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You Can't Force It

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Iwantmyglasses posted 6/4/2019 08:28 AM

Even still CR. You admonished her. It’s not the one time thing. It’s opening a needed door.

It’s smiling and flirting.

I think both of you need to think about what it would be like to be boyfriend and girlfriend.

Just let go. I can bet you thousands of dollars if a girlfriend had said. Hey tell me about your smoked meat.

You would have said. Show me yours and I’ll show you mine.

Come!! On!!!

CaptainRogers posted 6/4/2019 08:34 AM

She definitely wasn't trying to be funny & connect in a sexual way, tushnurse. And the conversation was much longer than the little snippets I shared. Probably 5-10 minutes in total. The book wasn't in the bedroom, it was actually on the window sill by a chair in the living room. That comment (about the late night reading) was actually meant in jest.

As to the connecting, we do a number of things together now (such as landscape updates/maintenance) that we had never done before. We go on walks/hikes together. We do connect in a number of ways. I am quite grateful that she has taken steps to be intentional and I actually thought her attempt to connect about "smoking meat" was cute. Since she hasn't actually cooked meat in any way/shape/form for about 23 years, it's just humorous to hear her talk about "smoking meat". Kind of like hearing your kids make a statement using words they have heard, but don't really know the meaning of. A cute naivete.

So, I wasn't truly dismissive in any respect and I do notice her bids. Sometimes the bids are misplaced, and that was what I was really trying to convey, with the hopes of maybe getting someone (apart from just my wife) to think more and be more intentional about the bids they make in the future, that in doing so, it could lead to actually seeing more of those bids responded to and getting to the better connections. Think of it as the old teacher in me coming out.

Again, sorry about the tone that must have come across in the original. It was not meant to be that at all.

[This message edited by CaptainRogers at 8:40 AM, June 4th (Tuesday)]

CaptainRogers posted 6/4/2019 08:37 AM

I can bet you thousands of dollars if a girlfriend had said. Hey tell me about your smoked meat.

You would have said. Show me yours and I’ll show you mine.

Maybe when I was younger, IWMG. But now that I'm a crotchety old man, I don't want to see anyone's smoked meat. 😂

And get off my lawn! 😂😂😂

swmnbc posted 6/4/2019 08:47 AM

You have a lot of hurt and rejection built up, and it came out here. On some level, maintaining the dynamic where your wife can't meet your needs is easier than being vulnerable and risking that you might get hurt even more. Hurt people hurt people, and none of us are exceptions.

Today my husband and I are happily reconciled, but it took dozens of interactions like this where one of us reached out, and it felt forced and my "Ugh why should I have to try when you're such an idiot and you can't even get this right?" reflex wanted to kick in. I did my best to remain vulnerable regardless. It's truly the thought that counts here, not the execution, because practice will eventually make perfect.

Vulnerability means admitting that you want the person who hurt you so much to love you regardless. When all we have is our righteous indignation, we are loathe to give it up. But until we do, there's no room for real intimacy.

CaptainRogers posted 6/4/2019 08:53 AM

Vulnerability means admitting that you want the person who hurt you so much to love you regardless. When all we have is our righteous indignation, we are loathe to give it up. But until we do, there's no room for real intimacy.

Couldn't agree more, swmnbc

hikingout posted 6/4/2019 09:03 AM

So, I told her that I appreciated the effort, but connecting deeply over a one time task doesn't work.

I still ask you to look at that. Critiquing what she chose is not encouragement. I feel like you lightened up about this after reading what people wrote, if I am honest. Even the name of the post - "you can't force it" means to me that to you it's still not there, and her efforts have not become natural. I can understand that. But, as long as she keeps making them there is a big opportunity for something to start falling into place. You must be careful not to humiliate her in the process, this is the opening stages of vulnerability, her hardest and most core issue.

But, I would like to say that it's probably very hard for you to soften towards her after all this waiting, all this build up. There have been months of desolation that you have felt based on her actions. Keep working towards the softening as long as she keeps making the bids and efforts. It's a good way to meet in the middle and I think it will put you closer to the goal. It's not a mystery as to why this would be rebuffed, I don't think you are a bad guy for feeling this way, but I think it's good you posted so that you could get maybe get different insight and think about the idea that it's going to be very hard for you to get vulnerable back. This to me was you exhibiting what a hard time that might be.

hikingout posted 6/4/2019 09:16 AM

One more suggestion...maybe you all should listen to or take turns reading out loud "Rising Strong" by Brene Brown. Do 15 minutes a few times a week and discuss that chapter together for a few minutes after that. It's a great book about reclaiming your courage and vulnerability. It think you both need it and it would provide a way to discuss concepts and share some ways that you both connect with what the author is saying.

Darkness Falls posted 6/4/2019 10:02 AM

This post is trigger city for me. It’s exactly why we don’t have a marriage; just a lackluster partnership for the purpose of raising our kids. Every time I try to “connect” with my husband about something, and most times I even try to TALK with him at all, I get shut down. I myself have come to the conclusion that he just doesn’t care about me. I know that’s not the case with you, CR. I just hope your wife does know you appreciated her effort, even if it was misplaced.

beenthereinco posted 6/4/2019 10:15 AM

"Are you excited about smoking your meat? Have you picked out something to rub it with?"

This really wasn't meant as some sort of double entendre? Wow. I probably need to go back and apologize to my wife a lot. She always says I can turn anything sexual but damn I really thought this was a sort of funny come-on by your wife.

godheals posted 6/4/2019 10:32 AM

It sounds like you want to connect with your wife on something that you guys can reconnect over and over again and build from there. Your wife just wanted to connect. I would not say either one of you are wrong. It’s important to find something to connect with your spouse that you can build from there and grow. But the little moment that might just be a one time thing do add up to something bigger. I also find that the little things can or could turn into something bigger that we might not think that could. Or they might not. But all those little moment together add up and you can grow from there also.

I remember my H and I were only months from dday. I wanted to go out on date night. He made a comment that one date is not going to fix our marriage. He was right, one night out together won’t magically fix everything. But over time if we made a point to go out every so often this could turn into something bigger. It kinda reminded of this. Sometimes it’s just about taking baby steps. Twe nights ago I was upstairs shutting windows. The one window leads to on top of our garage so I decided to go on it because I knew my H was sitting on the ground by the garage. He saw me and started to laugh. But he grab a ladder and come on with me. We sat together for about 20 mins and listen to music over looking our neighborhood. Until one kid yelled out “Mom!”. Moment over. Will this lead into something bigger later, I don’t know. Maybe it will or not. Maybe this will become our thing later. Sneaking up to the roof of our garage to get away from a moment together. It might not turn into nothing at all but it was nice to just sit with my H and not think about life but just to be together. He even called me a nerd.

As a WW I see your wife trying. She is. But to be honest it would scare me to try. Not again but it might take me a little time in between to try again. Do you think you and wife could sit down together and write out things that you could enjoy together over time and grow? Maybe each of you write the things you like to enjoy and each pick something from each other’s list that you be willing to try together? My H loves to golf. I find it boring as hell. If my H asked to go golfin I would jump all over that like you not believe. Why? Because we are together. Talking together on the way there. Taking and connecting during and after. We are together doing it. I see as an opportunity to make it something more then just golfing. Sometimes it’s not about what you are doing it’s about you are together doing it.

godheals posted 6/4/2019 10:39 AM

“Are you excited about smoking your meat? Have you picked out something to rub it with?"

I could only imagine all the comments my H would make if I said this to him. I think half of the things I say he turns it into something more. Sometimes I have to stop myself and say never mind and he just laughs and says “your walking right into that one aren’t you?”

ThisIsSoLonely posted 6/4/2019 11:12 AM

I have to agree with this (and I wrote this before reading your comments so take them for what it's worth):

She straight out told you she was making a bid to connect with you, and, because it didn't meet your standard of what you think she "should" be trying to connect with you about, you dismissed it.

I really think that ANY attempt to connect is a good one - and you could reframe it like this:

She could pick something "easy" to try to "reconnect" with you about - something you both have in common, or something you both are already familiar with. Instead, she chose something that is inherently "yours" (meaning your project) and not hers - to find out about YOU or maybe just to have a little fun with you/help you. That's pretty damn sweet IMO.

It was something that I completely blew with my WH before he was a WH and was just my H. If it wasn't something that I was interested in then I pretty much ignored it, and he felt like unless he was talking about something I found interesting in some way that he stopped bothering because...well...I may as well have yawned when he was talking. It was a mistake on my part, not to try to get to know him on some other level than the "us-familiar" level.

That's one of the things about intimacy...I do textile crafts: quilting, knitting...basically anything you can do with fabric or yarn. My WH - well, let's just say that he doesn't and if he picked up a needle and thread I'm not sure he would know what to do with it beyond MAYBE stitching a button back on. That being said, he used to go with me to the store to pick materials for a new project...and I'm pretty sure he only did that because it interested me and he was understanding a bit more about how my brain works. How the feel of the fabric or yarn is as important to me as the color/pattern, and how my brain matches colors and textures in ways that are unusual (and generally very well liked - I have had strangers want to buy things I am making because they think they are so "beautiful" and "unique" - so I'm known to go a bit out of the norm which can take time). I am a bit picky and going looking for even yarn can require hours of going from shop to shop - I don't like to buy online because you can't see/feel the texture, etc. I'm positive that given a choice between driving all over the place for 3-4 hours (sometimes multiple days - yeah, I'm a crazy grandmother trapped in a younger childless woman's body) is not at the top of his list of things he wants to do...but he has (and still would) because that is something about ME and me alone.

When given the opposite opportunity - to go look at air travel related stuff (he's massively interested in airplanes - old and new) I failed miserably and declined multiple offers to go to air shows and I am 100% positive that I ignored or seemed bored out of my skull when he was talking about air travel related things of interest. I missed out on that, which led him to feel at times like I was only interested in "us" when us meant things that either I enjoyed or that "we" enjoyed. His interests, if not shared by me, were ignored. That was a major f-up on my part and I regret it immensely (No - I don't think this "caused" his A - I can still regret my actions independent of his affair).

So my advice is this: take the opportunity to connect - even if it's something that NEITHER of you particularly are interested in. Making things a JOINT activity is part of reclaiming your togetherness. My WH and I own some rental property - while neither of us want to spend our weekend repainting an apartment, we have done it together consistently and had as much fun as you can doing it. It's funny because I miss those days...painting and eating crappy take out and laughing/bitching/being exhausted...and I miss them precisely because of the connection (I still hate painting!).

Take the opportunity if you want to try to reconnect - seriously - even if it's contrived (as, again let's face it, at least in my world almost everything feels contrived post-A for awhile).

So, I told her that I appreciated the effort, but connecting deeply over a one time task doesn't work.

I'm not trying to be a jerk - but sometimes baby steps are good things. So what if it's a one time task? If you have a little fun then it's worth it - and the fact that it's a one time task is easier in a way.

[This message edited by ThisIsSoLonely at 11:19 AM, June 4th (Tuesday)]

godheals posted 6/4/2019 11:53 AM

CP. Would you rather connect with your wife in a million different little ways that may or may not lead to something? Or have that one huge thing you two can connect but every thing else is just “there”?

When people list off traits or things that they really like about someone, how often do you hear them say just one thing? Most of the time it’s a list of many different things. It’s normally not just one big thing and that’s it. It could be one big thing but a bunch of little things also. Your not going to date someone when you just have one thing in common and everything is just “there”. It takes a million little things to get two people to keep going. Otherwise your just bored to death. I don’t want my M to be bond by just that one fabulous thing we have in common. I want it to be bond by all the moment we have together that could turn that something into fun and silly. That we can look back in so many years and tell stories like “remember that time we went on the roof together and just sat there?” “Remember that one time when you were going to give me a hug but you farted and ened that moment but hey we had a good laugh!”

CaptainRogers posted 6/4/2019 12:30 PM

You know, all I was trying to do was to take an example from life and use it to make a larger overall point. I was not trying to make my wife look bad. I was not trying to throw her under the bus, and I was not looking for empathy/sympathy in the situation. All I was doing was trying to take a real event and use it as an object lesson. And what I got was jumped on and called a jerk, called on the carpet to take a look at myself and how I was being a horrible spouse. It was just an observation, folks. Lighten up, Francis...

From now on, I will stay away from any real life happenings and work in only hypotheticals...

This is not the SI that I joined 2 1/2 years ago...

hikingout posted 6/4/2019 12:49 PM

And what I got was jumped on and called a jerk, called on the carpet to take a look at myself and how I was being a horrible spouse. It was just an observation, folks. Lighten up, Francis.

I am disappointed that's what you got from the feedback, Captain. Truly, it surprises me that this is your reaction. No one called you a jerk or a horrible spouse. I see a lot of people in here that want you to have what you want to have, and who care enough to call you out when they think you are standing in your own way.

When I feel like reacting this way, I try and look at why I feel defensive. It's something unhealed. I hope you will come back and reread when you have taken a breath and really try to see this for what it was...a lot of people showing up for you because they are invested in you and your story and your desires for reconciliation. Best wishes and prayers for peace.

godheals posted 6/4/2019 13:04 PM

Hikingout- Someone did call him a jerk. Was probably very unnecessary.

CP. I am also very surprised by your responds Some comments might of been over the top. I hope mine was not because I was trying to be helpful. A lot of people here have been following your story from day one and just want to help. I understand how frustrating it can be to post a topic and people over look the “point” of what your trying to say. Also someone can post something to make a point but others will see something else that the OP didn’t see. I think that’s the case here. You have given your wife very much grace and respect then she deserves over the period of time and for someone to call you a jerk is highly over the top. That been saying I am taking back what I did by me being surprised by how you reacted. You been very kind and gentle with your spouse and for someone to call you a jerk over this one thing is very uncalled. Understand why this would bother you.

nekonamida posted 6/4/2019 13:28 PM

Captain, I'm surprised by the responses as well. I too saw this as a "no big deal" and "making a point" thread like you meant it. I think you handled it well and I can understand your frustration even though this is an improvement from her. I didn't see any malice in your response. I did see radical honesty and open communication though.

I have a friend who thinks if I passingly say I like something once that I'm some super fan of it and will send me tons of stuff related to it. Yeah, it's obnoxious especially when the social cues you put out that would cause someone to rethink that aren't received. If my spouse suddenly started acting this as an attempt to connect after everything that had happened if I were in your shoes, my resentment would be a little palpable too. It's like when you have a semi absent parent and their attempt to get closer is to bring up that one thing they know that you like over and over again to compensate for the fact that they don't know anything else about you. It's not really her fault and she is trying but on some level, you can't help but feel like you're not being listened to or that she didn't care enough before to figure out what your real interests are to focus on. I get it. It doesn't feel great.

GoldenR posted 6/4/2019 14:09 PM

Take her bowling.

Go play bingo with her.

Miniature golf.

Go karts.

Horseback riding.

Try them all. And more. One will stand out as the most fun for you both.

Aplomado posted 6/4/2019 14:22 PM


I get what you are saying. My WW was super remorseful after about a week of fogginess. One of the things she did to ruin our marriage was, just never participate much in the things that i was into, and I have a TON of hobbies.

So, when we went through our difficult times post A, and she was trying to reconnect with me, it was really weird, and felt condescending. It truly did. It took me a while to realize that the problem wasn't her, it was me. She was trying, really hard, to become a part of my life again, and I was so used to her not being a part of it, that it almost annoyed me after the fact. It was one of the harder things for me to deal with truthfully. It just felt...fake or "forced" as you said...but the truth was, it was neither. it was me, and my anger, and not being able to let it go and let her back in.


The1stWife posted 6/4/2019 16:05 PM

I still think CaptRogers made a good point.

The attempt to talk with his wife felt forced or fake. He made the suggestion the CS should be more aware of that and not try to force things.

I can tell you that I was in the same position as CaptRogers in that my H was trying hard to “re-connect” during Reconciliation. At times it was annoying and it was hard to withstand after the Affair but we got past it.

I think CR made a valid point that I am sure many BS face during reconciliation.

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