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Originally Posted by markos
Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
How do you feel about the subject of resent? My wife freely admits that she is resentful of me. She is resentful of her mom, her dad, my mom, and both of my sisters. How can I work on our marriage if she never gets over anything? In fact she sent me a text stating that she will just have to put up with all the resent she has for me and handle the birth control situation herself.

Be really careful of those resentful relatives. Other people, particularly your own relatives, can cause love bank withdrawals in YOUR account! If your wife feels like the people are in some way associated with you, that is.

Markos, my wife is resentful, go ask her. This is not a judgement if she states the same thing right? I do not respect my wife's feelings as it pertains to my mom and sisters and she knows this. I do however want a good marriage so I have adapted and made sure she is enthusiastic about any time spent with any of them. Its the same thing still. She wants everyone in her life to express their feelings on every subject like she does. While I know our marriage needs this radical honesty, I do not believe my wife has the right to expect this from my mom and sisters. So this underlying conflict remains because my mom and sister tend to avoid some uncomfortable conflicts as they arise.


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Originally Posted by markos
Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
In fact she sent me a text stating that she will just have to put up with all the resent she has for me and handle the birth control situation herself.

Grace is having trouble seeing how the two of you can negotiate a win-win solution on birth control. Most people, probably almost everybody, is locked into the idea that it's got to be either your way or my way. She doesn't see a path forward with the negotiation route, and her instincts are telling her that the only way to get anything done is to revert to the old habit of independent behavior.

Dictatorships appear to be "efficient" but of course they don't build love, which is what you really need. smile

Stay calm. Of course. smile

And stay the course. Stay respectful, stay open and honest about what you need, do not be demanding. Review some of Dr. Harley's Q&A articles regularly to keep yourself focused on on track.

I wish you guys could've gotten a chance to negotiate on smaller issues first before this, but this is the situation you are in.

This issue is big and I wish we had a chance to negotiate on smaller things first as well. There never was negotiation in our marriage. Typically, unless really important to me, I did whatever she wanted. I researched Vs, came to my own conclusions about it and she flat out doesn't respect my decision. I rarely told her no in the past which is why I said I'd get a V in the first place.


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Originally Posted by markos
Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
I let her know that I didn't want a marriage where SF is off the table.

Statements like these are very easily perceived as threats. And threats of course are a horrible love buster.

A lot of advice focuses on trying to "get your message across" and really just shows you how to add drama to what you are saying. Drama is absolutely not what you need. smile It's best to focus on cause, effect, and facts, and keep things simple:

"I would like to keep negotiating about sex and birth control. I would like to find a way that we can start meeting each other's SF need again as soon as possible."

Ok this is where everybody gets off track. I can understand how you perceive that statement. To be more clear I never said I'd leave her, I said I wanted to negotiate a resolution because I don't want a marriage where there is no sex. Now I suppose at some point in the future maybe there would be that road to cross, but for the time being I just want to get to a point where SF is part of our lives.


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Originally Posted by markos
Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
This woman doesn't forget or move past ANYTHING.

I just want to remind you that statements like this are a disrespectful judgment.

No poking, okay? You understand what I am talking about? If you continue to poke, you can continue to expect the results you are getting.

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Hey at least she is ...

That's also a disrespectful judgment.

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This is why it will continue to escalate unless I eliminate LBs entirely.

Reality check, here: Dr. Harley maintains that demands, disrespect, and anger should not be tolerated in marriage, and should be eliminated entirely. Do you agree?

This resent thing again is a big, big deal. It is a massive impediment to our marriage because any mistake I made she holds on to. Again not a judgement, go ask her if she holds on to things.


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Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
I do not respect my wife's feelings as it pertains to my mom and sisters and she knows this.

This is a major problem.


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Originally Posted by MelodyLane
markos, I had viewed that comment as a [legitimate] complaint because it expresses his feelings about the future of the marriage. It wasn't a criticism because it did not include a judgement. But it did convey a very important truth: that he does not want a marriage that does not include SF.

I think it is important that she understands she is not going to be able to keep him in a marriage for long if she refuses to meet his needs. How should he have told her this? I do think it is imperative that she know this, otherwise, she will think she is entitled to unconditional love. [which leads to neglect and abuse] I didn't view the comment as a threat, but as a statement of truth.

Hilltopper, my XH did leave me for another woman in 1999 for this very reason. He did not tell me how miserable he was over the lack of SF, either. I feel strongly that he should have been honest about the lack of SF dooming the marriage. That would have been preferable to having an affair and leaving for her.

This is a very valid point I think. SF is my #1 so I need it and it makes me happy in our marriage. Regardless of the reason it is being withheld(accidental pregnancy), from my perspective its has become an all or nothing. Many of you have mentioned all the different means of satisfaction and birth control and I have mentioned every one of them to my wife but she just says no. Non-PIV stuff is "off the table" as well. I can't make her, but again I don't respect her deliberate decision to withhold even this from me. In addition it makes it hard to believe that it is all about accidental pregnancies since Non-PIV will not cause it to happen.


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Originally Posted by markos
Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
I had scheduled time with Steve, but we improved so much in such a short period of time we never followed through with it.

Marriages tend to improve in fits and starts. It seems really good, then you hit a downturn that you never would have thought possible when things were good. The discouragement can be overwhelming, which of course can make you give up on good plans and good positive actions that affect the long term health of your marriage. You wind up sacrificing the long term for the short term.

Steve is a great step to take to help the long-term.

Did you schedule with Steve and then cancel? Surely you didn't pay and then not show up, right? smile Just curious.

Go read Dr. Harley's description of the marriage counseling process, really read it:

http://www.marriagebuilders.com/graphic/mbi7100_counselor.html

Originally Posted by Dr. Harley
Poorly organized counselors will often see clients for weeks before they get down to deciding how they'll proceed. During that time, the crisis is over and the motivation to solve the problem is postponed until the next crisis. The couple drops out of therapy no wiser or better off than they came.

Originally Posted by Dr. Harley
Men generally want to get out of therapy as soon as possible, even when they were the ones that wanted it the most in the beginning. They don't like the idea of reporting to someone regarding their behavior, and my role as a counselor is to see to it that they follow through on what they promised. They often agree to anything to get their wives back, and then once she's home, they go back to their old habits.

No never paid. Dr Harley suggested we try the online course.


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Originally Posted by Prisca
Originally Posted by MelodyLane
markos, I had viewed that comment as a [legitimate] complaint because it expresses his feelings about the future of the marriage. It wasn't a criticism because it did not include a judgement. But it did convey a very important truth: that he does not want a marriage that does not include SF.
I don't usually disagree with you, Melody, but this one hit a nerve. Markos has said similar things to me. It is a demand and a threat -- it comes across as "I don't want this marriage unless you give me what I want. Meet my needs, or I'm leaving you."

He can express his need for SF without making it a demand. "My EN for SF is not being met, and it is hurting me. I would like to continue negotiating until we come to a solution that makes both of us happy."

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I think it is important that she understands she is not going to be able to keep him in a marriage for long if she refuses to meet his needs. How should he have told her this?
I don't think Hilltopper is in any position to tell her this. Ultimatums are a LB, no matter how you word them.

Dr. Harley says that demands usually follow a complaint when a spouse is being neglected, and it is a mistake. He outlines what should be done instead:

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The most common first response to a spouse's neglect is to complain: "I'd like it if you'd be more affectionate." A complaint is an effort to communicate a problem without being demanding, disrespectful, or angry. It's a notification there's an opportunity to make deposits (or avoid withdrawals) from the Love Bank. There's nothing wrong with that initial approach to the problem of neglect since it's simply communicating a need.

But when that doesn't produce results, mistakes usually follow. The first mistake is to criticize: "Why do you ignore me? What's wrong with you?" A criticism adds demands, disrespect, and/or anger to the complaint. The message of an unmet emotional need is buried under layers of abuse. Instead of creating a cooperative partner, it creates an adversary.

...

The first step, as I mentioned earlier, should be to express your need clearly without demands, disrespect, or anger.

...

This first step may solve your problem. Your husband may respond positively to your request, and the issue of unconditional love may not become a factor in his thinking.

...

But if your husband refuses to accept your offer, the next step I recommend is very controversial, but when you compare it to the alternatives, it makes the most sense. It has two parts. I call one part plan A, and the other plan B. These two parts are to be executed sequentially -- plan A is first, followed by plan B.

Plan A is to give your husband "unconditional love" for a brief period of time, usually a month. I know. I've just written two columns that warn against unconditional love. But I've never been opposed to its use if it's intended to prime the pump. One spouse can't save a marriage, but one spouse can often set an example that the other spouse will sometimes follow. Plan A is to avoid all Love Busters, and to meet the other spouse's emotional needs without expecting anything in return immediately. But it also involves communicating the importance of reciprocity. Along with being an angel, you also explain that you expect your needs to eventually be met, too.

But before you begin plan A, prepare for plan B, which is to completely separate from your husband. You can't simply move out of the bedroom. You must move from the house, or have him move. If you live in a state that supports legal separation, go to the trouble to see an attorney so that all financial and legal arrangements are made in advance. Be sure that you can support yourself for an extended period of time, such as a year.

When To Call It Quits

Yes it could have come across as that Prisca. But I was very clear to let her know that this was not a threat but a statement as to what I need out of a marriage. I was implying that I don't want a marriage that involves no SF, not that an "if" "than" statement that I'm leaving if it doesn't change.


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Originally Posted by Cameo2
Either way, Hill, are you prepared to back that statement (threat, ultimatum, boundary, take your pick) up? If your choices are leave, v or no sex, which would you chose? Because this may very well end up being like the solution to the domestic support issues that can't be resolved...whoever its important to, has to do it. And if you're not willing to follow through...then don't say it. It destroys your credibility and does seem like an empty threat. In the past, you've said things that you didn't really mean....and that's something you have to stop doing. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Otherwise bite your tongue, duct tape your mouth shut, whatever it takes.

I'm not ready at this point in time no, but yes I believe there would be a time that I would have to go Plan B and possibly divorce should this situation never change. I think it will change however, but only when she is ready.


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Originally Posted by Prisca
Originally Posted by MelodyLane
See, I don't see this as a demand at all. I see it is a complaint coupled with a truthful statement.

The very definition of "ultimatum" is a demand, "one whose rejection will end negotiations and cause a resort to force or other direct action."

She may give in and do what he wants, but she will likely feel forced and resentful. She will feel threatened.

Dr. Harley's articles seem to suggest the Plan A/Plan B approach.

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If a spouse is prepared to leave the marriage if the other refuses to meet his needs, shouldn't that be conveyed?

Doesn't a spouse usually do that when they enter into Plan B?

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In my case, if my XH had told me he was leaving over this, I would have taken it much more seriously. Are you saying the alternative is to give her an opportunity to meet the need and then just LEAVE when she doesn't do it?

In my case, though, when Markos did do this to me, I just went further into withdraw.

I am not saying to not let her know that there is an unmet need here. He should be honest that he needs SF, and he's hurting. But I don't believe he is going to do any good by making an ultimatum. I believe she will see him as demanding and threatening, and he will only drive Grace further away.

I think he should only make such an ultimatum if he has the explicit permission of Dr. Harley to do so smile I think it's a very risky move.

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So, are you saying he should not TELL HER honestly he is not willing to stay in the marriage under those conditions? Because I wouldn't agree with that.


No, he should not tell her that unless he is going into Plan B today. She's familar with MB. She knows she's draining his lovebank. She knows unconditional love is a myth. She knows he's falling out of love with her because of this. She knows she's killing her marriage. She knows it is her responsiblity to take care of his EN.

It would be interesting to get Dr. Harley's take on this.

I can sort of see where you're coming from. It just looks very risky to me.

Accidental pregnancy is so horrific to my wife that she doesn't care about depriving me of my need she said. She even went into the "it's my body" thing last night and that she will decide and it's not up to me about birth control. I told her it sure didn't sound like anything was being negotiated at all and that I would like to really try and work through this point by point. She just kept saying it was her decision so I backed off. I can't make her give me SF and I can't make her get birth control. She can't make me get a V, but the difference lies in who gets hurt the most. Obviously that one is me as she has shown that she can go without SF as long as need be.


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Originally Posted by Jackblack
>>There is still a lot of resent because I said I'd get a V after the third kid because a buddy of mine did.<<

Hill this seems to be where your problem lies. You said you would get a vestectomy and now you are not. Some people would see this as a crediblity issue.
I am not arguing the merits of a v I have never thought of getting one myself, but you are stuck with having said you would get one. Where is the follow through?

I can see your wife over the next few months working up and getting her tubes tied. Your sex life will probably improve some what but what you will be left with is, when it comes to the big test, your wife will have followed through and you have not.
I would chop an arm off before I ever let that happen.
How will you mitigate this?

Yes this is the single biggest source of resent in my wife. She sees it as unfair and unjust in a way I suppose. I said I'd get one to please her which was dishonest to the extent that I never researched it and learned about everything involved. So now she's feeling like everything has been dumped in her lap and I get that. She told me she doesn't respect that decision, nor the reasons why I feel that a V is not for me. So now we are still at the, "Well, if you would have had a vasectomy...." stage. It never ends at by the sound of it I don't think she'll EVER get over this. I've learned not to please her anymore in terms of just giving in and it has become a source of conflict only because I assume she liked it the way it was before?


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Originally Posted by NewEveryDay
I thought we were discussing, not arguing. I was trying to talk together in a respectful way, but from your reaction I think I must've somehow fallen short. I am not saying that you have an electric fence personality. I think that thought pattern you described, "well now he's just making demands so I'm not going to negotiate for now" sounded to me like Zap! Electric Fence! But what do I know? When I said you can choose your attitude all I mean is that even when a spouse comes off wrong you can still choose Buyer mode and keep negotiating.

But I don't know if any of these patterns are familiar to Hill or not. Hill, how is the negotiating steps thing going for you two? Do you have the safe environment established? Are you on to the next steps?

Each discussion on the subject escalates typically because neither one of us understands the other's point of view. I want to decide this as a team, she says I blew that chance so she'll do it on her own.


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Originally Posted by freefall
Hilltop

Seems like there's a whole lotta talking about sex and very little action in the affection or SF departments. A mother with three young children probably feels overwhelmed, and if she is breastfeeding the baby and her body is not back to its pre-baby state, she may be feeling anything but sexy.

You may need to meet jointly with a physician to discuss the bc issues and use him/her to help mediate a solution.

In the meantime, could you try offering her a full body massage (promising that you will not try to have sex), focusing on her relaxation and the sensory pleasure of having you offer non-sexual attention and care for her body? Removing the pressure to have sex may help her feel more open and loving toward you. Be sure to offer her words of love as well, telling her how lovely she is, how you are in awe of her and her ability to bear you three beautiful children and to love and nuture both them and you.

If you practice non-sexual touch a few times and reassure her that she is beautiful to you and that you are sensitive to her fear of becoming pregnant and the need to share the responsibility of coming to a mutually-agreeable solution to the bc problem, she might become more interested again in sex.

Some women find their sexual responsiveness diminished after childbirth, especially after the birth of a 3rd child. Starting with a non-sexual massage, eventually moving into sexual massage and pleasuring her either manually or orally may help her get back into the mood of fulfilling your need for SF.

Pressuring her for sex or complaining that your sexual needs are not being met will make her less willing to try to fulfill your EN of SF. She may also become fearful that you will leave her or have an affair.

No offense freefall, but since this is your first post I'll let you know that my wife doesn't really need affection, in fact I do. She turns down massage offers, sexual or not. Also complaining is a good thing.


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Originally Posted by SusieQ
This reminded me of when chickadee's FWH was on the radio show ~ his need for SF wasn't being met so he sought it outside the M. Basically, Dr Harley talks to chick's FWH about how when their negotiations did not improve their sex life, what he should have done was acknowledged that he couldn't stay in a M without SF, been transparent about it, and sought D if his EN still wasn't being met.

Part 1
Part 2

Towards the end of the second segment there is talk about what happens when you ignore your taker.

I think it might be beneficial to you, HT, to listen to these segments. HTH...

Did you listen to this, HTH? [thanks for posting it, Susie]


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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Originally Posted by MelodyLane
Originally Posted by SusieQ
This reminded me of when chickadee's FWH was on the radio show ~ his need for SF wasn't being met so he sought it outside the M. Basically, Dr Harley talks to chick's FWH about how when their negotiations did not improve their sex life, what he should have done was acknowledged that he couldn't stay in a M without SF, been transparent about it, and sought D if his EN still wasn't being met.

Part 1
Part 2

Towards the end of the second segment there is talk about what happens when you ignore your taker.

I think it might be beneficial to you, HT, to listen to these segments. HTH...

Did you listen to this, HTH? [thanks for posting it, Susie]

I will at some point. By the way my wife won't come back to the forums. I'd really love her to. We grew and learned so much and all of us helped us which I thank you for tremendously. We're in conflict right now. We had a lovely finish to the night, and a nice morning, then out of nowhere she sends me an email telling me that I must respect her decision about birth control. That she doesn't respect nor trust me and that I've been dishonest our entire marriage. The dishonesty stems from me holding my feelings in mind, not what I would call traditional lying. So she doesn't know when she can believe me or not, and also that she doesn't want to discuss it anymore. In the middle of all of these things she sends me an apology that says, "I'm sorry I just get so emotional 5 times per day with kids, house, etc." Then she says she's taking off early for her hair cut even though I was not done working yet. I admit I replied, "aye aye captain" in a sarcastic manner, but she denies she was leaving without my consent. So what do I do? She shuts down every conversation we have about 10 minutes into it.

I hide my feelings from her because I don't like the conflict as I'm sure half of this forum does or did at some point. For her to call me "the biggest liar" in the world to my face about doing so just seems unfair. I'm working on being honest about everything and not bottling up how I'm feeling, but I'm just so confused and lost with how to handle her. Sure I say I'm just gonna meet her needs and avoid LBs, but I don't know how to read her. She loves me one minute and then I'm in the doghouse the next. She describes my behavior as if I'm some serial cheater or a compulsive liar.


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Hill, I have a post I made ruminating about H&O that I am going to dig up for you. Gotta hold up though, as I'm posting from my phone...


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Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
I will at some point. By the way my wife won't come back to the forums. I'd really love her to. We grew and learned so much and all of us helped us which I thank you for tremendously.

I hope she comes back. Prisca has mentioned that she would be happy to be available to talk to Grace by email, if she wants. You might pass that along.

I am impressed at the way you wrote the above paragraph. There is no demand for your wife to come back. There is no disrespect of her choice to not come back. There is no anger expressed. No abuse on your part. Listen, Hill, you have come a long way. The Hilltopper of a few months ago would've blown his stack about the above, wouldn't he?

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We're in conflict right now.

You certainly are. Remember Harley's three states of mind in marriage? Withdrawal, conflict, intimacy. You guys have adjusted to her being in withdrawal for years. Conflict is new, uncharted territory. It is full of LANDMINES for both of you. You've both had the habit of love busters during conflict, and of course love busters drive a spouse into withdrawal, and withdrawal is NOT productive. You need to be in the state of conflict, and navigate it without love busters until both of you are safely in intimacy. That ain't easy. But it is doable. It is going to take massive, superhuman amounts of patience on your part, as well as unbendable, unbreakable commitment to avoiding love busters. You must establish a policy of no tolerance for abusive love busters on your part, and stick to it without fail.

No poking.

It's a "be ye perfect" kind of situation. Don't just be good; be perfect. Don't settle for merely being "good" or even "excellent." No tolerance whatsoever for love busters.

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We had a lovely finish to the night, and a nice morning, then out of nowhere she sends me an email telling me that I must respect her decision about birth control.

She is right that you must respect her.

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That she doesn't respect nor trust me and that I've been dishonest our entire marriage.

She is not complaining in a respectful way, but she is still giving you valuable information. Her disrespect will tend to push you toward withdrawal, but if you can override that instinct and continue to meet her emotional needs and avoid love busters, you can make progress. She is giving you vital information. Express empathy for her feelings, accept responsibility for your failings (you have been dishonest), and do better. Yeah, you were hoping she would have stepped up to the plate a little more at this point, but she hasn't. Address this complaint. I promise you that her complaints are not endless and it is not impossible to address them all, though it may seem overwhelming.

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The dishonesty stems from me holding my feelings in mind, not what I would call traditional lying.

What does Marriage Builders say about it? smile

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In the middle of all of these things she sends me an apology that says, "I'm sorry I just get so emotional 5 times per day with kids, house, etc."

She wants support from you BAD. She feels neglected; she feels like her husband isn't there for her in this mess that she is having to deal with. She feels depressed due to the situation she is living in.

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I admit I replied, "aye aye captain" in a sarcastic manner, but she denies she was leaving without my consent. So what do I do?

Ouch. Are you going to tolerate that kind of abuse out of yourself? Is it likely to make your marriage better, or worse?

I would apologize to her and tell her that was unjustified.

I also wouldn't get into an argument with her about whether she's leaving without your consent or not. It's independent behavior on her part, and I'd communicate that to her in a respectful way, once a week, in the way Dr. Harley suggests (worksheets).

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She shuts down every conversation we have about 10 minutes into it.

Okay, so you start the conversation, you respectfully communicate what you need to say, you listen to what she has to say, express empathy, accept responsibility for your love busters, and when the conversation stops, note any love busters she committed on the worksheet that you are going to give her next week. Stick to this plan and be patient. It will get better.

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I hide my feelings from her because I don't like the conflict as I'm sure half of this forum does or did at some point.

Yes, it's called being a conflict avoider. The best conflict avoider I know is markos, although I think my boss may run a close second. smile

Dr. Harley says to be honest anyway.

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For her to call me "the biggest liar" in the world to my face about doing so just seems unfair.

DJ on her part; put it on the worksheet.

She probably does not understand that you are tempted to hide your feelings due to her love busters. Don't try to educate her about this; just continue to force yourself to be open and honest even when it's risky, and continue to communicate with her about once a week about her love busters, with the non-imposing worksheets.

You are likely gonna take some blows. I'm sorry about that. The good news is you are probably a little more resilient about that, being male. Remember that in the real major crisis marriages, with an ongoing affair, Dr. Harley says men can Plan A longer than women? You've got more capacity to absorb some of that stuff while you quietly communicate what a problem it is for you.

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She loves me one minute and then I'm in the doghouse the next.

She's bouncing between withdrawal and conflict. It's all new territory. It's probably extremely painful and frightening for her.

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She describes my behavior as if I'm some serial cheater or a compulsive liar.

So be radically honest!!!


If you are serious about saving your marriage, you can't get it all on this forum. You've got to listen to the Marriage Builders Radio show, every day. Install the app!

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Daily: invite her to spend time with you. Engage in conversation.
Daily: work on meeting some of the other emotional needs. Express affection. Provide DS or FC or FS or whatever she wants. Sounds like she wants O&H!

Weekly: communicate your need for SF to her. Communicate with her about her love busters (use the worksheets).


If you are serious about saving your marriage, you can't get it all on this forum. You've got to listen to the Marriage Builders Radio show, every day. Install the app!

Married to my radiant trophy wife, Prisca, 19 years. Father of 8.
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Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
Then she says she's taking off early for her hair cut even though I was not done working yet. I admit I replied, "aye aye captain" in a sarcastic manner, but she denies she was leaving without my consent. So what do I do? She shuts down every conversation we have about 10 minutes into it.

I hide my feelings from her because I don't like the conflict as I'm sure half of this forum does or did at some point. For her to call me "the biggest liar" in the world to my face about doing so just seems unfair.

When your wife gets nasty ... be sweet. Make your voice quieter, gentler, sweeter. Practice getting softer and sweeter the nastier she gets. Make this response a new automatic habit on your part. Can you do this?


If you are serious about saving your marriage, you can't get it all on this forum. You've got to listen to the Marriage Builders Radio show, every day. Install the app!

Married to my radiant trophy wife, Prisca, 19 years. Father of 8.
Attended Marriage Builders weekend in May 2010

If your wife is not on board with MB, some of my posts to other men might help you.
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I just want to say I find this thread very beneficial to my own personal recovery. Understanding in an honest form the way a man really feels about conflict and issues in the marriage is awesome.

I appreciate the advice by all you men here, and look at this thread as a way into the mind of a husband that represents so many husbands, trying to have a great marriage.

If I recover my marriage I plan to make sure I respond better to my husband in terms of a wife.

Thanks again!!!

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