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Am I more messed up than I thought?

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Williesmom posted 5/11/2013 10:17 AM

Background: when I was married, wxh NEVER called me to be sure that I was ok, even if the. Weather was horrible.

So, yesterday, we had really bad storms at the time I would normally leave work. Winds, hail, you name it.

The guy that I've been seeing sent me a text, asking if I was home or not.

I answered back " no, why?" His response was " I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend you, I was worried about you."

I thought that he needed something- I could not comprehend that he would be checking up on me. And then I feel like shit because I made him feel bad.

So, last night he came to my house and we talked about it. He feels that I penalize him because of wxh's behavior. I feel like I don't know how to be in a relationship, even though I was married for 19 years.

How can some thing so simple put me into such a tailspin? I am always the person that checks up on others in their lives, but I cannot imagine that someone would feel the same about me.


InTheRabbitHole posted 5/11/2013 11:46 AM

I don't think you're messed up at all. Your experience has taught you that no one would call.

Was he quick to get upset at the "no, why?". That seems pretty innocuous. Were you offended? Or did you come across that way?

In my current relationship, (which I think I will be ending soon) he is very quick to get upset over something like this and to me it's just a question. Nothing to do with my ex or anything else.

Ugh, I might be reading too much in to this. I hope someone else comes along and gives their thoughts.

Take2 posted 5/11/2013 11:48 AM

I totally get what you are saying. My DD's is dating a guy, who has been helping her with some bull work around the house and yard. "Don't you do that - I'll take care of it." It is almost surreal (for her because of her Dad, and for me to just see it for real).

That said, I don't see how mistakenly assuming or "thinking he needed something" is penalizing him. It isn't like you were suspicious of his inquiry... I hope he understood that after your conversation...

eta: saw the post above, and yeah, something about it bothers me too. You texted
"no why?" how is that you taking offense? It just pings weird. Unless there is other stuff going on, that bothers him, and he triggered...?

[This message edited by Take2 at 11:53 AM, May 11th (Saturday)]

silentlyscreamin posted 5/11/2013 11:55 AM

i can relate, not in the sense that I am in new relationship, because Im still figuring out what I want, but I can relate with simple triggers. I think that after being lied to, and maybe even treated like crap for awhile (sorry,I dont know your background here since im newer), that it almost becomes a normal. I also think that always being the caretaker is a form of coping for us, to make us feel good about ourselves and that we are good people, kinda to make up for the fact that our significant other, didn't help us feel like we were good people and probably put us down often, which is my case. I think we start to expect that we are the ones who do this and we unfortunately get used to no one doing this for us. I think it's nice this guy was checking up on you and you know, YOU deserve it!! :) So long as he is not a control freak, I think its a good sign that he is caring. I do not fault you for your automatic response of "what does he want or need", because that was your life for a long time. Its a reaction that will take some cognitive rethinking (for lack of better words), to start feeling like you deserve that level of care and commitment. I think that is why I am less about R now. I noticed that my husband has removed this part from our relationship. it could be storming, bad weather, late at night etc and not even a peep. It is my parents who will actually say, can you text when you get home safely. That is when I started thinking, what the hell am i doing in this relationship? So after my rambling I suggest you talk to a counselor about this, if you are not already IC. i think it will be necessary in order to change your way of thinking and help you realize you deserve it. If this guy is nice like that, you will want to work on with yourself so that you dont bring these unresolved feelings into the new relationship. Good luck and know you are not messed up.

WakingFromADream posted 5/11/2013 11:58 AM

I'm sorry that this put you into such a tailspin and that you feel like you don't know how to be in a relationship.

The guy that I've been seeing sent me a text, asking if I was home or not.

It just sounds to me like you both made huge assumptions as to what the other was talking about. Texting is hard because it tends to be short and strips out the context.

When asking if you were home, he was making an assumption that you knew why he was asking. Then when you came back with "no, why?", he assumed that you were mad at him or something because you replied with such a short response while he was just trying to show his concern for you; even though you weren't aware of that since you are not a mind reader. Then he was hurt and possibly offended and apologized for checking up on you which makes you feel bad. Now, your assumption is that you figured that he wanted something from you rather than having concerns for you which is not unexpected if you have not had much experience receiving such concern.

From what you described, I don't think that you are penalizing him because of wxh's behavior. It seems that your SO is taking a small mixup in communication and making the assumption that you expect him to behave like your wxh.

Now, I'm not saying that either of you are at fault or the bad guy in this situation. I'm trying to say that the both of you just need to talk about the specific situation and think about a few ways that it could have been different. A few that come to mind for me are either put more into the text or, even better in my opinion, call rather than text.


A book that I've found very useful with thinking about and through things like this is "Crucial Conversations" by Kerry Patterson and Joseph Grenny. It may be something that is of use to you as well.

little turtle posted 5/11/2013 12:08 PM

I'm glad you guys were able to talk things through. Is there more to the story as far as him feeling that you're penalizing him for XH's behavior? I don't see it in the example that you gave. You reacted the way you did because it was a situation that hadn't occurred with you before. I'm sure with time and experience, you'll get used to your SO checking on you during storms.

You're not messed up. Your marriage was messed up. I'm sure all of us here are finding things in our previous relationships that weren't healthy and we sometimes don't realize it until we are in a healthy relationship.

miadianna posted 5/11/2013 13:27 PM

I get this and understand. I cannot think of one time my XH asked how I was or if I was okay, safe, etc...and he traveled away from home all week and I was always alone with the kids. That is a foreign concept to me.

If someone I was dating texted me and asked if I was home yet, I would probably think he needed something and wanted to know if I was available. That is my first thought. I would never think someone would be checking to see if I was okay.

His take on it seems weird to me though. Why would a response of "no, why?" be offensive? I would probably write "No, why" too, thinking "did you need me for something?" Same thing. Nothing at all to do with penalizing anyone.

Sad in AZ posted 5/11/2013 14:21 PM

Have there been other incidents? Because his reaction to "No; why?" seems over-the-top.

Williesmom posted 5/11/2013 14:52 PM

This is the first incident. For him, he comes from a large family, and they are very close. It is normal for him to check in and check up on those in his family.

My experience is this, as an example: one year, there was a horrible snowstorm, and the road that I drove is horrible on a good day. There was an accident, and I sat for an hour waiting for the traffic to be cleared. It took me 3 hours to get home that night.

I got home to an irate wxh who was screaming at me for being late. I asked him if he was so worried, why diet he call. He said " I don't care about you, I WAS HUNGRY."

This is my frame of reference, and how I have been valued in my past life.

Take2 posted 5/11/2013 19:05 PM

Given your past I get that you are thinking you're damaged and responding badly... but this is all turned around. IMHO

Now I could see if you had answered defensively, "No, I'm sorry, I'm hurrying as fast as I can!" That would be sad,and I can see that being an issue, - still don't see how it is penalizing him - but it wouldn't be healthy.

Or if you came back with "The roads are bad! Make your own f'n dinner" - That I could see SO feeling penalized by and then I'd say - you were carrying your old baggage into this relationship.

But you didn't do either of those! And "No, why?" is well - innocuous. Yeah it is short - but you were driving through a storm and texting while you were driving. (Shame on you for that, btw). And if he was concerned for your welfare - he shouldn't have continued texting when he realized you were still driving in that weather!!

So... I am curious, I mean - how did he expect you to respond? What were you supposed to say when he simply asked if you were home or not? What was the "proper" response? The one that wasn't going to lead to him being upset?

WM, I'll be the first to tell you I'm no where near ready to be in a relationship. I am still hyper-sensitive and on alert overload... I've deleted and rewritten this post several times now.

Crap! I hate saying this - And Crap - I hate not saying it... Please know I don't mean any harm and I do recognize this is one small snippet, one tiny event out of a whole relationship, that I know absolutely nothing about...

But this interchange and the very idea that it resulted in you being made to feel badly, and as if you were inappropriate in some way -- to me... it sounds controlling, like you are being "trained" how to behave.

...and I notice that your response is focused on your horrific past, self-doubt, and not knowing how to behave, and his wonderful close family... er, okay... but nearly everyone here has responded the same: You did nothing wrong when you said: "No, why?" I can't even fathom how that exchange resulted in "I didn't mean to offend you?" At this point - I'm more concerned about his baggage than yours.

eta: as I stated, I'm on alert overdrive, I know I am. Just be sure a pattern doesn't develop here, okay?

[This message edited by Take2 at 7:19 PM, May 11th (Saturday)]

persevere posted 5/11/2013 19:46 PM

I got home to an irate wxh who was screaming at me for being late. I asked him if he was so worried, why diet he call. He said " I don't care about you, I WAS HUNGRY."

This is my frame of reference, and how I have been valued in my past life

What an absolute jerk WM, you deserve so much better. And I think that is the key here - learning to understand and accept that.

((Hugs)) Lady - you are just learning as you go, just as we all are, especially after what we've had to deal with. But you are open to it, and that's what matters.

We're all here for you.

cayc posted 5/11/2013 20:56 PM

Firstly, I"m glad you've found a guy who thinks to check on you like that, yay! Two thumbs up!

Secondly, I think it's a little unfair of him to make what happened to you in your life about him. Your experience with your xWH has made you super self sufficient and I bet you that's part of what new guy likes about you.

So while it's ok for him to observe that maybe you're a tad abrupt in your self sufficiency, I think it's unfair to not be a little more understanding. That is, don't take all this on as your own burden. If new guy wants to get to know you and experience your awesome self sufficiency and general awesomeness, then backing down & letting you learn what generosity is from him (& ignoring/understanding/talking about the knee jerk trigger) is part of it.

[This message edited by cayc at 8:57 PM, May 11th (Saturday)]

Amazonia posted 5/11/2013 22:28 PM


I don't think you're messed up. I think you've got a very specific set of learned expectations. And those expectations aren't being met. And it sounds like he also has a specific set of learned expectations, which aren't being met. The trouble is that the expectations you have of each other come from other people, semi-arbitrary (at least for their purposes as they relate to your shared "now") fixed points in your respective pasts.

Moar communication!

Seriously, communicating can help things like this, because it allows you to consciously/intentionally develop appropriate expectations of one another together, and then base your relationship on those, instead of whatever you've got lingering from years gone by.

somer222 posted 5/12/2013 07:36 AM

No, you are not messed up! My ex never checked up on me, either, to make sure I was ok.

I've been the caretaker type my entire life. Sounds like you are, too. The counselor I saw after D day told me that it was ok for me to let someone else take care of me.

So, it is a good thing that he cares enough to want to make certain you are ok!

Sad in AZ posted 5/12/2013 08:21 AM

Tread carefully here. I stand by my opinion that HIS response was over-the-top. If this was the first incident, how can he say that you are 'penalizing' him for your X's mistakes?

I'm not saying this is a deal-breaker; everyone brings some kind of baggage into a relationship. I hope you two can come to an understanding.

gahurts posted 5/12/2013 08:53 AM

I agree with Sad in AZ. He asked if you were home and you said No, why? This is a perfectly normal and appropriate response.

He should have responded by saying that he was concerned about you driving in that storm and was hoping you were already home. Just checking on you - hope you don't mind. And he should have called you if his concern was you driving in the storm because texting and driving is not a good thing.

Just talk to each other about stuff like this. I am finding out that having long deep discussions about stuff like this really helps to draw us closer together. I hope you two can talk through this and other issues and come out stronger together.

phmh posted 5/12/2013 08:56 AM

I agree with Sad -- his reaction seems way over the top, and the way he asked seems passive/aggressive.

Were I sending a similar message to someone, I'd say something like "Weather is terrible -- have you made it home safely yet?" instead of simply asking if you were home. And then when you ask for clarification, he gets all defensive. He could have responded, "Just worried about you due to weather" but instead he deflects and tries to make you feel bad.

I don't think your past has anything to do with it.

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