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Man of his word?

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catlover50 posted 6/17/2013 04:56 AM

So, things were going very well here. Had a great weekend; spoiled him rotten for Father's Day, which he really appreciated. Then last night was tainted by a very old problem.

My H has never been good at doing what he says he will do. Some of it is procrastination. Some perhaps control issues. Some probably just saying anything to shut me up. Whatever. Over the years this has been very frustrating for both of us. I dealt with it by expecting less and less from him, because otherwise I was a "nag" and he would withdraw. I would do things myself, hire out things like lawn care, do without, write lists for stuff that was unavoidable. He has gotten a bit better over the years and is pretty good at getting stuff done at work, where he is in charge.

But now this is the "new" M and he is asking me to hold him to a higher standard and I am less willing to " settle". The issue has come up in regards to his doing work around his issues. He says he will read this or that, write answers to questions, do this or that and then not do it. I complain here or in MC and I'm told ( as is he) that people must control their own therapy, especially with CSA. My H grabbed on to that with both hands, I'll tell you! So I've agreed not to ask about the CSA work but still have expectations with the A work. The books remain mostly unread.

Currently we are dealing with his surgeon leaving abruptly, which leaves our summer plans up in the air. I have asked him about placing an ad for a replacement for over a week. Plus he needs to send an email to a relief doctor. Neither of those things can I do and both could be accomplished in an hour total. I have told him that I feel anxious with the prospect of his being on call for the foreseeable future, when we are still vulnerable and need to spend time together. He has promised to do these things, with the last promise being this weekend just passed.

True to form, he didn't do it. As I was spoiling him I told him to feel free to take time away to get what he needed to done. Yet last night in bed I realized that he hadn't done these things and got a bit angry. He got defensive and did his typical response--"You're grinding me, you're trying to make me feel guilty, I'll do it tomorrow." This time I didn't let it go. I calmly told him that in order to feel safe I need him to be a man of his word and do what he says he'll do (and not do what he says he won't!). I asked him to do some work on this issue to see what is stopping him from following through.

He agreed that he is the only one who can fix this issue and that asking me to diminish my expectations is not fair.

But since this is a lifelong habit I realize it will be hard to break and I am not holding my breath. This is not a deal breaker for me, but it would be enormously helpful if this could be improved.

Any insight? Thank you.

AFrayedKnot posted 6/17/2013 06:36 AM

I can totally relate. Being able to trust is a lot more than just believing that they won't F someone else.

Its like that team building exercise where you close your eyes and fall backwards and some one catches you.

Through all the disappointments over the years I, like you, stopped counting on her for anything. We were each responsible for only ourselves. The walls were thick.

Old patterns don't change overnight. Sometimes they change so slow you can't even notice.

Actually, maybe you should try that trust building exercise. Let him hit the floor!!!. And explain to him thats what it makes you feel like when he doesn't follow through.

Althea posted 6/17/2013 06:54 AM

Here is the problem with reading about a million self help books regarding passive aggressive, affair, FOO, CSA, etc. issues within the last year...ONE of the great books I read dealt with this issue and my pregnant brain can't remember which one! But, the gist is that this type of behavior is a way of showing you he isn't trustworthy. I am not saying you should not trust him because of it; but it may be the way to approach it. You are building back your trust in this man and this relationship and you need to be able to trust that he will keep his word.

We spent several months struggling with this, partly because for a while I was wording it that I needed to feel like I and our family was a priority to him. In his mind we were, so he couldn't get it. Once I figured out that it really was about honoring his commitments, and could articulate it that way, it seemed to gain more mileage. To be trustworthy, a person needs to follow through on his commitments, be on time when he says he will (my WH's BIG issue), and recognize that when others are counting on him that being dependable and following through on his word is a way of restoring trust.

I don't know if this is helpful as much as it is me agreeing that what you are asking isn't too much. With regard to the CSA stuff, I am uncomfortably in agreement that he has to take the lead in dealing or not dealing with that - mine has these issues too and hasn't done much as far as I can tell beyond how it lead to his affair. I don't love that, in that I'm sure he could heal much more if he would dig a bit deeper; but those aren't my wounds to heal

But, the rest of it - you have every right to demand that he be a man of his word and that he SHOW you he is worthy of your trust through his ACTIONS. Isn't that what affair recovery is all about? It doesn't just apply to staying away from OW, IMO - it is about changing all of the untrustworthy behavior including honoring his commitments and following through when he says he will do something.


catlover50 posted 6/17/2013 07:06 AM

Thanks guys. I so needed to be heard right now.

My H rushed out of the house this am determined to "show me". But he is, in his words, "frustrated", which feels like anger to me. He says he is frustrated that he disappointed me and that I don't feel safe. But he also says that it is not as easy for him as it is for me to follow through with things and that I should not judge him on my terms. I guess I get that, but it seems that at this time he should be extra motivated. There is a bit too much self pity in his responses. He feels like a "failure". He actually said "I'll try to send you an email later, but I'm a procrastinator so I can't promise."! Really? Why is so hard to just do what you say?

Over the years this reaction has caused me to back off. He says he's not trying to do that, but....

As he says this is something that can't be fixed instantly; only time will show the change. But right now he keeps proving me right in my disbelief! And I am at a loss how to react. I tried being understanding for years and look where it got me!

AFrayedKnot posted 6/17/2013 07:15 AM

There is a really good book called "The marriage you have always dreamed of" by Greg Smalley.

It describes what he terms the "fear dance". Its where something he does pushes your buttons. Your response pushes his buttons which in turn pushes your buttons. We read it early in R and it blew our minds. There is a survey/test to take that points it all out.

The rest of the book is great too. Highly Recommended!!!

catlover50 posted 6/17/2013 07:17 AM

Thanks chicho; I'll check it out!

powerthroughpain posted 6/17/2013 09:45 AM

The five languages of love book offers an alternative way of looking at this problem. Complaining won't get the job done.

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