Torn about possibly reconciling with my STBXH - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 50 (permalink) Old 08-11-2016, 08:28 PM Thread Starter
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Torn about possibly reconciling with my STBXH

My STBXH and I have been separated for approx 9 months. Recently I was finally able to let go of the resentment I felt toward him. I resented him because he refused to work through our problems with me and instead stonewalled/went passive aggressive/avoided/said he could live this way so why can't I? It wasn't a marriage and we both admit that now.

Some of the issues in our marriage have faded; for example, I'm not angry anymore and so I treat him like I did many years ago. I also have turned a corner sexually and really enjoy sex now (I had one relationship since we separated). From my side of things, I've changed the very things he wanted me to change. There is one thing that won't change, and that's how I feel about his parents. I can't make myself like them; I can only tolerate them and ask that I not see them often. Not sure he could accept that.

On his side of the street, he's part way to fixing how he was in the marriage that was bad for us. He is being more open with me, more willing to address issues, so that is very good. That's what I had asked for, and I think that now he feels safe and will tell me things he wouldn't before. So plus there.

But there are still two big issues for us, one which we must solve together and one that he must solve alone.

The issue we must solve together, should we attempt to reconcile, is that we have a child who has a number of issues. We spend a large portion of our days helping this child with homework. He sees specialists; we meet with teachers; we do, do, do. I've heard it said and I believe it, neediness is a libido killer. Well, the needs and responsibilities of our son really did wipe out a lot of our relationship. Can we solve that? Not sure.

The final, big issue: his self esteem. He really lacks confidence. He hides it pretty well with a stoic exterior, but he also doesn't laugh much, he isn't playful, he generally is kinda flat in his voice and demeanor. I'm the opposite and want someone who has energy and is positive. Someone who looks forward to seeing me, who I get excited to talk to because we energize each other. The $64K question is whether he will work on his self esteem and whether he will come out of his shell.

He says he's finally interested in making these changes. I told him he must do it for himself, not me. Don't try to "win me back" (I was the one who moved out) by making changes. If you want to be confident (and I would think any person would), then he should work on himself for himself.

And last thing: We did have sex twice recently. It was fantastic in some ways and exactly as it was in others. The exactly as it was is, I think, because he is closed off. It's hard to be playful in the bedroom with someone who isn't playful. Take the wind out of your sails, if you know what I mean.

OK. That's the short of it. I really am open to your ideas. I don't want to make any rash decisions. I definitely don't want the kids to get their hopes up. I've told him that we both really need to be in the right place before we attempt to reconcile, if we do. Obviously, I'm not sure what to think.

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post #2 of 50 (permalink) Old 08-12-2016, 10:55 AM
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Re: Torn about possibly reconciling with my STBXH

No offense, but it kind of sounds like you want him to perform an act for you. How would you feel if the tables were turned? Was he like this before you were married?
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post #3 of 50 (permalink) Old 08-12-2016, 11:07 AM
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Re: Torn about possibly reconciling with my STBXH

I would hold off on the potential reconciliation. He's got to do the work for himself, not you--as you said. Do you think he's doing it for you?

If you can, I would say that you take sex out of the equation totally. Hard to do when you were previously intimate, I know, but do it. And maybe start as friends, rather than potential partners.

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post #4 of 50 (permalink) Old 08-12-2016, 11:15 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Torn about possibly reconciling with my STBXH

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I would hold off on the potential reconciliation. He's got to do the work for himself, not you--as you said. Do you think he's doing it for you?

If you can, I would say that you take sex out of the equation totally. Hard to do when you were previously intimate, I know, but do it. And maybe start as friends, rather than potential partners.
Thanks. That's where my head is at as well. Just don't want to hurt him. And your signature is a good one; apropos for this conversation...
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post #5 of 50 (permalink) Old 08-12-2016, 11:17 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Torn about possibly reconciling with my STBXH

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No offense, but it kind of sounds like you want him to perform an act for you. How would you feel if the tables were turned? Was he like this before you were married?
I definitely don't want him to pretend to be something he's not. Is that what you think I'm asking?
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post #6 of 50 (permalink) Old 08-12-2016, 11:33 AM
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Re: Torn about possibly reconciling with my STBXH

So your husband is an introvert who over the years learned to hide his lack of self-esteem by putting up a stoic exterior. He did not think he needed to change because it had served him well personally and professionally his entire life. This is the man you married but you want him to change, why? Because he's not fun?

Your husband has a good relationship with his parents but you want to see less of them because you don't like them and you're making that a condition of the reconciliation. Is that fair?

You've been separated for 9 months during which you've had casual sex with another man. Did your husband agree to you seeing other people during the separation?

I'm not even going to address what you said about your special-needs child. If I can't say anything nice, etc. etc.

Honestly, I'm not sure why your husband should try to win you back at all.
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post #7 of 50 (permalink) Old 08-12-2016, 11:43 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Torn about possibly reconciling with my STBXH

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So your husband is an introvert who over the years learned to hide his lack of self-esteem by putting up a stoic exterior. He did not think he needed to change because it had served him well personally and professionally his entire life. This is the man you married but you want him to change, why? Because he's not fun?

Your husband has a good relationship with his parents but you want to see less of them because you don't like them and you're making that a condition of the reconciliation. Is that fair?

You've been separated for 9 months during which you've had casual sex with another man. Did your husband agree to you seeing other people during the separation?

I'm not even going to address what you said about your special-needs child. If I can't say anything nice, etc. etc.

Honestly, I'm not sure why your husband should try to win you back at all.
Hello KC - you've jumped to many conclusions in your post, so let me clarify.

1. My H does not have a good relationship with his parents. He just accepts them better than I can, but he doesn't like spending time with them, per se. He is the ditiful son who visits and calls because that's what he believes is the right thing to do.

2. He is introverted, yes. So am I. But he has lived behind a wall he made for himself since puberty. He doesn't let anyone in and he says he trusts me more than anyone. He says that every interaction he has with another person is awkward inside his mind. In short, he's not been happy his entire life, but he's been to afraid to make an attempt at something more.

3. We both love our son and are an advocate for him. If you have a kid with special needs and it hasn't affected your life and relationship, then please write a book on your success. If you don't, then you are just judgmental and clueless. I'm simply being honest - it's tough. It just is. And it's something we would need to work together on to make sure it didn't impact us like it did before. It's a fact; it's an acknowledgment of our reality. Period.

4. Your take no prisoners/call it all as I see it (and it's all bad in your view) approach is an inappropriate response to a woman who is sincerely looking to reconcile and asking for experiences and insights on her situation. If you think being ugly and discouraging works, then just take your skills somewhere else. If you have something insightful to offer, I'm all ears.
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post #8 of 50 (permalink) Old 08-12-2016, 12:10 PM
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Re: Torn about possibly reconciling with my STBXH

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Hello KC - you've jumped to many conclusions in your post, so let me clarify.

1. My H does not have a good relationship with his parents. He just accepts them better than I can, but he doesn't like spending time with them, per se. He is the ditiful son who visits and calls because that's what he believes is the right thing to do. You said: I can only tolerate them and ask that I not see them often. Not sure he could accept that. If he doesn't see them often what is the problem?

2. He is introverted, yes. So am I. But he has lived behind a wall he made for himself since puberty. He doesn't let anyone in and he says he trusts me more than anyone. He says that every interaction he has with another person is awkward inside his mind. In short, he's not been happy his entire life, but he's been to afraid to make an attempt at something more.You said: I resented him because he refused to work through our problems with me and instead stonewalled/went passive aggressive/avoided/said he could live this way so why can't I? So he didn't see a problem until you asked him to change.

3. We both love our son and are an advocate for him. If you have a kid with special needs and it hasn't affected your life and relationship, then please write a book on your success. If you don't, then you are just judgmental and clueless. I'm simply being honest - it's tough. It just is. And it's something we would need to work together on to make sure it didn't impact us like it did before. It's a fact; it's an acknowledgment of our reality. Period. I do. I think it made the family a stronger team. I didn't write a book on it because there are lots of parents with special needs kids and it's not that interesting.

4. Your take no prisoners/call it all as I see it (and it's all bad in your view) approach is an inappropriate response to a woman who is sincerely looking to reconcile and asking for experiences and insights on her situation. If you think being ugly and discouraging works, then just take your skills somewhere else. If you have something insightful to offer, I'm all ears.
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You haven't addressed my question regarding your casual affair. Did he agree to an open separation? Have you told your husband about it after it happened?

Reconciliation is a two way street. Aside from not being angry any more, what have you done to accommodate his needs? So far I've heard nothing he's done wrong except being an introvert and having parent you don't like.
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post #9 of 50 (permalink) Old 08-12-2016, 12:16 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Torn about possibly reconciling with my STBXH

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You haven't addressed my question regarding your casual affair. Did he agree to an open separation? Have you told your husband about it after it happened?

Reconciliation is a two way street. Aside from not being angry any more, what have you done to accommodate his needs? So far I've heard nothing he's done wrong except being an introvert and having parent you don't like.
First, it's not a "casual affair." Lots of people date while separated and while you may call it what you like, it was not an affair. At the time, he knew what I was doing and he was free to date as well. He did date a bit. At the time, we were both thinking there was no going back.

He did quite a bit to damage our relationship (Google conflict avoidance and passive aggressive and see what you find) and I have outlined it above. I did, too. If he were here, he'd say all the same things I'm saying.

Lastly, what have I done to meet his needs? His need was for me to stop asking him to open up, to treat him better. I have done both.
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post #10 of 50 (permalink) Old 08-12-2016, 12:28 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Torn about possibly reconciling with my STBXH

After talking to him, I think we've agreed to just not do anything right now. We will likely go ahead and divorce in the next few months once we are eligible to do so. Split the assets, etc. if we come back together one day, then it will be because we both want what the other one brings.
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post #11 of 50 (permalink) Old 08-12-2016, 12:53 PM
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Re: Torn about possibly reconciling with my STBXH

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After talking to him, I think we've agreed to just not do anything right now. We will likely go ahead and divorce in the next few months once we are eligible to do so. Split the assets, etc. if we come back together one day, then it will be because we both want what the other one brings.
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I do not get this post.

All postings are today's.

At first, you wanted good and positive advice....OK, that is what everyone wants......not going to happen.

You first said that you have altered/changed [yourself] to his desired requests. He has agreed to work on his faults.

Now you say Divorce is unavoidable and will happen. And all of this in one day of posting....here.

Forgive me, this sounds wishy-washy. Then, I remember that you are under extreme emotional pressure.

Is this the "Well, I tried to work through our marriage problems and I cannot save our marriage".

Are you sincere in your feelings to R or are you just uncontrollably conflicted? Either way I understand.

In my opinion your husband cannot change his introversion....unless you inject high levels of steroids in him!

You are not compatible. Do not waste his time or yours....get divorced and start a new life. It will not be easy....it will not be easy regardless.

Good luck.

This....This is the nub of the stick that pokes me in the eye when the light of day energizes my optic nerve....SunCMars.... The Allegory of the Cave--> On this, I did a '180' and stepped out.

The Lion in Winter. Invictus..By Will, Shall... Saved from harm by my friends.

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post #12 of 50 (permalink) Old 08-12-2016, 12:59 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Torn about possibly reconciling with my STBXH

@KC - just wanted to add that when your marriage is already weak, when communication is not good, when your relationship is a drain on you rather than a source of strength, then having a special needs kid likely tears you apart. We didn't have the strong marital foundation - the skills and mutual support - that is so vital to handling the circumstances. Again, just stating a fact. I wanted to believe it would make us stronger, that we could do work together to help him. And in the end, we have. But we've had to get others to help us at every step and tell us what to do because we couldn't agree together to make things work between us to his benefit.
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post #13 of 50 (permalink) Old 08-15-2016, 05:42 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Torn about possibly reconciling with my STBXH

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I do not get this post.

All postings are today's.

At first, you wanted good and positive advice....OK, that is what everyone wants......not going to happen.

You first said that you have altered/changed [yourself] to his desired requests. He has agreed to work on his faults.

Now you say Divorce is unavoidable and will happen. And all of this in one day of posting....here.

Forgive me, this sounds wishy-washy. Then, I remember that you are under extreme emotional pressure.

Is this the "Well, I tried to work through our marriage problems and I cannot save our marriage".

Are you sincere in your feelings to R or are you just uncontrollably conflicted? Either way I understand.

In my opinion your husband cannot change his introversion....unless you inject high levels of steroids in him!

You are not compatible. Do not waste his time or yours....get divorced and start a new life. It will not be easy....it will not be easy regardless.

Good luck.
Thanks, Sun. Yes, it is very confusing and we both know that this will take time. If things work out, it could be a slow process. I read Ampexlor's sticky and while it gave me hope, it also showed me just how long reconciliation can take.

I also recognize that I'm asking him to change something that has been stable throughout his life. One poster used the term "introvert" to describe what he needs to change, but that is not it. I, too, am an introvert. Introverts get their batteries recharged through time alone. It doesn't mean they can't have a positive attitude. It doesn't mean they lack self confidence. It doesn't mean they can't greet you in the morning with a smile and a kiss. It doesn't mean they can't have fun in bed. I don't think I'm being unrealistic there. Google famous introverts and you'll find names like Michael Jordan and Mark Zuckerberg. They may not be the life of a party, but I'm pretty sure they can be positive and smile!

What causes him to pull back, to be distant with pretty much everyone, is that he is insecure and doesn't trust. Extroverts can be distrustful and live only on the surface, so again, introversion is not the issue. In fact, some people compensate for their feeling of insecurity by dressing well, acting like they have a great life, bragging, etc. Most narcissists are actually insecure people who mask it by behaving the opposite.

Nevertheless, I am asking him to change something that has been a stable part of him for most of his life. But I don't think insecurity is a personality trait. Maybe it is. Maybe when you look at nature vs nurture, it's nature that causes it. Not sure. But I know if he can change it will take a long time. Waiting around for him to change is where my uncertainty is. I am not sure it's the right choice, hence why I'm here being open and honest.
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post #14 of 50 (permalink) Old 08-15-2016, 08:14 PM
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Re: Torn about possibly reconciling with my STBXH

Have you looked into him having toxic shame? If he has it, that can be directly and successfully (in some cases) addressed so that he can learn to be happy.
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post #15 of 50 (permalink) Old 08-15-2016, 08:27 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Torn about possibly reconciling with my STBXH

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Have you looked into him having toxic shame? If he has it, that can be directly and successfully (in some cases) addressed so that he can learn to be happy.
I'm not sure. Will have to google that and see what I find. I've asked him to describe when he changed and what he thinks cause his feelings of insecurity, but nothing he describes seems like anything other than middle school angst. He did move a lot as a kid and his father is a distant man, but those things still don't seem to add up. Maybe it's just a combination of a lot of small events and experiences...
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