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Please listen to these radio clips of Dr. Harley talking about if both spouses aren't on board to work on the M that it probably won't work.

Radio Clip on Both spouses need to work on Marriage
Segment #2
Segment #3

Dr. Harley says we must be in a marriage that we take extraordinary care for each other.


FWW/BW (me)
WH
2nd M for both
Blended Family with 7 kids between us
Too much hurt and pain on both sides that my brain hurts just thinking about it all.



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**edit**

Last edited by Fireproof; 06/13/12 02:32 PM. Reason: TOS
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**edit**

Last edited by Fireproof; 06/13/12 02:30 PM. Reason: TOS this is Marriage Builders!
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A reminder to posters that the purpose of this forum is to discuss Marriage Builders.

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Reading your post I was reminded of the frustration I often felt when I was in your position. Now that I realize how close you still are to D day, I understand why things are not yet where youd like. At 11 months we were still not doing very well at all. You guys are still very early in this process moving towards a better marriage. Remember, it took you 16+ years to get to the bad place which resulted in your D Day. In fact even longer since many of your and your wifes dysfunctional / counterproductive relationship habits and instincts pre-date your marriage. So dont be surprised that it is taking time to untangle and re-wire. The favorable conditions conducive to change and growth are still just newly (and somewhat clumsily) being put in to place. Yes, it is a slow process it is slow and it is a process.

I have great hope for your marriage because I feel Ive been where you are (in many ways) and we have made our marriage SO much better. But it took time and effort much longer than youve been at it. Hang in there =) Maintain your buyers mentality. You own this, for the long haul. But it is going to be worth it. Your best chance at happiness is making your marriage to the mother of your children great.

You asked me how and why my wife came to the realization about her ENs and how/why she was willing to engage in MB. Well, keep in mind, periocially for many months on end, she was NOT engaged. Our growth happened slowly over a few years. I was reading books, filling out worksheets etc. Sometimes she participated, often she did not. As I slowly made the right changes in my behaviors and thoughts, it created a safe environment where my wife began to open up. It wasnt until our dynamic began to change for real that she started to explore and grow.

I hear you saying that helping your wife better meet your needs by making requests for changes in her behavior is just not going to work right now. You know way more than I do about your situation and I trust you are right. I think I made my point though that feeling/knowing she is successfully meeting your needs (rather than being shielded from them) is *really* what your wife needs most. Keep this in the forefront of your mind (if you agree.)

So Im going to summarize my advice so far.

  • Make sure you wife is not getting her ENs met outside your marriage
  • Avoid behaviors that withdraw love units from your wifes love bank
  • Consistently and expertly do the things that make your wife feel loved and cared for
  • Help your wife learn to successfully meet your ENs and avoid LBs against you


If you are not satisfied with the current results, then the process is still ongoing. Lack of success means one (or more) of the above elements needs adjustment or attention. Dont see your lack of resolution as a failure, just a need for more time in a favorable environment, for fine tuning.

I hope this is helpful. Im interested in hearing how things are going.

Last edited by BWS71; 06/14/12 09:34 PM.
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Accuray Offline OP
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Thanks BWS71,

I will "keep on keeping on" and set a new timeline -- I do feel re-energized. The rule I've read is "one month for every year you've been married" to recover, so I still have 5 months to go to meet that general rule, so to your point it is still early.

I also agree this is a slow process -- I made a lot of progress early on, so that makes recent events seem very slow by comparison but I lack longer term perspective since I'm in the moment.

I will put your suggestions into practice and probably won't have many updates for a while. Focusing too much on progress makes things worse -- like watching a toaster waiting for it to pop up.

I will check back in down the road when I have some meaningful progress to report, I do appreciate your guidance.

Accuray

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Quote:
The rule I've read is "one month for every year you've been married" to recover
Please don't use this yardstick. Take the time you need to recover.

It is typical of many betrayed spouses to have a hard time at the six-month mark of recovery. (Regardless of years married.)


D-Day 2-10-2009
Fully Recovered and Better Than Ever!
Thank you Marriage Builders!

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I'm not on the forums much. When you come back if you post on this thread I'll get an email.

Good luck!

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BWS71,

It's been 6 months, I figured I would check in and provide a short update. Following the advice from our prior discussions, I did pursue the admiration angle, but as you know this needs to go slowly to be genuine. My last post was on 6/13 -- for the next 3 weeks things actually got progressively worse to the point that W was treating me like an unwanted roommate. I started looking at apartments and was ready to move out.

I figured there must be love busters at play that were effectively blocking my efforts, and indeed there were. I worked to resolve those issues (which were minor in my view and very easily changed).

As part of the conversation around the love busters, W told me that she was not "in love with me", defined as having feelings of romantic love, and didn't know if she ever had been. She went on to say that it's not important to her, and she doesn't need those feelings in her marriage. I suspected that she felt that way -- I was listening to a radio show with a psychologist who was saying that some women set benchmarks such as "I should be married by the time I'm 30", or "I should have kids by the time I'm 32", and as those ages approach they are tempted to compromise their decision making, such as marrying someone they are not in love with but who are "good enough". The psychologist was obviously advising a caller not to do that, but I feel that I may be on the losing side of one of those compromises as we got married when W was 30 and had recently come out of a 4 year relationship. She wanted that relationship to result in marriage, but the guy got cold feet and moved out.

In mid-July, we had a blow up over how she was treating me, discussed the love busters, etc. Armed with the love buster information things steadily improved for a while, but then started to deteriorate again.

I met with my MC and IC, and they both said that the fact that I was actively "working on myself" as a husband and making an effort to improve the marriage was putting pressure on W, and that I needed to back off and "just be" for a while. Beginning in about September I put that into practice and things improved a bit again, and for the last few months we've been in what I would call a very comfortable equilibrium.

In a marriage without the scars ours has had, I'd probably say our marriage is "good" at this point, but not great.

The issue I have is being in a marriage where my W says she has no romantic love for me, doesn't feel she needs it, and isn't interested in trying to foster it. She takes a "leave well enough alone" approach to things, and effort on my part to make things better or more intimate cause her to distance herself emotionally. That's not to say that she's cold, ignores me, or doesn't seem to "like me". In fact, she acts the way you'd act if you lived with a roommate you like. She's pleasant, is willing to go to dinner or a movie with me when I ask, is happy to have a pleasant conversation when I start one, will return hugs when I offer them. In addition, she'll have sex if I ask, but it's clear it's for me and not for her. She's giving in this regard, treats me well, but at the same time the relationship simply is not satisfying by virtue of the missing romantic love.

My MC advised me to divorce at this point, he said that she's not going to work on it with me and likely never will. He said that at my age, it would be a crime to let another 10 years pass without being in a satisfying relationship.

My IC who also worked with W before she worked with me said that W is "full of cr@p" and actually loves me very deeply, but that she's like a petulant teenager who will not allow me to see that because she's very afraid to let anybody in. She advised me to ignore that, and know that romantic love will come and go in any marriage.

For now, I'm following that advice and sticking with it because it's "good enough" given the cost to the children and our financial situation of dissolving our marriage, but it is unfortunately not satisfying.

Obviously I'm open to any suggestions or advice.

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Accuray,

In your previous posts you had mentioned plans for telephone coaching with Steve. I don't see that mentioned in your update, what happened with that?


50+ yo couple enjoying our empty nest.
Young adult kids out on their own.
"Enthusiastic agreement?" is our catch phrase.
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Steve was great, he got to the root of my situation quickly and helped shed some new perspective on things. Where we landed, however, is that W would need to buy-in/participate in order for things to improve with the Marriage Builders plan. Steve's perspective is that she doesn't know what she's missing because she doesn't see the potential, so we need to get her there through "respectful persuasion". He really wanted to do a session with her but she steadfastly refused to talk to him. Any attempt at persuasion on my part is met by almost immediate emotional withdrawal on her part which makes life more painful for the following 3-4 weeks.

Good memory, unless you read it all again!

I think Steve is great, don't get the impression that he couldn't help. While W is staking out an inflexible position there's not much he can do.

I also spoke to another psychotherapist and relationship specialist. She said that my problem is that I'm holding onto the hope of a happy outcome here. She said I have really 4 choices and they are all very very painful so accept that, embrace that it's going to be painful and evaluate which one is best.

The options are to stay and continue to work on it (which she gave a low chance of success after 18 months), stay and give up on working on it, divorce and try to be the best possible co-parent, or make an arrangement where we continue to live together as partners but date other people to get our emotional needs met. She was in favor of the last one, but that's not something I would ever do.

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AR - I read your update - I do have some thoughts. It may take me a few days to get back with you with a worthwhile response.

Short take - I think you've done many things well and right and I admire you for it.

Back to you soon.

BWS

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AR - re-reading over your posts I don't see any shinning nuggets of missed opportunity. I don't see some obvious and simple solution you simply haven't tried yet. Based on my very limited perspective (just some dude on the internet) I get the impression you understand marriage builders and you are putting it in to practice as well as can be expected. There is no low hanging fruit left that I see.

That is not to say there aren't areas for continued improvement and refinement. I'm sure there are. But nothing glaring is jumping out at me.

You're not miserable. You're not satisfied. You're somewhere in between. Things aren't great. They aren't awful. They are livable. You are not thinking about divorce at this point but you'd still like a more connected and satisfying marriage.

True statements?

I think your most productive option is to keep on keeping on. Continue to refine your inner game. Work your angles. Be patient but not complacent. Continue to learn and do the things that motivate your wife to change. Shake things up gently from time to time. Maintain constant forward progress, even if at a very slow speed.

I heard a consultant talk about change once. He said to change, a person needs to feel

1) convinced of the superiority of something different compared to their current state and
2) convinced they can achieve it

Your wife feels neither. She does not seem to see a different way of being and living that would be *worth the cost* to her.

Maybe over time you can help her see there is a better way - that the benefits are better than she imagines AND the price is lower than she fears.

We can't change our spouses (or anyone else.) We can only create the environment most conducive to change, invite and wait.

The missing ingredient may simply be time. I recognize a lot of time has passed already - but how much of it has been productive time?

Do be careful about expectations. It does seem that your efforts to meet your wife's needs are muted when she perceives an expectation of reciprocation. Going out of your way to make your wife happy is a mixed bag - oddly and a bit maddeningly. It does put pressure on her. I don't know that this is a bad thing necessarily - but it should be recognized.

When you come to the place where you truly value and cherish your wife just as she is may be the exact time she begins to become the wife you value and cherish.

She may very well come around once you find that sweet spot where you can work on making things better without de-valuing the present.

But, she may not. She does have her part to play. And she may choose to never play it. This would be sad. What then? When do you say "enough?" Tough question that only you can answer.

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Thanks BWS71, as one "dude on the Internet" to another, I think I'm looking at this the same way you are. The only difference from your perception, I think, is that my feelings about my sitch tend to move around quite a bit versus just stay in a narrow band.

My MC recommended keeping a "blind journal" and marking a + if it would be okay if I felt the way I did today for every day for the rest of my life, and a - if that would not be okay. He said not to look at trends, mark each day without looking at anything else (i.e. one mark per page). He said that after six months or a year, decide what an "acceptable ratio" is for you, and then add up your pluses and minuses. He said that seeing it that way will keep me from fooling myself. I haven't started doing that yet, but maybe I should.

I agree that the missing ingredient is time, but I fear that I cannot come to a place where I truly value and cherish my wife if she does not treat me in a loving manner -- i.e. if your love bank is being depleted I don't believe you're going to be feeling in a "cherishing mood".

Tough one for sure -- thank you so much again for your advice and consideration.

--Accuray

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