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TC66 - how about those firemen?
January 3, 2006
1:13 am
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Shaney
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Mine is sleeping right now. He works three in a row starting on Tuesday am. How are you?

January 3, 2006
8:40 am
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Hi Shaney,

Thanks for asking!! I think I'm just about ready to give up on my fireman. We've actually been broken up for about 8 months now... however, he refuses to let me go completely. He stays in touch and makes sure that I am still emotionally connected to him, gives me enough hope to keep me hanging on... and then is free to do whatever (whoever) he wants!!

I have no idea what he's been up to for the last few months. He keeps me totally in the dark about what goes on in his life when he's not in touch with me. He is very skilled at compartmentalizing his life and only telling me what he feels I need to hear.

He's 42 years old, never married and has no children. He is good looking, and being a FF, he gets a lot of female attention (he was actually featured in the Local 2006 FF calendar, yuck! Makes me want to vomit just thinking about it). Honestly, I don't have that whole crazy sexual attraction to Firemen but I guess there are some women who do... which I'm sure makes life like an endless buffet for him.

The only thing that attracted me to him about the FF thing, is that my Dad was a fireman AND just so happened to work at the same Firehouse as ex! Wierd, huh? I guess that made me want to be close to him, to somehow be closer to my Dad (who committed suicide when I was 9 years old)... Yeah, issues???? I'm loaded with 'em!!

Anyway, he is the typical commitment-phobe. We were together for a year in a serious, monogomous relationship. It took him about 4 months to tell me that he loved me (It is something that he takes VERY seriously and actually couldn't even say the word when I first met him. He'd call it the "L-Word"... like it was a swear-word or something). Once he said it, he was very free with the words and was very kind, loving and attentive. We had a great time together. There were no "issues" in our relationship except for the fact that I have two children. They are great kids and I am very protective of them. I vowed not to let them get too close to anyone unless I was SURE that they were going to be in our lives for the long-haul. He was always a bit uncomfortable around them and I sensed that the responsibility of "them" scared him. So, I was conservative about the time we spent together as a "family". I guess my intuition was telling me that he was not on steady ground when it came to being with us all. He was great with ME, but sometimes when he drank too much, he'd talk (slurr) a bunch of nonsense about me being jealous of other women, saying that I was too clingy, etc. I really was NEVER jealous because he made me feel so special that I never worried about him being with anyone else. I was very secure in our relationship... and clingy? I wasn't. I loved him, but I also spent lots of time with my kids', my friends, my job, etc. It was not an unhealthy relationship AT ALL!!! I think that the whole "committment" of it all made him feel suffocated, which made him FEEL like I was clinging... because maybe he didn't see an escape route and it scared him. Anyway, he snapped about the year mark. He started needing "space", going out with his buddies more and resenting my wanting to be with him.

The "pulling away" phase lasted about a month and then he said that he needed "time to think". He said that he needed to be SURE about us because if we were going to be together, it was going to be for the rest of his life and he took it very seriously. He wanted to be alone and see how he felt. He felt that we'd get back together, but he needed some space to figure it all out. He told me that he never loved anyone like he loved me and didn't want anyone else, etc...

I believed him. I KNEW he was scared but I really didn't think he was interested in anyone else (naive)...

Well, it's been 8 months and it's been a roller coaster! He still tells me that he loves me (wierd), is very jealous if I appear to be moving on (makes him chase me again)... but only to a point. He has refused to physically be with me for the past few months... He'll have phone sex with me and talk to me for hours... but when we are in the same room together, he runs away like a scared little boy!

There's too much to go into and this is already much too wordy!! Basically... I have no idea what is going on with him. He likes keeping me waiting in the wings until he's "ready"... What is going to make him "ready"? I have no idea.

He has the close "brotherhood" with the guys at the station and has tons of issues surrounding the job. We had a big fire in 1999 and 6 of his closest friends were killed. He was in the building with them and heard them running out of air and dying. It has scarred him terribly.

Plus, he does not have close family ties. He was adopted and after his Mom adopted him, she gave birth to her own child so he was treated as an outsider for most of his life. His Dad was an alcoholic and he did not really "bond" with anyone when he was a child. He was forced to be a loner then and now he is a loner by choice...

Soooooo... there's the alcohol (drinks heavily), depression and isolation (he can retreat to his bedroom and stay there for days on end), fear of commitment, need to be idolized (doesn't like the fact that I don't "worship" him like the other women. I know his flaws and faults...they just think he's the best thing since sliced bread!!!)

I started the process of finding his birth parents when we were together... I thought that perhaps if he knew who he was and where he came from that it would help him be able to settle down. After we broke up, he got a letter explaining the details of his adoption, but they can not give him names UNLESS his parents decide to seek him out... so that was a bust! He called and asked to see me so that he could share the letter with me. It's like he still considers me his "family"... it's strange. He tells me things he doesn't tell anyone else and keeps me in a special place in his life (still says the "L" word to me), but refuses to make the commitment.

I am tiring of the whole game about now. I love him but I can't sit by and "wait" any longer. It is a new year and I need to force some changes this year. We need to either be together or apart. Period!

The last contact we had, I told him EXACTLY that. He said he's confused (big surprise, not!)... blah, blah, blah!!!

I haven't heard from him since last night at around 6:00pm. He was working and he usually checks in at some point throughout the night, but I think I scared him with my new attitude. It's ok... being scared is better than being complacent.

I am willing to let him go now. I just don't know if he has it in him to be what I want (and need)... not to mention to be what my children need!!

Sorry this was so long Shaney!!!! I just wanted to give you a good overview!!

Tell me about your FF!!!

TC

January 3, 2006
9:32 am
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TC 66 (and Shaney)-- HI!! So happy to see your thread. I've known a family of firefighters for a long time. They are tough and see alot of cruel deaths. I've also noted that drinking and a bit of heroism always seem to be attached. (I don't think the "volunteer" firefighter situations are the same).

What you described about your bf's childhood happens so often, doesn't it? That lack of security, feeling of being unwanted, fear of attachment and/or abandonment, need to be seen as a really good guy, it just follows a person into adulthood and continues to hurt their relationships.

A woman I know who used to run a homeless shelter for men said she used to be able to sort of "mark" the age a man had started drinking or doing drugs by his current maturity level. That how he thought, what he was still having issues with....would be chronologically equivalent to WHEN some event or events happened in his life that he could not work through at the time and he chose instead to "not think" about them anymore (by drinking or ignoring somehow).

You are so within your good personal boundaries to expect him to deal with his issues before you continue a relationship. I am so very impressed with the wisdom you show, and the desire to protect your children. I really hope he can find some solutions and hope and foundation with you. I wish you happiness and continued good sense.

January 3, 2006
10:35 am
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Thank you Brynnie!!!

I totally agree with the correlation between the onset of alcohol abuse/emotional maturity and the ability to block unpleasant emotions out! I am completely amazed at my ex's ability to NOT THINK!!!

I have actually been jealous of it at times. I can not understand how he can shut down his thoughts/emotions on command!!! If I feel something... I feel it no matter WHAT else I'm doing, who else I'm with or what chemical I may be under the influence of!!!

That is probably the one thing that I've had the hardest time with, is his ability to shut me out. It has left me feeling completely disposable. I assumed that if he was able to block me out so easily, then I must not be as important to him as I thought I was...

It's very confusing!!! I'm glad to hear that I'm not alone. Thanks again for your support Brynnie!

TC

January 3, 2006
11:22 am
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TC,

No one has all the answers. Because you have children you need to put first, you're not as free to "explore" the possibilities with this guy and try to help him recognize and work through his "stuff". You already have children. He already has had plenty of time at 42 to work on SOME of this stuff himself.

My H is pretty narcissistic and always has been, probably always always will be. Yet he prides himself on learning and growing and being able to understand others and being empathetic. I'm honestly just dumbfounded at how he sees himself sometimes......

Yes, I get confused, but I've really begun to isolate certain behaviors since I've been on this site. Last night I was vascillating (out loud) between being maybe overly codependent with a relative and backing away. Then I reached a decision as to how I could help without getting "sucked in" and was happy about it. My H, with a patronizing smile on his face, said something like "Yeah, you do that."

I didn't react to it. I realized that his assessment of the situation was purely a judgment on me -- that I can't make up my mind, that I think too much about simple solutions, that I worry too much, etc. I see that his solution often is pretty cold. He cuts people off, walks away, dismisses them. The N in him used to hurt me a lot more than it does these days. I can love him for his good points, but I KNOW I can't always depend on him for emotional support, because he doesn't just "keep on giving"..... He maintains himself. He gets a great deal FROM other people. Doesn't know how to go too deep in himself -- maybe there's a fear (?) of what he doesn't find there.

I followed him into the other room. I didn't get upset. I just said something like you know what you just did was really patronizing? That I know he knows we don't think the same way and that how he reacted was sooo not respectful of how I work through something. The fact that I spend time to work out a solution that I know will WORK should be a credit to me. I don't like when you treat me that way. I don't deserve it.

Those last 2 sentences are what seems to catch his ear. He doesn't see himself as critical at all.

January 3, 2006
11:42 am
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Brynnie,

That is awesome that you are able to articulate your feelings so well, without totally "going off"!!! I have found lately (also because of visiting this site and learning new ways to communicate assertively) that I too have been able to step away for a moment, gather my thoughts, flush out the nasty, defensive statements, utter them to myself (in my own head)... then re-think my reaction. Is there another (more positive way) to react???

9 times out of 10 there is! I am usually still able to get my point across but I do it in a way that does not put anybody else on the defensive... I simply state the facts and how they made me feel. It's probably just simple psychology 101... but it's really quite effective!

I give you a lot of credit for being able to bite your tongue with your husband and approach him in a way that was calm, collected and confident. Good job!!!

We can't change them, but we can definitely change the way we react to them. It helps to feel like we have at least a little bit of control over the situation sometimes!!

TC

January 3, 2006
3:06 pm
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Shaney
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YES YES YES to all of the above - I'm convinced it's a firefighter thing. Wow TC - no worries, I would have read your post if it was TEN times as long. There are so many similarities, I don't even know where to start.

Going way back, I moved to L.A. with my company, from basically, a farmtown. So, I was absolutely mezmorized by all of the raciness and sparkle out here.

Within the first couple of weeks I met M and his buddies out at a martini bar. I gave my number to one of his friends and actually went to dinner with him. The whole date his friend just kept telling me how perfect I would be for M. So...

I started talking to M on the phone. He was so sweet, attentive, mature (so I thought), seemed grounded, and VERY spiritual. After leading a pretty racey life he became very religious and decided that he would save himself for marriage. When I met him, he had been without sex for about 8 years. This added an element of trust to our relationship even though I began to realize that he had done everything else with girls that he met in those 8 years, BUT the act of sex.

We were very taken with eachother, and he started talking about a future with me. He was very cautious, stating that the next time he told a girl that he loved her, it would be the last time. We didn't say it for about three or so months, and I actually said it first - then he did. I was convinced that our relationship would pick up momentum based on all of the plans that he seemed to have for us. But I found that he was a lot more talk, than action - and always very cautious.

We were close, but there were many situations, and groups of friends that I would only hear about, and never get to meet. And I'm sure that I was only told what he wanted me to know - he kept me right outside of certain parts of his life.

Although religious, he would party like a maniac... drugs, drinking... out with his friends... still living a pretty seedy life... BUT he kept up with the abstainence. I began to see lots of contradictions.

At 31 he still lived with his parents, who spoiled the hell out of him - he always talked big like he was looking for a house, but seemed to spend all of his money on big toys and going on trips with his friends.

He's a gifted speaker and uses it to his advantage at work and in his personal life - soaking up the attention and admiration that he gets from being everyone's go-to guy. People really respect his spirituality and the fact that he seemed so grounded.

After about a year together, I started to ask questions about all of these promises that he had been making. At that point, he started going out with his friends quite a bit, without including me. Before, I had always felt so secure in our relationship - I was always invited, and he made me feel like the best looking girl wherever we went. I could tell that by my asking where our relationship was going, it created this huge amount of pressure on him. He was a master turning blame away from himself, and would always state that my insecurity was going to be the reason our relationship wouldn't work out. Insecure!??? Here was a guy that, because of the firefighter brotherhood and the millions of other friends that he was involved with, he went on about 5 "guy trips" a year.... to Mexico, Vegas, Havasu, Palm Desert. And I never complained.... so my so called insecurity wasn't the problem and I began to realize that.

The more I approached the topic of deeper commitment, the more he pulled away. He can't handle ANY pressure whatsoever... especially on a personal level. Like I said, his parents have let him basically run the show and don't hold him accountable for anything... ever.

He has also suffered from ptsd - after almost dying in a huge explosion while fighting a fire. The whole squad almost died... and so M has been on and off of zoloft for the last eight years. He suffers from depression and anxiety... and the job, I'm sure doesn't help matters any.

After a little over a year, he finally cracked and had sex with me. I think it probably made our situation even worse. He felt guilty, and I knew it. I think he did it because my attitude about the realtionship had started to change - especially after he began pulling away from the pressure that he was feeling to committ. I think he felt it was the only way to keep it going.

I held on, while we had one committment issue after another. I pressed for him to get out of his parents house - which was the best thing that he could have done for himself. He was 33 at this point, and needed to live the life of a 33 year old if I was going to stay with him. I found him a house and he got it, with the help of his parents, of course. When he moved in, he promised that we would be married shortly and that I would be moving in within the next year. He boasted that that was the whole reason that he got the house, was so that we could finally be married. Another empty promise, and another reason for him to feel pressure when I asked about it. He gave me enough to keep me going for a while, and then I when I would ask about his promises, he'd go into an emotional tailspin which usually left us both at a point where we questioned our relationship.

I finally cut it off, and he was calling 10 days later with more promises. Mind you, it' had been 3 and a half years at that point - we still didn't live together because I vowed that I wouldn't move in until I had a ring. He had matured and grown some, because of living on his own, but we still weren't where he had promised that we would be. The guy trips had pretty much stopped and we were finally doing moe things together as a couple, alone... without all of the friends along. But he still wasn't ready for marriage.

I kind of withdrew, even though I was still in the relationship. It was easy, because I was used to a firefighter's schedule, and not seeing him for five or six days wasn't a big deal. He knew that I was about at the end of my rope and was preparing to move on... it was obvious. At this point, he began talking about rings a little. I dragged him down to a store and showed him what I liked... he was a nervous wreck. He bought it right there - I was shocked. He called everyone he knew and told them... he even called my dad to ask for permission to marry me. Finally, the momentum that I had held out for, for 4 years! Well, not quite. It took him 6 months to ask me to marry him. It was spectacular, but in my heart, I know that the attention he got for doing it that way was more important than how it made me feel. It was very obvious - and it made me pretty sick to watch him receive many pats on the back only to dig for more. He loves center stage - a bit of an N to say the least.

I moved in - and it took us a good 7 months for us to get into a good, healthy groove. We've had lots of problems... one being that he was addicted to drugs, which I didn't know until I moved in and found him passed out a few times. He's got depression and anxiety probs that spill over into how he treats me. He comes home from work and hybernates for days... he sleeps too much, doesn't eat well, and doesn't help around the house unless I finally flip out. He's irresponsible with his finances because he doesn't have the energy to deal with them... but he likes to spend... especially when he feels depressed. He takes on too many volunteer positions at work, because he likes the power and the recognition, but he can't handle the responsibility or the pressure.... which leaves him in quite a "state" while he's at home.

But - he admits that I've been good for him - that I've helped him to be a better man. No more drugs, so far... but a lot of emotional stresses from work and responsibilities at home. He's working on it. He dropped one of his volunteer positions last week, at my suggestion, and he seems to be a little more at ease. His guy trips now, consist of dirtbiking with friends... which is a far cry from what I dealt with before. And he helps around the house. I take very good care of him, because he handles so much stress at work - but I want to be taken care of too, sometimes.

It took years of hanging in there, sitting back and waiting, and pushing when I could. It's always been delicate because he can get so strung out emotionally. I always knew he loved me and that's probably what kept me hanging in there - I knew he'd be great if he could get past his fears of committment. It took a long time - and I don't really know if there was a catalyst that prompted him to make the move. We still have some issues with the level of responsibility that he's willing or able to take on. I remember his mom telling me, "M said that he has always known that you're the right one for him, he just wants to make sure that he's in a place where he's the right one for you." That statement helped me, maybe it will help you. We've been together for 5.5 years now (he's 37 and I just turned 40), and are planning to get married in May... but we'll see... I can't marry him until we take care of these current issues and he's in that "place" that he needs to be before we make that ultimate committment. We're working on it and we'll see what happens.

Our situations sound very similar, minus the children. Moving on with your life never necessarily means that he's OUT forever. Maybe it will jumpstart things a little - but don't do it for that reason, do it for yourself. It's hard to let go of someone you still love dearly, and can see a future with. It's all him though, you know that... and he sounds like he doesn't want to lose you, but is having trouble with himself. Those firefighters have many inner demons - and they don't go away it seems. It's taken M years to work into this committment, and we still have issues. Firefighters need strong women, and you sound like you fit the bill. I'm not sure what the answer is, but you deserve more than he's giving you right now. I always deserved more too. Do you know for a fact that he's been unfaithful? I think they come around in their own time... however long that may be - they can be a real mystery and it's not easy. They seem to always love their guy time no matter what.

I chose to stick it out, and I'm still crazy about him regardless of our problems. We'll get through this. And please let me know if I can help get you through the tough times - I might be able to shed some light on some of these familiar situations :o). Thanks for taking the time to read my novel - let's keep talking.

love, shaney

January 3, 2006
5:10 pm
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Hi again,

There are some few little commonalities that I can draw amongst the firefighters I know....a huge need for the genuine appreciation from a whole community. People WEEP over them in gratitude sometimes! All they have to do is scuff their toes and say "Aw garsh!" They deserve that, truly. But it also has its fallout, like in when things didn't go perfectly on that last serious call and someone in their crew made a decision outside the book. The stress of making an error in judgment themselves sometimes is tremendous. There seems to be a fairly competetive camaraderie. Everyone works very hard on being a good friend to everyone else -- perhaps the consequence of not behaving like buddies would lessen the trust they have in one another when they HAVE to have each others' back. They have to make split-second decisions. I don't think the responsibilities of their job when it is critical are ever very far from their minds. The off-hours "playing" and partying is just as animated. They need action.....

And I think there's also a need for proving that you are a solid mind, a quick thinker, that you can be depended upon in every tight situation and that you always know what you are doing.

Shutting out all other thoughts except about what has to be done this minute is crucial. Don't panic. Think. Or in a relationship, don't think.

I'm really not trying to type-cast firefighters. I respect so much what they do. I was just noting what I've observed. Whether other things like fear of commitment or emotional withdrawal can be attached to this is probably pretty individual. Also these are characteristics native to many jobs involving teamwork and rescue. Just some thoughts.

January 3, 2006
6:18 pm
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Brynnie -

I agree with your observations - very well put.

The need for appreciation and admiration is there, undoubtedly. In my particular case, the need for appreciation spills over into his personal life. He spreads himself thin between all of his personal favors and work duties and there is little energy left for the other responsibilities life throws at him ... a home and a wife just to name two.

I think, that because of that brotherhood type feeling that is shared between firemen, and the friendships with firemen that they nurture and maintain outside of work, it makes them sort of unavailable to their women. Unavailable, in the sense that their relationship with the fire friends comes first, and the girl comes second. I understand the importance of maintaining that closeness with their firefighter brothers - their lives can depend on those relationships, no doubt. I've seen my bf struggle our entire relationship, attempting the transition of making me as important as these firemen. It's a struggle for him, and it's a struggle for me to accept the position of being second, being that I put him first. Maybe a firefighters inability to commit, comes from knowing that in order to make a relationship successful, they would need to reprioritize their personal and professional relationships... and their level of importance. And that is hard to do in their position. I know, from experience, that after a three day shift, my bf needs at least two days to decompress - he wakes up from a dead sleep several times a night, to witness death and devastation. There's not a lot left over after being on duty and seeing what he sees. Knowing this, it may seem to them, an unfair life in which to bring someone they loved. But they fall in love, just the same... and so starts the struggle. Now, I know not all firemen, deal with these issues - but many I know, do.

I too, respect the life of a firefighter, more than most - because I see it from the inside out. I make his home life as easy as possible, making sure that there is nothing for him to worry about when he returns home from a shift. But he still needs to learn to be a healthy partner, to make this relationship work. He's great at minute to minute decisions in an emergency situation - it's the life decisions that take some planning and long term effort that he needs to work on. He's a good hearted man, and he's working on things, but I think he'll always be a fireman first and foremost.

January 3, 2006
7:04 pm
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Little energy left, yes. It's very frustrating for a wife to have to put everything on hold till he's had enough R & R to come back to normal.

I don't know where that balance is, but if he spreads himself too thin, you don't get what you need. Imagine how a baby would alter things. One thing I know, there's always plenty of love to go around. It's not a precious commodity that a family has to compete for. Real love just overflows; there's plenty of it.

My girlfriend decided to become a firefighter herself (like her dad and brother) after her kids were born. That marriage ended, and she's now married to another firefighter. She's one aggressive woman these days. She had to get very tough. Curious, huh?

January 3, 2006
7:14 pm
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Wow - that's amazing! Your friend married a firefighter after becoming one herself???!! Wow... she HAS to be tough. At least there is some definite understanding going on - they've walked a mile in eachother's shoes, for sure. Wow.

As for us, I'm not sure a baby is in the cards. I'm already forty, and we haven't even ironed out our own issues... that would just add one more element to deal with. You're right about the love being there no matter what... that's very true - but one thing at a time for now. Right now I tend to look at a larger home and a bigger family as more stress for him, and more work for me!!! Not ready for that yet!

January 3, 2006
7:53 pm
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But but but babies are the penultimate consummation of your love (just kidding -- but they are!!).

My friend used to be a lot "sweeter". I really don't like her as much since she became a firefighter. The men were VERY hard on her -- it was a boys' club! She really just got very tough. There are alot more women firefighters now. I think it is somewhat easier.

I have to leave the threads now. I've enjoyed talking with you Shaney. I just learned on another thread that we did the same thing -- Brynnie is my dog!!

January 3, 2006
7:58 pm
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Oh Brynnie - that's great! Pet Brynnie for me, and we'll talk again - have a great evening!

January 3, 2006
10:22 pm
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Shaney,

I, too found many similarities between our men. One of them was the "boys-only" trips. He has 3 of them throughout the year. Last year, he actually took me on one of them to Florida. It was strange. There were some couples there and several single men. We hung out by ourselves! Me and him. Don't get me wrong, we had a great time BUT I've heard stories about how WILD he's been on this trip! About how much they drank, partied, etc... and with me... we were like an old married couple!!!

One morning we were out to breakfast and I actually got yogurt and granola. We sat and laughed at how lame we were! We were in bed by 11:00 every night and sat on the beach by ourselves. He was very anti-social. The total opposite of what those people expect of him!! He is a completely different person with me!!! He is calm, subdued, does not enjoy crowds, likes to cuddle and talk quietly... but with them... he is like the fun "Good Time Boy"!! It is a huge contrast!!!

When he invited me to go with him, I thought that I'd be brought into the fold (so to speak), that we'd spend all of our time with the "group"...I was actually nervous about it because I didn't know if I would like the "HIM" that everyone else knew and liked. We did hang out somewhat, with the the gang, but we'd have dinner with them and then go back to our room alone. Not what I expected. I was actually pleasantly surprised because it showed me that he was the same person with me as he is with them (which was not really true)... I think he was NOT himself. I think he was very conflicted by having me with "them"... It was a clash of his worlds!!!! I don't know how else to say it.

There has been a couple of other instances when I've been out in a bar with his FF buddies. They absolutely adore me!!! I fit in very well with them. I can give it back to them as well as they can shell it out (you know, giving each other a hard time, joking around, etc). I don't think they expected it of me because I'm a small, petite girl who is very polite and refined... but I have a FUN Side, where I can fit in with just about any crowd! So, they really enjoy being around me! That seemed to make ex happy in the beginning (because he was proud of me for being so cool)... but as time went on, I think he resented me for over-stepping my bounds into his "other world". Does that make sense???? He is very protective of THAT world!! It is almost sacred to him... the way a wife and family SHOULD be!!!!

I know it probably sounds crazy, but there is definitely a "code" and a brotherhood that is unique and unlike any other I have ever experienced. It is very difficult to understand and honestly, I think it keeps some of these men behaving like adolescents! All of that testosterone flying around the station, they're in their underwear half the time... telling dirty jokes... it stunts the emotional growth somewhat. Don't ya think??

January 3, 2006
11:06 pm
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You bet. I get it all...everything that you said sounds way too familiar to me. The buddy system at the station is a heavy bond, for sure. The TRIPS used to be out of control, but not as much anymore. I actually went on a few as well, and got along tremendously with all of his friends. He loved that I got along with everyone too!!! I've even become friends with a few of his friends and they call and email me as much as they talk to him! I think that they look for that in a girl, because they ARE so close to the guys, and it matters to them how the guys view the girlfriend. When I sit and think about it, all the fire wives get along with everyone. That must be a prerequisite to having any sort of relationship with a ff.

He's more involved with his job now, more than ever before. My needs usually take a back seat, which I'm sure you have read in my giant thread "Shaney.. In tears..," mostly when there is a lot going on at work. He just got promoted to captain, which holds a lot more responsibility and more stress, and he's also union president which allows him to remain on his soapbox. They love that attention.

The depression/anxiety issues that he has, are a lot to deal with. The fact that he stays in bed most of the day sickens me. I'm very organized and motivated... I get things done - and he is NOT this way. I leave him in the morning to go to work, come home 9 hours later, to find him still in bed, both tvs on, the laptop in his lap, and everything from food, to trash, to mail within arms reach. He sleeps until noon, and lays in bed talking on the phone ALL DAY. How do you motivate someone who is so emotionally wasted all of the time? Are they all like that? I can certainly understand that with everything they see during a shift, they definitely need a decompression period. He refuses to talk about what happens at work, so all of these emotions are just bottled up inside of him waiting to emplode. He says that if he releases any of what he may be feeling about work, he's afraid that he could never stop the emotion from spilling out. And he's afraid he could never go back, if he faced his emotions. That's pretty heavy! I just try to make his home life like a little fairy tale to minimize some of the mental stress he's feeling when he gets home. It's like his SAFE TRANQUIL ZONE... that's until I ask him to do any chores!

I asked you above whether or not you actually know for SURE that he's been unfaithful to you... if it's personal just tell me to be quiet. I'm just trying to get a feel for your trust level right now.

January 4, 2006
7:42 am
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Hi,

Sorry Shaney! I didn't NOT answer your question on purpose. Too personal?? Ha! That makes me laugh! Did you happen to read the thread on Lib Brew last month about my "Brazilian Waxing" accident??? Now THAT'S personal!!!!!

I don't really consider it as him being technically "unfaithful" as we are broken up and he has not physically been with me in months, so I guess I'd rephrase the question "Do you know for sure that he's been intimate with someone else?". Yes, I do. I don't know who it is or have any of the details but I know that there is someone (maybe more than one person) that he's been with.

He does not give me details, BUT I can tell by his answers to my questions whether or not he's been with anyone. In the beginning, when I'd ask him, he'd give me a very firm "NO, I have not been with anyone!"... Then a couple of months later, it was "I haven't done "too much" with anyone". Then, he stopped answering the question all together! He'd just change the subject or throw the question back at me "Why? Have you been with someone?"... It's a diversion tactic that he learned in Men's Health Magazine. If you ever want to drive someone completely insane, try it! It works!!

So, yes... I know he's physically been with someone BUT he is still adamant over the fact that he is not "emotionally" involved, that he is not in love with anyone (still uses the L-word with me)... and that he is totally f*cked up! Big surprise there... not!

He, too can stay in bed for days!!!! It really worried me when we were together. I remember talking to some of my girlfriends about it. Whenever I'd go over his house, he'd be in his bed with his covers up to his chin... the entire house was in shambles, no food in the fridge and no sign of life except for his television. Like you, I could understand if he needed to catch up on some sleep after his two night ON shift... but it wasn't that!!! It's like he was hiding away from the world, from his problems, from his life!!!! It was actually very sad. I found it taking a toll on me as well. I'd go over to his house, all dressed up, ready to do something together and instead... all I'd end up doing is crawling in under the covers with him!!! Sure it was fun!!! BUT... after the fun part, we stayed there... in bed. We'd eventually need to go out and get something to eat (because he had no food in the house)... but that was it. He was/is depressed. I always felt that he needed anti-depressants.

He is much too "macho" for that. You know, he runs into burning buildings and carries people out... What could a little pill possibly do for such a big strong HERO??? Only wimps (or crazy people) need such a thing! I'm impressed that your bf was on Zoloft. Why did he go off of it?

I have been on it for years (on and off) and I have realized that I just NEED it... It's like putting on deoderant in the morning. I can go without it... BUT it's a much more pleasant experience for me (and all who come in contact with me) if I use it!!!!! It doesn't make me "happy"... it just keeps me on an even keel so that I can make intelligent decisions and do not over-react un-necessarily to situations that arise. I look at it like a windshield wiper for my brain. It wipes away all of the crap so that I can see things clearly...

Did you notice an improvement in him when he was on Zoloft?

January 4, 2006
1:13 pm
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Shaney
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"Whenever I'd go over his house, he'd be in his bed with his covers up to his chin... the entire house was in shambles, no food in the fridge and no sign of life except for his television."

YES! It was bad enough that he was like this when I didn't live with him... now that we do live together, I'm hard pressed to get him to participate in the chores. On top of everything in his head, cleaning up and shopping were all too overwhelming for him when he was on his own... as it got worse, he would get more depressed. Then he would start shopping for crap that he didn't need, because he was depressed and that was the only thing that made him happy. Meanwhile, everything else went to hell (unpaid bills, dishes, no food, everything was a mess ALL of the time). Now that I'm there, I try to keep him in some sort of routine, and it seems to work for the most part. When he's too overwhelmed with other stuff, I pretty much leave him alone, but he seems to be more mellow when he's on some sort of schedule or routine. He fights me on some things, but once I light a fire under his butt and he's productive, he seems to feel better.

He's been on zoloft for probably 7 or more years. He's very even keeled when he's on it. It did however strip him of his sex drive. He had no interest whatsoever - very frustrating, especially for a couple that just got engaged. I think that's a big reason why he went off of it - plus he just doesn't want to be taking anything like that anymore (for whatever reason). It was complete hell while he was weaning off of it, since he did it on his own without a doctor. It took a good two months of him having a bad attitude, bad sleep, and snapping at me for no reason, before he started acting semi-normal again. He was impossible and I was really ready to give up on him - he was like a totally different person.

We had a gigantic blowout right before Christmas and still have things to discuss (WHEN he has the energy - he's been putting me off for two weeks). I've ordered a bunch of holistic crap that he's been taking, and we'll see if it mellows him out some. He's willing to try anything at this point - he's so tired of feeling bad and making me feel bad too.

"I don't really consider it as him being technically "unfaithful" as we are broken up..." This is kind of what I figured from reading your posts. It's tough, regardless of your dating status. He probably really does love you, but there is something that may be holding him back ... only he knows. Has he ever discussed it with you... his reasons for loving only you but not committing totally? How frustrating... I mean he's already in his 40's... isn't he ever going to want a healthy, happy home life with the woman he loves? I don't get it sometimes.

January 4, 2006
1:28 pm
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dalpuz
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Personally, I have friends who are older FF and young as well. I don't even stay friends with the one's that cheat on their GF or wife's. Life to short. I'm that way with most of my friends though.

I don't think it's fair of a friend to bring you into his life as a buddy, integrate you into his life, family and such then expect you to turn the cheek everytime he wants to catch a piece of strange. I think friends who take advantage of friends this way should start watching their own backyard. Sooner or later that person will cut your grass as well.

I house clean often to rid myself of these problems as a man.

January 4, 2006
1:43 pm
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Shaney
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Hi dalpuz -

I tend to clean house when unhealthy friendships are involved as well. I think it's important to surround yourself with good, honest people who lift you up, and whom you can trust. I have found over the years that I have fewer friends because of this house cleaning ritual I have adopted. I've also found that there really arent that many honest people in committed relationships, and it's hard to be around them... for all of the reasons you mentioned in your post. It's very disheartening. I live in L.A. and personally, at this moment only know of two couples, in our circle of friends, who are faithful to one another. All of the others are out of control. Very sad.

January 4, 2006
1:45 pm
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Hi Shaney!

If you want a little bit more background... you could type my name in to the "search" box... It should bring up a few threads that I've posted on in the past... It'll give you a little bit more information about me/him/us! I may just go back and do some reading myself (as I've probably forgotten some of what's gone on over the past several months). It's been a long road and sometimes it's just a big blurr to me!

That's what I love about this site. It's great to go back and re-read things I've said. It amazes me sometimes that I can give such great advice, yet not take that advice myself. it's tough when the situation is too close for comfort! It's also difficult to see myself making the same mistakes over and over. Doing the same thing, but expecting a different result (I think someone calls that definition of insanity).

Anyway, your bf is lucky to have you!! You have been very kind and patient with him! How nice for him to be able to have a safe haven to escape to, a soft place to fall (as Dr. Phil would say).

Are you jealous of that? Does it make you feel resentful sometimes that you don't have that same luxury? Is he kind and loving to you when you are having a bad day, or does he think that his "bad" is much worse than yours, therefor... he takes precedence over you? I know that my ex is supportive "to a point"... he really does not know how to give emotional support.

When I lost my job last month. He felt bad... he called me all the time... he even said he'd "help me out in any way he could" (financially). BUT, what I really wanted was for him to come over and wrap his arms around me and tell me that everything was going to be ok. I wanted his LOVE. He just couldn't (wouldn't) give me that!! The thought of me (us) scares him so much that he sometimes literally runs away from me when he feels himself feeling weak, loving, longing feelings for me. He honestly RAN out of a bar once because we had gotten into a deep, emotional discussion. He admitted that he was still in love with me, wanted to be with me, but had gotten himself involved in "something" that he needed to get out of first. He would not be anymore specific, but I assumed that it was another relationship that he needed to end. I thought for sure that he was in the process of ending "it" and that we'd be back together very shortly. I felt closer to him than ever because I thought I was finally getting him to open up to me and tell me the TRUTH!

Well, at the end of our conversation (out of the blue), he leaned in and kissed me. I was shocked. We looked into each others eyes and my knees actually went weak. It felt so good. THEN he said he had to go and RAN out the door!! No lie! He didn't see me in person again... he will only talk on the phone or text message me. That was about 2 months ago and we are really no closer to getting back together than we were then (as far as I know). Wierd, huh?

I know. I just feel like if he'd just stop being so afraid and stop running from me that we COULD have such a good life together!!! It's very frustrating! I understand you don't have an easy road ahead of you with your bf, but at least he is willing to TRY... he is putting forth an honest effort and he is allowing himself to be loved by you!!! That's half the battle, Shaney!

Maybe mine is too old and set in his ways to change?

January 5, 2006
12:12 am
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Shaney
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He got up and just walked out? That's just crazy... you must really be GOOOOOOD! Is he just absolutely unwilling to be honest about why he seems to be holding back? He may be totally afraid to be honest with you - there may be a fear of losing you for good and it seems like he values you. By throwing you a bone (a grape? :o)) once in a while, he's got this indefinite period of time to make up his mind or take care of whatever it is that he's got going. Maybe it's just plain old fear of committment. I know my bf had the hardest time just "surrendering." Sounds funny, but that's basically what it is. He may know that he's not quite ready, and he doesn't want to hurt you by making a committment that he can't keep? I don't know... but I wish I did. I wish that I could give you some concrete answers that give you some sort of satisfaction, or will to stick with it, or move on.

It took years for my bf to finally be ready for a committment - but I stuck it out because he was such a good guy and I really was crazy about him. Every time we had one of our blowouts about committment (usually initiated by me) things always got a little better. There was always noticable improvement by both of us. I kept on going as long as I felt he was worth it. There were times that I had my doubts, for sure, but deep down I always saw us together. It's a tough call: hang in there, or give up. I think you KNOW when you've had enough, or that whatever you've been working for, is not going to happen... you just know. Try to dig deep and decide if he (with all of his mental and emotional issues) is really what you want for you and your children - for life. Then go from there. Because when all is said and done, it boils down to what you can tolerate... you may love the hell out of him, but can you tolerate a lifetime with him. There is a lot to consider - afterall, he's a firefighter... aaaaghhh!

January 5, 2006
1:06 am
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turnabout
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Good one, Shaney. I like that about him giving himself an indefinite period of time to make up his mind. I think that's exactly it. The longer he can keep her dangling, the longer he doesn't HAVE to make up his mind ... and can stay comfortable on his lily pad. It's all about trying to stay comfortable. Unfortunately, staying comfortable means experiencing no growth. No growth as a person and, in this situation, no growth in a relationship.

January 5, 2006
9:10 am
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Great point Shaney!!! OK... here's the thing. I do not want to give him an indefinite amount of time to make up his mind. I'm 39 years old and I'd love to be settled down in a relationship soon... soooo, I need to have "the talk" with him. I obviously cannot do it on the phone or via text message. I need to see him in person. I need to have him look into my eyes and tell me the truth!

This has been going on for wayyyy too long. If he is never going to be willing to "surrender", I have the right to know that!! I do love him and if I know that he is never going to commit to me, I can change my entire view of our relationship. I'll be able to work on establishing a NEW relationship with him. If we are going to be nothing but "friends", then I will make it clear to him that there will be no secrets. He will not conveniently leave me in the dark about huge chunks of his life.

I care about him. I feel his pain when I look into his eyes. He looks so tortured. I can literally see the internal turmoil he is in! I would not abandon him, however I can not allow him to play me for a fool! I deserve more and he knows that. I just need to remind him!

OK... so I'm going to set up a meeting. I don't want to freak him out by saying that we need to "talk"... for him, that is the equivalent of saying that I'd like to rip his tongue out of his mouth and wrap it around his neck!! It is absolute TORTURE for him to discuss his feelings, so I don't want him to avoid the conversation.

I need to approach it in a very non-threatening, casual way! "Can we get together over the weekend for a New Year's drink?" or something like that. What do you think?

It's funny... I read the thread from the other night when you and some others' were describing yourselves. You described yourself EXACTLY how I would describe myself!!! The only difference is that I have brown eyes (not green)... but everything else is the same. Isn't that a riot????

Turn, Thanks for jumping in here!!!! I'm determined to make him as UN-comfortable as possible this year!! That didn't sound right, I mean... I'm determined to force him off of his lily pad and get him out of that stinky swamp!!!!

I'll talk later!

TC

TC

January 5, 2006
12:37 pm
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Good deal - I think that's a good plan. Whatever you may hear can't be any worse than him dragging you thru the murky swamp for the last eight months. Be gentle and kind, but make sure you say everything that is on your mind. I make the mistake, many times, of treading so lightly around my bf, that I hold back what I really need to say. Then I'm left with bottled up feelings that turn to resentment. Don't do that to yourself... you have nothing to lose, if you think about it.
He may only confirm what you have been thinking all along, who knows? It sounds like he really cares about you, but don't be disappointed if you don't see instant results... you know how overwhelmed they can get, and honest to God, it took my bf 3-6 months after a "talk" to settle in to a new change. Good luck, and be strong.

I'm really tripping out with our somewhat similar lives ... and now we even look alike. I need details :o)

Hi turnabout - you're right.... comfort and complacency doesn't promote growth at all. He needs that lily pad ripped out from under him by TC... I think she'd be good for him. Can't he see that?!!!

January 5, 2006
2:35 pm
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Hi friends--

tc--Did you set up a meeting with your FF? If you did, I hope that you get the repsonse that you want and that you deserve.

Be prepared for anything...ANYTHING. He very well could kiss-and-run again. I know that you need closure or some sort of answer so that you can start fresh or let go. Sometimes the person we are seeking something from is unable to meet our needs at the time. Does that make sense? If he is not ready to tell you what you want and need to hear, no amount of coercion (sp?) is going to make him do it.

On the other hand, he may very well want to begin the new year FRESH and be willing to be open with you about how he really feels.

I will be thinking of you...2b

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