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Alicia_MSW, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 794
Experience:  Specializing in relationship/family counseling
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On Monday we went on a date, on Tuesday I got a TEXT msg "have

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On Monday we went on a date, on Tuesday I got a TEXT msg "have a good life" and when I got home found all his things gone. Then he gave a handwritten letter to my daughter to give to me that same night. Did not talk to me for a day or two. We then went to dinner and talked for a couple hours. He hugged me. Then a few days later, we went to my daughters graduation, afterwards took kids out for ice cream, he then gave me a very long hug and said I feel good up against him. Then a couple days go by, we go out to dinner again, talk for a couple hours, he hugs me, fills up my gas tank. Then today, he met me at Dairy Queen, then he asked to go to Walmart with me. This time no hug, but he did open doors for me. In his letter, he makes it sound as if he left because he was screwing things up and it was time I move forward and find someone to make me happy. Yet when we talk, he is reminding me of EVERY SINGLE one time mistake I made as well as the ones I apparently keep making that he NEVER mentioned was truly bothering him. Its apparently all on me the marriage fell apart. He only sees it his way, in like denial. Im confused, is he really done, or is her just confused? I feel with all that he is saying now, that he never said before is just a way for him to justify leaving. Things have been rocky, and I have to admit I could have done more for him to make him feel important. But now that I get it, i want to and I am afraid I will never have the chance to show him how I can be a good lover, show more effection. What is your opinion, why would he ask me every fews days out, hug me afterwards (for at least 1 min), but yet not come home. I have not eaten in a week since this happened. I am so mad that I never showed him more appreciation. I can't stop crying. I feel bad for all of us.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Alicia_MSW replied 5 years ago.
Hi, I'm Alicia. Thanks for asking your question - I'm happy to help you today.

I'm sorry to hear about the emotional turmoil you're in because of this situation. You're feeling justifiably confused, because his behaviors are not consistent, and he's making you jump all over the place because, I believe, he is feeling confused as well - for one part, he's blaming you for every mistake you've ever made, and yet for another part, the letter he wrote to you is admitting (at least in part) his own guilt. To address the first part of your message, though, it seems a bit inappropriate that he would ask your daughter to give you the letter - combined with the fact that afterwards, he seemed to return to an attitude as though nothing had changed and he never wrote the letter in the first place, making nice gestures, doing things for you, trying to maintain some level of connection. I'd be confused if I were in your shoes, too.

It might seem like he's saying certain things to justify his leaving, but on the other hand, it doesn't seem like he's dying to get away, either. He's acting like a yo-yo, coming close, then pulling away - and it just sounds like he's not sure what he wants right now. If you haven't read "Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus" by XXXXX XXXXX, I'd highly recommend it, because he talks about this pattern in relationships (also about how men need to withdraw every now and then, but then come "bouncing back" after they've had time to be alone and think and process things. It sounds like this is what has happened with your husband on a larger scale.)

I'm assuming things have been rocky for a long time, but it doesn't sound like they are irreparable, either. Sometimes a situation like this is necessary in a relationship, especially if there's a long-standing habit of taking each other for granted or being in a rut. I think that if you are able to give each other some breathing space for a little while, to allow you both for some time apart to process things and think about how you want to proceed, (and then re-engaging in counseling, because this is a crucial part of repairing and rebuilding intimacy - but you both have to be to the point where you're willing to put in the effort, it can't be a one-way street because it just doesn't work)then you have a good chance of getting things back on track.

To answer your question then, it seems that he's asking you out every few days to establish whether you are still invested in the relationship, because he does miss you, and he's going through the process that I described above (the pulling away, coming close dance), but he's not coming home because he's confused and he wants to maintain a sense of independence. You're understandably upset, but realize that this doesn't have to mean it's over. I know you might not feel like it, but taking good care of yourself (that means eating regularly, trying to get enough sleep, doing some sort of stress management activity, even if it's just reading a funny book or listening to a guided visualization program to get your mind off of the situation for a short time) is important.

Right now it seems that you need to have some space. Write all of your feelings down in a journal or in a letter to him (that you don't actually have to send.) It can be cathartic to do this just so you have a place to express everything you're feeling without feeling like you need to edit yourself. Just let him know that you need some time apart, but that you'd like to set up a time to sit down and talk about things (at some point in the future, in a week, in a month - that part is up to you.) Distance does often make the heart grow fonder, and if you've been in a routine of taking each other for granted or not appreciating each other, then space can help you regain that sense of what you originally found attractive and desirable in each other. I would suggest that you read the XXXXX XXXXX book (if you haven't already - if you have, he also has a few good books in that series, including "Mars and Venus Starting Over" and "Mars and Venus Together Forever" that you might be interested in reading.)

I hope that helps, and I wish you lots of luck.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
He is right, I have been a not so good wife. I get stressed and over react. I have said I wanted a divorce a few times, especially in the last year because he has been so withdrawn from me. Not even celebrating our 15-17th anniversary. No communication. We worked against each other all the time. What he is so angry about, is that when we start fighting, I leave. Get in the car and leave. And he doesn't get the reason when I try to tell him I don't want to fight but he follows me around and pushes my buttons. The paramedicas were at my house a couple nights ago because I passed out. 3 hrs later he called my daughter to see if I was ok. He has brought me cokes when I have met up with him in town. I dont know how to tell him that I am going to work on my issue and most of what he is needing from me is the obvous and not hard to fix. Like suprising him more oftern and just giving him more effection. My biggest thing is when I get so mad I run. I want to be happy and want that to go away more than anything. He did tell my 15 yr old when she asked if it was over with us; he replied "honey, I think so. you and I will talk about it someday". But I think that I messed up and I want to fix it. Im working on my issues, seeing a counselor, and more than ever want to be this perfect wife. I don't even know how to forgive myself because I realize now, I have probably lost one of the best men and will never find another like him. How do I forgive myself?
Expert:  Alicia_MSW replied 5 years ago.
I wouldn't blame yourself, at least not as harshly as you're doing right now, because it's always a two-way street. Perhaps you've been - justifiably - frustrated by his actions, or lack thereof (you mentioned his missing your anniversaries, or at least not celebrating them), he's withdrawn from you, he doesn't communicate - so it's not all your fault. It's not all his fault either. The important thing now is not to try to place blame or guilt, because that's not productive and it's not going to help your relationship. His anger reaction is quite common in men - and your reaction to his anger is quite common in women. And running away sometimes serves a function, in that it gives you time to cool off and think - it's often better to take time for yourself that than to stay in a heated situation that's only going to escalate.

But what I am hearing is that you feel like you need to take all the blame, yet you have reason enough to feel abandoned or angry at him, too. So don't discount your feelings here. He has played an equal role. So in order to make things work, you both need to be accountable for what's happened. But in order to move forward, you both need to make peace with what's happened and try to forgive each other for being human. Things like this happen in all relationships - it doesn't have to mean the end. You both need to be committed to working on it and improving things, instead of focusing on what's already happened. You can't change the past - maybe you would have done certain things differently, maybe not - but you can't change that now. All you can do is try to move forward with a positive attitude. He might be saying it's over now because he's just frustrated by everything that has happened and he doesn't know how to "fix" the situation. That's another point (XXXXX XXXXX discusses this in his book, too) - men need to feel like they can "fix" problems, and if they can't, they feel ineffective and withdraw. I do think that your husband just needs time to realize that this doesn't have to mean the end, you already have so much invested in each other - and that sometimes, things need to go down before they can go back up again.
That being said, eliminating your negative self-talk is the first step in forgiving yourself. If you keep dwelling on what has happened, then you'll always stay stuck in the past - and that's not where you want to be. Realize that you're both human, but also realize that you both cannot fulfill each other's every need. A lot of relationships suffer because instead of seeing our partners as equals with whom we are sharing our lives, we expect our partners to anticipate and meet all of our needs - which is just not practical. Try to develop a more realistic attitude about yourself and about your husband, and realize it takes two to tango. You may feel like you've lost one of the best men, but he may very well be on the verge of losing one of the best women. I don't know if you are doing this, but I would advise against trying to beg or plead with him or keep saying that you're wrong or guilty, because that will only push him away. You can admit that you've both done some things wrong, but let it lie in the past. Continuing to berate yourself is not going to help. Look to the future and try to move forward. Again, part of it is having some space - you need some time apart. I would also suggest doing the letter writing exercise, especially if you feel the need to get some of these feelings out. You are working on things - that is all you can do. Put one step in front of the other. No one in perfect, but some people don't even get to the point where they can ask for help, as you have done. Acknowledge your own worth - because if you can't do that, he won't be able to, either. And just realize that everyone makes mistakes - and in order to move forward, it also takes a joint effort.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
So when he asks me to go out with him, and then when he does, he wants to tell me about everything I have done wrong. How do I handle it/ It is abvious he wants to talk about it. Or he wouldn't be bringing it up. And I always cry. But he get wattery eyes too.
Expert:  Alicia_MSW replied 5 years ago.
I do empathize with what you're going through and it's obvious that this situation is causing you both a lot of pain and grief. You both want to maintain contact with each other - this tells me that you're both not ready to give up on the relationship. But some time apart (even if it's just a few days or a week) can really help you both to get a clear, fresh perspective. I would suggest that you tell him that you think it's a good idea that you have some space for a little while and that you set up a date to discuss things (since you say he wants to talk about things too) in a week (or however long you feel you need, if you have daily contact, a week might be long enough.) But you might also want to let him know that there's no use crying over split milk. What's done is done, and rehashing the same old guilt trip is not productive and it's not going to change the past. Taking a step back is hard, but it really can help you both - he needs to make peace with what's happened, too. And if he sees you every day, it only gives him a chance to rehash things. If he has some space to sort things out in his own head, then he might be able to make peace with these things on his own and realize what's really important and what's at stake here. It's good that you are missing each other and that you are both getting upset about it because it tells me that you care very deeply for each other and you want to make this work.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
He said the reason he left was because he always feels rejected and that he cant do anything right. What can I say to assure him that I find him attractive and he does do alot right, that I just wasnt good at expressing it?
Expert:  Alicia_MSW replied 5 years ago.
Hi there,

Well, I think that there's the potential for both of you to make positive changes here. I am hearing that he's felt hurt and you say he's felt rejected in the past. You can turn this around by reassuring him that any rejection that may have occurred was unintentional and the product of the situation. You can also let him know how much you love him and how you are willing to do whatever you can to work on the relationship. Men like to - need to - be appreciated, and it's important to show and express your appreciation to him, (not to beat a dead horse but the XXXXX XXXXX discusses this too, as well as how you can show your appreciation to a man) and you can do this by complimenting him on the things he does for you, letting him know that you find him physically attractive (especially if he's feeling insecure about this), telling him outright that he does a good job providing, etc. It's not as hard as you might think, but it can take a bit of courage to get the ball rolling. Good luck!
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