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post #136 of 194 (permalink) Old 08-25-2012, 07:59 PM
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

So just wondering when trying to cool down what about things like kissing your partner goodnight, good bye, hello when you get home from work etc. Should you still do these things or stop them as well?
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post #137 of 194 (permalink) Old 08-25-2012, 10:15 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

Advice without context is usually of poor quality.

This is a high level overview of the spectrum.

In general if your partner is often angry, irritable or cold to you, that could be a case of them feeling smothered.

If they react with irritation/anger or coldness to your overtures, stop making those overtures.


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So just wondering when trying to cool down what about things like kissing your partner goodnight, good bye, hello when you get home from work etc. Should you still do these things or stop them as well?
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post #138 of 194 (permalink) Old 08-26-2012, 05:58 AM
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

Sorry, but this will only work if your wife is still interested and hasn't checked out. I see this 'game' as a way of establishing if your wife still cares about you to a certain extent, by becoming warmer towards you. If she doesn't, then you are screwed.

I did get cooler and my wife was actually happy. She didn't feel overcrowded and didn't mind much. I think the only thing she minded was the feeling of being rejected, in a way, but she is too selfish to do anything about it, so she just gets along with it. I'm sure she doesn't like the fact I checked out, but that is, again, a selfish thing, because she can't help but feeling guilty about it.

What MEM doesn't mention is that your marriage must still be on track. If you feel the need of getting cooler, your marriage is already screwed, believe me. So, all in all a good way to check if your wife is still into it or not. But don't complain when you have the epiphany...
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post #139 of 194 (permalink) Old 08-26-2012, 12:01 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

In Absentia,
Great point.

The "premise" is that you are actually a good partner and that at least at some point in the past your partner loved you. If those two things are not BOTH true, than this approach is not going to improve your marriage. It may allow you to gradually learn to be independent but it won't improve your marriage.


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Sorry, but this will only work if your wife is still interested and hasn't checked out. I see this 'game' as a way of establishing if your wife still cares about you to a certain extent, by becoming warmer towards you. If she doesn't, then you are screwed.

I did get cooler and my wife was actually happy. She didn't feel overcrowded and didn't mind much. I think the only thing she minded was the feeling of being rejected, in a way, but she is too selfish to do anything about it, so she just gets along with it. I'm sure she doesn't like the fact I checked out, but that is, again, a selfish thing, because she can't help but feeling guilty about it.

What MEM doesn't mention is that your marriage must still be on track. If you feel the need of getting cooler, your marriage is already screwed, believe me. So, all in all a good way to check if your wife is still into it or not. But don't complain when you have the epiphany...
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post #140 of 194 (permalink) Old 08-26-2012, 04:17 PM
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

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In Absentia,
Great point.

The "premise" is that you are actually a good partner and that at least at some point in the past your partner loved you. If those two things are not BOTH true, than this approach is not going to improve your marriage. It may allow you to gradually learn to be independent but it won't improve your marriage.
Did you say this in all your posts? You might have done, but these days I have the attention span of a gold fish. If you have, I apologise, if you haven't, I think it was worth pointing it out. Good job, anyway.
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post #141 of 194 (permalink) Old 08-26-2012, 05:34 PM
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

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The main driver isn't what happens during the infrequent visits to family. The main driver is what happens during the day to day when you are together. And generally if she is never initiating:
- touch
- time together
- compliments

You will eventually end up in a bad place.
She does all of those things really, just not as frequently as I do or as frequently as she used to, except for time together which she still insists on.

Guess it's just more of a case of me being warmer than her so to speak, rather than her being cold, which is fine.

Thanks for the feedback MEM.
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post #142 of 194 (permalink) Old 08-28-2012, 10:16 PM
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

MEM,
What's your take on this: when the typically warmer spouse (A) cools down in response to the typically cooler spouse's (B) poor behavior, and the cool spouse clearly doesn't like it--but shows that dislike by calling spouse A "passive aggressive!" ?

My husband has taken to calling me passive aggressive when he doesn't like that I am quiet and/or withdraw in the aftermath of an argument. I find this very unfair and inaccurate. I have a right to go into my head while things cool down for awhile, in fact it's probably somewhat healthy and definitely healthier than continuing a fight.

Life is 10 percent what you make it, and 90 percent how you take it.

Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.
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post #143 of 194 (permalink) Old 08-28-2012, 11:01 PM
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

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MEM,
What's your take on this: when the typically warmer spouse (A) cools down in response to the typically cooler spouse's (B) poor behavior, and the cool spouse clearly doesn't like it--but shows that dislike by calling spouse A "passive aggressive!" ?

My husband has taken to calling me passive aggressive when he doesn't like that I am quiet and/or withdraw in the aftermath of an argument. I find this very unfair and inaccurate. I have a right to go into my head while things cool down for awhile, in fact it's probably somewhat healthy and definitely healthier than continuing a fight.
Surely that’s just bad conflict resolution skills between the two of you? When you withdraw it is known as stonewalling, which is one of the 'The Four Horseman' of marriage apocalypse Negative Patterns That Predict Divorce


Reckon you both need much better conflict resolution skills. Take a look at Alpha USA : Find Out More About the Course most especially …

3. Resolving Conflict – In this session we look at how couples can increase their intimacy by expressing appreciation to each other, recognising their differences, learning to negotiate disagreements and praying for each other (if they feel comfortable doing so).


It sounds like neither of you have good models in your head re how to create a Happy and Healthy Marriage. If you attend the course you will for sure have a good model to work to in the future and you’ll both be on the same page. It sounds like you are both in love with each other, do the course before its too late and things are beyond repair.
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post #144 of 194 (permalink) Old 08-29-2012, 06:42 AM
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

Actually, what i'm doing is entirely in line with this whole thermostat adjustment approach. i know what stonewalling is, and it's not what i'm doing when i cool my temp down. i do not offer up silent treatment. what i do is read a book, do some work, keep conversation minimal until enough time has passed that i feel i can open up--never longer than an hour. not stonewall.

Life is 10 percent what you make it, and 90 percent how you take it.

Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.
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post #145 of 194 (permalink) Old 08-29-2012, 09:00 AM
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

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Actually, what i'm doing is entirely in line with this whole thermostat adjustment approach. i know what stonewalling is, and it's not what i'm doing when i cool my temp down. i do not offer up silent treatment. what i do is read a book, do some work, keep conversation minimal until enough time has passed that i feel i can open up--never longer than an hour. not stonewall.
What you are doing at these times is commonly known as “taking time out”. It’s a way for you to become calm before continuing with the “argument”. That is not what MEMs thermostat is about, unless I’m massively mistaken.


Your husband has interpreted your “time out” as passive aggression. I think I would too if my wife were to read a book while I have a need to resolve an issue. Also reading a book can clearly be interpreted as stonewalling as to whether you call it that or not.

Communication is a massive thing in a marriage and it’s probably very much more complex than in any other part of a person’s life. The complexity is massively affected by the stake each has in the marriage, the love they feel for one another and all the conflicting emotions they go through while they are in conflict.

Personally, all the communication skills I learnt as an engineer, consultant, sales and business person never once helped me in my marriage. Not once. I’ve been on communication courses, read many books on the topic and again none of these ever helped me in my marriage.


You’ve both proven yourselves over what the past 18 months totally unable to resolve the differences between you in a healthy way. You need the help of a communication expert/counsellor/therapist/coach. It wont do any good just one of you learning these things, you both need to learn together.
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post #146 of 194 (permalink) Old 08-29-2012, 11:20 AM
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

He doesn't have the need to resolve it.
We're in therapy.
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post #147 of 194 (permalink) Old 08-29-2012, 03:11 PM Thread Starter
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I think it is fair to tell him in conversation or if easier for him to digest in an email. You can emphasize that a normal cooling off period consists of multiple phases:
- actively angry (not able to constructively problem solve in this phase many people elect silence as it eliminates the potential for saying things you regret later)
- calm but not yet ready to initiate peace. I have many people are willing to accept an olive Branch in this phase, and but not willing to extend one
- ready to move forward with or without an apology or direct resolution of the conflict

That last bit is tricky. It took me/us a long time to realize that it is more important to agree how a particular situation will be resolved in the future than to get an apology.

I really hate it when you do....

Sure sounds different than

The next time this situation arises it would mean a lot to me if you could....
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post #148 of 194 (permalink) Old 08-29-2012, 03:44 PM
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

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Credam
I think it is fair to tell him in conversation or if easier for him to digest in an email. You can emphasize that a normal cooling off period consists of multiple phases:
- actively angry (not able to constructively problem solve in this phase many people elect silence as it eliminates the potential for saying things you regret later)
- calm but not yet ready to initiate peace. I have many people are willing to accept an olive Branch in this phase, and but not willing to extend one
- ready to move forward with or without an apology or direct resolution of the conflict

That last bit is tricky. It took me/us a long time to realize that it is more important to agree how a particular situation will be resolved in the future than to get an apology.

I really hate it when you do....

Sure sounds different than

The next time this situation arises it would mean a lot to me if you could....
I totally agree that it's more important to look forward and learn from whatever derailed us. I have tried "the next time this arises..." with mixed results.

And he has concurred that yes, sometimes silence is better for a period of time until we can talk without fueling a fire. He's just not *consistent* in his understanding and acceptance of this. Sometimes he's accepting of it, other times it ticks him off.

Bottom line: he goes quiet too sometimes when he's in any of the phases you describe. He just doesn't like it when I do. And why should he? When one of us does that, it means we're not happy. To be honest, I don't like it when he does it either.

If it were up to me, there'd be no quiet. We'd talk to resolution, with negotiations and compromises. If it were up to him, tenuous topics would never get discussed. I've taken to getting quiet, *in response* to his previous complaints that I "pushed" for more conversation than he wanted. Temporary quiet to gather our thoughts and/or cool our jets is sometimes the only way to meet in the middle.

Life is 10 percent what you make it, and 90 percent how you take it.

Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.
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post #149 of 194 (permalink) Old 08-30-2012, 08:53 AM Thread Starter
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Lol
Lmao
Rotfl

Sorry I just - I just don't understand how this stuff works for anyone else. I have one pattern that I know. When she and I stop talking, we are almost always certainly done until she is ready to talk. But maybe that is because I am difficult. I have no idea. I only know that I am ok with a half day or two days of cool down.

Doesn't happen often. I totally respect her desire to not discuss something until she is ready, largely because when we do she will be sane and I constructive.
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post #150 of 194 (permalink) Old 08-30-2012, 10:03 AM
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

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Lol
Lmao
Rotfl

Sorry I just - I just don't understand how this stuff works for anyone else. I have one pattern that I know. When she and I stop talking, we are almost always certainly done until she is ready to talk. But maybe that is because I am difficult. I have no idea. I only know that I am ok with a half day or two days of cool down.

Doesn't happen often. I totally respect her desire to not discuss something until she is ready, largely because when we do she will be sane and I constructive.
I'm missing the humor, maybe there's a disconnect, but anyway:

Yes, one thing I've learned is the difference between a "good" time to talk about something, and the definitely WRONG time.

Lest anyone misunderstand: it's not that he'd rather discuss something, but PA old me is refusing to talk. It's that he doesn't want to discuss it, but wants me to be immediately "over it" and cheerful.

I don't ignore elephants in the room. He does. That's tricky, but believe it or not, we're getting better.

Life is 10 percent what you make it, and 90 percent how you take it.

Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.
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