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Wayward Side Post Reply     Print Topic    
User Topic: Why do my H and I compete for control and power??
Trying33
♀ Member
Member # 38815
Default  Posted: 12:33 PM, February 13th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I guess as time goes on I have become way more focussed on my marriage dynamics than on other things. I'm spending my time in IC trying to figure out why my H and I are always at loggerheads with one another. What is it about me that clashes with my H when all my other relationships in life are fairly harmonious and long lasting. Are we "compatible"?

I should mention that my H has expressed his desire to move on from the A, has asked us never to talk about it, has communicated that he forgives me and if it ever happens again I will not be given a second chance. So, according to him, it's done and dusted and he's gone back to playing happy families again. I haven't a clue what he really thinks about me or about the A, so for now, I'm trying to focus on how I can become a better wife and have more intimacy in our M.

In IC today, we discussed some really interesting things. mainly how at the beginning of our M, I was quite submissive the majority of the time and "fell into line" 99% of the time. My H got very used to me doing things his way and being mostly agreeable to him and his way of conducting our day to day life. I have since evolved and can think for myself and have ideas of my own. When I assert these ideas or opinions he struggles with what he sees as my defiance, when in actual fact I'm just being assertive.

I like the new me as I'm stopping resentment from building and therefore feeling more relaxed and not full of anger. In the past it would be an expectation that I would inconvenience myself in order to make his life more comfortable. I am now refusing to do this and it would seem he's at a loss with what to do with the new and evolved trying33.

There is a constant power struggle going on in our M. It's like an ongoing competitiveness and it's always been there. This dynamic is obstructing our togetherness and emotional intimacy and is obviously not healthy. I should add that culturally this is very normal for him and I do not ever see him changing this behaviour pattern. If I want this M to be harmonious and close and long lasting, it's me who's going to have to make the changes, i.e., be more patient, give in more, start being agreeable again etc. but do I have it in me?

Can anyone relate to this?


Posts: 362 | Registered: Mar 2013
20WrongsVs1
♀ Member
Member # 39000
Default  Posted: 1:48 PM, February 13th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

What you're describing here is exactly what happened (AFAIK) to both of my mom's sisters. Mom and her sisters were raised with this traditional The Husband Rules, He is the King Who Must Not Be Questioned attitude. This is long and probably boring to anyone but me, but these anecdotes (about Mom's sisters) partially parallel your sitch.

Jennie got married right out of high school to a strong, assertive guy, Bill. Uncle Bill was my favorite, when I was little. He was funny and opinionated. Well, by the time Jennie hit age 30, she'd grown up. Instead of meekly accepting every decision Bill made, she started voicing her opinion. I remember them arguing once, it was quite heated. D soon followed.

Tracie got married around age 22, I think, to the conservative accountant, Larry. Larry saw how Tracie and Mom had been raised very poor, and blamed their parents for being "bad with money." They always had a nice home, vehicles, and vacations, but Larry kept Tracie on a very tight budget, and would even count the coins in her purse after she went shopping. I only learned about this...after they D'd like 20 years into their M.

Mom married Dad around age 22. I grew up hearing that The Man should consult His wife about all major decisions, but if she didn't agree, final say went to The Man. Which explains why, when Dad would fly into fits of profanity-laced rage when I didn't fetch him the right type of screwdriver when I was 9 years old, Mom did nothing. Fortunately as Mom become more assertive, Dad mellowed. They're still together and happier than ever.

One way of looking at your situation T33, is that you pulled a "bait and switch" on your H. Can you sympathize, and have compassion for H, that...

he's at a loss with what to do with the new and evolved trying33.

Same thing happened to Mom's sisters. Their evolution caught their H's off guard, the H's weren't willing or able to evolve, and they D'd.

I like the new me as I'm stopping resentment from building and therefore feeling more relaxed and not full of anger.

Right there with you. In our 15 years together I *literally* never said to BH, "My feelings were hurt by what you just said." And now I do say that, and at first it wasn't pretty. But we're evolving together, fortunately.

If I want this M to be harmonious and close and long lasting, it's me who's going to have to make the changes, i.e., be more patient, give in more, start being agreeable again

Maybe. Or is there another option? When I went into IC awhile back, angry and frustrated that a "My feelings were hurt" conversation between BH and I developed into an argument, my therapist said, "Deliver the message, feel good about delivering the message, and let go of the outcome." That has worked for me...with BH, the kids, and life in general. Instead of getting into a fight or a power struggle, I deliver my message, and BH may not agree or even "validate" me like I want, but I accept it and move on.

I should add that culturally this is very normal for him and I do not ever see him changing this behaviour pattern.

Maybe you were very young and/or naive when you got married, and you didn't realize what you were getting yourself into. But, at the risk of sounding harsh...you were aware of his culture when you married. He hasn't changed. You have. I know you recognize that, and I'm sorry you're experiencing this internal and external conflict. Even though I can't relate personally, I saw it happen in my extended family, and for two out of three sisters...it was irreconcilable.


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
Trying33
♀ Member
Member # 38815
Default  Posted: 2:14 PM, February 13th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Thanks for your input 20. You seem to have a grasp on what I'm going through. The biggest struggle I have is knowing I am dependent on him financially and this is what I have essentially chosen. Like you say, I knew what kind of man he was when I married him and ironically it is what attracted me to him in the first place; his dominance, his taking control of all our finances and taking care of me. It is ME who has since changed the goal posts as I'm no longer that naive 23 year old that he met all those years ago, I've grown up and now I want some equality and status in this M and I want to be taken seriously.

I come from a background where on the front of it "the men wear the trousers" but behind closed doors it's actually the women that are the strong decision makers. What women from older generations within my culture have mastered is this ability to tolerate certain behaviour from their husbands in order to protect their man's ego etc. It's like a fine intricate game and dance I see played out where women like my mother and mil accept the strong wills of their husbands for who they are and make peace with it. In my immediate family and extended family there are very very few divorces, mostly very long lasting marriages. They must be doing something right or are they just swallowing hurt and have become good at tolerating bullshit whilst focusing on the bigger picture?

It's going to take time for my H to accept and understand the new me. The one who sticks up for herself and has enough confidence to say no to the things she doesn't want to do. I'm still getting to know her myself.


Posts: 362 | Registered: Mar 2013
rachelc
♀ Member
Member # 30314
Default  Posted: 3:06 PM, February 13th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

My husband and I struggle with this as well. Hence, probably the MH status.
We married so young and resentment grew because I felt I didn't have a voice - this was MY problem. Sure, he didn't make it easy for me but there were a couple times I did and he was fine with it. I thought he could read my mind, apparently!

Now, I have a hard time shutting up. Sometimes I want to be on my own simply so I can make all the decisions. It's like its a hassle that we have to consult with one another on where to travel, what to spend money on, hell even what we eat for supper!

I changed. He didn't and I feel sorry for him as I'm not the woman he married. I scare the hell out of him sometimes. But, I like the person I am now better.


his Dday: 2/10 but TT until 7/11
my Ddays: 1/12, 4/12 broken NC 12/12

me (WW/BS): 48
him: (BS/WH)52
4 kiddos in mid 20's

The conditions we face do not define us. They remind us of who we are and who we want to be.


Posts: 5261 | Registered: Dec 2010 | From: Midwest
Trying33
♀ Member
Member # 38815
Default  Posted: 7:39 AM, February 14th (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I know what you mean rachelc, I also sometimes feel sorry for my H as he now has a different wife to who he married and there's not much he can "teach" me anymore. He's lost his role as my mentor and it was a role he identified with and that I encouraged in the beginning.

I'm wondering if a heart to heart about how I still think he's great but how I'd now like an equal footing in the marriage would be helpful, and ask him how we can work towards that together.

Problem is he doesn't talk much and I need to not include too much of my jargon otherwise I'll lose him before I've even got to my point.

Like you, I like myself much more now. I feel stronger in myself and my opinions.


Posts: 362 | Registered: Mar 2013
floridaredman
♂ Member
Member # 15122
Default  Posted: 10:17 AM, February 14th (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Just as you have evolved he has to evolve too
Some men have a hard time with change and can't conform. Others can roll with it, but it can take time. It all comes down to male ego. Have you tried being assertive, but not dominating?

There are ways of getting your point across without stepping on his toes and making him feel like he is not being heard or respected.
He has to get use to the new you.
He has to get use to not always getting his way.
If both parties can walk away from a discussion and both are satisfied...that's excellent.

Even if someone does not get what they want, the one that does should show gratitude and still show respect for the others opinion.
You can even make a future compromise if the first one doesn't pan out.


There are three big C's in marriage;

Communication
Commitment
Compromise


The simplest thing can be the hardest thing to do....FRM

Posts: 2534 | Registered: Jun 2007 | From: Florida
Trying33
♀ Member
Member # 38815
Default  Posted: 11:40 AM, February 14th (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

There are ways of getting your point across without stepping on his toes and making him feel like he is not being heard or respected.

Ant examples would be helpful please?


Posts: 362 | Registered: Mar 2013
floridaredman
♂ Member
Member # 15122
Default  Posted: 12:32 PM, February 14th (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Ant examples would be helpful please?

1. Speak calmly
2. Acknowledge that you see his point " I understand how you think and how you see it that way, here's how I see it."
3. Listen to what he has to say without interruption and get him to do the same with you
4. keep calm
5. If he is still adamant, compromise. Tell him you will try it his way and if it doesn't work then he will try yours or vice versa.

6. Did I say keep calm? Tone can be the difference between an argument with no solution or a discussion with a profitable outcome.

Just my suggestion

[This message edited by floridaredman at 12:33 PM, February 14th (Friday)]


The simplest thing can be the hardest thing to do....FRM

Posts: 2534 | Registered: Jun 2007 | From: Florida
SpotlessMind
♀ Member
Member # 41775
Default  Posted: 11:11 AM, February 16th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Hey Trying--

Hubby and I suffer from The-Last-Word syndrome. We don't just have a fierce need to be right--we need to convince each other exactly how right we are! Before his As, we rarely fought (bc we were conflict avoidant). Since then, we've had some knock-down, dragged out, licking wounds for days doozies.

I highly recommend John Gottman's book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. It's a great resource for non-damaging ways to handle conflict. One of the biggest DUH moments for me? That it's okay for you and your spouse to disagree! In fact, happy marriages have plenty of instances where the partners never see eye-to-eye! :)

[This message edited by SpotlessMind at 11:14 AM, February 16th (Sunday)]


fWS/BS--me
BH/WH--him
Married: 12 yrs
D-Day: October
Kids: yes

Posts: 277 | Registered: Dec 2013 | From: Where am I?
Topic Posts: 9

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