Kalmarjan

Here's the dillemna...

My wife is very controlling. OCD almost. It comes with her way of dealing with issues that she grew up with. I can usually deal, but somethings just get to me sometimes. The problem is, I don't know how to broach this subject, or if I even should right now.

The reason? My affair, and rebuilding and stuff.

Look, it's not deal breaker stuff, but it is annoying.

Let me give you an example...

Today my wife took off to do the grocery shopping. She likes to circle the stuff in the flyers, and it's like a giant treasure hunt getting the stuff. Oh, and it could be stuff that is on sale, but not that we neccessarily need. There isn't much checking on what we have, and there is no real thought process in what we are gonna eat over the next while. It literally is okay, let's shop and filll the fridges and freezers with stuff and go from there.

Okay, my background as a chef, I am content to have like staples, but then 3-4 days worth of stuff in the fridge.

So, it's a little bit of a bother...

Today we were supposed to hit the grocery stores separate, but she ended up doing them all.

And she comes home with all these bags and I'm like... wow.

So, I am trying to help her put the stuff away, and up on one cupboard there are these cookie tins from last christmas. I go to move them, and suddenly its like I am intruding. Why are you moving those? I want those there.

I started to be like, look, we don't need them there, relax, I'm just gonna put them away.

But then I was like, is this what I really want to take a stand on? okay, I put them back.

But, I am stuck here. I want to get to a point where we talk about this stuff and are on the same page. We don't need to buy 2 weeks of grocheries in one day, and I just feel like I am like a spectator, and she has to have the control there or she will melt down.

But, given the precariousness of my situation - trying to reconcile with my wife... do I push it?

So, what is your perspective? I mean, I just want to feel like we are together on this thing, and not like one person has to give up. OTOH, I also understand that for the immediate future I may need to just grin and bear it... but will it be forever? Am I needing to give up a lot in order to make this work?

Quote 0 0
Intuition77
Ok wow. We lead parallel lives or something. Lol this is me. Or was me I guess. I've been letting go of control for awhile and it's hard and I still struggle. Almost harder because being on my own with just me and our kids I don't have anyone I have to "share" with so I do worry in the future if I'm in a relationship again I will struggle with this after being on my own. Here's the thing me dealing with my own control issues (for me) after this stuff led me to realize that I did this for multiple reasons. One my childhood. Controlling things was a way to have order because there was a lot I couldn't control. Two it was modeled for me that a woman/wife takes care of everything. Three it was a personal issue if I control everything I can control what happens to me (learned that was false the hard way huh) and if I take care of everything people need me a& that to me was a substitute for just loving me-I thought if they didn't need me they couldn't love me.

Crappy huh? On top of that I legitimately had a hard time understanding why someone would do something differently (like not put those cookie runs in that completely logical Place! Lol) which sounds crazy. And then the marriage issues come Into play my husband didn't take responsibility for anything. He didn't step up to do anything. Now this is a two way street. I see now his own issues with control was he would NOT do things in a passive aggressive way to have control. I could have/should have earlier in our marriage dealt with my own issues and stepped back and not made him step up but refused to enable him not to. He could have should dropped the passive aggressive control & stepped up and if something didn't make me happy dealt with it anyway instead of going along but building resentment.

I think we both had examples of marriage where the husband was the "kid" & the wife was the parent. For an example of how this happened, the yard would need weeding and the say bathroom would need painted. I would mention this multiple times which in itself frustrated me it was like he noticed nothing. Which maybe he had his own timeframe but I'm talking yard overflowing with weeds and paint chipping. That was basic adult responsibility to me. So I would go buy all the supplies. Then I would say repeatedly well how about you weed while I paint cause I can paint the bathroom and watch kids from inside at the same time. He would say ok. But this was our ENTIRE marriage. He never tried to solve anything, he never came up with ideas for how to handle things, he never broached any subject or suggested anything it was always me getting things done which is how it felt. I don't know how it felt to him. He didn't seem to care about anything-I'm talking a faucet would leak for months once because I was waiting for him to take initiative and he never did(I finally couldn't take it and called a plumber)

So I painted the bathroom. And watched kids. And made dinner. He took the entire day and between breaks lunch and complaining and just basically pissing around he managed to weed half the yard. And then seemed put out I was upset he didn't finish it. I now see his own low self worth and issues led him to passive aggressively do things half way or not at all so I could always be upset and take over. If he didn't meet peoples expectations he never had to own that he was worried he wouldn't. It was always the other persons problem-they expected too much.

Could this have occurred in your marriage too?

Now the other side is to her what she does makes complete sense & may have reasons you don't see. I shopped the same way and my husband wanted to
Just run to the store every few days like you suggest. Here's my own reasoning for why I did that. I handled the finances. If my husband felt like steaks he would want to just go buy steaks for the day. I had a strict food budget. And has budget. When I shopped like that it was to get the best deals stock up & I had my own system in my head. When I was rushed with kids activities and everything else I didn't want to drag kids to the store to shop. I saved money and couponed to get those deals to save for our family and always have a plan in place. He had no clue financially how to juggle everything. He would spend money with no care to what was coming up or going to be needed. Should I have let him figure that out to some extent on his own? Yes. But then there's the tricky area of how much do I let our family suffer from his irresponsible behaviors? I don't know so I just took control. It was the only option I saw. I'm not saying your to blame for why your wife does things, she needs to deal with her control issues I'm just trying to explain that she's not that rigid just for satisfaction. in her mind there is most likely a definite reason that maybe is completely foreign to you-just like your way is prob foreign to her and major communication needs to happen.

As far as organizing, decorating and more minor issues I realize he didn't give input for so long I just did things my way and wasn't used to any input. I see that now. I had to get to that place on my own though.

I'll give you it's a bad spot right now. Pre affair it would have probably been easier to broach. Because for me dday amped my control issues as a self defense mechanism almost. So controls probably gonna be hard for her right now. It gives her a sense of control to decide where cookie tins should be (I have those in a certain spot too lol) when her life feels out of control. But really it is in her own best interest to work on that.

Are you in counseling? If so I would ask your counselor for ideas how to bring this up because of the situation.

Also if I can add from your wife's perspective controlling everything isn't a happy place. When I handled everything from where cookie tins we're stored to the kids teachers and school stuff to home projects maybe my husband felt oh that's what she wants let her do it. It makes her happy. The opposite was actually true. It made me Feel very alone in my marriage like I couldn't depend on him or he wasn't interested enough about his own family. It was hard on me and stressed me to the max. At the same time relinquishing control was difficult after being ingrained for so long. So I can see how to the husband it looks like it's what she wants but we just don't know another way and we're just plugging along day to day because we we're taught not to complain just take care of it.

It's going to be hard for her. It took me by surprise to stop and think if someone else cleans the living room and doesn't dust the bookshelves maybe they didn't think they needed dusted. Because our own way is our reality. It's having to see outside and through a bigger lens and it's hard at first. She may not even realize she does it. And if there was passive aggressiveness happening on your part-doing things part way or putting them off to get back at her it's gonna be a bit harder. Cause she doesn't know which it is. Did he leave the gas tank empty because he didn't notice or did he do it to upset me?

Besides all that all I can say is communicate communicate communicate. And not when it's heated. And for me as a woman I c an say this too. My husband always approached things as logic-I think we should get this couch because it's better for example. But he didn't have any specifics to back it up it just felt like he was saying his preference was better which invalidated mine & put me
On the defensive. Maybe what was really going on was he wanted to feel
Included and didn't but men seem to have a hard time speaking of things in terms of feelings and THAT is how women communicate. Had he said you know I feel like im not included in decorating decisions and it hurts my feelings-that I couldn't have been defensive about and could immediately connect to as he's hurt and I don't want my husband hurt. So if you have feelings own them and communicate them instead of the way men seem to not want to face them (not an insult towards any man) and good feelings work too. "Hey honey you know it makes me feel important to you when you include me in these decisions" when she does ask your opinion. Men seem to be afraid to admit they need these things because feelings are scary in that way. And over time we just accept you don't feel or need it then.

I was shocked in a therapy session when I realized my husband hadn't verbalized ANY feeling beyond anger occasionally and a shallow happiness affection for YEARS. I had to actually admit it was YEARS since he had talked about or even outwardly shown any real emotion. And this is during years of losing someone close to him,the birth of a child, major life milestones etc. He was just shoving them aside. He never expressed he was unhappy but I know for awhile before the affair and during I would often say are you happy? Because he just seemed numb to everything. And he would tell me yes of course he was. And I got used to that. It wasn't until looking back that I saw that he had changed. And makes sense for an affair to shock him
Into feeling something I guess he thought. He just didn't have the desire for insight to see that it was his issues with feelings that was keeping him numb, not that the affair created something special. Just I guess excitement and novelty and risk was something that felt good when you we're trying to avoid all the other feelings which sometimes felt bad.

Quote 0 0
Intuition77
I also want to add (the simpler version I really tend to ramble!) like anything else you can't change the other person so change what you can control. How do you usually deal with this, try something different. What role do you play in this dance, change your own steps. Etc.
Quote 0 0
Kalmarjan
All are great major points.

I honestly didn't put two and two together re:control issues and why my wife needs to do them. I just chalked it up to the overall she's manipulating and controlling me all the time.

She needs to do it because when she was younger she suffered a type of abuse where there was always screaming in the house and the control mechanism is how she deals with making everything a magic ritual so everything will be okay.


I had this feeling long before the affair. The problem is that I just let things slide, all the time.

I had never ever seen a long term relationship growing up, so I was in u charted territory. In fact, when I first met my MIL, she cautioned me to not let my wife have her way all the time. It was ironic, because in a lot of ways, my wife is exactly like my MIL, and her grandmother before. They are all unabashedly control freaks

I can see your point about not being plugged in. To be honest with you, I have always tried to do things 50/50 with my wife. I mean, I think the problem stems from us never sitting down and actually discussing roles and responsibilities and such. For example, I can launder all my clothes just as good as my wife. In fact, I think she is a little too anal in the way that she does it, but whatever. If push came to shove, I could do it. So, in order to avoid the sorting clothes issue (and I'm not talking about black whites and colours, I'm talking blues and greens need to be together, and like there is 7 or 8 different sorting criteria. I'm a simple guy, my clothes are not that sensitive, and I could care less...) It was easier to just have her do it and save the arguments. Because I was brought up to pick your battles.

There are occasions where my wife steamrolled me and didn't get my input, because she knew there would be dissent. For example, my house renovations. I was busy at work somewhat but she took care of almost all the estimates, and who to chose for what job. I never got an input on who did our roof, Windows, and the major Reno's. When I questioned things like, hey... Why did we buy that dishwasher, it's crappie and we could have spent the 50$ more and got something that works better? I was shut down. I didn't have a say, and back then I was too chicken to say anything, because honestly it was just easier to let her have her way, the control, because then she would be happy.

Except, the renos were crap. The guy we hired bungled them. The dishwasher was crap, and to this day it makes so much noise when we run it we can't do it when we are asleep upstairs because it will wake us up, and our son.

So, I understand how it may seem like I don't have an input or don't care, but the truth is that if everything is a war, it is really, really hard to be authentic and take that chance that going against the grain is the right thing to do.

Remember the cookie tins? It didn't even make sense that they were in the cupboard. It really didn't. As I was putting things away, they are not fitting because 5 empty cookie tins are there, blocking the way. Look, I could care less where they are kept, if they don't get in my way. And, when I ask about the justification for why they absolutely need to be there, the answer doesn't jive. "So I can find them when I make cookies for Christmas" directly translates to "because I said so."

You mentioned about the mother/kid dynamic. In a lot of ways, the argument with my wife is like arguing with a kid. One that is stamping their feet and saying "NO! I WANT IT MY WAY!" and there is no reasoning.

Maybe she feels that she is mothering me, but this is a two way street.

Dusting... Lol. I actually like to clean. I really do. It is something that relaxes me. I know, weird. But, let's say I'm dusting. It's never done right. Literally. Never done right. To the point where my wife will redo it (and mutter about it...) and if there is something that gets under the skin of someone who is a perfectionist, it would be someone who redoes what they took pride in doing. So, yep... After the millionth time of being chastised, or indirectly criticized for doing it wrong, I would literally say, "F-it!! From now on you take care of it."

I understand how my wife woukd feel Aline, but I think it stems from having that control all the time. People don't want to be involved with that. It's too draining. Nothing you can do is right. So, it's like your own trap. My wife feels like there is nothing that I do and maybe I don't pull my weight around the house (except for stuff that I truly know more about than her, such as cooking) and to be honest, I just don't want to fight all the time, so maybe it was passive aggressive, but it was either that or open up, be authentic and chance losing the relationship.

Ah, I rambled here, but I was trying to get insight.

One last one before I go to help people understand the frustration....

I'm a chef by trade. I cook for a living. Who will my wife go to for help? How to cook, what to do? Not me. She will go to her mother. She will literally take her mother's advice over mine, and that's another thing that drives me bonkers. I've been told by both my MIL and my wife that I know how to cook "for restaurants" and not "for home."

That's a load of bull, because I started getting into cooking from age of 6 or 7. I didn't turn professional until I was 23.

The reason for their line of thinking is because I don't cook with the same steps they do. I don't clean like they do, and because I don't follow the same preparation steps. (Perhaps I combine three or four steps at one time because it will save time. Like while I'm browning neat, I'm chopping onions, boiling pasta, preparing garnish, and doing the dishes...)

But, if I put salt on the meat before it goes in the pan (because I know that in my thousands of times doing that step, that it works the best way for me and has no discernable change to the outcome of the final dish) then I am told it's wrong, why am I not doing it the other way.

Anyway, I'm not trying to whine... Just trying to give a sense of what it's like... Because I know that the conversation has to happen, and I can't sleep it under the rug... But as of right now I am paralysed as to what to do.

My best friend thinks maybe I am using the affair to avoid talking about the issue.
Quote 0 0
Intuition77
Serious issue first: Id be willing to bet she has boundary issues with her mother. Coming from someone who has a control freak as a mother. And it brings up an interesting dynamic I read about tensions in relationships so we extend it to a third party creating a triangle. So for example: wife has boundary issues with mother & has anger and resentment about that but feels she can't voice that, she brings husband into scenario to distribute the tensions and feelings.

Shortly before & exceedingly during his affair my husband seemed to have major issues with our oldest child not respecting him. In his mind. I didn't see it, our teen didn't. No one else did. He harped about it constantly and then started to bring me Into it as if we we're ganging up on him to disrespect him. Only this bothered me & when I tried to discuss it or figure it out he didn't have anything to really say. It was really minor things and because our oldest is a teenager, disrespect is kinda a thing you have to deal with. It was never anything outrageous or big mind you. Our kid is actually very respectful.

Really tiny slights he seemed to take personal when I tried to explain to him what it was really probably about (usually hormones, school anxiety, friends typical teen stuff-not him) he didn't want to hear it. After I read that about the triangles it occurred to me that shortly before this he was coming home from work angry about management he felt disrespecting him. And then he just stopped. So to me it made sense he didn't know how to establish boundaries at work without jeopardizing his job so he directed these feelings at our teen instead. He made it a triangle instead of dealing with the original emotions. Also as a side, it was I believe one of his "outs" during the affair. He painted me and our oldest as disrespecting him, being against him etc. I think that's why it escalated during the affair-we we're the villains. Because I tried to help him with his relationship being strained with our teen (he was making it that way by being really hard to get along with) by suggesting some ideas and he blew me off.

I think it's interesting to examine our relationships this way and see where we or someone else is creating a triangle. I'm guessing things like asking her mothers advice and not yours has MUCH more to do with the dynamic with her mother then you or something like her not wanting your advice.

Now, the cookie tins! I don't mean this to make light of your situation it's just sometimes I really do read all this stuff about marriage and the personal issues and how they figure in and think wow isn't it a miracle any marriage makes it at all! Because there's so much involved and we truly do live to our own perceptions which I was reminded by your above post because, & I couldn't believe this when I read your post,

I keep my tins in the attic because I only use them at Xmas too BUT! My husband once complained after having to bring down too much Xmas stuff from attic that why don't I just keep them in the cupboard and I thought at the time well that's just ridiculous!

Lol so it really is OUR own perceptions of what is "right" or the right way that works for us. We really can all be like small children who don't want to share! Your wife wants them in the cupboard so she knows where they are, but you don't because they get in the way. I want them in the attic so their not in my way but my husband wanted them in the cupboard so he didn't have to drag them down from the attic. Cookie tins will become my new metaphor for widening the lens in marriage/relationships! We each only see life from our own viewpoint.

I read something where someone (sorry no source) put it as let's say for years you have
A system where you fill your gas tank whenever it hits quarter tank. Then you get married & your spouses own system has always been fill it at half a tank. So your spouse is the one constantly filling the tank because their "right" way happens before yours & gets angry that you never do, only you did have a system /their system is just different and displaces yours. I think marriage is really just putting ourselves in someone else's shoes and being willing to understand them and compromise and communicate it clearly & honestly.
Quote 1 0
Kalmarjan
Intuition77 wrote:
Serious issue first: Id be willing to bet she has boundary issues with her mother. Coming from someone who has a control freak as a mother. And it brings up an interesting dynamic I read about tensions in relationships so we extend it to a third party creating a triangle. So for example: wife has boundary issues with mother & has anger and resentment about that but feels she can't voice that, she brings husband into scenario to distribute the tensions and feelings.

Shortly before & exceedingly during his affair my husband seemed to have major issues with our oldest child not respecting him. In his mind. I didn't see it, our teen didn't. No one else did. He harped about it constantly and then started to bring me Into it as if we we're ganging up on him to disrespect him. Only this bothered me & when I tried to discuss it or figure it out he didn't have anything to really say. It was really minor things and because our oldest is a teenager, disrespect is kinda a thing you have to deal with. It was never anything outrageous or big mind you. Our kid is actually very respectful.

Really tiny slights he seemed to take personal when I tried to explain to him what it was really probably about (usually hormones, school anxiety, friends typical teen stuff-not him) he didn't want to hear it. After I read that about the triangles it occurred to me that shortly before this he was coming home from work angry about management he felt disrespecting him. And then he just stopped. So to me it made sense he didn't know how to establish boundaries at work without jeopardizing his job so he directed these feelings at our teen instead. He made it a triangle instead of dealing with the original emotions. Also as a side, it was I believe one of his "outs" during the affair. He painted me and our oldest as disrespecting him, being against him etc. I think that's why it escalated during the affair-we we're the villains. Because I tried to help him with his relationship being strained with our teen (he was making it that way by being really hard to get along with) by suggesting some ideas and he blew me off.

I think it's interesting to examine our relationships this way and see where we or someone else is creating a triangle. I'm guessing things like asking her mothers advice and not yours has MUCH more to do with the dynamic with her mother then you or something like her not wanting your advice.

Now, the cookie tins! I don't mean this to make light of your situation it's just sometimes I really do read all this stuff about marriage and the personal issues and how they figure in and think wow isn't it a miracle any marriage makes it at all! Because there's so much involved and we truly do live to our own perceptions which I was reminded by your above post because, & I couldn't believe this when I read your post,

I keep my tins in the attic because I only use them at Xmas too BUT! My husband once complained after having to bring down too much Xmas stuff from attic that why don't I just keep them in the cupboard and I thought at the time well that's just ridiculous!

Lol so it really is OUR own perceptions of what is "right" or the right way that works for us. We really can all be like small children who don't want to share! Your wife wants them in the cupboard so she knows where they are, but you don't because they get in the way. I want them in the attic so their not in my way but my husband wanted them in the cupboard so he didn't have to drag them down from the attic. Cookie tins will become my new metaphor for widening the lens in marriage/relationships! We each only see life from our own viewpoint.

I read something where someone (sorry no source) put it as let's say for years you have
A system where you fill your gas tank whenever it hits quarter tank. Then you get married & your spouses own system has always been fill it at half a tank. So your spouse is the one constantly filling the tank because their "right" way happens before yours & gets angry that you never do, only you did have a system /their system is just different and displaces yours. I think marriage is really just putting ourselves in someone else's shoes and being willing to understand them and compromise and communicate it clearly & honestly.


Boundaries... You are right dead bang on. She even knows it too. I never saw it like that. My MIL is 10x worse when it comes to controlling where everything goes. I never saw a kitchen like hers LOL. I remember the first time I visited her and opened up the spice cupboard. Probably over 200 bottles of spices, many from the 70's. (this was 2001) I made the comment that hey, perhaps a lot of these had expired...and guess what, it took her three years to get rid of them (and only because she sold the house and moved towns and didn't want to pack all the stuff...)

Hell, I have boundary issues with my mother too, and I am working on it.

But, yes, if you mean something like... My wife will get frantic about my MIL coming over. The place will need to be clean, and I mean clean, because my wife doesn't want to hear her mother's offhand comments about the place not being up to spec.

Now I'm pretty sure my best fantasy woukd be for my wife and I to sit on the couch, and my MIL comes in. Sees hair on the floor from the animals... (we have 3 cats and 2 dogs) says something like offhand, one of those remarks that is "I'm not trying to tell you what to do but this hair is getting out of control" - and we would just sit on the couch, nod to the broom stick beside my MIL on the wall and laugh. "Well there is the broom, have at er!"

That's what I would love to see because seeing my wife go through that anxiety makes me mad, and I mean hey... My wife is an adult and should be treated as so.

I guess this is what people and books mean by healthy boundaries...

I see now about the cookie tins. Lol. I know that I like to control things too, and letting go of that time situation is part of it. Dwelling on it is too. To be honest, I don't like it because it doesn't make sense to me, but to be even more honest the cupboard itself is cluttered and that's the reason it bothers me. It's like the dark hole of Calcutta... There are things in the back of the cupboard (It's a pantry) that I don't even know exists.

My friends say I need to talk about this stuff, to get it out. This makes me uncomfortable because I feel like then I'm talking about everything, fighting about everything. I say fight because I think that's what it's going to end up as, because I don't yet have the skills to make it a healthy discussion.

So, I pick my battles, but then it seems like something stupid and small like cookie tins really aggravate me. When I look at the logic of it, THEY ARE FREAKING COOKIE TINS, WHO CARES?

And for your WH... I know that anything can be used as ammo for the resentment and the blame game. My son is still pretty young, and so I didn't get all that much disrespect from him. But I can see how your WS woukd use that as fodder for the "See??? This is why I am in this situation," because he is blaming you for your daughters actions and disrespect. I mean, not that his actions and choices causing immense pain in the family and putting your daughter in the position where she feels like she has to choose has anything to do with it...
Quote 0 0
Intuition77
Yes I recognized the mil situation because it's similar to mine. Your wife will have to decide she wants to sort out her boundary issues on her own but it's scary at first it does create conflict at first because the other person is used to the way it was & they push back big time. That's why I honestly wanted marriage counseling, not because I wanted someone else to tell him he was wrong (that's what he said it would be) but because I recognized we had too much history to look at things objectively and we needed a ref almost to be able to help us directly address issues and it's easier to see another side I think when it's an independent party suggesting it (just like here) when it's our spouse there's such history and it gets personal so fast.

I have to say I feel for your wife as I know that situation and it's unpleasant. Maybe she even sees parts of her mother in her own behaviors and hates that and that's why she gets stubbornly insistent about her "way"-because if she admits it's not important or it's her issue then she has to admit she's doing the same things that her own mother does that drive her crazy.

I also think when we have boundary issues we blur other peoples boundary responsibilities. For instance my husband believed I should always manage my mother and her issues, which I see now my only responsibility was to manage how they affect my life. Yet he would easily tell you he had no control over his own parents and didn't really have his own boundaries with how they affected his life. He expected me to control too much with my own mother yet didn't control even his own stuff with his own parents.

As far as our daughter he didn't really make her choose as sadly he just up and left and was quite awful about the kids. He still rarely sees them and takes no responsibility for anything concerning them. The disrespect issues we're there before dday I think it was his one of his justifications because he changed during the affair and weirdly he seemed to adopt new beliefs which I see now may have come from the AP although I get stuck there, like we're those beliefs always there and he lied to fit in with my beliefs or did he adopt hers? Like we always we're very serious about family time and our kids and what was best for them and he would discuss this on his own and how he was proud we modeled a good family for them and marriage etc. The AP did some things that showed me she was very selfish and did not put her kids first or their wellbeing. And suddenly he seemed to morph Into not caring about stability for the kids. Likewise we always agreed for the most part on discipline and how we talked to the kids and suddenly he was much stricter then he used to be to the point of being kind of mean and a tyrant. He went from being laid ack and friendly to mean and seemed to care little about the kids feelings. There we're many weird changes. For our entire marriage we talked of moving to the country to have land and we liked to garden, grow our own food and we're never very materialistic, he often said how he hated people like that. We we're in agreement about spending money on family and family time our future etc. Or at least he acted that way for years. During his affair we we're finally after years looking for a new home and apparently the affair began shortly after we started, when we discussed what we we're looking for we agreed. Enough space, a large yard, bigger family room-the basics. Talked of gardening, cookouts, family things. Within a few months he suddenly wanted huge homes without yards or land. Homes we couldn't even afford. He was suddenly obsessed with material things phones and gadgets and new TVS brand names etc. He even discussed apartments instead of a house because he said wouldn't no upkeep or yard be nice. And I played my part they wanted me to of course so he could be angry with me by being shocked and frustrated because of the sudden change in all our dreams and his opinions, which I now of course see had to do with AP. I learned from others she was very materialistic and oddly the same kind of woman he would often say he couldn't stand and felt sorry for men married to them. She lived in an apt. Where as we had been like an old fashion all American family she presented herself as a kardashian. Lol

So the changes in him we're many. And like I said I still struggle with was all the years with me a lie and that was his true self or was it the affair? Or did he have no opinions
Of his own and simply adopted the ones of whoever he was with? It's part of the fear an affair creates, what's the real them, do we really know, they could lie about anything. So to the WS it may be obvious some things we're their justification of the affair, the changes we're fantasy etc. But if you don't discuss it or your spouse doesn't feel safe they don't feel like they know you at all. They need to see concrete evidence of which you is the real you because they have no idea. Your really a stranger to them. They're afraid they never knew you and everything they thought they knew was just a facade.
Quote 0 0
TimT
Kalmarjan wrote:
...My best friend thinks maybe I am using the affair to avoid talking about the issue.
Maybe your best friend is right. It happens quite a bit: the WS becomes reluctant to speak up (or has a new justification for not doing so) because they believe they've lost the right to do so, or because they cannot see a way to be honest if it causes stress to an already-injured spouse.

At the beginning of a recovery process, soon after an affair has been made known, it's probably a wise move for a WS to avoid anything that sounds like criticism. There is too much exposed pain to expect a healthy response to anything critical. But there needs to be a move toward mutual honesty. Without it, resentment can take root. 

Some unfaithful spouses were never good at speaking honestly, even before the affair, so now it is doubly-difficult. But it is so important to do. What's the measure of what needs to be addressed? If you are aware that whatever you're not talking about keeps popping back up in your head or turns into (even minor) resentment, then failure to talk about it will hinder intimacy and trust.

Knowing what to say and when to say it is sometimes difficult.

My measure of a healthy, intimate relationship between two people can be described this way: A relationship in which both partners are committed to moving toward the other with love and truth.

Let me break it down this way...

1. "...moving toward..." In any moment of any encounter between two people, each person is moving in 1 of 3 directions in regard to the other: away (physically leaving or emotionally disconnecting), against (selfish pursuit, abuse, criticism, passive-aggressiveness, sarcasm, etc.) or toward (an attempt to connect).

2. "...with love..." I list this first because I think that in every encounter, your first foot forward should be love. What I mean is that, if you have a desire to grow in connection with your partner, before you express any "truth" you need to establish a caring context. You can do this by word, or expression, or action, or attitude. There are a thousand ways to do this. But before you express the honest thing, make sure you have clearly established the fact that you are a loving partner.

3. "...an truth." Some clients glory in the fact that they tell it like it is. But they don't realize the damage done by a straight-shooter who fails to lead with love. Truth outside of a loving context isn't usually well received. On the other hand, there are those who focus on being thoughtful, helpful, considerate, etc. but never risk saying what they are really thinking. When the truth gets stuffed down or swept into dark corners, it doesn't go away. It morphs into things like anger or depression. Or affairs.

So, K, don't know if it's time to speak truth yet, but eventually you need to find your voice in this. For your sake. For her sake, too. As long as you speak honestly within a context of love driven by a desire to be connected, you're making a choice that's good for the relationship. Your wife, of course, has a choice, too, in the way she responds. But even if she responds with defensiveness, stay the course. 

Healthy marriages can be recognized by two partners who have learned to trust the other's commitment to "moving toward with love and truth." Even when they fail to do this (and they often will), they know they're with someone who will get back on track as soon as the emotions settle down. When you know you can trust your spouse that way, it's awesome.
Quote 0 0
Kalmarjan
Intuition77 wrote:
Yes I recognized the mil situation because it's similar to mine. Your wife will have to decide she wants to sort out her boundary issues on her own but it's scary at first it does create conflict at first because the other person is used to the way it was & they push back big time. That's why I honestly wanted marriage counseling, not because I wanted someone else to tell him he was wrong (that's what he said it would be) but because I recognized we had too much history to look at things objectively and we needed a ref almost to be able to help us directly address issues and it's easier to see another side I think when it's an independent party suggesting it (just like here) when it's our spouse there's such history and it gets personal so fast.

I have to say I feel for your wife as I know that situation and it's unpleasant. Maybe she even sees parts of her mother in her own behaviors and hates that and that's why she gets stubbornly insistent about her "way"-because if she admits it's not important or it's her issue then she has to admit she's doing the same things that her own mother does that drive her crazy.

I also think when we have boundary issues we blur other peoples boundary responsibilities. For instance my husband believed I should always manage my mother and her issues, which I see now my only responsibility was to manage how they affect my life. Yet he would easily tell you he had no control over his own parents and didn't really have his own boundaries with how they affected his life. He expected me to control too much with my own mother yet didn't control even his own stuff with his own parents.

As far as our daughter he didn't really make her choose as sadly he just up and left and was quite awful about the kids. He still rarely sees them and takes no responsibility for anything concerning them. The disrespect issues we're there before dday I think it was his one of his justifications because he changed during the affair and weirdly he seemed to adopt new beliefs which I see now may have come from the AP although I get stuck there, like we're those beliefs always there and he lied to fit in with my beliefs or did he adopt hers? Like we always we're very serious about family time and our kids and what was best for them and he would discuss this on his own and how he was proud we modeled a good family for them and marriage etc. The AP did some things that showed me she was very selfish and did not put her kids first or their wellbeing. And suddenly he seemed to morph Into not caring about stability for the kids. Likewise we always agreed for the most part on discipline and how we talked to the kids and suddenly he was much stricter then he used to be to the point of being kind of mean and a tyrant. He went from being laid ack and friendly to mean and seemed to care little about the kids feelings. There we're many weird changes. For our entire marriage we talked of moving to the country to have land and we liked to garden, grow our own food and we're never very materialistic, he often said how he hated people like that. We we're in agreement about spending money on family and family time our future etc. Or at least he acted that way for years. During his affair we we're finally after years looking for a new home and apparently the affair began shortly after we started, when we discussed what we we're looking for we agreed. Enough space, a large yard, bigger family room-the basics. Talked of gardening, cookouts, family things. Within a few months he suddenly wanted huge homes without yards or land. Homes we couldn't even afford. He was suddenly obsessed with material things phones and gadgets and new TVS brand names etc. He even discussed apartments instead of a house because he said wouldn't no upkeep or yard be nice. And I played my part they wanted me to of course so he could be angry with me by being shocked and frustrated because of the sudden change in all our dreams and his opinions, which I now of course see had to do with AP. I learned from others she was very materialistic and oddly the same kind of woman he would often say he couldn't stand and felt sorry for men married to them. She lived in an apt. Where as we had been like an old fashion all American family she presented herself as a kardashian. Lol

So the changes in him we're many. And like I said I still struggle with was all the years with me a lie and that was his true self or was it the affair? Or did he have no opinions
Of his own and simply adopted the ones of whoever he was with? It's part of the fear an affair creates, what's the real them, do we really know, they could lie about anything. So to the WS it may be obvious some things we're their justification of the affair, the changes we're fantasy etc. But if you don't discuss it or your spouse doesn't feel safe they don't feel like they know you at all. They need to see concrete evidence of which you is the real you because they have no idea. Your really a stranger to them. They're afraid they never knew you and everything they thought they knew was just a facade.


Are you plagiarizing my life story? LOL it feels like you are...

Here's the thing. I can totally see what your WH did, and why.

You get wrapped up in the affair, and you are trying to make the best of a situation that is completely out of control. I believe a lot of affairs for people like me are rooted in a failure to set boundaries period.

I have seen other AP on shows and blogs, and their mindset is... Startling. How could that be even remotely acceptable?

But I was in it. There were a lot of things that I changed..

Except when it came to my son. I think that it was because deep down, I REFUSED to have a 23 year old tell me how I should raise my son, seeing as how she never had to go through all the pains to have a child, spent nights up with him. She babysat for a living for a while and did nothing but complain about what she did in her job and how much she hated the kid.

In the end, my son brought me back to the light. Lol

But, getting back to it. I can see how maybe your WH feels that he has to do all the right things, and change up his life strategy so he can continue to get what he wants from the AP. I am willing to bet dollars to do nuts that it's all to do with sex. The more he conforms, the more he gets. He maybe feels that if she doesn't approve on how he is raising his child, he won't get any...

And you know what? My AP pulled all sorts of crap. Like, pissed because it's past 9PM and my son isn't asleep in bed yet because it's encroaching on "our time." Never mind that I only got to see my boy Tues and Wed night. After school. After daycare. That's a grand total of 3-4 hours a night, Grand total of maybe 10 hours a week. And she had a problem with it cutting into "our time?"

Worse, she would complain about how he ate, how he talked, whether he called me "Dada", if I was babying him, whether I had to be in the bathroom with him while he was taking a bath. (He was seven!) or that he disrespected her. Seriously... She felt disrespect from a 7 year old.

So, this may be what your WH is going through. He has changed, but more likely because he is trying to keep his AP happy, or to stop her griping. Cause in the AP mind, I'm sure she sees that your daughter is an extension of you.

This is also one of the main things that woke me up. I realized that it would NEVER be okay with my AP, or her family for that matter..., about my son. How could I raise him in an environment where he didn't feel welcome?

See, this is where now I look back and I feel it's a sad, sad comedy. A real dark one, but sad. If I hadn't have woken up, I would have seriously ruined my entire life on the fantasy of sex with someone who would have been at best superficial compared to the real star of my life... My wife.

And I know that it hurts the AP to hear this, but WTF did she expect? She got involved with a married man. How could she ever compete? At the risk of sounding sexiste, all beauty and youth fades. It's like. Look at a fireman. They are all abs, muscles and stuff when they are young. Look at them close to retirement... Lol. If you are going in for the looks and that alone.

It's funny... I once had a collègue tell me... I started dating this girl (his girlfriend) and she swore up and down she would not be like my ex wife. She was right, she's worse!

Ha, reading that and writing it makes me feel so stupid, as if I'm reading and laughing at a fools actions. They were mine. At least I learned something from it.

But, all in all, I understand why your husband seemed to change. I hope you understand a bit too. He is probably not even realizing that he had things so much easier with you, or better yet he does, but now he is stuck with his decision and probably doesn't see a way out, or one where he can save face. I know, because I used to be there.
Quote 0 0
Intuition77
Well your post helped me see his side some
More. Although his AP dumped him shortly after dday, strung him along and kept calling him to piss me Off and make it so he wouldn't work at his marriage but dumped him. So she was never involved with our kids at all. I don't think she wanted him like yours wanted you to herself. She was not married, had a boyfriend and my husband had talked about her years before because the rumors we're she was screwing various married guys at work. He called her a whore and complained about her constantly because she apparently sucked at her job.

So she knew she was using him I believe. I think for her it was all a game and ego boost. So she was never around our kids although I think she was feeding him "advice" after dday. And inviting him over knowing he was avoiding seeing his children and how upset they we're which is just sick to me. What woman sees that as a "good catch"? Esp when she's a mother herself. She was inviting him to her house for sex while her own children we're there , who we're well aware mommy had a different boyfriend. That's sick to me. That's a whore.

He actually has a new AP now. A different woman "friend" from work (funny how pre affair he had no female friends) who started calling him immediately after to check on him and see if he was ok. Yeah right. She also apparently had been with married men and went after him to stroke his ego and even after the affair and learning how he let it in and how he had no boundaries he let her in too. He actually did the EXACT same thing again. This one definitely chased him & I think for him it's a comfort to drown his sorrows in. He feels so lousy that he desperately wants someone telling him he's good and nice and desirable etc.


He started calling her when he was drinking, would blame drinking, then it progressed to when he wasn't drinking. Someone to stroke his ego and make him feel good temporarily just like the first. But clearly he doesn't want to actually address his problems or life and he's selfish enough to want that comfort while it hurt me instead of wanting to man up and fix what he did. It's weird. He will say I wouldn't like you having relationships like that it's wrong. Then 2 days later call her again. Then make excuses for why it's ok and "just friends". Then go back to admitting its wrong and cheating. Then back again.

It's another affair. In fact he told this one this is wrong it bothers my wife (no personal responsibility if you notice) don't call me anymore I'm trying to fix things with my wife. She immediately kept calling saying but we're just friends, I'm here for you because I care about you, I miss talking to you etc and I'm
Pretty sure had plenty to say about me and Within a week he was talking to her again. Which weirdly is apparently what the first one did too whenever he would seem
Confused or think they needed to quit talking she TOLD him it was ok, I was over reacting, even after dday they could stay friends and stuff. Which is weird because if he thought I was controlling for caring about my feelings, our marriage and family then why random
Women telling him what to do and what is ok and not is not controlling to him? It's like he doesn't want to think for himself. Or their versions make him not a bad guy.

The new one is the one he took To the movies on our anniversary. That was when I was really just like enough is enough. You don't want this marriage or me if you would continue such behaviors and keep hurting me and violating our marriage. It's done for me. I won't interfere or compete this time. Let her have him and she'll get the broken selfish unhealthy man she deserves for chasing married men. And he'll get what he deserves a woman who doesn't respect marriage or other people. I'm completely taken myself out of the picture which is what I should have done the first time and saved myself time and more heartache. No one who changes and wants to save their marriage engages in such behavior particularly AFTER having one affair.
Quote 0 0
Kalmarjan
So, 

I am all muddled by all of this I don't know how to do this, and some days I feel like just throwing in the towel.

So, today I make sure that I take care of my son, make dinner, and have the kitchen all clean. One of my wife's biggest pet peeves is that there would be any dishes on the counter or that things would be messy.

So, I like to brew iced green tea. I use two jugs. First for the brewing, and the second to strain the leaves out. I did this, and made sure that they were clean.

So, my wife gets in today, and she is all looking at the kitchen, reheating her food... and then she makes this offhand comment about how the two jugs, she can't understand why they need to be left of the counter and not put away, and the lids are not with them etc. 

So, this is a classic passive aggressive move on her part. I decide, okay, it's time to communicate. 

I tell her that it was me, and that they were there because they were drying. 

So, it erupts. 

I am not really sure what was said, but I stuck to the basics... First, I let her know that I had done all the dishes and left the kitchen in a state that I figured she would be happy with - based on what she told me before.. 

She maintains that no matter what, I should have put the jugs away. In the end, it's probably that she doesn't likke me making the ice tea or something, but I also told her that there are things that she needs to let go. I don't like the constant belittling because while I did all the dishes and made the kitchen clean, she is making it out like I am not doing my part because of some OCD thing. 

So, back and forth. It isn't changing anythign, it always comes back to "If you put the jugs in the cupboard where they belong then this won't happen."


I again just say look, this isn't a big deal. I'm not gonna fight about this, and you know what? You will need to deal if they are there again, because it's a normal thing. Not everything needs to be her way. 

Again, I get the you don't care what I think, etc.. I again explained that I feel like what I am doing is minimized because it's not done her way. 

Look, I don't really care about the jugs. It's not that... its the constant controlling and refusal to bend. It has to be her way or I will hear about it. Before I just did things to make it so I didn't hear that, but look where that got me. Resentment. 

I left the conversation by saying, "Look, I not going to fight about something like this that is so trivial. When you can talk to me without insisting on control, then we can talk, but until then I would appreciate it if you took into account my feelings when you announce to the world your frustration with where the juice jugs are located, when you know damn well that it was me that washed them and put them there."

I am now just being silent. She yelled back at me that I was childish, and immature.

See, I will tell you this... I regret having my affair for this most of all... because this wasn't fixed by it, and made things worse. I don't know how to proceed in respect to not losing myself and at the same time move forward in healing...
Quote 0 0
TimT
Kalmarjan wrote:
I am now just being silent. She yelled back at me that I was childish, and immature. See, I will tell you this... I regret having my affair for this most of all... because this wasn't fixed by it, and made things worse. I don't know how to proceed in respect to not losing myself and at the same time move forward in healing...
It reminds me a little bit of the frustration expressed by Branded in another post. You know it's not really about the jugs, right? Early in your marriage, you could have left jugs on the floor and it wouldn't have evoked that kind of response. 

You'll have to accept bouts of anger for a while, but if you are both committed to healing/restoration (yes, she has responsibility in this as well), it should diminish over time. If not, then she may need some help learning how to get to a healthy place herself. If the conversations can get past the anger to the deeper stuff going on (fear, sense of powerlessness, thwarted expectations, shame, pain, etc.), then it opens the door for you to give relief/comfort. But that requires her to be vulnerable with you. (Before the affair, was it easy for her to be vulnerable with you?)
Quote 0 0
Kalmarjan
TimT wrote:
Kalmarjan wrote:
I am now just being silent. She yelled back at me that I was childish, and immature. See, I will tell you this... I regret having my affair for this most of all... because this wasn't fixed by it, and made things worse. I don't know how to proceed in respect to not losing myself and at the same time move forward in healing...
It reminds me a little bit of the frustration expressed by Branded in another post. You know it's not really about the jugs, right? Early in your marriage, you could have left jugs on the floor and it wouldn't have evoked that kind of response. 

You'll have to accept bouts of anger for a while, but if you are both committed to healing/restoration (yes, she has responsibility in this as well), it should diminish over time. If not, then she may need some help learning how to get to a healthy place herself. If the conversations can get past the anger to the deeper stuff going on (fear, sense of powerlessness, thwarted expectations, shame, pain, etc.), then it opens the door for you to give relief/comfort. But that requires her to be vulnerable with you. (Before the affair, was it easy for her to be vulnerable with you?)


I wish it were that easy. No, I have always had to deal with her control issues. The reason the jugs situation bothered me is because it is returning to w the way things used to be.

The truth of it is, if I had put the jugs in the right place, then it woukd have been something else that would set her off. I think it's because she is frustrated because she sees me doing things that make her batty. For instance, she doesn't drink the tea, and doesn't really understand why I do it, so it annoys her. Or the fact that I use three jugs to do it.

My wife has never been very good at expressing emotions. The control from her end has to do with how she dealt with things growing up in an environment that was not pretty. A lot of yelling, anger, sometimes violence. So, I think it's kind of like concentration camp syndrome. Put everything in its place, and it will. Be magicalaly alright.

From her end, what I took away from it was a refusal to see what it's about from my side. She kept saying just put them away properly and there won't be an issue. Control. Magic.

In the end we both have to live together and get through this. I will provide her comfort, and I will show her in my actions that I am sensitive to her needs in healing.

But make no. Mistake. I was a doormat for years, and I harboured a lot of resentment about it, and I made a stupid decision to have an affair. But now I also know what got me to door #1,and that was a refusal to deal with all the abuse from her part. (In the end, this is a form. Of abuse. Name calling, control, Withholding love) I will make reparations for what I did, but I won't be a door mat anymore.

The problem I have is that I am still learning to deal with conflict in a manner that will get results without resorting to name calling or defensive actions.

Last night after I wrote this piece, my wife was fighting with her iPhone and computer. She was asking me about it, but yelling at me. I simply told her that I didn't know (and that is why I switched from iPhone 3 years ago...) I asked her to stop. Yelling at me. She wouldnt quit, so I told her I was going to have a bath.

After an hour, she was drill fighting, still. Yelling. So, I repeated again that I can't help her if she is yelling at me.

I went to sleep, and she huffed and sighed and hawed... And turned off all the lights. Went to sleep too, but snuggled right up against me.

Tim, I've been doing a lot of work on inner and outer child. I don't blame my wife for her actions. Honestly, she was ALWAYS this way. It's just worse now because of what I did. So, I'm in a weird position. I know what I am dealing with, but for the first time ever I'm getting help dealing with it.

I don't want to walk away, because like I said, I love my wife, and that is why I am here.

On the other hand, if it were to continue like this and she would show no sign of wanting to change or having her way all the time... Honestly I don't think I could live like that.

But, she knows she has work to do. There is one silver lining in this mess that I made, and that's she has figured out that she has some things to work on too. She has done a lot of work already. Our marriage counselling showed her about her control issues...
Quote 0 0
TimT
Kalmarjan wrote:
...But, she knows she has work to do. There is one silver lining in this mess that I made, and that's she has figured out that she has some things to work on too.
THAT is the key, and I'm glad to hear it. Some betrayed spouses use the affair as an excuse to never address their own issues.

I'm glad you're finding your voice, Kal. Your willingness to risk honesty is important for you and for your marriage. It's great that you have some insight into what drives her behavior. Hopefully, she recognizes that, too. But all the insight in the world doesn't change behavior. She probably has some hard work to do, but it will be worth it!

A good counselor would help. Brene Brown's book The Gifts of Imperfection, would be a good read for her, too.
Quote 0 0
Kalmarjan
Thank you Tim,

I shall have a look at the book. LOL Add it to my reading list!
Quote 0 0