The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 11:43 AM Thread Starter
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The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

In an LTR the ideal emotional temperature is one that BOTH people are comfortable with. Couples often “fight” for decades over the “thermostat” setting. He likes it really warm and constantly shows and wants to be shown love. She is likes it cooler and dislikes constantly being barraged with “love” as it makes her feel emotionally crowded. She starts seeing him as “clingy and insecure” and she withdraws. He clings harder, she pulls back further feeling ever more crowded. Sex dies and he frantically tries to raise the temperature using an ever increasing stream of love. She loses respect and ends it or has an affair.
When you overheat someone with too much love, THEIR natural reaction is to try to “cool off” by giving you less love and less OR by provoking conflict to get you to go BACK UP. And they often reduce/stop having sex with you because when they already feel overheated/claustrophobic the LAST thing they want is the intense closeness of sex. Below is an example of badly mismatched thermostat settings.

The WARM/HOT partner wants to “raise” the temperature so they:
1. Are almost always saying ILY or IAILWY first
2. Typically initiate calls/texts/emails when apart/one or both are at work
3. Make “peace” after a fight even when your partner clearly wronged you
4. Walk around visibly angry/VERY angry after a fight (this comes across as “I am furious that you – the person I LOVE SO MUCH – is doing x,y,z to ME
5. Anxiously keep trying to make up when you were in the wrong because you cannot bear having them angry with you
6. Are mostly/always initiating physical contact (hugs, kisses, touches, groping)
7. When anxious you initiate “talks” about the R, typically to “fix” them/their behavior
8. Do MORE, sometimes WAY MORE than your fair share of housework
9. Put their needs ahead of yours whenever there is a priority conflict
10. Are constantly seeking their approval
11. Show anxiety or fear when they are angry/frustrated with you
12. Initiate sex when their body language radiates a “lack” of interest/desire, pout/sulk get angry when they tactfully decline sex
The COOL partner wants less warmth so they:
1. React irritably/with hostility to HOT behaviors such as:
a. Discussions about the R
b. Requests for sex. An irritated “NO” when asked for sex is an attempt to throw a bucket of ice water on a painfully overheated moment
2. Often behave more and more disrespectfully to their warmer partner and often steadily deprioritize both the partner and the R hoping to lower the temperature
3. Provoke their partner to create conflict and space

The Warm partner thinks they are repeatedly conveying “I LOVE YOU” with all this activity. The Cooler partner actually hears it as a question, repeated over and over ad nauseum: “Do YOU love ME”? Imagine if you replaced every loving act by literally asking “Do you love me”? How well do you think THAT would fly.

The core message this thermostat mismatch sends to the cooler partner is: I DON’T DESERVE YOU. And over time your behavior convinces them you are right.
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post #2 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 12:20 PM
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

MEM...

Switch the "he" and "she."

does this still apply?

IF you find yourself as the "warm/hot" partner in this mismatch, (in some but not all of the ways that are listed), what do you do to change the dynamic?

One more question:
What is "IAILWY" ?

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 #3 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 12:30 PM
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MEM so timely for me. This hits me dead on and it make me want to puke...

Can we make this a sticky?

Last edited by MisterNiceGuy; 01-31-2011 at 01:42 PM. Reason: fix wording
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post #4 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 12:36 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

Creda,
YES.

I am about to do a post on "changing the temperature".


Quote:
Originally Posted by credamdóchasgra View Post
MEM...

Switch the "he" and "she."

does this still apply?

IF you find yourself as the "warm/hot" partner in this mismatch, (in some but not all of the ways that are listed), what do you do to change the dynamic?

One more question:
What is "IAILWY" ?
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post #5 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 12:40 PM
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

Me too.

I'm the HOT partner and that's what I'm trying to pull away from. It's erie how accurate your list was. To do this I'm:

1. Not saying ILY first. In fact, I haven't said it in a week and neither has he.
2. I have not initiated any calls in almost two weeks.
3. After our last spat, I did not call to apologize or try to make up, he was clearly in the wrong and it wasn't up to me to do the making up.
4. After the last spat, I came home in a good mood and acted like nothing had happened even though I was upset.
5. Not doing it anymore
6. Trying to detach from that also. Not initiating the "goodnight" kiss, or the hug first, or any type of touching FIRST.
7. Not initiating any more "talks" about the R. If he has issues, he knows where I am, this one-sided marriage is not working for me anymore.
8. We already had this worked out. I do INSIDE, he does OUTSIDE (we have 2 acres). So no issues here, never has been.
9. This I have trouble with, but working on it. Like the other day when he invited me to lunch, told him I was busy, in the past I would have dropped what I was doing and joined him.
10. I'm still working on this too. I'm trying to figure out why it's so DAMN important to me that I get his approval - I didn't need it before I met him.
11. I get a knot in my stomach when he is upset with me - this will take time to figure out in counselling.
12. Boy with this one - you sound like you were sitting on my shoulder. I can't read his body language anymore and am afraid to even initiate and yes, I do get pissed when he rejects me - though I should be used to it by now. But rejection moves me back to #11 and #10. But - working on it.

And the COOL partner could describe my husband to a "T".


This is a timely thread, at least for me, and I would be happy to entertain additional suggestions, other than what I'm already doing to change this dynamic...permanently, to save my sanity and our relationship.

"Don't Find Fault - Find A Remedy" Henry Ford
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post #6 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 12:41 PM
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

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Originally Posted by MEM2020 View Post
Creda,
YES.

I am about to do a post on "changing the temperature".
Great - I'm waiting on it too...

Any good websites that discuss this further will help also.

Now, if you could wave your magic wand and fix his "porn issue", I would LOVE you forever, don't tell your wife...

"Don't Find Fault - Find A Remedy" Henry Ford
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post #7 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 12:45 PM
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

The HARDEST one for me is:

make peace after a spat.

Why is this so hard?

1. I like peace.
2. The spat was stupid, shouldn't have happened in the first place, so let's just clear it up and move on, shall we?
3. I'm afraid that if I don't step in to facilitate that peace, he won't, and he prefers the hostility/space/distance.
4. I want to show him how nice the alternative can be (clarifying, having peace, understanding)---if you want to throw the Codependent card at me, have at it.
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post #8 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 01:03 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

MW,
You really are doing all the right things. And it is also true he might ultimately prove to be a selfish/bad enough partner that you leave him. That said, at the point you leave you will have much less anguish/remorse because you will have known you did everything you could.

I will post a few more suggestions in the next day or so but mainly they will be along the lines of:
- After a fight - if you can detach and not let the "argument" become your emotional universe that is a big big help
- Fighting itself should become less emotional and more "rational" - are they willing to "commit" to doing/not doing specific things.
- Certain behaviors are just not acceptable to you and if they continue you will do x, y, z (you have to be willing to follow through)

A calm question that you insist on a clear answer to - and a firm/calm/determined statement of consequence for future bad behavior are all "low" temperature means of conflict. They are the hallmark of someone who will not stay in an emotionally toxic relationship because the other person is so "wonderful" on paper......


Quote:
Originally Posted by MarriedWifeInLove View Post
Me too.

I'm the HOT partner and that's what I'm trying to pull away from. It's erie how accurate your list was. To do this I'm:

1. Not saying ILY first. In fact, I haven't said it in a week and neither has he.
2. I have not initiated any calls in almost two weeks.
3. After our last spat, I did not call to apologize or try to make up, he was clearly in the wrong and it wasn't up to me to do the making up.
4. After the last spat, I came home in a good mood and acted like nothing had happened even though I was upset.
5. Not doing it anymore
6. Trying to detach from that also. Not initiating the "goodnight" kiss, or the hug first, or any type of touching FIRST.
7. Not initiating any more "talks" about the R. If he has issues, he knows where I am, this one-sided marriage is not working for me anymore.
8. We already had this worked out. I do INSIDE, he does OUTSIDE (we have 2 acres). So no issues here, never has been.
9. This I have trouble with, but working on it. Like the other day when he invited me to lunch, told him I was busy, in the past I would have dropped what I was doing and joined him.
10. I'm still working on this too. I'm trying to figure out why it's so DAMN important to me that I get his approval - I didn't need it before I met him.
11. I get a knot in my stomach when he is upset with me - this will take time to figure out in counselling.
12. Boy with this one - you sound like you were sitting on my shoulder. I can't read his body language anymore and am afraid to even initiate and yes, I do get pissed when he rejects me - though I should be used to it by now. But rejection moves me back to #11 and #10. But - working on it.

And the COOL partner could describe my husband to a "T".


This is a timely thread, at least for me, and I would be happy to entertain additional suggestions, other than what I'm already doing to change this dynamic...permanently, to save my sanity and our relationship.
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post #9 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

Does he ever admit he was wrong? Say he was sorry?


Quote:
Originally Posted by credamdóchasgra View Post
The HARDEST one for me is:

make peace after a spat.

Why is this so hard?

1. I like peace.
2. The spat was stupid, shouldn't have happened in the first place, so let's just clear it up and move on, shall we?
3. I'm afraid that if I don't step in to facilitate that peace, he won't, and he prefers the hostility/space/distance.
4. I want to show him how nice the alternative can be (clarifying, having peace, understanding)---if you want to throw the Codependent card at me, have at it.
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post #10 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by MEM2020 View Post
Does he ever admit he was wrong? Say he was sorry?
Sometimes.

If he does it without me initiating the peace-making, it seems more genuine to me.

Yesterday for example, he started yelling over me and telling me what I had meant by some opinion I expressed.
I responded in a calm and quiet tone, "that is not what I meant by that."
he said "my mistake."

But lately, for the most part, when he gets reactive and explosive, he is inconsistent as to whether he'll see, own, and apologize for it without me trying to make peace.
I get the sense he still sees me as the "cause" of his overreactions.

The best MO I can imagine, aside from adjusting my temp and staying calm, is to not point fingers at him when we go to MC, back off in there, and let the counselor lead our sessions.
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post #11 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 01:43 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

Is it possible he is just "in general" tense/edgy?

How often do you talk about "what he did wrong" as opposed to "what you would like him to do differently next time"?

Is he generally volatile with people or just with you?


Quote:
Originally Posted by credamdóchasgra View Post
Sometimes.

If he does it without me initiating the peace-making, it seems more genuine to me.

Yesterday for example, he started yelling over me and telling me what I had meant by some opinion I expressed.
I responded in a calm and quiet tone, "that is not what I meant by that."
he said "my mistake."

But lately, for the most part, when he gets reactive and explosive, he is inconsistent as to whether he'll see, own, and apologize for it without me trying to make peace.
I get the sense he still sees me as the "cause" of his overreactions.

The best MO I can imagine, aside from adjusting my temp and staying calm, is to not point fingers at him when we go to MC, back off in there, and let the counselor lead our sessions.
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post #12 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 02:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MEM2020 View Post
Is it possible he is just "in general" tense/edgy?

How often do you talk about "what he did wrong" as opposed to "what you would like him to do differently next time"?

Is he generally volatile with people or just with you?
it's generally his personality.
Yes, I knew that before I married him. But I can honestly say it has gotten worse.
And even though it's "just how he is," I get the brunt of his hard edge, I'm guessing because i'm closest to him.
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post #13 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 02:51 PM
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

Wow, MEM, it feels like you've been looking directly into my mind. Everything on your list strikes very close to home, other than #12. When my wife first slipped into depression, she had a really difficult time getting aroused and asked me not to initiate sex and to let her do it. Years later I've been so well-trained to not initiate that even after we've discussed it and I no longer "have" to wait for her to initiate, I still find myself mostly unable to do it. That probably has a lot to do with the fact that I am very good at reading her body language and unless she is initiating, her body language is radiating "no."

Excellent post though. I have to admit that I have built up some degree of resentment over the years, feeling a bit "ripped off" that I don't get the level of affection that I give and that overall I feel that I've been more emotionally invested in our relationship. When I've talked to her about wanting more affection that she was giving me, she basically told me that I was being too needy and that if I backed off and stopped wanting it so much that she'd feel more inclined to give it to me. I got angry about this, because she was going off of her anti-depressants at the time and for 3 or 4 months had been rather cool towards me, criticizing me and taking out her anger on me on a near-daily basis. I had the whole martyr thing going; I'd been patient and tolerant and loving, doing everything that she asked me to do, and all I wanted was a little more affection -- and she treated me like dirt instead?

Now, the part about me needing to back off and stop asking for her to be affectionate was absolutely true, and is an important part of this whole "man up/nice guy" stuff. At the time, it just felt like something else that she wanted me to do, and that was how it was taken. It didn't seem fair that I even had to ask for her to be more affectionate -- it should have just been a given that she would return my affection. I understand now that I need to not ask for her to be affectionate, but that is because I need to be responsible for my own happiness and it is not simply yet another request of hers in a seemingly endless stream of them. Of course, she didn't tell me that I also needed to back off and demonstrate less love and affection towards her, but it is clear to me now that this is the other half of the equation.

When she's feeling emotionally crowded or overwhelmed and as a result isn't emotionally available to me, I need to cool down both the level of affection that I expect to receive from her and the level of affection which I am demonstrating. She was emotionally overwhelmed and had nothing left to reciprocate, and I just amped up the amount of affection that I was demonstrating towards her.

And I understand now that this is at the core of the whole "nice guy" problem. When our partner pulls back on what they are contributing the the relationship -- be it affection, sex, demonstrations of love, housework, or whatever -- our natural response is to contribute even more in the hopes that it will somehow motivate them or convince them to do likewise. I see clearly now not only that this doesn't work, but that this actually makes it worse and perpetuates a cycle.
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post #14 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

TG,
I noticed something utterly fascinating watching a show called "Bill and Guliana" - Bill Rancik was Trumps first apprentice.

This is what I noticed:
- Bill is the nice guy
- Guiliana is the alpha in their marriage

I watched an interview with Guiliana after the show launched and this is what she said "It was really eye opening WATCHING myself with Bill. I interrupt him a lot and don't treat him as well as I should".

If you put a hidden cam/tape recorder in your kitchen your W would legitimately get upset. BUT you can accomplish "almost" the same thing in certain situations.

Wife: Snaps at you
You: Quietly look at her until she is looking at you or you say something like "hey" to get her to look at you
You: Repeat what she said in as close to perfect tone/pitch and definitely verbatim on the words
You: Look at her silently with some body language that makes it perfectly clear "that" type treatment is not going to fly.
If she starts to argue - gets aggressive - just hold up your hand and firmly shake your head. Do not say anything - she understand perfectly what is happening. This interaction is NOT about communication, it is about bullying your partner. Her attempting to bully you. This will silently convey that "there is no WAY in hell are you going to get away with doubling down on this". If she continues just walk away and do NOT make the peace on this.

You need to get your W to UNLEARN the habit of taking her bad days out on you.

If you back off enough - while remaining fun/playful maybe even a little edgy SHE will come to you. And she will love you MORE. She wants an equal.

No matter WHAT you do with her. Practice a blend of very few words and reinforcing body language.

Do NOT talk about your feelings about HER behavior even if she asks. Her behaviors are all:
- respectful/disrespectful
- acceptable/unacceptable
- not ideal - followed by a brief/brief suggestion as to how you would prefer she handle that situation in the future

"You are better than that" is the adult version of parent/child guilt. Works like magic - if not overused.

When she asks "what is happening" just smile.



Quote:
Originally Posted by TrueGentleman View Post
Wow, MEM, it feels like you've been looking directly into my mind. Everything on your list strikes very close to home, other than #12. When my wife first slipped into depression, she had a really difficult time getting aroused and asked me not to initiate sex and to let her do it. Years later I've been so well-trained to not initiate that even after we've discussed it and I no longer "have" to wait for her to initiate, I still find myself mostly unable to do it. That probably has a lot to do with the fact that I am very good at reading her body language and unless she is initiating, her body language is radiating "no."

Excellent post though. I have to admit that I have built up some degree of resentment over the years, feeling a bit "ripped off" that I don't get the level of affection that I give and that overall I feel that I've been more emotionally invested in our relationship. When I've talked to her about wanting more affection that she was giving me, she basically told me that I was being too needy and that if I backed off and stopped wanting it so much that she'd feel more inclined to give it to me. I got angry about this, because she was going off of her anti-depressants at the time and for 3 or 4 months had been rather cool towards me, criticizing me and taking out her anger on me on a near-daily basis. I had the whole martyr thing going; I'd been patient and tolerant and loving, doing everything that she asked me to do, and all I wanted was a little more affection -- and she treated me like dirt instead?

Now, the part about me needing to back off and stop asking for her to be affectionate was absolutely true, and is an important part of this whole "man up/nice guy" stuff. At the time, it just felt like something else that she wanted me to do, and that was how it was taken. It didn't seem fair that I even had to ask for her to be more affectionate -- it should have just been a given that she would return my affection. I understand now that I need to not ask for her to be affectionate, but that is because I need to be responsible for my own happiness and it is not simply yet another request of hers in a seemingly endless stream of them. Of course, she didn't tell me that I also needed to back off and demonstrate less love and affection towards her, but it is clear to me now that this is the other half of the equation.

When she's feeling emotionally crowded or overwhelmed and as a result isn't emotionally available to me, I need to cool down both the level of affection that I expect to receive from her and the level of affection which I am demonstrating. She was emotionally overwhelmed and had nothing left to reciprocate, and I just amped up the amount of affection that I was demonstrating towards her.

And I understand now that this is at the core of the whole "nice guy" problem. When our partner pulls back on what they are contributing the the relationship -- be it affection, sex, demonstrations of love, housework, or whatever -- our natural response is to contribute even more in the hopes that it will somehow motivate them or convince them to do likewise. I see clearly now not only that this doesn't work, but that this actually makes it worse and perpetuates a cycle.
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post #15 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 03:23 PM
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

Seriously, if the H were the moody snapper in the above scene, would those steps be as effective if roles were reversed?
Or is it different with a moody angry man, because men are naturally more intimidating physcally etc.?
Considering differences between the sexes, how effective could that be if the wife is the one who stays calm and the H is hot-tempered?
He has no idea how much it is eroding my respect for him, but I guess that's beside the point.
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