So, who wants to join my tabletop RPG?
Repo, dude. Fear not and be just. My first two marriages were completely different than my present one. My first marriage was at 18 years old. I proposed to my then girlfriend (then wife) in the back of a van coming from a Sci-Fi convention in Delaware. It lasted 3 years.
My second marriage was because my then girlfriend (then wife) was pregnant with my son. I was 26 at the time. That one lasted 4 years. But my son is a great kid and I certainly don't regret that. Just her.
My present marriage is just a year and a half old. We were both twice divorced when we met. We both swore that we wouldn't get married. It seemed to us that when the marriage thing happened it seemed like some unlucky kind of voodoo. But the thing is that we have been together for 16 years now. My feeling is that with age comes perspective. And also tax breaks. ;-)
The thing is, count your blessings. Talk, talk, talk. Communication is the key. Nobody gives guarantees. You have to work to make it work. This is in no way a disrespect to those who have had long term relationships go south. Sometimes people just grow apart. It's life.
I think that time is a wonderful thing. Even when a relationship goes bad, it's something to learn from.
OTOH just because you read a thread about relationships going bad it's no reason to start second guessing your own. In fact it might be a good time to talk to the wife and count your blessings.
Good luck to everyone here. It always gets better. Trust me.
So, who wants to join my tabletop RPG?
The twenty years is really no big thing. I've met quiet a few woman who ended it a 20. My ex ended it at 20. It really sucks but you can find happyness again. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9XXPvP7PWY . You will get your dick wet again.
JMJ is the only character in that game that has a stat for penis size. QED.
Thanks, folks. I haven't read Gottman but it's been recommended to me before.
One of our wedding vows was "to grow, and grow old, together." That's the one I always remember first, and I think it might be the most important one... all relationships change, but the change can be steered, if you share the intention to do so. At least, that's our experience so far, knock on wood.
She put up with it for 18 years and finally two years ago, wanted a separation. I begged, said I would change and actually never did. Right after my heart surgery which was a few months after that incident, I promised again. But the physical and emotional toil the surgery took on me just made me a whole lot worse and the incident was repeated again at the start of this year only this time she admitted two years ago she still had a tiny bit of love for me but this time it was all gone.
Weird situation though, we're still living together and while I feel chances are slim*, she says if I'm really going to change and work on my issues, then I should and if it time she feels anything for me again then things will progress naturally.
As RichVR said: communication is key. My wife could have done a better job communicating how she felt about how I treated her. But I could have been a bit more sensitive towards her and the times she did speak up I should have REALLY listened and taken her seriously.
I just took for granted that she was my wife and could never have imagined her wanting to leave me. The first time it happened two years ago, I just assumed she had to vent and get stuff out of her system. But we never came to an actual separation just a couple of weeks of arguing and talking. This time, we've been out of each other's lives pretty much for 6 months. Living together under these circumstances is tough - I was always a control freak and now she comes and goes and doesn't have to tell me where she is or with whom.
The good thing is that I've learned a whole lot about myself in the past 6 months. Whether we reconcile or not, I KNOW I will be a better person because of this. And my relationship with my teenage daughter (which was never that great, for some of the same reasons me and the wife are separated) has improved immensely.
So bottom line? You want your relationship to last? Don't be a selfish, immature, jealous, irritable, controlling, neat freak jerk who points out your partner's flaws (instead of accepting or working around them, no one's perfect) and ignores your own.
* Not of working on my issues, but of getting back together
Whoa, whoa, hang on there, podner.
I am a strong believer in the "it takes two" philosophy; and also the "you can't change what you feel, only what you do" philosophy. Were you always "selfish, immature, jealous, irritable, controlling?" I'm guessing no; I'm guessing it happened over time. And I'm also guessing that they came about from some deep-seated insecurity that also progressively worsened.
Sure, communication early on is key. It also helps to reframe your communication to make sure it's positive and leading somewhere. See a professional that can help you keep your conversations on track, and can help you identify (and stop!) the bad communication patterns, and identify (and encourage!) the good communication that can lead to figuring out issues and really learning more about each other in a positive and productive way.
So many arguments I started due to my jealousy or anger that in the end were pointless and could have been avoided altogether. Instead of focusing on just the major issues I would throw my emotions fully into every little disagreement. Instead of calmly asking her to clarify something I would jump the gun and start with crazy accusations.
It is a two way street, but honestly, she's always been a calm, understanding, caring wife and I accept responsibility for this deteoration in our relationship. I do feel a bit angry that I HAVE made a lot positive changes in the way I act and she still brings up the past - it's like I can do 10 things really right but all it takes is 1 wrong for the "clock" to restart.
But I'm trying to change my ways for myself just as much as to get her back. I've seen the past few months just how immature, unfair and unrealistic I've been all these years. I'm just as tired with myself as my wife is.
Relayer71, GOOD FOR YOU. In my twenties I learned the concept of "speaking the unspeakable" from a wise woman I was involved with then. The idea is that some of the most important things to say in a relationship are the things that are hard to hear.
If something is really bothering one person in a relationship, then for that person to speak up, the other person has to be ready to listen even if it makes them feel defensive -- and it will -- and even if it makes the relationship feel threatened -- which it will. Learning the maturity required to hear someone's genuine issue with you, and to actually take it seriously and then change your behavior as a result of it, is one of the most fundamental relationship skills. It's what makes genuine mutual growth possible.
The good news is, the more unspeakable you speak, the better you get at hearing it (so the less unspeakable it becomes), and the more issues you resolve (so there's less of it to say). But it's like working out. When I do a big workout in the gym I expect to be sore later. After a big relationship conversation I sometimes feel emotionally sore, especially if I'm trying to change something about myself as a result. Stretching can be painful, in body or spirit.
(And of course this all goes both ways -- both partners in a relationship need to be able to do this....)
I aired my unspeakables this past week. I think I'm headed for a separation at this point, and possibly more. It's probably overdue, but man I feel like a louse right now. All my friends are giving me the "do what you have to do for your own sanity" advice, and it's good advice, but much easier said than done. I HATE confrontation, and I hate tears. And so I've had a really shitty week. I keep hitting those points where I have to stay the course or turn back into the more tranquil, but totally unfulfilling, waters of the week before.
Oh, I'd like to thank Brian Rubin particular, since he reads these boards.
Stay positive brother. You have to find happiness for yourself, you can't spend forever waiting for other people to make you happy. You're taking a first step towards that now, and as heart-wrenching as it may be it's neccessary. Perhaps it doesn't have to end badly, perhaps taking this stance now will show how important this is to you, and your spouse will realize that and change your relationship into something that works well again.
Thanks, Slainte. It's certainly possible that we will both find ourselves again and have the self-reliance to be together. Right now, I feel more like her crutch than her husband, which is sad. I married her because she was so strong and so confident, and all the other wonderful things. Her mental health issues have turned her into the opposite, and while it's not her fault, it hasn't improved either and I can't keep enabling, which is essentially what I feel like I've done.
Today she got mad at me and said I was putting my ego above our relationship. She thinks I want to go out with younger women. That's not true, but I'm kinda glad she's mad at me and not herself, which is how she felt yesterday and the day before. I'd rather she direct it at me, and I hope that she gets better for her own sake.
Still sucks...but thanks for the well wishes.
This might be a good time to see a counselor. The main benefit of a counselor at a time like this is as a mirror, to reflect the two of you to each other, and to help you with communication. It also can be a measure of how invested each of you are in trying to understand the other person and make positive changes. They're not going to fix anything, but they might be able to help you talk about the problems more helpfully.
That's tough Robert - I hope you're able to work something out.
Given you're a real name poster and work with a bunch of young people, I wonder how much sharing is wise in these threads? Maybe an alt like John Many Sharps or something?
Good luck in any case.
I am a little concerned that the prevailing thought here that when you're in a rut with your partner, you need to talk it out. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for open and clear communication, when it's productive. But telling your partner that you're bored and unfulfilled, or that you're emotionally distant -- whatever -- what good does that do? You can't always expect your partner to provide that spark which inspires you. In fact I'd venture to say that it's an unfair expectation. I'm an only child, the child of an only child. When I was a kid my grandmother used to tell me that I was her sunshine and her only reason for living and that she lived vicariously through me and my activities. That was a crazy amount of pressure. I always felt guilty that my life somehow wasn't exciting enough. And especially in high school when I fell into that teenage nerd depression and stopped taking interest in anything, when she would tell me how I was the world to her, it just broke me up inside. My point is that you should ask yourself if you expect too much of your partner. And if you find that you are still waiting for that spark of inspiration and life to come back and revive you, try something else. Make new friends. Take up a new sport. Revive an old hobby. When you're excited about life, it's easier to be excited about the people you're with, too. And the people you're with are more excited about you. Taking time out of your day to be with yourself, out of the house, doing something you enjoy is more therapeutic than stewing at home about how different you are now, or how little you engage, or whatever. Get yourself healthy. Take some time. Then re-analyze.
Was this the girl with the horses or was that someone else?
This is good advice, but as with all things there are so many variables that good advice can have bad results if you're not thinking of the whole package.Taking time out of your day to be with yourself, out of the house, doing something you enjoy is more therapeutic than stewing at home about how different you are now, or how little you engage, or whatever. Get yourself healthy. Take some time.
"Talk it out" is great, unless it just becomes "I'm going to dump all the things I dislike about you onto you without warning". "Have some time for yourself" is great, until it turns into escapism (or resentment from the partner that you're off having a great time and they are stuck by themselves with the kids/work/etc.)
Failing relationships suck because there are never easy answers. =|
Sometimes I think it's as simple as a relationship getting old and tired and one or both parties are no longer happy in it. I'm not sure there's much that can be done in that case other than sticking it out and hoping that time changes things or abandoning it.
I have to agree with Fire that some of the conversations people can have intended to clear the air can be destructive if you're not careful.
Threads like this make me feel slightly better about my decision to never ever date again. Its just safer to be alone.
Well sure, in the same sense that it's safer to never get in a car or to never get out of bed, I guess.
Well, begging your pardon Brettmcd, but you're setting up your own self-fulfilling prophecy coming at it from that mind set. So I stand corrected. You may, in fact, be better off alone.
One should never let fear run their life, Brett. Just sayin'. You should go out there man. How can you have reward without risk?