That's fine with me. Are you able to review the exchange we had last year? I had written an additional reply a while later, and wanted to know your thoughts on the last part.
Basically, we are doing better but I am still uneasy about not knowing what really happened. I feel like we are doing better due to my efforts; my just deciding to move forward no matter what really happened. I'm sad that he really didn't step up and do some of the things I asked him to. Not sure if I'm doing the right thing.
I have thought up some extreme scenarios, for sure. If these things were true, I don't think I could forgive my spouse doing them and especially lying about it for so long. I wouldn't want to continue a relationship with someone who was capable of such things plus being dishonest on top of it. I think I would take a different path, away from the relationship. But, I am not sure.
We agreed to some basic boundaries, related to his behavior on business trips, etc. He agreed to them but then blew a few of them off. He seems put out by these restrictions, annoyed. I asked him to initiate discussions with me, he doesn't. He doesn't seem remorseful, just irritated that I'm still hurt about it and that I still have questions. I gave up talking about it many months ago. I am now just trying to re-connect with him. I am being more loving toward him, in hopes that he will soften up. It's actually working a little.
I had asked him not to go to the hotel bar by himself and not to have more than 2 drinks per outing with clients or co-workers. He would then call me and I could tell he clearly had more, and he would admit it.
My feeling is he cannot face the reality of what he did. I do think he feels bad. So bad that he can only focus on his feelings. If I express negative emotions, it just reminds him of how he feels and everything shuts down.
I agree with your advice, but it is tiring after a year of being vigilant. It would be very easy for him to hide things from me. I try to have the attitude that if there's something I need to know, I will see the signs like I did before. I just would really like to know who I'm married to. A decent guy who made a one-time judgenment error or someone sleazy and dishonest. It's sad that I'm not sure.
No, he has invited me on 2 trips. I did go on one and it was not entirely comforting. He made it clear that he was there to work, and said something about not liking to mix business with pleasure. I was disappointed because it is so rare for me to go with him, I felt he could've treated me better in front of his co-workers. He said he didn't want to appear like he was vacationing when he was on a work trip. Made sense to me and I did not pressure him not to work, but something was definitely off in his attitude.
In reading your words, I can say I don't believe my husband is a fundamentally dishonest person. I do think he is being dishonest related to this topic, though. I think it's something more like denial than dishonesty. I think he's ashamed and he cannot face it. I think he just wants to forget it ever happened, but he's unrealistic about how his actions have affected me and his children. He seems so selfish to me. He is only focusing on his feelings and avoiding making himself feel bad.
I have done tons of reading in the past year. I have read about narcissists, controllers, abusers. It all sounds familiar but always more extreme than what I am dealing with. Can a person be slightly abusive? Slightly narcissistic? My husband is definitely a person who is comfortable putting himself first and having a companion that supports him. I can see that this is how he was raised, as his mother operates (happily) in a servant type role in his family. He yells at her frequently but is very caring about her.
So my concludsion is that he has some narcissistic traits but not an actual disorder. I feel like he got stuck somewhere when he was a child, and just is completely clueless as to how to have a mature relationship. I feel like he has no idea what to do to help here, even when I give him specifics (I asked him to initate a conversation with me about important things, not just household stuff - he hasn't). I asked him to be affectionate toward me, he does for a day or 2, but then stops. If I go to give him a hug, he makes a face and acts like I'm bothering him but then relents and seems to like it.
That's fine. No rush. I think this may be closer to what I'm experiencing....
Egocentrism is a personality trait which has the characteristic of regarding oneself and one's own opinions or interests as most important or valid. It also generates the inability to fully understand or to cope with other people's opinions and the fact that reality can be different from what they are ready to accept despite any change in their personal belief.
But wait....he's very caring about his mother and co-workers, his children and friends. Because I read his emails, I see him wishing people happy birthdays, sending flowers if someone's hospitalized, expressions of concern if someone is going through a hardship. It seems the issue is how he is treating me, not that he is unable to be thoughtful of others. But could he be manipulative?
Thank you for the free month to continue our discussions.
Interesting. Is the quote you make at the end an example of the husband or wife being narcissistic?
Last night my daughter and I were each reading our books together in my bed. When she was done she closed the book quickly and it slipped and hit me square in the face. I reacted by saying her name and sounding annoyed. She said she was sorry but in an annoyed tone. That tone made me tell to be more careful next time. Then she was mad at me. She said, "I said I was sorry!"
This is exactly what I go through with my husband. It's like I'm always the wrong one no matter what. If he did something wrong ( i.e. the co-worker issue) it's really me who is wrong because I'm not reacting to it the way he wants (i.e. not making a big deal out of it). This is why I said I see some of his traits in her.
DoctorMichael - Do you want me to hit the accept button or can I continue to ask questions? Not sure how it works with the free trial.
I am concerned at the messages my daughter is getting, but I don't want to traumatize my family by leaving or threatening to leave. I really don't want to leave - I want things to improve. I want to help my children.