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User Topic: Reconciling with the "Emotionally Unavailable"
gibbonsrose
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Member # 16280
Default  Posted: 4:54 PM, November 16th (Friday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I can't wrap me brain around how to get through. How does one, after a lifetime of turning emotions off, turn that switch on? Is it like learning to read? One word, one emotion at a time? I need to do more reading on this subject and become informed. I just don't get how someone can not know how they feel at any given moment. And then there's the tie-in to empathy, or lack thereof. Lots to deal with here...


Me - Befuckled
WH - Limber at limbo *sigh*

Posts: 5040 | Registered: Sep 2007 | From: mountain transplant
HurtingInDenver
♂ Member
Member # 15974
Default  Posted: 5:04 PM, November 16th (Friday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I just don't get how someone can not know how they feel at any given moment.

What did you mean by this gibbonsrose? I ask because my WW basically says she's not sure how she feels about me. Specifically, she doesn't know if she wants to stay married.


I'm flat out spent, this woman she been driving me to tears
This woman so crazy, I swear I ain't going to touch another one for years -B.Dylan


Posts: 781 | Registered: Aug 2007
Brass Ring
♀ Member
Member # 10727
Default  Posted: 5:08 PM, November 16th (Friday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Gee, there is so much to say I don't even know where to begin.

I did want to to respond to the "we can't fix them" comment though. Sure we know that we can't fix them (even though as between us and them they probably think that we "can" fix them if anyone can because, dontcha know---we are that all-powerful person that "makes" them feel good or bad about themselves depending upon our whim of the moment). BUT, we can make it clear to them that if they expect us to stay in the M, especially after the devastation of an A, they need to fix themselves. We can support them and encourage them, but utltimately, this is their issue. Whether we make it a marriage ending issue, is our choice.

Oh, and to the poster who mentioned that his W is the emotionally unavailable one, don't feel alone. I have seen a number of male posters complain of this same issue with their W's. Having emotionally unavailable parents (or outright abusive parents) is not the sole domain of men. It's just that in our society emotional unavailability in men is often encouraged in children ("be a man") and even romanticized (the heroic "strong silent type" versus the "girly-boy" who actually shows his feelings). Emotional unavailability in men anyway seems to impart an aura of "strength" somehow.

It's a pretty well established fact, I think, that most men relate to people in a way that is less demonstrably emotional than the way most women relate to to people.

The problem is when someone, man or woman, lacks the **ability** to emotionally relate to such an extent it leads to consistent distorted perceptions which then lead to behaviors that are not condusive to a truly intimate relationship (avoidance, anger, sarcasm, passive agression) and can be very damaging if the behaviors are extemem(A's, addictions, etc.)

A lot of us just "muddle through" with these guys until something big happens and then all the wierd little events in our history (that we may have made excuses about) fall into place.

Brass Ring


Me: BS 54
Him: WS 54
Married 17 years, two beautiful D's, 10 and 13.
D-day 5/10/04
Trying to pick up the pieces after my H's infidelity derailed our M.

Posts: 230 | Registered: May 2006 | From: East Coast
gibbonsrose
♀ Member
Member # 16280
Default  Posted: 5:10 PM, November 16th (Friday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

My H cannot tell me how he feels beyond "fine". For instance, we've just had an argument about lack of communication and intimacy. I ask him how he feels at that very moment -- i.e., did our argument make him feel angry, sad, defensive, etc. He cannot tell me.

I have also noticed that he looks for cues from the people around him to determine how he should feel about something. Like if someone else laughs, he knows it's funny and then it's ok for him to laugh.

Your WW's comment of not sure how she feels about you could be something like I described above, or it could be that she's still in the fog about OM. What's your best guess?


Me - Befuckled
WH - Limber at limbo *sigh*

Posts: 5040 | Registered: Sep 2007 | From: mountain transplant
disrespected
♀ Member
Member # 15686
Default  Posted: 5:14 PM, November 16th (Friday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Gibbonrose, its funny you said that about one word, one emotion at a time.

The other day I said to my WH that his OW made a fool out of him (which she did, she was cheating on him too). His reponse was "No, I did that all by myself." That small little comment by him made me think that there is hope for him. I told him I was proud of him for recognizing it and more than that EXPRESSING it. It's baby steps, I guess.


Posts: 550 | Registered: Aug 2007 | From:
survivingslowly
♀ Member
Member # 14214
Default  Posted: 5:23 PM, November 16th (Friday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

A lot of us just "muddle through" with these guys until something big happens and then all the wierd little events in our history (that we may have made excuses about) fall into place.

Ain't that the truth!!

I'm in such a place of *discovery* right now, just re-examining the past and looking at all those *peculiar* traits which I thought were just unique to him, or a bit *off* or typical *guy* stuff etc. So now, every behavior, every trait, every nuance is now suspect.

To HurtingMan; I'm glad that you are here posting. I agree with the others in that the traits are the same and can be present in either gender....although just not as common in women. Please continue posting as we can all gain insight from each other.

Question: Are any of your EU spouses people pleasers? As in looking for validation externally? From friends, family, work? Just curious.


BS-me
FWH-him

dday#1-March/07

Fully reconciled. Life is really good!!


Posts: 310 | Registered: Apr 2007
HurtingInDenver
♂ Member
Member # 15974
Default  Posted: 5:31 PM, November 16th (Friday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I am/was TOTALLY a people pleaser. That was the VERY first thing that came up in MC.

Not jsut my WW either; my son, my parents, my friends, my boss, my clients. I've been trying to let some of that go. It was hard a first and I still slip back into that pattern sometimes, but it feels very liberating to let it go!

Why do you ask?

[This message edited by HurtingInDenver at 5:31 PM, November 16th (Friday)]


I'm flat out spent, this woman she been driving me to tears
This woman so crazy, I swear I ain't going to touch another one for years -B.Dylan


Posts: 781 | Registered: Aug 2007
weepy
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Member # 8790
Default  Posted: 5:43 PM, November 16th (Friday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I'm going to have to look for this, but a long time ago I found a list of emotions.

It was broken down into Mild, Something and Extreme.

Like Mild would be annoyed and extreme would be raging or furious.

I gave it to H once and told him to look them over, so when he was looking for what emotion he was feeling, he could check his "cheat sheet" to identify it. I really thought it would help.

Because every question of "what are you feeling?" the answer was "angry". The personification of P/A and EU. Anger is the root of all of it.

I have been learning to let go of the people pleasing too. The first thing I started to do (before even IC) was to think if I would feel resentment over having done some action. If the answer was "yes, I'd be resentful or angry," I wouldn't do it. I truly felt underappreciated, used, taken for granted for so many years, this was the only basis I could find to stop the behavior.

But it was a habit. And that feeling of never doing enough, being enough, was my whole mindset.

Today I told my boss I was not going to accept her job offer. A few years ago I would have been desperate to try and figure out how to do my job and still make her happy. I couldn't. Taking my severance is the best thing I could do for ME. And I'm leaving before the big end-of-year rush. It's leaving the department in the lurch, but again, I deserve a non-harried Christmas for once in my life.


Dday: 9/12/05
M: 29 yrs( me anyway )
BS(me): 55 And I'm ok with that
FWS: 57- Multiple PAs, LTA 7? yrs.

Try not. Do or do not, there is no try. -- Yoda


Posts: 9340 | Registered: Nov 2005 | From: SE PA
survivingslowly
♀ Member
Member # 14214
Default  Posted: 6:05 PM, November 16th (Friday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Cause I think the bottom line is that its pretty hard to respect a people pleaser.

My WH is a people pleaser. I think over the years we fell into a pattern that it was *all about me*...in that he thought his job was to make me happy. So, he really didn't have an opinion to share on whether he was happy or not. His happiness was dependant on mine.

Like his typical response to something such as he gets me a coffee or makes a nice meal and I say "Awesome meal, thanks" or "thanks, that's a great cup of coffee." He would respond with "So, is that ok?" in a bit of a puppy-dog tongue panting kind of way.
Well, after a while, I think it became easier and easier for me to take advantage of that...I don't think I intended to, it just evolved.

But I think my respect for him began to slow erode away until I became the *bitch* never happy with anything....but most of all unhappy with his lack of emotional involvment. On his part, he experienced me being bitchy, never happy, always complaining but if asked he would say (to anyone), "Its a wonderful life isn't it?" I mean, he actually said this to me one night while we sat in our hottub WHILE he was in the middle of the A...go figure...he didn't indicate that he was unhappy...just went along *pleasing* me and making sure the *queen* was happy.

I hated it...I wanted him to be selfish once in a while. I wanted to be called on the carpet for my bitchy and often childish behavior. But I couldn't even get him emotionally involved in his own unhappiness to have any kind of response to our crumbling marriage.

I suppose the ultimate in his selfish self centered behavior was his A....probably the first time he mentally said to himself "fuck her", "I'm tired of pleasing her" etc.

The saddest thing of all was that he was putting his effort into all the wrong places.

All I wanted was for him to make me and this M a priority.

I wanted him to entertain the thought of taking a morning off (no kids around) and make love or have a coffee, go for a drive etc.

I wanted him to take an interest in his kids.

I wanted him to WANT to be there for parent/teacher conferences instead of feeling like I bitched him into it.

I wanted him to share his day with me....stuff about work instead of just saying "I don't want to talk about it."

It was like he was missing all the important parts that me *me* tick...me being the unique person that I am....he seemed to just fall back on a formula.

One thing he did say in MC was that he was *trying* to tell me that we were having problems just before the A happened. His exact words to the MC were "I was using a hint and hope method." Are you kidding me???!!! Something so serious as aM, you're gonna use the *hint and hope* method.

sorry for the long winded response.


BS-me
FWH-him

dday#1-March/07

Fully reconciled. Life is really good!!


Posts: 310 | Registered: Apr 2007
HurtingInDenver
♂ Member
Member # 15974
Default  Posted: 6:25 PM, November 16th (Friday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Holy shit survivingslowly! You just described our relationship to a tee! The only difference is that SHE had the A. I have to admit, though, that I had thought about having one myself (or at least trying) last Fall (while hers WAS going on).

Most of this stuff is something I figured out quickly after DDay. The whole idea that I had sort of become a "puppy-dog" and how unattractive that is. WW even told me she needs me to be more confident. I know it's part co- and part people pleaser, and I'm trying to break that pattern. Each day I feel more and more confident.

I'll tell you thouhgh, it's stretching me. It's not something I'm used to. And while it feels good (and healthy), it also feels odd sometimes.

A couple of weeks ago I got really pissed at her. As I went off on her she jsut looked at me a little stunned. Later that week she told our MC that it was the first time in 13 years that I got angry with her (at least when I wasn't drunk). She actually seemed happy about it.


I'm flat out spent, this woman she been driving me to tears
This woman so crazy, I swear I ain't going to touch another one for years -B.Dylan


Posts: 781 | Registered: Aug 2007
I_am
♀ Member
Member # 7867
Default  Posted: 7:20 PM, November 16th (Friday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Unfortunately I belong here as well. I just finished reading all your posts & boy does it sound all too familiar.

FWS & I have been in counseling for 2 yrs now & I hate to say I am not seeing any improvement in him. If anything I feel as if it is getting worse. Maybe just because I am seeing it more clearly now.

I also am asking myself daily why it is that I am staying in this relationship with him at this point. I fear it will never be what I need it to be.

So nice to finally hear of others who understand.


Dday 11/01/05

Posts: 185 | Registered: Aug 2005 | From: oh
survivingslowly
♀ Member
Member # 14214
Default  Posted: 8:16 PM, November 16th (Friday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Ya know Hurting, I've often asked myself WHY didn't I have an A?

I mean, really, being in an emotionally void M could have been the Why of an A very easily.

Not sure the answer except the easy answer was lack of opportunity.

I mean that very truly...just this Sept., was the very first time in almost 8 years that I am kid-free for 2.5 hours on a Tues. and Thurs. morning. There was NEVER an opportunity....I just couldn't take my babies along on a rendezvous now could I?

The longer answer may be that it just isn't in me to operate that way. I haven't really thought about it too much as I've been focusing on being the BS, not so much on a potential WS.

But, yes, my WH doesn't really *know* how to be angry in a respectful way...it builds and builds until he explodes (never been physical) and its like WOW, where did *that* come from?

I'm all about having a difference of opinion...I like debating.

He hates debates, doesn't get it, sees no use for people to sit around and discuss things they disagree on...just accept it and move on.

So for him, it was much easier to give me what I wanted, or at least what he thought I wanted. Probably what confused him so much was why was I still unhappy when I got what *I* wanted?

The answer that I've been trying to tell him for years: Its not what I wanted....its what he thought I wanted. Its sooo friggin' frustrating.


BS-me
FWH-him

dday#1-March/07

Fully reconciled. Life is really good!!


Posts: 310 | Registered: Apr 2007
weepy
♀ Member
Member # 8790
Default  Posted: 9:20 PM, November 16th (Friday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I am - Do you think that's really what it is? That we see what we just wrote off before? I'm right there with you sister. 2+ years of C, and I called her today to say I think I'm done. I asked her if she thought H was even listening any more. She said I don't know. Great.

Ok People, has anyone resorted to mirroring their PA behavior? I actually think I will try that. One word answers, telling him I'm distracted if he's trying to talk to me, asking him why he wants to know stuff.


Dday: 9/12/05
M: 29 yrs( me anyway )
BS(me): 55 And I'm ok with that
FWS: 57- Multiple PAs, LTA 7? yrs.

Try not. Do or do not, there is no try. -- Yoda


Posts: 9340 | Registered: Nov 2005 | From: SE PA
I_am
♀ Member
Member # 7867
Default  Posted: 10:33 PM, November 16th (Friday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Weepy- I really do think a lot of it has to do with "me" finally seeing it. Prior to the affair I believed all the empty words and now I see them for what they are .... empty words that are never followed by action. In my mind that equals lies, constant lies. I cannot ever imagine that I could heal from an affair with a shell of a man who has nothing more to offer than more broken promises and lies.

Yes I have been considering stooping to his level and just spoke to my friend about this today but as she tells me....what do you have to gain & what will it fix. The answer is nothing. I really just want him to see how it feels but in all actuality he will not "feel" as I do. He will be super attentive for about a week and then back to sq. 1.

I have no answers. We start with a new counselor next Tues and this is my intended topic of discussion.


Dday 11/01/05

Posts: 185 | Registered: Aug 2005 | From: oh
HurtingInDenver
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Member # 15974
Default  Posted: 11:28 PM, November 16th (Friday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Weepy and I_am, how do you stay in MC with an EU spouse for that long? Don't get me wrong, I'm not criticizing, I'm wondering where you get the strength?

It's only been 8 weeks and I don't know if I can do it any longer. I can't imagine 2 years of this Hell.

She moved into the guest room 7 weeks ago. The separation has probably been good (and healthy) for both of us, but I feel alone. Like I'm doing this all by myself. Like none of this matters to her.

What's worse is she seems to come and go with her attitude toward me. We email back and forth all day and things are great. We met for lunch on Wednesday and had a nice time. And last Sunday she gave me a huge hug before bed and said she loved me. Then tonight I went to give her a hug and there was nothing there. Sometimes I rub her shoulders and it't like she cringes.

Does anybody else get that sort of hot/cold treatment from their EU WS, or is this something unique to me?


I'm flat out spent, this woman she been driving me to tears
This woman so crazy, I swear I ain't going to touch another one for years -B.Dylan


Posts: 781 | Registered: Aug 2007
bobsgrl
♀ Member
Member # 9545
Default  Posted: 11:54 PM, November 16th (Friday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Hallaluha ...
I just logged on and saw this thread. I haven't even taken the time yet ( I will )
to read the responses so far.

I'm just so happy to see this...my first thought...Ahhhh...a safe place to land...From someone who really can't affford IC at this point...Thank you so very much SI...once again, this place saves me.

Thanks DS & MH !


Posts: 1772 | Registered: Jan 2006 | From: Out to pasture
I_am
♀ Member
Member # 7867
Default  Posted: 1:35 AM, November 17th (Saturday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I have no idea if it's strength or stupidity on my part.

With my fwh there are always these strings of hope. He can say all the right things but not have the right actions. He has the gift of gab, you know salesman type. I love hearing nice things from him but am always disappointed that the actions don't match.

Honestly I never had a close relationship with any man in my life and was sexually abused by my uncle at a young age so part of this is familiar to me....sad to say. At the age of 42 I am learning that this is NOT o.k. and I want more.

My situation is much more complex. My fwh has 4 kids and I have 2, second marriage. He has 2 ex's that I deal with and 2 of his 4 kids live with us. I feel a sense of responsibility to the kids as their mother does not want them and fwh is EU. I feel as if I am all they have. I am in the midst of raising 4 teenagers and feel as if I have very little time to access this all. I get about 10% help from fwh. He is a workaholic and when he is here he sleeps or is EU.

Sorry to ramble.


Dday 11/01/05

Posts: 185 | Registered: Aug 2005 | From: oh
HurtingInDenver
♂ Member
Member # 15974
Default  Posted: 7:59 AM, November 17th (Saturday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Wow I_am, you do have a lot on your plate. You are a good person for caring about those kids so much. I'm sure it's not easy on them either.

I can relate to the "string of hope", particularl since WW hasn't decided if she wants to stay married or not. I'm not the kind of guy that can just sit around and wait. I need to keep moving forward, either with her or without. I just hate to cut her loose and do it without her if eventually she might come around (like I said, we still do have some good days)

I really wish I wouldn't of lost that instruction manual to all this...


I'm flat out spent, this woman she been driving me to tears
This woman so crazy, I swear I ain't going to touch another one for years -B.Dylan


Posts: 781 | Registered: Aug 2007
lostgal
♀ Member
Member # 16180
Default  Posted: 12:07 AM, November 18th (Sunday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I am so glad we all have a place to share here...I am amazed at how many of us there are in this siuation.

Hurting... I am in the same boat with your thought process on moving forward.
I too am not good with doing nothing but I fear that if I push too fast or if I don't wait long enough I will miss the opportunity to try and rebuild. My WH also doesn't know if he wants to be married anymore. He has been out of our home for 13 weeks, his choice. That felt like abandonement to me and my DD. I am not a people pleaser myself but my IC says I am a NEED TO BE PERFECT type. That if I am not perfect, they may not love me or like me or the job may not get done. I am trying to deal with my own issues with that. Doing work on me at least feels like forward progress. I wish I had an answer for the mood swings. My WH will sometimes grab me for a hug/kiss when he sees me and other times he jams his hands in his pockets and stiffens up you would think he is in line for the electric chair. I don't know if it is overwhelming feelings or their FOG but I know it makes my heart break. It also causing these thoughts of low self worth, questionning..you name it.

I hear my manual is in the MAIL


Me: BW 37
WH 37
Married 14yrs/Together 18
1 GREAT KID 12
D-Day #1 8/13/07 EA
D-Day #2 8/17/07 EA
D-Day #3 10/31/07 EA

Status: 1/17/08 Wh is DONE,wants D


Posts: 105 | Registered: Sep 2007 | From: NV
weepy
♀ Member
Member # 8790
Default  Posted: 7:59 AM, November 18th (Sunday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Denver, I don't know if it's stupidity or stubborness that keeps me continuing with the C.

I think it's the crumbs that he tosses me. Like one day he'll be concerned about my wellbeing and then the next 6 not. I live for that 1 day a week.

I know he's always been the "stiff upper lip" kind of guy, non romantic, self-absorbed. When he's like that I feel so alone.

I'm suspecting that behavior is "shame based."


Dday: 9/12/05
M: 29 yrs( me anyway )
BS(me): 55 And I'm ok with that
FWS: 57- Multiple PAs, LTA 7? yrs.

Try not. Do or do not, there is no try. -- Yoda


Posts: 9340 | Registered: Nov 2005 | From: SE PA
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