Can't find the slot!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Can't find the slot!
7
Mon, 06-02-2003 - 8:52am
My wife and I were separated four months. To cut a very long story short I was really hard to live with. Some childhood abuse legacies left me being really hard to please and was something of a control freak, not to the jealous stage but in most other ways. I have realised my error and have been through intensive therapy to address them. We got back 'together' around three to four weeks ago. When we talked at the begining we said we should take things slowly. I shouldn't move back in yet and for now don't let anyone know that we're an item again.

At first this was fine. Felt like a fantasy, almost like how those in an affair would act. In public we would behave as tho apart, in private we be 'us' again. However there is becomming less and less time for 'us'.

Last night, at around 2am we talked. There was no other suitable time. We have two kids so can't talk about this stuff when they're there.

I explained that I still agree we should take things slowly but felt frustrated by the apparent lack of time for 'us'. How can we build if we don't get time? My wife got annoyed and said she felt like I was pressuring her to make big changes despite our agreement.

How can I convey to her that I am simply asking for us to try and make more time within our routines. She said we should stick to our routines developed when we where separated and try to slot us into that where possible. Problem is when we were separated, there were no slots.

I am so scared of loosing her again. She feels like we're moving too fast because I stayed over a few nights recently. I accept that, however she gave me no indication that this was a problem.

Any advice would be welcome. I know we need to take things slowly, but I don't see how we can develop again unless there is time and freedom to do so.

Thanks for listening.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-22-2003
Mon, 06-02-2003 - 9:15am
You need to take it slow, like she said. Trust me, if you push, she back off. Be her friend, and be patient. You'll be glad you did, in the end. Best of luck to you. I hope that you have really sorted out your own issues. She seems as though she doesn't need to be hurt again. Treat her good. Like a princess! If you can't, someone else will. You don't want that, right? Be her best friend for now. Let her make the next move. She will, if you're worth it!
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-2003
Mon, 06-02-2003 - 9:47am
Dear Frank:

By your own admission you're a control freak, which messed up your marriage before. You're in therapy to deal with these issues: GOOD!

Put that therapy to work by not attempting to control how your reconciliation takes place. Just because you're ready and willing right NOW doesn't mean she is; you've acknowleged your problems, but remember that she had to live with you for YEARS.

When a relationship develops in negative ways it often happens much in the same way as people gain weight. Little by little, over time, by not paying attention. Then, one day, a person wakes up 50 pounds heavier, and completely out of shape. That person is you. Your marriage went to pot because of actions you did/didn't take, and it probably took years for that to happen.

You want that weight off NOW, but PUSHING it is like going on a crash diet. You need to prove to your wife over time that you are NOT the person you were.

Nagging, cajoling, pressuring, or wheedling her into accepting you fully again and getting back together completely will just prove to her you're still that same old control freak.

Good luck!

Saucygirl

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 06-02-2003 - 10:56am
I've read every post you've written since you've been here, and every one has been along the lines of...my wife says she wants or needs *this*...how can I get around that, get her do it my way and get what I want? You really refuse to just accept what she wants and needs and take the pressure off of her to get what you want. If she says she needs a period of time without contact from you, you don't accept it, instead you work that whole time to find ways to push and manipulate to change things to what you want. Do you ever simply accept what she wants and needs and let it be without trying to change it to get what you want? I have the feeling that you agreed to her to see her a little and you pushed and pressured her to see you a lot. You spent the nights, and were probably pushing to spend more. She has NOW indicated that that's a problem and it's going too fast for her and she just wants to see you a little and take it slowly. Yet here you are trying to figure out ways to ignore her wants and needs again and manipulate your way around it. She obviously will see you some, so there are "slots". You don't see how you can develop and rebuild unless there is time and freedom to do so. It sounds like she IS giving you some time. Just not as much time as you want. If you agreed to see her a little and take it slow, then pushed it to more than you agreed to and she was ready for, then she is right to back it down to less time. You weren't respecting her limits. The most of important part of rebuilding in a situation with a control freak is her being able to see that you can respect and accept her limits, and her wants and her needs instead of bulldozing and manipulating and pushing your way past them. That just shows her that you're still an "I want what I want and I want it now - regardless of the cost to you" kind of person. If you can't learn to get beyond that childish mentality and be able to respect her needs, you will surely lose her. You have already conveyed to her that you're simply asking for more time. She has responded that she is not ready to give it. You need to learn to accept that instead of keeping the pressure on her and driving her further away. If you can learn to accept and respect others wants and needs, you will have a better chance of drawing them to you. If you can't, you will always eventually drive people away. I hope you will continue your work on your control freak ways, you're still very controlling. There are men's groups in just about every county that work with men to help them learn to become less controlling, they're sometimes called batterer's programs, but you don't have to have battered to join one. They welcome any man who is interested in learning to become healthier and give up their controlling ways.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Tue, 06-03-2003 - 4:39am
First of all I would like to say thank you for taking the time to reply to my post. I have read your replies and am grateful. A lot of what you say regarding my needing to respect her wants and needs more is very true. Something that I will continue to work on.

However I would like to make a few points. It is very difficult to only be in my marriage when it suits my wife. One minute she cannot get enough of me, then I overstay my welcome and she wants to cool things off. I have been living like this for six months now. I do not feel that I can talk to her about how I feel because I fear that she is so vulnerable that she will panic and call things off between us again. I wake up every day wondering if today will be the day I get the phonecall.

I apologise for the obvious perception that I have given here regarding my behaviour.

Avatar for drshoshanna
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 06-03-2003 - 11:49am
)Perhaps staying over night at this early point in your relationship was too much - and she became afraid. Give her the time and space she needs. Sit down together and create boundaries and time together that feels appropriate and manageable for both of you. Make dates. Get together for dinner or movies, or whtaever at pre-arranged plans. This will allow her to feel safe and structured, as if her whole life is not being taken over again. Enjoy the dates..and also enjoy the time apart. Taking things slow means that. You must be careful not to want to control things again. If you are mutually respectful and arrange time that feels okay for each of you, then the time available together will develop naturally on its own. Talking at 2 in the morning sounds difficult, especially when there are young children to raise. Plan times to connect (even if for a few moments on the phone, or through email), when both of you do not feel too pressured. This is a time management issue right now. Have her take the lead and create the structure. This is how she will grow to trust you, and also to feel that she is maintaining control of her life.

Best wishes.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 06-03-2003 - 1:15pm
It just seems to me that when you've been mean, nasty, selfish, controlling, neglectful and whatever else to your wife for years to the point that she didn't even want to be around you anymore that you would be grateful that you have any chance at all with her right now instead of being pushy and demanding more time from her. Because when you've spent a long time hurting someone then you don't automatically deserve a chance just because you want it. I have been in your wife's shoes and I promise you that the pushy and demanding attitude is one of the main things that she wants to escape. I understand that she's been off and on with you - that's how it goes with separation and when someone is trying to figure out if she can trust you and have a decent life with you if she goes back. As pushy and demanding as controlling people are, it's probably even more off and on. But if you keep being so pushy about time and reconciliation, then you're likely to blow it forever. IF she's going to reconcile with you, she needs to know that she's going to be able to live a normal human being life with you, like being able to have time to herself, time for friends and family, time for hobbies, time for career, time to do the normal, human being type things that she wants to do, things that we all have the right to do and that makes up a healthy life - in addition to her life with you. Controlling people steal those kinds of things from their spouses and demand that all their attention be on them. They also steal away people's right to just be themselves and open and free. Freedom being one the most important parts of life and relationship for each individual on this earth. The losses are huge for the person who is subjected to a controlling person - you have no idea of the losses she sustained. She has the right to take all the time she needs to assess whether she can regain her losses if she reconciles with you or whether you will continue to restrict her natural rights and freedoms with your controlling, demanding attitude. If she can't, then she has the right to, and should if she wants a happy life, move on. You need to understand that she doesn't OWE it to you to give you more time. She doesn't OWE you anything other than basic human respect. She doesn't owe it to you to meet your demands. Her time, her energy, her attention, her life - these are GIFTS that are her choice to give or not give to someone. It is not OWED to you, it has to be earned. I mean, how would you feel if you were in her shoes and had been treated like crap by someone you gave and gave to who didn't care how you felt about it for years and finally got fed up and left her and she kept DEMANDING that you give her your time and attention and reconcile instead of allowing you to figure out what you wanted to do yourself? That's trying to take away your choices. You can't do that to people and expect positive outcomes for everyone. This isn't just about you, and you winning. It's about her equally, and she has to win too. And what's she winning if she gives in to pressure and demands? Just more control more restriction of her human rights and freedoms, her right to her choices being stolen from her again, that's what. Your pressure is doing nothing but proving to her that at your core you haven't changed much. Relationships are value for value. You get back what you put in. You put in a lot of nastiness for a long, long time, this is what you have earned. But ever since you reaped the consequences of what you've sown you've been very busy trying to figure out a way to bypass those consequences and make them go away. But you haven't learned from those consequences one very important lesson - you don't have the right to demand things from her or anyone else. People have the right to say no to you on ANYTHING. They have the right to decide how much to give, when, and how. So you've been pretty nice for 6 months, maybe. Maybe you've been a combination of nice and mean. I don't know. But you haven't respected her rights. You haven't been willing to give her much of the time and space she asks for, she's had to take it. You haven't stopped being demanding and pushy with her, she's had to fight to stand firm on what she needs. You have constantly kept pressure on her with your demand for her time and attention - you expect it, you feel entitled to it and are stomping your feet and complaining that you aren't getting it. And in doing so you are not appreciating the gift of the time, energy and life she HAS given you. You just demand more. And that is a turn off and shuts people down. It creates resentment and anger. That's how it is with human beings. A very important life lesson that controlling people seemed to have missed. In those batterer's programs I mentioned to you, one of the biggest things they cover is a controller's inflated, overblown sense of entitlement when it comes to what they demand from other human beings. Controllers tend to think they are entitled to things they've done nothing to earn and they tend to believe that they have rights they don't have and that others don't have rights that they DO, in fact, have. And they tend to get angry when they don't get these things they haven't earned or aren't entitled to or have even destroyed. To have developed that kind of attitude, for whatever reason, is unfortunate because it makes people selfish and sneaky in their dealings with their spouses. I hope you'll consider one of those programs. I think you have the capacity to change, you want to save your marriage, but if you don't get over this sense that she OWES you and keep pressuring her without true appreciation for what she does give, then I don't see how you can save it. As I said, I've been in her shoes before. I know that once a person whose natural human rights and freedoms have been violated for years takes them back from the person who stole them from her, then she's not likely to give them up again, she's not going to allow someone to pressure or bully her anymore like they used to, and she's going to be healthier and stronger and happier for it. And I sincerely hope that she realizes that she matters, she counts, that what she wants and needs is important as anyone else's wants and needs and that, as a human being, she is yours and everyone else's EQUAL. And that she won't settle for a partner who refuses to respect that fully.


Edited 6/3/2003 1:44:12 PM ET by sweetdreams893
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2003
Tue, 06-03-2003 - 2:49pm
I have a question for you. What would you do if after all your theropy, waiting for your wife to feel comfortable, etc, if your wife never truly wants a relationship with you again? Will you become the person you were before theropy? I only ask because there is a possiblity that your wife will never come around and trust you again. If this is the case, are you prepared for that? Perhaps you should consider dating other people, or becoming frineds with others. Create a life for yourself, as a single man, get to know who you are now. Don't rush yourself! You need time to recover. Yes, you've made mistakes in the past, some that you can never ever fix, but that doesn't mean you are obligated or "deserve" to be punished, either by your wife or yourself. You lost her already, that is your consequence. You can't force her to love you, to live with you again. Give her space, give yourself space. Meet other people and if in time, you two come back together, wonderful. But I wouldn't count on it. It was a huge step emotionally for your wife to finally leave you to begin with...she's not going to renig on her decision easily if ever. Just some thoughts.