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Why DH Didn't Call

Posted by ulrike1 (My Page) on
Thu, Oct 29, 09 at 12:06

Hi again, ladies! Here I am again hoping that if I vent to your understanding ears, I will be more calm and understanding with DH. You might recall that DH was unable to give me a goodnight call because he and BM were driving together from SD's music event at her college. He called today during my break, apologized, and then told me that they really got into it about the SDs' religious stuff. They pulled over at a rest area (just like I joked about with you all, but I though it would be to call me) and argued for over an hour.

I'm pretty ticked off at him--we had agreed that we would simply not get into it with her about that, there is no solution, it is just an agree to disagree thing. The worst thing is, he allowed himself to be drawn into a debate about religion itself, rather than just our policy as regards the girls.

So, that can of worms is opened and then some. And here is what I am thinking: this really wasn't about the girls at all. It was about them. It was them rehashing part of the conflict that led up to their divorce. Should he still be doing this?

I am very angry at DH just now. I am at such a pretty city for this seminar, I am just tempted to stay.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Why DH Didn't Call

I don't know Ulrike, I don't know what your husband should or shouldn't be doing. My ex and I don't talk about that kind of stuff, and neither does my DH and his ex. I do know people tend to get in the same rut when they get together.

Why are you angry? Because he didn't call you? Because he pulled over to have a discussion with Ex? Or because he broke the agreement with you to not talk to Ex about religion?

Of course the conversation was about their personal beliefs. That's all religion is. A compilation of personal beliefs based on someone else's interpretation of history. It's why religion in and of itself does not work for me.

I was always told never talk about: Religion, Politics or Money in polite society.

It sounds like your DH is having a rough time. I'm pretty confident that he really wishes he had not gone with her (not that he hadn't gone, but that he hadn't gone with her) and that he wishes you were there or he were with you.

I'd let this one lie. When he gets back, explain to him why you feel the way you do: My feelings are hurt because we discussed and agreed not to argue with EX about religion, and you broke that agreement and as a result didn't call me. Or, I'm angry that you didn't call me when you said you would. Or, I feel our relationship is compromised by your actions. Or whatever. And then let him apologize, and let it go. It's not as if they pulled over at a motel for the night to discuss it.

If he does it again, that's when I'd get mad.

And next time, he probably shouldn't play chauffeur. Just tell Ex that he'll see her there and maybe they could grab a cup of coffee with their DD. Then have something else on his schedule so he can't linger.

By being this mad it indicates to me that you feel it's not over between them, or there's some sort of mistrust going on. I could be wrong, but if I'm right, if I were you I'd really examine those feelings. They're important.


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RE: Why DH Didn't Call

I agree with alot of what silversword mentioned.......

"It sounds like your DH is having a rough time. I'm pretty confident that he really wishes he had not gone with her (not that he hadn't gone, but that he hadn't gone with her) and that he wishes you were there or he were with you.

I'd let this one lie. When he gets back, explain to him why you feel the way you do: My feelings are hurt because we discussed and agreed not to argue with EX about religion, and you broke that agreement and as a result didn't call me. Or, I'm angry that you didn't call me when you said you would. Or, I feel our relationship is compromised by your actions. Or whatever. And then let him apologize, and let it go. It's not as if they pulled over at a motel for the night to discuss it.

If he does it again, that's when I'd get mad.

And next time, he probably shouldn't play chauffeur. Just tell Ex that he'll see her there and maybe they could grab a cup of coffee with their DD. Then have something else on his schedule so he can't linger."

I think DH was caught in a rock and hard place....... BM brought up a subject to argue probably for attention and to keep him from calling.....

Next time - he should just let her drive herself and that will solve the issue of him getting baited into that arguement again.


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RE: Why DH Didn't Call

Yeah, this is kind of a pointless argument...

I can see why you'd be disappointed and annoyed. But at the same time, it can be hard to NOT discuss something with someone who's bound and determined to start a fight about it.

Since the SKids are grown, there's really nothing BM can do about it but rant, and that seems to be what she's doing. And as a rational person, you know there's no arguing with a deeply religious person about their religion...

Just let this one go, and let Hubby be grateful he married you!
Rest assured, after this trip, he IS ;-)


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RE: Why DH Didn't Call

Just let this one go, and let Hubby be grateful he married you! Rest assured, after this trip, he IS ;-)

(Well said sweeby........)


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You are all so insightful!

Thanks so much, Ima, Sweeby and Silver! It really helps to examine and dissect the issue and see where my annoyance is coming from. I think I am mainly peeved because this represents a "relapse" of sorts for my DH--not only did he get into the religion thing with her, which we both agree is a hopeless dead end AND not necessary at this point in SDs' lives, but also he got into an emotional connection with her. Even though it was negative, it is a dropping of the boundaries we've worked so carefully to establish as regards BM.

DH usually has me handle any discussions along this line. She doesn't have the key to my buttons like she does his, and I can stay calm and keep the goal in mind. I guess this is a good indicator that our arrangement is smart, ha.

Silver, maybe you are right about them no longer going as a couple to things like that. This time was kind of awkward because we often do include BM so it would have been weird for DH to say no. But, maybe this incident will change the dynamic? I am more than ready for that to happen.

I think I will indeed share with DH that this didn't feel good and hopefully he will understand why. And then I guess he will need a little more "coaching" on how to slither out of such conversations.


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RE: Why DH Didn't Call

I think i was right from the very beginning that this is just a bit of old-fashioned jealosy and insecurity(and it is OK) They argue over something related to their children, I think it is up to them. As long as their argument didn't end up in passionate embrace and french kiss LOL that's not a big deal, I don't think you have anything to do wiht it.

And him not calling once? Well, I believe in daily phone calls when away form home but sometimes it is just not happening for some reasons. Not a big deal. You can't control his every moment.

We don't know who brought up a subject or who started, and why do you care? I do not think you should determine what DH should be allowed to discuss with ex. i have never heard that it has to be decided between a husband and a wife what they are allowed to argue about with other people!

I think it is OK that you feel angry or insecure but I think it is your issue, not theirs. I think you have to examine why you feel this way, maybe therapy can help. Or maybe you have to examine why their conversations bother you such: he neglects you, he acts like he misses her? Or it is just that you aren't center of his attention for that moment? I just don't see what the issue is.


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...or some other emotion?

Thanks, Finedreams! Hmmmmm, I do indeed feel angry, but I don't think I feel insecure (here, let me get out a microscope and turn it on my brain, ha). I have zero concern about anything romantic between DH and BM...I can't even imagine him enjoying her company. I think it's philosophical and my overthinking thing again--about what are the standards for including exes in our lives, etc.

And about the phone call--when I am on the other side of the world, sometimes it can't happen, but this particular one I did care about. Our "detoxing" that we do after intrusive encounters with BM are a way we reconnect. I was like "when is that shoe going to drop."

But the thing that makes me the angriest is that after years of calming the waters on this matter, I'm going to have to deal with a tempest in a teapot again. If she brings it up with me, I am going to say "Oh, we became Satanists last week," ha! Or maybe "Oh, I am about to become a nun and DH is entering the priesthood...."


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No, wait....

Re-reading what I wrote, I think I was trying to minimize/justify my sense of feeling invaded. It DOES feel bad that my husband pulled over on the side of the road and had a big, emotional argument with his ex-wife! Now, I know that this set of feelings will be the first to fade away; once I talk to him in detail it will give way to empathy for him, no doubt.

But at this very moment, there is an element of "Heyyyyy, the wife you are supposed to get into emotional wrangles with is ME!" Ha! Is that awful? And do exes fit in a different class than, say, co-workers or siblings? I'm thinking yes...maybe I am possessive. :) I will tell DH that, he will probably like it.


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RE: Why DH Didn't Call

ulrike,

I believe when people stop caring about people, including ex's, they really stop caring! So, if someone cares enough to get in to an argument, pulling to the side of the road or whatever, that indicates a level of caring. But they were married, had kids together so at some level, he will always care, as he should. I understand why that bothers you. It bothered me for years that DH was still bickering about his kids with BM although that whole phase has passed now.

I don't know about telling DH that you care at all about his argument with BM. Why fuel the fire? Shrug it off, look at it the way you said, as a "relapse" with recovery being up front and most important.


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RE: Why DH Didn't Call

Ulrike, You are a patient woman..Justify your sense of being invaded??? Why do you have to? These are not young children that have to be coparented..If she makes you uncomfortable, get rid of her, she has no need to be in your life or head anymore, these kids are Adults..Lamom, I agree that it may be some level of caring on BMs part, not Ulrikes Dhs, I disagree that because they had kids together there will always be some level of caring..Just 2 examples, My Ex does not , nor do I care to engage him in any way anymore..My DH does not care about his Ex, her feelings, the only problems he has is when she wants to interject herself into his/our life to make her presence felt for spiteful purpose, as in how dare you be happy with someone else, you werent happy with me? I dont think Ulrike has near the level of grief we get slung, but I dont see why she has to put up with her, forget about harmony, this doesnt sound too harmonius to me, just a tradeoff of whos going to suffer, BM not being able to buddy up to her EX DH, or Ulrike for the resentment she s building up.


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RE: Why DH Didn't Call

"...Our "detoxing" that we do after intrusive encounters with BM are a way we reconnect...."

I may be wrong on this, but it sounds like the two of you connect over your 'recovery' from BM. That is keeping her in your intimate life as much as discussing the religion to begin with. IMO, you need to exorcise this issue from your lives entirely. Figure out something to say... and then say it. Every time. With no deviation. If she continues, simply tell her that you're very sorry, but you have your opinion and you will have to respectfully disagree. Then change the subject or leave the room. Do not play into this game, and do not have a pow-wow about it later with DH. You are stirring the hornets nest.

"...But the thing that makes me the angriest is that after years of calming the waters on this matter, I'm going to have to deal with a tempest in a teapot again. If she brings it up with me, I am going to say "Oh, we became Satanists last week," ha! Or maybe "Oh, I am about to become a nun and DH is entering the priesthood...."

I can understand you feeling like this. I tell those who come to my door that we are Jewish. They leave us alone. But that is just provoking her more. Absolutely positively do not provoke her.

I don't know if I'm spot on or if I'm completely off base, but it sounds like you're getting some "we're so alike, BM's not, we're better suited, the issue of religion was a catalyst in DH/BM's divorce but we don't have that problem, so what's her problem-itis".

While that may be good in the beginning of a relationship, discussing what went wrong and why the marriage dissolved, I don't think it's healthy to continue that into the future. Find another way to bond with DH. REMOVE her from the picture entirely, except as her relationship to her children. That should be nurtured. But then, I think all relationships for children should be nurtured: Grandparents/aunts/uncles/cousins/etc. Children should have as much family showing solidarity as possible.

AND, I can understand you being pissed about DH not calling. If my DH were out of town, and got into a heated argument with anyone... and decided... yes, that's what your DH did, was he DECIDED not to call you, I would be really hurt and upset. But that is because my DH and I talk on the phone constantly, several times a day, when we are commuting home, etc. When we are traveling separately, I will call him, even if it's just to say... 'I'm really busy, I can't talk. I love you.' And he will do the same. Texting works too, when we don't have time to talk.


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RE: Why DH Didn't Call

"I think I was trying to minimize/justify my sense of feeling invaded."

I just do not understand how and why you feel invaded. what they talked about has nothing to do with you-unless you are the one that are causing their continous argument. were you the topic of discussion?


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Our 'detoxing' about BM

Thanks for your thoughts about how DH and I handle the intrusive presence of BM. You may well be right that we are allowing her too much space inside our heads/family. I wonder if we could cut down on the energy it takes, while still having a friendly relationship with her?

Lamom, you suggested that I not mention to my DH how I felt the other night when he didn't call. I won't have to mention it, he will bring it up. He reads me like a book (which is sometimes a pain, but mostly very nourishing, ha.) I know we will discuss it, because we always do.

Much to my delight, DH and I have a very powerful bond, a very deep level of communication. My first marriage was nothing like that, my first DH hardly ever knew about my deepest feelings. It was best to keep things serene because he was uncomfortable with strong emotions. My DH and BM were also like that--very friendly on the surface, almost no "fit" otherwise, completely different ways of processing the world.

So right from the start, the presence of our exes in our lives was a difficult challenge to be dealt with. Our impulse, like that of all people when they first fall in love, was to cocoon and shut out the outside world. Of course, all stepfamily spouses know that this is not possible. Your honeymoon is going to have some extra spouses along. I wonder how many stepmoms have made it successfully through her honeymoon without hearing her new husband chat on the phone with BM? SOME, I hear, ha.

So we had conflicting impulses--the desire to be a "closed system" with ourselves and the kids, but the sure knowledge that a good cross-household connection was the ideal model for raising happy, autonomous kids of divorce.

Our "detoxing" has been very important in helping balance those two desires. As several posters have pointed out, it doesn't feel good to have someone act in a matelike fashion towards one's mate--but in stepfamilies there are many opportunities for that to happen, and a minefield to nip it in the bud. So, we do what we can on a practical level, and on the emotional level, we make sure that unexpressed deep feelings aren't allowed to cause distance.


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Silversword

I was just kidding about telling BM we have become Satanists! I wouldn't really do that. (Though it might be easier for her to take since she is so supernaturally oriented.)

And you are right, my DH simply MUST let this one go and work harder at letting her criticism in this department roll off his back--even if she corners him in a Mini again, ha! I'll remind him that this is a "new day"--both girls are adults now and we simply no longer have to make any compromises or have discussions on the religion topic.

I also wonder if for DH, BM somehow symbolizes the harsh religious upbringing he endured. In every other area of our lives, that whole issue is a non-issue, except for with the kids, and we have mostly avoided dealing with it at all over the years. I'll just remind him that he really owes BM no explanations or discussions.


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Finedreams

Wow, I never thought about that! Maybe BM did bring me up, and that's why DH allowed himself to be sucked into the emotional exchange? I just assumed it was focused on the kids and then some unpleasant rehashing of their past turmoil in that department. But it's possible. For a long time BM accused me of "atheizing" DH--but never to my face. We have been unfailingly civil in person.


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RE: Why DH Didn't Call

I understand what would make you tempted to say that Ulrike :)

Just out of curiosity, what do you mean by "supernaturally oriented"?


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We frustrate her, I think

I'm thinking if we were indeed Satanists or or Hindu or Wiccans or Snake Handlers or something--some type of believers in supernatural forces--she would find it easier to deal with us. The arguments would be easier for her. Like, "my god is better than your god" or something, rather than us just saying well, we don't do that. It is hard for her to comprehend that, I think.


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