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  #291  
Old 05-01-2013, 12:21 AM
FullofLove1052 FullofLove1052 is offline
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I am happy to see Wednesday. Yesterday was one of those days where it was just too much. I was not up for a 12+ hour work day with everything that was weighing on my mind.

I am glad that I took a day to myself. I had no idea how stressed out I really was. I was in denial about the stress. I am the butterfly of optimism, but yesterday, reality hit like a stack of stones.

I accept that this situation is very sad and highly unfortunate. I appreciate all of the advice. Some of it has been helpful for sure. I helped to create this mess, and there are two paths. Path A is that path that was taken and has continued to be taken. I know what happens when walking down that path. Matt's needs still get trampled over and ignored in lieu of what someone else wants. Path B involves cutting the ties now instead of prolonging the inevitable. This path involves possibly hurting my children. I know it should be about them, but as their mum, I have a say in what is best for them. Stability in their home life is essential. The marriage between us is one of the first relationships they will be exposed to on a consistent and daily basis. We need to show them an example of what a healthy relationship looks like. The number of people in this relationships is neither here nor there. Feuding parents who end up just sharing space due to conflict of interest with the third parental figure is not healthy or a conducive environment for them. No, I do not want to teach them certain things like, "If you get mad at someone, it is okay to cut them off and dismiss them as if they never mattered." That is not quite part of the lesson plans of life format that I care to follow.

Si continues to be an ongoing issue of contention in our marriage. We do not discuss her outside of counselling. The only time we do is if an issue arises that cannot wait until Thursday afternoon. It is counterproductive to keep pushing this issue and hoping that he will change. It is crystal clear that he is not going to change. We are in counselling for lack of communication and lack of listening on my part. Amongst other things, of course. If I continue to go against Matt, it is only a matter of time before it falls apart again, and this time there may be no recovering from it.

After much thinking, soul searching, and weighing the pros and cons, I think I have made a decision. I am stopping them from being around Si. I realise it is hurtful, may not be right or agreeable to all, etc., but in order for counselling to work and to restore some semblance of peace, in my heart of hearts, I believe this is the right decision. This decision was not made in haste. I remained neutral and kept my personal feelings out of it. I reviewed the facts. I took Matt's perspective and all thoughts and sensible feelings into account. I viewed it from Si's point of view, too. I put myself in their shoes and asked, "How would YOU handle this, Ry?" While in Matt's shoes, I realised I would have left a long time ago and stopped tolerating it. While in Si's shoes, I felt hurt, like I had already lost so much, and this would be another blow. I viewed it from daughter's point of view. This is someone that has been in her life and part of it since before she was born. (In the back of mind, I remembered what Matt said about the nanny being part of her life the same amount of time but not expecting her to call her mummy or act like she was her mother, and she sees her every day.) Did we force her to call Si mum? What is the difference between Si and the nanny? Why did she not associate the nanny with being like a mum?

For the first time, I feel like giving Si those kind of parental rights was a mistake. I hope this is not coming from a place of frustration and tiredness. I know people do parenting all kinds of ways. For some, shipping their children off to boarding school from the ages of 11-18 and living child-free is their way way of being a parent. For some, pawning their minor children off on friends or family so they can gallivant all around the world and chase behind a man or woman is their chosen method of parenting. For some, they prefer to have a team of nannies and be as hands off as humanly people. For some, staying at home and forgoing a career is their chosen way. None of those methods describe my style, though.

I choose to be a working mum, but I am involved in their lives every step of the way. No matter what is going on in my world, I stop and give them the love and attention they deserve. Those 15 minutes of playing peek-a-boo with my son, and that time I spend French braiding my baby's hair mean everything to them. I may be on the verge of tears or within seconds of falling apart, but I still give 150% to them. I am a mum, and I signed up to do this the minute I knew she existed. Even when I was 15k km away, I was still a mum. I do not get to stop being a mum because Matt makes me mad. I do not get to stop being a mum because my life has changed beyond recognition. I would not want to stop either. It is part of who I am until the day I die.

When Matt asks what Si has done to earn these rights, he is not being bitter or even expressing sarcasm. He genuinely wants to know because he does not understand what she brings to their lives or what she did to even be granted those rights. He asked me in counselling one day, "Where was she when we were potty training our daughter? Where was she when the first steps were taken? Where was she when our daughter was teething and hurting? Where was she after she received immunisations and was running a fever? Where was she during paediatrician appointments? Where was she when our daughter was having bad dreams and wanted someone to look under the bed for monsters? Where was she when tears needed to be wiped? Where was she when our daughter wanted someone to play with her and tickle her? Where was she when we had newborns, were up all night, and had to be at work for and operating under limited sleep?" It was like a firing squad. I could not answer a single question. He finally asked me, "Do you remember that night that we were both drained and laying there like we were lifeless?" I was like, "Yes." "Remember who was there and what was not said or even asked?" "Yes." Our counsellor asked who was there, and why does this matter? I responded, "Si." She asked Matt, "What is it about this night that bothers you?" Matt looked at her and said something to the effect of, "Her girlfriend saw how tired we were, and do you know she continued getting dressed to go clubbing with her friends? If she was so devoted, she would have realised that two tired people and a baby could have been a recipe for disaster and a safety hazard. I guess partying was more important." Our counsellor asked him, "Did you ask her to stay or tell her that you were tired?" His retort was, "I should not have to ask their other "parent" to help out. That should be a given. You see something needs to be done. Say the dishes. Do you wait until someone asks you to do them, or do you just do it yourself?" Her response, "I do what needs to be done without being prompted." Matt said, "I rest my case."

I am going to sleep on my decision, but I think it is what is for the best. I am going to finish watching "2 Broke Girls" and go to sleep. Today is a 10 AM day, so I can sleep a little bit later. I am still going to have breakfast with my children like I do every day. I missed the bedtime ritual, but I did talk to them on Skype before bedtime. Good-night.

Ry
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  #292  
Old 05-01-2013, 03:54 AM
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BrigidsDaughter BrigidsDaughter is offline
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Our counsellor asked him, "Did you ask her to stay or tell her that you were tired?" His retort was, "I should not have to ask their other "parent" to help out. That should be a given. You see something needs to be done. Say the dishes. Do you wait until someone asks you to do them, or do you just do it yourself?" Her response, "I do what needs to be done without being prompted." Matt said, "I rest my case."

I'm trying to think of a nice way to say this, but yes, in my experience, you should ask the other parent to help out. I've never had the experience, either growing up, or as a parent myself, where it was completely expected that the other parent would just drop all of their plans to help out. My husband was military, I worked and went to school. At one point, we were on completely opposite shifts. He left for post at 5am, I got home at 7am. Our room mates slept in the room down the hall from our son until after I got home. (They didn't even wake up for tornado sirens). When I got home, I'd make breakfast, wake the toddler, feed and play with him, clean house, maybe nap for 2 hours with him, then wake up and play with him, make dinner, before the hubby got home. Then, I'd ask if we could squeak in some family time before the toddler went to bed. Sometimes hubby said yes, sometimes he had game night with his friends. Toddler would get bathed and put to bed and I'd catch another 2-3 hour nap before I had to walk to work.

Not saying that it's a bad thing that Matt wants to contribute more, just saying that contrary to his belief, that isn't how it's generally done. And just expecting someone to drop everything because someone is tired, doesn't mean they should. He should have asked, just like he would ask if you'd mind picking something up at the store on the way home from work. It's common courtesy. Gesh, I get that you made mistakes, but the biggest mistake I've seen in here is holding people to unfair expectations all around; and I say unfair because not a single one of you communicated your expectations clearly and are all feeling butt hurt (pardon my language) that they didn't do what you expected them to.

And it wasn't dangerous to leave the two of you home tired, with a baby. . . that's just ridiculous. Parents have been sleep deprived for thousands of years, with and without help, and that is a perfectly normal and safe environment for children to be around. Otherwise the human race would have died out long ago.
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  #293  
Old 05-01-2013, 04:27 AM
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Scissors Scissors is offline
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Originally Posted by FullofLove1052
I would love to hear your thoughts.
All right.

Your therapist is an amateur. Here is why.

Quote:
Our counsellor asked him, "Did you ask her to stay or tell her that you were tired?"
Considering Matt's apparent inability to communicate effectively, asking this is the classic way to try to get someone to realize the two sane options here, "did you communicate with her in x way or did you communicate with her in y way?" Either way, the answer SHOULD have been either, "yes, I communicated with her in X/Y way" or "huh, you're right, I didn't communicate with her" (which is the crux of BrigidsDaughter's post). Instead:

Quote:
His retort was, "I should not have to ask their other "parent" to help out. That should be a given. You see something needs to be done. Say the dishes. Do you wait until someone asks you to do them, or do you just do it yourself?"
He deflects with a (his usual customary?) classic avoidance statement, which your therapist should be smart enough to pick up on and point out. She completely missed it, and then...

Quote:
Her response, "I do what needs to be done without being prompted."
This is where, pardon me, everything went down the shitter. I immediately lost respect for this "professional" you have (perhaps blindly out of a place of dark emotional distress) entrusted your mental health to. Rule number one of Marital Fight Club is you don't talk about Marital Fight Club. She broke rules number two AND three: you don't take sides, and you never interject your own values/morals into the situations of others.

No wonder you are feeling ganged up on, because you are. No wonder Matt continues to go, because he is constantly subtly validated for his actions. Have you considered that one of the very behaviors which would serve everyone best to eradicate (Matt's uncommunicativeness) is actually being perpetuated by the person who is supposed to nudge him into modifying it? This is why you don't break rule number two.

By breaking rule number three she did one destructive thing (and one other potentially destructive thing). The first is by agreeing with Matt's handling of the situation she forfeited her objectivity as a therapist and became "the swing vote" - a mere pawn to be used and convinced by whoever has the more compelling argument (which, like BrigidsDaughter, I don't agree Matt was in the right in that situation). If you want someone to agree with you, any bum off the street or the internet will suffice. That's not the point of a therapist. The second thing is now, if there are future fundamental disagreements between you two, she has set up this dynamic where she has already "cast her vote for who gets booted off the island", so to speak. She is now personally vested to "win". Even if she might agree with you on principle in the future and disagree with Matt, the power of previous alliances is a profound, influential one. A therapist that can be swayed so easily and fall into the very trap she set (and indeed, should have been trained not to fall into) is not one who is self-aware enough to see how her actions cause these small shifts in power. Ry, you can only lose.

If that conversation with your therapist is one of the major things that led you to this conclusion about how to handle things with Si, namely cutting her out of your children's lives, I urge you to reflect. Perhaps even, examine future sessions critically.
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  #294  
Old 05-01-2013, 06:14 AM
InfinitePossibility InfinitePossibility is offline
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I feel for all of you. I feel for Matt, for you, for Si and for your children.

You are the one communicating here and what I see is a constant flip flopping of decisions. Not long ago (a week or so, I think) you'd decided to cut Si out of the kid's lives. Then you revised that decision. Matt was going to see a therapist about his parental alienation thingy. Then you were exhausted, had a day off work and now you're back to cutting Si out of the children's lives.

Quote:
This decision was not made in haste. I remained neutral and kept my personal feelings out of it.
This is simply not true. Even if you'd been thinking about nothing but that decision since you and Si split up, it would still have been made in haste. Working through changes takes longer than a few weeks no matter what they are.

You cannot remain neutral in this. You more than anybody. You are making decisions that affect your husband, the woman you were in love with for over decade and the children that you gave birth to. You cannot be neutral and if you feel like you are being, you are kidding yourself on.

Plus, you've written very clearly that what you want is a peaceful home life so that you can continue working very long hours without becoming overly stressed. So even without your emotional involvement with the others, your own interests drive you to seek the solution that you believe will give you the most peace in the shortest period of time.

Is it possible for you to take annual leave from work for a few weeks or get your GP to sign you off for a while to give you time and space to think, to see different counselors and to adjust to the new reality of your life?

I have found my work helpful during the stress and loss of the last few years of my life. But - I have been dealing with illness and death rather than break ups and resentments and turmoil in my home. And - my job is much lower stress and has much shorter hours than yours does so it doesn't stop me sleeping or add to the tumult in any way.

I worry that simply in terms of hours out of the house and tiredness your work isn't helping in attempts to deal with Matt's ongoing resentment and you and Si's breakup. So maybe a break from dealing with work would help you deal more easily with the challenges in your home life.

IP
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  #295  
Old 05-01-2013, 06:36 AM
monkeystyle monkeystyle is offline
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Originally Posted by BrigidsDaughter View Post
Our counsellor asked him, "Did you ask her to stay or tell her that you were tired?" His retort was, "I should not have to ask their other "parent" to help out. That should be a given. You see something needs to be done. Say the dishes. Do you wait until someone asks you to do them, or do you just do it yourself?" Her response, "I do what needs to be done without being prompted." Matt said, "I rest my case."

I'm trying to think of a nice way to say this, but yes, in my experience, you should ask the other parent to help out. I've never had the experience, either growing up, or as a parent myself, where it was completely expected that the other parent would just drop all of their plans to help out. My husband was military, I worked and went to school. At one point, we were on completely opposite shifts. He left for post at 5am, I got home at 7am. Our room mates slept in the room down the hall from our son until after I got home. (They didn't even wake up for tornado sirens). When I got home, I'd make breakfast, wake the toddler, feed and play with him, clean house, maybe nap for 2 hours with him, then wake up and play with him, make dinner, before the hubby got home. Then, I'd ask if we could squeak in some family time before the toddler went to bed. Sometimes hubby said yes, sometimes he had game night with his friends. Toddler would get bathed and put to bed and I'd catch another 2-3 hour nap before I had to walk to work.

Not saying that it's a bad thing that Matt wants to contribute more, just saying that contrary to his belief, that isn't how it's generally done. And just expecting someone to drop everything because someone is tired, doesn't mean they should. He should have asked, just like he would ask if you'd mind picking something up at the store on the way home from work. It's common courtesy. Gesh, I get that you made mistakes, but the biggest mistake I've seen in here is holding people to unfair expectations all around; and I say unfair because not a single one of you communicated your expectations clearly and are all feeling butt hurt (pardon my language) that they didn't do what you expected them to.

And it wasn't dangerous to leave the two of you home tired, with a baby. . . that's just ridiculous. Parents have been sleep deprived for thousands of years, with and without help, and that is a perfectly normal and safe environment for children to be around. Otherwise the human race would have died out long ago.
I'm pretty sure that was one example only, but if bidden her husband would probably have others. My assumption is Matt thinks that she isn't actually a parent at all, and that presence or proximity in the house does not make her one. Sacrifice on some level FOR the family makes her part of it, not just existence around them. In their case, the relationship with Ry was why Si was there in the first place, and relationships with the children happened because of the close quarters.

Which to most people in the world of monogamy makes Si either a good friend, or a pseudo stepparent. But not responsible for them. Which she obviously isn't, either legally, or via any agreement with Matt and Ry that made her one in some genuine way.
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  #296  
Old 05-01-2013, 11:06 AM
FullofLove1052 FullofLove1052 is offline
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I'm pretty sure that was one example only, but if bidden her husband would probably have others. My assumption is Matt thinks that she isn't actually a parent at all, and that presence or proximity in the house does not make her one. Sacrifice on some level FOR the family makes her part of it, not just existence around them. In their case, the relationship with Ry was why Si was there in the first place, and relationships with the children happened because of the close quarters.

Which to most people in the world of monogamy makes Si either a good friend, or a pseudo stepparent. But not responsible for them. Which she obviously isn't, either legally, or via any agreement with Matt and Ry that made her one in some genuine way.
One example is correct. That is no assumption. He does not think she is a parent or even remotely behaves like one, and in turn, he does not treat her like one. You hit the nail on the head.
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Old 05-01-2013, 11:19 AM
FullofLove1052 FullofLove1052 is offline
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Originally Posted by BrigidsDaughter View Post
Our counsellor asked him, "Did you ask her to stay or tell her that you were tired?" His retort was, "I should not have to ask their other "parent" to help out. That should be a given. You see something needs to be done. Say the dishes. Do you wait until someone asks you to do them, or do you just do it yourself?" Her response, "I do what needs to be done without being prompted." Matt said, "I rest my case."

I'm trying to think of a nice way to say this, but yes, in my experience, you should ask the other parent to help out. I've never had the experience, either growing up, or as a parent myself, where it was completely expected that the other parent would just drop all of their plans to help out. My husband was military, I worked and went to school. At one point, we were on completely opposite shifts. He left for post at 5am, I got home at 7am. Our room mates slept in the room down the hall from our son until after I got home. (They didn't even wake up for tornado sirens). When I got home, I'd make breakfast, wake the toddler, feed and play with him, clean house, maybe nap for 2 hours with him, then wake up and play with him, make dinner, before the hubby got home. Then, I'd ask if we could squeak in some family time before the toddler went to bed. Sometimes hubby said yes, sometimes he had game night with his friends. Toddler would get bathed and put to bed and I'd catch another 2-3 hour nap before I had to walk to work.

Not saying that it's a bad thing that Matt wants to contribute more, just saying that contrary to his belief, that isn't how it's generally done. And just expecting someone to drop everything because someone is tired, doesn't mean they should. He should have asked, just like he would ask if you'd mind picking something up at the store on the way home from work. It's common courtesy. Gesh, I get that you made mistakes, but the biggest mistake I've seen in here is holding people to unfair expectations all around; and I say unfair because not a single one of you communicated your expectations clearly and are all feeling butt hurt (pardon my language) that they didn't do what you expected them to.

And it wasn't dangerous to leave the two of you home tired, with a baby. . . that's just ridiculous. Parents have been sleep deprived for thousands of years, with and without help, and that is a perfectly normal and safe environment for children to be around. Otherwise the human race would have died out long ago.
I would agree with that, but that tell that to the mothers who have accidentally rolled over and suffocated their children, when extremely tired. I sleep incredibly hard, and I never felt comfortable co-sleeping with a baby.

I just read about a case where the mother fell asleep for 10 hours with a 4 month old and a toddler in the house. When she finally woke up both children were dead. There is an inquest going on right now. The father says the mum was never depressed, but suffered from anemia and extreme exhaustion. Accidents happen, so I understand.

I am not butt hurt over anything. I never asked anyone to a do anything for me. I brought my children into this world, and it is my responsibility to take care of them. Expecting anyone to do anything is ridiculous. Implied, explicitly stated, or any other way.
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  #298  
Old 05-01-2013, 11:38 AM
FullofLove1052 FullofLove1052 is offline
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Originally Posted by InfinitePossibility View Post
I feel for all of you. I feel for Matt, for you, for Si and for your children.

You are the one communicating here and what I see is a constant flip flopping of decisions. Not long ago (a week or so, I think) you'd decided to cut Si out of the kid's lives. Then you revised that decision. Matt was going to see a therapist about his parental alienation thingy. Then you were exhausted, had a day off work and now you're back to cutting Si out of the children's lives.



This is simply not true. Even if you'd been thinking about nothing but that decision since you and Si split up, it would still have been made in haste. Working through changes takes longer than a few weeks no matter what they are.

You cannot remain neutral in this. You more than anybody. You are making decisions that affect your husband, the woman you were in love with for over decade and the children that you gave birth to. You cannot be neutral and if you feel like you are being, you are kidding yourself on.

Plus, you've written very clearly that what you want is a peaceful home life so that you can continue working very long hours without becoming overly stressed. So even without your emotional involvement with the others, your own interests drive you to seek the solution that you believe will give you the most peace in the shortest period of time.

Is it possible for you to take annual leave from work for a few weeks or get your GP to sign you off for a while to give you time and space to think, to see different counselors and to adjust to the new reality of your life?

I have found my work helpful during the stress and loss of the last few years of my life. But - I have been dealing with illness and death rather than break ups and resentments and turmoil in my home. And - my job is much lower stress and has much shorter hours than yours does so it doesn't stop me sleeping or add to the tumult in any way.

I worry that simply in terms of hours out of the house and tiredness your work isn't helping in attempts to deal with Matt's ongoing resentment and you and Si's breakup. So maybe a break from dealing with work would help you deal more easily with the challenges in your home life.

IP
The flipping only happened because I was urged to reconsider. I made up my mind, and I was my firm in my decision. According to some, that was not fair to Si or my children. Seriously, my attitude at this point is whatever.

I am not taking off work unless it is just mandatory like my children. I will not let this situation interfere with something I love. My job does not stress me out that much. Long hours? Yes. Every health professional goes through phases of, "Why am I doing this?" It is rewarding when it is all said and done. I beat all the odds, and despite getting tired from time to time, I am proud of myself. I am doing what I love and what I am passionate about. It makes me happy.

Yesterday was a one-time deal. I am back at work today. If I take time off, that is not going to help me. It is not going to make me feel better, think any clearer, or lessen Matt's resentment. I cannot control another person's actions or emotions. I can only control mine. I do not want to see any more counsellors. I barely want to see the one we have now, and that is just once a week. It is nothing against her, but I am tired of the whole process. Tomorrow marks nine weeks of counselling and nine weeks since everything fell apart.

Yes, my husband did talk to a therapist who specialises in PA. It did not change his attitude one bit. If anything it further upset him because that implies that he even has to acknowledge her as a parent. He does not view her as a parent because he does not think she has earned it, so it went in one ear and out of the other one. Earning by association or being in close proximity is not a valid enough argument to warrant being granted parental rights to him. For every argument, he has a counterargument, that usually has valid and concise points. He asks questions that no one has the answers to.

I want peace. Everyone should want that in some form.
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Old 05-01-2013, 04:15 PM
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SNeacail SNeacail is offline
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I do not want to see any more counsellors. I barely want to see the one we have now, and that is just once a week. It is nothing against her, but I am tired of the whole process. Tomorrow marks nine weeks of counselling and nine weeks since everything fell apart.
My husband and I went for over a year and the ONLY reason we stopped was because we couldn't afford it anymore. I remember feeling like things were hopeless when after 3 months we were still struggling and needing so much help. We were able to scale it back to twice a month and then once a month over time. I really wish we could go at least once a month still, especially when we start falling back into old habits. Sometimes you just have to get back to everyday life for a while.

I agree with a previous poster, that you guys may not have the "right" fit in a therapist. I understand how changing at this stage could be too overwhelming a task, but it might be worth searching for a better fit after your move. Living 20+ years with crappy communication, it takes time to change bad habits and that third party is extremely helpful.
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Old 05-01-2013, 11:40 PM
FullofLove1052 FullofLove1052 is offline
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My husband and I went for over a year and the ONLY reason we stopped was because we couldn't afford it anymore. I remember feeling like things were hopeless when after 3 months we were still struggling and needing so much help. We were able to scale it back to twice a month and then once a month over time. I really wish we could go at least once a month still, especially when we start falling back into old habits. Sometimes you just have to get back to everyday life for a while.

I agree with a previous poster, that you guys may not have the "right" fit in a therapist. I understand how changing at this stage could be too overwhelming a task, but it might be worth searching for a better fit after your move. Living 20+ years with crappy communication, it takes time to change bad habits and that third party is extremely helpful.
She is excellent, but I am just like falling out of like with it. It is not her. It is me. It feels hopeless and pointless. I could be doing so many other things with that time. I see changes, but I am just not into this. I am all too independent, and I hate relying on a third person to help fix my marriage. In some ways, it makes me feel like a failure and brings up feelings that are making me second guess everything. As a result, I feel sad from time to time. I am not even equipped to deal with a marriage. Dear Jesus. What else am I going to bomb at? We have a counselling session today, and I have mere hours to change my attitude or nothing that is said today will even sink in. I could have the best therapist in the world, and I would still just not be into it.
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Ry - Me. Panromantic demisexual with a history of polyamorist tendencies. Married to...
Matt (Hubby) - The once distant stranger that I complement beautifully. DH of 13 years and father of our four children.
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