HomeMain PageRelationshipsSkillsDiversityGetting to Work


Getting to Work — 13 Comments

  1. Hi Al, It is some time since I visited your site – in the meantime I have been getting on with working on myself. My spouse left me just over two years ago now, and that time was devastating, horrendous and the worst period of my life. I am coming through the other side now, and have done much work on myself and come to terms with my behaviours etc, contributed. Just reading your essay on the shift – I believe I am well on the way (possible achieved some of the aims) ie. I am so much more aware of how I react, proact and so on. I see my spouse (we are not divorced – still sep) regularly as he come to see our kids, and he is now friendly, talkative and offers to do jobs around the house, occasionally staying over (on the couch) to finish to the next day). Inevitably, my thoughts drift to whether he is having a change of heart or whether (as one of my sons puts it) he is using our home as a cheap hotel. I am hesitant to say anything (once bitten twice shy) yet also becoming frustrated. Is this being passive? (and therefore discrediting myself) or am I empowering his behaviour by saying nothing? (At the same time trying not to fall into the old trap of interpreting his thoughts actions?) I suppose the question Al is – how do you navigate this kind of territory?

  2. Dear Al,

    First, heartfelt thanks for the blog. I have been lurking and learning here for almost two years. I am still learning the steps/ techniques you have presented and bringing them forward to my GF as well. Looking into a local Image Therapist, too. Though, I am positively biased….
    Second, I was referred here by a friend who became a client after an affair. Thus, I have sent others here to. Some have posted and I thank you for your help.
    Last, and the main point of the post, is to inquire if you have any more to add to THIS article, or have finished this paper? I feel like a fan fiction reader looking for his nest article in the interesting and exciting series (anticipatory curiosity!)! I am hoping to gather more tools for myself and to continue to share with others.


    PS> Think “Shogun” main character reference…

    • Well, Anjin,  What a request!  Sounds a bit as if I’d written a series like Game of Thrones and you are really interested in how that character manages of live or is killed.  Seriously, I  will take your “nudge” into consideration.   When I escalated that 2005 paper to the top of the heap, I brought it to Sandra’s attention to see if she wanted to share some experiences of other couples or of our own.   We just haven’t gotten back to it.  The stuff is in our heads.  

      Thanks for the kind words and encouragement. 

  3. Well, it didn't work. I am responsible but I also think he has OCPD (OCD runs in the family).
    I just couldn't handle the list-making, and endless decision analyzing, black or white thinking, and the complete dismissal of my needs. I tried to respect his needs… but when you're waiting a year for a commitment and all you hear is 'this list still has items on it that need to be checked off BEFORE I can…' you have to say somthing like:
    Hey, I'm here waiting– if I can't help you with the list– then I need you to finish, get help with, or forget the list so we can have a life together– otherwise I am wasting my time here.
    So that's what I said. It didn't work of course, but I do actually think that it was the right thing for me.

    • Dude, to me it seems you are still in passive mode. You keep mentioning how you are “waiting” for him to do something, and instead of taking real action for yourself you diagnose him and wait for him to change.

      • Good thoughts, Young Lad.  Certainly comes across like acres of passivity. Only problem is that your timing is off.  Those comments are from 2008, and were posted when I had less contact with how my Blog was run.   I wonder what happened to Anonymous?   Usually, back then, I would connect with the person my email if I could.  My Blog software, back then, permitted people to post without leaving an email address. 

        • You’re right. AV was waiting but then she asked for clarity and it never came along. Well she gave up, met another man and got married in 2013. (Ironically or creepily– guy number 1 decided to get married to his galpal on the same day as AV did). For AV stopping waiting it was the right choice. Of course now she’s having problems with the new guy too– but she knows 50% of the problems are her stuff, and the other half is his.

  4. Dear AV,
    Yup, sounds normal to me 🙂 I can hear some things you might be missing and I imagine some skills you need. You've got that bit about him reacting to you as if you were his mother, etc. You might be missing that you are probably reacting to him as if he were –hell, your mom or dad or both.
    Also, I hear you noticing that he misreads you, fanticizing that he is doing your thinking. Well, it takes quite some training to notice that you are not so much listening to him as interpreting him. Goes both ways. I think it is wonderful to a) notice what my partner is thinking as being her thinking and b) also notice my interpretations of her words as something completely different and mostly about me. Ah well.
    So maybe you could start with my Map of Relationships, then work on the essays that come out of the Biological Dream. Build them skills!
    I hear that huge level of frustration. I've had it. The mistake I used to make is that I would blame my partner for my frustration. Really dumb thinking I used to do. If I am frustrated, it is my doing. Better check out my paper on Healing Frustrations and on Boundaries.
    Good luck.

  5. First, let me say THANK YOU! for a wonderfully helpful web site.
    Then, let me say I AM SO FRUSTRATED… I am the clinger. So I tried pulling back… giving him more space, although on the avoidant scale I think he's about 2000% avoider and I'm about 50% clinger. I really am not that clingy at all.
    The thing is now… by avoiding him the quality of our dialogue has gone completely down-hill. What's worse is that by not talking he has imaginatively done a lot of my thinking in the relationship for me, without ASKING what I actually think. He tells me the decisions he's made for both of us… can we say total POWER STRUGGLE?
    So what's my contribution? I think I can be bossy and controlling when I want attention, so I've tried to stop demanding attention. I've tried to tell him how frustrated I am. I don't think he hears me at all.
    But its possible I also don't hear him because I know he is trying to say complimentary things to me sometimes when we talk, and those compliments get on my nerves. I feel like he's trying to make me feel better about the relationship by complimenting me– unfortunately what I am hearing when he compliments me, is that he's paying attention to something I did six weeks ago, and that it took him six weeks to pay attention!
    I think he hears whatever his mother used to do to him that drove him nuts. (His mom was totally demanding and very clingy). His parents also seem to have been WAY more critical of him than mine were (we're both only children, but he's a perfectionist, and I'm absolutely not).
    But I have the testicle it seems, I'd like to fix it, yet I am quite afraid that all his build up resentments against his over-meddling mother are just going to spill out on me and I have to take it.
    I don't want to take it, it almost seems like abuse?

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