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Being a "man" but still being humble

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nevergiveup10 posted 1/6/2014 20:23 PM

Need some help figuring this out. My BS has expressed in a round about way lately that she is looking for me to take on more of a "man" role again. To me this means taking charge at times, not talking about feelings so much, being the strong one, etc.

I know she appreciates my willingness to do anything for her at the drop of a hat, along with my humbleness, patience and understanding.

She's a strong woman but my sense is she doesn't want to be in charge all the time.

The last thing I want to do is take it too fast or too far.

ThoughtIKnewYa posted 1/6/2014 20:33 PM

Why not just ask her what that means to her?

SurprisinglyOkay posted 1/6/2014 20:34 PM

To me this means taking charge at times, not talking about feelings so much, being the strong one, etc.

Have you asked her what she means by it?

nevergiveup10 posted 1/6/2014 20:38 PM

I know her, if she tells me the action wont have any impact because she's still in control. Know what I mean?

heforgotme posted 1/6/2014 20:46 PM

not talking about feelings so much,

I would be careful about this one.

I personally find this very manly and would not want FWH to stop.

I've waited a long time for the feelings and don't want them to stop. Ever.

nevergiveup10 posted 1/6/2014 21:03 PM

I don't want to stop by any means, but maybe be more selective about the place and time or show more restraint when we do talk. She's not much of a feelings talker, maybe 5-10 min max. I could talk for hours.

She still isn't used to me crying in front of her, its hardly ever sadness. Just so much love and emotion it comes out.

That's not going anywhere.

JustDesserts posted 1/6/2014 21:22 PM

Being your 100% authentic you is the most manly thing you'll ever do...and the most manly man you'll ever be. Period.


[This message edited by JustDesserts at 9:25 PM, January 6th (Monday)]

Steppenwolf posted 1/6/2014 21:25 PM

Disclaimer: I'm not trying to sound judgey or elitist or negative, so I am sorry if I do. But...

It seems to me like there's some element of game playing going on here. So, is she dropping hints to you about how she wants you to act? And are you assuming that even though you don't know what she means, if you ask her to clarify, she won't consider it genuine? Which of course is limiting you ability to be open and vulnerable with her; which may or may not be what she wants to see out of you anyway? Gives me a headache going around in circles. I mean, what's wrong with honest communication? What about authenticity?

I know her, if she tells me the action wont have any impact because she's still in control. Know what I mean?

I do know what you mean, and this dancing around happens to us as well. My suggestion fwiw would be to ask her what she really means and just be honest. Ultimately you're being "the man" that she's asking for by taking control of a vague request and ending the games.

Skan posted 1/6/2014 22:46 PM

Can you ask her, what a man looks like, sounds like, feels like to her?

SlowUptake posted 1/7/2014 06:57 AM

My beliefs.

1) 'Women and men are equal in all respects'
2) 'Women and men are different'

With that being stated, is it possible your BS is one of those women who wants her man to be more like a woman right up until you reach the point that you are?

[This message edited by SlowUptake at 7:02 AM, January 7th (Tuesday)]

Prayingforhope posted 1/7/2014 07:13 AM

I made a list (some my BS told me, others I figured out) of everything she has to do to support the house - kid haircuts, buying water softener salt, dog food, grocery shopping, paying the nanny, etc. and I just do them now.

It helps (I think) since it takes some pressure off her and, for the first time, makes me a partner INVESTING in the household.

There are some things we decided I will not do, like finances, because turning that over to her helps her feel safe (from me), but for the rest I keep telling her to just add it to the list.

We also agreed to put a "shopping and to-do list" on top of the microwave that she populates throughout the week. Whenever I am there I pick it up and work down the list. This way it's really clear, i.e. if she needs something done, she just adds it to the list.

Maybe she can call your list "the MANLY list of things to do"

This is one of those little changes that makes a big difference and honestly, as long as we share the house, I can't imagine this one ever changing, so a good future habit developing as well.

Hope it helps.

nevergiveup10 posted 1/7/2014 07:29 AM

Slow,I think you hit it right on the head. She wants the male equivalent of the "Madonna and the whore"

I think Steppenwolf has the right idea. A good first step is to take control and confront it rather than just let it flounder.

I've realized I'm a bit frustrated with the overly submissive role I've taken on. All things considered I should be accommodating, but not so far it is at the expense of my self respect. That will lead me in a bad direction...

It took alot of work to get it back and it's still very fragile. Insecurities suck!

nevergiveup10 posted 1/7/2014 07:41 AM

Praying you are on the money. I too have finally taken on more of the household / kid tasks by my own initiative. She does appreciate it and welcomes the change.

I do like the idea of the list inclusive of kid items. I have a good memory and she does not, it may help aleve some of my frustration about making sure everything is covered. It's tough when I'm not there all the time, I def don't want to nag.

She gets anxious when I approach her to talk. Perhaps something small like this and consistently keeping it short and sweet will help.

DeadMumWalking posted 1/7/2014 08:08 AM

I know her, if she tells me the action wont have any impact because she's still in control. Know what I mean?

Oh, then you're supposed to be a mind reader, right??

WH pulls this kind of passive-aggressive bullshit on me too. I tell him 'xxx will make me feel loved', specifically so that he DOESN'T have to be a mind reader. So what does he do? He does 'yyy' or 'xyz' or 'abc' or anything BUT 'xxx'.

So what is that supposed to mean? That he doesn't care about what I want? That he doesn't want to be 'controlled'? That he wants to show that he's creative and not just 'following orders'? Or ?????

I agree that you two need to have some true, honest communication injected here. A good MC can help with this type of communication (idk if you are in MC or not).

And sorry, but I don't get how being a 'man' is incompatible with being humble.

Please try to get your communication with your wife on the right track. Communication is a means of understanding. Having healthy communication will promote understanding, and in that way can help to improve emotional intimacy.

Best of luck to you both.

Prayingforhope posted 1/7/2014 08:42 AM

I've realized I'm a bit frustrated with the overly submissive role I've taken on.

In MC yesterday the therapist asked me what was going on with me at the exact moment in the meeting. I realized my head was down because my head is now always hung so low around my wife...part submissive, part shame, lots of guilt.

It's normal now since the pain is all so new and real, but when she really starts to beat me up and try and make me even more submission, I can feel it getting to me. You're not alone with that frustration.

My hope is eventually this comes to some sort of a balance as part of the R process (that is, if we ever have an R process, but you get the point).

DeadMumWalking posted 1/7/2014 09:52 AM

@ nevergiveup10 & Prayingforhope:

when she really starts to beat me up and try and make me even more submission, I can feel it getting to me.

Your Ddays are fairly recent. I had no idea which way was up for more than a YEAR. So without regard to anything else, some of that trauma may still be at play.

That being said, I have to say that it really irks me when WH categorizes my honest discussion of my feelings as me 'beating him up into submission'. Yeah, he does that. And at least in my case, I feel that it is an unfair judgment.

I'm not there with either of you. I don't know the intimate details of either of your situations. So ymmv.

But you might also consider whether (and if so, to what extent) you are defensive and projecting, rather than listening with an open heart and mind to what your BSs are trying to tell you. I hope that you are able to truly R with your BS. I would give almost anything for WH to have been truly remorseful and willing to do the work. That is not something I would have intentionally destroyed.

I truly wish you only the best.

steadfast1973 posted 1/7/2014 10:08 AM

She wants to know that you are doing all these things because you want to, not panicking to do it so she'll stay. She wants to know your changes are real, and lasting. And she wants you to do them without her initiating it. She wants some spontaneity again, without fear. Surprise her with dinner. A romantic dinner. Line up a babysitter. (that was always my responsibility, and any dates we had were contingent on me accomplishing it. It felt like rejection...)

She wants definitive action, not just reaction to her pain.

[This message edited by steadfast1973 at 10:09 AM, January 7th (Tuesday)]

nevergiveup10 posted 1/7/2014 11:04 AM

I wish she had more to say at times, that's why I'm left guessing. She internalizes many of her feelings, triggers, etc. She does her best not to be mean either. I just now expressed to her my hope she can share those with me, I'll take the heat. It's the only way I cam give her the love and reassurance to work through them. It's easy for my mind to tell me she's getting over it if I don't hear it from her. I need a reminder once in a while.

I do surprise her in the way only I can. Surprise dates with everything setup, thoughtful small gifts well timed, etc. Thankfully I know her well and know how to make her feel special without overdoing it.

gutfeeling posted 1/7/2014 11:24 AM

Ok if I post?

I am also "in charge" most of the time in our relationship and if I wanted a break - these are the things I would ask H to do.

I think its less about being a MAN (ie not feminine) and more about being a co-equal and not a parent/child relationship. I'm not sure if that rings true for your W.

Here's my list - take it or leave it as is helpful for you!

Things I wish my H knew:

1. I am not in charge. Don't come home and ask me what's for dinner or ask me what chores you should do. Take charge (not in a jerk way) - "Hey love - I thought I'd make hamburgers for us for dinner tonight, does that sound good for you?" "Hey hun, I think it'd be fun to go grab dessert and a glass of wine at that new restaurant down the street this week - what night works for you?" Think of chores on your own (taking out the trash, vaccuming, sweeping the floor, walking/feeding the dog, unloading the dishwasher, taking the cars to get the oil changed, etc. and just do them. Don't point out that you did them to your W.

2. Don't look to me to organize our social calendar. "W, I'd love to go check out XYZ town for the day. Do you want to make a date day out of it this weekend?" "Hun, we haven't seen XYZ friends in a while. How about I call them to see if they can meet us for dinner on Friday at XX restaurant?" (and then YOU make reservation if they say yes).

3. Kiss me when you first see me in the morning and before you leave for work in the am. Grab my butt when I hop out of the shower. Give me the "damnnnnnnn woman" look and let me know that I look good when you see me all dressed up for the dinner with friends (that you planned).

4. Play with me, tickle me, laugh with me, make inside jokes with me. Smile at me across the room. Hold my hand in public. Bring me flowers (ok if they are the $10 ones from the grocery store, just let me know you took that little bit of extra time for me).

5. Don't be afraid to share your feelings and be authentic with me. I want you to be you.

Prayingforhope posted 1/7/2014 15:07 PM

@DeadMumWalking all fair points and to be honest, I'm so new to living in the disaster I created, I don't have any control of my emotions yet. I go from happy to total breakdown to angry in a blink so yes, there is definitely some defensiveness at play. Thanks for calling it out.

@Gutfeeling, that is the greatest list I have read in a long time. My wife could have written that list and it's painful for me to realize how bad I screwed up every single point on your list. Every ONE.

The even more painful part is how blatantly obvious it is to me NOW and how blind it was to me before. And that is why they call it a fog...

Thanks for sharing that, it's truly a great list.

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