It's not all my fault?

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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It's not all my fault?

Post by sparky » Mon Nov 21, 2022 7:27 am

After some recent events, for the first time I feel like my not being able to talk about my church issues with DW is not entirely my fault.

My current goal is (still) to get out of these stupid garments. Yes I'm a grown up and could just stop stop wearing them without waiting for permission. But I'd like to avoid torpedoing my relationship, so I've tried a few times recently (after first bringing it up nearly a year ago) talking with DW and explaining why I want to change. That it has nothing to do with how I feel about her. That they are physically and emotionally uncomfortable for me.

But whenever I try to bring it up, she kind of closes off. She points out that my choices affect other people. She changes the topic to an unrelated behavior of mine that, yes, can be hurtful, but that I'm aware of and am working on. But she doesn't seem to care or want to understand/discuss the actual topic when I bring it up.

I've been going to therapy for about a year now, because I know I have trouble sharing my feelings/thoughts/preferences when they go against the group. And I've been making progress with that I think. But it feels like as I've taken down my own walls, I've started running into her walls. She will listen to me talk sometimes, but she seems not to *want* to know what's going on with me. Like even if I have zero belief or think there are major problems, she doesn't care as long as I keep it to myself. And if I do share it with her, she kind of half heartedly tells me thanks for sharing, but asks no questions, has no curiosity, and never brings it up again.

One probably highly relevant piece of info: her father was inactive from before she was born until she was eight years old. He apparently got active again so he could baptize her, and he has been active ever since. I've tried talking to her about that, but she doesn't know much of the details. Just that it made her very happy when he started being active. In my own therapy and learning about marriage relationships from other sources (Esther Perel's podcast is amazing for example), I'm learning that in marriage relationships we often reenact our relationships with our parents. So I'm certain that has to be playing a role here, that she's viewing me the same way she saw her father as a child. But I'm not sure how to deal with that.

So all this is a new perspective for me. I've been feeling terrible and dishonest for keeping my disaffection to myself, but it seems she literally doesn't want to know and is happy to ignore it. I don't know how this might change my approach, but I think it has to. I'm trying to be empathetic and respect how she's feeling about this major change, but I have to take care of myself too. Does anyone have any advice on this? Do I just gradually change behaviors I'm no longer comfortable with like garments, communicating what I'm doing and why but without her "permission"? Or am I locked into these church check boxes because she is unwilling to engage on understanding where I'm at?

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Re: It's not all my fault?

Post by Linked » Mon Nov 21, 2022 5:23 pm

This sounds a lot like my situation. My DW similarly does not like to talk openly about me not being a TBM. She's accepted that I don't wear garments, drink coffee, etc, but she does not want to talk about it.

I just listened to the book "Hold me Tight" which was pretty good. Apparently it's quite common for romantic relationships to have chasms in them. The book discusses some problems often seen in relationships and encourages partners to show ARE (Accessibility, Responsiveness, and Engagement). The religious difference and trauma make it super difficult for either partner in a mormon/exmormon mixed faith marriage to show ARE directly when it comes to the religious differences. But knowing it can be helpful. A lot of the example resolutions in the book are over simplified to the point of being dumb, but the problems and some of the techniques feel spot on.
sparky wrote:
Mon Nov 21, 2022 7:27 am
Do I just gradually change behaviors I'm no longer comfortable with like garments, communicating what I'm doing and why but without her "permission"?
Yes. And based on how little she wants to talk about it be ready for her to give little feedback about it.
"I would write about life. Every person would be exactly as important as any other. All facts would also be given equal weightiness. Nothing would be left out. Let others bring order to chaos. I would bring chaos to order" - Kurt Vonnegut

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Re: It's not all my fault?

Post by alas » Mon Nov 21, 2022 7:43 pm

I doubt she will ever give permission. That would imply that she approves. To approve says she is agreeing to your reasons. At least in her church influenced mind, it is agreeing instead of just understanding your reasons.

So, just tell her you are doing it and give your reasons and tell her you know she doesn’t agree. Then do it and be extra loving, helpful, and considerate. Be the best husband you can possibly be. She expects that this is a slippery slope issue and you will go from this “sin” on to other sins and pretty soon, you are a drunk who beats her and has lost his job. You know you will not go all the way to those sins, but the church has told her all her life that once you start going against the little things, that pretty soon you are also committing adultery and drowning puppies. Prove the church wrong by not going down the slope.

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