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Really long term relationship with major issues

User-anonymous
Posted by: Anonymous
Flag
Sun 8, Jun 2014 at 3:13pm
Categories:
Sex/Intimacy and romance, Getting on Better with my Partner

My heart goes out to all of you whose posts I read about problems in relationships of a few years or even a few months.

Looking at it from the long perspective (over 40 years) I wish you all courage and inner strength above anything else. Without those you will never fix things - whether by dialogue or exit. Whatever you do - fix it as soon as you can.

That said, you may have guessed I am in a very long relationship that is in a pretty desperate state. I'm looking for support from somebody with parallel experience. Have you managed to improve things? How?

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Comments

  • Blue_eye_1680x1050 HeartLight Flag

    To begin with, it seems when I post there is a duplicate post automatically. My apologies. What is happening in your relationship? Perhaps I can relate or offer support.

    Sun 8, Jun 2014 at 4:41pm
  • User-anonymous Anonymous Flag

    Hi. I'm not seeing any duplicates?

    Where does one start? To narrow down to a few (no doubt related) points.........

    - we row ferociously on an almost daily basis. I could write a lengthy essay on this alone.

    - we have had no intimacy for over a decade - and I mean none of any kind.

    - we both feel limited, constrained and not ourselves when in each other's company. Our values and attitudes seem far apart and diverging rapidly.

    Sun 8, Jun 2014 at 4:53pm
  • User-anonymous Anonymous Flag

    Ps - let me illustrate the last point as what I am doing right now is a fine example. I LOVE music of many kinds. At the moment I am in a different location than my wife. I have had my extensive iPod collection on Shuffle all day and have had wonderful moments all day as little gems have popped up from many genres.

    That is pretty much an ideal day for me.

    My wife 's reaction to music is to demand that it is turned off the moment anything comes on that she does not like ( thereIS a lot in that category!), or it is "too loud" (above a whisper ).

    Years ago I tried to compromise by listen I g on headphones. - to be accused of being antisocial or told it was too loud because she could hear a tiny background noise.

    That I (largely) tolerate 24 hr TV news or TV programmes I really would prefer not to watch, in the interests of some shared experience cuts no ice when gently pointed out.

    Sun 8, Jun 2014 at 5:02pm
  • Blue_eye_1680x1050 HeartLight Flag

    With the complications of jointly owning things, the possibility of religion being an issue re: moving on, his health and what you are prepared to do to change or alter the circumstances, it is difficult to chime in. If I was in those circumstance, I can't say I'd know what advice to take. I'd consider the funds available to each if we parted, whether he needs living assistance, whether you could have a relationship outside that one, perhaps see a counselor if you can. I think the largest thing which stands out to me is that is seems as if perhaps the issue is more that you two have perhaps lost a lot of the intimate [even emotionally] connection you once had. I may be mistaken. Is there a level of personal closeness, ie, holding one another at bed time, sitting close, laughter, mutual friends etc? Or are you two people feeling seperate? It may be well that you would try to discover some extended relationships. Like going out with family, or a weekend outing in an area where you could be social and perhaps meet other people. Is he tender with you at all, or seems to love you?

    Sun 8, Jun 2014 at 5:35pm
  • User-anonymous Anonymous Flag

    .?? Heart light - Was that meant to be in this thread?

    Sun 8, Jun 2014 at 5:40pm
  • Blue_eye_1680x1050 HeartLight Flag

    re: p.s*
    I assumed you were female. I apologize. ugh I hate to hear people being controlled and not see their patterns in context with their partners. Partly because I am guilty of it and trying not to do that myself. That being I may not see things from partners perspective or hold context of the ironies in my actions. That is very difficult. But, so...you feel very controlled/manipulated and alone? I feel I am rushing toward extremes as opposed to moderating.

    Sun 8, Jun 2014 at 5:43pm
  • Blue_eye_1680x1050 HeartLight Flag

    hmm. I think I have not learned how the site works and perhaps am posting between two threads inappropriately. Let me see if I can fix where my confusion is coming from. I am new to the site.

    Sun 8, Jun 2014 at 5:45pm
  • User-anonymous Anonymous Flag

    Re PS and your comment. "control" is an issue between us. Both parties perceiving the other as controlling, and each, of course not seeing how they can possibly be so! I've read a lot about that (she refuses to refer to expert text or advice).

    We have different philosophical starting points. As I see it, one has an duty to support and assist those close to, but that does not give you a right to force your advice on them, nor does it justify anger with them, if they decline to take it. She sees it as an absolute duty to MAKE those close to you do what you perceive is the "right thing" for them in their own best interests.

    You can imagine the clashes this generates!

    Sun 8, Jun 2014 at 5:54pm
  • Blue_eye_1680x1050 HeartLight Flag

    When you interact with her are you handling things the opposite of the manner that she does? I mean not forcing advice or become angry when she does not take your advice? I don't know how easy she is to communicate with, but perhaps if she could imagine herself being treated similarly. Like sit her down, give her an example and ask how she'd feel if you came back with the same tactics. Like, "Hon, how would it make you feel if you asked for advice or didn't even ask, and I told you what I think you should do and when you didn't I became angry and [insert her behaviors], how would you feel? Does she recall the time when you would listen on headphones and she said you were being antisocial? Maybe you each need to list what it is that seems controlling as perceived by each and discuss methods of rewording your communications, or ask each other, ok how do you think I could better interact with you. I feel x____ when you x_____. I'd like to know the basic reasons why this bothers you, and what you suggest be different. I also want you to put the shoe on the other foot. Think of something she likes to do and ask her how she'd feel if you injected yourself in the same way. I apologize for having replied to the wrong post earlier. As I said I am new.

    Sun 8, Jun 2014 at 6:18pm
  • User-anonymous Anonymous Flag

    I've tried some of that. Years ago I read something that suggested either pointing out the behaviour, or actually doing it and then when it produces a reaction, making the point that it irritates you as much as it irritates her. Either approach simply becomes a screaming monologue from her into which it is nigh on impossible to interject - don't get me wrong - we are both very articulate - but if somebody literally will not stop talking dialogue is not going to happen.

    She links immediate events to grievances of 20+ years ago and refuses to discuss the detailed and current behaviour.

    Sun 8, Jun 2014 at 6:28pm
  • Avatar_lutin2 truffe2miel Flag

    Hi :)

    Reading you, Anonymous, I can't help but wonder: what are you exactly looking for?
    It seems you don't share much with your wife, be it simple everyday activities or more important ideals, to hobby and centers of interest. Are you still in love with her? Are you trying to rescue your relationship, and if so why? Out of love, habit, respect, hope?

    Next are some questions:
    - you seem to be in an indeed long relationship. How long? 20 years, 50 years ?
    - has your relationship always been this difficult? If not, has it started at any time you could point out (child's birth?) or has it set in slowly and unnoticed?
    - you point out that you don't have any kind of intimacy anymore, which is actually one of the most obvious difference between a loving relationship and a deep friendship. Have you had a blossoming intimate life before these last ten years? Do you still feel desire for her? How is your libido, generally speaking?

    And finally: it is very difficult to try and understand the relationship between 2 people with only one of them talking. My answers will thus be tuned to you, and may pretty well not be accurate, as the opposite point of view is missing.

    Sun 8, Jun 2014 at 8:15pm
  • User-anonymous Anonymous Flag

    @ truffe2miel.....

    All good questions, and reasonable comment that without both perspectives it is hard to understand fully. I can try to give the other side; more of that anon. The answer to "how long" is over 40 years.

    I'm looking for a warm, intimate and mutually supportive relationship in which both parties can grow, differences are respected and not so great as to create fracture and not the source of unwarranted criticism and judgement. A rather challenging ambition!

    You will, legitimately, ask what am I doing to engender any of that. My fear is that the differences now exposed make it impossible. I struggle daily to respect some viewpoints I find truly strange and calculated to create a lack of joy in life.

    The ending of full time work has exposed the lack of shared activities and ideals. My wife, to her credit, spotted this coming, whilst I was too busy using work to mask the fracture lines that had been around for a long time. Am I still in love? I don't know. When apart I feel affection and value all the support I have received. We do have and use on occasion, still, those little eccentric and personal terms and phrases couples develop. But when together the friction rapidly sweeps that aside. That is why I believe there is something worth working on - if the mechanics of interaction were better it would help a lot. But there is also a degree of habit, a sense of waste were it to be dissolved and a fear of change. All pretty normal I suspect!

    The relationship has always been difficult, but we have not always interpreted that the same way. It originates from me dating others when we were first going out. When first married she was not fully trusting and very stressed by her job (her perspective). My perspective was that she was distant, ill tempered and too focused on her work to have any fun. A certain distance developed.

    She is very precise always speaks the truth as she sees it and has been increasingly quick to anger, puts others before herself more than is wise., did so in spades to bring up our son. (My perspective - she is now realising to her horror and a bit late, that this has left her feeling cheated of a fulfilling life, for which she blames me) (her perspective - she has done the right thing, it is only the self centred and ruthless who get what they want but don't deserve, people like her are mugs who are exploited and it is now too later anyhow). The culmination of the distancing was my inappropriate relationship with a work colleague 20 yrs ago. Unwise of me to find a sympathetic ear outside the relationship at a time of employment uncertainty that had made my wife tense and angry. To her credit she found a job and did much to be supportive, but I found her (my perspective) anger and confrontational reaction to the work situation very hard to handle. Again, lack of good mechanics in the relationship - I am rather private, she vents her feelings freely. Lack of the right skills has stressed the fracture lines from our early days and continues to do so.

    Intimacy - it was there, but faded and then ceased abruptly. It was never as creative as I would have liked - blossoming would not be my description! Do I feel desire? There is the occasional glimmer, rapidly extinguished by the inevitable row. The libido could do with a boost, but then this is a chicken and egg problem! It also requires deep trust, a willingness to try different things and recognise that age implies this is necessary. All of which require loving communication that is not there.

    Sun 8, Jun 2014 at 10:00pm
  • User-anonymous Anonymous Flag

    Additional point - we have not shared a bed in years. It started because she found my snoring kept her awake. (It is not at a level that deprives me of air or sleep to a degree requiring treatment) and I found that her reading far into the night kept me awake. From my perspective it has also been a relief not to have her going on half the night about some issue that was less important than a good night's sleep. I know that sounds unsympathetic, but the only way to manage stress is to consciously learn how to do so rather than letting it overwhelm you and those around you.

    Sun 8, Jun 2014 at 10:15pm
  • Avatar_lutin2 truffe2miel Flag

    Yes, well not sharing a bed or even a room is quite the logical follow-up of your relationship's state... and probably doesn't help where intimacy and desire are concerned.

    Have you had time to read may last answer through?

    Mon 9, Jun 2014 at 5:11am
  • Avatar_lutin2 truffe2miel Flag

    Sorry, I didn't notice your long answer right above... *ahem* :P

    Well, you seem pretty lucid about the state of your relationship today and the reason that led to it. I'll try to answer point for point:
    - Trust being a fragile thing, it has to be earned and is often quick to break. The way your relationship started has certainly brought an additional fragility to it, confirmed by your did 20 years later. Hard not to understand a jealous woman in this case ;) Though I can very (very) well understand your need for an attentive ear and sympathetic conversation seeing how tense the mood has been at home...
    - your wife's priorities in life seem different to yours, and it seems they always have been. Might it be you chose her over others 40 years ago precisely because you felt her way of dealing with responsibilities balanced your own? That she could be a good mother and long-term relationship, as opposed to the girls you were dating then? I'm asking in order to know if you were already aware of the differences between you from the start, and how important you felt they were.

    If I've understood you correctly, I understand that now:
    - you still love her in some measure, though the current situation tends to cover it all up
    - you do wish to salvage what is possible, though not knowing how you possibly could and not so sure you're actually ready to really work for it
    - you feel quite alone in this wish, your wife obviously not ready to alter her vision of life and love yet.
    ==> I think that, should you want to bring some change in your life, you'll also have to accept a measure of danger in it. Meaning: without a thorough jolt, I don't know where your wife would find her personal motivation to change. But this jolt could also bring her over the brink and loosen even farther whatever bonds still bind you...

    Mon 9, Jun 2014 at 5:26am
  • User-anonymous BlueSearcher Flag

    @truffe2miel....

    Leaping over your first point and agreeing that it is self evidently true....

    That long ago I was a shy uber geek (in modern parlance) but who wanted to be the cool, rebellious flower child. My wife was (and is!!!!) very attractive with a great figure etc. etc. I could not believe my luck in starting a relationship with one of the most attractive girls of the year. Her ordered way of being undoubtedly underwrote my academic achievement and I could see the benefits for a marriage. But, I confess, in hindsight, to ignoring or suppressing my tendency to rebel and pursue the unconventional. I probably construed her engagement with trendy fashion as a potential for rebellion,exploration and the unconventional that would emerge one day and lift my tendency too as it had helped combat my geeky shyness - which it was not, as it turns out.

    I am grateful for her contribution to my much greater self confidence - it has served me very well.

    Yes, in some measure I still love her. But I need her to value me for what I am, not try to make me what she thinks I should be (be a lover as opposed to mother!!!!)

    Salvaging things, as far as possible, is what I want. I have a read extensively around this and tried to implement some of what I have read. Obviously without much success!

    We do both want things to change, but her perspective is that that means a radical change in me and no chnage I her..she is very plain about that. I feel alone in the sense that there is no sense of collaborating to achieve change.

    I take your point about the jolt. In honesty I'm not a courageous person about change and keep pulling back from the brink. I planned to some detail how to leave and then bottled it. However, at least the situation is not complicated by third parties on either hand! I am now wise enough to avoid even the slightest chance of that!

    In a sense a jolt is happening because my wife has developed a couple of conditions that debilitate her. They are not life threatening, but very tiring - although it is hard to sift the physical fatigue from the mental fatigue of the relationship. Personally I suspect the latter is dominant. She constantly refers to her need to DO SOMETHING. That usually means not being around me.

    Mon 9, Jun 2014 at 6:56am
  • User-anonymous BlueSearcher Flag

    PS - acutely aware that doing something together that we both find rewarding would be a good start I have tried to discuss that and get at least one or two ideas. It does not seem that hard a question, - even one idea would do - but the conversation lops round and round descending into a row about me trying to "control" her.

    Mon 9, Jun 2014 at 7:05am
  • User-anonymous BlueSearcher Flag

    PPS - I believe it is pertinent that my wife has an appalling relationship with her widowed father. She barely speaks with him, blaming him for "repressing and controlling" her mother all their lives and particularly in her latter years when unwell. Their relationship was not warm even when we first met. I did not see this at the time - only many years later.

    Mon 9, Jun 2014 at 7:39am
  • User-anonymous BlueSearcher Flag

    PPPS - re your point about danger. I agree. I know that what I am seeking is courage and motivation. By nature I am an avoider of conflict, far preferring reason and measured discussion.

    Mon 9, Jun 2014 at 7:59am
  • Avatar_lutin2 truffe2miel Flag

    I'll try to answer you as clearly as possible, which isn't that easy when one cannot quote some specific passages ;) And I use this to add that I'm sorry for errors in the ways I write: I do try to be careful, but I'm not English spoken and not really fluent.

    So, to your case now :D
    - you say you've been the rebelling kind and still feel rebellious in some ways, though not as obvious as before. Maybe this tendency to oppose as a principle does play a role in the estranging between you? If your wife has (had) the feeling she had to fight her way through every single step in your family and individual life, she might simply be fed up with your way of being and not have any more patience or will to accept change and insight? This would explain why she feels as you say, not being the one needing to change and expecting you to do all the improving job: it might be something like "you're turn to work, I've had enough".

    - you say you planed to leave: was your wife aware of it, at this time? Have you both spoken it through since? Maybe the possibility to definitely loose the man she decided to build her live with and grow old with might initiate the needed jolt?

    - whatever change you both want to bring into your marriage, both of you have to be aware that nothing will work unless you do it in a concerted way. Either you work together, straining to the same goal, or you'll fail. One cannot save a relationship all alone, it has to be teamwork. Your wife might have a world of reasons to be fed up and angry at you, that won't change a thing to the fact that she can't just expect you to do all the job. If she wants your marriage to reflower, she'll have to help you through.

    - what is your idea of a "rewarding common activity"? Where is the point of disagreement with your wife about this? She obviously needs to keep in movement, "do something" as she says, maybe you could find something that would match this need? Why not suggest a vaster project, now that you're not professionally involved anymore, like for example buy a camper van and drive around for a couple of months straight? You could visit nice places, long lost friends or family... and pull her out of the everyday context with the chores and demands of usual life?

    - what are these "couple of conditions that debilitate her"? Is it something about her health or her way of thinking/acting?

    - What does she actually expect from you? Which are her major reproaches? And same questions the other way around (you seem to mostly regret her too scheduled and predictable life, and her to unbendable character). Also, do you feel some of her demands are justified?

    - you say you're more the cerebral kind, thinking before acting and talking before shouting. Might it be that she misses the animal in her husband, the lush instinctive reactions, the raw drives? Something that would precisely break through the monotony and surprise her, shock her? Maybe if she were distracted by something new or unbalancing, she wouldn't find this much energy and time to row around with you?

    - the parental couple always rubs off on the children, so if her mother has felt unhappy all her life, it'd be easy for her to think men are generally speaking control freaks and unable to respect women. That's not your fault, and it's pretty hard to rethink one's education without a serious need of self-questioning. I fear it's too late now - the right time is usually around the birth of the first child (how not to paste some educational faults onto one's own family), and it might be done later. But she's now spend most of her adult life impregnated of this way of thinking, which has become natural to her. Change would be hard, long and not widespread enough to help her see you (and men) as respectable equals: you're going to always be what you've obviously always been => a potential threat to her personal joy and thrivings. Knowing that, you still could try and find a way to live side by side: each one his own hobby and activities, with some meeting points that you could share equally and enjoy.

    Mon 9, Jun 2014 at 8:57am
  • User-anonymous BlueSearcher Flag

    Thanks for the lengthy response I need time to reflect and reply. Your English is fine - far better than (I'm guessing here) my French!

    Mon 9, Jun 2014 at 9:29am
  • Avatar_lutin2 truffe2miel Flag

    Take your time ;)

    (Good guess - what betrayed me? My name? And thanks for my English :) )

    Mon 9, Jun 2014 at 9:38am
  • User-anonymous BlueSearcher Flag

    Yes. It could be Italian, but the spelling of "miel" is the clue.

    Mon 9, Jun 2014 at 11:12am
  • User-anonymous BlueSearcher Flag

    I've edited your text to leave the gist and interleaved responses.

    - you say you've been the rebelling kind and still feel rebellious in some ways, though not as obvious as before. Maybe this tendency to oppose as a principle does play a role in the estranging between you? .........it might be something like "you're turn to work, I've had enough".

    Interesting observation and insight. She describes me as "tense and intense" - although I see myself as pretty chilled, I would agree that I like a good debate about almost anything - but for me it is intellectual exercise, devoid of emotion. Brain food, stimulation to keep one alive mentally. I am inclined to challenge rules and convention, "why?" "Who says so?" "What makes that position more valid than .....?" "What is the evidence for that?"

    She describes HERSELF as a "goody two shoes" (Google if you need explanation. She does not interpret it in the religious sense, we are not religious, but in the sense of being relentlessly and extremely "correct" in behaviour) and rapidly condemns anyone who takes risk or questions rules or behaves as she would not. She regards being judgmental as thoroughly laudable. It makes her very uptight, tense and finding it hard to "let go" in all senses of that term. (Not helpful for intimacy!) I confess to finding that style deeply irritating. People have a right to be themselves, whether we agree with it or not. Some times letting go opens doors. All the most interesting people have a little bad in them!

    - you say you planed to leave: was your wife aware of it, at this time? Have you both spoken it through since? Maybe the possibility to definitely loose the man she decided to build her live with and grow old with might initiate the needed jolt?

    No, she was not aware I planned to leave and it has never been discussed. We did reach a point before that (8 yrs back) at which divorce was the course we had set, but I persuaded her to try again, to make it "her time" but it is very hard to do that when we cannot work out what that would mean. I find discussion about this frustrating - it never moves towards a list of actions.

    - whatever change you both want to bring into your marriage, both of you have to be aware that nothing will work unless you do it in a concerted way. ....... If she wants your marriage to reflower, she'll have to help you through.

    Totally agree this has to be a joint effort. To me that is glaringly obvious. Relationships are 6 of one, half a dozen of the other. I realise friction is about behaviours, not personality. The former can change. The latter is rather harder to modify. I would feel more motivated if there we only a tiny move to acknowledge my perspective. I can readily state one or two key areas that I would really appreciate. When I try to explain them she just says "you make this all about you", particularly if one uses the classic assertiveness technique of using "I feel that...."

    - what is your idea of a "rewarding common activity"? ........ and pull her out of the everyday context with the chores and demands of usual life?

    "Rewarding common activity" hmmm - I really really don't know, which is why I keep asking for her ideas. What I do know is that many things I find rewarding don't suit her - too physical and active. Some of the things she enjoys ( shopping, fashion) bore me rigid after a few microseconds.

    - what are these "couple of conditions that debilitate her"? Is it something about her health or her way of thinking/acting?

    In my view both. I'd rather not state the health ones. Suffice it to say they are ongoing, not life threatening, treatable but neither curable nor reversible. For me her negative view of the world, people, life in general is a key factor. If you go around full of "self talk" about how awful everyone and everything is, no wonder you feel worn down! Just being around that style drains me.

    - What does she actually expect from you? Which are her major reproaches? And same questions the other way around (you seem to mostly regret her too scheduled and predictable life, and her to unbendable character). Also, do you feel some of her demands are justified?

    More "Sharing" would put it in one word. By that she means a detailed and constant exchange of what I see as daily trivia. That I don't talk to her. Frankly I'm very happy to talk about interesting stuff, but really not bothered by the daily comings and goings of other people. Their lives, let them get on with it. That said, she has a right to ask for what she needs. I can't work out a way of doing it that does it for me.

    For me - spontaneity - every day does not have to have a plan, go with the flow, adapt to what goes on, maximise enjoyment. If it's a nice day, abandon plans, have a BBQ. If it's a crap day, read a book, follow up something interesting on the internet. She plans every meal a week in advance and will not diverge from that. Minimise necessary duties and tasks, maximise things that please you.

    I gave her a copy of Khahlil Gibran's work, marking the following passage

    “Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.”

    ― Khalil Gibran, The Prophet

    She never even read it, let alone respond to it. That really hurts me. Being romantic takes two.

    - you say you're more the cerebral kind, thinking before acting and talking before shouting. Might it be that she misses the animal in her husband, the lush instinctive reactions, the raw drives? ........

    Far from it. The "animal" would send her running for cover. She hates ANY form of surprise, no matter how small. Order and predictability are everything, she frequently states that she needs control because she cannot rely on anyone's support. She will not rely on anyone else because they don't do things EXACTLY as she would. It's not so much about cerebral or not - more about rational as opposed to (alleged) intuition. She claims to know others' motives - a nonsense in my view - and acts as if she is infallibly correct about this. Abandoning herself to pleasure would be a mortal sin if she believed in sin.

    - the parental couple always rubs off on the children, so if her mother has felt unhappy all her life, it'd be easy for her to think men are generally speaking control freaks and unable to respect women. That's not your fault, and it's pretty hard to rethink one's education without a seri.......... Knowing that, you still could try and find a way to live side by side: each one his own hobby and activities, with some meeting points that you could share equally and enjoy.

    Back to the "sharing" thing and the quote above. For me respect starts with respecting other's right to self determination. Her mother, product of her generation, never asserted her right to be her. My wife sees that she should, but does not know how. In my view she is "conflicted" to use the modern term. The things she needs to do to be herself conflict directly with the ingrained self sacrifice on the altar of caring for others.

    I'm not sure where this is leading or will lead, but trying to explain it is useful.

    Mon 9, Jun 2014 at 1:25pm
  • Avatar_lutin2 truffe2miel Flag

    I've edited your text to leave the gist and interleaved responses.
    That’s a good idea, I’ll do the same :)

    Interesting observation and insight. She describes me as "tense and intense" - although I see myself as pretty chilled, I would agree that I like a good debate about almost anything - but for me it is intellectual exercise, devoid of emotion. Brain food, stimulation to keep one alive mentally. I am inclined to challenge rules and convention, "why?" "Who says so?" "What makes that position more valid than .....?" "What is the evidence for that?"
    So you find intellectual emulation stimulating, which goes logically with the cerebral kind, loving to think things through and confront everything. But this can also become very tiring to a person who doesn’t ask for explanation and just follows suit, because a rule is a rule. Debate is for these persons only sterile and pointless, it doesn’t move them in any way but negative. In this area, your two personalities not only don’t match, they actually collide.
    I guess you could find someone to talk to (I mean really talk to) while professionally active, and this partners now fell off… and you feel very alone, facing a woman who has nothing to add to your grinding thought-machine and even despise it. Maybe you could ease this particular tension with intellectually stimulating activities: maybe some political involvement somewhere, or help students form their logical mind? A chess-group, something like that? Your wife could enjoy her more simple way of living and you could go on questioning everything ;)

    […] in the sense of being relentlessly and extremely "correct" in behaviour) and rapidly condemns anyone who takes risk or questions rules or behaves as she would not. She regards being judgmental as thoroughly laudable. It makes her very uptight, tense and finding it hard to "let go" in all senses of that term.
    So where you try to go deeper and understand what the fact of the matter actually is, she simply compares to her convictions and sets a judgment. This is a very common trait in people who suffer of (of all things) self-depreciation. They’re so very anxious to be fragile, hurt or somehow lose something, that they cramp hard around what they think is “good”. Anything that frightens them, or is hard to understand or too different, too loud, too anything compared to them… is thus necessarily dangerous, and thus to be condemned.
    So it’s mostly an instinctive way of protecting oneself, though very often also the quickest way to social exclusion and thus suffering. This is part of the change that parents mostly do with the birth of the first child: the opening of the mind, the knowledge that they will have to catch their child back into safety whatever happens… and so be open enough to manage whatever will come.

    I confess to finding that style deeply irritating.
    Yes, this is the corollary consequence of your two personalities colliding in the intellectual area.

    No, she was not aware I planned to leave and it has never been discussed.
    Maybe it would be interesting to do so someday?

    We did reach a point before that (8 yrs back) at which divorce was the course we had set, but I persuaded her to try again, to make it "her time" but it is very hard to do that when we cannot work out what that would mean. I find discussion about this frustrating - it never moves towards a list of actions.
    So you did recognize then that she somehow a right to feel frustrated and needed a compensation, a period of time where she would be your princess, your queen? This is how I understand it, anyway. But you say that it hasn’t work out and you’re very frustrated about it. I could guess she’s even more so, and very angry to boot, if she was waiting for you to make her a priority and you just row endlessly instead?

    When I try to explain them she just says "you make this all about you", particularly if one uses the classic assertiveness technique of using "I feel that...."
    Right. So why not trying to start it the other way around? Something like “I feel you’re not happy. Why is it so, do you think? What would you wish for, if you could create the perfect charming prince right now?”. Maybe you would hear interesting things?

    - what is your idea of a "rewarding common activity"? ........ and pull her out of the everyday context with the chores and demands of usual life?
    "Rewarding common activity" hmmm - I really really don't know, which is why I keep asking for her ideas. What I do know is that many things I find rewarding don't suit her - too physical and active. Some of the things she enjoys ( shopping, fashion) bore me rigid after a few microseconds.
    Well, if she’s not the sporting kind (which seems obvious when reading about her personality) and you’re not the mall freak (which one really cannot hold against you :P), then what about cinema? Visiting cities or historical monuments? Inviting friends? Being active in any kind of association? Starting gardening in earnest? Traveling? Learning something new (a new language, the quantum theory)? You say she’s ill with something not life-threatening but still difficult to bear, maybe you could suggest some trips to places where the weather is more suited to her well-being, or organize meetings with other women suffering the same illness, and help her bind real human relationships with people she can feel akin to? Friendship might help her open her heart and mind, and so come a little out of her emotional shell? And what about rethinking your home, the rooms and their function, their decoration? New home, new woman?

    Suffice it to say they are ongoing, not life threatening, treatable but neither curable nor reversible.
    Then this alone might explain a certain form of depression. Ache or tiredness can put a lasting, dark and oppressive weight onto one’s head… She already started low in the field of joy, love of life and self-respect, this certainly didn’t help. Where you aware of her illness when you married her, or has it appeared only later?

    By that she means a detailed and constant exchange of what I see as daily trivia. That I don't talk to her. Frankly I'm very happy to talk about interesting stuff, but really not bothered by the daily comings and goings of other people. Their lives, let them get on with it. That said, she has a right to ask for what she needs. I can't work out a way of doing it that does it for me.
    Well, this is quite typically the kind of things a housewife will put her interest in, and about which she would fret and gossip. In my opinion it is futile and pointless, but that doesn’t matter: her centers of interest are clearly announced. You can’t complain she won’t debate with you if you won’t share the latest gossip about Mz Do ;) Should you wish something of her, you do have to be able to return the favor, don’t you?

    She plans every meal a week in advance and will not diverge from that.
    Yes, that goes back to control and feeling insecure, feeling the need to go straight into a known and cleared path with nothing around a corner to shock you out of your secured routine.

    She never even read it, let alone respond to it. That really hurts me. Being romantic takes two.
    Are you sure she never read it? Not reacting doesn’t equals not being aware ;) As I understand it, this paragraph is all about second and third sense, needing a romantic mind-set (which she hasn’t) and the ability to think out of the usual lines (which she doesn’t want to have) and the wish to share something unusual with you (which you already said she hasn’t either). So whatever you were thinking when presenting her with this text, I’m sure you knew she would not be as responsive to it as you could expect another woman to be. You have a set wife, she won’t change this much even if you pray for it each night :P

    Order and predictability are everything, she frequently states that she needs control because she cannot rely on anyone's support.
    Meaning that far from evolving in her adult life to distance herself from the parental model, she only set deeper into her views. It’s no fault of either of you: she just never saw a reason to think differently and you never found the right button to push and help her change. Move this statement now might not be possible… but it’s worth a try, at any rate! If it doesn’t work, you still can live your lives like you want it, and share only what you can safely share. Loving and together, but still breathing free where needed.

    She claims to know others' motives - a nonsense in my view - and acts as if she is infallibly correct about this.
    Has she already had proof that she was wrong? More often that right?

    Abandoning herself to pleasure would be a mortal sin if she believed in sin.
    Yes, letting go and enjoy is obviously not her strength. Well, that’s her and her own choice and her own miss. Though I guess you must have an iron will to be able to keep faith and not cheat on her in this context…. Sex belongs to the few physical needs that cannot really be squished or satisfied solely with “fast food”.

    My wife sees that she should, but does not know how. In my view she is "conflicted" to use the modern term. The things she needs to do to be herself conflict directly with the ingrained self sacrifice on the altar of caring for others.
    The good thing is she sees it! Wonderful, so she could maybe ask for help? For example work around her blockages with a psychologist?

    I'm not sure where this is leading or will lead, but trying to explain it is useful.
    Happy to read it :)
    And... in which way useful?

    Mon 9, Jun 2014 at 4:31pm
  • User-anonymous BlueSearcher Flag

    @truffe2miel.......

    Still reflecting on the above exchange, and have not had time to synthesise my response, but, if you are there would value your observations on the following incident. From your various postings you seem either naturally wise or professionally involved in this sort of thing (or both!). What follows has occurred in the last few minutes. It is a typical example of our interaction...

    I am in my study dealing with admin matters, my wife is a very short distance away, preparing to go out. Earlier she has told me that, for the first time in days she has slept well and has no headache and feels better than she has. (she has had a bad cold/flu recently, but always suffered from headaches/migraine. The coincide precisely with anything she sees as stressful.)

    The phone rings, I can see it is one of those "free" numbers, might be marketing rubbish, might be something useful. My wife calls to me, in irritated tone, "If that is for me, tell them to call back, I've got to get to the dentist"

    I answer, a woman's voice tells me it is customer service from a certain entity with whom my wife has registered a service complaint. She asks if my wife is there. I tell my wife it is for her (knowing that if I do not she will immediately ask who it is! Indeed, as I do so, she is shouting at me "who is that?"), she reiterates she has to leave, in an increasingly irritated tone. I tell the woman my wife is leaving for a (routine) dental exam and cannot speak now.

    My wife screams at me, drowning out the woman's voice - "Tell them to call back, I don't want to have to call them". (this is, very obviously, given how sensitive phones are, audible to the woman!) I wave my wife away, indicating I cannot hear whilst she is talking at me. Not an elegant gesture, but not ill intentioned - we've all done it when on the phone, she does it, we all do it.

    When I can hear again, the woman says she just wanted to (a) leave her name and personal contact details in case things do not progress and (b) tell my wife that a certain specified individual will call.

    I tell her I will pick up a pen (right next to me, as is paper)

    My wife screams (and I mean screams) at me again - "tell them to call back, I don't want to have to pursue them". Of course, she cannot have heard what the woman said, and so cannot know what I am about to write down. I wave her away again because I cannot hear the information the woman is trying to give me.

    She screams at me again to tell them to call back later in the day.

    I write down the information - the two names, the phone number the woman has called from. I tell the woman the person should call after 14:30.

    My wife screams at me to tell them to call back, having been too busy screaming at me to note what I have said or seen what I have written down. I wave at her to be quite so I can thank the woman and finish the call.

    I do so in the midst of more screaming.

    As soon as I have rung off a further tirade of screaming commences, about how I am making her late for her appointment, how I never listen to her, that I am a bully, that everything is about me.

    I attempt to interject (in a calm, ordered manner and measured tone of voice) with the hope and intent that she will see the outcome is in fact just what she wanted - that they will, indeed, call back at the time she wants; that there is a named contact in customer services who will follow up if nothing happens and a named person who will call. (she always insists on taking down names of people she deals with, so this suits her approach).

    She literally screams louder than I am speaking - repeating a tirade of accusation that I never listen to her, about this being why she cannot live with me, or rely on me, that I am a control freak and this is why our marriage is a wreck. She hurls at me that it is my fault she now has her headache back, feels tense, her stomach is in a knot and she feels dreadful AND will now be late for her appointment. About now my calm cracks and I shout over her to tell her what actually happens - and does she just want me to tear up the note I have taken?? (Yes, I know, not appropriate, but we all have limits!)

    She snatches the note, carries on hurling abuse as she leaves the house, slamming the door. A minute later, the door bell rings, yes, it is her, back to scream the same stuff at me again. She finally gets in the car, crashes the gears and leaves in a raging temper.

    15 mins later my mobile rings. She is in town and has rung to hurl all the same stuff at me again.

    That is, as much as is humanly possible, an objective account of a very typical incident. This type of thing happens several times a week.

    Wed 11, Jun 2014 at 8:56am
  • User-anonymous BlueSearcher Flag

    "Je suis impressionné par la "puissance psychologique " de Iphone 5 et truffe2miel. Elles frappent à chaque fois dans le mille. Elles sont bienveillantes, posées et extremement intelligentes..."

    Je suis d'accord!!

    Wed 11, Jun 2014 at 9:32am
  • Avatar_lutin2 truffe2miel Flag

    Hi :)

    God, that sounds like really heavy stuff to handle if it happens on a daily basis...

    I think that your wife obviously has a real problem with control: she expected to say "sorry, she's not available at the moment, please call back later" and couldn't cope with anything else. The fact that you are mature enough to handle the situation in the right direction without necessarily using the exact words she had in mind doesn't even come to her. It seems to her, it's either exactly as she wish or false/against her.
    Which actually is no surprise considering the frame of character you already gave us to understand.

    The real two questions now are (in my opinion):
    - can she change? Incline to concession instead of taking root on her own precise idea?
    - how long can you still bear this situation?

    Concerning the first point: I personally don't think she'll be able to change very much, but she could alter her behavior enough that the situation would become bearable for both of you. To achieve this though, she'll probably need some professional help (one cannot just decide to changer a 40years-ingrained behavior within even a whole year), and to accept to go looking for this help, she'll need a strong incentive (see the need to actually change). This last point seems quite unlikely at the moment.

    About the second one: it seems to me you already reached some breaking point where love is being squished down by mental fatigue and anger. Being forced to argue even for the simplest things is certainly not an enjoying way of living for most people, it has nothing to do with the mind-stimulating emulation you like by contradicting, it's only the frontal clash of two quite colliding personalities. The fact that at least some of this fatigue and a measure of disregard shows in your stance might also add to her vindictive behavior. And so you enter a kind of vicious circle that could only end with one giving up or changing thoroughly.

    This was about the relationship in general. Concerning the situation in itself now, I think I would now simply not answer any call meant for her. If you don't know who it is, listen to the caller and answer directly "sorry, I can't answer you right now, Mz SoandSo will be available in about 2 hours" and then hang up. Don't discuss or try to be polite to a stranger, just preserve your own health. Or you could have an answer phone and thus filter the incoming calls, answering only your owns.
    If doing as she says (if in your own way) doesn't work, then do simply nothing. If she wants something done, she should feel free to do so and leave you in peace. Some people just can't be satisfied with anything but what they do themselves. It's no fault of the others. So let them be and live as they please, so long as they don't interfere with your life. It is very sad this has to apply to your wife, but sometimes people don't evolve for the better...

    And last but not least: what do you wish for your future? How do you see yourself in 10 years from now? You might be retired, but your life is far from over... Do you have projects, plans, dreams? Do they include your wife? Can they include her?

    Wed 11, Jun 2014 at 11:23am
  • Avatar_lutin2 truffe2miel Flag

    In don't understand where the French quotation comes from, though I feel deeply flattered - thanks :)

    Wed 11, Jun 2014 at 11:24am
  • User-anonymous BlueSearcher Flag
    Wed 11, Jun 2014 at 11:31am
  • Avatar_lutin2 truffe2miel Flag

    God, I didn't even know this topic existed *laugh*

    Thanks ;)

    Wed 11, Jun 2014 at 11:35am
  • User-anonymous BlueSearcher Flag

    @truffe2miel - OK here is an attempt at synthesis and summary!

    You asked "in what way useful?" My experience is that attempting to explain things to another forces you to clarify your own thinking. Simply the act of having to explain assists in getting to the essence of things and encourages one to look from all angles (and yes, that speaks to my personal style of always asking questions!). That also means looking directly in the mirror at yourself, which is always very hard.

    In this case explaining to a faceless (but sympathetic!!) stranger minimises any impact they might have on the situation. We all know that the "sympathetic ear" that is attached to a person you meet and see is a dangerous potential trap! Been there, got the T shirt and scars! (Professional help, generally, should not fall into that trap.)

    it seems to me............

    - our world views differ diametrically at the level that defines what each of us is.

    - we have not found, and seem nowhere near finding, a way of making those views complement and support one another. Indeed, each of us being, as we see it, our natural selves is often deeply irritating to the other one.

    - being with my wife raised my confidence and extroversion in positive ways, I have gained some things from being with her. But I have lived in a vain hope that something of my inclination to unconventionality and rebellion would diffuse in the opposite direction, ignoring the mounting evidence that it had not and would not. I feel hurt that she cannot accept me as I am, is, as I see it a judgemental kill-joy and, worse, limits my action because of her convention driven approach to life and particularly some of its more intimate elements.

    - my wife feels threatened (bullied in her words) by my approach to life, taking the difference as a personal assault on her and her values. "People who question rules are selfish and bad because they question rules. Putting yourself first is bad and always wrong." She feels cheated that the capable but warm, articulate scientist she thought she married has turned into cold detached individual. That I violated the rules 40 years ago by taking out others at the same time as her is a scar that cannot heal. Any deviation from her rules is, as she feels and sees it, doing that all over again, hence a routine disagreement is equal to "cheating".

    - we have both suppressed our realisation of how things really are for too long and lacked the skills to discuss it effectively (made worse by our different approaches). In fairness, my wife has tried to get her perspective across. I have very probably not done a good job explaining what I needed as I am the more inclined to deal with things inwardly and have/had a fear that expressing my needs would lead to rejection/argument. If it's not something she likes/approves of, it is, by definition wrong and approval of it a personal assault on her and her values, therefore I avoided the friction by not going there. Breaking point has been reached and I now simply push back.

    - given that we have demonstrated a near total inability to negotiate a move towards one another, or an amicable accommodation of difference, we are both faced with EITHER a change of behaviour so extreme (becoming like the other person) that we perceive it as undermining our core values and "self" (something nobody is likely to achieve) OR simply not being near one another.

    - neither of us, yet, has encountered the "triggering event" pushing us into actually leaving. Being realistic, a third party is often that trigger because they alleviate the loneliness and appear to be a haven. She would never cheat as a matter of principle (following the rules matters more than personal reward/pleasure or even the removal of pain); I'm strongly aware of the possibility of temptation, but old enough to know the probability is that the grass is not greener and you take yourself with you - so I studiously avoid it.

    - I have always lacked the courage to tackle the emotionally difficult (powerful dislike of and avoidance of strong emotions unless pushed into a corner) and in that sense am responsible for where we are.

    - this is not going to get better; one or both of us need a courage injection to take the necessary steps to exit. I'm probably being lazy and hoping it will be her.

    Wed 11, Jun 2014 at 1:24pm
  • Avatar_lutin2 truffe2miel Flag

    Waow. This is a very precise, concise and sober recap of your relationship. And it is unfortunately a sad one.

    You're also uncompromising about yourself, and this is good in my opinion, as you're not trying to lie to yourself about your own responsibilities in the current situation.

    The conclusion you draw is strange, though: you state that your're not happy and that there is no chance to become so, but you choose to stay hoping she would take the decision from you. Just a few sentences above, you also stated that your wife would never do anything that lead to a breach of your marriage, because that would also be a breach of the convention she lives by.
    So in the end, you'll just keep it all precisely that way and suffer - and you decided that with your eyes wide open... This is the strangest thing about you: you're very aware of things and ready to debate them, but then can't act on them. Applied to a 40 years-marriage, it seems quite understandable that you feel paralyzed, though. I hope you'll find a way to shake yourself awake and act. And if not, I wish you to find happiness in other things, other stimulations.

    Just one thing: grass might not be greener elsewhere, but it could hardly be this sparse and dry... You'd certainly find other difficulties you're not facing now, but love is always worth the risk (in my opinion ;) ). And it doesn't seem to be much love between your wife and you, right now...

    Wed 11, Jun 2014 at 1:49pm
  • User-anonymous BlueSearcher Flag

    "And last but not least: what do you wish for your future? How do you see yourself in 10 years from now? You might be retired, but your life is far from over... Do you have projects, plans, dreams? Do they include your wife? Can they include her? "

    Sadly I think the answer to the last question is a "no" because many of the thing I dream of are anathema to her.

    Wed 11, Jun 2014 at 1:50pm
  • Avatar_lutin2 truffe2miel Flag

    The answer to the last question, you mean.

    What are the answers to all the previous ones? ;)

    Wed 11, Jun 2014 at 3:33pm
  • User-anonymous BlueSearcher Flag

    OK, so here's a go at the others.........
    - i hope to be as healthy and fit as is feasible!
    - i would like to share a bed, still have a (much more adventurous) sex life and some human contact and warmth (no comment!)
    - I'd like to go on a safari (she won't - too hot, too risky, too many insects)
    - I'd like to walk the major Lake District peaks and some part of central France (not her bag!)
    - I'd like to improve my French and Spanish - and use them (resonates with her skills as a linguist)
    - I'd like to study psychology and neuroscience and law
    - I hope I'm still coaching for professional development
    - if there are grandchildren i would like to help them see the awe and wonder in the universe and how it works

    Wed 11, Jun 2014 at 4:52pm
  • User-anonymous BlueSearcher Flag

    PS - i would like to be with somebody to whom I can bare my soul and be accepted.

    Wed 11, Jun 2014 at 4:54pm
  • Avatar_lutin2 truffe2miel Flag

    This seems all to be possible within your marriage, so long you don't do it with your wife (except the second point, of course ;) ).

    Traveling is quite easy: risks on a safari can be considerably minimized by taking part in an organized travel (I'd worry more about the politics and social violence there than mosquito, though :P), if you mean the English Lake District then even the language won't be an issue, and France isn't that far from there ;)
    If you're in the USA, all this might cost some more, though, so it'll probably demand for a little more planing.

    Learning new things could be done as an external student (do universities in your areas permit that?) or with a retiree of the domain you want to study (thus also binding new social ties). Law depends greatly on the country you live in, its connection to Europe or USA, and the kind of branch you wish to learn (sales law in France in the same as in Europe, but penal law is specific to the country). That's really interesting, as it tells a lot about how a society works, on which foundation it is based upon, and from which culture it has been raised. Neuroscience sounds plain fascinating, but also quite specialized and thus difficult a study... don't you have to already master some basics before going into it? Like medical datas, solid knowledge in neurology and chemy, such things? We could chat in French, if you wish (or German, for that matter). You could also write in Spanish and I'd answer in French oder English (I'm nuts in Spanish, haven't used it in at least 15 years).

    Grandchildren and maintained professional activity don't really depend on you, so you can just hope. As long as there is life, there's hope, isn't it? ;)

    Do you think your wife would let you do all that on your own, and have her own enjoyment by herself, so that you could meet somewhere in the middle of that line and do things together too?

    Wed 11, Jun 2014 at 6:03pm
  • Avatar_lutin2 truffe2miel Flag

    Answer to your last point: that's pretty much everyone's need ;) If you cannot fulfill it within your marriage, then you find a real friend to meet that need?

    Wed 11, Jun 2014 at 6:04pm
  • User-anonymous BlueSearcher Flag

    (Deep in thought observing interactions in detail)

    Fri 13, Jun 2014 at 7:12am
  • Avatar_lutin2 truffe2miel Flag

    (smiling at that quite logical reaction of a dissecting mind, wondering what observation would add to your thoughts and waiting with curiosity for the result).

    Fri 13, Jun 2014 at 7:45am
  • User-anonymous BlueSearcher Flag

    Ok, step one - analysis of possible future financial scenarios.

    Fri 13, Jun 2014 at 12:35pm
  • Avatar_lutin2 truffe2miel Flag

    That's strange - I'd say step one was to decide whether you do want to leave or not before moving to the more pragmatic topics? Unless you already decided that?

    Fri 13, Jun 2014 at 12:58pm
  • User-anonymous BlueSearcher Flag

    I know I WANT to leave, the question is do I have the courage to implement! Understanding the mechanics and possible outcomes in as much detail as is feasible will, I hope, either help find the courage or show why it is not wise.

    Fri 13, Jun 2014 at 3:32pm
  • Avatar_lutin2 truffe2miel Flag

    Well, didn't you already went through precisely the same kind of thinking with the same logical development? And then couldn't "find the courage to leave" (your words, if I remember correctly)? If so, then the reason why you didn't act accordingly to your wish wasn't pragmatic but emotional.

    Moreover, you don't necessarily have to leave. You could also enjoy hobbies that the other wouldn't share (in your case that would be mostly learning new things and travel some), and still come together for share interests (meeting friends or family? Watching TV? The kind of things your wife would approve of and you wouldn't find too boring). Maybe you would then one day wake up with the stark need to leave, and then you would actually do it. Or you would meet someone who would help you strengthen your will and self-confidence, and you would be able to act. Or you could also simply make the best of it, and finally be happy with what you have thanks to the changes you'd have (more or less forcefully) instigated.

    Reading you, it seems to me that you would actually like to leave - but only on an intellectual level. You like the freedom found in the concept of leaving, the new and unknown universe that being single would open to you - but this universe may at the same time be frightening, too demanding, too new. So you love arguing around it for the joy of debating and imagination, but would find it difficult to actually do it.
    This would be something most of us humans do, at a level or the other. Difficult decisions that would turn our world upside down may be endlessly postponed in the name of "reason" and "practicality", while fantasy offers a nice escape that can be nicely put away at any convenient time. Daydreaming is something very nice, relaxing and useful while not hurting anyone, so I think it should be taught at school ;)

    Fri 13, Jun 2014 at 4:13pm
  • User-anonymous BlueSearcher Flag

    You final paragraphs contain an element of truth - but some daydreams are what drive us, in the end, to action aimed at fulfilling them.

    The daily grind and friction of where we are is just too much. She woke me at 06:00 this morning to rage for an hour about all manner of gripes she has with life, the universe, me, neighbours, insurance companies and a host of other things. She conflates everything that comes into her head into one seething mass of anger - and then justifies to herself hurling it all at me.

    She wants me to be supportive and goes about it by being about as unpleasant and repellant as one can imagine.

    Sun 15, Jun 2014 at 7:17am
  • Avatar_lutin2 truffe2miel Flag

    " some daydreams are what drive us, in the end, to action aimed at fulfilling them"
    True enough!

    So what you're saying in the end is that you couldn't possibly share an everyday life with a woman who cannot see how destructive her behavior is, and who mixes personal issues with life being so dark and unbearable.
    Your wife behaves as a depressive person would, so maybe she is (then again, I don't know her and am no doctor, so my opinion is of very low value). If so, then it might be that medical help would improve her emotional state, and thus your relationship. But it wouldn't change a thing if your love to her has already been squished by the past years of frustration and conflict.

    If you now know that you don't love her anymore and that you cannot stand this behavior, then I guess you'll just have to daydream until you find the strength to blow it all and leave.
    Meanwhile, I would suggest to not let her rage around for an hour: as soon as she starts bugging you, just take your things and leave. Go enjoy the nice weather, drink a coffee at some nice place, meet people, chat a little... and come back when you want to. If she starts again, leave again. She'll finally grasp that this way of talking to you just won't work anymore and isn't acceptable. You've already tried different actions, including answering, ignoring and helping her. Only just leaving the house for a while seems to remain open to you, so give it a try ? You could also use that time to try and start some of the hobbies you described above?

    Sun 15, Jun 2014 at 8:38am
  • User-anonymous BlueSearcher Flag

    Re walking away - interesting suggestion which I have tried. Her response is that she creates a self justifying explanation - walking away = sulking like a 12 year old = I am immature and to blame for everything because I don't know how to conduct a relationship.

    You cannot progress with somebody who interprets all action to suit their viewpoint AND is unwilling to or incapable of being self critical.

    Sun 15, Jun 2014 at 9:11am
  • User-anonymous BlueSearcher Flag

    Part of her raging this morning was that nobody helps her, they only heap more tasks on her. She frequently cites a circumstance decades ago when her doctor, in my presence, suggested she should try yoga or Pilates to relax and have time for her. The reaction was fury - "nobody helps, they just heap more tasks on me".

    I too am no medical professional, but am of the view that there is depression or worse underlying this. It is one of the things that has stopped me walking out - ".......in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer"

    Sun 15, Jun 2014 at 9:17am
  • Avatar_lutin2 truffe2miel Flag

    "You cannot progress with somebody who interprets all action to suit their viewpoint AND is unwilling to or incapable of being self critical".

    True. This certainly isn't a new behavior in your wife, though, so she might just not understand why is suddenly becomes an issue after 40 years...?

    That said, what she might think about it isn't of any importance now, as you don't seem to have faith in your marriage, or love her, or have any reason whatsoever to stay put and keep the relationship going - except for being politically correct and fear of change. Or do you?

    Sun 15, Jun 2014 at 9:19am
  • Avatar_lutin2 truffe2miel Flag

    "It is one of the things that has stopped me walking out - ".......in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer"

    Sorry, I wrote my last answer while you were writing this one ;)

    Yes, so you meant your vow very seriously as you took it, which is a very comforting thing. One cannot be helped by force, though. This vow you took, you took it BOTH. It included respect, love, help and support each-others... in sickness and health.
    Your wife doesn't seem to fulfill her part of it, and you cannot do it all alone - you've honestly tried for years, even as things went hammock. Good will is the basis of any relationship, of any moral contract, of any trust. Without good will, nothing is possible.

    Sun 15, Jun 2014 at 9:24am
  • Avatar_lutin2 truffe2miel Flag

    By the way:

    - have you told her about you posting messages here? If so, how does she react? Could you maybe bring her to read it?
    - she surely has noticed you being on the computer. How does she react to it?

    Have you had opportunity to clear some things out since you first posted?

    Mon 16, Jun 2014 at 11:45am
  • User-anonymous BlueSearcher Flag

    "- have you told her about you posting messages here?" - you have to be joking!

    She takes a very clear, but limiting, view on actions trying to improve our relationship - there is no external source, book, therapist, counsellor or anything else that can help. Further, using any of the above is totally unacceptable to her, with or without her knowledge. If one does it with her knowledge, as I have done with the occasional book, it simply brings forth venom and starts an argument.

    Her view is that "verbalising" (ie talking about it) is the only solution. This of course is true, it would or should be valuable, but, as commented elsewhere, that, in practice means a monologue from her cataloguing her grievances (a word she uses a lot) and zero time listening to my perspective. Her argument is that her grievances are so great and so justified that she has no need to listen to any critical observation from me or statement of my needs.

    This is all part of the Catch 22 I am trying to resolve.

    I use computer/table/phone a great deal - having been in IT since for ever so it is unremkarable that I am doing so.

    Mon 16, Jun 2014 at 3:08pm
  • Avatar_lutin2 truffe2miel Flag

    Right... that doesn't sound very hopeful :(

    (Had to look up the reference to Catch 22, then had to laugh all alone in front of my computer)

    Mon 16, Jun 2014 at 3:53pm
  • User-anonymous BlueSearcher Flag

    OK, so finally found time to finish the numbers. Bottom line - they work. With an equitable settlement based on equal shares we could both own outright our own decent property and live perfectly OK.

    Just had another huge row that has stopped and ruined what would have been a great evening out. I have to confess I provoked it by how I approached the day. Seemed reasonable to me at the time, but in hindsight lacked consideration. The problem for me was imcould see swathes of the day consumed by shopping and knew my impatience would crack. In trying to minimise that risk I blew the entire thing.

    Wed 25, Jun 2014 at 5:11pm
  • Avatar_lutin2 truffe2miel Flag

    I didn't understand this "trying to minimize". What did you to "minimize" the risk of being bored by shopping? Bring some sexy magazine along? Sit somewhere and dream of better days? Talk with some unknown woman strolling by? Lye to her, telling her what she was trying sat wonderful on her instead of truth and she noticed?

    So the numbers work. That's reassuring. And... ?

    Wed 25, Jun 2014 at 7:36pm
  • User-anonymous BlueSearcher Flag

    Re "minimising" ...... I tried to re arrange the schedule for the day to shorten both the shopping time and the space between shops closing and an evening event (both not near home). I could see that my palpable frustration with lengthy shopping would carry into the time after and probably generate a row.

    Sadly doing that simply precipitated the row. Ended up with zero shopping and going to the evening event on my own.

    Thu 26, Jun 2014 at 8:29am
  • Avatar_lutin2 truffe2miel Flag

    Well, so it was probably very obvious to your wife that you were being reluctant to share something she loved and only did so because you expected her to enjoy the evening. This kind of "commercial" balance generally speaking doesn't go well with emotions and feelings, and with your wife being already pretty wound up...

    What comes out of your thinking from the last days anyway? You managed to finish the numbers in a reassuring way. You also assessed (and still notice on a daily basis) how difficult a shared future would be. So what is the next blockage? ;)

    Thu 26, Jun 2014 at 10:47am