I see so many posts where people posit a problem and the advice in many cases is "talk to your spouse about it." Even now my BS and I struggle to talk about our situation. I don't bring it up out of fear. Fear of ruining a good day, fear of not knowing what to say or how to say it. I feel like this has been a major source of trouble within our marriage. Part of my "why" is the fact that I acted out of a sense of rejection. The problem is the rejection probably wasn't rejection at all, it was a lack of communication between us. I take responsibility for that now and know that I should have recognized it sooner and done something to improve it.
So how about some advice? Is there a good book you've come across that would help? Especially pertaining to communication within marital relationships.
I've always used the excuse that I'm not a good communicator but I've never done anything about it. That needs to change.
You have to be brave. Communication takes bravery, and kindness by both parties.
It's a book on communication that I found to be wonderful and unbelievably helpful. Multiple counselors I've seen have also given me advice that is in this book so I feel it's a safe book to recommend :)
Just wanted to bump this to see if anyone could give some advice.
Startingfresh, thanks for the book recommendation. I've already put it on my list.
oh well. I don't have any advice. I am too much of a mess to offer anything constructive, but I can identify. I will be interested to see what others say in response.
Pre-DDay, emotions were simply the basics: happy, sad, love, hate. Now i'm learning to differentiate between frustration & hate, disappointment & sadness, etc.
I thank god have great IC and friends that don't laugh (too much ) at my ignorance and help me work through them.
Its a long road I'll be traveling for awhile, but it has enhanced all my relationships.
Start learning about "Active Listening"
when your BS tells you something, repeat it back to her in what you understand her to be saying. This is an important part.
Do not get lost in the beginning of the conversation thinking about the first part of what she is saying so that you miss the next 10 sentences before you are listening again.
These are 2 things I have worked diligently on. and have made a difference.
ME: WH HER: BS (holesinmybucket)
I do not PM with Women
When BW said she wanted to see outward changes in my behavior, this was one of the biggest, most important ones.
I still have problems with it, but I can start conversations with "I know you want me to share my feelings, so..." It's sort of a permission to say anything, even if its unpleasant.
Even if it's bad, BW's reaction is tempered with relief that I am communicating.
Hang in there.
Read "understanding the tin man" this could help shed some light on that subject for you and your BS
I used to stuff my feelings, too. Typical guy, right? My reactions to these stuffed feelings is what got me depressed, and withdrawn, and then all the rest.
I admit that I have a hard time starting conversations with BS. I'm not sure why. Still trying to figure that out. What am I so afraid of? I think your tip of just coming right out and saying, I need to express my feelings and just doing it is probably best. I have to remind myself that no matter what the reaction is, it has to be better than the alternative of continuing to bury them.
BUT, you can express yourself and listen.
Some things that help is either writing things out and reading it over to see if that is really how you feel or talking out loud to yourself. Sometimes we don't "communicate well" because we actually don't know what to say.
Don't be afraid of being misunderstood or rejected. Fear stops us from being honest so many times.
Have empathy. Don't get mad when your spouse is telling you something but rather look at things objectively. If you stop yourself from jumping to conclusions, projecting or being closed minded it can be easier
Communicate don't convince. A lot of people (raises hand) try to convince the other person of our opinion. But, sometimes we are wrong or just have a different perception. Letting go of the outcome of a disussion can keep tempers calm and pressure off.
Be vunerable. Don't let pride stop you from saying something.
Those are a few things I have learned. The other is to not stew on something. And to not just want other people to "get it". The whole "he should know" causes so many problems.
My counselor suggested the following to help conversation rolling - pick three things or at least one thing that happened to you that day tell him/her about it and How it made you FEEL and why.
Also, try asking questions of your spouse about how he/she feels! Ask open ended questions- those that are not answerable by Yes,NO.
Struggling with conversation myself! lol
Wedding: April 9, 1994
Caught at AP's house: 10 Aug 2012
Admitted PA: 12 Aug 2012
TT ended: Jan 2014
Every Saint has a Past; every Sinner has a Future.
Look I am not a master at this by a long shot, but I have come a long way with it. It was fear for me as well. I have always been terrified of confrontation. Even with the person I am supposed to trust the most. Trust, for me, never extended to vulnerability. And thats the key right there. You need to be brave enough to be vulnerable.
As someone who has always feared communicating, the way I have learned to be more vulnerable was by coming to believe with my whole heart that it was central and pivotal to the survival of my marriage that I do so. I realised I feared the collapse of my family and my life more than I feared confrontation and I CHOSE to be vulnerable instead. Of course, its not always that easy! And I dont always succeed. But with time and pratice, im getting better at it.
Your BS will appreciate this more than almost anything else you could do. Because every little thing you volunteer that your BS doesnt have to ask for is another brick in the new house of trust you are building.
I just want to ask about one other thing you said - you mentioned part of your why was a feeling of rejection. Are you saying you think you may hve cheated because you felt your BS didnt want you? If thats the case, I strongly encourage you to dig deeper. Rejection isnt your why. Your why, is why you chose to deal with feeling rejected by cheating. Why did you feel that was an ok way to cope?
If im off track above, please ignore. If im not, keep working at it. The statement 'that needs to change' is a great one.