Is She Testing Me?
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Old 03-25-2012, 06:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Is She Testing Me?

Or am I just over-thinking this and I just have a wife who is low-drive and thus our continual chicken and egg thing goes on.

How to find the his/her needs balance?
Ladies what do you really want?

For lots of background can see those links. So anyway I finally just gave up a few weeks ago and started to do my own thing - stay out of house more and get some more exercise. I did not realize this was a whole MAP strategy until into it. Which is odd - or maybe this is all coming together. Anyway it is just as much for me. Well I am enjoying just pulling myself out of her need to talk the issues to death. It is as if she wants to win every argument - like I am going to concede or something. Been going on for years. If I give her an answer she does not like she asks 5 more to clarify and seemingly to correct.

Due to the issues in our marriage she returned to our MC. I refused to go as last time I gave it all I had and she did nothing -- "just waiting to see if this is for real." she said. Well not going to MC was the best move ever I can see now I would have been sucked back into that web. And really this feels right. So anyhow we are doing some discussions at night and using questionnaires as she wants to "do something" for our marriage. And I don't want to avoid issues either. The discussions have been tough - she is not attracted to me, she does not look forward to me coming home. Stuff like that. If I make a single comment that upsets her like "Why did you order that?" anything she just gets so upset. I have really improved in this area -- but here is the kicker. This is life she makes little comments to me all the time that are not so cool. But I have always just said - "Well I ordered it because I wanted it." and let it go at that I mean who cares. Yes she did not need to say that but I am not going to be pissed about it. She in turn acts like this is some major attack on her.

But I can tell she is liking my new clothes and wondering why I am wearing cologne again. But she is liking it all. Hell I needed some new clothes but being the good provider I always spend on her or kids. Anyway she likes it all but not saying much. But have caught a few comments from her about how I got a free drink because the bartender thinks you are cute. Or she is looking at you. This is coming from the woman who admits I am still in good shape but refuses to give me a compliment beyond "your shirt looks nice". Hell I have showered her with compliments for years cause I love her and she is beautiful. Only recently did I notice she never ever does this back.

So anyhow I like the looks I am getting from her and others. So last night we had sex - after a usual two week dry spell. It was good and this morning things seemed nice. But then we get into this stupid argument. I casually let her know that I might not be able to get off early to get the kids next week as still had not heard back from a colleague. I added it should still work out but just in case can you do it? She gets all angry "Well why are you telling me this now?" etc. etc. just laying into me. At first I was like look it is probably going to work out anyway do you have a conflict helping. She says well not sure but you should have told me earlier etc etc. and her tone was like talking to one of our kids. Finally I just cut her off. "Don't talk to me like that." I could see her seething like here we go again - what is wrong with him.

So if you are still hanging in and did not read my other threads you would say why is this is in sex section. Because we seldom haves sex cause she thinks I am not emotional connected. But I am beginning to think only a sister or another woman is going to connect with her on this level. And frankly she does not have close girlfriends or is close to her sister.

So what do you all think?

I told her we can talk about it later cause she always wants it all resolved. And she does seemed to have cooled off and is acting ok to me - even a bit nice.

I love her like mad and i am now staring to think she does not respect me and maybe after reading some other stuff that her need for emotional connection is only part of the issue.

I know I will never ever be this perfect husband she thinks she wants. Is this just a power struggle? How should I proceed? She seems to hold all the cards in the sex department as she just says no a lot because she is not connected. But it is chicken and egg --- on and on. Our MC even said this but wife did not listen to that part. HELP? I don't want to cave or drive her away.

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Old 03-25-2012, 07:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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VCH:

You have been posting about this issue since August of 2010. Nothing you have done has worked: counseling, meeting her needs, improving yourself. Your wife has checked out of your marriage, and you are following her around like a puppy dog begging for scraps of her affection.

I would do as little as possible for her. Develop your own hobbies. Be calm around the house, but do not do any more than is necessary. Do not give her any words of affection. Create a life that does not include her. If she comes back to you, you can try to re-build your marriage. If not, I would divorce her and find someone who treats you with respect.

I hope this doesn't sound harsh, but you really need to look at your situation realistically. I hate to see someone who is being emotionally abused and ignored by their spouse.
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Old 03-25-2012, 08:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Loveherman - This is a tough issue for me but I can't just leave. And while I try to be 100% truthful this is my point of view. Plus I really see some progress lately by focusing more on myself.

Dean - You are right. I really should avoid arguments but this is life and little stupid things come up and it seems she has to always be right. Plus I don't even care about arguments -- I forget them soon after but for her they build and build and she believes she is always right -- hell I concede 1/2 the time or so because hey good point. But I just can't cave all the time. I mean wtf - I can't be perfect.

btw - later after that argument she texted me about how she saw an older couple she knew whose kids were older having a nice talk and cup of coffee and talking. She said that will be nice when we have that time together. This is the lady who was just pissed off at me and only stopped after I told her she was not to talk to me that way.

This is also the lady who says not sure of her attraction to me and not sure if the marriage is going to work out a few weeks ago and is in MC by herself. Huh? Either things are getting better or she is responding to being told to stop *****ing at me or she realizes I am actually a decent guy who is also a great dad to her kids.
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Old 03-25-2012, 08:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by veryconfusedhusband View Post
Loveherman - This is a tough issue for me but I can't just leave. And while I try to be 100% truthful this is my point of view. Plus I really see some progress lately by focusing more on myself.
If you can't leave, then you're correct that she has all the power. Too bad for you. If you're getting progress, then keep it up.

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Originally Posted by veryconfusedhusband View Post
Dean - You are right. I really should avoid arguments but this is life and little stupid things come up and it seems she has to always be right. Plus I don't even care about arguments -- I forget them soon after but for her they build and build and she believes she is always right -- hell I concede 1/2 the time or so because hey good point. But I just can't cave all the time. I mean wtf - I can't be perfect.
Nobody is talking about caving. Dean is talking about not engaging. There is a difference. Imagine you're walking down the street and a homeless man walks up to you and starts yelling. Are you going to jump into the argument? Or are you going to cross the street and continue walking? That's what you should do.

When your wife jumps on your case about something stupid, just say, "Whatever," and walk away. You're not saying she's right, or you're right. You're just refusing to engage. If she follows you around the house trying to force you to engage, then you can either agree and amplify, "You're right I should have told you earlier I might be late. FWIW, I may be late on August 24, 2016." Or, you can just calmly tell her that you'll be happy to discuss the matter with her when she's adjusted her tone, and walk away again.

If she adjusts her tone, but wants to berate you into changing your opinion, just tell her that you've heard her out and stated your opinion, and walk away. See how walking away keeps coming up? It's very effective for unplugging from tense situations.

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Originally Posted by veryconfusedhusband View Post
btw - later after that argument she texted me about how she saw an older couple she knew whose kids were older having a nice talk and cup of coffee and talking. She said that will be nice when we have that time together. This is the lady who was just pissed off at me and only stopped after I told her she was not to talk to me that way.
Sounds like you passed her test. Women like it when you pass their tests.

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Originally Posted by veryconfusedhusband View Post
This is also the lady who says not sure of her attraction to me and not sure if the marriage is going to work out a few weeks ago and is in MC by herself. Huh? Either things are getting better or she is responding to being told to stop *****ing at me or she realizes I am actually a decent guy who is also a great dad to her kids.
Occam's Razor says that we should look for the simplest explanation. She has recently changed her behavior. Why? The simplest explanation is that she is responding to the changes in your behavior. You're pulling away from her and setting up some boundaries between the two of you.

I would be shocked if she suddenly realized that you're a nice guy who doesn't deserve the crap she's been shoveling onto you. She will likely only come to that conclusion when you have dragged her into it by refusing to accept any more crap.

Good luck.
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Old 03-25-2012, 09:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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PHTLump - Thanks but I feel I have already tried the not engage bit and she says this is stonewalling or withdrawing. She is a psychologist and has read most of the marriage books. I read the book and yep that is what I am doing. Because my dam answer is my answer or like you advise just don't engage. I really don't want to win arguments I could care less - just can't keep losing them cause that has not worked out so well. So how do you not engage -- when she will want to discuss it later and ask 5 more clarifying questions? I am just going to hold my position. This is all I have to say. I think she knows it is BS to keep asking me stuff over and over but she does it anyway in clever ways. I am a smart guy but not in the ways that she is.
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Old 03-25-2012, 09:42 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Vch,
I have no idea what you are like or what she is like. I want you to try an experiment.
Start carrying a small digital voice activated recorder and tape these interactions.

As for deans suggestion I will add a bit of color:
- if my wife is telling menshe is upset about X, and she isn't attacking me or being disrespectful, I sincerely say "I am sorry I upset you" and I shut up. If she keeps going I give her a minute to et in the last word and then I nod. If she shows no sign of stopping I hold up my hand, smile and say "I said I was sorry and meant it, if you need some time to process that and forgive you may have it". And if she tries to continue I shake my head and say "we are done" and I walk away.
- if however she is attacking or using a disrespectful tone I tilt my head and give her a puzzled look. And when she asks why I ask "I can't focus on your message when your tone is so far from acceptable". If the tone continues, same deal, I walk away.
- as for the compliments - all those compliments have made her think that you think she is somehow better than you

The one other challenge you have is that she seems to try to make any issue a huge deal. If it was me,
I would give her a 10 scale, provide some examples:
Adultery: 10
You striking her: 10
You cursing at her: 7
You yelling at her without profanity: 5
You asking her to fill in on a kid pickup with no notice: 5
With a full weeks notice: 2

Anyway use real examples and tell her the scores go both ways.

And then ask what she thinks the level of aggression should be for each.

Btw this is a fair exercise. In our first year my w would go crazy over small stuff.

That all stopped the day I started to pack my bags.


QUOTE=veryconfusedhusband;646238]PHTLump - Thanks but I feel I have already tried the not engage bit and she says this is stonewalling or withdrawing. She is a psychologist and has read most of the marriage books. I read the book and yep that is what I am doing. Because my dam answer is my answer or like you advise just don't engage. I really don't want to win arguments I could care less - just can't keep losing them cause that has not worked out so well. So how do you not engage -- when she will want to discuss it later and ask 5 more clarifying questions? I am just going to hold my position. This is all I have to say. I think she knows it is BS to keep asking me stuff over and over but she does it anyway in clever ways. I am a smart guy but not in the ways that she is.[/QUOTE]
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Old 03-25-2012, 10:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Well I do think she has responded better this go around then last time when I just fell all over her. I have tried repeatedly to point out how we argue about petty things but I think it is really about power. She does not feel heard etc so she overdoes it in compensation. MEMS - funny thing I think you gave me some decent advice a long time back but I was not ready to listen. Conditioned to just give more love and time to meeting her needs that somehow that was going to get her to meet mine. Well that did not work out and si glad I did not agree to go back to MC.
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Old 03-26-2012, 01:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
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PHTLump - Thanks but I feel I have already tried the not engage bit and she says this is stonewalling or withdrawing.
Of course that's what it is. That doesn't mean it's an inappropriate strategy. Wouldn't you withdraw from a crazy homeless man who wanted to argue with you? I know I would.

If your wife wants to have a discussion, or even an argument, and she can have it in a respectful manner, then you should absolutely accommodate her. But you've said she isn't interested in discussing or arguing anything respectfully. She wants to badger you until she wins. If that's the case, then the only winning move is not to play (life lesson from War Games).

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I really don't want to win arguments I could care less - just can't keep losing them cause that has not worked out so well.
If you're arguing correctly (i.e. respectfully), then it doesn't matter whether you win or lose. If you lose, then your wife has convinced you that her choice of action is better than yours. So she saved you from making the wrong choice. Good for you. It's a big man who can admit that he was wrong and change his course of action. Women like that.

If you're arguing incorrectly, such as you seem to be doing now, then your wife doesn't even care whether the two of you make the best choice. She just wants it to be her choice. And the best way to deal with that situation is to withdraw until she can forget about winning and focus on making the best decision as a couple.

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So how do you not engage -- when she will want to discuss it later and ask 5 more clarifying questions? I am just going to hold my position. This is all I have to say. I think she knows it is BS to keep asking me stuff over and over but she does it anyway in clever ways. I am a smart guy but not in the ways that she is.
It seems simple to say, but you don't engage by not engaging. Walk away. If she follows you, keep walking. If she keeps hounding you, tell her bluntly that you're finished with the discussion until she can be more respectful. If she refuses to adjust her behavior, you keep withdrawing.

You have to keep it up until she changes. That's important. You can't refuse to engage immediately, yet engage her after she's yelled at you for 10 minutes. That's probably worse than immediately caving. You have to refuse to engage for hours, or days, or weeks, until she changes her behavior.

So let her know what you're doing. Let her know that, if she wants you to engage, she has the power to bring you back into a discussion. And she has the power to keep you disengaged. You're just reacting to her behavior.

Good luck.
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Old 03-26-2012, 02:12 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Usually she argues respectively and carefully. It is a thorough pyschological cross exam I get a lot of. Well what do you mean by that? Huh I mean what just said. Well then can you explain that further? It seems to go on and on until she gets her answer or I refuse to talk anymore. Sometimes she will even say "well I hear what you are saying but I don't believe that to be true" this is reference to an original thought so I get so frustrated as that is BS cause that is reallyy answer. I accept her answers and don't challenge them. You see she is not the classic nagging or mean angry wife. She is calm collected and very careful with her words. She even used to say stuff like I don't think you heard me tell me what I just said....keep in mind I am so bored with these mental gymnastics I often start to tune some of it out and if I miss one nuance she is pissed. Well I don't play that anymore I just remind her that my English is quite good I understand it all. Example she often asks me to defIne words for her when she is reading but she almost always kills me at scrabble.
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Old 03-26-2012, 02:15 PM   #10 (permalink)
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She is playing intellectual games with you. This is not a psychological debate, this is your marriage. I don't know why she disconnected from you, but you need to take action to get her attention. She knows you will not leave her, and she is perfectly comfortable ignoring your needs.
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Old 03-26-2012, 02:36 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Sounds like she likes to bounce around from topic to topic, and change the focus of a conversation every few sentences. Sounds like she almost enjoys verbal jousting, but I could be wrong.

I try and keep my wife on topic. I've let her know I prefer to take a single issue and drive it to solution or at least to a point where we can both agree to disagree.

When my wife brings up another topic, I try and tell her that I'd love to get back to that later (oh and I try and do my best to get back to that topic later), but for now we are talking about X. I just keep steering the conversation back to the main point.

So imo you two should tackle just one issue at a time, and not get into semantic/syntactic arguments (they are often times a waste of energy).
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Old 03-26-2012, 03:51 PM   #12 (permalink)
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OK. So, it's not necessarily about nagging. I think the pertinent question is, why does she feel compelled to argue about trivial things? That may be a test right there.

As to her style of argument, well I guess that's just her professional life coming through in her personal life. Psychologists/counselors are taught to talk things up one side and down the other. I understand that it's annoying. But, that's not necessarily a test.

I suppose what you need to do is limit the time you spend arguing with her. First, make sure she's arguing in a proper manner with respect to you. Second, make sure she's arguing about a topic that's legitimate. And third, just make sure that it doesn't go on too long.

You could either come up with an external reason to cut the argument short, such as running late for the gym, or you could just state that you've argued long enough, you've each expressed your opinions, and now it's over.

Good luck.
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Old 03-26-2012, 04:08 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Thanks to all who have commented. And I am seeing progress so we shall see if these holds.
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Old 03-29-2012, 04:36 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Well there goes that 3 day run where I thought things getting better. Yesterday something big cane through financially and I texted her hey guess what looks like will be getting x thousands soon let's celebrate tonight. She comments yeah that's great news about the money but nothing about celebrating. I specifically did not send an explicit text and even left celebrate a bit vague but I guess this made her uncomfortable. We had nice night Saturday with sex and talking into the evening and it had been three nights so I thought perfect need to break out of this three Saturday nights a month only which is our default pattern. So I get home and she is a bit distant but I just stayed positive and gave her a nice playful hug and peck. I took one I our kids on a errand. Anyway after dinner she is I. The tub so u go in and shave. I know he likes to chat when in tub so anyway she says well why you shaving. I said well I thought I might kiss you tonight. She smiles but does not say much which I took for ok. Anyway after kids go to sleep we talk for awhile watch a silly show and then she says "ok I want to know if it is ok not to have sex." I want to say sure maybe tomorrow night but I get this is just more pressure and I felt let down again. I paused and said well yes I am disappointed I thought you wanted to and what is wrong it seems I always get rejected. She said well I just feel pressure and then goes into how I have been doing my own thing lately and why didn't you ask me I I wanted go shopping too. I am a such a loss he went into her whole bit about connection etc but I told her it has never worked out that way. I also blurted out I really just wish I didn't want you so much and let her know that I have needs to but she does not get it eants more MC.
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Old 03-29-2012, 04:51 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Hi veryconfused ~

Sorry you had a bit of a downer last night after some progress. That is disappointing (but congrats on the financial success!)

Changing the dynamic between you two will be a process - keep working on the positive changes that you have been making.

And work on responses you can give when she tries to pull the 'get out of sex free card'. What would she do if instead of saying "but I just want you so much" you said "I'm going to hold you to it tomorrow night, baby! Count on it!" winked, got up and went about your business cheerfully?

Don't hinge your happiness on what she does or doesn't do - hinge it on yourself.

Best wishes.
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