ignore it.

You need to work on yourself here, it doesn't sound like he's the problem.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-21-2017, 10:16 AM
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Re: Thoughts on time limits

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Originally Posted by Ursula View Post
I've actually never ignored him or anything that he's brought up. The reason I started stonewalling is because when I've brought things up in the past, he would focus on my wrong tone and wrong words, and that's what we would end up talking about instead of the issue at hand. Why would anyone continue to talk when they're just going to get picked apart? And, I don't expect things to improve when I stonewall; that's just silly. We're status quo at the moment, and trying to work on things. I also continue to work on myself because I'm half the problem, but certainly not the entire problem. It takes two!
One of the more common yet hurtful Love Buster's is angry outbursts. Clearly it is one of your husband's. I know it is one of mine.

When my wife raises her voice at me, I stop hearing her, because inside of my head I immediately begin wrestling with fight or flight. It is a trigger for me, and is a leftover from physical abuse as a child.

Think about it.


"Our ability to feel joy is directly related to how much pain we are willing to feel." - Mavash.

"The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for." - Bob Marley
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-21-2017, 10:53 AM
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Cool Re: Thoughts on time limits

I've always been an ardent advocate of time limitations on most all social aspects of life!

Nowadays, it primarily revolves itself around meeting new women and seeing if things click ~ and if perchance it doesn't, I just go about my business of pi$$ing on the fire and calling in the dogs, and going on to the next customer!

"To love another person is to see the face of God!" - Jean Valjean from Les Miserables

My Story! http://talkaboutmarriage.com/going-t...andonment.html
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-21-2017, 12:42 PM
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Re: Thoughts on time limits

Setting time limits is smart. ADVISING your SO of those limits is not. All that does is give them a time frame they need to do the things to keep you there, then will revert right back to how things always were.

Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.

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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-21-2017, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Thoughts on time limits

I'm sorry to hear about your childhood; I couldn't even begin to imagine going through that, or putting someone through that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by farsidejunky View Post
One of the more common yet hurtful Love Buster's is angry outbursts. Clearly it is one of your husband's. I know it is one of mine.

When my wife raises her voice at me, I stop hearing her, because inside of my head I immediately begin wrestling with fight or flight. It is a trigger for me, and is a leftover from physical abuse as a child.

Think about it.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-21-2017, 06:50 PM
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Re: Thoughts on time limits

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Does anyone have any thoughts on setting time limits when working towards relationship goals? And if setting a time limit, would all of the relationship issues have to be fixed by then, or just get a start on fixing some, and keep progressing? Or, do you not believe in setting time limits, and just keep working on things for however long it takes?
I will share a little personal history. I was in a sex starved marriage. It didn't start that way but after about 40 years it ended up that way. Starting in the spring/summer of one year my wife would start arguments with me where she would scream at me after sex. This is when I just wanted to cuddle and feel close to her, my most vulnerable time. Later I figured out that after sex she felt emotional closeness to me and needed to pick a fight to regain her emotional distance. At any rate it all came to a really awful moment in August where we were having rare once a month once a month and a half sex and she said some very cruel things to me. I told her that I deserved far better and I was never going to allow her to do that to me again. In her mind that was it, no more sex ever.

Around October, I became very depressed and started to read relationship books, Chapman's 5 Languages of Love, MW Davis, No More Mr. Nice Guy, MW Davis the Sex Starved Marriage, Sue Johnson's Hold Me Tight, David Schnarch's the Passionate Marriage, the Crucible. Ester Perls Mating in Captivity, etc., etc. Each night I would read and try to figure out what went wrong and why my wife hated me and hurt me.

Eventually I figured out how we had drifted apart. I followed both MW Davis and Glover's advice and "got a life." Lost weight, worked out in the gym, took up hobbies I had given up when first married with children. I then really figured things out and finally understood how to make my wife feel loved each and every day in her love languages (Chapman), with none of the "covert contracts" that Glover warns about. I did some 180's (MW Davis) and my wife no longer knew how to treat me. I remember one time when I took her out to dinner and she felt close to me, she verbally lashed out at me in the restaurant. I didn't respond in kind (a 180), I just asked her what triggered that response? She was stunned and didn't know what to do, her ability to get me angry at her was gone. He actions had become subconscious and she really didn't know why she did things to hurt me anymore.

Coming full circle we started marriage counseling with a Sex Therapist in mid-January. Within about 4 months our marriage was saved, because of changes that the ST had helped each of us make and compromises the ST helped negotiate in sexual activity and frequency.

Around early February, the ST asked my wife what my wife thought would be the logical outcome of her no longer having sex with me. After a lot of avoidance, my wife confessed that we would probably divorce. The ST asked me if I had ever thought of divorce. I told the ST and my wife that yes I had, that I had looked up the divorce laws in my state and that for the paperwork to clear the courts, all the legal notices to be published and any potential financial claims to be filed it takes about 6 months. I said that I had made a promise to myself that by January of the next year I would be in a loving sexual relationship with a woman, hopefully my wife, as I wanted to make our marriage work and was committed to changing myself. But if my wife couldn't provide me with the physical love I needed by next January I would be in a loving and sexual relationship with someone else. I would not look a sexual relationship until after our divorce would be finalized.

My wife and the ST were just stunned. The ST cleared her throat and said that was reasonable, well thought out, fair, and it gave my wife sufficient time to figure out what my wife wanted.

Earlier I had been told that it often takes about one month to undue every year of sever problems in a marriage. I think I was able to cut that down in half.

So for my 40 year marriage, I gave my wife over a year, but in reality due to how long it takes to finalized a divorce she only had 6 months or less.

I would agree with one of the earlier comments of not giving a spouse a firm deadline one on one. I think that the way It happened in front of a Sex Therapist was the best possible way of letting my wife know. it also helped the ST figure out how to focus on what needed to be done to our marriage and give us a pretty clear schedule of when we needed to accomplish reconciliation.

Good luck to you.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-21-2017, 07:04 PM
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Re: Thoughts on time limits

Quote:
Originally Posted by farsidejunky View Post
One of the more common yet hurtful Love Buster's is angry outbursts. Clearly it is one of your husband's. I know it is one of mine.

When my wife raises her voice at me, I stop hearing her, because inside of my head I immediately begin wrestling with fight or flight. It is a trigger for me, and is a leftover from physical abuse as a child.

Think about it.
The Gottmans' in the Art and Science of Love try to teach you how to do soft starts so as to avoid conflict. The have something that they call emotionally flooding. What they told us was that some outbursts trigger an adrenaline rush or fight or flight response in people that causes them to not be able to process information rationally or discuss things in a rational way. They tell people when that happens you should give yourself a time out to process what has just happened and take as long as you need to let your adrenaline levels drop.

Having my wife lash out at me with angry outbursts a lot, I can say learning not to respond in kind was one of the hardest lessons and most successful 180's (MW Davis) I learned in the process of rebuilding my marriage.

Last edited by Young at Heart; 03-21-2017 at 07:49 PM.
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