Getting shot as the messenger - ideas?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-23-2004
Getting shot as the messenger - ideas?
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Wed, 06-02-2004 - 3:32pm
I need your opinions/advice on how to approach this. My new DH thinks that I'm more easily upset about things because I bring up more issues. I got a feeling that he had been thinking this way, that's why I posted a topic if women have more problems than men because women bring up more issues.

The problem is he doesn't think that this is a typical characteristics of women/men, he thinks that I DON'T let many things go, things that in his mind are not important. I think this is because he and his ex-wife almost never brought up ANY problems between them, which he admitted to be a big problem that led to her affairs and their divorce.

I tried to explain to him several times that just because the problems are not brought up/discussed, doesn't mean they don't exist. Since I'm more proactive and more in touch with my feelings than he is, I naturally bring up problems more often. He said he understands, but I still feel that he's being resentful because I bring up more problems. He said he's becoming desensitized by the frequency of the problems. Nowadays, we had a small argument every couple weeks, is that often? It's not like I plan to create problems, it just happens, you know what I mean? He makes me feel that I'm not as good of a person he is because I can't "let more things go" (which is not true, because I never complained/get upset when he doesn't wash dishes, help clean, leave dirty clothes around the house, etc.)

Any advices/similar experiences? I appreciate your comments! Thanks.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 06-02-2004 - 4:13pm

I do want to answer you, but I am heading out the door.

PAMELA

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2003
Thu, 06-03-2004 - 7:51am
I think it is pretty normal for the woman to be the one to bring things up, because this is how we best deal with things--talking about them. Men tend to focus on one thing at a time, while we are thinking about lots of things all the time. A book I thought that addresses this well is Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus, by John Gray. A woman's need to talk is also addressed in His Needs, Her Needs by Willard Harley. Sometimes men don't understand that it just helps for us to talk about something and feel like they want to understand how we feel. It doesn't mean they need to change things or fix things, we just need to feel heard. However, I also think a lot of men think the way your DH does; they think only unhappy women want to talk about problems. It's being able to talk about them that help us feel better!
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 06-03-2004 - 9:33am

Ok.

PAMELA

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-23-2004
Thu, 06-03-2004 - 1:28pm
Thanks. You're right, I remember that he told me that I must be very unhappy with him to come up with so many issues, and he wondered why I bothered to still be with him. I'll try to explain the way you explain it, I think it's very good, and I hope if I explain enough times, it'll start to sink in ;-)
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-23-2004
Thu, 06-03-2004 - 2:23pm
I do agree that we need to be responsible for our own happiness, our own feelings, no one can change them but us. One of the things that we discovered during our counseling session was that in general, I share my feelings with DH with little expectation for him to change, while DH feels that I want him to change. I'm merely letting him know that when he does A, I feel B, I understand that I need to take care of my own feelings, although at the same time, I think it's fair to let him know that certain things bothers me (and give him the opportunity to change if he CHOOSES to.) I certainly want to know if there are things I do that bother him, because sometimes it's a habit that I never thought could bother anyone. In one of the books that my counsellor recommends, by Barbach and Geisinger, it recommends that each partner focuses on fulfilling the wants and needs of the other partner without expecting anything back. In order to do this, you need to communicate your wants and needs, some are obvious, some require explanations. These should serve as data points for each partner to do things that would make a positive impact if/when they choose to please their partner.

Having said that, I'm open to new ideas :-), so, I'm curious, does your book discourage sharing your feelings with your partner then? I need to share my thoughts and feelings with my partner in order to feel close. I don't complain about things that a lot of couples fight about (chores, money, kids, etc.), I complain about lack of attention/affection, things that matter to the relationship itself, and even this, I don't think it's frequent (is once every two-three weeks a lot?).

Thanks. It feels good just to let it out of my chest :-)

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-18-2003
Thu, 06-03-2004 - 4:06pm

No, it certainly doesn't discourage that at all.

Pam

The choices we make in thought, word and deed inevitably return to us in kind.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-30-2003
Thu, 06-03-2004 - 8:38pm

Are you my twin? I think we said we were, right? My BF said this same thing to me a few months ago. That I must be so unhappy cuz I'm bringing things up. As with him and HIS xw, they never talked, and yup, she too cheated on him. BTW my BF is very laid back, so few things bother him. And if he mentions it, you KNOW it has to be serious.


That said, this is what I told him, the stubborn man he is.


I said, "I can be like you and let things go all the time and fake this. I can be me and bring up things that TRULY bother me, but try not to repeatedly bring up the same issues. Unless you're the cause of them. I realize I can only do so much in regards to my feelings, but when you hurt them, I hurt. I will try to be XYZ or ABC, in order to NOT feel so hurt, but you need to work on it too. (in re to ABC/XYZ, I was being overly sensitive one day, and acting stupid, but he was also acting dumb too, I just overreacted, and I dno't know what your "issues" are, so it could be diff from mine)."


He nodded his head and said he'd try to help me not feel so hurt, which




my pet!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-23-2004
Fri, 06-04-2004 - 5:56pm
Hutch ...LOL,

I think we're on the same page. Here's the book that I mentioned earlier by Barbach and Geisinger, "Going the Distance: Finding & Keeping Lifelong Love". Lots of no-nonsense practical, easy to read advice/observations. This is where I read that when you focus on your partner's happiness and well-being, you fulfill your own (something like that).

btw, that John Gray book? I don't really like it either because it focuses too much on differences. My counsellor despised it! and you know what... you'll get a kick out of this one ... this is true, btw: the John Gray got his "PhD" mail-order!! LOL, so much for credibility!!

Thanks to you and all who respond. This board has kept me sane, I tried not to overwhelm DH by sharing "too much" (in his book, anyway), but I still need to get it out of my system in a somewhat healthy way and this board is my savior. :-)



iVillage Member
Registered: 03-23-2004
Fri, 06-04-2004 - 7:08pm
Yep, we're twins!! LOL. I'd have a heart attack if your BF's name is Dave, too. Reading through your message makes me think that we're the same people living in parallel universe. My DH is also VERY VERY laid back on EVERYTHING! He is very lucky that he's surrounded by good friends and families who protect him from people (like his xw) who are trying to take advantage of him.

We had had several similar conversations, me confronting him that if he wanted his old marriage back, I'm not the right person for him, he should go back to his xw: little communication (thus, little fighting), no intimacy, being cheated on and no sex (ha, I think the latter really touched his hot button ... lol). Each time he assured me that he'd always choose me, even before we had met, he had already made the decision that he did not want to be in that kind marriage and definitely not going back to his xw.

Well, then, I said, I hope you (he) realizes these: a) no one can reach and maintain spiritual intimacy without good communication, and most women, like myself, need spiritual intimacy for physical intimacy, b) conflicts will and do happen, especially when 2 people just start to live together. Last year we went through a lot: my divorce, his divorce, we bought a new house, moved in together, him adjusting to my preschooler, me getting disowned by my family, meeting his family, ... heck, we need to pat ourselves on the back for not only still together but still being in love with each other!

My issue mostly revolves around his very laid back (translate: major procrastination!!) style. This was the very reason why he didn't go through the divorce process a lot sooner, lots of pain and paperwork. I'm on the extreme opposite of the spectrum, so you can imagine what sort of problems arise ;-). But having read several relationship books, I was the one who made a conscious decision to make the change in me, instead of trying to get him to change. I try not to interpret his non-action, like procrast. on selling his house (his xw will get half of it), etc., as a symptom that he's not fully committed to our r'ship and want to have an exit when needed. I'm still struggling with these thoughts, but I'm making lots of progress. This is what they mean by unconditional love :-).

Still, like your BF, he said that he couldn't understand why I don't let things go as much as he does. He said that there are many things that I shouldn't have brought up because they are not important. I said they may not be important to you, but they are to me, and some small problems could potentially lead to bigger ones. After saying that, I told him that this is my nature and I would be a different person even if I could change, if he can't accept who I really am, we don't have a future together.

Isn't it funny that these basic concepts could be so complicated? Accepting unconditionally, etc. LOL. I read somewhere that in r'ship, self-preservation could actually harm the r'ship.

Have a great weekend, twin-sis! Many hugs :-) and THANK YOU for sharing and advice ;-)

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-30-2003
Mon, 06-07-2004 - 6:09pm

If anything this is one thing I learned. You cannot do it all yourself. So, make sure he puts his effort into understanding you.


I talked with my bf and well, he knows I have to talk, and that I can't wait around forever to talk. He realizes that I have to get things off my chest, even if I give him time to think about it later. And sometimes, I can't give him time. He knows this and he works with me. Gratned, I'm sure there are days he gets frustrated, but ditto on my side.


I refuse to change myself to adapt to him, we're both in it, so same goes to you. Remember that. You can only change so much about you, before you break.


Good luck, and no, my bf's name isn't Dave. =)


BTW, good for you for keeping a level head and reminding yourself that non-action doesn't mean he feels less for you. Granted, that's hard, but I can totally relate. lol


Also, we're total opposites. Like you and your guy. lol. I'm on the other side of the spectrum on most of things with him. Although, thank god, he's not a procrastinator, cuz I am to a point. lol. But I know I would've gotten out of that house just to be rid of the x. lol. But, he's so laid back he could careless about making plans and stuff with me or his friends. Even when his friends flake, he doesn't care. For me, that drives me nuts. I'm a planner. lol. So, trust me, we have had to learn to find that middle ground. That's the mantra of our r'ship. Find the middle ground so we can live peacefully. lol.


Good luck. If I can help in any way, let me know.

~Cher
5




my pet!

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