WS, 5-month EA/PA '09-'10
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 reality...it 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.
Divorced and remarried to XBH