Calling all MEN! I need your help!
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Old 11-11-2010, 11:48 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Calling all MEN! I need your help!

BIGBADWOLF....I especially need your imput!

Scenerio.....

I get up this morning and I'm emptying the dish washer.....

Wife walks in....

Wife: "Uh oh, you dropped water on the floor. That's why I do the dishes, you aren't carefull enough!"

Me: "Don't worry, I will wipe it up"

Wife: "It's too late, I will do it when I get home. Besides, you wouldn't have noticed it if I wouldn't have told you about it."

Learning to change myself so that she can change is truly what I desire. I just don't know how. Is it appropriate to put the foot down here (not in a jerk way) and say, "listen, I'm helping and I will clean it up!"?

What does a MAN do different here that says "I Love YOU" but your treating me like a child? Any input would really help!
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Old 11-11-2010, 12:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calling all MEN! I need your help!

You quietly stop doing what you're doing and turn on the emotional air conditioner.

You do that with body language. Stiffen and walk away.

Don't do the dishes again until things warm back up.

Do not - under any circumstances - plead or beg for her to understand what a "nice guy" you are.

Last edited by Conrad; 11-11-2010 at 12:14 PM.
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Old 11-11-2010, 12:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calling all MEN! I need your help!

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Originally Posted by SadSamIAm View Post
I don't believe this works. My wife says things like this to me all the time. I think she does it to cause me to get cold to her. She wants me to be cold to her, so that she doesn't have to get close to me.
Sounds like you're afraid she will not "miss you" if you withdraw from the relationship.

I feel for you.

Have you two been to counseling?
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Old 11-11-2010, 12:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calling all MEN! I need your help!

This is my personal opinion. Nobody that wants to save their marriage wants to behave in a manner that they believe will jeopardize it.

The reality is ... it has already been jeopardized.

If you aren't prepared to risk it, it's even less likely that you will take the steps necessary to save it.

And if you try and it fails ... that is probably what was going to happen regardless of your efforts. If you take the steps to change how you behave, and regain a measure of control over yourself, you will be better prepared to deal with whatever the outcome is.
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Old 11-11-2010, 12:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calling all MEN! I need your help!

I want to save my marriage. I do not want a divorce. I'm willing to take the steps necessary. But I don't know how and I want to learn! I have never tried the approach that Conrad is suggesting. My guess is, she would think very hard about the way she treated me. I will be trying it the next chance I get! I know it is baby steps but I see this kind of behavior from her every day. I try harder to be nicer, so that she will recipicate that, which she does not. I make the bed everyday, I make the coffee every day. I try very hard to pick up, help out, all why working all day long. I know that for me to stand up to her would be very different, but I think it has to be a positive step towards a healthy relationship.
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Old 11-11-2010, 12:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calling all MEN! I need your help!

As soon as you receive criticism while doing each of those tasks, stiffen, walk away, and never do them again until the matter gets resolved.

When she starts nagging as to why you "aren't helping", remain FULLY in control of your emotions and flatly say, "I have much to think about."
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:01 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calling all MEN! I need your help!

How about this, said with a smile:

"Darling, if you think there is another man out there would will do the dishes to your standards and put up your *****ing, then I invite you to go find him. Until then, I expect you to treat me with some respect."

Then go back to putting the dishes away.

This sounds like resentment and coming from some unmet needs she has. The usual advice is the marriage builder questionnaires, but truthfully I don't know if that stuff really works with an angry, unwilling spouse.

Calle Zorro has some interesting material, that may help you.

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Old 11-11-2010, 01:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calling all MEN! I need your help!

Do you normally empty the dishwasher, or were you trying to do something nice?

Maybe I'm missing something, but some things HAVE to be done. I think you continue doing what you HAVE to do - which at that point means to clean the water up off of the floor - and THEN turn on the emotional air conditioner.

And what happens when emptying the dishwasher turns into a pissing match?

After our second daughter was born, my wife was dealing with some post partum issues that lingered for quite some time. I went to a therapist at one point and was discussing how we would getting into pissing matches over caring for the kids. I felt that because she was home, it was her job. She was depressed and felt she just couldn't do it. The therapist basically told me that since I was an equal partner in deciding to have kids, that I should do whatever needs to be done. Kids aren't the Dishwasher of course. The dishwasher won't get psychologically scarred later in life because Mommy and Daddy used to fight over who had to empty him. But still, you do what you HAVE to do.

Keeps bugging me though - you gotta clean the water mess up because its just the right thing to do. Just don't over-react in that moment.
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:16 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calling all MEN! I need your help!

There shouldn't be any pissing matches. There can only be a pissing match if you choose to participate - and it's a bad choice. Detach and defer.

On a side note ... all therapists are not created equal. I took your therapists advice too ... I did everything that needed to be done. And the ex simply sat back and watched ...

If you believe that you have ownership of something, than so be it. Own it. But based on the exchange rd outlined, that entire exchange was her being a parent and him being a child. It was a flat out nut-punch. It's unnecessary. It's unwarranted. It's wrong.

I would have agreed that she should do the dishes and leave the dishwasher and water for her to deal with - as she keenly pointed out.
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calling all MEN! I need your help!

Ah the Dishwasher...
I put the bowls in upside down once (which I will still argue is technically right side up) and got fired from using the dishwasher, you know what.... I can live without doing dishes
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:26 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calling all MEN! I need your help!

I don't always clear out the dishwasher. I do if I have time, and in my mind it is exactly like you suggested. To help out. I do think that Deejo is correct in identyifying it as a parent/child thing. Her mother is just like that to her dad and her dad has never stood up to her. So, my wife married a man like her dad, me. Again, I'm at a point where I'm willing to take the steps to change this.
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:29 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calling all MEN! I need your help!

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Ah the Dishwasher...
I put the bowls in upside down once (which I will still argue is technically right side up) and got fired from using the dishwasher, you know what.... I can live without doing dishes
If you're going THAT route - I once put the liquid soap that you use when handwashing dishes in the in dishwasher; was right after we got married and were moving in - didn't have the DW soap yet. I knew it wasn't right, but for some reason, I just wanted to see what happened.

Think we had to run it about 10 times before all of the bubbles were finally gone! And sadly, I was not fired from DW duty!
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:37 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calling all MEN! I need your help!

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I don't always clear out the dishwasher. I do if I have time, and in my mind it is exactly like you suggested. To help out. I do think that Deejo is correct in identyifying it as a parent/child thing. Her mother is just like that to her dad and her dad has never stood up to her. So, my wife married a man like her dad, me. Again, I'm at a point where I'm willing to take the steps to change this.
I agree that you walk away from the DW - but after you clean up the mess. Don't finish emptying it.

It just sounds so passive aggressive to take a stand that you'll no longer empty the DW. Pissing matches aren't always shouting matches.

Seems like there should be a next step that goes beyond just creating distance and refusing to do things when criticised or treated poorly. Because some of those things - regardless of her tone or attitude - have to get done.
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:37 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calling all MEN! I need your help!

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Her mother is just like that to her dad and her dad has never stood up to her. So, my wife married a man like her dad, me. Again, I'm at a point where I'm willing to take the steps to change this.
Good for you ! Expect her to get bit**ier at first, she will outrightly be shocked even !! But whatever you do, stand firm against her, do not be moved, listen to these guys, your wife needs some hard hard lessons. Be determined to let the chips fall where they may. She has been pathetically spitting on your boundaries for years. (and as Deejo pointed out, you have so easily let her do this !!).
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:47 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calling all MEN! I need your help!

It sounds to me like the problem here is your wife's desire to control small things (not necessarily you) in order to continue to feel in control of her life.

Once you understand that and don't feel personally disrespected or admonished, you can look to see what other things she does that make her feel as if she is in control and help her to feel that control so that she can relax and be more content and able to love you for being a part of that contentment.

I do this so I might just be projecting but it's worth a shot because you'll have a chance to look at a possibility of how your wife works. Is your wife a perfectionist? Does she like to have things done a certain way? Both signs that this is how she gets order and contentment out of her life.

For example, my husband will do laundry on weekends because I always complain about laundry. During the week he can't help out because he works major hours and I'm home so it makes sense that it's a job I took up but I still HATE it. At the same time, when he began doing it I was driven crazy because I have a system that works for me and it helps me to feel like there is some order in my chaotic life.

I started to make naggy little comments about how he did the laundry. Then I realized what the problem was and asked him if he could do me a favor and if doing jobs I normally do let me show him how I do them so that his work truly was helpful.

Can you confront your wife and tell her you are just trying to be helpful but recognize she has her way of doing things and also recognize that you are more than happy to learn what those are so that your help is actually helpful and not a source of resentment?

This is exactly what my husband does after we talked about it and it was such a freaking relief. Now I have much needed help on the weekends and I am confident in him doing it and enjoy the help rather than resent it.
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