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User Topic: Are emotional needs bullshit?
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Default  Posted: 12:43 PM, August 14th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I think one interesting thing about the different responses is that even among people who have experienced the common pain of infidelity, there are people on both sides of the kind of experience we're discussing here.

Some get edgy when they hear someone talking about emotional needs because they have a WS who used that as a bludgeon over their heads during their affair, and used it to justify their infidelity.

Others had the experience of feeling like their emotional needs were not being met, and then their WS added insult to injury by being unfaithful on top of that.

I feel like I'm trying to find a middle ground. I don't think it's total bullshit, but I'm not completely comfortable with it either.

[This message edited by dbellanon at 12:45 PM, August 14th (Wednesday)]

ME: BH, 28
Her: WW, 27
DD: 4
Married 6 Years.
DDay: Early May, 2013

Posts: 227 | Registered: May 2013
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Default  Posted: 4:32 PM, August 14th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I have to admit that I fall on W_A_L's side of this issue....
The problem with emotional needs isn't necessarily that they are or are not needs.
The problem is generally that the sorts of people who carp on and on about their unmet emotional needs because they can't self-soothe are the sorts of people who have holes in the bottom of their buckets.

No matter how much water you dump in there for them, they're never going to get full, because they're either too lazy to fix the hole or too dense to realize that it's there.

Being a bottomless hole of need isn't a situation where your spouse just needs to try harder/better/differently, it's a fucking personality disorder.

Then again, I'm one of those people who believes that some feelings *are* wrong and shouldn't be validated. People are allowed to feel whatever they feel, but just because they feel it doesn't make it valid for me (or my responsibility to do something about their butt-hurtedness.)

.....but only because of my dealings with stbx. And I get the impression that you are struggling with this because your stbx was one of those 'bottomless pits' and you're really asking "what does *normal* look like?"

"Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive." - Sir Walter Scott

In my effort to be *concise*, I often come off as blunt and harsh. Sorry, don't mean to be offensive.

Posts: 8078 | Registered: Feb 2012 | From: Midwest
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Default  Posted: 5:03 PM, August 14th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

All of us are here on SI because one or both of us has an emotional hole. How do you fill up someone when the open hole inside cannot be filled? I believe in emotional needs being met, but we have to learn how to receive the gifts that take care of and fulfill that need.

Books and therapies like love languages are great tools, but they are not the core of the marriage bond. Holding your marital happiness hostage over whether or not your partner "completes" you in a certain way is a total misunderstanding of the exercise. My needs, all of them, should matter to my spouse. I need to express those needs, and may even need help expressing them, but I should not just sit back and say "now fill them up or I will be unhappy".

Those of us betrayed now have a whole new set of emotional needs that the wayward should have a hard time reconciling against their own. We cannot live a true life if we keep trying to tally up mine versus yours. When you keep score, somebody wins and somebody loses.

[This message edited by Lovedyoumore at 5:04 PM, August 14th (Wednesday)]

Me 52
WH 52
Married 30+ years
Together trying to R

I tell people I am tired but really my heart is broken and I am sad.

Posts: 1526 | Registered: May 2012 | From: Southern, bless your heart
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Default  Posted: 5:04 PM, August 14th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I think jj sums it up well with 1Faiths quote:

An affair isn't about what the WS wasn't getting; it is about what they weren't giving.

Posts: 739 | Registered: Feb 2012
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Default  Posted: 5:13 PM, August 14th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I tend to think a lot of emotional need issues could be resolved if we would be much more direct and honest about what it is we want. Instead we wrap up our wants with suble undertones of worry. Then creating a "need" because we feel that if we don't get it then what?
I ask myself this question(s) when I feel a "need" arise: "What would you do if you were single, only responsible for yourself?" Why? Because you take care of your own needs because you have to. So why when we get married or enter into a committed relationship do we abdicate the fulfillment of our "needs" to someone else? Why do we expect our spouse to be the fulfiller of needs? Thats not fair to them or to ourselves. Needs to me are the things you cannot live without. Food, shelter, clothing, safety, security etc. You have to have those. The emotional "needs" are the things that add to that which make life more fulfilling, but not required. I believe that human companionship is essential to a healthy happy life. But each person must be personally responsible for their own happiness and love of self. As the saying goes, you can't love someone else until you love yourself.

My 2 cents

Let him that would move the world first move himself. - Socrates

Posts: 1030 | Registered: Nov 2012 | From: Midwest
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Default  Posted: 5:38 PM, August 14th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Re being more direct about our wants...

I dunno. One of my love languages is words of affirmation. I told my H, I need you to SAY you love me, or appreciate that I do x or y, or that I look nice today, etc. His response was that now he couldn't do those things because he'd only be doing them because I asked him to. (He wasn't doing them spontaneously, so I told him directly what I wanted.). It would be inauthentic of him. Being direct didn't help me at all.

Now for me, I'd be thrilled if he had done stuff like that spontaneously, but doing it because I asked was good too -- because he was doing something that he knew I liked. What counted for me was his willingness to make an effort for me.

I still don't get those words but he does other things that I recognize as his effort to be thoughtful, which is a big improvement.

And frankly, it cheered me up when I discovered that his MCOW had complained about his inability to read and meet her emotional needs.

[This message edited by StrongerOne at 5:39 PM, August 14th (Wednesday)]

DDay Feb 2011.
In R.

Posts: 872 | Registered: Sep 2012
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Default  Posted: 5:55 PM, August 14th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I think justifying a PA with, "my emotional needs weren't met" is contradictory within itself. You can't say, "it was just sex," and "I did it because you weren't meeting my emotional needs" without being a giant hypocrite. If there was sex involved, and the WS was having an emotional need met, IMO, the affair was a PA AND an EA, even if it was physically a ONS.

I have a hard time buying the "not meeting my emotional needs" excuse in my cases. DD's dad used that before we broke up- but quite honestly, he would have cheated no matter what I did or didn't do. He began cheating early on in our relationship, and had cheated on girlfriends in the past. He has (since we broke up) admitted that he didn't cheat because of anything I did wrong. I'm not saying I was the perfect girlfriend- I'm sure I made a lot of mistakes as well in that relationship. But even if I HAD been perfect, he still would have cheated. I have no doubt that his emotional needs weren't being met, but there wasn't anything I could bring to the table there.

Same with my current WH. He looked outside the relationship for gratification to feel sexy. I didn't do anything in particular to make him feel unsexy...his behavior wasn't a reflection of anything I did wrong. I could have complimented him about how sexy he was every second of everyday, but ultimately, he didn't believe me OR his OW's because he didn't find himself attractive.

I have really mixed feelings about spouses meeting emotional needs and relying/depending on them to do so. I grew up in a wonderful family- and both of my parents are amazing people. My mom, however, is NOT warm and fuzzy. She will NOT let other people vent frustrations, and sometimes I need to. I swear, sometimes it feels like she sits around all day thinking of the most unhelpful thing she can say to make me feel even worse. It sucks. But from a very early age, I learned that if I need something emotionally, I need to rely on myself to find it. I can't rely on other people to say the right thing every time, or know how I am feeling. Sometimes I have emotional needs and I don't even know what they are, much less how to communicate how I am wanting to feel to someone else. So I tend to be one of those people who does look to my spouse for support and am hurt when I don't get it...but I also specify very clearly what I want from my spouse (and for that matter, what I want from my friends/parents). If I have to vent, and I just need a listening ear, I will say that. If I need someone to just agree with me, I will say that. If I need someone to tell me something in particular, I will ask. If I am needing a gift to make me feel special, or I need to be touched/held, or anything else, I will ask for it pretty much flat out. Additionally, I don't look for my spouse to make me feel a certain way (for the most part). I was diagnosed with OCD when I was 18 years old, and I have worked VERY hard to learn how to control my feelings and emotions. I control the way I feel, nobody else.

I suppose everyone is different, and every case is different.

I have been cheated on by 3 different men, and I have more DDays than anyone ever should. I am here, just trying to pickup the pieces.

At least the current man "only" cyber-cheated.

"Love means never having to say you're sorry."

Posts: 840 | Registered: Jan 2013
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Default  Posted: 6:13 PM, August 14th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Provocative and thought-provoking.

Like you said dbellanon, nobody can make us feel anything--but it's not a common belief at all IMO. I think most people go around saying, "He made me so angry," or "I'm so embarrassed by her." Like I tell my kids: why do you think love potions are so valuable in fairy tales? It's because the power to make another person feel anything is unattainable.

I emailed this Menz thread quote to BH in June, because it hit me so profoundly, and I apologize that I can't give proper credit:
I was in love with the person I was projecting on to my FWW, and she was hating the person she was projecting on to me.
I was happy in our marriage.
To FWW’s thinking that was proof that she was being a good W.
On the other hand, she was miserable, and that was proof that I was being a bad H and did not love her.

To me this is all about emotional needs, and how we cannot rely on another person to meet them. I was blaming BH for not "making me" feel pretty, desirable, etc., but I never said a damn thing to him about how unhappy I was. I just blamed him, instead of looking inward.

Now I believe I am responsible for my own emotional needs, and I'm working on truly and deeply loving and accepting myself. But I also think spouses have a responsibility to go beyond just "being there" or "doing no harm" and assume their spouse knows they love them. If I'm contradicting myself: yeah, I'm still confused as hell by all this "feelings" business. But I'm working on it every day.

fWW: 42
BH: 52
DDay: April 21, 2013
Sweet DS & fierce DD, under 10
"Between stimulus and response there’s a space, in that space lies our power to choose our response, in our response lies our growth and our freedom." V. Frankl

Posts: 1233 | Registered: Apr 2013 | From: Redneck land
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Default  Posted: 6:44 PM, August 14th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I think silverhopes hit on a key point with regard to LL. As important as it is to know what LL you *hear*, it's equally as important to be able to know what LL your partner *speaks*. My LL was touch, but I *spoke* acts of service. I show my love by cooking favorite meals, running errands to make my partner's life easier, etc.

So, if my partner doesn't recognize my *spoken* LL, he may conclude that I don't love him. Which isn't accurate at all.

I feel it's a part of the give and take of marriage that you accept how your partner *speaks* his/her LL in addition to making the attempt to learn to *speak* his/hers.

Tune out the noise of what others tell you about who you are and work it out for yourself...

Posts: 1650 | Registered: Jul 2011
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Default  Posted: 7:30 PM, August 14th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

20WrongsVs1: The quote that you included is right on the money. I don't think I could have put together a more succinct summary of our situation.

WW believed she was unloved. She was wrong. I believed that I was loved. I was wrong.

It's an oversimplification, but it's one of the better ones I've heard.

[This message edited by dbellanon at 7:47 PM, August 14th (Wednesday)]

ME: BH, 28
Her: WW, 27
DD: 4
Married 6 Years.
DDay: Early May, 2013

Posts: 227 | Registered: May 2013
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Default  Posted: 7:39 PM, August 14th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Just came across this quote from a book called The Untethered Soul that I thought was apropos to this discussion m

" “For example, if you feel loneliness and insufficiency within your heart, it’s not because you haven’t found a special relationship. That did not cause the problem. That relationship is your attempt to solve the problem. All you’re doing is trying to see if a relationship will appease your inner disturbance. If it doesn’t, you’ll try something else”

Or I our cases someone else.
The emotional needs are an inside job. Trying to find them outside is a losing proposition.

Me BH 46
WW 42

Dday 1: 10/20/2010 -- 3 month physical affair
Dday2: 7/7/2013 -- 3 year emotional affair but I think it was more.

Posts: 83 | Registered: Aug 2013 | From: Florida
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Default  Posted: 10:14 PM, August 14th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

A smart IC said that it's not a good predictor of success in a marriage if one partner can only be happy when the other partner CHANGES!

That the crux of it, right? Love me as I am, not as you wish I was.

She was hurt because she didn't feel loved, and I was hurt because I didn't feel appreciated. Perhaps you could say that she needed to feel loved in order to appreciate me. I felt that I needed to be appreciated in order to be able to properly show love.
I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard/read this sentiment expressed!

dbellanon, I feel obliged to call you out on one point:

We both agreed that it was important to understand the “language” of the other, though we disagreed whether priority should be given to “understanding” the other person’s love language vs. “speaking it,” if that makes sense (with me leaning more towards the “understand” side, and she towards the “speak” side).
If "understanding" is knowing it, while "speaking it" is doing it (ACTION), then would the following analogy apply:

If I "understand" that my car runs on gasoline, but I just "speak" about filling up the tank -- but I never actually go to the station and fill the tank because I resent $4/gallon price -- then whose fault is it when I run out of gasoline?

Or apply the analogy to work. If I understand what needs to be done, but fail to do it, there are going to be consequences.

"We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us." ~J. Campbell
"In the final analysis, it is your own attitude that will make or break you, not what has happened to you." ~D. Galloway

Posts: 2143 | Registered: Jun 2009
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Default  Posted: 10:30 PM, August 14th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I don’t think emotional needs in and of themselves are bullshit, but in my situation, it certainly was a bullshit attempt at justification. It simply wouldn’t have mattered what was happening my WW was going to fabricate an issue.

I think some of the issues have been touched on in this thread, but for me it boils down to a few different issues:

1. I’m not a bad guy and easy to get along with, so my fWW had to fabricate arguments to make us seem distant in public. It wasn’t so easy for me to see at the time, but what a creative actress. She needed the guise of a “bad husband” to keep her secret safe and to save face with those who may have otherwise mentioned her A’s to me.

2. I think the entire charade was a bit of a control issue. I think part of the fun for her wasn’t just the rush of the A’s and having her fun with assorted OM, it was watching me trying harder to please her. She made sure the prize was just out of reach, but close enough to keep trying. In the end, the court jester only thought he was the king.

3. I didn’t “give her a reason to cheat” so she needed to create one. I think that occasionally there was a little bit of guilt on her part and she needed to lean on something as vague as “emotional needs”.

Not sure if that is what you were getting at, but as you can see, it made sense in my own little world. Emotional needs are an incredibly vague and individual topic that becomes difficult to argue because the answers lies in our own interpretation, not in our need. So, please allow me to be a little cynical when I say that those OM must have had extra special sperm that was fortified with just the right amount of emotional need that they could pump it in her like a jelly-filled donut.

Suffice it to say that I do not believe an extramarital affair provides a WS or a BS with emotional needs. If anything, it destroys them. I don’t jump out of an airplane at 30,000 feet to fulfill my emotional needs, I jump out because I want the rush that I can’t get anywhere else. So are emotional needs bullshit? Sure they are, if you are married and trying to fulfill them outside the marriage. Its an internal issue that by design cannot be corrected externally.

Posts: 1211 | Registered: Feb 2011
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Default  Posted: 11:07 PM, August 14th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

ladies_first has it, and Wounded Opus' long and heartbreaking post on the first page expands on it.

If your spouse tells you that X action makes her feel loved and you don't do it, that sends a powerful and destructive message. And if your spouse tells you that Y makes her feel unloved and you keep doing it--the same.

Sometimes there's a problem in getting that message across. Sometimes it's a problem with transmission. That can happen if someone thinks that his/her spouse should "just know" and be a mind reader, which is clearly madness. Or if someone thinks their subtle hints should be enough to get the point across. But if a spouse says plainly (even if when upset, perhaps especially when upset!) that X makes her feel loved and Y doesn't, that's clear and unequivocal communication.

Often there's a problem with reception, where the spouse who's supposed to be getting the message doesn't listen or doesn't think it pertains to them.

But if that message has been sent out loud and clear and it isn't honored... Well, what's other conclusion is one supposed to draw?

If the request is clearly outlandish ("if you don't make $10 million a year and look like Brad Pitt, I don't feel loved") then get out. If the request is something you can't at the moment fulfill, at least respect it ("Right now I'm feeling too upset to be physically close to you. Can I hug you tomorrow?" "I don't have enough money to buy gifts this week, but I found this quote that I think you'll love, I hope you like it.")

If it's totally possible to do and you just don't or won't do it...that pretty much just tells the tale, doesn't it?

It'll all be OK in the end. If it's not OK, it's not the end.

Posts: 133 | Registered: Nov 2011 | From: Boston
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Default  Posted: 12:33 AM, August 15th (Thursday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Others have suggested that my WW may be, in some respects, a bottomless pit of need, constantly reliant upon others to bolster her ego and sense of self-worth.

I think it's the difference between a constantly moving target and stationary one.

"A bottomless pit of need" has an endless list of problems with his/her partner. On Monday it's mismatched libidos; Tuesday it's failure to pitch in with chores around the house; Wednesday it's lack of communication; Thursday is lack of quality time; Friday it's that you didn't bring flowers, chocolates and a diamond tennis bracelet; Saturday it's too much time golfing; Sunday it's the time and money you spent at Lowe's or Home Depot; and not to mention "you don't make $10 million a year and look like Brad Pitt, I don't feel loved."

As BostonGirl and others have stated: "if a spouse says plainly (even if when upset, perhaps especially when upset!) that X makes her feel loved and Y doesn't, that's clear and unequivocal communication." And then it's your choice to step outside of your comfort zone and give her X.

"We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us." ~J. Campbell
"In the final analysis, it is your own attitude that will make or break you, not what has happened to you." ~D. Galloway

Posts: 2143 | Registered: Jun 2009
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Default  Posted: 12:37 AM, August 15th (Thursday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

One of my all-time favorite SI posts:

This is the easiest way I can think of to explain how my needs are not being met. I would like an orange. WS brings me an apple. I tell WS I really wanted an orange, thank you for the apple but I want an orange. WS brings me a pineapple. I tell WS thanks for the pineapple, I appreciate your effort but I really want an orange. WS brings me a pear. Now I am getting pissed because I asked for an orange a long time ago and still don't have an orange. WS jumps up and down and says "look at all the stuff I did bring you". I still don't have my orange. I have a fucking fruit basket but I don't have an orange, the one thing I really want. WS is reading a book our MC suggested. I do not know that name of it so I have no idea what its purpose is. I asked him if he is getting anything from it. He said yes and that he has started implementing some of the things he has learned. Then he said, "you probably don't see it". H has not only brought me a fruit basket, but also planted a vegetable garden, raised cows and chickens and pigs for meat, planted wheat for flour, built a bakery so I can have desserts, bought an ice cream maker, hired a maid/cook/dishwasher. I have thanked him profusely for each and every effort, which makes him happy. But then, of course, I ask "Can I have that orange now?".....and get the "What about all the OTHER things I've done?" Reading this, it makes me sound like some kind of demanding shrew......and I'm really, really not, I just, like you, wanted a simple orange. I stopped asking for oranges a long time ago. I wanted a clear way to explain to MC on Saturday what WS is really like. I hope she "gets" it. I have accepted apples, pineapples, mangos, papayas, lemons, limes, guavas, plums and peaches. I still don't have a fucking orange! Don't get me wrong, I am relatively happy with my fruit basket. My only real worry is: What if I bump into someone who has an orange and is more than happy to give it to me? :::
Me: Would you please bring me an orange?
Him: silence
Me: Would you please bring me an orange?
Him: No
Me: Why not? I want one, you have it to give, it would make me feel loved.
Him: YOU DIDN'T _________(insert something inane and completely unrelated to fruit here). WHY DO YOU MAKE ME YELL??
Him: Here's an orange.
ME: Shove it.
Him: Take it.
Me: Thanks.
Him: Take it, I brought it for you because that's what you said you wanted. Now you don't want it, fine, nothing I do will be good enough for you. You will never let go of this will you?
Me: Fuck you, we're done
Him: That's what you wanted all along wasn't it. Why didn't you just say so to begin with?
ME: We can fix this if you will just bring me that orange like I asked.
Him: Here is a wedge of an orange.
ME: Oh thank you so much! (thinking, fucker, where is the rest of it?)
Talk about passive-aggressive communication issues. My counselor recommended a book on passive aggressive men/behaviors. I bought the book. Mr LL saw it and told me he was not passive aggressive. I continued to read the book. He then ripped the book in half. Hmmm, what does that tell me? I can only imagine what he'd do to the orange or the fruit basket. Should that have convinced me? ::::
Me. Please give me a orange.
WW. I have no oranges.
Me. If you look may be you can find an orange to give me.
WW. No. I will not look. You will have to look for and find the orange you self. :::
I get "it's all your damn fault we don't have oranges-go buy some!" :::
Me. Can you please give me a orange.
WW. (takes orange and freezes it solid in the freezer)
WW. Here’s your orange.
WW. (Hurls it at me head.)
Me. Ouch!
WW. THERE. Aren’t you happy you got you orange now? ::::
Me: Can I have an orange?
FWH: You don't really want an orange, you want a pineapple.
Me: No, I really just want an orange.
FWH: How about a smoothie?
Me: No, just a simple orange.
FWH: But you would really, really rather have a Mimosa?
Me: No, YOU would enjoy a Mimosa, I want a simple orange.
FWH: You really want a chocolate orange.
Me: STOP telling me what I want.
FWH: Here's a tangerine.
Me: Whatever. :::
EXWS: Look what I have for you honey! (hands me a box of orange peels and waits for my gushing appreciation)
Me: This is used (confused look on face)
EXWS: You are so ungrateful. Nevermind!
Me: Looks in his car and sees that he has a new box of oranges for himself.
You see, he used to buy himself the newest version of something (example: radar detector) and put his old one back into it's original packaging and give it to me like a brand new gift. Then he was confused by my diminished appreciation. Now, if he had just said to me, "Hey, Honey, the new XP-3000 is out now and I'm going to get it. Would you like the XP-1000 that I'm using now?" I would have been fine, happy, grateful. It was the repackaging and presenting it like a brand new gift I should swoon over instead of the truth - getting rid of his old crap. He is an ex. :::
Me: Could you please get me an...
Him: Apple?
Me: no a...
Him: pear?
Me: no a...
Him: peach? pineapple? watermelon? what? why don't you ever tell me what you want?
Me: maybe if you'd shut up and listen i could utter that i want a fucking orange!
Later, because I’m still unsatisfied.
Me: Could you please get me an...
Him: Apple?
Me: Sure. good enough. if i close my nose and don't smell the apple, it will taste like an orange anyways.
Me: Could you please get me an...oh, nevermind. i'll get it myself. :::
ME: Would you please bring me an orange?
WH: I don't have an orange.
ME: Yes, actually, you do. I saw it right before I asked you for it.
WH: I don't see an orange.
ME: That's because you're not looking at the orange. It's right there. Would you give it to me, please?
WH: I've spent all day looking at vegetables for other people; I'm too tired to look at oranges for you.
ME: Y'know what, never mind. I'll go to the kitchen and get my own damn orange.
WH: Hey, could you bring me an orange, too? :::
Me: Could you get me an orange? I would really feel incredibly better with just one orange.
WH: [silence]
Me: Please?
WH: [loud sighing]
Me: What's wrong? Why can't you give me an orange? You used to give me oranges all the time.
WH: It just doesn't feel 'natural' when you ask for it. I can't give you an orange unless it feels natural and in the moment. :::
Me: I want an orange.
Him: You can have the juice that's left from when I smashed the orange but you'll never have an intact orange again. Would you settle for an apple? :::
WH: Why aren't you happy?
ME: Like I said last time, I'd really like an orange?
WH: I'm doing the best I can. Didn't I give you an apple?
ME: Yes and I appreciate it.
WH: Well, what else can I possibly do? I'm doing EVERYTHING!!
ME: The most important thing to me is an orange.
WH: Don't you think I've changed?
ME: Yes, I know that in your mind you are bringing apples, pineapples - even avocados, and I appreciate it.
WH: You are never going to move past this - can't you just move past it?
ME: The most important thing to me is an orange.
WH: Didn't I give you an apple? :::
Me: Can I have an orange?
WW: What?
Me: I'd like an orange. Can I have one?
WW: Why would you want an orange?
Me: Just because. Can I have one?
WW: You don't need an orange, and I'm tired -- going to go to bed if that's ok?
The next day:
Me: Can I have that orange now?
WW: I don't have any oranges.
Me: Yes you do. In fact you've cornered the market on oranges. You're the only one with oranges.
WW: Oh, I guess you're right. You know what -- I'll be happy to give you all the oranges I have, if I could only remember where I put them.
Me: Could you please try to remember where they are? I'd really like an orange.
WW: You know what? Here they are. I found them.
Me: But they're so old now that they're spoiled.
WW: Sorry (shrugs) :::
Me: Can you bring me an orange?
Him: Here, have some of those sugar-coated candy orange slices.
Me: Um, okay....
Him: How about that? How's that taste.
Me: Um......fake..... :::
Me: Can I please have an orange?
WH: I have given you every orange I have ever had.
Me: No, you haven't. I have occasionally wrestled an orange from you, but you have not offered me an orange in many years.
WH: You're crazy. I've given you at least one orange every day for the last eighteen years. Remember the orange I gave you yesterday?
Me: The shit you picked up when you walked the dog?
WH: You're nuts. It was an orange. Remember? It was in a grocery store bag. Don't you remember how fragrant it was?
Me: It stank.
WH: You never appreciate anything I do. I can't do anything right. Nothing I do will ever be good enough for you. :::
I think sometimes people (not saying you) are guilty of saying,
Spouse 1: I want an orange.
Spouse 2: Here's an orange.
Spouse 1: I want an orange AND an apple.
Spouse 2: Here's an orange and an apple.
Spouse 1: What I REALLY wanted was a banana and you gave me an orange.
Spouse 2: I thought you said you wanted an orange.
Spouse 1: No. You should have known when I said orange, I meant banana. :::
Wanted to say, I don't think my H doesn't bring me the orange for any reason other than HE doesn't think I 'need' an orange, or that an orange would be 'good' for me. Does that make sense? He's not mean, not passive aggressive, but I guess he could be considered 'controlling' in that he thinks he knows best how to 'heal' from something like that, and it doesn't include giving oranges if the oranges have the potential to hurt the, maybe they're allergic to citrus....even though I have assured him I'm NOT allergic citrus. :::
Me: I'd like that orange I mentioned 5 days ago and you promised you'd get.
Him: Oh yeah, about that.. I was thinking and I need to know why you think you want an orange.
Me: Could you just give me the orange?
Him: What if you can't handle the orange? What if it makes you sick?
Me: O, so now your worried about my health?
Him: Yes. I don't think oranges are good for you.
Me: Fuck you. You've made enough decisions about what's good for me. Give me my damn orange.
Him: But the orange will hurt you. Let's forget about the orange. As a matter of fact, let's forget about fruit altogether. You don't need it.
Me: Why are you so afraid to give me the orange?
Him: I'm not afraid.
Me: Get out of my sight and don't come back until you have my freakin' orange.
Him: You don't need an orange. :::
Me: May I please have an orange?
Him: I'd like to discuss that with my IC before responding.
Me: Do you really need to discuss that with your IC? Really, it's just a simple request for an orange.
Him: Yes. Whenever I respond to your orange requests, you become upset with my response.
Me: Have you ever responded with an orange?
Him: I'll get back to you on that. Must discuss with IC.
(days and many vitamin C tablets later.....)
Me: So, can we revisit the orange request?
Him: Sure. My IC thinks it may be a boundary violation to discuss the orange.
Me: How so?
Him: Don't know. What are boundaries?
Me (perplexed): Wait. You've been in IC for ten years and the concept of boundaries has never popped up?
Him: Don't think so. We work on identifying my feelings.
Me: What are you feeling right now?
Him: Don't know. Maybe like my boundaries are being violated.
Me: How so?
Him: I'll get back to you on that. I'll discuss it with my IC next week. (and on and on...) :::
Me: Can I have an orange, please?
Him: My IC said that since my mother never gave me oranges when I was a child I will never be able to give you an orange. :::
Me: Could I have a....
Him : Hello...yep...yep...see you tomorrow at 10. What were you saying??
Me: I was saying that I would...
Him: Hello....reboot your computer....I will wait...ok, what do you see on the screen. Fine. What again were you saying?
Me: Never mind. :::
Oranges, although for Witchy represent truth, for me, represent sex. I ask, no beg, for an orange, and I get everything from popsicles to steak dinners, but never a simple orange. The OM's got oranges, and by comparison, their percentage of oranges just totally out weigh mine. So, the only conclusion I can draw from this is, that she is repulsed by the idea of giving me an orange. Now, my self esteem is nowhere near low enough to believe that, if I were in a position to get an orange from someone else, they wouldn't give me a whole bowl of oranges, along with fresh squeezed orange juice, sliced oranges, and duck ala orange. So, someone remind me again why I even bother to try? ::: It goes back to that bitch of a question. Can you live without oranges? If not, then can you live without your spouse? Because really at this point, those are your options. :::
This is where you decide, can I live without the orange if he can't give me one? Or do I need oranges to live the life I want? If you do, and he can't or won't give you an orange. Then time to leave and search for the orchard owner. I think I decided I could live without the orange. Or I can provide orange-like things to myself. :::
I asked my H for an orange. I don’t usually ask for anything, because I get it for myself. But, after moving half way across the country, losing the job I thought I had, bills stacking up and no income, children fighting constantly, etc etc, I have been feeling less than stellar about my ability to transition. NOW, my H has decided to go back to infidelity city where we used to live and work for a few weeks on a job. In a moment of financial desperation I said fine, do what you need to do...and ever since I have been having nightmares about him cheating, every night. Now I am looking at it, and it is not so fine, but it doesn't matter because he is going regardless of what I say or do. I can't fault him for that, his intention is to feed our family. So I am looking at two weeks with all the kids and a dog (dog is a puppy and stepson has mental issues, can we say handful!), knowing no one here, looking for a job, and thinking about him in THAT town, top it off with hormonal issues, and I am ready to crack. I know him, how he reacts, and I thought that I had prepped him with all the right stuff to receive. This in not about you. This is not a criticism, you are doing wonderfully, everything you can. I am just feeling this way. I prepped!!! He just didn't hear the prep. So last night I asked him for an orange. An orange for me is some understanding of my fears and anxiety, a shoulder to cry on in a moment of feeling weak and vulnerable. I told him, I just don't know how I am going to make it through this. I feel like I am going to fall apart. Please, bring me an orange. His response: Suck it up. "Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Once you get over the self pity, you can get back on track. I have problems too. What do you mean you are depressed - you are always depressed, how is this any different? Shut up and stop. If you are just going to keep going, then go in the other room. I don't want to deal with this, I have to work tomorrow." My response: "You have to be fucking kidding me! Pardon me for thinking that partners were the person you turn to when you felt you could not stand up on your own. I am having flashbacks of when I broke down at XYZs house (2 weeks after d-day) and you told me to go away if I was going to "freak out" and cry. WTF??? Bad on me, why should I expect anything different? When you don't know what to do, you get angry and push people away." There was more said after that, but there is the gist of it. I told him I had no one to turn to here, and he said, what about all of your friends online? That is what you do all day right? So here I am, venting to you guys. I slept on the couch. Listen I know it is not easy to support a spouse when you are feeling the effects of change too. All I wanted was a friggin orange. Just one. So stupid. Its no ones fault, life gets hard sometime it just GETS THAT WAY. I just wanted him to hear me, to know that I am on the edge just in case I need someone to hold me up for a minute if I stumble. I wanted him to know that I was feeling fear, so I would not be alone with it. His reaction had nothing to do with me, only with his inability to deal with emotions. Get angry and make it go away. Lots of things have changed. Obviously that has not. “he treats you like you are 12” - he treats me like I am just supposed to be the rock, and when I am not the rock, and I turn into a sponge, he doesn't know what to do. Then he panics. SO he does whatever he can to make people (me) go away. And I went to sleep on the couch because I wanted to get away, so I guess that worked for him, didn't it? Sometimes I feel like a one dimensional character in his story. We are seriously lacking in connection at this point in time. Fact is, I can't make my character mean any more to him than he has in his mind. I cannot change him. I cannot make him give me more. Only he can do that if he wants to, and I don't really know if he can or not. Just comes back to, am I willing to stay with someone who is empathetically dysfunction. Not usually a problem, but when it does show up, pow, what a reminder. I do question where is the love in this relationship. He reassures me that it is there, and tells me how he expresses it. And I can see his point. I think that yes he loves me more than anyone else he has ever loved. That said, he doesn't know a whole lot about it, or even think about it for that matter. I think we have hit quite a bump in this road, and it is exposing a lot of stuff that remains unhealed. Can we say, communication breakdown? Yes. When I say, "supportive" he immediately thinks, financial and help around the house. Then he gets defensive because he IS supportive in those two ways. What is that song, two out of three ain’t bad??? The concept of "emotional support" is a foreign language to him. Even after all these years. Shit, if I can learn how to catch a fish, he can learn emotional support. This is NOT rocket science!!! I wonder how much his inability to feel empathy is related to his own fears. He called today to check and make sure I am okay. All the right moves you know. He always seems to have great hind site. I am reminded of a man explained just how f'd up his thinking was, and his extreme need to protect/defend himself. Certain things can be crippled, sometimes permanently, in abusive situations. :::

"We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us." ~J. Campbell
"In the final analysis, it is your own attitude that will make or break you, not what has happened to you." ~D. Galloway

Posts: 2143 | Registered: Jun 2009
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Default  Posted: 12:42 AM, August 15th (Thursday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I think it's the difference between a constantly moving target and stationary one.

"A bottomless pit of need" has an endless list of problems with his/her partner. On Monday it's mismatched libidos; Tuesday it's failure to pitch in with chores around the house; Wednesday it's lack of communication; Thursday is lack of quality time; Friday it's that you didn't bring flowers, chocolates and a diamond tennis bracelet; Saturday it's too much time golfing; Sunday it's the time and money you spent at Lowe's or Home Depot; and not to mention "you don't make $10 million a year and look like Brad Pitt, I don't feel loved."

I,would venture to guess that those with stationary targets are more likely to be a BS and those with the moving target are WS.

If a stationary target is truly not getting needs met they need to go to MC or get D. No amount of mental gymnastics justifies the selfishness of an A

Me BH 46
WW 42

Dday 1: 10/20/2010 -- 3 month physical affair
Dday2: 7/7/2013 -- 3 year emotional affair but I think it was more.

Posts: 83 | Registered: Aug 2013 | From: Florida
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Default  Posted: 1:03 AM, August 15th (Thursday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

It also depends on *how* someone doesn't speak the love language of the other person.

In the example that ladies_first named, it sounded like a lot of passive-aggressiveness and deliberate withholding on the part of the WS. That's obviously very hurtful, and in that case it's not just a matter of "well, my partner speaks a different love language and is trying" - in that case, it seems pretty clear that they're not trying, that it's become a mindgame instead of a genuine effort. Then other toxic behaviors come out.

I think many of us here have experienced it when our partner shoots us down for asking our needs with deliberate cruelty. That's completely different from a person who is genuinely trying to show love in their relationship and just doesn't happen to speak the love language their partner prefers - whether because they haven't had experience doing it, or because they feel self-conscious and are afraid of messing up, or maybe because they don't make the distinction in love languages and just try harder in a way that they think is working (even if they're incorrect, maybe they genuinely think they're doing something to make their partner happy). In the latter cases, there's no malice, it's not done with the intention of hurting their partner. In the former case, obviously the withholding IS done to hurt their partner. The tone matters.

* Before my H reached the trying stage he's in right now, he did used to shoot down my requests with deliberate cruelty: "The more you ask, the less likely I am to do it." Now, it doesn't feel deliberate when he doesn't hug or snuggle, because he usually tries to another time and he doesn't refuse with malice. It's a different tone and feeling behind it, kwim?

[This message edited by silverhopes at 1:06 AM, August 15th (Thursday)]

Find peace. Or sleep on it.
Sometimes my monkeys, sometimes my circus.
Infidelities are like icebergs - they may take many different shapes and sizes, but they all damage your ship.

Posts: 3905 | Registered: Jul 2011 | From: California
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Default  Posted: 6:54 AM, August 15th (Thursday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

If your spouse tells you that X action makes her feel loved and you don't do it, that sends a powerful and destructive message.

Actually, I disagree completely.

If your spouse asks you to do something and you don't do it, that isn't a statement about your spouse, it's a statement about yourself and the fact that it is not an integral part of your personality to perform that action often and repeatedly.

These things aren't one-offs where she says "Please get me flowers" - they're more akin to "Please bring me little gifts." That is a lot more than just remembering to buy shit once in awhile, it requires a thought mode that may be completely alien to an individual. Not bringing the occasional small gift isn't a powerful and destructive message unless it is read as such.

Further, in this situation it is almost always set up where the unmet 'emotional need' is actually met in another way but ignored because the specific thing requested is not regularly and often supplied - if spouse brings back flowers from the grocery or favored snacks or a show to watch together those are not seen as gifts (I've actually seen grocery store flowers derided regularly on this very forum) but as failures to provide.

If I love my wife, I love her for who she is. There are things that make me feel more appreciated than others and I really dig on them when she does those, but, say, bragging on me to others about how awesome I am - she is not a very social person. As an introvert it's not rational to expect her to employ Words Of Affirmation like that to feed my ego. Those can be more important to me than telling me in private because in the aftermath of her A, it's a way of bringing those feelings out into the objective reality around us for scrutiny by others.

I do not see that as a cruel and destructive message on her part but a part of her personality that is and always be difficult to engage in that regard. On my end, I regularly text her asking where my keys (or phone) are, and make lists of two items when I go to the store (today it's a replacement spool for the edger and.. holy fuck I already forgot, I need to ask my 7 year old)(it was ant traps) so asking me to incorporate a habit that requires a regular routine AND mixing it up every time is going to fail at some point because I just don't work like that.

Yes, it is awesome to try to make our spouses feel loved the way they want to, but we should IMO be more willing and ready to accept their love the way they regularly and freely give it. When they do. There are some who just take, and that's cruel and destructive.


ladies_first, I don't understand your analogy. If you wanted gifts, he brought them to you, except the orange. Though in your exchange there were at least 3 oranges (including the wedge and dickery of throwing a frozen orange); while his getting angry, frustrated and being an asshole about it were over the top, I do not understand what the intended message there was.

I mean if you had a fruit basket, garden and pastry shop that he brought, planted and built, why not just go get the orange yourself and enjoy it alongside the other shit? Not trying to be a prick, I truly do not understand.

eta again:

I just think it doesn't work for me. I dunno why someone would go to the effort for all that other stuff and keep a box of oranges in his car unless he was just being a crazy dickhead. I think it was another instance of your WH being a superdouche unworthy of your patience.

[This message edited by StillGoing at 7:05 AM, August 15th (Thursday)]

"You have insulted my footwear."

Posts: 7477 | Registered: May 2010 | From: USA
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Default  Posted: 7:34 AM, August 15th (Thursday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

StillGoing, that's what I was trying to say! I think that's where being considerate and selfless come in. As a partner in a relationship, I bear some responsibility for learning what love language my spouse speaks. In my mind, it doesn't make sense to sit around complaining that my spouse doesn't bring me flowers when the language he is speaking is acts of service. Say he comes home after working all day and cooks dinner and does the dishes because that's how he shows his love, is it reasonable to say "I guess he doesn't love me, he didn't bring me flowers"? In my way of thinking, that's unreasonable. So what if my spouse didn't bring home flowers? I can run and get some while he is cooking our fabulous dinner.

You have to meet people where they are. You have to accept them for who they are, because you can't change them. The other options are to sit around whining that this guy/girl doesn't meet my needs, or to leave and find a new guy/girl.

Tune out the noise of what others tell you about who you are and work it out for yourself...

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