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I'm feeling down and its my fault.

Posted by stevied (My Page) on
Fri, Dec 14, 07 at 11:27

I'm a 54 year old husband who has been married 15 years. It is my first marriage. My wife is very upset with me. It is my fault. I feel terrible, and I can't change my behavior/attitude. Instead, I try to change my behavior/attitude. That is, when I am conscious/aware of the need to change my behavior/attitude, I do a reasonably good job of behaving as I should. I can keep it up for about a month or 2, but then a have a lapse which results in me inadvertantly hurting my wife's feelings.

We have adequate incomes. There is no physical abuse of any sort. There is no problem with drugs, alcohol, or infidelity. This marriage should work.

In the last blow-up, my wife had gone out of her way to arrange a very small birthday party for me. Just me, her, and my father who lives with us. She bought a cake and a card. We were sitting at the dining room table. My wife was talking about some inocuous subject which we had previously discussed and I basically got tired of listening to it, and told her that we had already discussed this. This made her very very upset. She tore up her birthday card and left for a few hours that evening.
She has barely talked to me since. Last night she opened up a bit and let out some of her other complaints, which we just have such a difficult time addressing on a consistent basis.

It doesn't sound like much of an incident, but it is to her and therefore it is to me. I just can't seem to always think in advance about how what I do or say will affect her and modify my behavior accordingly.

I have done similar things throughout our marriage. She has really had enough of the emotional roller coaster. I feel like someone kicked me in the stomach. More precisely, I feel like I kicked myself in the stomach. Sleep has been hard to come by the last few nights.

I told her how, in my opinion, what is happening is that I try to change but am ulitmately unable to change. That is why we have periods where things go smoothly, but then I eventually have a lapse and some blowup occurs.

I don't know if she will file for a divorce this time. I know I don't want a divorce. Instead, I want to keep trying. I just wish there was a way I could change to become the person she wants me to be.

We have been to marriage counseling, but it has not been successful. In my opinion, my wife was not really interested in counseling. She gave up afer a couple of sessions. At this point she will not go with me to counseling. When I went to counseling by myself, the counselor didn't think she could do much without my wife also attending. Additionally, it was quite a bit of money.

All I know what to do is to keep trying to be consciously aware of my shortcomings and adjust accordingly, which will do nothing more than continue the roller coaster ride as discussed above.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: I'm feeling down and its my fault.

"the counselor didn't think she could do much without my wife also attending"

Huh... find another counselor.

I can't tell from your post if your wife is overreacting or if you have a very explosive personality. If it is your personlity, you should be able to get help with a good counselor. How is your general mental health?


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RE: I'm feeling down and its my fault.

Carla35, I would say that I do not have an explosive personality. I do not yell at my wife or anything like that. In this last example, I spoke in a calm, matter-of-fact voice. It definitely was not the tone of my voice that set her off.

Although I haven't thought much about it, it may be that my wife is over-reacting.

Genearally, I would say my mental health is fine. I'm happy with our marriage, my job, etc. We are under quite a bit of stress as my 87-year old dad lives with us and we are involved in a complete, gut-job remodeling our entire house, which is nearing completion.

I think I'll take you up on your advice and find another counselor.


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RE: I'm feeling down and its my fault.

Come to think of it, I tried this once before aftr a blowup, going on my own. My wife wasn't in favor of me seeking counseling for just me. She thought it was a waste of money, but mostly she thought that we should be able to talk out our problems and arrive at solutions.

We did talk and reached some mutually-agreeable solutions, but my underlying selfishness and self-centerdness eventaully rises to the forefront. She would probably tell you that my shortcomings rise to the forefront pretty quickly!

I'll talk about it with her again and see what she says. Right now, I don't think she cares what I do.

I treaat my wife better when I have more time to think about things. For example, a friend of ours invited us over for a birthday dinner to celebrate my birthday. The hostess asked me what I'd like her to fix. I said, Chicken Enhiladas. However, after thinking about my choice, I realized it was a bad choice as my wife does not like spicy foods. So I called back the hostess to change my mind. The hostess suggested leaving most of the enchiladas spicy, with a few mild/bland ones for my wife. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it would make my wife feel badly as she would feel the hostess had to go out of her way to treat her differntly than everyone else. While not liking spicy food, she does not like to be treated differently, so I asked the hostess to prepare a baked chicken dish which was not spicy at all. That way, my wife would not feel that she had to be treated differently from anyone else. The hostess told me, "But its your birthday. You should be able to have what you want." I still felt it was more important to make sure my wife was a full part of the dinner, despite the fact that it was my birthday.

This kind of thinking takes me several hours. When in normal conversation mode, I often times just slip up (sigh).


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RE: I'm feeling down and its my fault.

Good God almighty!! You lack tact and at your age I doubt you will change. She on the other hand is extremely thin skinned. You need to tell her that you are a tactless boob and will probably always say things in a manner you do not intend and that when you say something in a hurtful manner to say so immediately and ask you to please rephrase your comment in a manner that will not hurt her feelings and then FORGET IT. Life is way too short to be quibbling over this foolishness.

Before you get your feelings hurt, there are a lot of us out there who stick our foot in our mouths on a regular basis. It limits our friendships and loved ones have to be understanding. She will probably be more understanding when she realizes that the way you said something is not the way you meant it. Frankly it will be easier for her to learn to ignore you than it will be for you to change your personality. Just assure her that what you say doesn't always sound the way you mean it.

Frankly, I'm surprised that she hasn't picked up on this in the 15 years you've been married. This did not start yesterday.


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RE: I'm feeling down and its my fault.

Thanks for the thoughts, Pris. The way I see it, I am usually tactful but am sometimes a tactless boob. It's those "sometimes" that just makes things miserable for us. Yes, I think it is fair to say my wife is thin-skinned. On the last blowup, I immediately realized, after I said it, how I was coming across. I immediately apologized but it was too late for apologies as far as she was concerned. She is really tired of it. The damage had (once again) been done.

Here comes the weekend, and I am worried about how it is going to go....


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RE: I'm feeling down and its my fault.

You are only human. and you posted above "There is no physical abuse of any sort." But there is such a thing as emotional/mental abuse. It seems to me that you are in a rather abusive relationship with a woman with anger problems and control issues. While control issues are fine in some relationships, the person with them needs to be able to almost completely control their emotions at all times and greatly care about the wellbeing of their partner. Which in this case it seems she does neither. You have done nothing wrong and her outbursts are completely uncalled for. I have been told many times that i am repeating something and I have then either changed the subject or asked them what they would like to talk about. It's blatent disrespectful and hateful to react in such a way as to rip up a birthday card and walk away. It seems all she can do is focus on the negative about you and cannot see everything you are doing to make her happy. And while you have no desire to get a devorce you DO need to realize when you are in a bad or abusive relationship, sit her down and talk to her that it's not working the way it is now, suggest that she take some anger management classes, and if she blatently refuses to see she has done anything wrong at all, maybe you need to do what's best for you, NOT what you think is best for the relationship. Love and ignoreance is no accuse for abuse.


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RE: I'm feeling down and its my fault.

stevie,

I gotta tell you, from your posts, I can't tell what is going on in your marriage. You could just be over-analyzing everything to death.

It's your b-day, pick YOUR favorite meal, and unless your wife is allergic to it, she should be able to choke it down with some extra sour cream if necessary. She's the selfish one if she thinks differently. It sounds like you are deathly afraid of her and feel like you have to walk on egg shells around her. So, you rudely said you already discussed something.. she pouted, you should have apologized and all should be forgotten.

If you're not blowing up and you aren't generally treating her like cr*p, what is the problem? And, why are you taking all the blame as the title to your post suggests? What EXACTLY are you doing so wrong that makes your wife so upset with you? How are you so self centered? It sounds like she thinks you're a selfish as*hole... either you are, or you're not (and nothing you've said so far here suggests that you are) or she's just being manipulative. Is your wife very controlling?

I'd still suggest seeing a counselor to get to the root of what is going on.


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RE: I'm feeling down and its my fault.

Here are some rules used in D/s relationships that very well may help you. Personally they are good guildlines to follow in any relationship.
Control
Above all, a good Mistress is always in control of herself. She does not rant or rave, and never punishes when angry. On the rare times that temper overwhelms her, she walks away until she regains balance. After all, how can a Domme control her sub if she can't control herself?

Human
The best Mistress knows she is human. She realizes she will make mistakes, and is quick to apologize when she does. She knows she won't be thought of as any less "Domly" because of an apology. On the flip side, she realizes that others will make mistakes also, and even though she may punish for the mistake, she accepts an apology graciously and puts the event in the past.

Compassion
A good Mistress is compassionate. She cares about her sub, friends and family. She takes time to listen and respond to the needs of others. She isn't selfish and doesn't have the illusion that the world revolves around her.

Consistent
The best Femdomme is consistent in her instructions and requests. She doesn't give conflicting commands. She delivers equal punishment for equal offenses, and equal rewards when pleased. She is firm in her direction and does not waiver when faced with a difficult situation.
(you seem to be getting the punishment without the reward. and being overtly punished for things that don't need any pushiment at all)

Respect
A good Mistress respects herself and others. She strives to always project herself in the best possible light.

Communication
A good Domme is an effective communicator. She says what she means, and means what she says. She is specific and chooses her words carefully. She doesn't rant, nag or whine because she knows this shows a lack of control.

for you:
I expect you to be concerned about time we spend apart, but I expect you to understand that I am a person, separate from you, and thusly having problems and situations in my life that I will not need your help with. I have the right to expect you will respect me for my independence and not criticize me for it. I have the right to ask you for help, should I need it. I have the right to be trusted, providing I have earned it, and I have the right to expect you to believe I am an intelligent, caring and loyal person.
I have the right to ask things of you, and have you listen to my requests. I have the right to ask you to contribute as much to this relationship as I do. I have the right to speak up if I feel our relationship is not giving me what I need. I have the right to tell you what I need, in a respectful manner. I have the right to expect you to understand my reasons for doing so, and the right to expect you to listen with an open mind. I have the right to walk away from the relationship if we cannot come to a common ground on these issues. I have the right to expect our relationship to progress, for trust to continually be renewed, for our souls to be as close as our bodies are. I have the right to tell you if I need more from you, and I expect you to respect my decisions about what I want and need. I expect you to want the relationship to progress, unless decided otherwise beforehand. I expect you to understand that deep trust often breeds love, and I expect you not to repel me if I tell you that I love you. I have the right to expect you to tell me, at any point, if you do not feel you can return those feelings, so that I may decide what I want and need.


she sounds like a 5 year old with tempertantrums. And EVERYONE is in control of the way they act, it's a choise to let yourself lose control and act like a child. Weither or not they see it or even deny it as a choise to explode or not, it is. Anger managment classes help you learn control, not lessen your anger.
on a flip side, most people with adhd,add or anything of the type never thing they do anything wrong. (I live with one, I know)


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RE: I'm feeling down and its my fault.

Urruke, your view is something I have thought about many times. I think she does have problems with anger management and has control issues. I do agree that while I was unintentionally hurtful, I apologized immediately, and that we should have been able to put the miscue behind and move forward with the rest of the birthday celebration. Generally, I feel that outburst lilke the one in my example are generally uncalled for.

I suspect that the main reason why she won't go with me to marriage counseling is the the counelor will want to delve into her past and find out the she may be the source of at least some of the problems in our marriage.

My wife is really very prim, proper, religious, hard- working, responsible person. Not at all like you might expect given my description of our problems. She is really a very loving, caring, and giving person, except when she is angry... which seems to happen all too often.


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RE: I'm feeling down and its my fault.

I would like to suggest that you find some interests as a couple that remove you from the extreme examination of what is said and in what tone. If you get busy making life happier for someone else (example, volunteer work), the focus will shift and you will feel good helping others.


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RE: I'm feeling down and its my fault.

How old is you wife? Has her personality been this way since you've known her or is it just more recent? Could she be going through 'the change' and just being VERY moody?


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RE: I'm feeling down and its my fault.

I haven't read all the postings...but I just get the feeling that you blame yourself for all that is wrong in your marriage.

I suggest that BOTH of you need to work together, why is it that YOU are the one doing all the wrong things ?

You sound like a nervous wreck, always worried that you will say and do the wrong thing...perhaps too fussy. This is no way to live your life.

The birthday dinner....I think it was okay for you to have your favourite dinner, your wife should just have fitted in with the others, in as far as dinner choice. That's reasonable behaviour.


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RE: I'm feeling down and its my fault.

Perhaps what is really bothering her is being a full time "caregiver" to your 87 year old dad, who lives with her, and then you add a home renovation with workers in and out of the her house, and the house all torn up. Top that with possible menopause, and other worries, and I think anyone would be irritable in this situation. How well does she get along with your dad? Are other siblings (or you yourself) doing your fair share, and giving her time off? Sometimes people just want time in their own home alone. Can someone take dad out for a couple hours twice a week, so that she can be alone and have her house to herself for a few hours?

Does she work outside the home? Are there stresses in that job? Or is she the one at home, taking on all of the responsibility of a caregiver for "your" father? As a religious woman, she may be resenting the role she has been thrust in, and yet feel guilty for feeling resentful. You need to "really" listen to what she is saying. Many women tell their spouse for years what is bothering them, but men only passively "hear" and are shocked when the woman leaves, not really understanding "why" she left, even though she tried to get through to him for years.

Yes, it sounds like she is extremely sensitive and thin skinned, from what you have written. But sometimes it is the little things that cause people to fall apart, after years of bigger things. What is the saying? "It is the straw that broke the camels back".

It would be my guess that is is the things I wrote in the first paragraph that is causing her to be so short fused. It sounds like she is just so tired of everything right now.
If you have any siblings, have them watch dad and take her out of town for a few days. Pamper her. Let her rest. Have a few days of just being a couple again. Change the scenery by going away for a few days and regrouping as a couple, by having some fun together. If you live in a warm climate, perhaps you should rent a convertible and play the music that was popular when you were both younger. Getting away for a few days can change your perspective, and help you both remember why you are together.


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RE: I'm feeling down and its my fault.

Men have tendency to make insensitive comments. And women have a tendency to get too emotional over it. I think you could try being more sensitive, but she could try being less emotional about minor issues. I have extrenelly thin skin and soemtimes feel very hurt over minor issues, sometimes when i go back I think why was I that upset? I do think that your wife needs to go to counseling more than you. If she has to tear a card and leave for 2 hours over one stupid comment she is as much at fault as you.


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RE: I'm feeling down and its my fault.

I'm curious Stevied - Do you find yourself "generally socially clueless" and kind of mystified by the whole fluid social interraction thing? Because your comments strike me as more "clueless" than cruel. You were stating a fact with apparantly, absolutely no anticipation of possible the emotional fallout. Is that true? And if so, does that happen often?

There are people who simply don't have much of an instinctive, instant 'emotional intelligence' and if this is the case, it's an interesting problem.


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RE: I'm feeling down and its my fault.

I have the same thought as Carla - is it possible this wife is going through menopause? It seems a little overboard to rip up your spouse's birthday card!
You can't be a great, happy human being EXCEPT for anger. That's like saying the ocean is fine EXCEPT it's full of water. She has some issues and she doesn't want them exposed. I'm not so sure that you are the problem.


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RE: I'm feeling down and its my fault.

For heaven's sake-- your 87 year old father is there full time plus remodeling and you wonder what her problem is? Thats like saying "Well Mrs. Lincoln --aside from the shooting how was the play?"


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RE: I'm feeling down and its my fault.

Stevied, so how is she this week? Are you following your post?


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RE: I'm feeling down and its my fault.

Marge727 - that was very funny! Did you think that up yourself? Hilarious. Mind if I use it some time?


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RE: I'm feeling down and its my fault.

I've got to rally my support for those posts that mention stress of caring for your father and a full-time remodel.

Having gone through a lot of remodeling, that alone will give one a short fuse. Though I'm not caring for my DH's parents, I do have a teenage stepdaughter who is a good kid, but drives me crazy now and again.

My advice -- clue in, stop zoning out and realize this is stressful stuff. Pull your weight with your dad if you're not. Its not fair to not make an effort there. she probably needs a break on all fronts. Get the house finished up quicklly, and take the lead with Dad where you can.


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RE: I'm feeling down and its my fault.

I am sure that I have done this too, but it really bothers me when someone opens a post, asking for help, and then disappears, never following their own thread, or responding to those who took the time to respond to their post.


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RE: I'm feeling down and its my fault.

If what I read in your post is correct and not too biased, your wife has an apparent hair trigger reaction that was probably developed by many irritantions, but unvoiced by her and unaware by you. Both of you need to "take the edge" off these irritants. You both need to have an open dialog about what is bothering both of you. But first before this can happen, you need to defuse the situation, round off the sharp edges.

Try this for a month and see if there is any improvement. You need to show her through action that she is loved and that you see her as a valuable and desireable entity. Look for many little things to show kindness. If she drops something, pick it up and hand it back to her without comentary. Find time each day to give her a little hug and maybe a kiss and tell her "I love you." Don't push or force it. If this is too much at first, gently hold her hand instead of the hug. Its a good way to start the day. Go out and collect the daily paper and offer it to her first to read while you make the coffee. Offer to wash the dishes on some nights. In the middle of the week, tell her to forget making dinner tonight and invite her out for ssndwiches and soda. (Be sure to mention this early enough in the day so her dinner plans are not upset.) These are merely examples. I'm sure that you can find many other ways in your daily life style. Its the many little things that add up!

Remember, this is a healing process, not a fault finding foray against either of you. Look for the positives and work with that; Forget fault finding.

Hopefully, the attitudes and feelings between both of you will begin to change. She may become suspicious at first and wonder or ask, "What have you done? What are you guilty about?" Tell her what you have been doing. Tell her that you are exercising your love for her and realize that it needs practice and a tune-up.


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RE: I'm feeling down and its my fault.

I just read an article in the Dallas Morning News about a young girl with Asperger's Syndrome;
wonder if OP has a touch of that?

People with Asperger's tend to be of above-average intelligence, but they don't have a clue socially, they miss signals, they just don't get it.

The good news, according to the article, is that:

1. these are skills that can be learned &
2. If a person with Asperger's says, "I'm glad to see you", you can take it to the bank!


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RE: I'm feeling down and its my fault.

That's exactly what I was wondering Sylvia --
OP's statements were all very factual he seems to accept that it's something in his behavior that he doesn't understand in advance. Hope he'll chime in --


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RE: I'm feeling down and its my fault.

I'm still here and appreciate all of your comments. Jemdandy, I do those things. I offer to help regularly, but she is unhappy with the quality of my cleaning, so she prefers to do it herself (which creates more stress on her). Yes, there is definitely a lot of stress due to my father and the remodeling. Then, pile on the stress from my wife's job and it becomes very very stressful. We are hoping the stress level will drop when the remodeling is finished.

I am not completely clueless. On Tuesday, my wife was under a lot of stress and I seemed to deal with it farily well. At least, she was not upset at me and I think she actually felt better after talking to me. However, yesterday was worse, and she felt worse after talking to me. I listened, I care, I felt for her, but I did not give her the empathy in terms of verbal feedback she is looking for. I thought I was, but in fact I did not.

Generally, the problems start after work when either I walk in the door (if she is home first), or when she walks in the door (if I am home first). If she says, "I am on overload" this is my clue to watch out, that there are problems, it will be a rough evening, and I need to do my very best to try to empathize with her.

She wants me to demonstrably say things which exhibit empathy, like, "no wonder you are overwhelemed, anyone would be with what you are going through." Or, "It is amazing what you have to deal with. I am really impressed with how well you handled that situation." Sometimes I say these things and sometimes I don't.

Also, I need to communicate absolutely everything, which I still have not gotten used to. For example, last night, after our blow-up, we went to bed. She seemed to be calming down. It was late, I had just gone to bed and she was in the master bathroom getting ready to come to bed. There was a loud noise. She came out and asked me if I heard a loud noise coming from the guest bathroom. She was concerned that my father was in there and perhaps had fallen down. I said I didn't hear any noise. (In retrospect I did hear a noise but I thought it was coming from the master bath, not the guest bath). I get up, take a quick look in the guest bath, realize my father wasn't in there, and came back to bed.

This morning she told me she was very unhappy with me about this behavior. Do you know why? I do in retrospect. I didn't communicate! Before I got out of bed, I should have said to her, "I'll go check it out." Then, when I came back to bed, I should have said, "I took a quick look but my dad wasn't in there."

I was tired and I just wasn't thinking. Her response to this is that I obviously think so little of her that I can't even be bothered with telling her what I am doing or what I find out. As though it isn't important for her to know.

No, I did not, do not, think along the lines she alledges. I was trying to respond to her concerns as best I could. Mostly, I just didn't think at all. It must have been around 11:30 p.m. and my brain was shutting down for the night. While I should have been a better communicator, I did the best I could do.

That was a good example as to how I get in trouble and why my wife is unhappy with me and may just leave me.


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RE: I'm feeling down and its my fault.

this is ridicilous. who can communicate every single step? and if you start doing it she might say that you treat her like she is mentally challenged: honey, I went to the bathroom, honey nothing is there, now i am going back to bed. this is plain stupid. it seems that there is more of a deeper issue. i don't know what it is. but sometimes when i feel deeply unsatisfied in somithing very deep in my rleationship and i cannot address it, i allow myself to get upset over little things because it is easier.


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RE: I'm feeling down and its my fault.

Oh, man, that sounds so hormomal to me.

Here is a link that might be useful: Menopause


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RE: I'm feeling down and its my fault.

Finedreams, there is something which she feels is deeply unsatisfying about our relationship. It is my lack of emotional support, which is demonstrated, at least in her mind, by my lack of empathy skills.


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RE: I'm feeling down and its my fault.

by reading your posts you do not come across as somebody who offers no emotional support or has no empathy. Maybe it is not as much as she wants, but you are trying! And I honestly have never met a man who offered as much emotional support as women want. I think she expects too much. You both need to talk to a third person, therapist.


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RE: I'm feeling down and its my fault.

I'm been very down lately. I just came across this, and stevied is a lot like me. My husband feels that I don't communicate well, and I don't have empathy.

He makes me feel like I have to communicate every minute detail of everything. You can't be demonstrative and communicative every minute of every day, at least I don't think so.


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RE: I'm feeling down and its my fault.

Does it feel like when when she asks you do to something a certain way and you do, that that way wasn't good enough, and that you shouldn't help if you can't help right? And then she gets mad at you for not helping...
Because I sometimes feel like this with my husband. I think he might just be really terrible at a good many things, but I also feel like he should be able to do better after having these issues pointed out. If I ask my husband to do something he usually does about the opposite of what I ask, or he just really really halfway does it. I feel like he messes up so much so that he won't be asked to do things anymore. But then I feel like a crazy person for being so bothered by such things, but jeezus! There is a limit for people dealing with other people's personal failings.
Like if you know that she wants things done a certain way but in a broad sense ( like the dishes, does she want them all totally clean and put in the right spots? Or does she want them only dried counter clockwise and washed with a circular motion for 3 minutes on each side while you face north and hold a rose stem between your teeth?
In other words do you complete the tasks she asks of you reasonably well, or are you perhaps truly not doing a very good job?
If you halfway do things and then she gets mad, I can get that. When I ask my husband to take off the trash, he always takes part of it...but never all of it? When I get fed up and take off the trash I take it all, and he knows this...so...I assume that he doesn't half the job, so the next time I won't ask him to do it...


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