Marriage Of One

March 4, 2010

Revealing my cards

Filed under: love,marriage — marriageofone @ 10:50 pm
Tags: , ,

Things are starting now to finally come together regarding our relocation and hopefully in about 1 month or so we may be moving to our new home and to start a new(ish) life.

I’ve not been keeping too well recently so I’ve missed out an important event that took place about 1 week before Valentine’s Day.  You’ll remember (if you’ve read some of the older posts) that a key change that will accompany my relocation is a mental shift to take better care of myself, my mind, my emotions, my attitude, perspectives and personal outlook.

Some of these changes involve Susan to some degree, many do not.  Nevertheless I thought I owed it her to explain what the move meant to me, what it would mean to me going forward and what it might mean to us and indeed to her.

So I started by telling her where I have been emotionally over the past 2 or so years.  A key part of this has been the problem between us.  I told her that there were times when I was unhappy but that I had made a great effort to tune my life and expectations so that I wasn’t really unhappy anymore and I was more relaxed and content now.

“What problem?” she asked.

“You know what the problem is.  I don’t want to go into it now because it won’t make any difference and I don’t want to discuss that now.  I want to talk about what IS going to happen with me; what I am going to do.”

I’m sorry to say that for a few moments she looked genuinely confused.  Then the penny dropped.

She came back with “What makes you think I’ve been happy?”

I said “I didn’t say you were happy.  But I think you have been happy to leave things as they are. Whereas I’ve been unhappy and tried to change things and got nowhere.”

She didn’t reply.

I continued and explained that even though I had some found some peace within myself, I was being drained of my life and enthusiasm for living.  I couldn’t  – wouldn’t – continue in this vein for another two years.

And so I went through how I intended to revamp my social life, my hobbies and my health and fitness.  I went through how I intended to spend less time at home killing my time and life on the web watching porn or working endless hours.  Lastly I said that this is what I wanted to do – if there was any part of it that she wanted to join in with or be a part of she was welcome.  Ultimately however, these were my choices and I was going to do what I needed for my Self.

I don’t know when during the conversation ‘The Wall’ went up but by the end she had stopped talking.  We said goodnight (we were in bed) and turned in opposite directions facing away from each other as we do on 99% of all nights and went to sleep.  A few minutes later I heard her sniffing and recognised that she was crying.  I turned over and put my arm around her to comfort her.  She said she was fine and didn’t want to talk.  After a while we both drifted off.

The following night she spoke.

She said she appreciated that I spoke to her and that I should always feel that I could talk to her.  She also reflected on her attempt to get help with Marcia and how it had failed.

“To be honest”, I said “You didn’t spend enough time with her.  And even if you did, I don’t think she really understood you or was even interested.”

She agreed, “I just didn’t feel I was getting anything from her.”

So she went on to spending time out of the house and her having always wanted to go for dancing lessons together and how it had never happened.  I didn’t comment on that – if she really wanted it, she could have arranged it at some point by now.

We spoke a little more but I kept my position clear – I had to take care of myself and the subtext although I didn’t say as much was “because I can’t rely on you to understand what I have and am going through or how you have hurt me”.

I also made it clear that I wasn’t going to take any of her past reasons as valid excuses for her continuing to inflict her version of marriage on us both: that includes my parents, children, work, extended family, room temperature or anthing else.  Everything can be worked through – if both of us want it.  And so far it has just been one of us.

As always I didn’t expect a resolution or a result: it was just a conversation.  The things is, now she knows.  I still think the changes when they start will be a shock to her system.



  1. Hello there, fellow traveller.

    A few observations from someone who has been there:

    Subtext won’t get you there. She isn’t picking up on the subtext. She hasn’t heard you when you’ve spoken plainly; hints and implications aren’t going to get her attention, either.

    She is going to continue to inflict her version of marriage on you both. Reasons and excuses aren’t the issue. She doesn’t love you in that way and she doesn’t feel like she can change that, so she won’t even bother to try. It’s called “learned helplessness.” And there’s also an element of fear that is holding her back, as well. If she doesn’t decide to change, she’s not going to change.

    “Everything can be worked through — of both of us want it.” Yes. And she doesn’t want it. And she’s not going to.

    I’m sorry, my friend. I’m feeling morose these past few days, so here I am being blunt… which is not polite, I know. I see a lot of my situation with Penny reflected in your situation with Susan. I’ve started to make changes similar to the ones you propose. What’s been the result? Penny says I’m selfish — that I take care of myself first, and she doesn’t respect that. I her mind, I suspect, you show love by self-sacrifice. I have decided to instead show love by taking care of myself so that I can better take care of those I love.

    We have finally reached the point of no return: we are getting a divorce. And it would appear that we are good candidates for a “good divorce.” We’ll see how that goes. But I’ve been in a situation where I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t.

    Penny is a good person. So am I. But we are not good for each other.

    I suspect the same is true of you and Susan.

    I hope your plans work out better than my similar plans did for me and Penny.

    Comment by itneverrainsinseattle — March 5, 2010 @ 9:49 am

  2. Hi, again.

    Okay. Now I’ve had a full three hours of sleep, and I’m in a much better frame of mind.

    Forget what I said before. Even if it’s true, it doesn’t help anybody. Instead, though, I hope you’ll consider this:

    That list of things you’re going to do for yourself? DO THIS!


    You will be much better off for it. And if Susan starts doing things for herself, too, then that’s all for the good.

    Your marriage, if it is to survive, requires it. And if it isn’t going to survive, this will put you in a better frame of mind for working forward in the best possible way so that you, Susan, and your kids are all taken care of as best as possible.

    You’re on an airplane. The cabin is de-pressurizing. What do you do? Put the oxygen mask on yourself first, and *then* assist everyone else. It’s not selfish– it’s necessary. You need to be a part of the solution, and to be a part of the solution, you need to take care of yourself.

    Good on you. And best of success to you.



    Comment by itneverrainsinseattle — March 6, 2010 @ 3:26 am

  3. I really don’t like the way this went down.

    It’s clear that you want a real relationship with Susan, and she with you, but I feel you are trying to force her into some kind of mold, a pre-conceived personality if you will. She’s very aware of your efforts to do this, as her comments indicate to me when I read them. Yet while she’s still willing to accommodate you to some degree, before long she begins to feel that all you are going to want is more and this shuts her down. You are smothering her with your solicitude.

    She knows the counseling (something you wanted) wasn’t working, yet didn’t get enough out of it to try it again with someone else. She won’t until it’s her idea. And while she wanted to dance with you, she saw that you weren’t very interested in her first approach, so she dropped it. She still wants this. It’s clearly important to her, but she isn’t ready to broach the subject again. She knows you will change it. She has to feel it strongly enough to again bring it up herself. You can’t push her into acting upon this idea of hers. You can’t draw the initial idea from her, because then it isn’t hers. It’s yours, and your Valentine’s Day dinner story is a perfect example of what I’m talking about.

    Being on the other end of such a relationship, I learned quite early that the initial response to a suggestion is all I need to know about whether to continue to pursue it or not. In my case, unless there is feedback that picks up where I left off and takes it further, then I know that it’s a dead end and pursue it no further. I suspect that Susan isn’t much different in this response. Where the two of us differ is I’m willing to go my own way as much as I possibly can when I feel I need to. You can’t count on Susan NOT following this path eventually.

    Of course, her knowing how you feel is important for you both. You also need to know how she feels when she is brave enough to open up to you. What the two of you do about this will determine whether or not your relationship survives. There may come a point where she can’t stand being with you and leaves you behind. The only way you can prevent this is to learn how to bend in her direction once in a while. She is an adult woman after all, not a prepubescent adolescent! Can you learn that letting her lead when she wants to isn’t going to hurt you? When she suggests an idea, she’s maybe hoping that you will draw her out to talk more about it. She’s hesitant because you tend to take things over and change them the way you see fit. She really doesn’t have too much courage, and you have too little sensitivity. It’s abusive even if you aren’t intending your actions to be that way. I know you mean well, but you can be a bull in a china shop.

    I apologize if I come across as blunt, but, my friend, you can be very stubborn about not seeing the forest for the trees.

    I’m going to stop here for now. I would like to hear (see) your response to these thoughts. I can’t add more until I know where you are in their regard.

    Comment by ToppHogg — March 6, 2010 @ 12:01 pm

  4. I have to confess that I’ve read ToppHogg’s comment 3 times now and I still don’t see the relevance to the original post. But I’ll try to respond to them as best as I can.

    The problem with blogging in general is that after awhile the content starts to resemble a narrative: almost as if there is a smooth flow of events and ideas from one post to the next. In reality of course it is nothing of the sort. Despite the efforts of any blogger, the content has to be honed down, filtered by the blogger and constrained by the blogger’s preconceptions and prejudices and perhaps even altruisms.

    Secondly on a blog like this, with a high level of personal content there is a balancing act on one hand to reveal so that the blog fulfills its purpose and to conceal to maintain discretion and privacy on the other. So there is an additional filter applied.

    I make these points because it is quite easy to begin to mistakenly believe that one can know or fully understand anyone under the circumstances of a blog such as this. Some aspects of personality may become clearer over time, especially if there is a rapport between the poster and commentators, but even then the filters applied both knowingly and unknowingly will skew the picture. So the first thing is to dispute the blanket characterisations that have been made.

    That notwithstanding, I’m hear to listen to arguments for and against what I’m living with and indeed for and against me.

    So am I trying to push Susan into a mold? Possibly. If the mold is “a partner who wants to share a passionate and equal give-and-take relationship” then I should plead guilty. Am I pushing her into it without due regard for her own feelings? No. I would submit that it is because I have given her the free rein and time to work on her ‘solutions’ that nearly 10 years down the line we are where we are.

    And I’m not taking that free rein or time away anytime. I still believe she is ‘working’ on it. It’s just not that urgent for her, or she can’t work through it as quickly as I would have hoped. So she’s take years to work from one step to the next. It took her 9 years to determine within herself that she needed help – she arranged her sessions with Marcia on her own. My role in that was purely supportive and I backed off when I wasn’t explicitly invited. Yes, I did want US to go for help – but that was 8+ years ago. I’ve not asked her for counselling since then, although I may have said to her a few times in the intervening years that she ought to consider getting help (which she always flatly refused she needed).

    As far as the dancing was concerned, I was interested – but as it was her idea and passion, I left it to her to arrange. I didn’t want to take over – precisely as you said. It was her idea so she was left to develop it – or not.

    As far as letting Susan lead, I am way more comfortable with that than perhaps this blog may lead you to believe. Susan manages most of the day-to-day issues in our home. She has taken on more than half of the responsibility for the upcoming relocation. And I am comfortable with that – if anything I wish she would do more! We’ve got a rough plan for her to take on the home accounting package after we’ve moved as she’s not been too confident on the computer. And that too was her idea.

    I’ve shown her what I’m going to do with my life. She doesn’t begrudge me the choices I am making because the invitation for her to join in is there. And if she does get the motivation to do things for herself, I’m sure she’ll extend a similar invitation to me. The difference is that I’m taking care of myself because I NEED to. She’ll be doing something for herself because she WANTS to.

    As for sensitivity….well that gives me pause for thought. I am a very sensitive person. As a child I believe I was what is nowadays called a Highly Sensitive Child. That being said, I know that some of the things I’ve said and the ways I’ve behaved over the course of my marriage are not the actions of a sensitive person. I put that down to anger, frustration and early on in my marriage, depression.

    But overall, I know insensitivity is counterproductive. Susan and I are close friends because we are sensitive to each others needs. Susan IS sensitive even to the sexual problem – she just can’t seem to get over that hurdle. This is why she understood and understands why I had to say what I did and why I am intending to do what I will.

    I know that being insensitive (even under anger or frustration) is not going to help me or Susan. Susan has got a problem with confidence (or courage as you put it) and being insensitive isn’t going to boost her confidence – quite the opposite.

    All of this is quite important and I’m glad that you brought them up in a way. For me the question really boils down to “Was the conversation of the original post worthwhile or should I have not had it?”

    It would be good if Inris could throw his two cents in as well!

    Comment by marriageofone — March 8, 2010 @ 11:52 pm

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