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how I'd say we are stuck---slight t/j of a post in R and ventish

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Darkness Falls posted 11/1/2013 16:12 PM

Rachelc has a post in Reconciliation about her H's response to discussing their affairs.

I've posted many times that my XH didn't want to discuss much about my affairs both immediately after D-day and two years later when we got back together. But what I've never gone into much detail about, and have only alluded to, is that he never really wants to talk about anything. At all. Ever.

We don't have deep conversations. We don't really even have superficial conversations. He is a very quiet, reticent person. And he's not an introspective type of quiet---I've asked him if he ever really thinks about anything besides <identifying athletic activity> and the stock market, and he says no. So it's not like he's got all these thoughts swirling around in his head but just wants to keep them to himself. He's a brilliant man; I would expect that he would, but he just says he doesn't. Doesn't have the time or the energy to think. (?!?)

We don't have conversations about the future. We don't have conversations about the past. We don't have conversations about the present. He won't talk about work, because he despises his job and can't deal with discussing it. He won't talk about (or even TO) his family. He represses feelings of anger and irritation. Any negativity in our (my) home is taken as criticism and fight-starting, including my bringing up how he won't talk. It's circular.

I say "he" won't talk because I do talk. A lot. In fact, I have a bad habit of prattling---talking about inconsequential things just to fill the silence, because if I don't, nothing would ever be said! We are absolute oil and water as far as communication goes.

You might ask, didn't I notice this when I first met him? Well, ha, there's the rub. When we first started dating, he wasn't like this. And when we got back together after the divorce, one of the things he promised was to try to be more communicative. Ha again. If anything, it's gotten worse.

I am so jealous when I read posts on this forum about those of you going through R who demand (and achieve!) emotional intimacy, sharing, and closeness with your spouse. I don't have that and I wish I did. If I could point to ONE solitary pre-A issue that I was unhappy with, and it really is the only one, it would be this. But pre-A, post-A, it's all the same on this score.

He won't talk to his family because he feels as though he "has nothing to say." Same with talking to me. "I have nothing to say---all I do is work." Well, so do I---we work at the same place, and we're either traveling to, at, or traveling from work 12 hours out of each M-F on average. Yet I can think of things to say. Too much, if you ask him. I would like to talk about current events, politics, sports, TV shows we both watch, music, our friends' kid, whatever. None of that interests him. I would like to talk about work; he point-blank refuses. I would like to talk about deep stuff---his insides, my insides, our families, our future family unit, our thoughts and feelings. He shuts down because he doesn't have anything to say on those subjects.

Sometimes I can't take it to the point of wanting to scream.

I know things change once the "honeymoon phase" wears off. I get that. But we got married one year after we started dating, and it was already gone (conversation). I had my own issues, and I own them: I was having an affair two years into the marriage. That's a separate issue. I didn't cheat because he talks about as much as a brick wall. My cheating has nothing to do with this, and he swears that his doing this has nothing to do with my cheating. It's just who he is.

But then why, in the first few months we dated, was he so different? He says I already know everything; that he ran out of things to say. But I call bullshit on that, because life keeps going on. New things keep happening all around us, and it's like he has the shutters closed to the world around him; like life exists but he won't take part in it.

So once we were divorced, once we were discussing getting back together, by then I should have known, right? I have pages of emails that we exchanged before we officially started dating again, him telling me that he knows this was an issue in our relationship and he really wants to be different and work on it. Yet that lasted even less long than when we first met.

There are so many great things about him. I am generally content in this relationship. But this one part is killing me. WTF is going to happen when we're in our 70s and 80s (if we live that long) and our kids (if we have them) are grown and gone and we're just sitting there staring into space?

He thinks everything will be different once he gets away from his current job. That will happen in early 2014 if it's going to ever happen at all. So do I take a gamble and see? I'm leaning towards that, obviously, since we're still in a relationship. But I am scared.

I don't want anyone else to "fill the void." I want HIM. But you can't change people; they are who they are, like it or not. But I am who I am too, and what I am NOT is someone who subscribes to the old-school "silence is golden" philosophy. Inevitably, I feel petty for being frustrated with something that is not a huge problem in the grand scheme of life. But, dammit, I think it's important.

Final note: counseling will not help, he won't read books, and as I mentioned above, talking to him about it is pointless. It's either "take it or leave it" at this juncture.

20WrongsVs1 posted 11/1/2013 16:34 PM


I'm curious, if all he thinks about is <sport> and the stock market, will he chit-chat with you about those topics?

What are his parents like WRT communication?

Sorry, personal flashback to my paternal grandparents. She talked, was gregarious, had friends, volunteered. He hoarded and tinkered. They were very much in love (AFAIK) but I bet grandpa's total utterances in my presence in 16 years totaled one minute. He was kind and warm, but I *literally* only ever saw him at the dinner table. It apparently worked for them, though.

I have pages of emails that we exchanged before we officially started dating again, him telling me that he knows this was an issue in our relationship and he really wants to be different and work on it.

Pages of emails. Interesting! Is it easier for him to communicate in writing?

Darkness Falls posted 11/1/2013 16:45 PM


Good questions. He doesn't talk to me about the stock market because he knows I don't understand it, and I don't know if he would be willing to explain it. As for our activity, we've kind of taken a break from it for awhile (too tired and no time) so that's off the table for now. But either way, he isn't a chit-chatter. They would be the most likely subjects I could get some words out of him about, though!

His parents were divorced when he was in junior high, and his dad is dead now. I don't know his mom very well; I've only been around her 2 or 3 times in seven years (she lives on the other side of the country). But from what I know, she seems reasonably social and chatty. Not overmuch, but not reticent either.

As for pages of emails: realistically it was more like 1 or 2 emails (on this particular subject), one of which was more than one page long. He said that one took him about 4 hours to write. He's dyslexic and has such a hard time writing personal things to people that he gets severe anxiety. I've seen him try to write notes to family; it's such an obvious nightmare for him that I feel awful. That's why I was so unbelievably flattered when he wrote that email to me.

[This message edited by heartbroken0903 at 4:46 PM, November 1st (Friday)]

rachelc posted 11/1/2013 17:39 PM

heartbroken - not sure I'm the best one to give advice but I want to know that you've been heard...

you know, you have a right to be in a marriage that fits you. Not sure if this one does. Might he be depressed? If so, and no doctors for him, can you live like this?

many people are ok/fine with the "take it or leave it" thing. I would not be.

Good luck! I hope someone comes along with more advice.


[This message edited by rachelc at 5:39 PM, November 1st (Friday)]

painfulpast posted 11/2/2013 09:12 AM

HB, I don't think you're being too demanding. I think you want a real relationship, not a person to sit next to. I'm not bashing your Bs, at all. If this is how he is, then this is how he is.

I think you're discounting the need for emotional intimacy, and I have to wonder if you're letting your thoughts on you having an A make you feel that you are lucky to have him and have R, and that's that. Again, I am NOT bashing your BS, but you do need to be fulfilled in all aspects of a marriage. Emotions are a very important part of that.

Please don't think that because you had an A that anything else that happens that you are unhappy with is just too bad for you. You haven't said that, so maybe that isn't the case.

I'm sorry that you are feeling unfulfilled and that your BS is a less talkative person, which is clearly upsetting to you.

If he knows this is an issue, and he himself said he wants to work on this, perhaps a set time where you both answer questions - really answer them - would help? One day a week you each ask the other 3 questions, about anything - favorite christmas present as a child, first date, favorite meal to cook - anything, just to 'learn' to talk to each other again?

I hope you find a resolution that will work for both of you.

authenticnow posted 11/2/2013 09:41 AM

First I want to say that he sounds very stubborn and 'my way or the highway', not even willing to engage in conversation with you. That must be a very lonely way for you to live.

But to respond to your specific concern...I once brought this up in MC. My H and I have very different interests. Although we will talk about them to each other, that can sometimes be one person getting bored to tears or just being disinterested. The MC suggested that by doing more things together, finding things that we both like, or can compromise on, we create memories, and those become points of conversation. You start to develop common points of reference when you actively create memories and experience things together.

killedthecat posted 11/3/2013 02:12 AM

Oh, man. I almost feel as if I could have written this one. I will be curious to see what the responses will be, because I am at a loss in my own relationship....

rachelc posted 11/3/2013 09:43 AM

Just another thought- the lack of emotional intimacy in a marriage, especially after a request for more is as bad as infidelity, IMHO....,

Darkness Falls posted 11/4/2013 20:33 PM

I'm sorry to be so late getting back to this post.

I want to clarify: the "take it or leave it/my way or the highway" attitude is how **I** feel about it all, not the attitude XH gives me. He has never said that, nor has he indicated that's how he feels. I really do think he's almost as frustrated as I am at times about his communication personality---because it bothers me. I don't think it bothers him at all for his own sake (except in the case of inability to communicate with his FOO).

We actually had a really great weekend together. We did some fun things and got along really well. Days like the past two really buoy my mood and make me feel hopeful again.

I've mentioned that one of my works in progress over the past few years has been readjustment of expectations. It is definitely still a work in progress. I need to remember that his heart is good and he doesn't have to be my clone.

Thanks for all the comments and words of advice.

Undefinabl3 posted 11/5/2013 12:23 PM

Final note: counseling will not help, he won't read books, and as I mentioned above, talking to him about it is pointless. It's either "take it or leave it" at this juncture.

We have doppleganger DH' DH won't do anything to help with our communication.

DH never graduated high school and I have a BS degree so I am much more book smart then he is.

However, his street smarts is far superior to mine and while i could probably work a way out of a problem, he would McGyver a way out 10 times faster i swear.

One thing that i miss terribly is a good indepth debate on a subject where neither side is offended and that the purpose of the conversation is to debate one's side, not to be 'right'. DH has to be right.

I love disecting movies, books, and other things, DH not so much.

I wish i could help, usually i call my dad and have a good chat, but otherwise, i am stuck with Cops, Lockup Raw, and How it Works.

MissesJai posted 11/5/2013 13:27 PM

I went through something similar with INAB - and I remember wanting to scream as well. Its exasperating. Yes, you should manage your expectations, however, don't lose who you are in doing so. Yes, I'm sure his heart is good and no, he absolutely doesn't have to be your clone. However, he does need to do some work of his own if you two are going to make it, no question.

In my sitch, I'd reached a point where I just couldn't take it any longer. We, well mainly he, was reverting back to the unhealthy behaviors that caused problems in the first place. I begged, cried, pleaded with him to open up to me, talk to me, say something, ANYTHING, so that I know he's where he really wants to be, not where he feels he SHOULD be, KWIM? So, I made it a deal breaker. I was ready to walk and I made it clear. End result - we're reconciled. At the end of the day, you are well within your right to speak your truth and say how YOU feel.

bionicgal posted 11/5/2013 14:55 PM

I don't have a super clear picture of your husband's behavior - but I'd say to be happy in your marriage, you need to be able to communicate effectively and enjoy each other's company.

Sorry if this is a reach, but is it possible that your H is on the autism spectrum? And how do you know counseling will not help? It sounds like one of your major needs is for communication - and so he needs to get on the ball. (And the fact that he said it was a goal before should be a point in your favor. He may not know how; he needs assistance from a professional.)

Darkness Falls posted 11/5/2013 20:31 PM

Undefinabl3, that's it exactly: I miss day-to-day regular conversation. Exchanging opinions, sharing thoughts, expressing feelings. Funny you say about fun-spirited debates and how your DH has to be "right." Sometimes I *wish* my XH insisted on being right just so I could get an opinion out of him! XH and each have a bachelor's degree although I'd say he's more intelligent than I. Emotional intelligence is another story. He is just so very stunted on that score.

MissesJai: thank you for sharing your experience. You know, 99% of the time, I feel as though we're reconciled. I even changed my signature line sometime last month to say "Reconciled after divorce." Yeah, I left it that way for maaaaybe 2 hours. In the end I changed it back because it just doesn't feel true. It feels as though we're "back together after divorce." Huge difference, in my mind. Back together in the sense that he (so he claims) has put my adultery in the past and wants to move forward, back together in the sense that I have changed some of the most lifelong and fundamental things about myself, bullshit that I clung to for nearly 30 years, to finally live according to my values even when it's hard and not give in or give up when it's easy. Back together in the sense that for all intents and purposes we live together (unofficially; he still has a place of his own), spend most of our time together, occasionally have sex (that's another story, medical stuff) and assume a future together. But being "reconciled," to me, means something else.


We do, for the most part, enjoy each others' company. We do NOT communicate effectively. And I'm willing to own some of that as's not 100% him. As I mentioned above, my bad habit, communication-wise, is to prattle inconsequentially. Another is to push and poke and prod him, verbally---nagging, basically. He doesn't like it; it drives him nuts, I know it does, and I do it anyway...which probably shuts him down further.

I honestly don't know much about the autism spectrum, especially extremely high-functioning types as he would be if he were somewhere on it. I haven't described him as minutely as I could, partly because I don't want to write a novel and partly because I don't want to sound as though I'm criticizing. Some of the bullet points:

- a usual response to the question, "How was your day?" is "OK." This is an improvement from before, when the response used to be "Shitty." (This refers to a work day.) No elaboration follows, and if I ask detailed questions he is irritated bordering on hostile. His explanation for this attitude is that he hates his job so much he can't stand even thinking about it outside of work.

- he has spoken to his blood family twice in the past year and a half, not counting the time he went out there to visit. When he returned from that visit, he was unable to recount much of what they did, what they talked about, even how they are doing. When I asked how they were, since they are my former ILs and I was being polite, his response was "Fine." His relationship with his family causes him severe anxiety. He loves them and doesn't have a bad relationship with them, but he can't bring himself to call them on the phone or write to them. His explanation is that he has nothing to say and it's too stressful to have a relationship with them when he feels as though he has to struggle to find things to talk about. This shames him and makes him feel he is a bad son/brother/uncle. The shame pushes him *further* away and makes it *more* difficult to initiate conversation. Lather, rinse, repeat.

- pick ANY current event. ANYTHING in the news. Any sporting event, any TV show, any song on the radio, anything our friends are doing (not in a gossipy way), etc. He does not have an opinion on ANY of it. His rationale is that none of it has anything to do with him personally or his life, so why care about it? Take sports, for example: he feels it's silly to be a passionate sports fan or even root for a particular team. When I get excited about a particular baseball team or want a certain tennis player to win a tournament because they're my favorite, he is derisive and asks me, "Are you on the team?" or "Are they going to split their prize money with you? Then why do you care?"

And so on, and so forth.

I say counseling won't help because we tried it when we first got back together; we lasted a few sessions and the counselor (the only one we could find locally with Saturday hours) said she didn't see a problem and basically indicated we didn't have to come back. XH, of course, was very relieved---it's uncomfortable enough for him to talk to people he knows and cares about, such as family and me; it's paralyzing for him to open up to a stranger.

I just worry that by bitching about this, I'm being The High-Maintenance Girlfriend Who Complains About Dumb Shit. I mean, seriously, he does have so many positives. He's caring, he's affectionate, he's hardworking, he doesn't drink/use drugs/gamble/abuse me/cheat. Most girls would be thrilled to have a partner like him, and I'm complaining that he stonewalls.

authenticnow posted 11/6/2013 05:05 AM


You keep saying how wonderful he is but he never talks to you, and you say that most women would be thrilled to have a partner like this and he is such a great partner in every other way.

What ways? He NEVER talks to you.

When I said that he is 'my way or the highway' I didn't mean he literally told you that. I'm saying that his actions show you that. He's not trying to compromise, not hearing how lonely you are, or addressing that you have concerns for the future with him.

You keep justifying this, but I think if you ignore this red flag you're going to get more and more lonely, bored, resentful, etc. Why not address it now?

Darkness Falls posted 11/6/2013 13:24 PM


You are right; I am justifying it. I hear myself doing it even in my own head. And the sick thing is that I'm justifying it in the exact same way I did my A: "He loves me. We have a history together. He's not a bad guy, he is just flawed like everyone else is." Almost word for word. (And by saying that, I am not equating XH's issues with being an AP. I'm saying my justifications are the same.)

Adding to it, though, IS the issue of my A in the background and the fact that I in many ways don't feel as though I have the right to be (as WAL might say) "butt-hurt" over something as relatively small as lack of meaningful dialogue when he had to deal with something so much bigger.

On the other hand, I broke our marriage covenant with the A, but it was also since civilly dissolved. We both have the experience of deciding whether to choose each other again as any unmarried couple does. I know this, logically. So why do I feel as though I owe him?

Edited to add: I'd love to address it now, but I don't know how else to do it. I don't feel yet that it's a dealbreaker, so I can't threaten to leave. Instead I just unattractively bitch here.

[This message edited by heartbroken0903 at 1:27 PM, November 6th (Wednesday)]

Trying33 posted 11/6/2013 14:03 PM

I just worry that by bitching about this, I'm being The High-Maintenance Girlfriend Who Complains About Dumb Shit. I mean, seriously, he does have so many positives. He's caring, he's affectionate, he's hardworking, he doesn't drink/use drugs/gamble/abuse me/cheat. Most girls would be thrilled to have a partner like him, and I'm complaining that he stonewalls.

I could have said these very words myself. My female friends and family have all but told me I'm the luckiest woman in the world and I should count my blessings to have a husband like I do. I hear phrases like "so what if he doesn't talk much at least he's a good dad", "you can't have everything", "he's just busy right now and needs some time", "if he doesn't talk to you then find some other (healthy) outlet, join a bookclub or make new friends, you won't get ALL your needs met in one person".

I hear all these bits of advice and feel like a complete brat for complaining. Fact is, I, like you justify and make myself believe it's ok he doesn't share his thoughts and feelings with me because "at least he does all the other great things a husband's supposed to do".

I feel I don't have anyone I can talk to about this either as no -one can see it from where I am. They just see a doting father and a hard worker who always puts his family first. "Why the fuck are you still complaining??"

I get what you're going through.

authenticnow posted 11/6/2013 14:45 PM

I hear you, Heartbroken. And I don't mean to be a bitch, I just saw a pattern that I wanted you to see. I understand not feeling like you have the right to need or ask for anything after cheating.

My BH and I didn't divorce, but after d-day I knew I wanted R but I was afraid, because there were things going on in the M that I knew weren't making me happy and I didn't want it to go back to being that way, but what right did I have to say anything???

I worked hard not to sound like I was blaming his behavior on my As, but at some point I told him what caused me to build up resentment towards him, things he did and didn't do, etc. When he said the words to me, "I'm sorry I was such a prick," I was so relieved. I couldn't believe he owned it and I was so grateful that he was acknowledging where he got lazy in the M. (Again, not an excuse for me to cheat!)

So, we worked together to rebuild. Of course, there was much work for me in IC because before anything, I had to figure my shit out. But as a couple, we rebuilt and worked to make the M better.

That's all I'm saying. You cheated and that is terrible, but that doesn't mean you tolerate an unfulfilled marriage forever because of it.

She-Ra posted 11/6/2013 16:20 PM

Hi HB0903

I've been reading your thread and thinking about what I would post to you. You're striking on a topic that is really difficult. Sometimes I find I don't have enough to talk about with my H and him well he can ramble about anything. He pretty much talks too much but not about subjects that I find interesting. I liked what AN was touching on in her first post. It's so true that you have to be doing hobbies and activities together which helps build your bonds. Although I have to sit through boring convos, that sometimes become interesting after awhile, we do have a lot of common interests to discuss.

I know from other posts, you two work a lot. Is there any way to get more involved with activities together? Whether it's finding new places to go walking, taking up a new sport, going to the gym?

On the topic of a family one day...what does he have to say about it? I understand you have some health issues that may make it difficult but how is his desire for having kids? I couldn't believe how much changes after having a baby. All our free time that we used to have is nearly gone so getting out together is not as frequent but it's more special. You really need to work hard at improving things because it's so much harder after a baby. Not like anyone hasn't said that before but from my new experience with it, I couldn't believe how true that is. As for common discussions, the baby becomes the centre of all discussions if you aren't careful. All of a sudden, poop talk is highly interesting hahaha. You will never run out of things to talk about ever again!!

It's great that you are analyzing these parts of your relationship. I don't think it's a deal breaker but you definitely need to spend more fun time together

Darkness Falls posted 11/12/2013 18:51 PM

Sorry to bump this up again but I wanted to reply to the latest posts.


Minus the kids, your H sounds very much like my XH, and I have those same feelings of "WTF am I complaining about?" I can relate.


I didn't think you sounded at all like a bitch. You're absolutely right.

She-ra (love the new name, btw ),

XH definitely wants kids. He's just the type that wants everything to be exactly "right" when we have them---perfect finances, perfect relationship, not working a million hours a week. All of which I agree with---and it's part of why I think he'll make a great father. But I'm 32, not getting any younger, and I'll be 33 1/2 before we're even thinking about trying. And he's in his 40s! It was a pattern in our relationship pre-A also...the "somedays." The problem is that sometimes "someday" never comes, and I don't want to wake up one day 80 years old with all these regrets: "I wish I'd done ___ when I had the chance because it's too late now." I know nothing stops me from doing stuff on my own---except for those things that require two people.

Because of the job, it is REALLY hard to find time to do new things. Again...someday...

I know babies don't make relationships better, but strangely I do think it will improve our communication, for exactly the reasons you said. It would give us the hugest and most important thing in the world in common.


Update to this whole situation: we did discuss some of this stuff again this weekend. I got brave and brought up the fact that our communication needs improving. He replied that it's hard for him to communicate because I'm so negative all the time, and it makes him want to shut down. I replied that a large part of my negativity is due to the lack of communication and emotional intimacy. So it's the usual impasse (we've had this exact same conversation probably 20 times since we started R).

Nothing will change unless I change. Negativity makes him shut down, and so even if his behavior is the reason for a large part of it, I have to be more positive. The worst that can happen is that nothing changes, right?

[This message edited by heartbroken0903 at 6:52 PM, November 12th (Tuesday)]

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