Mental and Emotional Exhaustion

Discussions about negotiating relationships between faithful LDS believers and the apostates who love them. This applies in particular to mixed-faith marriages, but relations with children, parents, siblings, friends, and ward members is very welcome.
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Deepthinker
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Mental and Emotional Exhaustion

Post by Deepthinker » Wed Oct 14, 2020 4:34 pm

It has been too long since I posted on here. So much has happened.

This summer I reached a state of complete mental and emotional exhaustion. So many years of trying to find ways to connect with my TBM wife…and now I see that it’s because we’re so different that those connections can’t be made. At first I thought it was me, so I tried harder. Then I thought it was her, and I became frustrated and upset. Now I see the truth, that it’s some of both of us. She said she couldn’t change, not that she wouldn’t change. I can’t change who I am either.

That’s the key. That it isn’t possible for her to change and it’s unfair of me to expect it. Yet, I shouldn’t have to live with the lack of connection, and deepness in a relationship that I crave either. So, what do I do?

I talked with a marriage counselor online by myself this summer. She knows I did. She wouldn’t go to counseling with me no matter how much I pleaded.

Through help provided by the marriage counselor, I’ve had many talks with her this year, both good and bad, but all of it necessary. I told her that I’m not in love with her. Even for as much as I’ve wanted to be, I don’t know how to be. It’s not possible to be in love with someone where there are no longer enough areas of connection, or enough similar goals and beliefs about life.

She’s had a simmering anger for years now, blaming me for my change in beliefs. Her anger boils up when conversations go to that subject, creating a wall that blocks communication. When I needed her most, opening up to her about suicidal thoughts a few years ago, her response was that of telling me I’m depressed because I turned my back on the church. Not empathy, just blame. I don't know that it's possible to be in love with someone and connect with someone who can’t provide at least some level of empathy.

She doesn’t see me for who I am and much of who I am doesn’t go together very well with who she is now. We’re like two different chemicals that just don’t mix well, which doesn't mean anything is wrong with either one of us. I could see years ago when I told her about my change in beliefs, that without the church and the kids we didn’t have much to connect on. We’ve raised some wonderful kids, and they’re one by one leaving the nest now. Where does it leave us when the kids are gone and I’m not going to church?

I’ve been contemplating divorce more and more, and she knows this. I feel as though the only things keeping me from doing it are the fear of hurting her and the kids…and the fear I have of being alone and starting over. I attach myself to other people’s feelings and feel hurt and pain at just those thoughts of how it could hurt them.

The way things are have already been hurting her over the years, though, and I don’t know how to fix that or if it’s even possible with me staying.

I feel like I’m a not much more than a presence to her that provides her with companionship and a sense security.

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FreeFallin
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Re: Mental and Emotional Exhaustion

Post by FreeFallin » Thu Oct 15, 2020 7:04 am

It is so difficult to make the decision to divorce. I left my husband of 30 years 2 years ago. Very similar to your situation, we just didn't have enough points of connection, including the church, and all of the other unresolved issues 30 years of marriage can bring. I understand the pain that coming to the decision creates - and also the relief making up your mind - and then the pain and difficulty of going through with it.

I will say that 2 years out of the relationship, I am stronger and happier than I've been in a very long time. This is no magic bullet, and the experience of going through with it was hell, but staying is its own kind of torture.

I wish you well in your upcoming journey, whether it is to stay or to go. Hang in there. Things do get better.

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Mormorrisey
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Re: Mental and Emotional Exhaustion

Post by Mormorrisey » Thu Oct 15, 2020 11:05 am

Deepthinker wrote:
Wed Oct 14, 2020 4:34 pm

She’s had a simmering anger for years now, blaming me for my change in beliefs. Her anger boils up when conversations go to that subject, creating a wall that blocks communication. When I needed her most, opening up to her about suicidal thoughts a few years ago, her response was that of telling me I’m depressed because I turned my back on the church. Not empathy, just blame. I don't know that it's possible to be in love with someone and connect with someone who can’t provide at least some level of empathy.

She doesn’t see me for who I am and much of who I am doesn’t go together very well with who she is now. We’re like two different chemicals that just don’t mix well, which doesn't mean anything is wrong with either one of us. I could see years ago when I told her about my change in beliefs, that without the church and the kids we didn’t have much to connect on. We’ve raised some wonderful kids, and they’re one by one leaving the nest now. Where does it leave us when the kids are gone and I’m not going to church?

I’ve been contemplating divorce more and more, and she knows this. I feel as though the only things keeping me from doing it are the fear of hurting her and the kids…and the fear I have of being alone and starting over. I attach myself to other people’s feelings and feel hurt and pain at just those thoughts of how it could hurt them.

The way things are have already been hurting her over the years, though, and I don’t know how to fix that or if it’s even possible with me staying.

I feel like I’m a not much more than a presence to her that provides her with companionship and a sense security.
Good to see you back, deepthinker. Even though your story was very hard to read, and I'm sorry where you are at with your spouse. It seems equally as hard on her as it is you, and that situation is not great for everybody. Can I tell a story I haven't told yet on this board, about my relationship with Sis M? I haven't told it because it's not really about the church and our relationship, but about our relationship. And I'm still not entirely sure that I did the right thing, I have a lot of misgivings about how I handled it. But I share it here, maybe it will help.

Because of how we were raised, me by a narcissist single mom and my wife by some crazy all-in Mormons, we've had a LOT of issues - and Sis M is like your spouse, not really willing to go to therapy. So we work on our issues as best we can. One of the big issues, is that because my wife's parents based their love on what the kids DID, not who they were, my wife tends to do the same to me. There have been large swaths of time that she has become emotionally distant from me, and I'm not talking a couple of weeks, but months. Luckily, I must add, she tended not to do this as much to the kids, which is a huge blessing. Probably because she didn't want to do to her children what was done to her - but it's taken her awhile to see her doing this to me, though. Being raised by a narcissist, this was the absolute worst things the wife could do to me, because I was manipulated/emotionally abused for years. And while I've come to realize this is just her, and she's not manipulating me, so in that way things are better, it was still a strain on our already strained marriage. More so when I "came out" as a very nuanced believer.

A few years ago, another bout of emotional distancing occurred, and after about 10 months, I'd had enough. I sat her down, and essentially told her that this had to stop. Either through therapy or just stopping what she was doing. We were about two years away from our house being paid off and our last child attending school, so I told her she had two years to fix her issues with being emotionally distant. If she wasn't willing to make that effort, I was going to give her the house, send our kid to school, and just leave. It was very hard for her to hear these things, she was very taken aback, but in the end she agreed, and I agreed in turn to work on my reaction to her emotional distancing. That I would try to be more understanding, and just gently remind her when she's "gone."

The good part of this story is that things have been better than ever in our marriage since we had this conversation. While she still has periods of emotional distancing, it lasts a couple of weeks, not months. And I can gently remind her that she's "off in space," and when I use that phrase, she can laugh about it and we can get on with living. I'm still rather unsure, though, on how I pulled off this stunt. Was it manipulative? Even though I was serious, and I was hoping for the outcome I got, I still debate in my head if this was the right route to take, regardless of the outcome. It just seemed so...direct. I still apologize for how I handled that conversation, even to this day, even though Sis M has brushed it off. Maybe I'm just sensitive to being manipulated.

So I guess what I'm saying is be open and honest, and even be open and honest about why you want to stay, why you want to leave, and what you would like your relationship to be. Your wife cannot be happy either in this situation, and when that happens, it's better to either work on the relationship, or end it, rather than let it fester on the both of you. It's taken Sis M over 25 years to separate our relationship from the church, and in some ways it's still a dangling particle, but it can be done, even with the most TBM of TBM's.

I hope my story helped in some way. Good luck, deepthinker. You are not alone.
"And I don't need you...or, your homespun philosophies."
"And when you try to break my spirit, it won't work, because there's nothing left to break."

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Deepthinker
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Re: Mental and Emotional Exhaustion

Post by Deepthinker » Thu Oct 15, 2020 3:46 pm

FreeFallin wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 7:04 am
It is so difficult to make the decision to divorce. I left my husband of 30 years 2 years ago. Very similar to your situation, we just didn't have enough points of connection, including the church, and all of the other unresolved issues 30 years of marriage can bring. I understand the pain that coming to the decision creates - and also the relief making up your mind - and then the pain and difficulty of going through with it.

I will say that 2 years out of the relationship, I am stronger and happier than I've been in a very long time. This is no magic bullet, and the experience of going through with it was hell, but staying is its own kind of torture.

I wish you well in your upcoming journey, whether it is to stay or to go. Hang in there. Things do get better.
Thank you so much. Yes, it will be 25 years for us next month. Was he in agreement with the divorce? You don’t have to say, I’m just curious if your divorce was contested because I believe mine will be.

I’ve been weighing everything now for several months, if things can get better staying or if it’s just false hope at this point. I know I need to make a decision and commit to it. Part of me just wants to wait until January, and get through the holidays.

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Deepthinker
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Re: Mental and Emotional Exhaustion

Post by Deepthinker » Thu Oct 15, 2020 3:48 pm

Mormorrisey wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 11:05 am
Deepthinker wrote:
Wed Oct 14, 2020 4:34 pm

She’s had a simmering anger for years now, blaming me for my change in beliefs. Her anger boils up when conversations go to that subject, creating a wall that blocks communication. When I needed her most, opening up to her about suicidal thoughts a few years ago, her response was that of telling me I’m depressed because I turned my back on the church. Not empathy, just blame. I don't know that it's possible to be in love with someone and connect with someone who can’t provide at least some level of empathy.

She doesn’t see me for who I am and much of who I am doesn’t go together very well with who she is now. We’re like two different chemicals that just don’t mix well, which doesn't mean anything is wrong with either one of us. I could see years ago when I told her about my change in beliefs, that without the church and the kids we didn’t have much to connect on. We’ve raised some wonderful kids, and they’re one by one leaving the nest now. Where does it leave us when the kids are gone and I’m not going to church?

I’ve been contemplating divorce more and more, and she knows this. I feel as though the only things keeping me from doing it are the fear of hurting her and the kids…and the fear I have of being alone and starting over. I attach myself to other people’s feelings and feel hurt and pain at just those thoughts of how it could hurt them.

The way things are have already been hurting her over the years, though, and I don’t know how to fix that or if it’s even possible with me staying.

I feel like I’m a not much more than a presence to her that provides her with companionship and a sense security.
Good to see you back, deepthinker. Even though your story was very hard to read, and I'm sorry where you are at with your spouse. It seems equally as hard on her as it is you, and that situation is not great for everybody. Can I tell a story I haven't told yet on this board, about my relationship with Sis M? I haven't told it because it's not really about the church and our relationship, but about our relationship. And I'm still not entirely sure that I did the right thing, I have a lot of misgivings about how I handled it. But I share it here, maybe it will help.

Because of how we were raised, me by a narcissist single mom and my wife by some crazy all-in Mormons, we've had a LOT of issues - and Sis M is like your spouse, not really willing to go to therapy. So we work on our issues as best we can. One of the big issues, is that because my wife's parents based their love on what the kids DID, not who they were, my wife tends to do the same to me. There have been large swaths of time that she has become emotionally distant from me, and I'm not talking a couple of weeks, but months. Luckily, I must add, she tended not to do this as much to the kids, which is a huge blessing. Probably because she didn't want to do to her children what was done to her - but it's taken her awhile to see her doing this to me, though. Being raised by a narcissist, this was the absolute worst things the wife could do to me, because I was manipulated/emotionally abused for years. And while I've come to realize this is just her, and she's not manipulating me, so in that way things are better, it was still a strain on our already strained marriage. More so when I "came out" as a very nuanced believer.

A few years ago, another bout of emotional distancing occurred, and after about 10 months, I'd had enough. I sat her down, and essentially told her that this had to stop. Either through therapy or just stopping what she was doing. We were about two years away from our house being paid off and our last child attending school, so I told her she had two years to fix her issues with being emotionally distant. If she wasn't willing to make that effort, I was going to give her the house, send our kid to school, and just leave. It was very hard for her to hear these things, she was very taken aback, but in the end she agreed, and I agreed in turn to work on my reaction to her emotional distancing. That I would try to be more understanding, and just gently remind her when she's "gone."

The good part of this story is that things have been better than ever in our marriage since we had this conversation. While she still has periods of emotional distancing, it lasts a couple of weeks, not months. And I can gently remind her that she's "off in space," and when I use that phrase, she can laugh about it and we can get on with living. I'm still rather unsure, though, on how I pulled off this stunt. Was it manipulative? Even though I was serious, and I was hoping for the outcome I got, I still debate in my head if this was the right route to take, regardless of the outcome. It just seemed so...direct. I still apologize for how I handled that conversation, even to this day, even though Sis M has brushed it off. Maybe I'm just sensitive to being manipulated.

So I guess what I'm saying is be open and honest, and even be open and honest about why you want to stay, why you want to leave, and what you would like your relationship to be. Your wife cannot be happy either in this situation, and when that happens, it's better to either work on the relationship, or end it, rather than let it fester on the both of you. It's taken Sis M over 25 years to separate our relationship from the church, and in some ways it's still a dangling particle, but it can be done, even with the most TBM of TBM's.

I hope my story helped in some way. Good luck, deepthinker. You are not alone.
Wow! Thank you Mormorrisey! Reading your story does help, and I’m sorry for what you’ve been through. I’d do the same as you, and question whether I did the right thing, I do that often. It seems like it has worked out for you, though, so that can’t be bad.

When I first told DW about my change in beliefs 7 years ago, it was my worst fear that she would leave me. Now that she can see I’m close to leaving, it’s her worst fear that I’ll leave her. She’s pursuing and says she doesn’t want to lose me, yet won’t do things to work on the relationship except for when it involves her needs.

Her ideas of working on the relationship include me cuddling with her, giving her physical affection, taking her places, being romantic with her. It’s about her needs, not mine.

I told her that I can’t give her all the physical affection she needs if I don’t have some level of mental and emotional connection. She refuses talking with a marriage therapist that could help us communicate and bond. I’m unable to have good conversations where we connect on a deeper level.

I’ve tried asking questions from a marriage workbook to start those conversations and all it does is highlight how different we are and the connections just don’t form because of it.

I’ve even asked her to come up with some ways we can connect. Other than talking about her physical affection needs, she has no other ideas.

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FreeFallin
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Re: Mental and Emotional Exhaustion

Post by FreeFallin » Fri Oct 16, 2020 7:01 am

Deepthinker wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 3:46 pm
FreeFallin wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 7:04 am
It is so difficult to make the decision to divorce. I left my husband of 30 years 2 years ago. Very similar to your situation, we just didn't have enough points of connection, including the church, and all of the other unresolved issues 30 years of marriage can bring. I understand the pain that coming to the decision creates - and also the relief making up your mind - and then the pain and difficulty of going through with it.

I will say that 2 years out of the relationship, I am stronger and happier than I've been in a very long time. This is no magic bullet, and the experience of going through with it was hell, but staying is its own kind of torture.

I wish you well in your upcoming journey, whether it is to stay or to go. Hang in there. Things do get better.
Thank you so much. Yes, it will be 25 years for us next month. Was he in agreement with the divorce? You don’t have to say, I’m just curious if your divorce was contested because I believe mine will be.

I’ve been weighing everything now for several months, if things can get better staying or if it’s just false hope at this point. I know I need to make a decision and commit to it. Part of me just wants to wait until January, and get through the holidays.
He was not in agreement, but he also didn't contest the divorce. In fact I got a divorce by default because he didn't respond to the summons once divorce was filed.

Some years before my divorce I read something that said when it is time to divorce, you will just know it. That happened for me. I had to reach a place where I knew I had done everything within my power to work things out, and also give up the idea that he was going to change in ways that I wanted but he didn't. It is hell to live in the unknowing space, but give yourself time to reach the decision that is right for you. I used to tell myself that I didn't have to know what I was going to do before I started making changes in my lifestyle that I wanted. Start doing things for yourself; start giving yourself some of the gifts you want from her (like connection with friends, freedom from the church lifestyle, activities you enjoy, etc.). Take the steps that are available to you right now and trust that the rest will come into place in time. I wish you the best.

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Deepthinker
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Re: Mental and Emotional Exhaustion

Post by Deepthinker » Fri Oct 16, 2020 8:07 am

FreeFallin wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 7:01 am
Deepthinker wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 3:46 pm
FreeFallin wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 7:04 am
It is so difficult to make the decision to divorce. I left my husband of 30 years 2 years ago. Very similar to your situation, we just didn't have enough points of connection, including the church, and all of the other unresolved issues 30 years of marriage can bring. I understand the pain that coming to the decision creates - and also the relief making up your mind - and then the pain and difficulty of going through with it.

I will say that 2 years out of the relationship, I am stronger and happier than I've been in a very long time. This is no magic bullet, and the experience of going through with it was hell, but staying is its own kind of torture.

I wish you well in your upcoming journey, whether it is to stay or to go. Hang in there. Things do get better.
Thank you so much. Yes, it will be 25 years for us next month. Was he in agreement with the divorce? You don’t have to say, I’m just curious if your divorce was contested because I believe mine will be.

I’ve been weighing everything now for several months, if things can get better staying or if it’s just false hope at this point. I know I need to make a decision and commit to it. Part of me just wants to wait until January, and get through the holidays.
He was not in agreement, but he also didn't contest the divorce. In fact I got a divorce by default because he didn't respond to the summons once divorce was filed.

Some years before my divorce I read something that said when it is time to divorce, you will just know it. That happened for me. I had to reach a place where I knew I had done everything within my power to work things out, and also give up the idea that he was going to change in ways that I wanted but he didn't. It is hell to live in the unknowing space, but give yourself time to reach the decision that is right for you. I used to tell myself that I didn't have to know what I was going to do before I started making changes in my lifestyle that I wanted. Start doing things for yourself; start giving yourself some of the gifts you want from her (like connection with friends, freedom from the church lifestyle, activities you enjoy, etc.). Take the steps that are available to you right now and trust that the rest will come into place in time. I wish you the best.
I'm glad your divorce went so well, as far as the legal process. The emotions are always difficult, but having him not contest and you get the divorce by default had to help some. My wife I'm pretty sure will contest, but I'm working on having those talks with her before deciding to file. I'd much rather things be amicable.

That is excellent advice, thank you FreeFallin. I've done some of those changes already. Writing more and getting into photography are a few things. I have felt like divorce is in my future for some time now, but the timing isn't right just yet. I'm ready to give her the house, to reduce the number of years of alimony I'd need to pay. I've been preparing myself financially and doing fixes and updates around the house so that it's ready to sell if needed. I've made a list of the things I feel like I should do to be ready and I'm working on that list. I do believe that I'll know when it is time.

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alas
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Re: Mental and Emotional Exhaustion

Post by alas » Fri Oct 16, 2020 5:03 pm

For the wife who says she needs physical affection, that is her “love language”. There are a couple of different books out and the authors list the different love languages they are aware of, but after reading two books, I came up with one that neither book talked about. Most people have a primary love language and a secondary. So, you wife needs physical affection. That one is probably the #1 for most men. But some need the verbal reassurances of love, some like gifts, some like quiet walks on the beach (quality time). Some people like deep emotional conversations, while others need other things that show love to them. It is great when two people’s love languages match perfectly, but they never seem to. More often people connect by meeting each other’s love languages part way. Say they connect really well with their secondary love languages, but his first is her second, and her first is something he has to remind himself to do, like he did when they were dating.

But figure out your primary and secondary love languages. What to you is a signal that they love you. Once you figure out your own, you can request. Once you figure out theirs, then you know how to show them love. Most of the time people don’t mean to stop the things that show love, they just lose track of their partner enough that they don’t even know how to show love.

Once while I was in training for my social work license I watched a really good marriage and family counselor work. The first thing she did was take them back to when they were courting and what attracted them to each other. This was a sneaky way of getting them to say what their love languages were, and reminding them that they loved each other once. The second thing she did was ask them how often they ____(Love language)____ now. Most of the time it was zero. Usually one was “punishing” the other for the neglect they felt. But why were they feeling neglected? And it got into a viscous cycle, of feeling neglected and then neglecting the other. Then she asked when things changed, usually some stressor. Loss of a job, birth of a baby, change in beliefs. If things changed, then identif what and deal with it, and things can change back.

Some Mormon women have “good priesthood holder” as their obvious love language. But what do they get out of a good priesthood holder? Usually social status in their social group. Now, social status is not one of the listed love languages in any book I read, but there sure seem to be some women who only feel loved if they get some kind of social status from their man. Cough cough, Melania Trump. Cough. This is why some of the guys here pretend to be believing Mormons to keep their wife happy. She needs that from him. Now maybe you can find another way to satisfy this???

Things “In common” don’t matter, as long as the love language needs are being met. I have a brother and sister in law who have nothing in common, not hobbies, not religion, not personality, nothing I can even see, but she worships the ground he walks on and he just loves being worshipped, and he ignores her 90% of the time, but hands her cash to spend as she likes. Excuse me while I puke, but maybe that is their love languages?

Anyway, hope this helps.

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Re: Mental and Emotional Exhaustion

Post by Reuben » Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:16 am

alas wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 5:03 pm
For the wife who says she needs physical affection, that is her “love language”.
That was the first thing I thought of, too. She might not be able to offer more suggestions because what she's suggested already is what she needs most.

Physical affection is my primary love language. I can tell you for a fact that if I didn't get physical affection in some form, I would feel isolated and start getting bitter. It's happened before. Nowadays - and I apologize in advance for the disclosure - 30 minutes daily of Naked Netflix Time (NNT) has been meeting that need well. (I introduced this idea with "I read about something some couples are doing...") Moreover, we talk about what we're watching, so my wife feels like she gets quality time, which is her primary love language. It helps that we both enjoy some of the same things, but I've found cooking shows and contrived chick flicks to be enjoyable in NNT.

But for me, affection doesn't actually have to be as intimate or concentrated as NNT to work. I would do equally well if my wife dragged her fingers across my back whenever she walked by. But I haven't asked, it wouldn't also meet her needs, and I suspect she would forget, just like I forget to engage in conversation when I walk by her.

Quality time is something I struggle to provide. I tend to operate in life by performing really well at my current obsessions and paying little attention to everything else. When my wife was my current obsession, she felt amazing. Now that she's usually not, I have to be more intentional.

To add one bit of info to alas's excellent advice: figuring out your own love languages might be easy. How do you try to show love to other people? Conversation? Gifts? Compliments? Hugs? Service? We talk in the languages we know.

The book we originally worked from was Chapman's The 5 Love Languages. There probably aren't just 5 languages. I'm sure there are other weaknesses. But it was also a good starting point, and there's a questionnaire in it.
You were born to trust, not fear. It is your birthright.

Learn to doubt the stories you tell about yourselves and your adversaries.

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alas
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Re: Mental and Emotional Exhaustion

Post by alas » Sat Oct 17, 2020 6:38 pm

Reuben wrote:
Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:16 am
alas wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 5:03 pm
For the wife who says she needs physical affection, that is her “love language”.
That was the first thing I thought of, too. She might not be able to offer more suggestions because what she's suggested already is what she needs most.

Physical affection is my primary love language. I can tell you for a fact that if I didn't get physical affection in some form, I would feel isolated and start getting bitter. It's happened before. Nowadays - and I apologize in advance for the disclosure - 30 minutes daily of Naked Netflix Time (NNT) has been meeting that need well. (I introduced this idea with "I read about something some couples are doing...") Moreover, we talk about what we're watching, so my wife feels like she gets quality time, which is her primary love language. It helps that we both enjoy some of the same things, but I've found cooking shows and contrived chick flicks to be enjoyable in NNT.

But for me, affection doesn't actually have to be as intimate or concentrated as NNT to work. I would do equally well if my wife dragged her fingers across my back whenever she walked by. But I haven't asked, it wouldn't also meet her needs, and I suspect she would forget, just like I forget to engage in conversation when I walk by her.

Quality time is something I struggle to provide. I tend to operate in life by performing really well at my current obsessions and paying little attention to everything else. When my wife was my current obsession, she felt amazing. Now that she's usually not, I have to be more intentional.

To add one bit of info to alas's excellent advice: figuring out your own love languages might be easy. How do you try to show love to other people? Conversation? Gifts? Compliments? Hugs? Service? We talk in the languages we know.

The book we originally worked from was Chapman's The 5 Love Languages. There probably aren't just 5 languages. I'm sure there are other weaknesses. But it was also a good starting point, and there's a questionnaire in it.
Yes, I think there are more than five love languages. I found slight differences in two different books and thought up one that wasn’t in either book. I made up my own questionnaire for my clients. But do you think I could remember them now? Ha! I will claim senility. But the books do help get you thinking, even if you come up with a love language that isn’t listed in any book. If it is how you learned to show love, or how you felt loved, then it s your love language, whether or not it is named in a book.

The things that you do, or expect out of a loving relationship. If you feel neglected if your spouse forgets an anniversary with no gift, then gifts might be yours. If you worry yourself sick if your spouse hasn’t said they love you for a while, verbal expressions of love might be yours. If you like date night, then quality time might be yours.

An example of a mismatch. My husband had learned that you give a girl flowers. So, he was romantically bringing me roses, one for first anniversary, two for second, with plans to give me the number or red roses for the number of years we had been married. Fantasies of when we were married 50 years and I couldn’t even carry the bouquet. Well, it was not doing it for supper practical me. Besides I have the scotchest of scotch ancestry. Long stemmed red roses are expensive and they have usually been in some florists cold storage for weeks, so the die within a few hours of hitting room temperature. Just not practical for a young couple on an airman’s salary. (The equivalent of an army private) so, one year, we actually had a yard that needed planting, so I suggested rose bushes to plant instead of cut roses. He was also very good at telling me he loved me. But that was most certainly not how I grew up. My mother had never said the words “I love you” in her life. When she tried the first time she couldn’t choke the words out and ended up in tears. My mother showed love with service. Like the wife in Fiddler on the roof, “for forty years now I’ve cooked you meals, washed your clothes.... if that isn’t love, what is? My dad was quality time. My mother used to get angry at my father because he just wasn’t handy without tools and wasn’t good at fixing things, well, with a love language of service and a husband with two left hands, she didn’t feel very loved. But anyway, I grew up with quality time from one parent and service as the love languages I was exposed to, mostly I guess quality time, because I didn’t feel very loved by my mom.

So, most of the time you learn your love languages from your parents, Primary from one and secondary from the other, but not necessarily. If you have a bad relationship with one parent, sometimes you reject their way of showing love as fake, or maybe you feel unloved because they don’t speak your love language and that is why you have a bad relationship, sort of which comes first the bad relationship or the mismatch between love languages. Anyway, this is just sort of my own speculation. I’ll shut up now.

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Deepthinker
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Re: Mental and Emotional Exhaustion

Post by Deepthinker » Sun Oct 18, 2020 11:40 am

alas wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 5:03 pm
For the wife who says she needs physical affection, that is her “love language”. There are a couple of different books out and the authors list the different love languages they are aware of, but after reading two books, I came up with one that neither book talked about. Most people have a primary love language and a secondary. So, you wife needs physical affection. That one is probably the #1 for most men. But some need the verbal reassurances of love, some like gifts, some like quiet walks on the beach (quality time). Some people like deep emotional conversations, while others need other things that show love to them. It is great when two people’s love languages match perfectly, but they never seem to. More often people connect by meeting each other’s love languages part way. Say they connect really well with their secondary love languages, but his first is her second, and her first is something he has to remind himself to do, like he did when they were dating.

But figure out your primary and secondary love languages. What to you is a signal that they love you. Once you figure out your own, you can request. Once you figure out theirs, then you know how to show them love. Most of the time people don’t mean to stop the things that show love, they just lose track of their partner enough that they don’t even know how to show love.

Once while I was in training for my social work license I watched a really good marriage and family counselor work. The first thing she did was take them back to when they were courting and what attracted them to each other. This was a sneaky way of getting them to say what their love languages were, and reminding them that they loved each other once. The second thing she did was ask them how often they ____(Love language)____ now. Most of the time it was zero. Usually one was “punishing” the other for the neglect they felt. But why were they feeling neglected? And it got into a viscous cycle, of feeling neglected and then neglecting the other. Then she asked when things changed, usually some stressor. Loss of a job, birth of a baby, change in beliefs. If things changed, then identif what and deal with it, and things can change back.

Some Mormon women have “good priesthood holder” as their obvious love language. But what do they get out of a good priesthood holder? Usually social status in their social group. Now, social status is not one of the listed love languages in any book I read, but there sure seem to be some women who only feel loved if they get some kind of social status from their man. Cough cough, Melania Trump. Cough. This is why some of the guys here pretend to be believing Mormons to keep their wife happy. She needs that from him. Now maybe you can find another way to satisfy this???

Things “In common” don’t matter, as long as the love language needs are being met. I have a brother and sister in law who have nothing in common, not hobbies, not religion, not personality, nothing I can even see, but she worships the ground he walks on and he just loves being worshipped, and he ignores her 90% of the time, but hands her cash to spend as she likes. Excuse me while I puke, but maybe that is their love languages?

Anyway, hope this helps.
Thanks alas, I value your input here.

I do understand the love languages, my wife and I have taken the love language test and ours are quite different. I love the deep conversations, quiet walks, reassurances, and then the physical affection is there for me with those.

I know she needs the physical affection, it is a need she has. She wants me to give it to her without much in return, though. That’s the issue. I don’t see a lot of her giving me many of my needs. Her wanting physical affection as the way to connect…feels like I’m the one doing the giving again and she’s not even attempting to give me things I’ve needed. That’s the way it has been for years, and much of that is my fault for people-pleasing and feeling like I needed to earn her love.

I did not fall in love with her when we met, I realize that now. I attached myself to her feelings for me when she first said she loved me and I didn’t say it back. It endeared me to her and I used her feelings for me as a starting point to the relationship, which isn’t right. I didn’t want to hurt her, I felt like with someone who loved me like she does it would work, and I trusted what the church taught that any two active Mormons could make a marriage work. My feelings grew into love for her, but that took time.

Yes, having things in common is secondary to needs being met. The issues in my marriage go deeper than not having things in common. Many of my own basic needs are not being met…and she’s said that she can’t give them to me or that I’m asking too much. I need to be respected…I don’t feel that I am. With my faith changes, and not telling her for a year, she doesn’t have that trust in me. She’s even said this, but I need that trust. I need compassion, acceptance, forgiveness, a certain level of empathy and a certain level that she understands me. Nobody can understand us completely, but there are many things she sees as just the opposite of who I really am.

I need to matter, beyond a presence and financial security. She doesn’t ask about how I’m doing or even how my day was and hasn’t for years.

I need to feel like I can discover and grow with her, or at least share in my own growth and discovery to a degree. There isn’t any of that.

I need more joy and humor, more positivity. I need to be able to laugh together with her and not be told I’m stupid for being silly sometimes.

I need some level of support, validation, and compliments. When I get a raise, I need the pat on the back and not the “why isn’t it more money” response.

I need some level of shared dreams and goals and I don’t feel like we have much of that anymore.

I’ve talked with her about all of these needs and for her to tell me the needs she has that I’m not giving her. I've told her that I can work through these, compromise on the ones she can't give me, and I'm already open to what I call "some level" of these and don't expect that all of them can be given at a high level. The basic ones of respect, trust, and support are essential.

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Re: Mental and Emotional Exhaustion

Post by Corsair » Sun Oct 18, 2020 4:15 pm

Deepthinker wrote:
Wed Oct 14, 2020 4:34 pm
I’ve been contemplating divorce more and more, and she knows this. I feel as though the only things keeping me from doing it are the fear of hurting her and the kids…and the fear I have of being alone and starting over. I attach myself to other people’s feelings and feel hurt and pain at just those thoughts of how it could hurt them.

The way things are have already been hurting her over the years, though, and I don’t know how to fix that or if it’s even possible with me staying.

I feel like I’m a not much more than a presence to her that provides her with companionship and a sense security.
This is a really tough situation. I don't think that much of my own mixed-faith marriage experience will be of use here. I simply want to offer support for you knowing about you from your posting on this forum. You have provided some fantastic insight on many topics and I am glad for your influence. I wish you well in whatever ways your life moves forward. However, this is certainly not meant to be a goodbye, after all. Let us know how it proceeds and we will pray for whatever inspiration you need to move forward.

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alas
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Re: Mental and Emotional Exhaustion

Post by alas » Sun Oct 18, 2020 6:19 pm

[quote=Deepthinker post_id=77541 time=1603046436 user_id=
Thanks alas, I value your input here.

I do understand the love languages, my wife and I have taken the love language test and ours are quite different. I love the deep conversations, quiet walks, reassurances, and then the physical affection is there for me with those.

I know she needs the physical affection, it is a need she has. She wants me to give it to her without much in return, though. That’s the issue. I don’t see a lot of her giving me many of my needs. Her wanting physical affection as the way to connect…feels like I’m the one doing the giving again and she’s not even attempting to give me things I’ve needed. That’s the way it has been for years, and much of that is my fault for people-pleasing and feeling like I needed to earn her love.

I did not fall in love with her when we met, I realize that now. I attached myself to her feelings for me when she first said she loved me and I didn’t say it back. It endeared me to her and I used her feelings for me as a starting point to the relationship, which isn’t right. I didn’t want to hurt her, I felt like with someone who loved me like she does it would work, and I trusted what the church taught that any two active Mormons could make a marriage work. My feelings grew into love for her, but that took time.

Yes, having things in common is secondary to needs being met. The issues in my marriage go deeper than not having things in common. Many of my own basic needs are not being met…and she’s said that she can’t give them to me or that I’m asking too much. I need to be respected…I don’t feel that I am. With my faith changes, and not telling her for a year, she doesn’t have that trust in me. She’s even said this, but I need that trust. I need compassion, acceptance, forgiveness, a certain level of empathy and a certain level that she understands me. Nobody can understand us completely, but there are many things she sees as just the opposite of who I really am.

I need to matter, beyond a presence and financial security. She doesn’t ask about how I’m doing or even how my day was and hasn’t for years.

I need to feel like I can discover and grow with her, or at least share in my own growth and discovery to a degree. There isn’t any of that.

I need more joy and humor, more positivity. I need to be able to laugh together with her and not be told I’m stupid for being silly sometimes.

I need some level of support, validation, and compliments. When I get a raise, I need the pat on the back and not the “why isn’t it more money” response.

I need some level of shared dreams and goals and I don’t feel like we have much of that anymore.

I’ve talked with her about all of these needs and for her to tell me the needs she has that I’m not giving her. I've told her that I can work through these, compromise on the ones she can't give me, and I'm already open to what I call "some level" of these and don't expect that all of them can be given at a high level. The basic ones of respect, trust, and support are essential.
[/quote]

Ok, if you were a client in individual counseling, I would tell you to imagine that respect, trust, and support all have their languages too. What could she *do* that would show those things?

Figure this out and discuss it with her.

Second it sounds like you are an intellectual mismatch too. You say there is an unmet need for deep conversation. This is something many people like, well those deep thinkers attracted to NOM, have to find outside the marriage. We NOMs skew heavily toward the Briggs INTJ personality type, which by your handle I bet you are. Do you know what this is? Assuming the answer is yes, continue. If no, do some research. Us INTJ’s are a supper minority in the population. Finding an INTJ spouse....ha! Hell will freeze over first. First of all emotionally we need an extrovert or maybe not such an introvert and we need the feeling aspect to make up for our over intelectualization. I don’t remember my spouse’s score, but he is not INTJ. I think he splits the introvert and extrovert about 50/50 and he is zero intuitive, and more feeling than thinking. So, my recommendation on that one is to meet that need outside the marriage. I have a friend who I met through NOM, and then we became snowbirds at our favorite winter spot and she lives here.

Your wife is trying to tell you that she cannot meet this need, so believe her.

Back to trust and respect, those are both earned, so discuss with her if she has honestly lost trust and respect for you, or if you are just FEELING not trusted and not respected. If she expected a raise to be bigger than it was, that sounds to me like respect that is expressed in a way you are not feeling.

If trust and respect are genuinely lost, that is headed toward divorce. Unless she gives you specific ways you can regain them. But if you just feel not trusted and not respected, then the respect language is off, and the trust language is miscommunication too. So, if this is the case, talk with her about what she can do to communicate the trust and respect she feels but fails to communicate to you. And then you have to work on believing her, because you sound like you are insecure enough that you need a lot of reassurance, or maybe I am just reading the glaring unmet need.

Anyway, I hope this helps, because I really don’t like to see people I care about hurting.

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