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User Topic: Are emotional needs bullshit?
dbellanon
Member
Member # 39236
Default  Posted: 11:31 PM, August 13th (Tuesday)

A question has been floating around my head for a while.

All this talk about emotional needs… Is it bullshit?

I realize that was provocative, but hopefully it caught your attention. Now let’s get down to what I mean.

When my WW initiated our marital crisis, she began to talk about various emotional needs of hers that she felt were not being met. After I found out about her affair, she began to talk about emotional needs of hers that her affair partner met that I, in her opinion, had not.

To even begin to have this conversation, I had to really reconfigure the way I thought about this subject, because honestly, the phrase “emotional needs” was hardly even in my vocabulary.

That sounds bad, I know, and my WW would have taken it as evidence that I was an emotional dunce, but let me try to explain what I mean.

Now I’m not going to deny that there are such things as emotional needs, things in our relationships that are necessary to our emotional health, but the things that I would have put in this category were so basic that they hardly needed to be said: general things like needing to feel loved and respected.

But for my WW, many of the things that she called emotional needs were things that she felt other people needed to do in order to MAKE her feel loved or respected.

We would talk, and often clash, for example, over the topic of our “love languages,” the pop-psychology term for the different ways that different people express and receive affection. 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). At any rate, if I wasn’t speaking her love language to her satisfaction (let’s say, giving her gifts with enough frequency), she would complain that she didn’t feel loved by me. And I would protest that this wasn’t fair since I obviously did love her, and expressed it in a multitude of ways every day. I wasn’t dismissing her desire to see me “cross the bridge” more when it came to communicating my love to her, but I wanted some acknowledgment that she believed and understood my love as it was.

To be honest, I didn’t get the whole idea that she needed certain forms of expression in order to feel loved. Sure, there were expressions in my love languages that I wished she would do more often, but they were just that: a wish, a desire, not a need. One of her love languages was receiving gifts, so she’d be disappointed when she didn’t get gifts from me often enough (It was never exactly clear how often was often enough). One of my love languages was physical touch, so I’d be disappointed when she wouldn’t want to cuddle at night. There were things that we both wished the other would do more of, but on my side, I never would have described those as needs. I never would have said that I needed those things in order to feel loved by her. Of course, a well-timed expression of affection tailored to your partner’s emotional language can brighten his/her day, can inspire a feeling of being loved in the moment, and I guess I can understand how if you find yourself suddenly receiving such expressions from someone other than your spouse, it might make your marriage seem dull by comparison (It would also be incredibly creepy and wrong, and I'd never let anyone do that to me, but that's another story).

Still, at the end of the day, I “felt loved” by my wife because I believed that she loved me. No matter what she did or did not do in any particular moment to express that, I believed that she loved and respected me, and so anything that she did that could possibly be interpreted as an expression of love in any language I accepted as evidence of this, an outward indication of something that I already knew (or believed) was there.

I never for a minute felt unloved by her until she looked me in the eyes a few months ago and declared in no uncertain terms that she actually did not love me (ouch!).

Belief systems stand between any action of another person and any feeling that you feel. It’s a well-known fact that no one can directly MAKE you feel anything. That’s voodoo. That’s impossible. Our beliefs stand as intermediaries between the words and actions of other people and the feelings that arise in us. I would try to convince my wife of this (Don’t try this at home, by the way. Leave the psychoanalysis to the professionals. This was a big error on my part), telling her that she needed to acknowledge the objective fact that I did love her, that she had to have certain beliefs about my own internal state, and reject false beliefs about the same. This, in my mind, had to be the foundation on which all other expressions of our love were based, confidence and security in the commitment we had made to one another to love each other unconditionally.

A lot of this just came down to me wanting to feel appreciated, and feeling as though feeling appreciated for the things that I was doing would make me feel more free to do the things she was asking of me. Giving gifts, for instance, is no fun if you’re only doing it because your wife will call you a bad husband if you don’t. But of course, I also recognize that I could have done a lot of good for my marriage if I had just gotten over this and done it anyway. That’s another story.

Here’s the point. If my wife had asked me at any point what kinds of things she did that I appreciated, or what kinds of things I wanted her to do more of or less of in our relationship, or what kinds of things she could do that would communicate her love to me, I could have given her a number of answers. But if she had asked me what I needed from her in order to feel loved by her, I would have looked at her like she had three heads.

Maybe some of you will have to read that paragraph more than once. Maybe you’re wondering what the distinction is. Maybe it sounds like I’m splitting hairs over language, but to me the difference between those two questions is like night and day.

This was obviously a fundamental difference in the way we thought about our relationship. Now to be fair, a marriage in which you feel like your partner is unreceptive to your wants and desires (as opposed to needs) is no picnic either. The truth is that both of us had sins to answer for in that department, but the reason I think it’s important to clarify this language about needs is that it enabled my WW to make the affair and the divorce seem like it was about survival.

If it had simply been a matter of us learning to communicate our love better to one another, both in terms of transmission and reception, or learning to put aside our respective hang-ups in order to “cross the bridge” for the other person. If it had simply been a matter wanting more out of the relationship than she was getting, then that’s something we could have worked on.

But if it was about “needs” then it was a choice between divorce and detachment or emotional death, suffocating in a loveless marriage (Yes, she used that term).

This is, of course, the story she told herself to justify everything she did, but it’s rooted in a narrative that she held for a long time, and it comes back to this topic of emotional needs.

So am I just crazy? Is the way I thought about this topic just completely off the wall and abnormal? I realize that a lot of what I have written is foggy and some of it may be self-contradictory. I have been stuck half-way between accepting the vocabulary of emotional needs on the one hand (and trying to be more in tune with my own), and trying to deconstruct the idea on the other hand, or at least refine it so it doesn’t get misused.

Could really use some thoughts on all of this.


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

Posts: 215 | Registered: May 2013
PhantomLimb
Member
Member # 39668
Default  Posted: 1:16 AM, August 14th (Wednesday)

Here’s the point. If my wife had asked me at any point what kinds of things she did that I appreciated, or what kinds of things I wanted her to do more of or less of in our relationship, or what kinds of things she could do that would communicate her love to me, I could have given her a number of answers. But if she had asked me what I needed from her in order to feel loved by her, I would have looked at her like she had three heads.

Snap response (it's 2am here, so not a very thorough one):

"Need" is akin to the concept of belief. It is changeable, fuzzy, unquantifiable, amorphous. And it suggests a lack of agency.

The other category you describe is akin to action/practice in my mind. And any social scientist would say that only actions are quantifiable. That one doesn't have an *identity* per se but engage in a series of *identifications*. It's performative.

So is a marriage.

An example: she didn't have an emotional need for gifts. She needed you to engage in certain performances/actions/identifications in order to meet some kind of "X".

But that "X" has to represent something deeper. For example, perhaps she felt like she wanted greater recognition from you in general in a register that demonstrated you were maintaining shared interests.

I remember I used to tell my WS that it would mean a lot to me if, when he went to the market, he came home with some flowers. I used to make sure our house had a lot of fresh cut flowers in it, and I thought it would be nice if he remembered to bring some home to save me the trouble (and as a little "gift", I suppose, to show me he was thinking about me).

And he rarely did. And that bothered me a lot.

That probably wasn't because I had an emotional need for surprise flowers. If I pick it apart, it was probably because I did most of the decorating, cleaning, etc etc and he just sort of lived there. I wanted to feel like we were sharing our space as a more equal couple and buying flowers would have been a symbol of that.

So I might try to take some time to think about what she may have really been signaling. Look at the acts she wanted you to perform in order to meet her needs and ask yourself: what kind of identity (/identification) was she asking me to assume? And what does that identification say about what she was trying to tell me (inartfully) was lacking.

Again, it's 2am. Hope I hit on something.

And...

Still, at the end of the day, I “felt loved” by my wife because I believed that she loved me.

I might have walked into a tautology here. Your "feeling love" was a belief. So, based on my model, the challenge to you would be: was it because you had a need to feel loved? And did that *need* contribute to you missing the A?


[This message edited by PhantomLimb at 1:22 AM, August 14th (Wednesday)]


BS / D

Posts: 863 | Registered: Jun 2013
Kiddingmyself
Member
Member # 33013
Default  Posted: 4:44 AM, August 14th (Wednesday)

So, because you don't feel a certain way about emotional needs that automatically means she doesn't/shouldn't/can't?

My husband has that attitude as well. He feels that because he was our sole means of financial support that I shouldn't expect or ask for anything more. He gave me $80 for gas when my mother died. He got very angry when I told him I needed support. He gave me what he thought I needed. That should be enough.

I don't love him anymore. And the fact that he dismissed my emotional needs is a big reason.


WH on DDay 2: "I should just work and shut up. My happiness doesn't matter."

Posts: 182 | Registered: Aug 2011 | From: Ohio
imagoodwitch
Member
Member # 23375
Default  Posted: 5:46 AM, August 14th (Wednesday)

He gave me what he thought I needed.

^^^^This, with emphasis on thought.

My WS had no clue what I needed and if I told him, spelled it out, made a graph, a pie chart, rented a billboard he still didn't get it.

We all have things that make us feel loved, and they are all different.

It isn't bullshit, it's real, using it as an excuse to have an A is bullshit.


I am just your ordinary average everyday sane psycho supergoddess - Liz Phair

Don't keep dancing with the Devil and wonder why you are still in Hell.

It's all shits and giggles until someone giggles and shits.


Posts: 5338 | Registered: Mar 2009 | From: Munchkinland
FoolontheHill
Member
Member # 40225
Default  Posted: 5:50 AM, August 14th (Wednesday)

I near you and I have some similar issues/questions. My WW loves to,tell me I'm emotionally unavailable and that she had needs,I was not meeting therefore she HAD to,go,outside our marriage.

When pressed her explanation is a moving target. 1) you never ask me how my day was. 2) you asked me how my day was bit you did not ask me what I did during the day (which made it easy to not tell me about the lunch or breakfast with AP) 3. You make me feel like a unit(whatever that means). And it goes on.

I think what it comes down to is that people, male or female, who use "unmet needs" as a justification for cheating are full of shit. Grow up. Just because so,etching does not go your way does not mean younger to,take your ball (or vagina or penis) and play on a different field when you are supposed,to,be in a committed relationship.


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
I think I can
Member
Member # 17756
Default  Posted: 7:09 AM, August 14th (Wednesday)

I have an emotional need not to be cheated on.


I'm not the winner, I'm the prize.

Posts: 8811 | Registered: Jan 2008
StillGoing
Member
Member # 28571
Default  Posted: 7:16 AM, August 14th (Wednesday)

I think emotional needs are bullshit because the way the concept is expressed places the responsibility of meeting those needs on other people.

The only time a human is dependent on another is when they are unable to provide for him or herself. Anything else is always an act of kindness or profession from ones fellows.

The whole emotional needs thing only seems to come up when one person is unable to express themselves, or they want a justification to run off and do shit they aren't supposed to be doing (like fucking other people); so the ability to lay ones unhappiness at the feet of another through the idea of unmet emotional needs becomes an all-access spectrum of excuses where loosely defined feelings and ambiguous reasoning pave the way for an ass backwards approach to what they should have done to begin with: take control of their own happiness. Only in this case it's done without regard to the happiness of others or a modicum of personal responsibility.

I was trying to find something this morning and stumbled across a phrase from Ovid - "Habits become character."

My husband has that attitude as well. He feels that because he was our sole means of financial support that I shouldn't expect or ask for anything more. He gave me $80 for gas when my mother died. He got very angry when I told him I needed support. He gave me what he thought I needed. That should be enough.

I don't love him anymore. And the fact that he dismissed my emotional needs is a big reason.

I don't think your H was dismissing emotional needs so much as he sounds like a consistently full, giant bag of shit. I'm sorry you had to suffer through that, that is fucked.


“Fate is a fickle bitch who dotes on irony.”

Posts: 7431 | Registered: May 2010 | From: USA
jjct
Member
Member # 17484
Default  Posted: 7:25 AM, August 14th (Wednesday)

Hearing a WS prate on about having unmet emotional needs is like listening to a rapist describing how the sex he just took was lousy and unsatisfying.

Or a robber, complaining about the lack of quality in the jewels they just stole from you.

Damn right it's a "moving target", because until they become whole people, man up, and "get religion": Remorse,
& doing the work inside to mend all they purposefully shattered,
they are little lost lambs, mewling on the mountaintop for mama.
They're bringing a bandaid to a war zone, and congratulating themselves for being thoughtful.
FTN!

A remorseful WS brings a medi-kit, an ambulance, and a whole freaking staff of specialists to the scene of their destruction.

Those things are the true, legitimate needs of the BS. Nothing else will do, and sometimes, even that's not enough.

An affair isn't about what the WS wasn't getting; it is about what they weren't giving.
1Faith


Posts: 6541 | Registered: Dec 2007 | From: texas
sailorgirl
Member
Member # 38162
Default  Posted: 8:05 AM, August 14th (Wednesday)

But for my WW, many of the things that she called emotional needs were things that she felt other people needed to do in order to MAKE her feel loved or respected.

Could it have been that she needed other people to make her feel worthy of love and respect?
If so, she's probably a bottomless pit of need.

It seems many WS's have low self-worth and rely on outside input to make them feel lovable and proud of themselves. But other people's compliments, ego-kibbles, flirting, etc. get used up so fast, and it's never enough to make the WS secure.

Emotionally healthy people know they are worthy, good human beings. They love and respect themselves. So their self-worth is a renewable resource.

Still, at the end of the day, I “felt loved” by my wife because I believed that she loved me.

Could it partly just be that you felt lovable? You did what you needed to do to feel fulfilled and loving and happy. You knew your worth and assumed she did too. She, on the other hand, tried to get you to take over her responsibility to make her own self proud and happy.


Married 14 years, three amazing kids
H had 17 month EA/PA
D-day 1/5/13
Reconcilling

Posts: 787 | Registered: Jan 2013
sailorgirl
Member
Member # 38162
Default  Posted: 8:17 AM, August 14th (Wednesday)

I wanted to add that because you respect yourself and know your worth, you could not stay in a marriage with an emotionally unhealthy, delusional dependent.

Luckily for you, your happiness is not contingent on your WW building up your ego. So your long term prospects are very good for being at peace, feeling positive about life, and finding an awesome woman who doesn't "need" you but chooses you freely.

[This message edited by sailorgirl at 8:17 AM, August 14th (Wednesday)]


Married 14 years, three amazing kids
H had 17 month EA/PA
D-day 1/5/13
Reconcilling

Posts: 787 | Registered: Jan 2013
FoolontheHill
Member
Member # 40225
Default  Posted: 8:17 AM, August 14th (Wednesday)

I think StillGoing hot the nail on the head. It's all about resting your happi ess with someone else.

The grand irony in y case is that WW told me she got tired of being my happiness because I never did anything without her and had no friends (untrue because she would get bent when I went out after work with my friends for. Few beers). The irony is further infuriating because she proclaimed that her 71 yar old "EA" partner did not have an friends and she needed hi. Because he listened to her and wants to do yoga with her and do a power cleanse with her etc etc.

So ultiimatley emotional needs/unavailabilty is a post hoc rationalization for bad behavoir or at least doe getting caught in bad behavior.


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
heforgotme
Member
Member # 38391
Default  Posted: 8:41 AM, August 14th (Wednesday)

I think the nuances of language become so important when dealing with something as traumatic as this. For example, the way the word "mistake" takes on a whole other connotation around here.

And I totally see your point. "Receiving Gifts" is the perfect example. Nobody NEEDS gifts, they WANT them. And the wording is important because the word need implies a type of life or death situation. Like the way we need food and water and sleep. And then it begins to look like a person would be justified in doing almost anything to have these met. Enter the A.

So although I never thought of it this way before, I think you are exactly right. The distinction is important.

However, while the word "needs" may not be accurate, I think the concept in general is valid. I think the things they mention as "needs" create positive feelings in our spouses and that is good for a marriage. So, both should try to do as much of that as possible. We are applying the love languages/emotional "needs" principles in R and they are helping alot.

As an aside, even without considering the language nuances, the whole "unmet needs" concept always bugged me. Ummmm.....do you think my "needs" were being met???

So, when push comes to shove, no matter what, it's no excuse.


D-Day 11/15/12
5 month PA
Married 20 years, 3 kids
All good is hard. All evil is easy. Dying, losing, cheating, and mediocrity is easy. Stay away from easy.
- Scott Alexander
It was the day I thought I'd never get through - Daughtry

Posts: 1077 | Registered: Feb 2013 | From: FL
WoundedOpus
Member
Member # 39521
Default  Posted: 8:59 AM, August 14th (Wednesday)

I knew my father loved me growing up, never once questioned that fact. But because he rarely touched me, or told me he loved me, and because he never seemed totally satisfied with who I was, I grew up with minor daddy issues and low self-esteem. But I knew he loved me the best way he knew how. Am I somehow deficient for needing to feel loved in a way other than the way he was capable of showing me?

My mother abandoned our family when I was 10 for her AP. she had always been an unaffectionate, child like selfish person, her leaving was not out of character. I had never expected anything better or more from her, so her a abandonment didn't affect me like it would have otherwise, I always knew she loved me the only way she knew how...but don't think it didn't affect me at all. Does my need to feel your mothers never ending unconditional love make me a needy person, unable to self sooth?

My husband loves me more than any person he has ever loved. I know this to be fact. He is meeting one out of a million of my emotional needs, I know he loves me the only way he knows how....but I am starving....

** T/J **.

After reading the other posts, I feel I must clarify here... He is not meeting my emotional needs within my marriage. I am a fully functioning emotionally healthy adult. I am fully capable of meeting my own personal needs. If we were to divorce or had never married in the first place, I would still to be a fully functioning healthy adult taking care of my own needs. Either way, I own my own ultimate personal happiness.

When we choose to marry, we are making a commitment to share life's burdens and its joys as partners. He is not responsible for me, but he has a responsibility to me, and I to him. To him I say, "I see your (reasonable) need within this marriage. I love you. I am responsible to my part of our emotional intimacy and health. We are equal, your (reasonable) needs are as important as my own. I have made a commitment to carry my share of the load (taking care of my personal needs), and a commitment to carry my share of our burden (taking care of our needs within a marriage)...and you commit to doing the same!

If a W is overly needy, has no friends, makes no effort to make friends, if she is unfulfilled and makes no effort to find a way to fill herself (hobbies, friends, causes, whatever), and looks to her H to be all those things for her...this is NOT a reasonable emotional need. She is an unhealthy bottomless pit. He is not responsible for her personal emotional needs. He couldn't fill that pit even if he wanted to. She is not carrying her load.

If however, a W has felt unfulfilled in some way, does not look to her husband fill the needs of her personal happiness, makes steps to find fulfilling interests/hobbies, fulfilling friendships, she is carrying her load. He then has a responsibility to her, to listen, to validate her feelings, to support her. He loves her, so he hurts to see her in pain. He does not try to erase the pain by carrying her load, he supports her in the ways she is choosing to do that on her own, he loves her by helping her carry her burden. How did he carry it? He listened which says she is important. He hears her and has empathy, which shows her that the one person who's opinion matters more in the world than her own is validated. Just having that person as your life's partner, doing these very simple loving acts, lessons our burdens in life.

Filling the hole for us? No, that is not their responsibility. The hole is NOT my emotional need. The loving act of sharing my burden was my emotional need. That IS his responsibility, and I have a responsibility to do the same for him. That is MARRIAGE, that is PARTNERSHIP, that is COMMITMENT, that is AUTHENTIC LOVE. And that is just one of a million different examples. If we have zero responsibilities to one another, then relationships and marriage are pointless. And saying people don't or shouldn't have emotional needs is the real bullshit, even a dog needs to feel loved. You wouldn't expect to have a happy dog if you brought him home the most expensive piece of jewelry from Tiffany's when we know he wants a piece of bacon. We aren't pissed at our dog when he turns his nose up at a carrot when we know his favorite treat is peanut butter. We don't think less of our dog for being happier when we throw the ball instead of the stick. We don't think our dog is pathetic and needy because he loves his belly scratched versus a pat on the head before he goes to bed at night. And we certainly don't think it's a dysfunctional thing when it's clear our dog prefers this attention and thought coming from us versus the guy next door. We made a commitment when we brought that dog home, we not only committed to feeding him and getting his shots, we committed to not abandoning him in the back yard, committed to giving him a dry warm bed, hell, we probably give him the best spot at the foot of our bed at night. We also committed to caring about his me two well being, so we play with him, buy him treats, take him for runs, and show him affection in the way a dog needs to feel it. We don't expect him to know he's cared for and loved, but to feel it. It's amazing to me that we can clearly recognize and accept that our dog not only has needs, but he has needs that are different from our own, we don't even think he's loser for it, and yet can't see this in people. We scratch his belly, see his slobbery, loving, lopsided grin, we accept that dog just the way he is, we know we are loved by that dog, and we feel good about it, and love him back.

I will say it again: None of this is a reason to cheat. I should know, since I'm the one married to the emotionally unavailable spouse, and I didn't cheat! Having an A is NEVER an option, but to completely discount its existence, or minimize its importance because you are not on the receiving end of this, is to me, just as much bs as anything else.

** End T/J **

It is not about 'understanding' the love language, it is not yours, you don't need it so will most likely never understand it fully. It is all about 'speaking' it. And it is 'heard' not by the actual action that you take, but in the choice to make the action in the first place. It says I hear you, your emotional needs are validated by me. And although I may not understand this need you have, I love you, I want you to feel my love for you, so I take this proactive step to show you, and you will hear me.

So when your wife asks for flowers (as in PhantomLimbs example), you may think, "Well that's silly, I do x and y and z (your LL things) to tell her I love her". And because they are your LL things x, y and z seem large, and buying flowers seems small." Small things have a way of seeming unimportant, dismissible, petty, and since you don't understand the need for them, they are dismissed. And since the actual act of buying the flowers is small, and actually very easy to do (I mean, you were already at the store, had to walk right passed them in the produce section), but you chose not to buy them anyway way, you end up 'speaking' volumes to your W. she hears, "Your needs are small, petty, dismissible, unimportant; invalid. They are so small to me that I couldn't even bother to spend the extra 2 minutes it would take to pick out a bouquet you would like. And since you've told me you have this need, you don't even have the luxury of pretending maybe I'm just clueless, that I did this unintentionally...that is how small your needs are, that is how small you are to me, that I intentionally chose not to me it."

So you love her, in the way you know how. You see, that's the kind of love a person my know, but knowing, possessing that knowledge, doesn't keep our souls warm at night. It speaks tour heads, but doesn't speak to our hearts.

Does all of this excuse her choice to have an A, make it ok or justifiable? Hell no! But her choosing to have one doesn't invalidate her emotional needs or the pain she felt when they weren't being met.

[Quote]A lot of this just came down to me wanting to feel appreciated, and feeling as though feeling appreciated for the things that I was doing would make me feel more free to do the things she was asking of me. Giving gifts, for instance, is no fun if you’re only doing it because your wife will call you a bad husband if you don’t. But of course, I also recognize that I could have done a lot of good for my marriage if I had just gotten over this and done it anyway. That’s another story.

But that is the story. You needed to feel appreciated for speaking to her in your LL, but the simple fact that is yours and not hers makes that close to impossible for most of us. On a rationally level we know that our partner is trying to proactively speak to/show us their love, but unfortunately, telling our heads that this should be good enough, it's certainly better that them not trying to show us anything at all, is cold comfort after many years. We have talks with ourselves about how we need to come to terms with settling for 'better than nothing'. Tell ourselves that they love us in the only way they know how, and that fact, should be enough to make us feel loved. But facts are cold. Facts are something we have to remind ourselves of every day to remember, feeling loved is the state of contentment/completion we feel first thing in the morning, as our body begins to wake, before our mind even stirs.

Now to be fair, a marriage in which you feel like your partner is unreceptive to your wants and desires (as opposed to needs) is no picnic either.

This illustrates my point, 'no picnic' because it's always raining is for sure better than not eating at all, but why settle for that? Why should someone learn to be happy with a meal sitting in a cold kitchen, when what they want/need, is right outside their door?

Resentment settles in when we can no longer convince ourselves we don't need it, when we can no longer pretend that our spouse sees that door as well and yet chooses not to open it. The resentment eventually has us turning away from wanting our spouse to be the one to open that door, and the never ending ache of the need has us looking for an escape door to get out.

But if it was about “needs” then it was a choice between divorce and detachment or emotional death, suffocating in a loveless marriage (Yes, she used that term).

This how she felt. No amount of anyone else thinking it's wrong to feel that way will change it. Someone can point to a million examples of how they should feel the opposite, but that's just an attempt at rationalizing the invalidation of another's needs.

This is, of course, the story she told herself to justify everything she did, but it’s rooted in a narrative that she held for a long time, and it comes back to this topic of emotional needs.

This is the point where your story takes a painful destructive turn. This is not a story, this is life. This is her life, so insignificant that it's been reduced to a story(Pointing out how she was probably seeing it at the time). So she turns from you, no longer looking to you to open the door; looking for an escape route... Somewhere along the way she forgot that she had the option to open up a door of her own, the door to divorce. She made a terrible decision to let another man open a door for her. Like millions of other W's, at some point she became a messed up, broken person and forgot that at the end of the day, no matter what you need and how resentful you are that the spouse you wanted to fulfill you isn't, looking for and finding it elsewhere is wrong. This is where she should have thought, "He cannot meet my needs, he cannot make me feel loved. It is time that I accept this is the way it is and since I believe it is the way it always will be, I will stop looking for/asking him to do it, and will now look to myself right now to do that instead. And since I, (like every single other person on the planet) want to be connected and feel loved intimately by another human being, it is time to leave my husband, work on me and get healthy so that I will some day be in a place to seek, accept, and return that love with someone else."

She made the wrong choice, and I'm so sorry you had to be the collateral damage to that. As much as I can relate to how it seems your wife felt before she imploded, I have to sympathy towards how she chose to handle it. I am starving. But I thank God that I am healthy enough to realize that settling for 'being loved in the only way they how' is not only not good enough to receive, it's not good enough to give. I'm starving for authentic love, not a cheap imitation. To give into that would be the devaluing of myself, the ultimate invalidation of my emotional needs...there just is no excuse good enough to do that to another person or to myself.

So this is my take on Emotional Needs and Love Languages...everyone has their own of course. I'm reading The Seven Levels of Intimacy by Mathew Kelly, I haven't gotten too far, but I think it can help take a step beyond LL and get to the meat of our one true emotional need; our fundamental need, the need we are searching to fill above all else, to feel deeply and intimately connected and accepted by another human being and offer that in return.

Your wife made a series of terrible, destructive, hurtful choices. Maybe at one point she tried to speak your language and meet your needs while asking for her own to be met. When they weren't, she may have felt that you were telling her your needs were being suficiantly met, but hers still were not, so at some point she stopped wanting to do the 'extras' you needed. Then over time she became resentful, stopped trying to meet your needs at all, starting selfishly looking out for herself and used that as a justification for her A. Or maybe she was always hypocritical, selfishly thinking her Love Tank was more important than yours, and when hers was 'empty', well it must be your fault, and she was therefore entitled to getting it filled somewhere else... I have no idea which is the case, likely somewhere I between the two.

All end at the same unjustifiable, selfish and hurtful conclusion...she chose to have an A. Even if you were in fact always the emotionally stunted husband she is claiming you are, no one deserves that, no one.

So she's telling you now what she feels went wrong. That's a start to the why's. If that's also been the middle and end of her why's, then I just don't see this being much of a productive conversation. I don't know how far out you are from DDay, but if it's even remotely recent, you're probably not in a place yet to really explore and be totally open to this. I base that somewhat on this...

When my WW initiated our marital crisis, she began to talk about various emotional needs of hers that she felt were not being met.

I may be misinerpreting that part, but it reads to me that you're saying she's fabricated the 'emotional needs not being met' story, that it is a complete falsehood, an excuse she came up with that sounded good enough/plausible enough to use to excuse her behavior. And that is completely and entirely possible, please don't take my question the wrong way. W's lie, they rewrite marital history, the can blame shift with the best of them, so it may all just be bs. But if it's not, if it is in fact the start of her why's, and there are many more why's to come, if she is remorseful and willing to do all of the hard work required for R, and if you want to R as well and you both want and are willing to work towards having the best possible marriage, I believe you will have to really reevaluate your thinking on this.

Gently (and i say this in the nicest possible way), I think just about everything you said regarding emotional needs is malarkey. That being said, even I don't think I would have been open to a discussion that seemed to point even the tiniest finger of blame or responsibility in my direction to justify my FWH's choice to betray me and step outside of our marriage for a very long time.

If she is the model remorseful spouse I would suggest that you spend this time to work on yourself, explore the EN's concept on your own...take your WW out of the equation, what would you think about this if you were picturing it with a woman you had no history with, a blank slate? No one's hurt anyone, no one 'owes' the other for past slights, everyone is on equal footing and there are no resentments; what would you want that marriage to look like? Would you want and accept it being a 'no picnic' kind of relationship? If not, and you acknowledge that it was, take some time to figure out the part your beliefs and hers played in that. And then figure out why you were willing to settle for it, expected her to settle for it; did you not think something more was possible?

I hope this didn't come across as harsh, I don't mean for it to at all. Your post just hit me hard in my saddest places. It took me years to really figure out there was a difference between love and authentic love, to really understand that love is a verb, love is an action. it took a lot of growth (and time) to understand that marriage and love is not what I saw in warm and fuzzy romantic comedies. It also isn't what is depicted in long and suffering dramas. Conscious Authentic Love is the consistent commitment to be loving to one another, for our needs to be the needs of the other; then you just keep doing it over and over and over again...that is love.

Good luck on your journey to understand it all. It's a journey that never ends if you're doing it right!

[This message edited by WoundedOpus at 10:33 AM, August 14th (Wednesday)]


Me: BW 37
Him: WH 38
(DDay: 2/2008)
13 years, 5 kids...Six years of Limbo

“I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I have just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well." ~ Diane Ackerman


Posts: 178 | Registered: Jun 2013
dbellanon
Member
Member # 39236
Default  Posted: 9:02 AM, August 14th (Wednesday)

I had a feeling this would turn out to be a complex topic. As I said, I'm still sorting through it.

I'm trying, on the one hand, to sort out my own response to things that my WW genuinely had communicated to me during our marriage. Even if the things she called needs were not needs in the way that I think of them, this does not mean that they weren't important. That's not really the point I'm trying to get at here.

We crossed wires when it came to communication quite a lot, and we didn't really start to sort it out until we got to therapy, too late, I might add. It frustrated me that my WW never quite got her mind around the fact that it was a two-way street, and that she had done little to "cross the bridge" herself. But since she was more emotionally needy than I was, she made it seem like I was neglectful. In short, I feel like I was willing to live with a lot less from her, perhaps because I did have a very different attitude about emotional needs.

Phantom Limb. The issue of the interactions of feelings and beliefs was a bit topic of disagreement between my WW and me. Her approach, to me, seems contradictory.

Let me give an example. Going back to the issue of gift giving. For the record, I wasn't a complete delinquent in this department, but I had a lot of hangups. Part of the problem is that any time it came up, it was a big drama. It was never simply a matter of, "I would appreciate it if..." It was always, "Why can't you do xyz that so-and-so's husband does," or, once again, telling me that she didn't feel loved by me because of it. I never felt like I was being positively encouraged to do something. I always felt like I was being put down for not doing it. And I told her that this, in many ways, soured the idea of gift giving. I wanted to be able to do it for her, but because of the way she brought it up, it didn't feel like a spontaneous expression of love, but rather something I had to do in order to meet her minimum standards for husbandhood. It felt to me like it wouldn't have been an expression of love, just a meeting of demands. It was a deadlock. 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. So I would bide my time, waiting for the sour taste to wear off, keeping a list and planning things to get her. But with only a few exceptions, she'd complain again about the same thing before I had a chance to act.

In hindsight, I realize I probably could have broken this deadlock by just sucking it up and doing it anyway. I was wrong to think that the right feelings or motivations had to be behind every act of love. Sometimes the acts have to come first, and the feeling follows, and simply breaking that deadlock could have, probably with the addition of therapy, put us in a better position to start talking about and understanding my perspective. But that's water under the bridge at this point.

Here's the rub. When we finally got into therapy, I began to put a lot of this together, and I told my WW how hurtful it was to me when she said that she didn't feel loved by me, that it was tearing me down as a partner rather than encouraging me to be a better one. She made the distinction that saying "I don't feel loved," was not the same as saying, "You don't love me."

Now initially, I thought this was an important insight. She was trying to say something subjective about her internal state, rather than making an objective judgment about my internal state. And this was, admittedly a bit difference between us that we started to sort out in therapy. She tended to live in her own subjective feelings in such a way that they were, in many respects, her whole reality. This found expression in many ways besides just our relationship. Her whole way of forming beliefs about the world is actually quite foreign and bizarre to me, but that's another story. I, in contrast, liked to try to norm my subjective feelings against my best apprehension of objective reality (to whatever extent that's possible).

So when she said that she didn't feel loved, she wasn't saying that she didn't believe that I loved her, just that she didn't "feel" it in that particular context.

But the more I have thought about this, the less it makes sense. It seems to me that when people make statements like, "I feel happy," or "I feel sad," they are making unambiguous statements about their subjective feelings. But when someone says, "I feel like x is the case," then it gets murkier. Let's take someone who is paranoid, for instance, who says, "I feel like everyone is out to get me." Does he mean that he believes that everyone really is out to get him, or just that he feels the way he imagines he would feel IF everyone really were out to get him? If someone says, "I feel like you're not listening to me," does she mean that she feels the way she imagines she would feel IF you weren't listening to her," or does she mean that she believes she is not being listened to?

A lot of times people use the "I feel" language to deflect force from accusations. It makes it sounds like it's about you, but it's really about the other person. If you make an "I feel" statement about reality, 9 times out of 10, you're making a statement about reality, not just about your feelings.

I feel like this analysis was confirmed to me when she used the phrase "loveless marriage." It wasn't just that she "felt" unloved even if she knew objectively that I did love her. It was more than that.

So back to the comment: I don't draw such a stark contrast between feelings and beliefs. So yeah, I had a need to feel loved, and I never lacked for supply of that because I believed that I was loved. Perhaps this intersects with what some people are talking about regarding being able to meet one's own needs.

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. The affair certainly makes it tempting to think this way. She rejected someone who really genuinely loved and valued her in favor of someone who made her feel good in the moment, but who she should have realized, didn't really care for her at all, who used her and ultimately dismissed her feelings in the same way that she dismissed mine (poetic justice, one might say, but it still hasn't actually sunk in for her).

I suppose that's why, though there are many things I would do differently if I could go back, I still would say that a fundamental security and belief in the unconditional love of your spouse is the absolutely indispensable minimum. Without that, it doesn't matter how many love languages you speak, or how many tokens of affection you disburse. You're building on a shaky foundation.

I suppose for me, my fundamental "need" was one for unconditional love. I see now that I didn't have that from her, which saddens me, because no matter how many times I felt unappreciated, I still, as I said, believed that I was loved. The ironic thing is that I was wrong.


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

Posts: 215 | Registered: May 2013
jackfish
Member
Member # 40257
Default  Posted: 9:44 AM, August 14th (Wednesday)

To Original Poster.

I think the needs are a big part of any marriage. As well as parenthood and to a point friendship.

BUT, in some cases, when you are dealing with a partner, child, etc. who has mental illness or diagnosable personality disorders, Jesus himself could come down with a u-haul full of miracles and it wouldn't matter much. Unless one of those miracles was healing the brain.

IMHO, emotional needs aren't necessarily what you're getting or not getting, but the love and satisfaction you get from GIVING those needs.

Ex. You give blood. You feel that positive sense that what you're doing will probably save a life. But imagine the dude that received your blood is furious with the doctors because someone else's blood is inside of him. If I found that out...I'd still donate blood.


Posts: 88 | Registered: Aug 2013
wincing_at_light
Member
Member # 14393
Default  Posted: 9:55 AM, August 14th (Wednesday)

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.)

It's also been said that I'm something of a dick, so YMMV.


Machiavellian idiot savant

Posts: 6744 | Registered: Apr 2007 | From: Indiana
sailorgirl
Member
Member # 38162
Default  Posted: 12:09 PM, August 14th (Wednesday)

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.)

I agree. There was literally nothing I could do to change my fWH's insecurity about my love and commitment. I could have spoken his love language 24/7 and he would have still felt like I didn't really love him. He did honestly feel that emotion, but it wasn't based on reality and it was obviously wrong.


Married 14 years, three amazing kids
H had 17 month EA/PA
D-day 1/5/13
Reconcilling

Posts: 787 | Registered: Jan 2013
sisoon
Member
Member # 31240
Default  Posted: 12:12 PM, August 14th (Wednesday)

I think your W says 'I don't feel loved' with a sub-text of 'and it's up to you to make me feel loved.' Validation by someone else is a lousy foundation for feeling loved, however - you can't control other people, and everyone can be fickle. As w_a_l indicates, she's a lot better off learning to self-soothe, and to love (which is a lot different than over-indulgence) herself.

Feeling loved is a choice, and each individual chooses whether to feel loved or not.
At the same time, although I choose to feel loved (or not) by my W, my choice is strongly influenced by evidence that she does or does not love me. (I guess feeling loved comes from a sense of self-worth plus real behavior by the other person plus any filters I apply while perceiving the other person and her actions.)

Like you, db, I felt loved by my W - until she had her A. I most definitely didn't feel loved during her A, but I didn't realize it, perhaps because I process feelings slowly, perhaps because it was entirely unprecedented and I had a hard time figuring it out after 42+ years of being loved.

The Love Language stuff is very useful. If you use your W's primary LL, even if that's your least preferred LL, you'll have a easier time being understood. Using her primary LL benefits you, too. (And if she wants to keep the good communications up, she'll reciprocate by using your primary LLs.) Think of it this way - if you speak to me in Russian, I won't understand what you mean. When you speak to me, you presumably want me to understand, so your best bet is to use a language I know.

You transmit - the receiver decides what (s/he thinks) you mean (if you're interested in or question this concept, look up neuro-linguistic programming). It doesn't matter what or how often or how powerfully you say something - the receiver gives meaning to what the transmitter says. If it's about love, the receiver won't feel loved unless she decides to.

For me, the 5 LLs do sum up emotional needs to a great extent. Like w_a_l, however, I mistrust people who simply lament not getting emotional needs met. When lamenting results in asking for something specific, though, that seems like a Good Thing, as long as the request implies that the requester will be satisfied if s/he receives what s/he asks for.

I know this only touches on the subject. I hope it's clear as far as it goes.

[This message edited by sisoon at 12:17 PM, August 14th (Wednesday)]


fBH (me) - 70 (22 in my head), fWW (plainsong) - 65+, Married 45+, together since 1965
DDay - 12/2010
Recovered, not yet fully R'ed
I share my own experience because it's the only experience I know, not because I'm a good model.

Posts: 9991 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: Chicago area
dbellanon
Member
Member # 39236
Default  Posted: 12:26 PM, August 14th (Wednesday)

Two points:

First, there is a reason that I put a question mark at the end of the title of this topic. If you think I'm way off base, I welcome the feedback.

Second, my WW and I are not in R. She is patently remorseless for her affair and we are in the process of divorce. At the beginning of this crisis, I took my wife's talk about emotional needs seriously, even gravely so. I knew that whatever I thought about the way she "should" respond to me, the fact was that I had to start doing something different or I was going to lose her for good. There were a lot of things that didn't come naturally to me that I started doing for her because I knew they were important to her and that I had legitimately dropped the ball in the past. The question of whether these things were needs or not was irrelevant. They were concrete ways that I could help a marriage that was on the verge of collapse. I absolutely bought into the idea that I was a neglectful husband and that I had singlehandedly landed my marriage in crisis.

Over time and therapy, my perspective began to balance out. I realized that I wasn't an emotional idiot, but that my wife and I did have very different emotional vocabularies. Still, my wife seemed uninterested in understanding the "why" of my own behavior, content to continue to paint me as a villain, when the real enemy was a dynamic that we had created together.

In the end, even if she had been receptive, I don't know if my last-minute reforms would have made a difference because it was still about her until the bitter end, and in many ways I was just feeding a selfish attitude on her part.

Our marriage never would have succeeded unless both of us had been asking ourselves and each other how we could love the other person better on a daily basis. But instead of focusing on what she could do, she focused instead on what I wasn't doing. And as for me, I wasn't being proactive enough either. The negativity was a drain on me, and I had told her as much.

I feel like we had it all backwards.

In a marriage, you need to think less of yourself and more of the other person, but you can't let the other person cut you down in order to build herself up. You need to be willing to change, but you can't be trying to change your partner. I feel like you need to accept the other person and work on yourself. But instead, I demanded acceptance as a prerequisite for working on myself, and she demanded that I work on myself as a prerequisite for acceptance. As for whether she ever thought about working on herself, I have no idea. I would like to say she chose the cowards way out instead, and her continued lack of introspection is what keeps her from experiencing remorse.

So maybe the real issue isn't the vocabulary we use when we talk about emotional needs. Maybe it's the perspective from which we look at them.

[This message edited by dbellanon at 12:28 PM, August 14th (Wednesday)]


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

Posts: 215 | Registered: May 2013
silverhopes
Member
Member # 32753
Default  Posted: 12:43 PM, August 14th (Wednesday)

You raise a really good topic, dbellanon.

Emotional needs are real. Love languages might be too. But we are responsible for ourselves, and I think your wife should have looked at you as a whole (not merely whether you were speaking her love language or not) and seen that you do/did love her very much. There's a big difference between: "I feel unhappy because I don't get x amount of gifts", and "my husband doesn't love me". I think that's one of the dangers of couples who rely heavily on the love languages - a lack of speaking a specific love language does not always translate to a lack of love, and it is extremely unfair to a person's partner to assume that of them.

As for emotional needs... Yes, while they're real, there's a balance point that's difficult but extremely important to find. A marriage is a balancing act in so many ways, not least of which is: two individuals functioning as a team. So on the one hand there are still individual things and responsibilities each person has and on the other they're a team with team responsibilities. So emotional needs aren't all one way or the other in a marriage. I'm guessing it's fluid. It's both a team thing and an individual thing.

I think it's very sad that your wife told you that she didn't feel loved by you simply because you weren't buying her tons of gifts. If she looked at the whole picture instead of tunnel vision, I'm guessing she would see actually that you loved her very much. For one thing, she was the only one you wanted to snuggle with. Maybe her love language isn't physical touch, but if she looked at the other love languages including that one, she probably could have seen that clearly.

I had similar issues for a while. My husband and I had talked about love languages. We think his is gifts and mine is physical touch, sort of like you and your wife. But my husband isn't a touchy kind of person. So for a while I was upset because I'd told him, he knew, and when I asked him to snuggle I'd get upset when he rejected me. So for a while I pouted over it and was generally very unpleasant toward him - which I am very ashamed of now. But there was something he'd said during our talk on love languages - he said that gifts were probably his language, but the one he tends to speak the most is acts of service. He cleans our room, he does the laundry, he makes food, he feeds the cats. That's how he tells us, his family, that he loves us. And that's something he's never stopped doing. Plus wanting to play video games with me (his favorite hobby), telling me everything in his life, all his thoughts, being honest, hugging and snuggling with me sometimes (that he tries means a lot, and even more so when I'm having a rough day), saying "I love you", in general being here, and a whole lot more. His very demeanor. Once I opened my eyes to all the things he WAS doing, I was overwhelmed with his love, and very ashamed of my pettiness. I'm now wondering what I can do to love him more and show him that he's precious. He loves us, and I would be petty to say he didn't just because he doesn't snuggle all the time. That doesn't translate to lack of love.

It sounds like your wife might be getting tunnel vision. She can talk with you about her love language, but she needs to take off those goggles and acknowledge you as you are, and to apologize for saying that to you. Having your love invalidated is one of the most painful experiences in the world.

[This message edited by silverhopes at 12:46 PM, August 14th (Wednesday)]


Find peace. Or sleep on it.

Infidelities are like icebergs - they may take many different shapes and sizes, but they all damage your ship.


Posts: 3902 | Registered: Jul 2011 | From: California
dbellanon
Member
Member # 39236
Default  Posted: 12:43 PM, August 14th (Wednesday)

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
Divorced

Posts: 215 | Registered: May 2013
gonnabe2016
Member
Member # 34823
Default  Posted: 4:32 PM, August 14th (Wednesday)

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: 7944 | Registered: Feb 2012 | From: Midwest
Lovedyoumore
Member
Member # 35593
Default  Posted: 5:03 PM, August 14th (Wednesday)

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: 1458 | Registered: May 2012 | From: Southern, bless your heart
noescape
Member
Member # 34888
Default  Posted: 5:04 PM, August 14th (Wednesday)

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
RyeBread
Member
Member # 37437
Default  Posted: 5:13 PM, August 14th (Wednesday)

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
StrongerOne
Member
Member # 36915
Default  Posted: 5:38 PM, August 14th (Wednesday)

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: 855 | Registered: Sep 2012
BeyondBreaking
Member
Member # 38020
Default  Posted: 5:55 PM, August 14th (Wednesday)

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
20WrongsVs1
Member
Member # 39000
Default  Posted: 6:13 PM, August 14th (Wednesday)

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
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: 1114 | Registered: Apr 2013 | From: Redneck land
LadyQ
Member
Member # 32847
Default  Posted: 6:44 PM, August 14th (Wednesday)

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
dbellanon
Member
Member # 39236
Default  Posted: 7:30 PM, August 14th (Wednesday)

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
Divorced

Posts: 215 | Registered: May 2013
FoolontheHill
Member
Member # 40225
Default  Posted: 7:39 PM, August 14th (Wednesday)

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
ladies_first
Member
Member # 24643
Default  Posted: 10:14 PM, August 14th (Wednesday)

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
joeboo
Member
Member # 31089
Default  Posted: 10:30 PM, August 14th (Wednesday)

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: 1208 | Registered: Feb 2011
BostonGirl
Member
Member # 33930
Default  Posted: 11:07 PM, August 14th (Wednesday)

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
ladies_first
Member
Member # 24643
Default  Posted: 12:33 AM, August 15th (Thursday)

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
ladies_first
Member
Member # 24643
Default  Posted: 12:37 AM, August 15th (Thursday)

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??
Me: FUCK THE ORANGE, YOU AND THE HORSE YOU RODE IN ON.
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 person....like, 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....
DRINNNNNG
Him : Hello...yep...yep...see you tomorrow at 10. What were you saying??
Me: I was saying that I would...
DRINNNNNG
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” - hmmm...no 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
FoolontheHill
Member
Member # 40225
Default  Posted: 12:42 AM, August 15th (Thursday)

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
silverhopes
Member
Member # 32753
Default  Posted: 1:03 AM, August 15th (Thursday)

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.

Infidelities are like icebergs - they may take many different shapes and sizes, but they all damage your ship.


Posts: 3902 | Registered: Jul 2011 | From: California
StillGoing
Member
Member # 28571
Default  Posted: 6:54 AM, August 15th (Thursday)

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.

eta:

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)]


“Fate is a fickle bitch who dotes on irony.”

Posts: 7431 | Registered: May 2010 | From: USA
LadyQ
Member
Member # 32847
Default  Posted: 7:34 AM, August 15th (Thursday)

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...

Posts: 1650 | Registered: Jul 2011
ladies_first
Member
Member # 24643
Default  Posted: 8:10 AM, August 15th (Thursday)

StillGoing, The orange is not literally an orange; rather the orange is simply a metaphor for whatever "need" your partner has expresses.

The orange compilation were more than 20 different SI members, both male and female, frustrated because their individual need (a figurative orange) were going unmet.

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.

Why? Because there is one, very specific thing that make me feel more appreciated than others; your "orange" is when when when your wife proudly brags about you to others about how awesome you are. Your "orange" is public admiration.

[This message edited by ladies_first at 8:11 AM, August 15th (Thursday)]


"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
soconfusednow
Member
Member # 40078
Default  Posted: 8:11 AM, August 15th (Thursday)

I read The Five Love Languages. My H only read part of it. With us, the benefits came when recognized and acknowledged how the other one was loving us in their love language, while also choosing to do what was unnatural to us to please the other in their language. It’s not easy. We need to make a conscious effort all the time. But it is easier and becoming my natural than before.


D-Day January 2013
prior EA in the 90's
me 50
WH 52
NC-several
last broken NC 7/2013 (hopefully)
Married 29 years
2 kids
Want to believe it's over, but is it really? Will I ever trust again?

Posts: 317 | Registered: Jul 2013 | From: USA
StillGoing
Member
Member # 28571
Default  Posted: 8:19 AM, August 15th (Thursday)

Yes, but the garden and pasty shop are ways she tries to show me love and she has a real difficulty that is not a personal issue about me, providing that orange.

If she was handing out oranges on the street to everybody like your H was hiding them in the car, that's entirely different IMO. It's not about can't, it's about won't, and deliberately and knowingly at that.

Most of us get hit with this stuff - lets use your orange scenario. Lets say your H wasn't a dick and really didn't have any oranges and to get one had to climb the tallest mountain in the world to get the one orange that grew once a year. Sometimes the orange wasn't there, or he fucked up trying to get it, but he built all that other shit because he loves you. Yes, fantasy situation, not saying that is the case for you.

So, pissed off that you don't have oranges, surrounded by things others would view as lavish gifts, you decide that since he can't get you some oranges you go to some other dude for them. They're rotten or squishy or nasty but he's giving you oranges.

Most of us getting hit with the emotional needs bullshit get hit like that. Your H is deliberately withholding that stuff and that is pure, unbridled selfish assholishness. It's that in your situation, he's using you to get what he wants without having to give something in return.

I can live without oranges if there's other fruit she's giving me (wow that got euphemistic), but I would not live without them while she was giving them out to someone else.


“Fate is a fickle bitch who dotes on irony.”

Posts: 7431 | Registered: May 2010 | From: USA
ladies_first
Member
Member # 24643
Default  Posted: 8:21 AM, August 15th (Thursday)

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.

Let's say your boss is not an email person, but email is your preferred method of communication. If your boss said, "I dislike email, StillGoing, I just want you to stop by HQ occasionally and give me a verbal progress report." Well, a verbal progress report requires a thought mode that may be completely alien to your written cognitive skills. If your boss repeatedly asks for a verbal progress report, what are you going to do?


"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
ladies_first
Member
Member # 24643
Default  Posted: 8:25 AM, August 15th (Thursday)

"Yes, but..."
That means you are verbally discounting my need for an orange.

Yes, I know you need an orange, BUT now I'm going to TELL YOU why I don't need an orange!


"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
ladies_first
Member
Member # 24643
Default  Posted: 8:37 AM, August 15th (Thursday)

Most of us get hit with this stuff - lets use your orange scenario. Lets say your H wasn't a dick and really didn't have any oranges and to get one had to climb the tallest mountain in the world to get the one orange that grew once a year. Sometimes the orange wasn't there, or he fucked up trying to get it, but he built all that other shit because he loves you. Yes, fantasy situation, not saying that is the case for you.

I never asked him to climb the tallest mountain in the world for the PERFECT orange.

I want an orange. A simple orange. A grocery store orange (like grocery store flowers). I would be happy with any orange HE gave me. *I DON'T WANT THAT OTHER SHIT HE BUILT.*

[This message edited by ladies_first at 8:38 AM, August 15th (Thursday)]


"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
ladies_first
Member
Member # 24643
Default  Posted: 8:47 AM, August 15th (Thursday)

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.

Is that really what you want me to do? You want me to go get an orange from another man, and enjoy it alongside all the stuff my H is giving me?


"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
LadyQ
Member
Member # 32847
Default  Posted: 8:55 AM, August 15th (Thursday)

If the orange is a euphemism for sex, then, no, you shouldn't be getting that elsewhere. If the orange is an orange, there's no reason to starve just because your spouse can't or won't provide the orange.

I think that's where the discussion centers. Is your need for the orange so overwhelming that you can't live without it? Can you substitute another fruit? Or is that you feel that by not providing the orange, you spouse is devaluing your need? Anyway you answer, it still comes down to your "need" not being met. There are always alternatives to going out and getting fruit from another person. So, having your emotional need go unmet doesn't give you the right to cheat. At that point it's just an excuse. And a bad one at that.


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

Posts: 1650 | Registered: Jul 2011
uncertainone
Member
Member # 28108
Default  Posted: 9:25 AM, August 15th (Thursday)

Never read the love language book. Never will. Are you serious with that, Clark? Gifts is a love language?

What if the "gift" is "you're" still breathing? I wonder how much self inventory plays a role in some of this. I know I'm not in any way easy to be with. I acknowledge that fact up front. Cigarettes have warning labels. It's only fair.

I also know what I can offer. I work on what I don't like.

I believe that another can very much impact us. Why else would this site exist? There are people in excrutiating pain from a partners actions and inactions. If happiness was only our individual bailiwick how would this be true?

What I don't understand is marrying someone with a laundry list of things they aren't. If "you" love affection why on earth would "you" marry someone that isn't comfortable displaying it? You set up a "you're wrong" dynamic from the beginning.

The converse is also true. If you go into a marriage one way (enjoyment of sex, affectionate verbally and physically) you don't get to unilaterally pull that off the table or make the partner believe they have to keep "paying" for it. "If he/she would do more around the house"...what? If you're like that before you meet them how they hell are you not after and why is contribution to house work (especially if the criteria of cleanliness is yours and yours alone) somehow currency now? Did they clean your apartment when y'all were dating? Did you feel you needed to have all your shots when you went over to theirs? Where is the disconnect or shock if cleanliness is several tomes away from anything remotely resembling godliness after "I do"?

I guess what I will never understand is why the shopping list seems to grow after marriage. Isn't dating when all that is relevant? I'd be pretty pissed if my job now required Japanese when I showed up to work after that little detail was nowhere in my job discription or on my resume when I applied.


Me: 37

'til the roof comes off. 'til the lights go out. 'til my legs give out, can't shut my mouth


Posts: 6795 | Registered: Mar 2010
LadyQ
Member
Member # 32847
Default  Posted: 9:43 AM, August 15th (Thursday)

That's great in theory, uncertainone, but we all know the reality. When you're dating, you're on your best behavior. You don't leave your dirty socks lying on her living room floor. You don't belch at the table.

Once you're married, and the "honeymoon"is over, you are more comfortable and secure, so you come to the breakfast table in curlers or you don't clean the breakfast dishes til you're preparing supper.

And in actuality, people's needs change as they grow and mature. It's not rational to expect any different. So, while I'll agree that withholding meeting someone's needs should never be used as currency,I don't agree that you should always expect that your partner's needs (or yours) haven't changed over time.

At some point, you may realize that the orange really wasn't all that important in and of itself. The fact that your partner attempted to meet the need in the way he knew how will begin to register. Of course, none of this holds true if the partner is deliberately or maliciously withholding.


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

Posts: 1650 | Registered: Jul 2011
uncertainone
Member
Member # 28108
Default  Posted: 9:53 AM, August 15th (Thursday)

That's great in theory, uncertainone, but we all know the reality

That is my reality, LadyQ. I like sex. I didn't require my ex to be xyz to continue to like sex. I also enjoy food. I didn't let his moods interfer with eating. I'd be hanging from a fucking charm bracelet if I did.

I don't do curlers but I never did the makeup or glamour shot look before dates. Kinda hard to pull off when rappelling.

I was me. I honestly don't know how to be anything else nor would I want to be. When I was pissed it was not hidden or hints left like a perverted treasure hunt. No guessing.

I think people's needs change and grow as well. That was actually my point. Why? What does changing and growing actually mean to some people.

I don't think they do. I think they more emerge in some kind of hat trick. To me the only thing that changes after marriage is that you now have someone that has your six. It's now a team and if anyone fucks with one of you they're gonna get a double barreled response.

That concept doesn't seem to "change and grow" after marriage for some. It seems to vanish completely. Sad.

[This message edited by uncertainone at 9:53 AM, August 15th (Thursday)]


Me: 37

'til the roof comes off. 'til the lights go out. 'til my legs give out, can't shut my mouth


Posts: 6795 | Registered: Mar 2010
h0peless
Member
Member # 36697
Default  Posted: 10:25 AM, August 15th (Thursday)

My needs: Food, water and shelter. Everything else is a want. Is there shit I won't put up with in a relationship? Absolutely. You'll never hear me calling those things "needs", though. If I need something, I'd damn well better be able to get it for myself.

[This message edited by h0peless at 10:25 AM, August 15th (Thursday)]


Posts: 1657 | Registered: Sep 2012 | From: Baja Arizona
StillGoing
Member
Member # 28571
Default  Posted: 10:33 AM, August 15th (Thursday)

Let's say your boss is not an email person, but email is your preferred method of communication. If your boss said, "I dislike email, StillGoing, I just want you to stop by HQ occasionally and give me a verbal progress report." Well, a verbal progress report requires a thought mode that may be completely alien to your written cognitive skills. If your boss repeatedly asks for a verbal progress report, what are you going to do?

If I'm not able to do it, and said boss requires that for me to keep working there? Put in my 2 weeks notice then.

"Yes, but..."
That means you are verbally discounting my need for an orange.

Yes, I know you need an orange, BUT now I'm going to TELL YOU why I don't need an orange!

Whoa. Now you are telling me what I am thinking, feeling and why I am feeling that way.

I'm not discounting your stated need for an orange. I have been explaining why providing that orange may not be as simple as pulling one from my pocket and handing it to you.

I never asked him to climb the tallest mountain in the world for the PERFECT orange.

I want an orange. A simple orange. A grocery store orange (like grocery store flowers). I would be happy with any orange HE gave me. *I DON'T WANT THAT OTHER SHIT HE BUILT.*

You *want* or you *need* an orange?

I didn't say you wanted a perfect orange. I said for some people that is the only orange they can get. YOU turned it into a perfect orange, or an orange that because you see other people wandering around with sackfuls, means everyone has them ready to hand out. I said that some people do not have those sacks filled with oranges and to get them it can be an arduous process, so those of us lacking said sacks of fruit try to provide in other ways.

You don't want that, fine. Kick his ass out over an orange.

Is that really what you want me to do? You want me to go get an orange from another man, and enjoy it alongside all the stuff my H is giving me?

I think it's pretty obvious I did not, and I am insulted you'd do what you just did there.

eta:

There were a lot of triggers for me there in that last post so if I was hostile then I apologize. It was coming from somewhere else.

[This message edited by StillGoing at 10:47 AM, August 15th (Thursday)]


“Fate is a fickle bitch who dotes on irony.”

Posts: 7431 | Registered: May 2010 | From: USA
ladies_first
Member
Member # 24643
Default  Posted: 11:08 AM, August 15th (Thursday)

Why Don't You/Yes But

The first such game theorized was Why don't you/Yes, but in which one player (White) would pose a problem as if seeking help, and the other player(s) (Black) would offer solutions (the "Why don't you?" suggestion). This game was noticed as many patients played it in therapy and psychiatry sessions, and inspired Berne to identify other interpersonal "games".

White would point out a flaw in every Black player's solution (the "Yes, but" response), until they all gave up in frustration. For example, if someone's life script was "to be hurt many times, and suffer and make others feel bad when I die" a game of "Why Don't You, Yes But" might proceed as follows:

White: I wish I could lose some weight.
Black: Why don't you join a gym?
White: Yes but, I can't afford the payments for a gym.
Black: Why don't you speed walk around your block after you get home from work?
White: Yes but, I don't dare walk alone in my neighborhood after dark.
Black: Why don't you take the stairs at work instead of the elevator?

"Why Don't You, Yes But" can proceed indefinitely, with any number of players in the Black role, until Black's imagination is exhausted, and she can think of no other solutions. At this point, White "wins" by having stumped Black. After a silent pause following Black's final suggestion, the game is often brought to a formal end by a third role, Green, who makes a comment such as, "It just goes to show how difficult it is to lose weight."

The secondary gain for White was that he could claim to have justified his problem as insoluble and thus avoid the hard work of internal change; and for Black, to either feel the frustrated martyr ("I was only trying to help") or a superior being, disrespected ("the patient was uncooperative").

Superficially, this game can resemble Adult to Adult interaction (people seeking information or advice), but more often, according to Berne, the game is played by White's helpless Child, and Black's lecturing Parent ego states.

Shall I play green, StillGoing?

"It just goes to show how difficult it is to have an unemotional conversation about Emotional Needs."


"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
StillGoing
Member
Member # 28571
Default  Posted: 11:39 AM, August 15th (Thursday)

If you decide to turn any response into "Yes but" then of course your game will play out the way you want it to.

My wife did what you just did to me for years. Telling me what I really meant, then taking what I said and turning it around as a hostile question to throw at me as if I was a lunatic asshole. I don't find it difficult to discuss this because the idea of emotional needs - which I still contend is bullshit - is difficult to discuss, I find it difficult because you are taking what I am saying as some kind of personal affront and then turning out the sarcasm. Go ahead and play both colors if you like. If you are unwilling to hear or process the other side of a discussion then there is no purpose to continuing it.

eta:

If the semantics offend you so much then perhaps changing the words to "I see that you wanted an orange. You were heard. I am unable to provide an orange so I will try to provide in other ways. If you choose not to accept that then so be it."

eta again:

Further, this:

Yes, but the garden and pasty shop are ways she tries to show me love and she has a real difficulty that is not a personal issue about me, providing that orange.

Was a statement about my own relationship with my wife. That you decided to feel your needs were discounted by my statement that MINE were not in that situation is entirely on you. The orange that I want, as I said, I can live without and I can learn to appreciate the other things provided and shown to me.

If you feel discounted by that then I am sorry, but I am not going to feel otherwise on your account.

[This message edited by StillGoing at 11:47 AM, August 15th (Thursday)]


“Fate is a fickle bitch who dotes on irony.”

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ladies_first
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Default  Posted: 11:56 AM, August 15th (Thursday)

I'm not playing to win, but I don't anticipate either of us compelling the other to change views.

I think emotional needs are bullshit because the way the concept is expressed places the responsibility of meeting those needs on other people.
Respectfully, I disagree. Personally, I find my emotional needs inextricable linked to my physical needs.

Edit: Respectfully, I disagree. Personally, I find my emotional needs inextricably linked to my physical desire .


If you decide to turn any response into "Yes but" then of course your game will play out the way you want it to.

My wife did what you just did to me for years. Telling me what I really meant, then taking what I said and turning it around as a hostile question to throw at me as if I was a lunatic asshole. I don't find it difficult to discuss this because the idea of emotional needs - which I still contend is bullshit.

I was triggered by your first post on the third page. Once my MC trained me to see the "Yes, But..." game, I'm less inclined to play.


There were a lot of triggers for me there in that last post so if I was hostile then I apologize. It was coming from somewhere else.

Once the emotional brain triggers, the rational brain takes a vacation.

How would you like to proceed?
(Honestly, I ask, not aggressively.)

[This message edited by ladies_first at 12:10 PM, August 15th (Thursday)]


"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

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ladies_first
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Default  Posted: 12:02 PM, August 15th (Thursday)

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.

Actually, I think it's pretty cool that you and your wife have a system that works.


"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

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StillGoing
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Default  Posted: 1:10 PM, August 15th (Thursday)

Respectfully, I disagree. Personally, I find my emotional needs inextricable linked to my physical needs.

Edit: Respectfully, I disagree. Personally, I find my emotional needs inextricably linked to my physical desire .

Well I can't say that you don't feel that way because I don't live in your head, but I don't understand how that relates to not placing that responsibility on someone else.

I was triggered by your first post on the third page. Once my MC trained me to see the "Yes, But..." game, I'm less inclined to play.

Triggers can obviously be difficult wherever they appear.

Once the emotional brain triggers, the rational brain takes a vacation.

How would you like to proceed?
(Honestly, I ask, not aggressively.)

From the understanding that "I" and "my" statements refer to me and mine, and are not a reflection on others unless specified.

Also, I am not trying to argue that your situation parallels my own; they are two different circumstances. I think your H was abusive, which goes a step beyond the nebulous concepts expressed here. Where I think emotional needs are bullshit is that they only seem to appear between people in an intimate relationship (setting aside developmental needs of children). When the very real feelings and emotions that exist are not simply being neglected (where many WS use this as an excuse to cheat), but manipulated to some cruel or selfish end then I feel it is, as I said, entering the realm of abuse.

I don't want you to feel attacked and I am sorry for being defensive over triggery shit.


“Fate is a fickle bitch who dotes on irony.”

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Default  Posted: 1:13 PM, August 15th (Thursday)

One of the first books we started going through after DDay was "His Needs, Her Needs" which suggests that most people have the same needs, just that we rank them differently in importance.

As humans, we naturally project our own models upon others so it's fairly common for couples to project their most important need as also being similarly important to their mate, when in actuality it may not even be in the top 5. The book also suggests there are many relationships where both partner's needs are opposite/flipped so the MOST important for one is the LEAST important for the other.

I guess you could apply the apple/orange story here. If you think oranges are the coolest things in the world, think how confused you'd be when you keep giving them to your spouse and she just goes "bleh" because she's actually an apple person... and vice-versa as you really don't care for the apples she gives you, so the feelings and love expressions are missed by the exchange, leading to mismatched expectations and possibly hurt feelings.

I also subscribe to wincing_at_light's standpoint that many people, especially some waywards, are those fucking bottomless buckets that no matter how much "need" you throw in, it will never be enough nor make any difference. They are a blackhole of neediness and will just leave a trail of wreckage and destruction in their wake. Of course, they will point to their empty bucket as being all your fault when in actuality, you've become completely exhausted by stupidly dumping more and more in without any sign of any of it.

I also side with uncertainone that things should NOT change dramatically post dating. I know many religions do not agree, but this is also why I believe in cohabitation before marriage since there are some things you cannot measure until that point of actually living together. This isn't change, but just new discovery. The points you discover during dating should not change post-dating... that is disingenuous. But until you actually live with someone, you never know! I mean, their roommates may be covering their bad trash habits and who knows how they squeeze the tube of toothpaste?

But more profound are the dramatic "needs" changes that can be seen with some WS's, where someone that was at least semi-warm, caring, respectful and sexual becomes distant, disrespectful and almost entirely celibate (at least with their partner...) in first year or two.

So yes, I think emotional needs can be important but just not for everyone. If it's a top need of your spouse, well then I'd expect both spouses be willing to invest in meeting each other's #1 (and maybe #2/3) needs. But more often than not, especially on this forum, you seem to have one partner working very, very hard to try and provide for their WS's #1, 2, 3, 4 and 5th need, while the WS is only complaining how unfulfilled they are (endless buckets) and are off trying to fill that bottomless hole elsewhere as well...


BS (ME): 44
WS(HER): 42
9 years
OM#1- 20-something loser, stole bunch of my things after she had sex with him in our bed (no condoms, STDs)
OM#2- 24 year old, unemployed loser, lives with mom & dad
DDay 1/2012
NC 3/20/2012
SGASDay 4/1/2012

Posts: 712 | Registered: Mar 2012 | From: California
ladies_first
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Default  Posted: 2:01 PM, August 15th (Thursday)

I think emotional needs can be important but just not for everyone. If it's a top need of your spouse, well then I'd expect both spouses be willing to invest in meeting each other's #1 (and maybe #2/3) needs. But more often than not, especially on this forum, you seem to have one partner working very, very hard to try and provide for their WS's #1, 2, 3, 4 and 5th need, while the WS is only complaining how unfulfilled they are (endless buckets) and are off trying to fill that bottomless hole elsewhere as well...

Agreed. And now were back to inequity.

In "Not Just Friends" Shirley Glass writes:

Assumption: The person having an affair isn't "getting enough" at home.
Fact: The truth is that the unfaithful partner may not be giving enough. In fact, the partner who gives too little is at greater risk than the spouse who gives too much because he or she is less invested.

Ahhh... Now were back to the question: How do you measure investment?
*Affection
*Sexual Fulfillment
*Conversation
*Recreational Companionship
*Honesty and Openness
*Physical Attractiveness
*Financial Support
*Domestic Support
*Family Commitment
*Admiration

There are some who just take, and that's cruel and destructive.


"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

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Default  Posted: 2:28 PM, August 15th (Thursday)

*Affection
Ahhh... Now were back to the question: How do you measure investment?

*Sexual Fulfillment
*Conversation
*Recreational Companionship
*Honesty and Openness
*Physical Attractiveness
*Financial Support
*Domestic Support
*Family Commitment
*Admiration

Well that's the thing. Lets pull physical attractiveness out of there.

All other considerations being equal, there are a lot of problems with looking at this as a need, IMO. Looking at it as how much people invest in a relationship, sure. As the responsibility of another for personal happiness, I don't agree.

So two people enter into a relationship. They're young. 15 years later, one spouse no longer feels the other spouse is physically attractive, for any reasons from obsessing over chocolate or beer or just getting older.

On the one hand it should be expected that we try to keep a certain minimum standard for those we love. OTOH, this is also about a personal comfort zone. Also, gods and devils unite and spear my ass with a light saber if I were to suggest a woman getting fatter as she got older is a direct conflict with an emotional need I have for an attractive woman in high heels and ringlets who can handle a couple of polyhedral percentiles like a pro.

If I do feel that, though, then is it the responsibility of the spouse who isn't the eternally young geek dream to maintain that image? There is a point somewhere that crosses over a line from accepting who this person is to being unhappy with who they are. We cannot control someone else, so if they turn into Jabba the Slutt and trundle around on a hoverbarge, sure, it would make the husband of that pretty unhappy.

It's his own responsibility to decide whether or not he will accept that, or how far along the approach to that. It is about personal boundaries. "Honey I need you to try and lose enough weight to see your feet, we can get you a vespa or something." If she doesn't, and he stays in that relationship, then he's not observing his own boundaries. Yeah, she shouldn't be Slutting it up as Jabba Baby, and yeah, that's an unhappy scenario even if she ends up the Top for a Princess Leia full time cosplay partner.

At that point there is a choice - the responsible choice is to say "What you're doing to yourself is something I find kinda nasty and I have been voicing my concerns for years. I need to bail. btw Boba Fett escaped that sarlacc pit and he's pissed too."

Jabba is responsible for her behavior, but Jabba's hubby is responsible for his choice in responses to that behavior. If Jabba tries to dump him in the sarlacc pit he can continue to tell Jabba that makes him unhappy, or he can say fuck that and use his jetpack to scoot the fuck out of there. Obviously life is not that simple (or complicated) but while we can call these things boundaries or emotional needs or Dark Side and Light Side, it's all just The Force, and how you use The Force is your own responsibility, and how someone uses The Force for Being Shitty is theirs.

Boba Fett did escape the sarlacc pit btw.


“Fate is a fickle bitch who dotes on irony.”

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silverhopes
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Default  Posted: 3:05 PM, August 15th (Thursday)

Boba Fett did escape the sarlacc pit btw.

Yes he did. (Though it wasn't in the movies.)

I have had a problem with some parts of Dr. Harley's list, the main one being that there are some things (such as physical attractiveness, also others) that a person has very little control over. And other things on the list that a person has lots of control over. And even some other things that baffle me as to why they're on the list because it seems like they're givens that BOTH partners should be doing (child care, which falls under both "domestic support" and "family commitment" in his book, being the first one that comes to my mind for a couple who has kids). But that's from my own worldview. Other people will have other experiences. That's why marriage is such a balancing act. Also why (and I'm guilty of this) it's easy to get confused between "needs" and "wants". What is the main difference between "need" and "want" anyway? The way we use it sometimes, make it seem like a need is nothing more than an extra-strong want. Or maybe that needs are dealbreakers and wants are things that if you don't get it, then suck it up. What do we actually "need" for a marriage to work? And what do we "need" individually to be healthy and happy?

I don't have universal answers. I have experiences that I'm learning from. Back to my snuggling example. We've been snuggling more. My dear husband says that he knows I like it when we snuggle, because I feel safe, and he wishes it hadn't taken my Nana passing away in order for him to hug me so much more. Over the last three weeks, several times at night, I haven't been able to sleep and am having trouble with invasive thoughts, nightmares, and feelings of sadness, fear, and a whole host of others. Several times I've asked him to snuggle with me, and being half-asleep, he hasn't. Not his fault. Do I need him to snuggle? If I frame it in terms of, "I won't have nightmares if he snuggles with me", it can certainly seem so (the times he did snuggle, I did fall asleep and slept better). But when I think "how can I do something about the nightmares?" then his participation becomes an option, but not the only solution. There are other ways to take care of my health. And it doesn't even mean turning to someone else. Nor does it mean anything personal against my H. The trick is knowing I have the right tools to be healthy and then using them.

That's not to discount the times where a person turns someone down out of contempt or trying to control. That's something else at play. At that point it's about more than "needs" or "wants", it's about control.

One home might think it's totally acceptable for one partner to do the majority of childcare work, including being responsible for all meals, every bedtime, every disciplinary action, and finding a sitter - even when their spouse is at home during the times the sitter will be helping. Another home might not find that OK and find that if one person asks for help with childcare, then their spouse would be irresponsible to refuse to help. And many couples probably disagree about it between each other. It's not simple. What's healthiest for your child(ren)? What keeps one or both parents healthy and functional as parents? What are the values you believe in? Did you know going in that you and your spouse didn't hold the same values?

I wouldn't say "needs"/"wants"/whatever are bullshit: I'd say they're complicated.

ETA: Another thing that complicates it all is the *asking* part of it. Again, we all have different problems with it depending on the person and couple. Is it that we/our partners haven't asked explicitly for what we/they need and resent our partners/us for not meeting those unspoken needs? Is it that we or our partners have asked and then been refused? Is asking seen as bad or good, and does it depend on the context and timing, on what's being asked for, and on the tone? Maybe we shouldn't expect one person to meet all our needs or wants, or even most of them, especially if we should be taking care of ourselves - but does it mean that it's wrong to even ask for what we need or want? How will anyone else know what we're thinking/feeling/wanting/needing if we don't say something? And for that matter, how do we handle hearing no? Entitlement? Acceptance? Insistence that this is actually something very important? Pain or suffering? Depends a lot on what we're asking too...

[This message edited by silverhopes at 3:51 PM, August 15th (Thursday)]


Find peace. Or sleep on it.

Infidelities are like icebergs - they may take many different shapes and sizes, but they all damage your ship.


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Default  Posted: 3:26 PM, August 15th (Thursday)

Ahhh... Now were back to the question: How do you measure investment?
*Affection
*Sexual Fulfillment
*Conversation
*Recreational Companionship
*Honesty and Openness
*Physical Attractiveness
*Financial Support
*Domestic Support
*Family Commitment
*Admiration

You know you are in deep trouble when you ask your partner to order those in order of importance and their only reply is "They are all my #1 most important need"...


BS (ME): 44
WS(HER): 42
9 years
OM#1- 20-something loser, stole bunch of my things after she had sex with him in our bed (no condoms, STDs)
OM#2- 24 year old, unemployed loser, lives with mom & dad
DDay 1/2012
NC 3/20/2012
SGASDay 4/1/2012

Posts: 712 | Registered: Mar 2012 | From: California
BostonGirl
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Default  Posted: 3:49 PM, August 15th (Thursday)

Interesting and fast moving conversation! Still trying to take it all in. But wanted to post a reply to StillGoing who disagreed with my notion that if your spouse says she needs X (or an orange!) to feel loved and you won't honor that, it sends a strong message. StillGoing included in his rebuttal, " 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."

To my way of thinking this totally illustrates my point. You recognize in yourself some shortcomings (losing your keys/phone, forgetting what's needed at the store) and *because they are important you find ways to work around it and get it done*.

Yes, what rings your wife's bell isn't natural to you, but it is *not important enough to you to figure out how to make it happen.*

She sees that you put in the effort about other things but not about what feels so important to her.

Why is it acceptable to you to steadfastly maintain that she should just honor the fact that you as you are (wired to be forgetful)--but you don't have to honor the fact that she is as she is (wired to feel loved when she gets thoughtful gifts)?


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
StillGoing
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Default  Posted: 3:57 PM, August 15th (Thursday)

Why is it acceptable to you to steadfastly maintain that she should just honor the fact that you as you are (wired to be forgetful)--but you don't have to honor the fact that she is as she is (wired to feel loved when she gets thoughtful gifts)?

Because the scope of what is considered a thoughtful gift in that scenario becomes incompatible with the ability to provide them. Like I said (quoting myself):

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.

I'm not trying to argue it's okay to shit all over the boundaries and wants of another, but that very often efforts to meet them are also dismissed out of hand.


“Fate is a fickle bitch who dotes on irony.”

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Jennifer99
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Default  Posted: 4:15 PM, August 15th (Thursday)

I've finally found the lock on my heart. If this conversation doesn't totally kill anyone's wish to be in a relationship I don't know what will.

Also, I will never be able to watch star wars again.

Thanks all! Moving on....I think I will find some homeless, starving children to invest my energy in cuz ya know what? I couldn't tell you the last grown up I've met and liked enough to have go-rounds like this.


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BostonGirl
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Default  Posted: 4:30 PM, August 15th (Thursday)

What you said in the first quote was, essentially, there was no way you should be expected to even try to honor her request.

That's a whole different conversation than, "I tried to bring her gifts and she dismissed them."

If you do bring her gifts and she dismisses them, then it's totally fair to insist on credit for trying. The next question is, how do you respond to her rejection of what you brought? If its, "you'll never be satisfied, you ungrateful bitch," well, that proves the hypothesis that you're an uncaring jerk.

Your response could just as easily be, "let's talk more about why that didn't do it". THAT is where you discover what's going on emotionally. Is she feeling invisible and your grocery store flowers feel generic and reinforce that sense that she doesn't matter? Is it that inexpensive gifts hit some thing inside her about money and security and caretaking? Is it that she's told you 4000 times she's allergic to carnations and you still bring her carnations EVERY SINGLE TIME, can't you LISTEN???

You can't dig down to that level unless you're willing to honor your wife's right to like what she likes and need what she needs--and then be willing to get in there and really UNDERSTAND IT and LIVE IT.

Dismissing the whole thing out of hand--I can't, I'm not wired, there's no way I could do it right so why even try--yeah, that tells her loud and clear that you really don't think she's worth it.

Been there, done that, got the shelf full of marriage books to prove 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
StillGoing
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Default  Posted: 4:53 PM, August 15th (Thursday)

I'm not sure how you read that in my post, I will try to be less incoherent next time. I did not intend to convey the idea that since a very specific theme of meeting the Emotional Need of Avarice could not be 100% appeased then it should be abandoned entirely. I was aiming at the opposite, in fact; that often this is viewed as an all or nothing venture when it should not be.

It was not that there was no way I could honor her request and therefore I should dismiss it but I am incapable of remembering to buy 2-3 small, thoughtful purchases a week on top of a full time job, house work, small children, stupid animals and weapons grade ADD, but I do try to make thoughtful purchases such as Unconditional Chocolate on my way home from work, or purple flowers at the grocery when I am there, or a little thing from amazon when I am buying the 500 bulk pack of glow in the dark alligator-tipped bludgeon style condoms.

If thoughtful gift purchases done to the best of my capacity are not up to standards of very specific gift purchase requirements then my gestures, stupid as they might be, are not even considered in the whole Emotional Need Of Avarice equation. This is similar to the moving target but different in that the receiver has tunnel vision and can only see what they are not getting in this regard as opposed to everything that is being provided.


“Fate is a fickle bitch who dotes on irony.”

Posts: 7431 | Registered: May 2010 | From: USA
BostonGirl
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Default  Posted: 5:24 PM, August 15th (Thursday)

Industrial-strength snark, I see, too. I'll bet your mockery ("Emotional need of Avarice") is a real hit with the little woman! How could she not appreciate such sterling wit!


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
BostonGirl
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Default  Posted: 5:26 PM, August 15th (Thursday)

More constructively, have you actually asked her what's up with that? Have you asked her to at least give you credit for trying? Or do you pitch a sarcastic snitty fit like that post, pick up your ball, and go home?


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
ladies_first
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Default  Posted: 5:47 PM, August 15th (Thursday)

Genuinely curious, to all the men on this thread:

Who plans date night in your relationship? How often do you date your wife?


"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
silverhopes
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Default  Posted: 5:49 PM, August 15th (Thursday)

It's also possible that this is a difficult topic because of how these things interact with infidelity. For instance, if a BS was asking for certain things, the WS said no, and then did or gave those things with the AP or with someone else, then that would really hurt the BS's feelings, wouldn't it? And if a WS was asking for something, the BS said no, and the WS did those things with the AP or with someone else... Then two different issues get mixed up and often neither person gets heard. The WS might hear: "You cheated and now your needs or wants are irrelevant" and the BS might hear: "You didn't give them this need or want and that's why they cheated." Two separate issues. Needs/wants and cheating are separate issues - or rather, cheating is a horrible tool to use if you're trying to "get what you want". An unacceptable tool. So then what - for either a BS, WS, or MH - *are* acceptable tools for obtaining what you want or need?

I think this might be partially why this is an even more sensitive issue. Maybe taking a deep breath - there's a good chance that we here are all trying to be loving to our partners.


Find peace. Or sleep on it.

Infidelities are like icebergs - they may take many different shapes and sizes, but they all damage your ship.


Posts: 3902 | Registered: Jul 2011 | From: California
foundoutlater
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Default  Posted: 6:03 PM, August 15th (Thursday)

Industrial-strength snark, I see, too

If you can’t let it out here then where. I’d have to guess snark is a defense mechanism. How that convo sounds with the W might sound different. At least that’s what I would guess.

Who plans date night in your relationship? How often do you date your wife?

That date night happens – 50/50
That date night can happen (kids and all) 5% me 95% W
That date night has plans for anything – 99% me(not because I prefer it that way but I’ve come to accept the role)

Before kids it was pretty regular. After kids it almost stopped. After DDay two years ago nearly weekly. BTW the A was before kids.

Are emotional needs bullshit?

I don’t think so. Figuring out your own emotional needs, communicating them to your spouse and also self-soothing is what it’s about IMO. Looking for someone else to fulfill those needs is asking for disappointment. No one can do it. And my captain obvious observation - trying to sort through all of it after an A has devastated an M is so fucking hard and dealing with loss of trust makes it even harder.

[This message edited by foundoutlater at 6:05 PM, August 15th (Thursday)]


Your beliefs don’t make you a better person, your behavior does.

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StillGoing
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Default  Posted: 7:33 PM, August 15th (Thursday)

Industrial-strength snark, I see, too. I'll bet your mockery ("Emotional need of Avarice") is a real hit with the little woman! How could she not appreciate such sterling wit!

I can see how that would be sarcastic, sorry. I just kind of apply stupid shit to what I'm saying. I don't really buy bulk condoms with alligator tips in bludgeon style either, it's kind of a goofing off thing.

More constructively, have you actually asked her what's up with that? Have you asked her to at least give you credit for trying? Or do you pitch a sarcastic snitty fit like that post, pick up your ball, and go home?

I tried, but turns out she was fucking this guy for awhile. We worked it out though.


eta:

Who plans date night in your relationship? How often do you date your wife?

Lately she does, and I will say that anybody with kids is a slave to the schedule of whoever arranges the babysitter. Since I am not comfortable chatting with a 15 year old girl, and the sitter is the daughter of her co worker, that tends to fall to her.

Years ago when it was my parents watching them for us those nights, it was me planning it, since I was the one arranging the schedule.

Before kids.. oh man, I dunno. That's like asking me what color the walls are of the Palace Which Can Only Be Told Of In Song. That's a dreamy, far away place of wonder and fantasy.

eta again:

oops

[This message edited by StillGoing at 7:37 PM, August 15th (Thursday)]


“Fate is a fickle bitch who dotes on irony.”

Posts: 7431 | Registered: May 2010 | From: USA
wifehad5
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Red  Posted: 7:36 PM, August 15th (Thursday)

Genuinely curious, to all the men on this thread:
Who plans date night in your relationship? How often do you date your wife?

ladies_first,

Please feel free to start a new thread for this. Thank you.


FBH - 42
FWW - 43 (BrokenRoad)
2 kids 7&12

The people you do your life with shape the life you live


Posts: 36982 | Registered: Jun 2007 | From: Michigan
ladies_first
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Default  Posted: 8:03 PM, August 15th (Thursday)

Sorry for the t/j, my Love Language is Quality Time.


"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
uncertainone
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Default  Posted: 11:22 PM, August 15th (Thursday)

If you do bring her gifts and she dismisses them, then it's totally fair to insist on credit for trying. The next question is, how do you respond to her rejection of what you brought? If its, "you'll never be satisfied, you ungrateful bitch," well, that proves the hypothesis that you're an uncaring jerk.

It does? To whom? Not to me. I am very curious as to what some's definition of a "gift" is. If my SO bought something for me that he picked out and wanted me to have, that is the gift. The fact he wanted to, thought of me, thought about me. It honestly doesn't get much better than that.

If you know what "you" want then why don't "you" buy it yourself, as isn't that basically what you are doing along with all sorts of wonderful messages your giving. What love language is that?

I have know a few women to leave certain jewelry store adds out at Christmas, made hints, turned up volume on certain ads. I can't even begin to say what my response would be but it would involve wood chippers...for the ads, of course.

I love flowers...growing in the ground, not wilting in a vase. Jewelry gets in the way. I have enough clothes. If my SO gets me flowers I love them. I'd never buy them myself but he wanted to and he did. Isn't that the gift?

Is it all really that complicated? I know what he likes because I ask. I care. I'm honestly interested. He knows what I like for the same reasons. Isn't that what the whole thing is about? Being interested and caring? If that is absent how is some relationship Rosetta Stone gonna help that?

I've learned all sorts of new uses for words I thought were pretty defined...comfort, gift, love language. In the back ground Princess Bride is playing on loop. "You" keep using those words but I don't think they mean what "you" think they do.


Me: 37

'til the roof comes off. 'til the lights go out. 'til my legs give out, can't shut my mouth


Posts: 6795 | Registered: Mar 2010
ThoughtIKnewYa
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Default  Posted: 11:54 PM, August 15th (Thursday)

t/j

I can't even begin to say what my response would be but it would involve wood chippers...for the ads, of course.
For some reason, I don't believe you (about the ads). j/k... kind-of

Posts: 11605 | Registered: Mar 2008
Ascendant
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Default  Posted: 11:58 PM, August 15th (Thursday)

Maybe (probably?) I'm oversimplifying here, but essentially it seems like what's being debated is "It's the thought that counts" versus "Make sure you get me what I asked for" theories of gift giving. Perhaps that indicates what side of the debate I fall onto.

To me it is in some way measurable (as to whether it is bullshit or not) in terms of expected outcome on the part of the recipient and on well-meaning intent on the part of the giver. If the recipient feels like they won't be happy, whole and sane unless they get X, Y, or Z from their SO, then the expectation is, to me, completely unrealistic....it seems like in that scenario it puts the 'giver' in the position of being somewhat responsible for their SO's needs....and that, to me, IS bullshit. I mean, really, what we all want (I think, anyway) is to know that our spouse devotes a little head space to us in a positive light during the time when we're not around...and nitpicking about how they choose to demonstrate that just seems...I dunno...nitpicky?

ETA: Obviously, this assumes that your SO is not going around town giving the 'gift' you're asking for to everybody EXCEPT you. That's just a dick move....because then they're actively, consciously withholding it from you.

[This message edited by FacePunched at 12:01 AM, August 16th (Friday)]


I refuse to let a wound ruin me.

Posts: 2039 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Illinois
BostonGirl
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Default  Posted: 6:25 AM, August 16th (Friday)

StillGoing: ah, I see, you don't have to treat her with care or respect because you're still punishing her. Goof around if its what you need to do but I bet making light of the whole thing isn't really going to do much to make things better.

I think the gift giving angle example is getting clouded by materialism. The larger point is that whatever the "love language", and whatever specific "dialect" works for your spouse, it's about learning what emotional meaning is stirred up in your spouse and attending to that.

My LL is words of affirmation. My husband treated me like I was invisible for years, about anything emotional. What I wanted (closeness, kindness, affection, sex) didnt matter. When he started working on developing that LL to heal things between us, there were lots of nuances about what worked and what didn't to push my buttons in the right way. When he said "I like that dress" it came across as self centered and judging in a bad way, but "you look great in that dress" it conveyed that he was finally seeing ME. There was a lot of struggle and confusion about this as we worked it out--it took a while before I could really identify and articulate what was going on. But there was a lot of that thing like uncertainone says (I'm giving you a gift, why doesn't that work/I'm giving you words of affirmation, why doesn't that work) but it just took some exploration. I did give him credit that he was doing what I had asked and it was a stretch, but I was also honest when what he was doing was not having the intended effect so we dug a little more to refine. I can tell you that exasperation and contempt and sarcasm along the way sure didn't help and set things back a whole lot more.

So: goof away, buddy, but you're only digging the hole deeper when you do. Good luck with that.


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
ladies_first
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Default  Posted: 7:35 AM, August 16th (Friday)

there were lots of nuances about what worked and what didn't to push my buttons in the right way. When he said "I like that dress" it came across as self centered and judging in a bad way, but "you look great in that dress" it conveyed that he was finally seeing ME. There was a lot of struggle and confusion about this as we worked it out--it took a while before I could really identify and articulate what was going on.

So when your wife asks for flowers (as in PhantomLimbs example), you may think, "Well that's silly, I do x and y and z (your LL things) to tell her I love her". And because they are your LL things x, y and z seem large, and buying flowers seems small." Small things have a way of seeming unimportant, dismissible, petty, and since you don't understand the need for them, they are dismissed. And since the actual act of buying the flowers is small, and actually very easy to do (I mean, you were already at the store, had to walk right passed them in the produce section), but you chose not to buy them anyway way, you end up 'speaking' volumes to your W. she hears, "Your needs are small, petty, dismissible, unimportant; invalid.

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.

We've talked a lot about GIVING of self, and touched on problems RECEIVING gifts and affection.

Not much talk about resilience.

No doubt, rejection is painful. I wonder how often we have the emotional intelligence, as BostonGirl says, to "identify and articulate what was going on."
And for the partner to listen, learn ... and try again.


"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
StillGoing
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Default  Posted: 7:38 AM, August 16th (Friday)

I'm sorry, I can't think of anything to say that won't be for humor value and I can tell you are upset so I'll just stop there because I don't want it taken the wrong way. I'm sorry you were treated so badly and glad you are in a better place now. Hope you have a good weekend.


“Fate is a fickle bitch who dotes on irony.”

Posts: 7431 | Registered: May 2010 | From: USA
wincing_at_light
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Default  Posted: 8:05 AM, August 16th (Friday)

If you end up married to someone who wants to parent or control you into the equivalent of a kudo- dispensing blow-up doll without your own personality and authenticity, then punish you when you go off the script they've written for your place in their life, I'm thinking your best bet is just to bail.

I've got a job. When my relationships start to look like jobs, they stop being interesting and just become more work.


Machiavellian idiot savant

Posts: 6744 | Registered: Apr 2007 | From: Indiana
still-living
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Default  Posted: 8:08 AM, August 16th (Friday)

I think emotional needs being met by your spouse is an important factor in achieving full happiness in a marriage, -an enhancement, -an expectation, but should not be labeled as THE main problem/excuse/reason for having an affair. You can work on it, but don't treat it like it the main broken switch.

My emotional needs were not met either, by my spouse, however, I did not cheat. Upholding my commitment to my wife, my marriage, my kids, my family, and to myself was more important than procuring emotional needs from an outside supplier. Instead I compensated through my hobbies (which were limited) and my children. I was content, but not at full happiness, but still committed.

The more I gave during the marriage, the more my wife wanted and expected. Her emotional needs was a black hole. This was the problem.

[This message edited by still-living at 8:09 AM, August 16th (Friday)]


BH(me)47
WW 47 FOO Issues
DDay 11/09 Coworker
High School Sweethearts
Married 06/91
8 months TT
Sons 19 and 14
Recovery is constructing a pyramid of inference from which to see clearer.
The process involves using the reflexive loop.

Posts: 726 | Registered: Dec 2010 | From: Ches
ladies_first
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Default  Posted: 8:23 AM, August 16th (Friday)

Ajacent to the post is a plea by Andthencraigslis:

Tell her she is beautiful, it has been too long. Tell her she is sexy, I mean isn't she? Tell her how her smile lights up your world, you remember don't you, when you couldn't wait to see her? Bring her some flowers. Kiss her like you mean it. Make out in the car like teenagers, hold her hand. ... It might take a little effort, you may have to open your heart.

http://www.survivinginfidelity.com/forums.asp?tid=505109

Sounds like she very much has emotional needs.

I hope her H makes the effort, even if re-learning romance feels like a "job."


"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
ladies_first
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Default  Posted: 8:28 AM, August 16th (Friday)

My emotional needs were not met either, by my spouse, however, I did not cheat.

That speaks to resilience.

How do we gently approach our partners to ask for more?


"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
still-living
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Default  Posted: 9:02 AM, August 16th (Friday)

How do we gently approach our partners to ask for more?

Its a bonus not a requirement, like frosting on a cake. Let it be known what you like, don't demand it, as it should come naturally through knowledge and communication when else is well. Work on the else, then frost it.

[This message edited by still-living at 9:03 AM, August 16th (Friday)]


BH(me)47
WW 47 FOO Issues
DDay 11/09 Coworker
High School Sweethearts
Married 06/91
8 months TT
Sons 19 and 14
Recovery is constructing a pyramid of inference from which to see clearer.
The process involves using the reflexive loop.

Posts: 726 | Registered: Dec 2010 | From: Ches
wincing_at_light
Member
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Default  Posted: 9:51 AM, August 16th (Friday)

During and after the affair, my wife was a black hole of need -- not surprising. She was getting twice as much male attention as a faithful woman would: two men occupied with pleasing her.

That stopped being true when she had begun to heal and remember how to self-soothe. I'd caution anyone thinking about emotional needs in the aftermath of infidelity to recognize that how you feel about your spouse's needs right now is temporary.

The fact is, as a new BS, you probably don't give a shit about their needs--and frankly, they've been double-dipping for however many months or years and should have some fat stored up to sustain them through the lean months ahead.

In general, with regards to needs, having them, and meeting them in non-crisis relationship modes, UOPretty much said everything I,d say, so I'm just going to say WUOS.


Machiavellian idiot savant

Posts: 6744 | Registered: Apr 2007 | From: Indiana
wincing_at_light
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Default  Posted: 9:53 AM, August 16th (Friday)

BTW, I hate typing on the iPad, and I hope UO doesn't run over me with a muscle car for appearing to have called her UOPretty in my previous post.


Machiavellian idiot savant

Posts: 6744 | Registered: Apr 2007 | From: Indiana
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Default  Posted: 10:11 AM, August 16th (Friday)

I just assumed you were sleep deprived due to the oh-so-recent infestation of rugrats.


I refuse to let a wound ruin me.

Posts: 2039 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Illinois
StillGoing
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Default  Posted: 10:40 AM, August 16th (Friday)

How do we gently approach our partners to ask for more?

By letting go of control of the outcome and understanding expectations rarely, if ever, line up with reality - and establishing the fortitude to observe and respect our own boundaries.


eta:

I have Pretty Marines stuck in my head now so I blame wal for this t/j:



[This message edited by StillGoing at 10:45 AM, August 16th (Friday)]


“Fate is a fickle bitch who dotes on irony.”

Posts: 7431 | Registered: May 2010 | From: USA
JanaGreen
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Default  Posted: 10:45 AM, August 16th (Friday)

Wow, there are a lot of words in this post. I just read all of them and I now need either a nap or a margarita.

I think for me the important take-away is the hole in the bucket concept. If you're not playing with an emotionally healthy partner, the normal rules don't work. If you yourself (yes, even as a BS) aren't a healthy partner, the normal rules don't work.

I now realize that I spent a lot of time doing what StillGoing mentioned that his wife did - assigning my own interpretation to my husband's words, assuming I knew what he was thinking about me (and it was ALWAYS the worst). If I was walking around assuming that he was thinking I was an ugly troll, of course his lack of compliments hit me harder.

I just realized I don't really have a point. I hope everyone has a great weekend!


We're both in our 30s. One awesome 4-year-old daughter.

Posts: 6672 | Registered: Aug 2010 | From: Somewhere in the South
wincing_at_light
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Default  Posted: 11:13 AM, August 16th (Friday)

Woah. Tell me the Pretty Marines are a real product that I can buy over the Internet. I now have a 5 y.o. Girl, so I'm in the market for badass girl toys.


Machiavellian idiot savant

Posts: 6744 | Registered: Apr 2007 | From: Indiana
stilllovinghim
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Default  Posted: 11:30 AM, August 16th (Friday)


“You have a choice. Live or die.Every breath is a choice. Every minute is a choice. Every time you don't throw yourself down the stairs, that's a choice. Every time you don't crash your car, you re-enlist.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Survivor

Posts: 1942 | Registered: Oct 2010
StillGoing
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Default  Posted: 12:01 PM, August 16th (Friday)

Well you just take regular space marines and paint them purple & pink with hearts.

You might prefer these wal:

Also, I apologize for going there and will resume responsible co-habitation of this thread with the appropriate levels of solemnity and grimness. If I can. Sorry.


“Fate is a fickle bitch who dotes on irony.”

Posts: 7431 | Registered: May 2010 | From: USA
JanaGreen
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Default  Posted: 12:16 PM, August 16th (Friday)

Loving the Boo Boo Cat soldiers (Hello Kitty is "Boo Boo Cat" in our house, thanks to the HK band-aids I bought when my little one was even more little than she is now).

I just stumbled upon this blog. It's relevant to the discussion and I wanted to share.

http://drkellyflanagan.com/2013/06/26/how-a-chocolate-chip-bagel-almost-ruined-my-marriage/


We're both in our 30s. One awesome 4-year-old daughter.

Posts: 6672 | Registered: Aug 2010 | From: Somewhere in the South
silverhopes
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Default  Posted: 12:25 PM, August 16th (Friday)

That blog said it exactly, Jana. Big different between pleasing someone and loving someone. I loved the music analogy the counselor used, as well as the bagel story. Like UO said - when one partner thinks of the other and is caring to them, that's the real gift.


Find peace. Or sleep on it.

Infidelities are like icebergs - they may take many different shapes and sizes, but they all damage your ship.


Posts: 3902 | Registered: Jul 2011 | From: California
20WrongsVs1
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What?  Posted: 7:09 PM, August 16th (Friday)

JanaGreen, I don't have a point, either, but:

I now realize that I spent a lot of time doing what StillGoing mentioned that his wife did - assigning my own interpretation to my husband's words, assuming I knew what he was thinking about me (and it was ALWAYS the worst).

Ditto.


fWW: 42
BH: 52
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: 1114 | Registered: Apr 2013 | From: Redneck land
keptmyword
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Default  Posted: 9:46 PM, August 16th (Friday)

"Unmet needs" is the clarion call of the irresponsible, the uncommitted, and those full of excuses.

It is up to you to meet your own emotional needs - not your spouse, fiancé, girl/boy friend, or anyone else.

Emotionally, if you are incapable of standing on your own, then you are a classic self-loathing codependent who seeks happiness and SELF-worth in OTHERS and because so, are guaranteed to NEVER be happy and NEVER have self-worth.


I Divorced Her.

Posts: 362 | Registered: May 2012
2long
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Default  Posted: 10:22 PM, August 16th (Friday)

Getting the "my needs weren't being met" line from a WW is truly rich.

This isn't rocket surgery.

You really don't need 2 analyze it any deeper than that. Because, people don't have affairs because of unmet needs, they have affairs because they don't protect their marriages from their own susceptibility 2 temptation.

Even in marriages not dealing with infidelity, it's NOT your spouse's responsibility 2 meet YOUR so-called emotional needs (which is an oxymoron). The best marriages are between 2 emotionally healthy individuals who come 2gether because they want 2 share themselves with their partner - not "complete themselves" with them.

Your wife made an excuse 2 make herself feel better for leaving you. You are better off.

-ol' 2long

[This message edited by 2long at 10:24 PM, August 16th (Friday)]


Posts: 20 | Registered: May 2006 | From: So. Cal
FoolontheHill
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Default  Posted: 4:40 AM, August 17th (Saturday)

. The best marriages are between 2 emotionally healthy individuals who come 2gether because they want 2 share themselves with their partner - not "complete themselves" with them.

Exactly. Well,said!


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
aesir
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Default  Posted: 6:14 AM, August 17th (Saturday)

Hmm, I kinda look at the whole love language / emotional needs thing as a bit suspect.

First thing people who end up in D/S are told is to not even think about dating until they are comfortable being alone. That's comfortable being alone as in they don't need anyone else to make them happy. Two people like that who enjoy spending time together and/or have some common interests, and a general concern for each others well being as well as that of their offspring are probably going to have a better than average marriage.

Now about those love languages, lets take a look at them, although UO, StillGoing, and WAL have covered a few of them.

Here are the 5 love languages, as well as alternate interpretations of them.

Words of Affirmation - like flattery? I think most men reading this are already picturing that dreaded question of "do my genes make me look fat?"

Quality Time - Who doesn't want quality time with their spouse. This is not something that can be created, given, or planned. It is something that just happens. Quality Time really just requires time together, some of it mundane, and sometimes stuff comes up. Some of the best quality time stories I have would sound awful if I told them, like the time the guy tried to mug us, then changed his mind and tried to sell us his stolen luncheon meat, or that little motel on the side of the Trans Canada where we got stuck in a storm and slept over the sheets in our clothes, and had to run the water for 10 minutes before the shower so that it did not look like sludge. Or is this meant more in the take me out to nice places to do fun things kind of way? You know what I mean, that sense of entitlement that someone arrange for them to be treated like a little prince(ess) and entertain them like a court jester.

Gifts - as has been stated before, avarice? If a man lose his job, or needs to fix the car or buy a new furnace, loses his job, gets a bad tax audit... does he suddenly love his wife less? Does emotional availability depend on income or net worth? As far as the actual meaning behind the gifts, quite possibly as Ron White said:

The new slogan now is "Diamonds: Render her speechless." Why don't they just go ahead and say it? "Diamonds: That'll shut her up... for a minute."

Acts of Service - sloth? Are you marrying a partner or hiring domestic staff? In the long run a maid and a gardener are cheaper, and easier to replace when they displease you. Not to mention all the ways this could be anything but love. quite possibly just a codependant attempt to keep the peace. Pretty sure if I said "Make me a sammich bitch" and one actually arrives unpoisoned it is an expression of fear, not love.

Physical Touch - Well, without this, however well you get along, you are pretty much roommates who like to hang out. Then there is the question of the disabled, would we suggest that some illnesses like ALS render people incapable of love? I also know quite a few people that are willing to provide all the physical touch anyone could want, with absolutely no emotional involvement at all.

A healthy relationship would involve a healthy mix of all of these things, with none of them meant as a big display symbolic of love. Hell, a chocolate bar or bag of chips on the way home to watch a movie could be seen as a gift, or act of service so you don't have to get it your damn self, or as an affirmation that I was just thinking of you while I was at the gas station. Flowers on the other hand always seem to say "Here's a dead plant, lets fuck."

What really matters is thinking of, and treating your partner with respect. If you can manage that, then as long as your partner is healthy, there will be a sufficient flow of all the other things listed.

Maybe later on I will take on some of the flaws in the Love Bank theory, but it's too early in the morning to be posting such deep thoughts.

[This message edited by aesir at 6:16 AM, August 17th (Saturday)]


Your mileage may vary... in accordance with the prophecy.

Do not back up. Severe tire damage.


Posts: 14924 | Registered: Nov 2007 | From: Winnipeg
wincing_at_light
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Default  Posted: 7:23 AM, August 17th (Saturday)

Flowers on the other hand always seem to say "Here's a dead plant, lets fuck."

That is awesome.


Machiavellian idiot savant

Posts: 6744 | Registered: Apr 2007 | From: Indiana
2long
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Default  Posted: 8:40 AM, August 17th (Saturday)

"Maybe later on I will take on some of the flaws in the Love Bank theory, but it's too early in the morning to be posting such deep thoughts."

YOu did pretty good! Better than I can, even after coffee!


Posts: 20 | Registered: May 2006 | From: So. Cal
ladies_first
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Default  Posted: 10:35 AM, August 17th (Saturday)

The best marriages are between 2 emotionally healthy individuals who come 2gether because they want 2 share themselves with their partner - not "complete themselves" with them.

Agreed! When things are good, and healthy, we just merrily roll along. More positives than negatives.
Is it all really that complicated? I know what he likes because I ask. I care. I'm honestly interested. He knows what I like for the same reasons. Isn't that what the whole thing is about? Being interested and caring? If that is absent how is some relationship Rosetta Stone gonna help that?
I've learned all sorts of new uses for words I thought were pretty defined...comfort, gift, love language. In the back ground Princess Bride is playing on loop. "You" keep using those words but I don't think they mean what "you" think they do.

It's when the caring fades, and you don't feel seen or heard by your partner, and you still love the hell out of them. How do explore what's missing, i.e., find a common language, without blaming, rejecting and becoming defensive.



"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
uncertainone
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Default  Posted: 11:27 AM, August 17th (Saturday)

It's when the caring fades, and you don't feel seen or heard by your partner, and you still love the hell out of them. How do explore what's missing, i.e., find a common language, without blaming, rejecting and becoming defensive.

Caring fades...still love the hell out of them. One of these things is not like the other. 

I honestly believe that the first step has to be a true self inventory. I use women in my examples because I am one and most of my interaction with friends and co-workers are with women. Some women have a pretty myopic view of communication. They can repeat a conversation verbatim with details such as lighting and ambient temperature at time of occurence yet leaving out key pieces like the entire conversation started with their critique of "you're such a piece of shit". 

While the above example is extreme it seriously baffles me how some can be so incredibly sensitive to how others treat them but just clueless of how they treat others. Like emotional savants. 

I'm not stating all cases, nor is it gender specific. I'm simply stating if people start their Siskel and Ebert process internally first they may have a different perception and therefore perspective.

I worked for a guy when I got back into the work force. Very quiet. Not fond of conflicts and would become quite uncomfortable when having to deal with tough interactions with employees so that was pretty much left up to me.

Sat next to his wife at a company event. She came into the marriage with 4 daughters one special needs. They had one son together. She bitched the entire time of how EU he was and how he never validated her. 

He has every picture those kids (theirs and hers) ever drew on his office walls, brought the kids to work on Saturdays if we had projects to give her a break. He was amazing with the one with special needs. Talked about how smart his wife was and encouraged her getting her degree even though it meant he drove kids to school before work, had to leave early if they were sick, cable needed repair whatever. 

By the end of the event I wanted to kill her with a fork (ah, Grosse Point Blank...flawless). 

She sighed and said, "guess he's just a typical man". "OR maybe you're just a bitch...so there's that". Never talked to me much after that. I felt I was kind after being ear raped for about 1 1/2 hours...she disagreed. See? I was being myopic.

Sigh. I know it's never that simplistic but I do think sometimes we create problems when they aren't there...no matter how hard we look for them.


Me: 37

'til the roof comes off. 'til the lights go out. 'til my legs give out, can't shut my mouth


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Default  Posted: 12:52 PM, August 17th (Saturday)

Bravo, UO, bravo. I get reamed by my friends sometimes because when they tell me stories where they were *unfairly* persecuted and neglect to touch on the details that might show them in a negative light, I tend to call them out on it.


I refuse to let a wound ruin me.

Posts: 2039 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Illinois
sisoon
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Default  Posted: 12:56 PM, August 17th (Saturday)

First thing people who end up in D/S are told is to not even think about dating until they are comfortable being alone.

Well, hell ... people shouldn't get M until they're comfortable being alone with themselves....

IMO (and I'm not alone), virtually all of us want to be loved by and to love another person (perhaps 'at least one other person'). I'm comfortable calling these 'emotional needs', and there's no way I'd call them 'bullshit'.

In my conception, 'love' is not transactional at its base, but it often appears to manifest itself transactionally.

I get very positive responses from doing dishes or laundry or bringing home a gift - but I do those things to express love, not to get the responses, however much I enjoy them.

I use the love language stuff because I expect my W is more likely to notice an act of service as an expression of love than, say a physical stroke.

My W expresses love by putting a lot of effort into acts of service, but they never meant much to me until I learned that's her primary LL. Now I experience an AoS as love - but she does more physical stroking than before, and that's my primary LL.

Eric Berne argued - and studies seem to show - that people need to get and give strokes. Call that 'physical need' if you want, but I call that 'emotional need'.

At least in some ways, I love my W 1) because I like being with her, even if all we're doing is breathing together, 2) because she accepts and likes what I offer, and 3) I accept and like what she offers. I suspect that the 2nd is more important than the 3rd, and that the 1st is most important of all.

I feel stroke-deprived if W doesn't express enough love, and that's transactional, of course. At those times, a storke or an AoS or a gift does remind me she loves me.

I just don't have the word to fit that fact into my post....

[This message edited by sisoon at 1:02 PM, August 17th (Saturday)]


fBH (me) - 70 (22 in my head), fWW (plainsong) - 65+, Married 45+, together since 1965
DDay - 12/2010
Recovered, not yet fully R'ed
I share my own experience because it's the only experience I know, not because I'm a good model.

Posts: 9991 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: Chicago area
LosferWords
Guide
Member # 30369
Default  Posted: 2:31 PM, August 17th (Saturday)

Just dropping in briefly, as a member.

I personally don't think emotional needs are bullshit. At the same time I am realistic about these needs. To me, it's about scope. The emotional needs that I have for my wife fit within the scope of our relationship. According to the Chapman survey, my biggest emotional need is "quality time". To me, that makes perfect sense. If I do not get any quality time within the scope of my relationship with my wife, I really don't see a reason for our relationship to continue. The need is easily met, too. Quality time can be sitting on the couch reading our books, or chatting while we have a smoke in the garage (bad habit, I know, but we bond over it).

Getting back to the concept of scope. I work in the software industry, and scope is a common theme. First, you have the scope of the corporation as a whole, and within that corporation there are multiple systems that have their own scope, and within those systems are multiple programs, and within those programs there are multiple code modules, and within those multiple code modules there are functions, methods, classes and procedures... it can all be broken down to the point where it becomes 0's and 1's at the binary level.

Drawing from that analogy, if I view myself and my life as a corporation, ultimately made up of bits and bytes, my life can be broken down into multiple systems, one of those being my marriage. In order for my marriage system to work, there is a requirement of having quality time, and also feeding and maintaining the system with my wife's emotional needs and requirements. This is a major system within my life. If these needs aren't met, and the system fails, and I have to shut it down, does my life/corporation end?

No, it doesn't. But it sure runs a lot more profitably when that system is in it place and running nicely.

Long story short, my emotional needs fit within the scope of the relationship that I have with my wife. I also fully realize that I can live/go on without these needs being met by her, if it ever came to that.

Sorry to get a bit abstract. Hopefully I made some sort of sense.


Posts: 6765 | Registered: Dec 2010
aesir
Member
Member # 17210
Default  Posted: 2:41 PM, August 17th (Saturday)

Eric Berne argued - and studies seem to show - that people need to get and give strokes. Call that 'physical need' if you want, but I call that 'emotional need'.

No doubt in my mind, studies have shown that physical contact, ranging from a hug to an orgasm, do release neuro-chemicals that alter moods, generally in positive ways, though if one finds the contact repellant due to the nature of either the type of or person performing the contact, the effect will not be positive.

I get very positive responses from doing dishes or laundry or bringing home a gift - but I do those things to express love, not to get the responses, however much I enjoy them.

I do dishes or laundry because I need clean clothes and dishes. Something about living too close to nature and all it's filth bothers me. Kinda goes along with this, from the Big Bang Theory.
Sheldon Cooper: If outside is so good, why has mankind spent thousands of years trying to perfect inside?

I use the love language stuff because I expect my W is more likely to notice an act of service as an expression of love than, say a physical stroke.

My W expresses love by putting a lot of effort into acts of service, but they never meant much to me until I learned that's her primary LL. Now I experience an AoS as love - but she does more physical stroking than before, and that's my primary LL.


Excellent example to illustrate. I noticed long ago that I was far more likely to give my STBX a backrub if I was feeling sore myself. Perhaps knowing the primary love languages is really about recognizing the internal emotional weaknesses in oneself and ones partner. Maybe love does require compatible weaknesses? Ideally, if you respect your partner, their abilities, and their limitations, you can recognize the love that exists in whatever form it manifests, and not insist that there is a problem because it is not (as in the oranges example previously) in the preferred form. Sometimes love even consists of refraining from some of these. Refraining from acts of service one would really like to perform are a sign of love when it is something that a person needs to do for themselves, any parent who has watched a child struggle with something (like long division, if they still do that in school) where we could easily do it for them in seconds would understand this. The alleged value of any of these actions or things is also very situational. After a hard day when all the muscles are sore, a spontaneous backrub means the world, but after a long and tedious day it can be quite annoying as it prevents one from sleeping. The greatest gift I ever gave, one I shall likely never have the opportunity to duplicate (unless I am a genetic match for someone and they need an organ) was so highly situational, and would be completely worthless at any other time. It was early in our relationship, and I was a student, but one who knew where I wanted things to go. We just finished checking out at the grocery store, and walked past the gumball machines. One was filled with the cheap plastic toys, and I noticed a ring was inside. Thinking that I was broke, but she deserved a ring, I reached into my pockets and pulled out my very last dollar, called her over to the machine, and said something about deserving a ring and seeing what fate thought, I turned the handle, and out dropped a red plastic ring, with a clear bubble about an inch and a half across containing one of those shake the steel balls into the holes games. How does one beat that? And yet, if I were to ever do that again, the circumstances would make it meaningless. If I were to give one of those now and say I thought you deserved a ring, I would expect to get slapped.

At least in some ways, I love my W 1) because I like being with her, even if all we're doing is breathing together, 2) because she accepts and likes what I offer, and 3) I accept and like what she offers. I suspect that the 2nd is more important than the 3rd, and that the 1st is most important of all.

I think all of these are summed up by enjoying each others company, and thinking of and treating each other with respect. Might even go so far as to say that in such a nasty world, if you find a respectable person that thinks of and treats you with respect, you will enjoy their company.

All this talk of love languages is inevitably tied into the theory of the love bank. Another one that I find problematic. It's a nice neat simplistic way of describing a concept, but it has some really big holes in it. I would compare my thoughts on it to Heinlein's quote about the labor theory of value: "All the work one cares to add will not turn a mud pie into an apple tart..." The first questioning of the love bank theory I heard was from an accountant, which really got me thinking about it. Bank accounts are easy to track, you make deposits, withdrawals, pay bills, and can check the balance online, or get a regular statement, and if you have good credit history might even be allowed an overdraft. Banks will never refuse deposits, and the effects of making identical deposits are cumulative. Love doesn't work that way. If I bring home a chocolate bar as a gift, it may get me an appreciative kiss, but bringing home a whole halloween bag of the same chocolate bar, or even a pallet, does not automatically translate into blow jobs.

Not that there is an inherent problem with trying to adapt economic theory (which I consider to be more mass psychology than anything else) to love, but economic theory is far more complex than the zero sum game described in the love bank. It is more like a love investment portfolio, and you transfer in anything you can that you think has value, without knowing the current market rates, transfer out what you need under the same conditions, the statements are sent out quarterly to the wrong address, the market swings wildly, if at any time you cross a negative threshold you are barred from the market, and sometimes a third party will steal your investments via identity theft, or manipulate the market to your detriment with insider trading or short sales.


Your mileage may vary... in accordance with the prophecy.

Do not back up. Severe tire damage.


Posts: 14924 | Registered: Nov 2007 | From: Winnipeg
noescape
Member
Member # 34888
Default  Posted: 4:17 PM, August 17th (Saturday)

Excellent posts Aesir, well done sir, well done.


This should be stickied for newbies since a lot of us initially got dragged into the 'unmet needs' rabbit hole right on/after DDay and started work on that while the entire A and the brokenness of waywardness itself was conveniently rugswept.

some can be so incredibly sensitive to how others treat them but just clueless of how they treat others

what UO said ^^^ wow, just hit too close to home with that

and you probably nailed the typical WS case of where this LL/EN stuff is thrown about the most; "s/he didnt validate me, s/he was not affectionate, etc.. etc..."

sometimes we create problems when they aren't there...no matter how hard we look for them

Isn't that the usual WS thought process though? (and I mention this to keep in mind that we're on a infidelity forum and not just any marriage advise site).

That justifications are needed prior to and during the A and the 'problems' are found/manufactured to suit the mindset; only to be 'grown' during the A. I know that my W had attachment issues all along, she was already working on an 'exit strategy' at the start of every relationship she had been in; trust/FOO/ etc.. issues. So it isn't much of a stretch that her focus after the initial 'dating/honeymoon' stage was to manufacture problems.

I think that the EN/LL constructs are, as Aesir just described them, pretty much the staple of any normal and healthy relationship without having them to be singled out as "NEEDs". IMHO, and this is not to cause umbrage to others here, they usually cater to those who haven't had healthy relationship modeling or are incapable of basic trust/vulnerability and give/take of relationship dynamics. And though it may seem to be transactional in nature; closer inspection always goes back to the "the one who is most likely to cheat is the one who invested the least in the relationship"

eta: typos... also just saw losfers and aesirs new posts :)

[This message edited by noescape at 4:24 PM, August 17th (Saturday)]


Posts: 739 | Registered: Feb 2012
JanaGreen
Member
Member # 29341
Default  Posted: 12:38 AM, August 18th (Sunday)

Re: sensitive to how others treat them, clueless as to how they treat others -

My H shuts down when there is conflict between us. Goes stony. I understand now that it is very upsetting to him. Early in our marriage I took the stone wall to mean he had no feelings. Said so many awful things trying for a reaction. I really thought he had no feelings and thus could not be hurt. I was wrong. I was an ass. I know that now.

I guess the ear-raper neverlearned.


We're both in our 30s. One awesome 4-year-old daughter.

Posts: 6672 | Registered: Aug 2010 | From: Somewhere in the South
ladies_first
Member
Member # 24643
Default  Posted: 9:44 AM, August 18th (Sunday)

Many,many thanks for wincing_at_light's post today on another thread:

I don't believe most men are emotionally unavailable. I think we speak a different emotional dialect, certainly -- and one that all men seem to understand in our own interactions, but it's not like we don't feel what we feel or are incapable of recognizing and respecting our own feelings.

The problem is that our society has crafted a message that the feminine emotional dialect is "more valid", to the extent that men spend a great deal more time developing expertise in reading and understanding women's emotions than women have invested in understanding men.

Instead, our dialect is frequently invalidated -- and must of us learn the appropriate boundary that if our emotional dialect isn't going to be respected, it's healthier not to share those emotions with someone who will insist that we're "doing it wrong".

Men seem to have no issue communicating with safe partners who respect their emotional life.

My experience has been that in most situations where there's an emotionally unavailable man, he's married to an emotionally abusive woman. ...

I can't express to you how thankful I am that part of my wife's self-directed recovery was making an effort to understand me and how I relate rather than expecting me to live up to a script that I never got to read.

She's pretty amazing, my wife. She's at work this morning, and I can't wait to see her this afternoon when she gets home -- and I don't just say that because I'm trying to keep a 5 y.o. and a 2 y.o. occupied until the grass dries out enough to take them outside.

She's the first person I want to talk to about my day. She's my best source of advice and input. She's the best person (outside of me) at understanding who I am.

Seven years ago, she would have described me as emotionally unavailable -- largely because she wasn't seeing *me*. She was was seeing the cardboard cutout of me who too often went off-script, then assigning her own motives to me for not complying. She would say to me, "You never talk to me! Why can't we just talk!"

And then not give me any clues about what she wanted to talk about, because it seemed to me that we talked all the time. We didn't talk about the "right" things, but she couldn't articulate what those things were.

Life is so much better now that we hear each other and value both what one another have to say and the emotional experience behind it.

That last part -- finding a loving way to relate -- before the relationship gets too far off track.

Think of it as both parties having to move 25 degrees toward center (with center being an intimate relationship). Not the radical 180 described here AFTER one partner has at least one foot out the door.


"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
JanaGreen
Member
Member # 29341
Default  Posted: 9:57 AM, August 18th (Sunday)

Great post WAL. I wish I had understood that at 23.


We're both in our 30s. One awesome 4-year-old daughter.

Posts: 6672 | Registered: Aug 2010 | From: Somewhere in the South
wincing_at_light
Member
Member # 14393
Default  Posted: 10:46 AM, August 18th (Sunday)

Hell, Jana, I wish we'd understood it at 33. You're a decade ahead of schedule.


Machiavellian idiot savant

Posts: 6744 | Registered: Apr 2007 | From: Indiana
sisoon
Member
Member # 31240
Default  Posted: 2:07 PM, August 18th (Sunday)

I do dishes or laundry because I need clean clothes and dishes.

Well, yeah, that more than anything.

Maybe love does require compatible weaknesses?

When I hooked myself on W2B, one of her best friends was also incredibly attractive to me. My mind kept gravitating towards W2B, so that's who I chose, but I did a lot of Devil's advocacy internally. There were a number of reasons I gravitated to W2B (looks, background, etc.), but I believe the single most important explanation was that I thought my own neuroses were probably more compatible with W2B's than with her friend's.... (It was 1965, after all, and Freud was still King.)

Ideally, if you respect your partner, their abilities, and their limitations, you can recognize the love that exists in whatever form it manifests, and not insist that there is a problem because it is not in the preferred form.

Agreed.

When a person is getting fewer strokes than wanted/needed, though, it's a good idea for that person to ask for them while being prepared to self-soothe, if external help isn't forthcoming.

Berne (or at least one of his followers) talks about a metaphorical 'stroke bank', which I think is the same as the 'love bank'. Perhaps the problem starts when a person sees the stroke/love bank as a real thing instead of as a metaphor. Or perhaps a problem starts when a person forgets that self-soothing is more powerful than external validation in most contexts.

I'll tell you, I'm much better off now not getting a back rub but knowing that I want one and 'deserve' one than I was years ago, when I could get back rubs but didn't think I deserved them. Now I can self-soothe by, perhaps, imagining a back rub and taking it in. Then, I couldn't appreciate/take in what I was getting. (And not so incidentally, one of the ways of describing why my W cheated is to say she couldn't take in the love that was given to her by me and by her friends.)

Sometimes love even consists of refraining from some of these. Refraining from acts of service one would really like to perform are a sign of love when it is something that a person needs to do for themselves....

Absolutely. In recovering from infidelity, rooting out my willingness to rescue my W has been critical to my healing and to hers (to the extent we've healed, that is). So has rooting out my desire and hers to be rescued.

Ask for what you want. And if you're asked for help, remember you can (almost) always say 'No'.


fBH (me) - 70 (22 in my head), fWW (plainsong) - 65+, Married 45+, together since 1965
DDay - 12/2010
Recovered, not yet fully R'ed
I share my own experience because it's the only experience I know, not because I'm a good model.

Posts: 9991 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: Chicago area
silverhopes
Member
Member # 32753
Default  Posted: 5:04 PM, August 19th (Monday)

Had one more thought on emotional needs - specifically on Dr. Harley's checklist. Yes, checklist. Because it's a checklist of things to do to keep the other happy, it comes across as making love very, very conditional. You can see it very clearly with the "physical attractiveness" example. Everyone has their own idea of what physical attractiveness is - sometimes it's very broad, sometimes specific, maybe it changes. But suppose a person's idea of attractiveness is what you see in models, porn stars, actors and actresses. What if it's in youth. Aging is the one thing we have no control over. Every second we're getting older. And suppose your spouse's definition of physical attractiveness includes youthfulness. So when we naturally get older, they stop "loving" us for not meeting this need. Very, very conditional love. It robs the security of knowing that your partner will love you just as your vows say: "For richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health..." Does it include "for younger or for older"? Maybe not in those words, but it surely means that, doesn't it? Maybe they should start including them as a standard.

It can almost be more soothing to ask, instead of "how can you love me?" - "how can I love you?" Our love for others is the only thing we have control over when it comes to "emotional needs".


Find peace. Or sleep on it.

Infidelities are like icebergs - they may take many different shapes and sizes, but they all damage your ship.


Posts: 3902 | Registered: Jul 2011 | From: California
BrokenRoad
Member
Member # 15334
Default  Posted: 3:28 PM, August 22nd (Thursday)

I don't think it's whether or not emotional needs are valid or if they are NEEDs as opposed to something else.

I think the point of marriage is that you find out what the other person wants/needs to feel happy and loved and you work hard to give that to them. And they in return work hard to give you what you need/want. It's that "living for the others person" that creates the love and keeps it going. If one or both fails to do that, it becomes a vicious cycle of anger and resentment.

Also, labeling it as a need or not a need just minimizes that it is what she is asking for to feel loved. It's like saying, you're crazy for wanting what you want and you should not want that.

Sure we all want to be healthy emotionally, but to be honest, we promised to marry for better or for worse and it includes emotional baggage on both sides.

I would add that we must learn each others wants and needs, love languages, and use that knowledge to fill the bank. And then TELL THEM what we want because they will forget now and then, what it is you would like too. No one is a mind reader and to be really honest, most of the time we are thinking only of ourselves.

Or am I the only one?


{Him}FBH - 43 (WifeHad5)
{Me} FWW - 43
2 kids 7 & 12
Reconciled :)
Beauty and folly are old companions.--Benjamin Franklin

Posts: 10658 | Registered: Jul 2007 | From: Midwest
IWantDoOver
Member
Member # 39440
Default  Posted: 9:50 AM, April 17th (Thursday)

Here’s the point. If my wife had asked me at any point what kinds of things she did that I appreciated, or what kinds of things I wanted her to do more of or less of in our relationship, or what kinds of things she could do that would communicate her love to me, I could have given her a number of answers. But if she had asked me what I needed from her in order to feel loved by her, I would have looked at her like she had three heads.

Scratches head ...


Peace

Posts: 212 | Registered: Jun 2013
Ascendant
Member
Member # 38303
Default  Posted: 10:13 AM, April 17th (Thursday)

I was just thinking about this thread the other day....such a good conversation. Lots of interesting points.


I refuse to let a wound ruin me.

Posts: 2039 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Illinois
Topic Posts: 120