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Is this reasonable, healthy, etc? Please help me figure this out

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Darkness Falls posted 3/14/2014 22:08 PM

As my topic title suggests, I still struggle at times with what is reasonable and healthy in a mature relationship. Right now is one of those times.

My XH is across the country right now visiting family, which he does once a year. During last year's visit, he barely communicated with me at all. We maybe spoke on the phone twice in 4 days, with a few text messages interspersed in there. While I realize there is a 3-hour time difference, plus he's busy with family he barely ever sees, I (last year) felt somewhat neglected and annoyed. When he returned, I mentioned that I felt ignored during his visit. I mentioned that I wished we could have Skyped, or even spoken on the phone for longer than 2 minutes, twice in several days. I thought that was reasonable---I didn't whine or pout; I just stated my feelings on the matter.

Of course, as is his usual M.O., he got upset. He feels he can never please anyone and is always letting somebody down---if he talks to me, he's taking time away from his family; if he focuses on his family, I feel ignored. So it spirals into "woe is me, can't do anything right, I'm a loser," and so forth. As I said, his M.O. And it always ends with him (albeit defensively) acknowledging my feelings and saying he'll do things differently next time.

Except that now we're in the middle of this year's trip and it's the same thing. This time, it's even less. We haven't spoken verbally at all. He's texted me a total of 15 words in 2 days. He did send me a funny pic though. The morning he left, I specifically asked him (as I did last year) to please let me know when his plane landed so I didn't worry. As with last year, he didn't bother to do so. He texted me something else a few hours later, so I knew he was alive, but I don't understand why such a simple, basic, (IMO) reasonable request, that takes all of 10 seconds, is so difficult.

I've detached quite a bit from a year ago, so it doesn't really phase me on an emotional level. I'm glad for the alone time (since I never get any; I'm always either at work or with him) and it really doesn't upset me or bother me emotionally anymore. It just kind of...disgusts me, I guess...there are many times when I am able to readily and even happily accept him as he is, and then there are other times when I just think I can't believe this is really what our relationship has devolved to be.

I've said before that if he were this way from the get-go, I wouldn't have a leg to stand on. But I feel baited and switched because he seemed mostly normal on the emotional/communication front when we first got together. This isn't just the limerance/chemical high from years past having plateaued into a more sustainable really feels like insensitivity and complete refusal to even attempt to meet an emotional "need" (I'd use the term "emotional desire" because it's not really a need, but Emotional Needs is the colloquial term so I'm going with that) of mine.

So my dilemma, as it always is in dealing with him in these kinds of matters, is this:

- do I even bother saying anything to him this time, knowing full well what the result will be (petulance, conflict avoidance, defensiveness, and at the end of it all, nothing will change)? I feel like if I don't say anything, I am not being a healthy person by stuffing my feelings and acknowledging, in a mature and adult way, that something he's done bothers me.


- do I not say anything because I am just being petty and looking for a reason to be upset? I don't feel that I am---if I were asking him to call me 10 times a day to tell me how great I am, that would be one thing, but that's not the case. As I said above, I welcome the personal time. I'm not jealously trying to win his attention away from his family. And I know he sees me every day, while he only sees them once a year. But we're in a serious relationship, we're going to be officially living together in a few months, we're supposed to be getting re-M sooner rather than later---is it too much to ask for more than 15 words of text when we're going to be thousands of miles apart for 5 days? Oh, but by then it might be up to 30 words. /sarcasm

So, wise SIers, what say you? Help me navigate the territory here.

FixYou71 posted 3/14/2014 22:16 PM

I think it would be wise to spell it out for him exactly as you did here. I dint know your backstory so that's about as much as I can offer. You should always feel allowed to speak on your needs and wants without fear of persecution.
Perhaps its time to get together and read some books on communication and get some MC.. like I said, I dont know your back story.
Sorry you are feeling so disrespected and overlooked.

Darkness Falls posted 3/14/2014 22:26 PM


Thank you for your reply.

Perhaps its time to get together and read some books on communication and get some MC.. like I said, I dont know your back story.

Cliffnotes version: picture the most paralyzingly inept communicator who happens to be King of the Conflict Avoiders on Conflict Avoidant Island. Then imagine your surprise when he's the BS, not the WS! But seriously, that's him. We tried MC when we began reconciling after divorce 2 years ago. It didn't work out because the MC didn't see any issues. We did begin to read 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work by Gottman some months ago but we got busy with other things and never finished it; we need to get back to it.

painfulpast posted 3/14/2014 23:42 PM

I live this exact same week once a year. If I mention that I don't feel I'm being treated respectfully, then I'm trying to control him or some other nonsense.

After years of dealing with this, and the anxiety that builds while waiting for the actual trip date, it can't even be discussed without him blowing up.

Of course, during his ea, he found the time to text ow for about an hour. That was different, according to him. I really don't think that the issue is the issue any longer. Now I think the issue is whether or not we can not fight during the trip. Since the ea I've stopped asking to be treated as more than an afterthought. Now I just don't want to fight.

I've always thought this was a power play. I have no idea why. I'm sure it's some FOO thing, but sending a few more texts, or a five minute 'good night' call wouldn't affect the visit. At this point, it's just a stupid battle no one wins no matter what.

I have no real words of advice. I'm just letting you know you aren't alone and you've been heard.

5454real posted 3/15/2014 00:06 AM

Deal with this often. My family is jealous of the time I spend with them since it is so infrequent. When I am not with my FWW on these occasions, I make sure to contact her and let her know that she is the most important thing in my life. Yep, get the PW calls, the teasing etc.. Doesn't matter. There's the family I was born to, and then there's the family I've made. Easy choice.

You mention the remarriage, what about the part about to love and to cherish? A phone call or Skype doesn't seem like a real heavy burden to have to bear to do so. Again, easy choice.

I would hope that my family that I was born to would support me in strengthening the family that I've made.

Short answer, yes, it's reasonable and healthy. Hopefully he see's that too.

Darkness Falls posted 3/15/2014 12:52 PM

Thank you, painfulpast and 545 for your replies. As an update, shortly after I posted this he called after all, and we had a very nice conversation. We made plans to Facetime this morning but that didn't happen...that's OK. I know he's busy and I think I just need to be more understanding.

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