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Old 07-15-2019, 10:15 PM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
7,695 posts, read 4,731,975 times
Reputation: 28223

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My spouse has a story on tap for every occasion or subject. He becomes animated in the retelling. These anecdotes are apparently some kind of touchstone, the standard by which another person's idea is judged, the fount of wisdom that never runs dry.

They are also exclusively from his life as a child in the bosom of his family and as a young adult. Not once does he ever mention our nearly 30 years-long shared history. It's as if it never happened, or if he does remember it, it's of no importance. No pearl of wisdom was derived. No fun was had. No commitments were made. He literally does not remember that at one time in an emotional moment of great solemnity, we clung together and vowed to take care of each other for the rest of our lives.

But pick a subject at random and you'll get an impromptu performance of "Here's how, where, when and why my family did this." Family meaning, not-me. He only comes alive when he brings his family back to life.

Lately this has been bothering me, particularly since he treats me to a couple of these stories a day. When he does, my spirits plummet.

There's no "Remember when we..." or "How about that time when..." Fond memories of me? Forget it. If he could go back in time and ditch me in the present, he would. He's already doing it in his mind.

Although I felt no grief when my father died or worry when my mother recently (reportedly) had a stroke, I can construct an emotional model of what it feels like to lose one's parents. I have lost people who meant a lot to me. They come back to me at night in my dreams to visit. I don't feel the need to keep them alive by bringing them up in daily conversation with every person I meet. I don't mention them at all, except here and now. Talking about them would be unfair to my spouse because it would seem like I was comparing him to idealized people who are dead and have therefore achieved lasting perfection.

I have tried to talk to him about how his stories make me feel. He gives me a quick hug and walks off without saying a word.

How do I deal with this? Don't tell me it's a natural grief process. Constructing an inner emotional life that excludes the woman you promised to love, honor and cherish is not grief.
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Old Yesterday, 08:23 AM
 
Location: SoCal again
16,088 posts, read 12,857,176 times
Reputation: 31451
I have no word of wisdom but I find it very odd. Does he treat you well or do you think he would rather be without you?
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Old Yesterday, 08:35 AM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
43,376 posts, read 41,922,817 times
Reputation: 83333
Awwww, fluffy.

You're a very smart woman. You know the deal.

I remember a thread a couple years ago where you mentioned that your body posture would change when he walked into the room in the morning.

What can you do, REALLY? What are your realistic choices here?
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Old Yesterday, 09:13 AM
 
Location: Southwest Washington State
21,914 posts, read 14,406,502 times
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I doubt that we on a public forum can help you very much. I recommend seeing a therapist to get help with coping and how to think about your relationship.

And then there is Ann Landers’ advice: are you better off with him or without him?
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Old Yesterday, 10:45 AM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
7,695 posts, read 4,731,975 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oh-eve View Post
I have no word of wisdom but I find it very odd. Does he treat you well or do you think he would rather be without you?

Oh no, he needs me. He doesn't understand why I don't think neediness is a compliment.
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Old Yesterday, 10:49 AM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
7,695 posts, read 4,731,975 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silibran View Post
I doubt that we on a public forum can help you very much. I recommend seeing a therapist to get help with coping and how to think about your relationship.
None of the three therapists so far have been able to help. The last one liked me, I think, and wanted me to be happy, so she romanticized the things I told her. Nice woman. We had a lot of laughs together. But not much progress.

Quote:
And then there is Ann Landers’ advice: are you better off with him or without him?
I wonder if Ann Landers ever knew any autistic people.
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Old Yesterday, 12:20 PM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
7,695 posts, read 4,731,975 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BirdieBelle View Post
Awwww, fluffy.

You're a very smart woman. You know the deal.

I remember a thread a couple years ago where you mentioned that your body posture would change when he walked into the room in the morning.

What can you do, REALLY? What are your realistic choices here?
I can't seem to teach him to care about me the way I want (need) to be cared about. So if we're talking realistic choices, that's out.

I guess we can try marriage counseling again, only I get to pick the counselor this time. I don't have much hope for it. He lied to the last counselor. You'd think therapists would pick up on self-serving statements. OTOH, they know who's paying the tab.

There's the obvious: I could get a divorce. The AZ house would have to be sold. I'd end up with a pile of money I currently have no control over and be single again with no immediate place to live. I'll have to find out what the Arizona residency requirements are before I file. I'm an Arizona resident. He's a California resident. No idea how that works.

But the truth is I picked that house out, I love it and I rule the roost there. That's a lot to give up.
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Old Yesterday, 12:28 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
43,376 posts, read 41,922,817 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fluffythewondercat View Post

I can't seem to teach him to care about me the way I want (need) to be cared about. So if we're talking realistic choices, that's out.
That doesn't seem like a realistic option.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fluffythewondercat View Post

I guess we can try marriage counseling again, only I get to pick the counselor this time. I don't have much hope for it. He lied to the last counselor. You'd think therapists would pick up on self-serving statements. OTOH, they know who's paying the tab.
It sounds like you've had experience with a few bad counselors, because a legitimate one wouldn't give advice based on who's paying.

I don't think conseling is an option either. He has shown you that he's incapable of learning and doesn't really care.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fluffythewondercat View Post
There's the obvious: I could get a divorce. The AZ house would have to be sold. I'd end up with a pile of money I currently have no control over and be single again with no immediate place to live. I'll have to find out what the Arizona residency requirements are before I file. I'm an Arizona resident. He's a California resident. No idea how that works.

But the truth is I picked that house out, I love it and I rule the roost there. That's a lot to give up.
None of this is impossible. It's just difficult. But I've seen you defend yourself here, and you can handle it.

I recommend research for now because there really is more to life than dreading every encounter with the person you live with. At least get answers to the questions you don't know right now. And I do recommend this organization to women who are considering divorce:

https://www.secondsaturday.com/

You don't have to be actually planning to divorce to learn about your options. They probably have a free meeting in your area.

Just remember that not every positive change seems positive in the beginning.
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Old Yesterday, 01:29 PM
 
Location: Southwest Washington State
21,914 posts, read 14,406,502 times
Reputation: 30836
Quote:
Originally Posted by fluffythewondercat View Post
None of the three therapists so far have been able to help. The last one liked me, I think, and wanted me to be happy, so she romanticized the things I told her. Nice woman. We had a lot of laughs together. But not much progress.


I wonder if Ann Landers ever knew any autistic people.
You know, she must have. But she would have had no way to have understood that they were not neurotypical. She probably thought them odd. Of course, she might have encountered severely autistic people at some point, but would never have imagined autism as existing on a spectrum.

But her advice applies to you, IMO. You do not feel loved and cherished, as your vows bound you and him to do, all those years ago. Perhaps he does not know how to love and cherish. Or perhaps it is too much trouble for him to do.

Only you know what is best for you.

But in some of your posts, I have felt your longing for something you do not feel you have.
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Old Yesterday, 02:10 PM
 
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
9,253 posts, read 8,318,049 times
Reputation: 20094
Honestly, smack him in the head and tell him to cut it out.

It's driving you insane and it's making you resent him and if he wants to stay married, fix it.


Cut him off next time he starts a story.

It sounds like it is times for drastic measures.
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