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Re: you're male?

Posted by nomadjones on June 17, 2008, at 14:50:40

In reply to you're male? nomadjones, posted by karen_kay on June 16, 2008, at 20:51:28

Thanks for the offer, but I'm having enough problems with one wife! :)

I think it's hard to tell someone close to you that you're feeling down, anxious, etc. I want to appear to be confident and not just holding it together. Maybe it's a male macho thing (yes, I'm a guy) to some extent - I'd like to be the "in control" hero to her that I'm not.

Plus, there have been enough times lately when I've said that I'm down/worried and been told "you're always down/worried" that I'm hesitant to open up. Further, I'm occasionally told lately that I'm a "downer" (glum, flat), so I've been trying (not very successfully) to hide my depression/anxiety. I may have gone to the sympathy/empathy well too many times and don't have enough relationship capital built up (too much negativity on my part) to draw on, so I have to be "perfect" now (not possible in the long run).

It's good that your husband is asking what's wrong - take him up on the offer some times and see if it helps. I miss the days when my wife was genuinely trying to help rather than just being fed up. Maybe couples therapy could help you.

Frankly, I feel like I don't know what the "rules" are and I can't find a rule book (I was hoping that couples therapy [initiated by me] might do it, but we're several sessions in and there's no magic bullet yet). Im reading some stuff by John Gottmann on marriage ("7 Principles") that makes sense. I'm just stumbling around trying to do the right things, but end up triggering fights or disputes or criticisms anyway. I come across as very tense in the relationship partly because I'm trying to carefully choose my words and actions and partly because I'm hypersensitive to criticism.

Often I get defensive when things come up, which just makes it all worse (see my post above). Plus, even if I'm depressed/anxious/defensive and it's mostly my fault, I can't believe that it's completely my problem that there are relationship issues - she's fed up enough with me and my role that we don't talk about her role.

Incidentally, I think childhood stuff does play a very important part (at least with our susceptible depressed/anxious "peer group"), so I wouldn't be too hard on yourself if you're not "over it" with regard to childhood stuff.

I feel that if I won the lottery, I'd be able to devote enough attention to both heal myself and my relationship. As it is, I'm just keeping my head above water with the daily grind (including an extremely stressful job as sole breadwinner). Maybe I need to grow up and stop thinking of the ideal me, the ideal relationship, and the ideal career.

Sorry to ramble and hijack your thread. Love to hear any suggestions/encouragement from people who've been there. Any recommended books fleeting-flutterby on communications?

Anyway, best of luck charting a course through your relationship, and if he asks, take advantage of the opening to tell him how you feel (even if it's just to say you feel uncomfortable talking about it).





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