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Hold, I think the situation describes perfectly a basic truth about attraction:

That we are attracted to most what we are most insecure about in ourselves. That would include both strengths and faults. I am attracted to the traits that I feel I most lack. And I a simultaneously attracted to the traits which irritate me the most (because in fact, those are the character defects which I have hidden most carefully, even from myself).

I have come up with my own "solution" to this "problem," which deals solely with MY side of the street. I learn to cultivate the things that I lack and desire from others (like discipline, intellectual honesty, compassion, emotional stability, humility). I become self-supporting in that way, which is not to say that I don't seek help from those who can help me. I still allow myself to be interdependent with my spouse, and others to the degree that I find appropriate as I grow as a person.

At the same time, I do a very hard look at myself, at my character defects, at what motivates them, causes them, etc. And rather than try to change my character defects, I have compassion for myself as I become willing and able to make a commitment to change those defects. Disrespect, dishonesty, self-righteousness, pride. Sometimes it is hard for me to truly know what my character defects are, so it helps for me to make a list of DJs about others who irritate me, since it's so easy to do smile I can take someone else's inventory like nobody's business! Then I say to myself, this is just ME projecting my OWN character defects onto THEM! I take ownership of those defects as my own, maybe talk about them with a trusted friend or pastor to see if I really AM all those things (and sometimes I'm not). By cultivating compassion for my own defects, I begin to have compassion for the irritating behaviors of others, and they bother me less. Like my spouse. Especially my spouse.

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Originally Posted By: holdingontoit
Interesting incident this morning. We were talking about Obama's nomination to the Supreme Court. I said "another Ivy League educated lawyer. Could have picked someone with a slightly different background." Mrs. Hold said "that is what we want at the Supreme Court. Big brained smarty pants people."

I smiled and with a twinkle in my eye asked "like anyone you know?" She frowned and said "yes, I am surrounded by them here. I am stuck with three of them. How did that happen?"

I leaned toward her still smiling. "Yes, I am sure it is terrible being surrounded by me and the kids." I leaned in slowly and aimed my nose to nuzzle with her neck. I knew not to try and kiss her because I had not yet brushed my teeth. I knew to lean in slowly to not startle her.

She shoved my head away from her quite violently with both of her hands. Not playfully. Not leaving open that I could continue to try and kiss her. But with a disgusted look on her face and hard enough that I almost fell off the bed.

I looked at her quizzically and asked in what I hope was a neutral tone "can you help me to interpret that gesture as something other than rejection? Because it felt like rejection to me." She started giggling nervously and said "you mean a two handed shove to the face?" I replied "yes, I just wanted to point it out so we are clear. Occassionally you ask me why I feel rejected so I wanted to point out that this is an example of you rejecting me." She said something like "yes, well, I guess most people would interpret shoving your head away as rejection."

I asked if she would do that to the kids. If they were discussing whether they got 3 or 4 or 5 A+ grades on their report card. If one of them leaned in for a hug. Could she imagine herself shoving them away with both hands? She said no and kept giggling like it was some kind of joke.

I too was laughing a nervous laugh. I didn't want to make too much of this. It was funny that I caught her in a "gotcha" moment. She was laughing and squirming in a "OK, you got me, I can't talk my way out of this one" moment. But despite the laughing, it still hurt.


That sucks.

Horrible horrible horrible!

I think you should use this as an opportunity to ask her what the h*ll goes on in her head that she would be abusive to you like that when you were trying to be sweet to her!

I think she was giggling because she knows what she did was insane, and it's hard to deny that something is wrong with you when you grab your husband's face in your hands and shove him violently away.

I'm so mad and disgusted for you right now, Hold!

If YOU had done that to her, you'd undoubtedly have had the police called on you!!!


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Ditto Telly!

I think the important thing here is that you have finally pointed out to her one concrete way in which she rejects you. Not that you should feel guilty over admitting that you are smart. (It sounds like you have enough "guilt" or shame over that already.) She's the one who turned the conversation away from a discussion of Supreme Court nominees and on to her being surrounded by brainiacs.

Very interesting that she was giggling (in an embarrassed, uncomfortable way).

Muchos kudos to you for speaking up, letting her know *in that instant* that what she did felt like rejection. This H&O speaking up on your part is leading to more and more hope, IMHO.


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Originally Posted By: CWMI
You baited her into it, Hold, with your fishing (ha!) for a compliment ("Like anyone you know?").

You blew a fantastic chance for a great intellectual conversation on the merits that should be considered when selecting nominees for Supreme Court--and increased intimacy with your W--by showing YET AGAIN that you're only after an ego-stroking.

That gets old, Hold.


You are right. I was fishing for a compliment. I should be content within myself, and not need compliments. Or ego stroking. Really, that is the primary reason I seek sex. For the ego stroking that arises when she consents. I could take or leave the sex. It is the ego stroking I seek. Not that I get any. But I keep insanely hoping that some day I might. Stupid to keep trying.

I am confident Mrs. Hold sees me the way you see me. And I have no intention of changing. I should get back to the video games and stop trying to interact with Mrs. Hold. No woman wants to be married to, much less have sex with, someone so needy and immature.


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Quote:
I said "another Ivy League educated lawyer. Could have picked someone with a slightly different background."

Mrs. Hold said "that is what we want at the Supreme Court. Big brained smarty pants people."

I smiled and with a twinkle in my eye asked "like anyone you know?" (FISHING FOR COMPLIMENT)

She frowned and said "yes, I am surrounded by them here. I am stuck with three of them. How did that happen?" (EXPRESSING DISDAIN FOR YOUR FISHING FOR AN EGO-STROKING)

I leaned toward her still smiling. "Yes, I am sure it is terrible being surrounded by me and the kids." (EWWW...)


That's not being sweet. That's something else entirely. Sweet would be saying, in response to her "How did that happen?" would be saying something like, "Because you bring out the best in all of us." What you said only reinforced her apparent belief that it IS terrible being with you. Why not reinforce something else, Hold?





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Hold, you have a tremendous need for Admiration and Affection (let's just leave SF out of the convo for now...I'm not discounting it..just leaving it off to the side for the moment).

It seems obvious, that Mrs. Hold does not recognize/does not wish to meet this Admiration need. Why? Who knows. Perhaps because she doesn't have a huge need herself and doesn't recognize that is not an excuse for not fulfilling your need.

Maybe instead of focusing on the actual rejection ("aha, you did something wrong and I caught you"), can you turn it around and point it out as you putting your Admiration need out there and her clearly missing a chance to meet it?

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Originally Posted By: holdingontoit
I should get back to the video games and stop trying to interact with Mrs. Hold. No woman wants to be married to, much less have sex with, someone so needy and immature.


Oh, quit with the pity party. No one wants to hear it smile

(I mean that in the absolute friendliest way, from one pity partier to another! LOL)

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Originally Posted By: jayne241
She's the one who turned the conversation away from a discussion of Supreme Court nominees and on to her being surrounded by brainiacs.


No, she didn't. He did.


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FANTASTIC point, OH!!!!!

Hold, maybe drop the whole need for SF right now and see if your wife can start meeting the need for admiration!

This is one of my husband's top needs, and he is MUCH happier when it is met, and it takes so little effort on my part.

You're not needy. Not really. You have EN. That is not the same thing as being needy, and if you keep selling yourself that line, you are going to drive yourself nuts.

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Hold, have you ever utilized the resources here at MB other than the message board? A chat with Steve, a weekend seminar, the online program?


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Originally Posted By: thinkinitthru66
Oh, quit with the pity party. No one wants to hear it smile


I know. That is why I post here so much less frequently than I used to.

I meant my post literally. I understand I should work to enhance my self esteem. I would be more likely to get Admiration from Mrs. Hold if I behaved admirably. I don't intend to. Not pity party. Sad tired exhausted acceptance of reality. I am not going to change. I am not going to work on myself to try and "earn" Admiration. Or work on myself to lessen my need for Admiration. I have given up. Literally. I am just going to withdraw.

I think CWMI's posts reflect pretty darn closely how Mrs. Hold feels about me. That does not inspire me to work harder or inform me on how to better relate to my wife. It merely confirms my despair that I will ever get my needs met. And motivates me to withdraw further.

Which I understand fuels CWMI's and Mrs. Hold's disdain for me. If not disgust. Which is why I value CWMI's input so highly. She is showing me the side that Mrs. Hold never admits to. I need to be reminded of those thoughts. Even if I choose not to address them.

I am frustrated not only with Mrs. Hold's constant rejection. But also by my own unwillngness to change. When our MC fired us, it wasn't only over Mrs. Hold's refusal to change. It was over mine too.

People often ask why I continue to post here. Every day I ask myself if I am willing to take up the challenge. To implement the MB principles. To clean up my side of the street. To become a better person. Since 2005, every day the answer has been "no". But I keep hoping that some day I will say "yes".

CWMI

In 2002 I joined MB. My wife and I were seeing a sex therapist at that time (2nd or 3rd time we had tried one, in addition to a number of marriage counsellors we had seen regularly over the previous 5 years). Her "program" claimed she could improve our sex life in 16 weeks. 16 weeks later we had done 1 of the weekly homework assigments because Mrs. Hold refused to do the rest. So I chose to stop seeing the sex therapist. This forum helped me deal with the frustration of the complete lack of participation on my wife's part to that process.

In 2003, after I had been participating in this forum very frequently for about a year, we decided to see a woman who had been trained by the Harleys in an attempt to implement the MB system. We talked to her for 2 years. Made zero progress. In May 2005 she fired us because it was obvious neither of us was willing to change enough to please the other. We can argue over who was more obstinate. But it was clear we were unable to make any progress as a couple.

Since then I have basically given up on improving myself or my marriage. I am just muddling through life. Part of me is waiting for the kids to leave home so I can make decisions free of the legal ramifications of divorcing with minor children living at home. Part of me is just hoping for a "magic wand" like hitting the lottery or getting hit by a bus so I won't have to take responsibility for making changes.

There are some signs within the past few months that Mrs. Hold might be more amenable to implementing the MB system in 2010 than she was 5 - 7 years ago. An MB weekend or counselling with the Harleys might actually work if we both got on board. But at this point I am too apathetic to do my part.


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Hold, I think you are fantastic. And I DO admire you for coming back day after day in the hopes that some day your answer will be yes. That takes incredible honesty. When you're ready, you'll be ready. If you try to force it before you're ready, it probably wouldn't last anyway (I may get blasted for that one by the MB vets, but I believe it!).

I've also kept my posting to a minimum because of the pity party thing. Godd for both of us for trying to work on that.

As I said before, right now I'm focusing on giving to MYSELF the things I would desire from a spouse, to the extent I can.

One of the things I've learned in my 12 step work is that it is not ME who does the changing. It is God who changes me. The work I do is simply to make myself ready to be changed. This has been a huge weight off my shoulders. I was putting so much pressure on myself to change myself, which is not something I'm really able to do. That's not my side of the street. That's God's! When I stopped trying to be God and change myself, and instead put my focus on cultivating an attitude of willingness and readiness, I find it much easier to admire myself, even if I'm not yet totally willing today, or ready today.

Honesty is something worth admiring. Even if it's honesty about our less-then-stellar selves. Especially then. Give it to yourself, and accept it from those willing to give it to you. Hard to learn. Practice until it becomes easier. Say thank you and you're welcome until it becomes second nature and you actually mean it smile

((((Hold))))

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I don't have disdain for you. I would never discard you as unworthy of my time or attention. You can discard yourself all you want, but you can't make me do that, too. Unless you notify the mods. laugh


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Just to give you background:

We had problems from day 1 in 1992. I finally insisted on marriage counselling in 1997. We went every other week for years and made no progress. In 2001 I took a new job and moved the family to where we now live.

In 2002 I joined MB. My wife and I were seeing a sex therapist at that time (2nd or 3rd time we had tried one, in addition to a number of marriage counsellors we had seen regularly over the previous 5 years, but we only saw the other STs a couple of times because Mrs. Hold was not comfortable discussing sex). The ST's "program" claimed she could improve our sex life in 16 weeks. 16 weeks later we had done 1 of the weekly homework assigments because Mrs. Hold refused to do the rest. So I chose to stop seeing the ST. This forum helped me deal with the frustration of the complete lack of participation on my wife's part to that process.

In 2003, after I had been participating in this forum very frequently for about a year, we decided to see a woman who had been trained by the Harleys in an attempt to implement the MB system. We talked to her for 2 years. Made zero progress. In May 2005 she fired us because it was obvious neither of us was willing to change enough to please the other. We can argue over who was more obstinate. But it was clear we were unable to make any progress as a couple.

Since then I have basically given up on improving myself or my marriage. I am just muddling through life. Part of me is waiting for the kids to leave home so I can make decisions free of the legal ramifications of divorcing with minor children living at home. Part of me is just hoping for a "magic wand" like hitting the lottery or getting hit by a bus so I won't have to take responsibility for making changes.

There are some signs within the past few months that Mrs. Hold might be more amenable to implementing the MB system in 2010 than she was 5 - 7 years ago. An MB weekend or counselling with the Harleys might actually work if we both got on board. But at this point I am too apathetic to do my part.


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I'm assuming you want to be hit by a bus so you can sue, and not so that you can end your life . . . When you can see it coming, duck!

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I do say thank you. In fact, that was one part of the MB training that stuck. I often thank Mrs. Hold for sharing her views even when they are painful to hear. Initially she was openly sceptical of my sincerity. But over time I think she has accepted that I do want to know how she feels even when she isn't happy. Doesn't mean I am going to do anything differently. But at least I know where she stands and where I stand in her view.


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Hold, my friend...

Stop using comments today to spiral down again. Ok, this morning was a step backward, so you're on the "three steps forward, one step back" part of your journey. That's ok. It's better than 1 step forward, 10 steps back, right?

"Dum spiro, spero." I won't insult your intelligence by reminding you of all the people who clung to hope, love, life, in the face of unfathomable adversity. I'll just remind you of some of your many blessings:

- You have two beautiful, healthy, intelligent, loving children.
- You have food to eat, clothes to wear, and a roof over your head.
- You are living in a place free from war and natural disasters (I think).
- You have a job, in this shaky economy.
- You are fairly healthy, as is your wife.
- Your wife hasn't forged your name or stolen your credit card or emptied out your retirement savings in quite some time.
- You have had more SF lately.

And reasons you can feel good about yourself:

- You are leading the formation of a men's group.
- You provide for your family. (YES YOU DO!!!)
- You are involved in your kids' lives.
- You have honored your marriage vows.
- You have continued to try to make a decent life with your wife. You may sound discouraged a lot of the time (and find me one person on MB who has tried as long as you have and isn't discouraged!) but you ARE still there, and you ARE still interacting with her, and you are even trying to interact in a positive way.
- You give her compliments and try to give her affection and admiration in whatever way you think she needs it.

Things are better this year than they were last year, right? Stop wishing for bad luck and knocking on wood.

For your amusement:

Just a cover, but it's fun watching the baby too!


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I meant, say thank you when someone compliments you, blockhead smile

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That was a DJ, wasn't it?

Last edited by thinkinitthru66; 05/11/10 03:10 PM.
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Jayne:

Yes, I have much to be thankful for. The past 2 nights Mrs. Hold let me apply pressure to tenacious knots in her shoulder!

And I liked the video. Song is only OK but the baby is cute.


When you can see it coming, duck!
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