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Help! I've got 3 days to make an important decision.
October 6, 2003
3:18 am
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Hermione
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Hi, this is my first posting. I am hoping someone may have some advice. I've got 3 days to work out what I'm going to do.

My husband who recently left me wants to have a counselling session together in three days and I need to get clear what I want to say.

I am feeling hurt and used - the night before he left me he made love to me and told me that he loved me. He came home the next day and showed me a printout from my personal file off the computer - a self pitying monologue that exposed my feelings about our last counselling session - "we have identified that we look at things from polar opposites..I don't even know if its worth trying" There was alot of blaming and ownership of blame involved in the writing - it was for me so I was not trying to protect anyone from being hurt. I had re-read my writing and deleted it with the thought - "what a load of ...." - I continued to work on my relationship knowing that the feelings I had expressed through my writing had given me clarity.

The night before my husband left me we went out for drinks, I made an effort to look nice and be supportive as it was an occasion that was related to his work. We came home, had what I thought was a beautiful night together - a glimmer of hope! Then the next day he came home from work saying "I've had enough!" showed me the print out from my writing - said that he hadn't been 'looking' for it ( which can't be true), said that he had read it a number of days ago, packed and left.

He has only allowed minimal contact in the last 2 days via email, saying that he will be back to have a counselling session in 3 days. I feel like I have to come to a decision. I have been deeply hurt by the way he left, the way he read my personal writing, by the way he is treating me now. I have spent the last 5 days not even knowing if he intended to come back. Atleast I now know when I will see him again but I am not sure if he intends to leave me forever or wants to separate or what - I guess I can only wait and see.

I feel like if he truly cared and loves me then he would not have done it this way - leaving me with such a mixed message - without having time to prepare. (children, money, transport etc.)

He is angry, says that the problem is mine and that I have to fix it. I have 3 days to work out what I want - either way - if he's interested or if he's going to leave.

My compassionate side wants to fix things - do whatever it takes to make things OK - acknowledges that I'm dealing with a lot at the moment and that I've been difficult to live with.
The part of me that is feeling hurt and angry doesn't want to continue in a relationship where my husband abandons me - as opposed to behaving like an adult and discussing his needs, concerns before making decisions that effect the whole family. I feel like continuing in our realtionship would mean accepting his behaviour as being OK.

I'm not sure if I've made any sense here but I would sure like some input. Thanks.

October 6, 2003
9:06 am
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Anonymous
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You don't have 3 days to decide. You have all the time you want to take. The fact that he dictates '3 days' doesn't mean you have to obey that or him. Dictating and intimidating another to obey by leaving them in a drastic way is not a good way to start counseling. If he thinks it's all your problem and you have to fix it, joint counseling will be of no help at all.

Why do you dance to his music?

Many things don't make serious, mature sense here. If he was so hurt by what he read, how come you two had a nice night together? Many things sound not true here, more like something staged to intimidate you. He sounds very controlling to me. He may be getting an ego kick from seeing you jump and twist at his pace (now I'm gone, now I'm back, in 3 days be ready for counselling, now I'm loving, now I'm pissed, etc.)

I think your angry, hurt side is right on in what it says.

If there's a chance for you two, I think it would come from more equality in the relationship rather than from you becoming even more obedient to his pace.

This shouldn't feel like a bus you have to run in order not to miss. A bus doesn't wait for you. Here both of you should be in charge.

October 6, 2003
10:45 am
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2tone
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I agree with Mafi, why is putting a time frame on this and what is the three days thing? You have all the time you need to think things thru. Can you just tell him that you would like separate counseling since you feel violated with him reading your personal thoughts? You have to reach down deep inside of you and ask yourself if this kind of relationship is what you want. Counseling will only help a person who realizes he has a problem. Do you really think counseling will help your problem?

My experience has been, 4 abusive and codependent marriages, and one thing I have learned is that if you are asking yourself questions like you are, the relationship is probably not healthy for you. It sounds like he is looking for a reason to leave and will use you or your so-called problems to justify what he really wants.

Really think hard about YOU!!Is this working for you?

October 6, 2003
10:55 am
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mj
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Hi Hermione,
Correct me if I am wrong...but I read that he moved out, and has limited his contact with you for 3 days.

Sometimes people need space.

I do that alot. It frusturates the heck out of my husband. But sometimes I just need it to keep my sanity.

I am glad that you will have a mediator when you make personal contact. You both are hurting and you both have individual issues. I heard that he left because he read that you weren't sure if it was worth it. To me, that says, he is insecure and reacting. He probably did do some snooping to find out what you feel. Do you ever talk openly and honestly?

It probably feels like the end of the world for you right now...but it is only 72 hours. Utilize this time by writing your thoughts and getting in touch with what you really want, now that you have privacy for those thoughts. I think he overstep your boundaries here by reading your private thoughts and leaving. But sometimes it is through the pain that we grow the most and change and move to a better state of mind. Big HUG.

October 6, 2003
11:25 am
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Ladeska
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Good advice here from all these people. A few things I would add is...you wrote something that was obviously full of past history, things that are unresolved, pain, hopelessness, etc. So let's just pin that one up on the wall here...you guys have history here that has brought you to this point. Two were in the marriage, two created whatever problems.

Next, you wrote this as a private note to yourself, to help you think, as women usually do, they either talk it out or write it out. He definitely invaded your privacy......and......has no used it against you as "his reason" for leaving.

Interesting.....because, there's alot of things wrong here before you go any further. For one thing, why go searching like that, trying to find things on the computer? That's not a good character trait right off the bat before the plane ever leaves the ground here. If you haven't been flirting it up online with people and you know your conscience is clear on that one, I'd turn around and go Hm,m,m....why are you checking ME out? Are you doing something online that you shouldn't be? The guilty dog is usually the first one to go looking to pin something on you so that what they are doing behind the scenes - remains hidden and you are locked into a thing of "explaining yourself" if they can pin something on you instead....

So, okay, he found something....might not have been what he was originally looking for but he found "something". Okay fine and so - here you are feeling like you can't talk to him about any of this - (which is a red flag in and of itself)
and what does he do with that information? He uses it as a reason for - I'm closing the door, giving you, pinning everything on you and that YOU have to fix it and then gives you a deadline. Hm,m,m....interesting behavior.

He's so ready now to walk out, pin everything on you, to not even talk about what was in the letter, and then we come to this......

He reads it several days before he sets you up by being really nice to you, having this little romantic scene between the two of you and then BAM - he hits you with all this the very next day????? WHAT????????? I mean this borders on being psycho behavior and it would have infuriated the hell right out of me. But he obviously knows it would mess with your head, make you question, make you feel guilty, make you spin, like you are doing now.......

And so what......now he wants you guys to go to counseling, when he says and how he says - to do what? To hammer you into submission in whatever way he wants? To either make you bow your head and kiss his butt for being such a bad, bad little girl here and take more abuse and mindgames OR to put you through hell getting out of this marriage, financially or otherwise. Or both.

I don't like what I see here one bit. I'm quite sure it's not all his fault, blah, blah, blah, but correct me if I'm wrong here - didn't you say you took ownership in this letter you wrote to "yourself" online? So, when does he ever take ownership for anything or is it always - just you?

There is no point here in all this where he stands as a person with integrity. I looked for it and it's just not there. His M.O. is pretty "there" for you to see, but you just have to see it and stop second-guessing yourself and going into a state of confusion.

I would surmise that - this kind of behavior has quite the history to it....

Three days, huh? Um, I'd take my time here. Three days or WHAT big boy? How dare him jerk you around like that and then tell you what's what? You need to get some backbone going on here, girlfriend. I'm sure you're very weak in some ways - from going round and round like this with him before.......but you need to use this one example of how he played ball here and if that's all you look at - all the elements of his persona are quite clear here.

You don't want to know what I'd tell him about his little "counseling appointment".

I've been through all this shit with a man alot like this before. One thing that was kinda funny in the counseling session with us was - he tells the counselor that he thinks I'm going through menopause early...and THAT is why I AM the way I am and why our marriage is falling part......okayyyyyy......... He goes - I'll pay to have her tested (geez, you'd think I had rabies or something) The counselor goes - well, I think she's aware of her own body here and I think if that were a problem, she could go do whatever she needs to do and I think you need to move as far away from that one as - to the other end of the football field..

Well, he didn't. He kept using that one for all of two more appointments and when the counselor didn't do his bidding and didn't side with him on everything, he just didn't show up for the next appt. Funny though....ten years later - I get tested to see what my progestrone count is and the doctor comes in and says - Lady, I'd like to know where you get your genetics!!! I said - why? She said - this is like - impossible. Here you are 49 and most women your age, from a range of 1-25 - are like somewhere in the neighborhood of 12ish or below. And you are 24.5!

Soooooo........I guess that means that 10 years ago, I wasn't going through menopause, huh?

Actually my hormones make for a great balancing act with me most of the time. On a normal basis, I'm probably one of the more steady people you'll meet. I don't wig out around my period and never have. I'm not prone to emotional ups and downs. When I get down, I'm down, but it's not a pattern. And I'm not irrational and I don't lash out at the man in my life when I do feel weird.

But this is a very familiar tactic what he's doing to you. I've been down this road and he's smelling very stinky to me right now. Good luck on your decision but my advice to you is - to tell him - you'll let him know what you think - when you get good and ready.

October 6, 2003
11:41 am
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Anonymous
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"you'll let him know what you think - when you get good and ready."

That's exactly what I would do here too. I would turn the tables and have him wait for ME to decide.

But when someone is scared of losing a marriage, it's very hard to assert yourself within it. My dad once told me: "If you fear losing something, abandon it immediately. For we are slaves of that which we fear losing".

I think his leverage on you may come from your fear of losing the relationship, not yet sure you will be happier without him, or at least as happy as you are now.

October 6, 2003
11:56 am
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tracylyn
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Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

Oh my God this man sounds like so many I know. Mostly my ex!!!

Ladeska, your words speak volumns!!!

Hermoine~ I can't add a whole lot more here. Ladeska pretty much summed up everything I was thinking. Just please have some respect for yourself. Don't let youself be treated this way. He isn't being healthy. He isn't being sane. Stand up to him here.

I know it's hard...like I said, I've been there. I like what Mafi said too, about the fear. You can't fear him or fear losing the relationship because then your actions start coming from that fear. Be strong, be brave and love yourself.

You mentioned kids....how many, how old and HELLO....did he think about them at all!!!!!

T

October 7, 2003
5:13 am
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Hermione
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Thanks everyone you have all given me so much guidance - hugs all round!

Mafi - you helped me realise that life will go on beyond day 3 - I have decided to inform him at the counselling session that I need more time. I have organised individual counselling for myself beforehand so that I can firm up what it is I want to say. I do feel like it was 'staged' - that he has been needing to leave for a while and hasn't had the ability to ask for his needs to be met. I think that is why he is blaming me, set me up, trying to control me etc. etc.

2tone - You're right - the realtionship has not been healthy for either of us. What you had to say rings true. I believe he is using my problems to justify what he wants. Hopefully counselling will help him - if he wants to help himself - to take on his part in all this. It is definitely not working for me - that I am supposed to be the one in the wrong all the time. I accept my failings and I think he knows this and he has witnessed my attempts/ successes to better myself. He unfortunately holds the attitude that there is nothing wrong with him - so according to him - I am the one who needs to create change - I think that he has the opportunity to learn this lesson with me or to continue repeating it with someone else until he 'gets it'.

mj - your thoughts were mine, maybe he just needs space and he does not have the capacity to ask for it like an adult. He is insecure and he is reacting. I feel like I'm always talking openly and honestly and that I am consistently met with mindgames and belitteling. He has returned my last email that expressed I was attempting to respect his need for space with 'I have not taken space for myself I have just said enough is enough' - I am not even sure what he means.... 'enough' of what - he has not made it clear to me exactly what it is that I am doing that he has had enough of??

Ladeska

Yes we have a huge history considering that this marraige is less than 12 months old!!! The searching for evidence stuff is an expression of his lack of trust. I know I am trustworthy and this is the only internet site I have ever chatted on - he, on the other hand is a computer wizz and could hide stuff al over the place if he wanted to. I gave up long ago trying to check up on him - believing that in order to give my full trust and committment to the marraige I needed to trust that he would never do such a thing as having an affair or other...His behaviour is totally psycho at the moment and I have stopped taking it on - he has chosen this outcome - even planned it so to speak - I have decided not to jump to his tune - to remain calm and centred - not allowing him to mess with my head, get guilty, spin out - you were so right!! This is exactly what I was doing and with all of your help I am feeling empowered. I am also willing to be gentle with this man, my darling husband who seems to have evrything so wrong right now. It is going to be difficult for him when I do not bend to his will. The state of confusion thing rang so many bells - I could see that he uses this often - giving me mixed messages and then I get angry because I can't figure him out then I get called the angry one who makes his life unbearable. I do need my backbone and it seems to be getting stronger each day he is away - I feel like I am getting myself back.

Tracylyn - You are right - the fear of losing him was changing my thoughts from what I knew to be right and respectful - I am trying to be strong. I have one child,5, he lives with us full time. My husband has 3 children 13,15,18 who visit with us every second weekend. He told my son that he was going away to visit a friend for a while. He seems to be coping OK. My husband could not see his kids last weekend because he had no place to see them ( I feel like he will try to pin this on me at a later date - but I will explain to him that if he had of left under other, more adult circumstances, then I would have had the opportunity to offer him the house to have the kids over, I could have visited with friends if he needed space)

Thanks all of you, I am hoping that I can be strong and maintain my stance. I am worried that he will want to call it off. I think I am willing to state what my needs are and be willing to listen to his. I can not accept him back to take on any more of this - we need to be apart to work on our own issues and hopefully we will be able to make a fresh start - having learnt to ask for what we need in appropriate ways that don't do damage to either one of us. I'm still really confused about all the details - money, kids, where will he stay etc. but I guess he is an adult and he can work this out as I have had to over the last week. I am willing to be civil and helpful as this is what I know I needed him to be through this. God I hope this works. I love him so much - he is just so full of himself - he needs to come back down to earth and act like a human being.

Thanks again everyone. Please send more if you think I'm completely way off track!Thanks, H

October 7, 2003
1:35 pm
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Anonymous
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"My husband could not see his kids last weekend because he had no place to see them ( I feel like he will try to pin this on me at a later date - but I will explain to him that if he had of left under other, more adult circumstances, then I would have had the opportunity to offer him the house to have the kids over, I could have visited with friends if he needed space)"

Whaaat? Maybe I understood wrong, but I understood that he might blame you for his leaving his home and therefore not having a place to entertain his guests???? !!!!! AND you are planning on EXPLAINING and justifying yourself ?? !!! Please tell me I understood wrong ! This sounds to me like a man who would blame his wife because the blood from her head stained his shirt while he tried to kill her !!!

Sorry, I'm not trying to criticize you here, I just have a very strong reaction to this part...

I think it's best to stop explaining ANYTHING and justifying anything. That's where they trap you: when they see how important it is for you to be found nice, generous, considerate, etc.

Another thing that struck a nerve with me is when you talk about 'learning' to communicate needs in a respectful way. I think most people who communicate abusively is not because they need to learn something they weren't taught before. Abusive ways to demand fulfillment of needs is a tactic used to avoid NEGOTIATION. When a person expresses their needs directly, clearly, honestly and without dirty tricks, they have to be willing to negotiate and compromise, through dialogue. That is why abusers use abuse: so that they can get what they want for free, just by intimidating the other to give.

October 8, 2003
7:22 am
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Hermione
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Well I should change this thread name now because I've just given myself more time!!! I have informed my husband via a friend (as he is still unwilling to communicate directly) that I have made a new appointment for our counselling session. Its not until next week which gives me plenty of time to have my own counselling and get clear what it is I want to say to him. I have let him know that if he wants to return before this time that I would appreciate a phone call first or that he at the very least chooses a time when my son is not present. I feel like a hard arse but I also feel relieved.

I am not feeling frightened about him deciding to call it quits if this is what he wants to do. I know I could accept this as his choice. Of course I would be disappointed, upset and miss him terribly but ultimately if he doesn't want to be here then its not going to be much of a life is it???

If on the other hand he is willing to accept his part in all this and he does want to continue in our marriage together then he is going to have to wait until this big gaping wound has had time to heal. I don't feel like I can re-enter our marriage under the same circumstances - its been changed forever. I feel like it’s going to be a big uphill climb for both of us - regardless of the outcome.

I need to remain true to my son and myself. My husband needs to clearly express what his needs within the relationship are, what he needs to be happy, and he needs to be willing to respect me and understand what my needs are.

I feel like all this stuff is swirling around in brain and taking up sooo much of my energy. I have to reign it all in and give some energy back to myself. By giving myself more time the pressure is off and life is continuing as it does. I am missing my husband but I am not missing the disharmony and the feelings of inferiority.

I'm thinking it’s all about power - that the only way he can feel powerful and 'strong' is if I am powerless and weak. This is co dependence? Right? I'm not sure. So who is the co-dependent or is it just the chemistry between us that makes it a co-dependent relationship?
I feel disempowered so I express my needs and stand up for myself. He feels threatened as he is being asked to do things differently so he resists change and acts out. I get angry about the behaviour and ask him to stop. He calls me 'angry' and I'm left explaining, justifying. He says 'not my problem - you fix it’. I slip back into feeling disempowered. (Not this time!!)
Why do I feel so disempowered by him - this is my stuff. He can only take my power if I let him. I seem to get the new steps in the dance happening and its like he will do anything to resist the change and get me to dance to the same old tune. It’s working for him I guess! I need to know my own boogie - dance to the music he wants to listen to - sometimes - but keep my own moves flowing. This is my responsibility within the relationship. His responsibility is to let me dance whatever way I want to with the knowledge that it’s only his music that I am interested in.

This all sounds like crap and yet it makes perfect sense at the same time.

Thanks again guys, H

October 8, 2003
1:04 pm
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CONGRATS, HERMIONE !!!

That's a wonderful change of perspective !!

Some men refuse to have a partner that has to be respected. Others learn to respect her. Now it's up to him, whatever he chooses. My ex kind of said it clearly that, if I was going to demand respect, he preferred to divorce and marry a woman who wouldn't insist on being respected. That's ultimately why we divorced. He refused a relationship based on equality, and quite clearly said so. I refused a relationship based on his dictating and me obeying. I chose to leave.

October 9, 2003
2:56 am
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Hermione
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Great, he's agreed to the session I've asked for. I have now asked for some money to cover 'our' bills. I'm feeling like shit. Yeah I've got a great perspective but I'm so sad!! I want it to be all OK again and I'm really missing him. I want to cave in - say I'll do anything. I'm trying to be firm but I'm here in tears just wanting him to be here and hold me and tell me that everything is going to be OK. This has generated so much pressure in other areas of my life. My son does not understand - every time any of us are away we always ring him lots - my husband has had no contact at all - my son is reverting to wanting to be with his bio dad - I have put so much energy into keeping this man at a distance as he is an unhealthy influence and now because of this my son is wanting to write to him, see him more etc. - I am so sad and so angry and yet I have to keep it together for my son. He needs me to be OK.
I know I can get through this - you guys are a help - thanks!

October 14, 2003
4:01 pm
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hey mafi :), write to me if you want to, its my nick followed by aac and then yahoo. signing off

October 15, 2003
4:17 pm
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Hermione,

I soooo know the feeling ! It's, however, the pains of withdrawal from the drug of the unhealthy relationship. If you can endure it now, it will only get easier. If you give up now, it can become worse, because when we assert ourselves and then go back to not asserting ourselves, the abuse escalates. You're on the good path and we're all with you !!!

October 15, 2003
4:19 pm
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guest,

Do you want to talk to me in private?

October 16, 2003
8:20 am
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Hermione
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Thanks mafi,

The important decision has been made!It all happened today. Its over. It actually came from me! He was unwilling to accept anything I had to say so I told him that I did not see the point in continuing with our marriage. I am thinking I must be in shock because I'm feeling OK about it, although very sad and disappointed. I guess I've already gone through the worst of it. Don't worry, I'm not fooling myself, I know I have a lot more grieving to do, lost dreams, lost friendship, lost love. Maybe in knowing my own truth and in knowing that I tried everything I could, I have my self respect intact. Maybe I feel OK because it was the right decision. Thankyou for your support during this time. I know I will need you guys a lot over the next few months as I go through 'withdrawals'.
Thankyou, thankyou mafi for helping me find the strength, big hugs.

October 16, 2003
2:43 pm
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Hermione,

I wish you all the best and really hope you stay around, since this is a tough moment.

October 16, 2003
3:04 pm
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Did this happen during a counseling session? What did the counselor say during all of this?

October 16, 2003
9:48 pm
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mafi, well i thought we had a "lot in common" so i thought we can get to know each other better. i dont know. no harm in trying, i thought. hmm.

October 17, 2003
7:55 am
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Hermione
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I've been trying to respond all day but I've had to keep it together for my son's big school concert - he has been practising all term - I wanted to go. It was so hard - I felt like crying the whole time. I felt so alone and my husband's absence was so obvious. I'm a wreck right now - I just can't stop crying. I was so amazed and proud of my son, who has also been quite fragile, he was able to enjoy himself and do a great job. I now have a couple of days ahead with no plans so I can just 'be' however I am feeling. It's just what I need.

Yes gingerleigh, it all happened during counselling. The counsellor's role was to ask what we hoped to achieve - I needed some answers - he wanted to organise his material possessions. The counsellor really didn't get to say much as we both had a lot to discuss. She was good at suggesting we take a break when it was getting a bit much - and assisted us to keep on track. At the end she was able to validate for me that I had done everything I could. That I had made my decision based on the answers I received.

October 17, 2003
7:57 am
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mmm...well, that depends...if you are a man, emotionally available, appropriate age-bracket, looking for an obnoxiously deep thinker who will take zero shit from anyone, then we DO have a lot in common ! 🙂

Let's do our thing here, I'm an exhibitionist at heart !

(I'm playfully kidding, no sarcasm intended. But do send photo !)

No, really. Totally kidding. That was very nice of you to offer corresponding !

October 17, 2003
4:20 pm
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heh. ok. i guess you dont want to at this point, but whats being emotionally available mean?

October 17, 2003
5:59 pm
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gingerleigh
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Ah Hermione, I know this is a rough time for you. Being validated that you did everything you could is so important though. I'm glad that your son did so well in his concert. I think I missed it, but what does he play, or sing?

Can you get away for even an hour or two and do something nice for yourself? Maybe a massage? Some massage schools have massages given for reduced rates by students.

October 17, 2003
10:59 pm
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Anonymous
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Emotionally Available: no issues preventing the healthy formation of a lifelong committed relationship.

October 18, 2003
1:14 am
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Hermione
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mafi,

I like the way you state your needs. I believed that my husband was 'emotionally available' and he of me. When we met we were both at a time in our lives when we had done a lot of work on ourselves and we felt ready to share ourselves with each other. I think we underestimated how challenged we would be. Many new issues, that neither of us were prepared for or could perhaps forsee, arose out of our union. I chose to tackle these issues head on and deal with them in a responsible way, my husband on the other hand, has chosen to avoid working on these issues and opt out - he is now emotionally unavailable.

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