Need relationship advise

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-06-2010
Need relationship advise
7
Wed, 10-06-2010 - 11:28am

I recently got married to a man 10 years older than me (he is 50). I have known him for the past three years. I have two small children 8 and 10 and one in college who is 20. This is my second marriage after 18 years and his 3rd marriage after his second for 18 years. We recently got into a big argument about him telling me or saying the words about fine and good looking girls at a place he went. I got really angry since he says things like this randomly and I don't like to hear it. He then proceeds to shut me out and say I tell him he is worthless, he's no good, etc. I have NEVER told him that. I love him to death and we never have words toward each other. He seems to me he has a problem not communicating and sharing his feelings. He take all of this like he has done everything bad to me and I think this was some of the same issues he had in his last marriage. I'm an open honest woman and very strong. I don't yell or anything but I do and am direct when I am upset or he's hurt my feelings. Now I'm scared to tell him anything. It seems when I say anything about him, he takes it like I'm telling him all his bad traits and I'm not. What and how should I handle this man? I know I'm not perfect but I don't want to be shut out from what my issues are with him. I thought communicating is good and now I'm having second thoughts. Any suggestions?

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-06-2009
Sat, 10-09-2010 - 4:31pm

Avatar for mhash
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sat, 10-09-2010 - 4:02am

I'll be interested in hearing the outcome for I suspect nothing will change.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-2001
Thu, 10-07-2010 - 12:36am

I'm glad you found it helpful. Let me know how it goes.


~ cl-2nd_life

cl-2nd_
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-06-2010
Wed, 10-06-2010 - 2:18pm

This makes goode sense and thank you for sharing. I will try your suggestions on the approach when not angry and see if it allows me and him to communicate better without him feeling defensive.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-2001
Wed, 10-06-2010 - 12:27pm
Ok, the first thing you've got to recognize is that you're dealing with two problems -- 1. Talking about women and 2. Communication/problems resolution. You'll have to deal with these two issues separately in order to resolve anything at all. First you'll have to deal with the communication/ problem resolution issue, then you can discuss the talking about women issue. Does that make sense? Also, when you begin talking about the woman issue, you'll need to stay focused on that issue alone, branching off onto other issues and problems will bury the issue at hand, stir up a lot of problems and resolve nothing. If problems don't start getting resolved, eventually you'll have a pile of problems that's too big for your relationship to handle.

When you bring up the communication issue, it's important to do it at a time when there aren't any problems at hand; when things are good and easy. I know it's hard to bring up difficult issues when things are good -- who wants to spoil a good thing! - but, if you bring things up when there are problems or tension already, you're guaranteed to fail, you'll be met with anger and defense and get nowhere. I've had good luck approach this very thing by telling my husband that I was concerned about the way we handled problems and issues, that I was concerned because nothing was getting resolved and problems were building up. I told him we could continue to deal with things the way we were but that I feared eventually it would cause us to fail and I didn't want that. From there I gained his assistance in changing how we dealt with problems. Understand that even if you gain his agreement it's going to be a process, its' uncomfortable to change how you normally deal with things, change doesn't come easily and he won't be perfect. Here is a list of therapist-approved articles on constructive arguing that should set some good ground rules as well as hints for better ways to approach an issue that will help you get the positive results you're looking for.

Ten Rules For Fair Fighting
Verbal Fencing With Someone You Love
Dos and Don'ts For Fair Fighting
Conflicts - Points to Remember
Managing Anger, Conflict & Tension

If he's unwilling, or if you don't feel the two of you are making progress on your own, I suggest seeing a couples counselor to help you work through your issues and learn better tools to communicate and resolve issues. Be sure any couples counselor you see is licensed/accredited in couples counseling. Some counselors/therapists licensed for individual therapy only offer to couples counseling as a "service". The problem is, as counseling couples is very different and requires a completely different technique, those unqualified counselors and therapists may be well meaning, but they end up doing more damage to the relationships they're offering to help. Be sure to ask. No matter what you're told, if they don't have the license/accreditation, they're not qualified.

Here’s a partial list to help get you started:

Find a Therapist

Marriage and Family Therapist Locator

Once you've gotten your communication working better, when you approach the talking about women issue, do it in a manner of , "I feel hurt when you say those things"..."I feel disrespected when you say those things"..., always lead with an "I" statement, never a "you" statement. "You statements are sure to leave him feeling attacked and he will go into defense mode rather than listening, caring mode. If he has trouble understanding why this bothers you, you might ask him how he'd feel if you talked to him about attractive men you see. I'll be honest and tell you that it's possible it wouldn't bother him for you to talk that way, it doesn't bother me for my husband to comment on a beautiful woman. But, the bottom line is, if he knows it hurts you he should want to stop, he shouldn't want to continue to hurt you.

What do you think?


~ cl-2nd_life

cl-2nd_
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-06-2010
Wed, 10-06-2010 - 12:03pm

The communication issue is not new. We've had this happen a couple of times within the past year. It wasn't resolved (I don't think) in the past. He always seems to slide it under the rug, go to bed and not talk any more and acts like nothing has happened but will bring it up the next time.

He speaks of other women as being "she's beautiful, she's fine, she's a good person" all the time like it's a habit. I've told him and asked "What about me?, I feel like I'm campared to all others (women and ex's)...I respect him enough never to say my ex is fine or a good person. I just don't think that is right and I have a problem with him always saying this to me. Maybe I'm a little jealous of the fact he states these words like it's common and I don't take it like that.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-2001
Wed, 10-06-2010 - 11:51am

Welcome to the board, Tbrimerfrey4 ~

I'm sorry you're struggling with this. I have a few questions that will help me understand the situation better and will help me give you better answers:


~ cl-2nd_life

cl-2nd_