My wife doesn't care about my feelings
My wife and I fight from time to time, as married couples do, but *I* am always the one in the wrong. When she does something that upsets me, she is more than happy to hear what I'm upset about, but never acknowledges my position. She thinks whatever I am upset about is ridiculous and unjustified therefore invalidating my feelings. Even worse she gets mad and does whats bothering me even more and rubs in my face. She doesn't care that I am in pain because she feels my feelings are unfounded. Once shes mad, the first step to resolving it is by me apologizing. So essentially, I have to apologize for my feelings being hurt and she doesn't share any responsibility in the matter. Whats more, she will still do the things that upset me. This has happened for years. I know she won't be receptive to anything that bothers me so I'm very careful to only bring up things that are serious. She claims the reason she doesn't acknowledge my feelings is because I am bothered by "everything all the time" and shes sick of it. When we first met, I'm sure that was true. But over the years I have chilled out considerably. She bases the "everything all the time" on the past when now its only every so often. So basically I can never be mad about anything ever. The worst part isn't the thing that I am bothered by, its that she stomps on my heart and makes me apologize for it. I have begged her to go to couples counseling but she refuses. I asked if there was anything I could do to which she replied "go to therapy." Some people might say I should just get a divorce but I love her deeply, I want things to work out for us. I'd be more miserable if we got a divorce because we have a child and I'd have to deal with the heartache of custody and seeing her move on with another boyfriend/husband. I'm trapped and I don't know what to do. I'm willing to fight for my marriage but she removed all ammunition in this battle. I don't know that anyone could give any advice that would help, but I don't know where else to turn. Please help.
Sorry I wish I could help but I'm in a similar boat to yours
you have NO reason to let anyone invalidate you feelings, what you think and what you have to say - and go and rub it in your face again and again just to make you see it's all your fault anyhow - so you will come and "apologize" and surrender to her : because that's what you seem to have done over the years : "chilled out" over the things that were important to you - she refuses couple therapy but says you should go : so you're the one obviously who's got "problems" - not her - it seems she lacks empathy, kindness and consideration : if these are fundamental character/personality traits - she might not change : so the question is - are you wiling to put up with someone who maybe is not going to change ? nobody likes to admit failure : of course you would want your relation to work but if she's not putting in her five cents then you rowing the boat all on your own plus you having to not want anything that would be something that she doesn't want - would that be your idea of the perfect relation ? I understand you don't like the idea of divorce because it equals failure and you will have to see that you get to see your child plus her ending up meeting someone else : but how about you ? you too would then be able to meet someone new - it seems you're addicted to an unhealthy way (she has)of relating that gives you a twisted diminished idea of yourself : that of someone always willing to duck under, submit, surrender and overall belittle yourself : if she is of the narcissistic type of course she will take advantage of that and play it for what it's worth and keep you in the loop as long as you're willing to take yourself down - you have to set apart facts and feelings and see reality for what it is : love is not losing one's ability to think straight and see facts/concrete actions - I know it's not easy when one has invested so much but get yourself unentangled and see what's in your best immediate concrete and viable interest now :)
Thank you for your reply, Thedynamicsofsoul. As my screen name states, I am forming myself to her needs. I know this isn't good, at a certain point. I do think that married couples need to make compromises and make reasonable changes. You are right, she lacks empathy and I highly doubt she will change. I am pursing therapy but not specifically to "fix" the "problems" she thinks I have but to try and understand the situation more and uncover any blind spots I have. I don't know if I can put up with it or not, but I feel stuck. Staying or leaving seem like dark paths to go down. I know she loves me and I know she puts up with a lot from me. I know she also doesn't mean to hurt me (except once shes mad), but she won't accommodate my comfort zones when it really matters. When we have thees fights, the pain is so immense that I'll do anything to make it stop, which is why I submit. She isn't narcissistic, but stubborn. She'd rather divorce me than apologize or show empathy. As far as meeting someone else, I'm not confident on that. When I met her, I had given up on dating or meeting anyone new since I had been failing miserably at finding love. But then I met this sweet attractive woman who loved me in-spite of my flaws, I gave it a chance. I know myself well enough that I would go back to being endlessly single and unhappy, therefore I don't expect to meet anyone...at least not before seeing her meet someone new while I'm still hung up on her. I'd do anything for her but I can't bear it when she doesn't respect my boundaries then stomps on my heart. When you say "get yourself unentangled", what do you mean?
blind spots - such as those of "wanting to make things right" : emphatic people want to "get it" because they feel so much - so they go into wanting to understand - the situation - another - which is very laudable but takes them away from themselves to get all wrapped up in another and the situation
you say you feel stuck - any choice seems to be a dark one : by staying there must be something that you're not acknowledging in the right to fully be you and by leaving you have the impression that you're leaving things undone - is it about finding closure ? closure doesn't necessarily equate ending a relation - it means putting an end to a pending situation so as to be able to move on
you say she puts up with a lot from you : how very "bad" are you in your own eyes ? and why ?
you say she's not willing to accomodate you when it really matters and so you get into immense pains - so much that you will give in : the pain you're feeling is one of not sufficiently respecting yourself - you prefer to suffer for the sake of the relation - for her sake - for some "cause" you hold higher then yourself
I know we all like to put love on a pedestal and carry another up in the sky but how often is this not a transfer for the love we will not allow for ourselves - thinking this might be selfish ?
you say that when you met her you had given up on meeting someone - so you betted your whole life on her and this relationship - she had to be "the one" - besides - you say she loved you despites your flaws : what are those terrible "flaws" you might have ? do you think others are perfect and you so messed up ? she incarnated the sweet attractive woman : maybe you thought she would be able to answer all your unfulfilled wihes - wishes for what exactly ? what kind of happiness ? how do you see happiness with someone and with yourself ?
you say you easily would go back to being single and therefor wouldn't expect to meet anyone : do you think you're so not worth it ?
you say you would not let yourself meet someone new before she gets to meet someone : I understand you love her but you really are putting your life on hold - she seems to go first in any case and always : do you think this is healthy ?
love is not getting "hung up" - all entangled in the many ropes of a relation to the point of loosing touch with our own fundamental righteous and vital needs : people love to be all taken in love but love is not supposed to be a web where one gets caught in and stuck
it seems you need to get back in touch with your inner power : there is no reason why you should allow her to disrespect your boundaries and refuse to accomodate your primal vital basic emotional needs of peace, happiness and well-being - no love is worth such behaviors
you must not put your love for her above the love you have for yourself : when there is abuse it is because there is an "opportunity" - an opening for that - you must look in yourself to where it is that you allow her to hurt you and why you allow this - then remediate and fix it for the sole purpose of self-respect - it's from this basis that you can get "back in the game" and "negociate" the relation - go Tailored Heart : you can do this :)
(The tumbleweed would suggest, not without a good reality-slapping, he can't. Allow moi...)
“I'm willing to fight for my marriage but she removed all ammunition in this battle.”
"She isn't narcissistic, but stubborn. She'd rather divorce me than apologize or show empathy."
Sorry, but there's cutting off your nose to spite your own face and then there's BOMBING YOUR WHOLE FACE TO SPITE YOUR OWN FACE! That's not normal stubbornness, then, is it. If it's true. Or is that just your excuse for the fact you haven't tried HARD enough to impress the seriousness of all of this from your POV onto her?
Also, you should be aware of what a ruddy great Red flag it is when one half of a team, despite KNOWING the other half of the relationship is that incredibly unhappy, refuses for no good reason (e.g. anything short of lying in hospital!) to join them in what, let's face it, everybody knows is 9.5 times out of 10 a long tried-and-tested method for fixing the usual causal problems between two people. (It ain't rocket-science and it's only 50 piddly minutes per week or fortnight on avg.) It says the other team member is (or at whatever point along the road has become) interested solely in their own welfare and happiness and are 'alright, Jack, so - where's the problemo?'.
I'll tell them where the problem is: there are two ways a relationship can die: One is by one of you jumping off the Love Mountain and dragging your other half over the cliff-edge with you and the other is by SLIDING down slowly but surely and painfully, feeling every sharply jutting rock. Acute versus chronic. Death still results, whichever. Some people may never articulate this innate knowledge, but carry it inside them they still do. So what this woman is behaviourally saying, according to you, is that she doesn't mind the thought of yours and her marriage bit-by-bit continuing to die, just as long as it still has some sort of juice to yield in the meantime.
News for you: If you’re stuck, that’s you putting up with it in-motion. Stuck means paralysed. And paralysis means significant conflict between Fight and Flight. Emotionally, that usually means, I wish someone would wave a magic wand and do it FOR me.
Don’t we all. But then, how on earth would one ever grow, strengthen and develop?
What I hear her words and behaviour saying are, she USED to care, but at some point back when you were 'complaining too much', left you - emotionally if not physically. No doubt, same as you, because of your child. So I expect that BY NOW she might well be presenting as personality disordered when, really, she's simply long given up hope.
More news for you: if you're almost constantly complaining, whether about emotional or practical stuff then what you're actually doing is expressing this: "Ach, make me love you more, be more lovable, damnit!". And that translates to, I don't feel sufficiently in-love with you/You're not right enough for me as you stand (so please reorientate and re-shape). Is that why she finally opted out, mentally? Because you finally convinced her how under-par she is compared to your expectations and needs, ergo why bother even continuing to try?
How to impress management (which applies to *co*-management/partnership): in the same breath as stating the problem each time, present a number of achievable solutions. They’re not then faced with being forced to constantly do your workload FOR you (in which case why bother keeping you on the books at all). You’re the plaintiff. If you know what displeases you then logic dictates you must equally know what would please instead. You say marital counselling would please you. But you weaken your so-called vehemence by approaching on tiptoe, followed by mewling. Unconvincing. (Did you (her perception) cry wolf too many times, perhaps?)
I'm not surprised if you felt during those formative years that you had to try to somewhat shoehorn this woman into something far closer to your conceivable yet achievable ideal, if she, according to YOUR mind, was and remains the only option available to you full-stop-Amen, meaning, still better than nothing and no-one.
“I know myself well enough that I would go back to being endlessly single and unhappy”. You know. You know Jack-sh*t. CLEARLY. Because, er, NO SHE WASN’T and NO SHE ISN’T; it's logistically, genetically and existentially impossible. But there's your original, now very manifest problem: Your decision to settle, despite was enough fuel to run on for a few years, including producing a baby, is now, through you, situationally coming to a head (ker-boom!). She's probably lately had it in her defeatist mind to just bide her time, put her own red-blooded womanly needs to the backburner, until kiddie leaves home.
"I'd rather be a-lone than un-ha-ppy", sang Whitney. What wasn't mentioned (probably because whoever wrote those lyrics was as clouded and negative as you at the time) is that there should be an addendum that goes, "for a wee while". The songwriter made it sound permanent (albeit, that's rhyme and meter constraints for ya). The truth is, Nature, via the human drive, pushes and pulls everyone into relationships whether they think they want one or not, meaning, only issues and/or concerted efforts to avoid one can work (e.g. shave your head and don dungarees, LOL)...and then only for so long, depending on how stubborn or fearful they remain *plus* how determined and tenacious their pursuer (either/or/both). But, yes, you did bring a child into this family and so for ITS sake you first have to do all that's in your power to salvage it, if possible.
Listen, if Russia and America can find a way then you and the missus have no excuse.
I mean, what's THIS all about? ""I am pursing therapy but not specifically to "fix" the "problems" she thinks I have but to try and understand the situation more and uncover any blind spots I have. " My answer to that is, Oh...are you not? WHY not? Shouldn't you at least want to eliminate the eliminate-able from the enquiry? Re making excuses, therefore, that statement makes it sound suspiciously like you're more focussed in stockpiling ammo ready for the next tete-a-tete. Or are you hoping to secretly get assertiveness training out of it?
NEITHER of you are trying enough, IMO. And that's what you DO have in common.
You'd be surprised how assertive even your meekest, mildest people can suddenly become the minute there's something they REALLY, BADLY want and need. Same goes, vice-versa, for the domineering, uncooperative types.
First step: throw off your mental straitjacket. I repeat, no she is NOT the only suitable woman for you in this world; far from it. If you only knew HOW far then you'd be gaffawing at your own statement as hard as I did - and wading in PRO-PER-LEE. But by insisting on wearing that ridiculous self-restraint you're incapable of throwing any 'punches' (the productive variety), let alone placing any force behind them whereby she'll suddenly newly sit up and take notice.
Manly up and rear up. Surprise and re-inspire her via obvious optimism and determination..if you truly have it like you claim. Enough of this kowtow-ing, hand-wringing "er, excuse me"-ing... Those sorts of approaches are just going to COMPOUND her sense of jaded-ness and suspicion that you don’t REALLY want to save the whole tennis tournament itself aside from winning a few of its mere games or matches.
If you REALLY wanted the whole tournament, you’d do what it took, no MATTER if it weren’t strictly your comfort-zone. BER-BOM!
Think about why that poster of the naked, tanned, toned and muscley bloke cradling a naked little newborn baby sold like hot cakes: The sexiest, most female-appealing male quality, REGARDLESS of social and material status, is this: roughly 50% Ahhh, 50% URRRR! That is the female human definition of HOT/IMPRESSIVE. Stands to reason if you consider what our still-present wiring was evolutionarily designed for in that pairbonded context. (Or ANY context.) Who wants an overly heavy-handed gorilla looking after (and roaring at) the highly sensitive nippers any time she herself is incapacitated? Who wants a wimp who gives into their every, guaranteeably unhealthy, demand? As a woman, you need that balance. Get it and – SWOON!
I mean,… “When we have thees fights, the pain is so immense that I'll do anything to make it stop”. EXCEPT FOR WHAT YOU *SHOULD* BE DOING! How the hell are you supposed to become good at thinking and operating under pain and panic if you keep running from it or shutting it up every time? Ever heard of gritting your teeth and giving yourself a good talking to, or practise makes perfect?
Try this for size: Pow! Is Ow! with P (for Pretension and Pride) in front of it. The pretense is this: Din’t hurt, don’t care anyway, so there!
Second step: Find the right moment to announce something along these lines (and include the ‘motherly manipulation for the power of good’ bit):
'Houston, wholly irrespective of who started it or who’s carrying it on, blah-blah, we undeniably have a problem. It needs fixing. We can't, so that means seeking a professional fixer/facilitator, even if only in the first instance for the sake of our baby's optimally normal welfare and future, because ignoring it not only isn't an option but is just a slower, more drawn-out and painful divorce, merely sans legal paperwork for the most part...SO slow and painful that the chances of it permanently skewing our child's attitudes are nigh-on guaranteed. I INSIST FOR HIS/HER SAKE AT LEAST, that we book a marital counsellor this very week or else formally separate for 6 months minimum to a year in order to both re-evaluate whether we want to both resume rowing equally, the right way, in order to find prettier, calmer waters again, or jump ship. If you persist with any kind of avoidance or procrastination tactics I shall take that as firm indication that you're angling for the latter and contact a divorce solicitor. What say you?'
Put it in a handwritten letter if you have to (so she can't argue back and has to listen). But you do have to.
‘Begged her’ - pfff! That insistence is your bog-standard right to assert - repeat, ASSERT. No more, no less. Don't make cop-out excuses about gross scarcity or being over-anxious about mere finer details (like fights that go unresolved and continually pull you inexorably towards The Big D anyway), just because you don't have a crystal ball with which to unshackle yourself from wholly irrational and illogical fears and/or because you’re unused to having to properly stand up for yourself under pressure or even fire. Today is the very Future you so feared last year, five years ago, last decade, the decade before... Okay, it's problematic in one area, but.. it's not THAT scary compared to your worst fears and imaginings, is it?
AS I’ve pointed out, you have nothing to lose any more, anyway, by finally putting your foot down. Au contraire.
So try that Ahh/URR mixture of approach first and THEN – and ONLY then – can you say with any confident conviction that she’s not right in the head, marriageability-wise, or even unhealthily stubborn, should she still refuse to play ball… at which point, not only WILL you walk away, but will find it surprisingly easy, relatively-speaking, thanks to it being from a place of strength and clean conscience - AS, NOTE, will enable you to help your child accept and come to terms with the drastic life change. If you, the parent, scream or cry on sight of a spider, so will the little monkey-see-monkey-do (that’s how it works).
And if any of that made you angry – GOOD! Might put a bit of turbo in your engine, finally.
(Nope, that didn't work either.)
Hi there, its been a while since I responded to your posts. Thank you for your input, Thedynamicsofsoul and Soulmate. I've had several conversations with different people and gained some insight. Most of the conversations I had were one-sided because the other person is only hearing my side of the issue. Most of them (including this thread) gave me advice which I already understood in one way or another. That being that I shouldn't allow my feelings to be dismissed and if she refuses couples counseling that I need to take a step back. I understood this already. I also knew, however painful, that life would go on should I decide to end the marriage. Yes, denial in this area has taken over in my head and I could only see how bad things would be either temporarily or just in my head. I know I'm not worthless and I deserve consideration when it comes to my feelings. I know I deserve to be happy and with someone who doesn't treat me poorly. All these things I knew, just in the back of my mind. I had rather sit in the mud puddle than see the brighter side of things.
I did have one such conversation that was revealing. It showed me things from her perspective without her even being there. I realized that I have created a space for her where she doesn't feel safe. One that puts her on the defensive, which is dismissing of my feelings. I spoke to her about this without coming out and bluntly stating what I just wrote. She said that the way she is with me is not how she had been with others in the past. That the way I am has shaped how she responds to me. I want to reverse that somehow. I love her and she does love me. I want to create that space where she feels safe, where she can be vulnerable with me. It will take a some time and a lot of work along the way but it will be worth it. Few things are worth this much work but that's why I am willing to put in the effort.
So, issues will come up in the future, they're bound to. When they do, I think I need to take a step back and wait to respond until the initial shock wares off and I can effectively articulate the issue. That's a start but there's more. I don't know the how I can create this space of safety, but I'm going to find out. I am starting counseling soon (already scheduled appointments). I have also suggested to her that we have a regularly scheduled date night (which she agreed to). I have lined up a babysitter and made a list of date night ideas (to which she only had me cross off a few ideas).
I know in some ways this may sound like I'm just rolling over, but not really. I need to take full responsibility for my actions and behavior before I can point out hers and make demands. I know when I last wrote I was in the midst of an emotional breakdown...it was really bad. I've recovered, and we have mostly recovered. I hope the next time I post, I can share success rather than just revelation.
I admire your resolution in looking to find solutions and to make the effort to see things from another perspective - hers included - I think it's fine you want to do your part to make things better and I see you coming forth with concrete things to do but she has to do her part too
in a relation people do tend to "shape" to the relation and the other but if that is to the point of becoming what they are essentially not - then that is not healthy : so if she says she's become something because of you - she must consider where it is she allowed this to happen
each one HAS to take on the part that's theirs to be responsible for
maybe indeed you have to become more "cool" in that not "everything bothers you all the time" ( as in oversensitive) but I do think it is your right to not agree with some things and speak about it : indeed maybe you have to then take a step back so as to consider and come forth with an articulate, rational and thought through thinking process and not just only hyper emotionality (if that is the case)
I'm fine with you going to counseling but what about her ? what does she intend to do about those behaviors, attitudes and reactions that are hers to be responsible for ?
I understand you want to show more "manly" resolution and energy but don't think that now you've got to be the one to carry all of it alone so that she may rest vulnerable in your arms : vulnerability goes both ways and it is your right to sometimes be just "so so"
anyway - I wish you all the best and look forward to hearing from you - positively :)
Oh, good, you're back!
Well, I'm impressed as well, actually. You're obviously a very intelligent chap. Not only do you have your priorities straight in terms of the importance of this relationship compared to all else, but it's rare for a man to be so honest, humble and resourceful, despite under-fire, as to basically conduct what most men would call an exercise in denting his (so-called) pride by daring to take a poll amongst people that know him personally. In that respect, she's a very lucky woman. Same for a man's ability to admit he did know all the answers (course) despite caught for a while there in easier denial. So I think it's safe to assume you would have been as unbiased as possible, considering the clam impression your wife had apparently been doing.
It's hard to step back when you're in the thick of things, though, as in, can't see the wood for the trees, so - do just bear in mind, should you ever need to, what a deceptive GOD-SEND a formal separation can be - even a short, month-long one - and not fall into the common trap of letting the very idea of it scare the bejesus out of you for thinking it's automatically a dangerous step to take, like it has to mean a head-start to Splatville. It doesn't. In fact, sometimes it's the only preventative/salvager there is. Plus it can do in record time what counselling might take longer at - even faster if you do the two combined - mainly because it gives you both a chance to MISS each other and stop taking things so for granted through its semi-previewing of what life would feel like with 'one arm missing' (despite it always grows back, good as new or majorly improved).
"I realized that I have created a space for her where she doesn't feel safe"
If you're referring to your right chivvying/wrong tone, then, yup. Constant complaining will do that. But here's the rub: if, when it first enters the equation, the other person knows in their heart of hearts that there's something in it, because they're repeatedly doing something needlessly and avoidably wrong, or knows the alteration wouldn't actually kill them, meaning it's not strictly speaking a demand to change, just to improve and enhance (diff/all the diff), then ideally they should at least want to try. Psych fact: it's not actually the serving, just the *real endeavouring* that keeps ones partner feeling loved, cherished and happy.
'Nagging and whinging' can be a symptom of the fact that ones partner won't even *consider* whether the complaint might hold validity. Their refusal to do their own rowing of the little boat then (dizziness + exhaustion) quickly becomes your entire complaint in itself, which then seeks to express itself *all over the shop* using whatever excuse or illustration it can gets its hands on.
Furthermore, could it be said that the other party CAME to the relationship on the defensive, ready to take any constructively-intended criticism as nothing but you just picking on them and taking your moodies out on them... in which case you can find yourself paying for the sins of their exes and need to either concede they're not ready for a relationship or box more clever about it.
Example (bear with):
When I first met Mr Soulmate (Spain), he had a typical ex-forces shaven head habit (Grade 4), despite I could see no receding hairline or bald patch, meaning, was hiding a decidedly rare plus-point for his age (LOADSA head hair). I ADORE men with thick head hair. Baldness can't be held against them, but I literally can't stand shaven heads, look and feel wise both (we're talking anathema), and couldn't understand why it wasn't putting me completely off, considering that on dating sites (and in real life), one look at a shaven pate would have me instantly going NOPE, GRANT MITCHELL (BLEUGH), NEXT!...NOPE, *PHIL* MITCHELL, (PUKE), NEXT! (Don't ask me why because I haven't got a clue where it comes from.......Genetic memory, probably?) But it was dampening my otherwise rampant ardour. I could tell. Literally, my hand would touch the side of his head and want to recoil.
So anyway, I had a choice between saying nothing and possibly risking finding myself increasingly physically put off by whatever significant degree every time (which would have been a shame, all other things considered), or to couch my complaint however negatively out of the supposedly learned expectation of getting an automatic NOPE (ex-husband), or find a way to make his growing it all HIS idea. So, near the end of those first weeks (and understand this was mostly all at the subconscious level at the time) I said simply, 'Do you know what, I'm imagining you with normal length hair and can tell you'd be EVEN MORE handsome and sexy if you were to grow it back'. That got his attention. He said, 'Oh, yeah?' I said, 'GOD, YES,...PHWOOOAR!...So, actually, thinking about it, it's probably a good idea if you DON'T...or else I'd be ripping your clothes off 24/7', adding a hearty laugh. He said, 'It's just easier like that...showering and getting ready for work and stuff'. 'Oh, sure! Anyway, it's your hair so you can do what you like!', said I. But the carrot seed had been planted, regardless.
Six weeks later (we were LD at that point) and he emailed me a photo to show how he'd secretly been starting to grow it back. Here are my emailed 'expletives' of surprise and delight the second I clocked it:
Wow, I LOVE your hair longer like that... love-it-love-it-LOVE-IT! - "Phwooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooaaaaaar!!!!!"
Please don't cut it!?
He grew it even longer, resisting the temptation to revert when too many of his friends and family made unflattering 'can't get to grips with it' noises (= Tug o' War). So, later down the line, I obviously had to instantly acquiesce when asked to change my own hairstyle. For the better, as it turned out, but who gives a shite about losing a mere hairstyle when you're bang-slap in-love like never before and determined to stay that way?
Why can't you X? -versus- Ooh, I'd love it if you X. Carrot rather than stick. That's what you have to do if, humans being creatures of habit, they've an experientially ingrained aversion even to twigs and/or you yourself had become too used to getting a flat NOPE.
"I spoke to her about this without coming out and bluntly stating what I just wrote."
Doesn't matter how you said it. The point is you *did* blunt, as in, proceeded directly towards (aka daringly forthright, aka BRAVE). That was my entire original point. So WELL DONE! Keep that up!
"She said that the way she is with me is not how she had been with others in the past. That the way I am has shaped how she responds to me. "
Well, as I've just demonstrated - Er,...YES AND NO.  That's a bit of a cop-out because it's more likely her whole stream of exes had been behind her knee-jerk reactivity habits, in terms of the lion's share of it (lengthier-period-of-reinforcement wise). Plus  if you want go down that route, one could equally say that about ANYONE they got into a relationship with. And anyway,  what about instead her having vowed to take you and she as a completely virginal slate? So from this statement I suspect she either is or has got caught for too long in not being a very positive or responsibility-taking person on the whole. True? If so - again, MORE CARROTS for Table 1, garcon! ('Do you remember back when you always used to X? I LOVED that...because X, Y, Z...It used to make me go all gooey', etc.)
Regarding not flooding during highly stressy, crushingly dismaying and disheartening confrontations: It is, I know, SUPREMELY difficult to grit your teeth and remember to ignore all the usual blows dealt in the heat of the moment whilst keeping your eyes constantly on the end goal. That's why and when you have to hold onto the fact of that 'Pow is just Ow hidden behind P' rule, also meant to stop you in your tracks (Freeze) and send you away, in tears if necessary (Flight). That way you're helping yourself to not only ensure the crap finally gets a chance to come to the surface but that you aren't, despite later patching it up, left with residual, brimming resentment over the fact you had to suffer too hard in the process.
I articulated it for a friend the other day who said I'd described it spot-on. I said, when you're having a much-needed barnie and can see you're getting to the real issue, yet they're indicating they're flooding in their own way (starting to argue ad hominem, trying to get you to just back off), it feels as if they've had this evil little maggot inside them, ruining the show for the both of you, finally having shown its head and shoulders, meaning, although one side of you can see the merit in an intermission - who feels like letting slip what might be their one-and-only chance EVER to finally grab it, pull it out of them and kill it once-and-for-all?
The trick is to remind them that you're not TALKING about 'you ARE this and you ARE that'. It's, 'you DO this and that'. Remind them you're not trying to make life cushier for you at their expense, but for US. And if it's a DROPPED ball you're asking them to pick back up, rather than some 'rose garden' they never in the first place promised or even hinted they'd provide, then that is what relationships are supposed to feature: enhancements a deux... so that the TEAM can be as impressive as possible - in order to reach newer and newer heights.
I agree again with TDOS, you should both row *simultaneously* or by the time you've finished 'looking at yourself and what you do wrong', you'll be too dizzy and exhausted to care. However, someone has to start. So my advice from here would be just to check you're never getting dizzy or exhausted.
I remember a chap whose wife had an affair and left the family home. He begged to know what the problems had been so that he could make it possible to rectify and reconcile. Her main bugbear, she insisted, was the fact that he kept too many dogs. He loved those dogs like his own babies yet irretrievably gave away the lot. Did it make a blind of difference? NO. Suddenly there was another altogether NEW reason why not. IT'D JUST BEEN A TIME-BUYING FOB-OFF!
Just be aware.
HOWEVER... I don't think you'll need to, really.
"I have also suggested to her that we have a regularly scheduled date night (which she agreed to)."
Don't hide it in brackets because that is a highly volumatically positive sign from her!
"I have lined up a babysitter and made a list of date night ideas (to which she only had me cross off a few ideas)."
Ditto! She must be so relieved!
All in all, what you're doing is getting to do her own rowing, without her realising it or it even feeling like work. :-)
So, no, I don't think you're just rolling over, I think you're rolling over just the RIGHT amount - AND into positivity, knowing you CAN do this. You're starting an exercise in eliminating all Red Herrings (excuses) from the enquiry table and in a way that will replicate (giant note!) exactly the kinds of positive and wooing/flattering things that made her fall deeper and deeper for you in the FIRST place... Equalling URRR! + Ahhh.
In fact, now you're just showing off, ROFL!
The fact that due to you she agreed AND got involved speaks volumes and *is* Success, certainly half the battle, called, grasping the constantly-rotating interactional loop that's been floor-bound due to the negative weights it's been picking up en route from you to her to you, etc. and adding a giant positive (helium balloon) to counteract and take it skywards again. (In actual fact, you're starting to remind me of Mr Soulmate: if ever I'm p*ssed-off, and that's even before *I* know I am (that's how empathetic/tuned into me he is) and see it merely that I'm just wandering happily off to do other things, he's up first and secretly out, buying me bouquets of roses, hoovering the whole house and waking me with a cuppa! No need for any discussions, sorrys, actings-out stupidly and negatively to get back my attention, any of that crud... He just tips me instantly from negative to positive with ACTIONS. (I get it far easier, I just have to cook a romantic meal (or mini-hoover in the bedroom, if ya know what I mean, nudge-wink. ;-)) So it's quite easy to increasingly cease feeling vulnerable the minute you see she's starting to react and respond favourably EXACTLY LIKE SHE USED TO back when YOU KNEW she loved and fancied the pants off you.
But yes, absolutely, keep TDOS and I posted!
(Seriously - well done!)
Soulmate - I absolutely love your very expressive, creative and to the point writing : I really appreciate reading you :)
It was the bit where I described a little maggot as having tiny shoulders, wasn't it. I was going to mention its little hot-pants, boob-tube and false eyelashes, but that would have been taking it a bit far, I felt.
(Sorry - stuck in comedy-slut mode, thanks to a certain naughty someone on another thread.)
We must give credit where it's due, though: TDOS and I were obviously coming from the exact same place.
Anyway, you're welcome and feel free to stick around or dip back in for any more cunning, Baldrick plans or literary Valium from either of us (assuming he's still game?). No process is ever completely flat and smooth...there be dips and troughs in this here rollercoaster life, arr, but as long as the overall trajectory is upwards, that's all you need worry about, not the odd seeming set-back. Blips.
It's the same as when you were having driving lessons, remember? One step forward, repeat, repeat... next lesson, seemingly two whole steps back where suddenly you couldn't seem to put into practise even things you thought you'd got down pat, but then, come the very next lesson - THREE, EVEN FOUR forward ("phew!). Not that that's an automatic, of course [ha-ha].
What's the first date you've got planned - anything romantic? What sorts of things did you used to strut your stuff through first time round as had her swooning? (Tell me another time if you're busy wrapping pressies, etc.)