Making a Better Marriage

Discussion in 'Rebooting in a Relationship' started by mrtumnus, Jul 22, 2019.

  1. Day 52

    Stayed up way too late last night reading, and now I'm regretting it. Getting 6 hours of sleep results in me feeling more negative about myself, my marriage, my wife, my kids, and just life generally. Maybe I was on track to feel that way anyways, I don't know. But sleep loss def makes it worse.

    Yesterday was kind of crappy; I was on here way too much, distracted from work (or avoiding, really). I'm going to try to limit myself to checking on here twice - morning (now) and lunch. Feel free to punt me off if you see me on otherwise XD.

    PT went ok and had counseling in the evening. Nothing too spectacular during counseling. More lecture and some digging into learning how to empathize with my SO. I'll be scaling back to meeting every other week, due to cost and time. I made sure that my counselor thought that I was ready for it. We'll see how it goes.

    Instead of playing with my 2yo during my hour with her this morning, I napped and played the Switch while she played. That's the sort of stuff I know I'll regret later; just didn't feel up to engaging with her.

    Short post, since I don't feel like writing much. Thankfully, I feel no urge to PMO.

    I feel: Tired, cloudy, apathetic, want to escape
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  2. Acky31

    Acky31 Fapstronaut

    Tiredness definitely makes everything that little bit worse. From mood, to energy, even to thoughts and willpower, it makes everything harder.

    We try our hardest to go to bed at a sensible time, but sometimes it's not possible.

    I think replacing one bad habit with another, even if there is some good intention behind it, is a good idea.

    Trawling on my phone usually happens when I'm tired and can't be bothered, so maybe try and be more mindful in these situations to realise that you should be doing something else (like go to sleep!)
    mrtumnus likes this.
  3. Day 53

    I just want to go crawl under a rock. I thought I was feeling better this morning, but I think I'm still acting like a co-dependent child. My SO and I didn't say one word to each other last night. This morning I tried to give her a hug goodbye, but just let me hug her limply. Gah. That is the worst kind of rejection. If she doesn't want a hug, just say so.

    We were at friends' yesterday for dinner, but I needed to get back in time to help out with some stuff at church. About 10-15 minutes before we should have left, I mentioned it to her and the kids. But, nothing happened. She kept continuing on conversations, starting new ones. I said again about 5 minutes before; nothing. I started to get frustrated at this point. I didn't feel like I was being considered or respected at all. Finally we got everyone in the car, about 15 minutes after we should have left. It's even more annoying, because she's the one that always is wanting to be on time for things. But when it's my schedule, whatever, doesn't matter. On the way home, she told me she forgot about my commitment, but I told her it didn't matter; the thing that irritated me was that NO ONE was listening to my requests to get ready to go. Maybe I should have just said goodbye (rudely) to our friends and sat in the car; would that have gotten anyone's attention?

    Our drive home was in stony silence. I tried @daemonswithin 's 'liquid sunshine' thing, haha. It helped a little, but the daemon within convinced me to hold on to my pride. I dropped everyone at home then left straightaway after saying goodnight to the kids.

    Sorry for the rant, but I needed to get it out of my head. I realize that this thinking is prideful and egocentric. But that's what was in my head, so here it is. Feels a little better now that it's out.

    We're supposed to have a date night tonight. I don't know if she wants to go or not. I'll call her after lunch and see. I'm not texting her.

    At least I slept relatively well last night, I guess (there's me looking for the silver lining again). Also, I was more engaged with my daughter this morning - we read books and did some puzzles together.

    I feel: rejected, unloved, apathetic
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  4. It's difficult letting go of that pride and frustration, especially when I "know" I'm in the right - whatever that means. It just takes practice. I still think I'm at the little league level, but at least I'm working at it as opposed to continuing on and allowing my emotions to separate me further from my wife. It all comes down to mindfulness, but honestly there are many moments where I want to feel the frustration and I want to stew and allow the resentment to grow. It's empowering. It makes me feel as if I'm in control. Unfortunately, that short term feeling is not worth the long-term consequences. Almost sounds familiar...

    I'm glad you tried the liquid sunshine technique. I think the main benefit is to release the stress but also to get us out of reaction mode and into analysis mode. Engaging the analytical wise mind that can evaluate what we are currently feeling and how best to respond to it. My therapist would probably suggest engaging in conversation about how your wife's actions made you feel without making accusations or judgments about her actions: "I felt rejected and unloved or hurt when I suggested multiple times that we needed to leave but nobody paid attention to me." That's opening the door to the possibility of a positive conversation, but it can't be done with negative intent or emotion. Perhaps your wife saw the situation differently, had a perspective you didn't think of, or simply was oblivious as we all tend to be. Maybe she'll recognize that she made a mistake and apologize, or maybe she'll point out a mistake you made that you weren't aware of. The outcome may never be what we hope for or expect, but more communication and releasing the emotions is always preferable over bottling them up and adding to the internal pressure. That level of vulnerability is difficult and can be interpreted as weakness, but I'm learning that connection isn't weakness. It's creating a stronger bond. As I said - I'm working on it, but I'm hoping to get out of the little league and into high school JV in the near future.
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  5. MisterDirection

    MisterDirection Fapstronaut

    I am on the peewee league watching from the bench here but I am working on it. I hope you would agree @IamOlive
  6. Clear, open communication is key. Isolation is a great ill to be avoided.
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  7. Queenie%Bee

    Queenie%Bee Fapstronaut

    What the heck is liquid sunshine please enlighten me :emoji_boom:
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  8. Happy to! I referenced it in this post in my journal:
    Liquid Sunshine!
    It's from Headspace and the Stress track.
  9. Thanks, all for your encouragement. I stopped home after lunch today to talk. It didn't go well, but we at least got to air our grievances. Bottom line is that I was holding onto pride and control, and not giving my SO grace for this one little thing she missed. I was refusing to see that this little infraction paled vastly in comparison to the mountain of hurt I've caused her that weigh on her now and probably for the rest of her life.

    Yes! That's what I was doing. Stupid, selfish, and childish.

    She did this, even yesterday, and I wouldn't have it. See above!

    Now to dig myself out of the hole I've rapidly dug. I think I was just looking for an excuse for someone else to be wrong and I jumped on it. I've been getting tired of being in the wrong, maybe. Feels like I've been there my whole life.

    Not sure if we'll still go out tonight. I asked her if we could, even just to be able to talk. But no expectations.
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  10. Hey there. Firstly, I'm sorry to hear of your problems and I think your effort of 53 days is really admirable.

    However, I do have some things to say and also suggest.

    More than anything I think that you are being way too hard on yourself and you are letting your SO get away with very unhealthy passive aggressive behaviour... This is leaving your self esteem at an all time low. If we look at the last 50 days of your journey. You have spent them miserably and mostly in a state of fear, loneliness and limbo.

    I think it's clear here that PMO isn't the entire issue you should centre around even if for now you're comfortable with blaming that. I personally think that you're suffering also the common problems of an unhealthy and unfulfilled marriage. Whilst I wouldn't obviously blame the past PMO/porn addiction on your marriage and partner compatibly. There are definitely signs in all of your messages that you are completely disregarding your own emotional needs (I'm not talking about PMO here).

    Your partner is walking all over you and to put it really bluntly, you're behaving like a puppy that needs taking care of and constant validation and reassurance among many other things. There is a lot of introspection here but not much of it seems healthy.

    I think you really need to demand more from your partner and I absolutely do mean demand. Not in the "do this or else" but as a 50% stake in the marriage you have both needs and rights and it sounds to me like your partner has basically lost most of her respect for you and doesn't seem to care about either your needs or rights.

    I'm trying really hard to be positive but I think you're just in for another 50 days of self inflicted agony unless you start standing up for yourself. After reading all of these posts I think you're fighting a PMO/porn addiction AND a failing marriage which is causing you to make a lot of very bad decisions out of desperation.

    If you don't take control of the situation soon, you might find that it's too late.

    Good luck.
  11. @2974629562994628 Rather than respond directly to what you posted, I'm going to recommend that you read up on betrayal trauma. Based on this post and others you've made, I don't think you fully grasp what it means to betray a partners' trust via porn or sexual addiction. I believe you mean well in trying to support PA/SA's who are seeking help here, but I think you are only focusing on one side of the issue.
  12. Day 57

    My emotional rollercoaster has swung back around, and I'm feeling better. Saturday I was outside all day doing yardwork. Sunday and Monday were restful, we celebrated Labor day at a friend's house. Sunday was fun, as we played some music for several church gatherings.

    My SO and I spoke a bit more; after our fight last week, she was reminded of how selfish I am, and continue to be (true). This triggered her, and she again has feelings of not wanting to commit to me if I'm just going to lie and break her trust again, down the road. I totally understood this response when it happened initially, and I understand it now. I believe that is a symptom of betrayal trauma (or any trauma) - conflicting and 'rollercoasting' emotions, self-doubt, and pessimism about the future. I get it. On Friday, she effectively set some physical boundaries for me, doesn't want touching or hugging for some time. We ended up holding hands on Monday, and we hugged this morning. So I think she's coming back around, but I'm trying to be gentle and not push anything.

    This conflict is cause for more self-reflection. Why am I trying to live porn-free? Am I trying to better myself, for myself? I'd like the answer to be out of obedience to my higher power, or at least for my spouse. Is it so bad to want to change for myself, even? If I've finally come to the conclusion that porn is unsatisfying and leads to a life I don't want, does it really matter for whom I am trying to change?

    Maybe there's a related issue that me and my SO are confounding with PA/SA - selfishness. I'm often fixated on myself, what I can get, how I can be pleased, how I can avoid pain/work/suffering. My SO reiterated that she feels left out of my new routines and process of change. I don't feel that's accurate, but there must be something there, since that's how she feels. I have already committed to quality time in the evenings (leaving my phone charging outside the bedroom), planning at least one date or activity a week (schedule permitting), and planning/cooking dinner once a week. She's also said that she doesn't want to feel like a checklist that I'm going through. Well, I'm an engineer, so it might have to be that way, at least at first :\

    Lots of stuff to process here. I hope I can carry this over to good, meaningful conversations with my SO. I'm often not very good at verbalizing things as well as writing them (here especially). I almost wish she would read these posts here, but that could be a double-edged sword.

    I feel: Energized, hungry (lunch time!), excited for an evening with no plans
  13. Not bad at all. Quite the opposite, actually. If you change for anyone else, you will never fully change. You must do so because you can no longer stand the person you have become and you must become a new, different person or perish. You must be personally invested in the change -- simply because it is the right thing to do (which is always a deeply personal stance) -- or the change will not go deep enough to last.

    Faith plays a crucial role, of course. God reveals himself, and then we must decide how we will respond. He provides forgiveness -- a way out! --and a new life and identity for us to move into. Still, the choice is up to us. Will we respond rightly to his revealing of himself and give up our claim to our own way? Or will we stubbornly cling to our rights and our way and our own shabby, tattered lives?

    We all come to the foot of the cross. Unless we fling our arms around the Son, holding to him desperately, the burdens we bear will not fall from our backs. We cannot make this choice for him or for a spouse or a child. We must choose him as the only source of life -- he without whom we shall surely die. We must want life. Once we have it, all the rest will be added to us for free, as we grow in maturity in the Kingdom.

    What a ride!
  14. Thanks, Tao. I think you've helped me reframe the question: Is it suitable for me to desire change for appearances' sake or wanting the effects of change in my life, rather than wanting change because it's what I'm called to do in the first place? I feel that there is an important distinction here, especially for me. So much of who I am has been externally motivated, and I think I am finally finding the internal motivation I've lacked for so long, enabling me to take responsibility of my life. Maybe it's a semantic difference. But I'm finding myself wanting to make sure I'm going down this road with an awareness of my intentions.
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  15. I never knew what drove me because I did not know who I was. It wasn't until I began to explore this question and embrace the identity I found in Christ that I learned how to be inwardly motivated -- being a better man because I truly desired to be that. This came about ONLY because I believed the Truth -- that I am already declared righteous by God and regarded by him as his son. My thought process became, "Well, if that's who he says I am, who am I to argue? He knows me better than I know myself. If I am a child of the King, I suppose I better start acting like it!" Embracing his identity for me set me free in a way nothing else had ever been able to. This faith -- this right response to his revealing himself to me -- continues to form the firm foundation of not only my recovery, but my entire life.

    Knowing who you are and, consequently, why you act the way you do is absolutely essential work in order to achieve inward health and wholeness, imo.
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  16. Soulherb

    Soulherb Fapstronaut

    What @Tao Jones said. The word I think you're wrestling with is "mockery", pretending to be something you are not. The healthy version is imitation, much like a child playing dress-up in their parent's clothing. The dress-up we play with God is a veneer of holiness, oftentimes for selfish reasons. But if we walk with Him, we can't get away with this for long; that quiet voice within lets us know that He sees what we're doing and we're not fooling Him, motivating real change. It's not a semantic difference. You know what's encouraging? You are asking the question. Mockers don't ask that question. Instead, they double down on their deception. In contrast, you're asking and growing from the answers you are seeing within yourself. That's progress!
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  17. I used to think that if I "put on my Jesus coat," then God would see that and not the "real" me on the inside -- the rotten, lustful liar. I tried for a long time to do a "fake it til you make it" with spiritual things. That was never very satisfying. Turns out it doesn't work.

    The truth was that Jesus said I am a new creation in him, complete with a new heart and new innards, all the way down to the core. I didn't need the "Jesus coat" -- I was already clean inside and out, just because he said so. Quite an "aha!" moment to see that. Again, it led me to that "Well, I better start acting like it, if that's who God says I am." Now I see that it is the "old man" which is like a tattered garment I still occasionally pull tight around my shoulders, looking for a little comfort or warmth I used to get from there. But I do this less and less. The real life is already inside me, and I am warmed from within by the fire of the Spirit. There is no better comfort than that!

    It's a wild change in perspective, and one that is only possible because God says that this is how it works in his Kingdom. If he hadn't said it, I would never dare to presume such things. What a good God! They really did get it right: It really is Good News! :)
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  18. Thanks @Tao Jones and @Soulherb for the input. I've definitely avoided introspection for a long time, so it is a bit new to me. I'm glad for the encouragement. No matter how we look at it, it will be a lifelong process, one day at a time!

    I forgot to mention some details about my Friday night, as they were further revealing of my selfish attitude. We did end up going on a date, after I made clear that this would be a 'friendly' date, not romantic (not sure exactly what that means for a married couple of 10 years, or how it was perceived, but we went with it). However, after putting our names in for a table, we had to wait about 30 minutes. We were in a crowded, trendy location with lots of young and young-ish attractive types milling about. I was doing pretty well averting my eyes for a while, but then found myself starting to do double-takes. At this point, I turned completely around towards the road and started staring off into the distance. I found it difficult to converse with my SO in this orientation, thus the conversation dwindled. My SO did not take this well. She felt belittled by this, like I can't focus on her when there are other 'pretties' around. Our date felt like a sham. We eventually got back to some sort of meaningful conversation halfway through dinner, but it was painful up to that point.

    Not sure how much this helps to reflect on. Maybe brings out some more inadequacy I feel at being able to foster quality time or hold a conversation. Anyways, this just added to the frustration from last week that by now is still dissipating.
    Tao Jones likes this.
  19. Day 58

    I had a simple, but good day yesterday. I was going to get up early and run, but decided to sleep in, as we had a kid up with a cough and I wanted to get a bit more sleep. Work was OK; I had lots of interruptions which kept me busy. But between those interruptions, I was still definitely not very motivated and distracted. I got home and made my Mediterranean chicken salad again. It was better this time, as I didn't overcook the chicken (as much - still could be juicier, I think). Read some books with the kids, then bedtime. I journaled, spoke with the SO a bit (nothing deep), and played some Switch. It was a simple day, and I enjoyed it.

    Today is off to a good start - got my exercise routine in, first thing, shower, helped with kids' lunches and breakfast, and sent off the SO and kids to school.

    I tried some casual meditation/prayer during my exercise, which was interesting. I do like coupling that together, but it's hard to stay focused on one or the other. Maybe it will get easier after trying it more.

    I feel: Sick, slightly tired, ready to accept whatever comes today
  20. Have you read Brother Lawrence? He might have some tips for you on this. :)

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