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  #11  
Old 03-26-2010, 04:22 PM
holm holm is offline
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Thanks once again for the replies, specifically the recommendations on what I can actually do to make this better.

Honestly, you're reassuring me that the things I am doing are right. We had another couple who has a baby over last week for a visit (my wife had got together with her but we had never done anything as couples before). We decided to do a getaway spa weekend with just the two of us in April (I'll love the alone time and she'll love the spa!). Also, we're planning on going to dinner with another couple on Sunday night and also talking about going on a real vacation (tropical, we're in WI and winter kills me) and trying to get her sister and BF to come along. We're kind of "auditioning" new couples friends I guess. Also, I tried to plan a surprise trip for my wife's best friend from highschool and her husband to visit next week when they have spring break (teachers) but that fell through do to an unexpected death in their family. Basically, yes I am trying to step out of my shell and support my wife's needs for other relationships (just not the romantic kind!), recreation, and conversation. Honeslty, conversation is the hardest one right now because I am just so BAD at it.

The other thing that I didn't mention is that I was put in a sales position at my current job 9 months ago as part of my "development". As an introvert it took all my energy to do the job so I no energy to be extro at home after talking to people 8 hours a day, everyday. Talked to my boss about what's been going on at home (without the details) and I'm going to be going back into a operations role in April. Same pay and benefits, so it won't create any financial strain. Just knowing that has allowed me to be more available emotionally to my wife. It's great to have a good boss!

I have an appointment with my counselor today and I basically want to tell her that I do feel better, but everyday is still a challange. I obviously had a relapse here the past couple days, but it was certainly not as severe or as long as the intitial waves of panic. I think this is a good sign.

One day at a time...it's not going to fix itself in one day, or one week, or probably even a month or year, but if we can make it better everyday this could be great.
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  #12  
Old 03-26-2010, 04:35 PM
EugenePoet EugenePoet is offline
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You are RIGHT! The things you describe all sound like great efforts by someone who is self-aware and trying hard. I congratulate you and admire your determination.

I know what you mean about the difficulty of coming home from a position which challenges every bit of your ability to interact with people and then feeling you have to interact with people some more during what should be your recharge time. In talking to your boss it sounds like once again you're being pro-active and doing the right thing.

You're walking the walk as far as your marriage is concerned. Good for you! Your wife is a lucky woman to have a husband who is working so hard at the relationship.

----

Addendum...When I started having to make conversation I found it helped me a lot just to ask questions about what people said -- it turned my focus from inside myself ("what do I say now?") and helped me pay attention to other people. Which they like. Granted, with certain types it can lead to them dominating the talk but who cares, really? Most people find it flattering and enjoyable to be asked about things, and you may get a reputation as "that quiet guy who's really considerate and nice to talk to". Could be a lot worse reputations to have! But again, maybe you have already figured this out -- you're intelligent and self-aware, so I wouldn't be surprised.

Last edited by EugenePoet; 03-26-2010 at 04:54 PM.
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  #13  
Old 03-26-2010, 08:00 PM
holm holm is offline
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So....just got back from the counselor. She said it seemed like I was doing the right things. Told me that I need to have friends outside the marriage, even though I don't think I do. I think her point was that it isn't fair to my wife to make her responsible for 100% of my emotional needs. Ok....I get it....I am driving her nuts since this all started...

She also told me that they need to be male friends because she thinks I would think that a friendship with any female would be cheating. I argued with her on that a little bit because I said I do have female friends at work. She asked if I would ever go to lunch with them or have drinks. I said yes, we do that actually. She asked what we talked about and I said "work." Hmmm...she's right, I never talk about anything other than work with them. A lot of times it's gossipy, emotional stuff, but it's always work related. I've got to think that through. I don't think I'm comfortable with that part of myself if it is true (growth opportunity). I certainly wouldn't talk about my relationship problems with someone of the opposite sex...that may be a good boundary that I can live with. Certainly needs to be discussed in marriage counseling with my wife. I could tell she didn't like it when I told her what the counselor said (I share everything I talk about with the counselor with my wife). I'll have to figure out how to explain how I feel about this after I come to grips with it myself.

The counselor said I need to work on communicating (no surprise). I need to use 25 words to say what I normally say in 5. I need to stop telling my wife how I think she feels and start asking her. I didn't bring up my poly "theory" with the counselor really but she answered the question without me really bringing it up. She said that my wife is probably on a moment of reflection in her life. Has a one year old, became a stay at home mom, etc...and she is on her own journey to reevaluate her life. She said part of that journey involves me but some of her internal reflections were just for her. She said you can't not ask the question just because you're afraid of the answer.....
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  #14  
Old 03-26-2010, 08:15 PM
Ariakas Ariakas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holm View Post
So....just got back from the counselor. She said it seemed like I was doing the right things. Told me that I need to have friends outside the marriage, even though I don't think I do. I think her point was that it isn't fair to my wife to make her responsible for 100% of my emotional needs. Ok....I get it....I am driving her nuts since this all started...
While not everyone thinks they need friends, maybe your partner needs you to. My wife and I struggle with this. I...would appreciate if she had more people to relate to than just me. Our ex gf is now very close to her and its been great for her. They have been able to remain close and connected, although very painful for me for other reasons, it has been good for me as well just by how much it has helped her...
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  #15  
Old 03-26-2010, 08:26 PM
holm holm is offline
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Originally Posted by Ariakas View Post
While not everyone thinks they need friends, maybe your partner needs you to.
Exactly...the hard part will be making them....
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  #16  
Old 03-26-2010, 08:34 PM
Ariakas Ariakas is offline
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Originally Posted by holm View Post
Exactly...the hard part will be making them....
Good places to start would be in clubs/groups where you have a similar interest. Sports, hobbies etc. Also, it might be easier for you to apply the term acquaintance instead of friend. For me friend has a far deeper meaning than what appears to be most peoples terms.

Heck you could even try okcupid, it is also built as a matchmaker site for friends and activity partners...

Either way, good luck in your journey
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  #17  
Old 03-26-2010, 08:44 PM
EugenePoet EugenePoet is offline
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Ah, the part about becoming a stay-at-home mom with a 1-year-old changes things in my imagination all right. Major life changes for both of you, but especially for your wife. Is she feeling off-balance and uncertain about her life, do you think? It sounds like the counselor suggested that, in a way.

I dunno if the counselor covered primary and secondary emotions...? A lot of times emotions like anger and resentment are the conscious manifestations of deeper feelings. For example, when my son was involved with meth addiction I spent days in a blind rage, but the real emotion underneath was fear. I couldn't understand and deal with the rage -- it kept coming back no matter what I could do -- until I recognized and dealt with the fear that was deeper down.

It might be useful at some point to probe behind the feelings that surfaced when you discovered your wife's friendship. Maybe not right now. Sometime.

A personal perspective: I'm "dating" a woman who's in a poly marriage, and my understanding of her husband is that he is at ease sharing her affection because he has become absolutely confident that the two of them have an indestructible love for each other. And he's right: she connects well with me emotionally and intellectually as well as physically, but her connection to him is a thousand times deeper.

Anyway. Maybe at some point you will see something down there in your psyche, understand it, and realize that your relationship with your wife has become so strong that you can let go of whatever it was and not worry about her friendships. Because you will then know that no outside friendship can ever threaten what you and she have...and at that point she may be able to tell you everything about her friends with no sense of worry or guilt.

Or maybe I'm just playing amateur shrink here?

Take everything with a grain of salt. You're there and we ain't.

Last edited by EugenePoet; 03-26-2010 at 09:01 PM.
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  #18  
Old 03-26-2010, 08:52 PM
holm holm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EugenePoet View Post
Maybe at some point you will see something down there in your psyche, understand it, and realize that your relationship with your wife has become so strong that you can let go of whatever it was and not worry about her friendships. Because you will then know that no outside friendship can ever threaten what you and she have...and at that point she may be able to tell you everything about her friends with no sense of worry or guilt.
That's what I want more than anything! To be honest though, it's going to take a long time. I am working on a lot of things that I need to do better, but she did hide the relationship, lie to me about it, and after being confronted their conversation turned to how they could continue talking without getting caught, etc... Yes, I probably pushed her to do those things, but building that trust isn't just going to happen. It's going to take work on both our parts.

I'm just going to have let her continue to sort through her feelings keeping in mind, that just like I had a relapse, she's going to have them too.
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  #19  
Old 03-27-2010, 01:43 PM
EugenePoet EugenePoet is offline
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To be honest though, it's going to take a long time.
Yeah! The marriage I referred to is 20+ years in the making. L and D have had their bad times, and from what I understand it was not at all easy.

Actually, L is working through some resentment about one of D's girlfriends now. From my perspective L is justified in her feelings -- the other woman is not accepting the realities of L being the permanent, forever wife in D's world. That's not constructive. But D is a man with an exceptionally generous and wise spirit. L is following his example and growing to become generous enough to let the pettiness of the other woman slide past and disappear without disturbing her balance.

Point being, it's not easy. (Sometimes it's not easy for me being the outside guy, either!)

Your wife was not honest with you, and tried to continue her dishonesty. I agree that there is a lot of reconciliation that needs to happen. She has to go all the way in making amends to you. I suppose that means facing some things inside herself that will be pretty tough to look at.

I think one's interior dishonesty is much harder to face than merely apologizing to someone else for lying. So she's got a lot of difficult work to do. You're right. She needs to step up and heal the relationship from her side.

But again, a counselor is going to know more in 15 minutes than we on the forum can get in several days. It sounds like your personal therapist is good; I hope your marriage counselor is also on the ball.

I admire your awareness and intelligence. I think you're doing what needs to be done and you're doing it wisely.
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