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Expectations and defensiveness

Old 10-23-2016, 09:06 AM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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Sorry for delay, guys. Redatlanta....Very good questions... And, I should say that he himself, is NOT boring. The relationship is. We've settled into comfortable, going through the motions of work, life, kids, bills, aging parents, job stress, car problems, health issues.....YOU KNOW....LIFE.....unfortunately, I am craving romance, drama, girly crap still. We've been together for over a year and a half and I guess I figured I'd be happy settling in to what truly is an easy going normal suburban life.

I wonder if I just didn't sow my oats enough? And, that's really on me. Because when I tell my girlfriends about what my man does for me, how he treats me, what our life really looks like, they all respond with, "Wow, you've found a great guy!!" Not only is he a good man who treats me well, but his kids love me too and are always happy to see me and my son. They are welcoming and loving and they fill my heart with joy to the point where I sometimes cry.
And then, I sit there feeling empty....not all the time. LOL, when he pays attention to me, on my terms, well then I'm happy. Why? I know why....

Yes, I'm controlling(I am a freaking mess if you really look beneath my surface) but I don't ask him for more than what he's able to give because he's been honest with me about who he is, what his limits are within a relationship, what his needs are, what he truly desires in a partner and what he expects from me.

When I truly have a deep 'need' or desire for him to step up or comfort me or love me in some way, I tell him. I ask for what I need but I know that I often 'need' much more than any human is able to give me. And, again, that is on me. Our dance, so to speak, works for us today. No matter who I am with or who I enter into a relationship with, I believe that I will always want more from them even if they give everything they've got. That, again, is on me. For me to fix. For me to figure out how to let God in, to learn to love ALL of me and all of my inequities.

One thing I've learned is that I look inside myself before I ask my partner to meet a need (unless i'm completely hormonal and need a super big hug which he'll give me!)
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Old 10-23-2016, 09:37 AM
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lizatola....I sometimes think that you are soo willing to beat yourself excessively.....
I, also, wonder....(again, I am going to spitball)....if what you call "controlling", might be the need to have more of the things that most of us women love and need the most....expressions of intimacy, romance, and some really good (I mean good) horizontal tango, on a regular basis. To feel really special in the man/woman kind of way. That we are still adored and can set his heart and loins on fire....as well as all the nuanced stuff that surrounds this. (Desert Eyes might nab me for this).......

I remember that Steve Harvey has had several of his daytime shows devoted to this very thing. Typical story...pretty functional and devoted marriage..but, the wife confesses that the lack of the things that I mentioned above had become an area of deep longing and frustration for the wife. The husbands were solid as a rock...but, they were, also, as dense as a rock co ncerning these womanly needs. So--Steve Harvey begins an intense program of reality feedback for the husband and a program of "education" for them. His theory is that lots of men are clueless....but, they can be taught.

I have talked to enough women, and had my own experience, to know that this is common...and, it is very important in l ong standing relationships.
There is a lot of instructional material around for this area of human behavior.
The classic book...."The Joy of Sex" is surprisingly good...and yes, they have drawn pictures, too! There are tons of videos for instruction and enlightenment.
I think that it is a great area for couples therapy...because it is already focused on an issue..and one that is imminently easy to address and get great results...unlike some of the problems seen in couples therapy.......

I think that the suggestions that Desert Eyes made about incorporating some of your own activities that garner excitement, challenges, and novelty...like rodeo riding and hand gliding.....along with lots of horizontal tango, might address some of the needs.....

Now, Liz..I can already see you, explaining what a good man he is and how he meets all of your needs beautifully...and that you are just some kind of control freak with ravenous needs of reassurance.....
But, maybe, you could consider this stuff as, maybe, having some validity for about an hour or two, before tossing it aside......f

If you do think that I am barking up the wrong tree...oh, well....it didn't hurt to try.....
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Old 10-23-2016, 09:49 AM
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Liz.....I have added the following song, for you to listen to as an accompaniment of my above post.....

https://youtube.be/83QO5UZOA
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Old 10-23-2016, 09:51 AM
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What occurs to me is that sometimes even GREAT guys aren't right for us.

You couldn't ask for a kinder, more responsible guy than my first husband. Still, he turned out not to be a great fit for me. I know it feels positively UNGRATEFUL not to want to be married to him, but the fact is that I would not have been happy in that marriage over the long term.

Actually, that's a large part of the reason I decided to put dating/relationships on hiatus for a good, long time. I wanted to figure out what it is I DO want in a relationship. As it turns out, I think I'm one of those people better off/happier on my own. There are lots of people I'm very fond of (and even attracted to), but I can't see myself making all the necessary adjustments for something to "work." And I wouldn't feel right about expecting someone else to make their OWN adjustments to happily cohabitant with me.

Not to say that's where you're headed, but just to inject the (unfortunately) unsettling possibility that you might not be right for each other.
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Old 10-23-2016, 10:24 AM
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Dear Liz...if you couldn't get the song before....

try this one....
https://youtu.be/gLATx6j Hr6k
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Old 10-23-2016, 10:44 AM
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Liz.....what a mess, I have made, here! I have been trying to get a l ink for the song that I wanted you to listen to, to work.....trying for over one and one half hours. I can't remove the links that I already posted.

this is the only way that you can hear it.....
google: youtube Staple Singers "Lets Do It Again"......

The song says it all...lol.....

Sorry for the inconvenience....
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Old 10-23-2016, 12:30 PM
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Youtube links can be real complicated sometimes.

Try this link:

https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...Do+It+Again%22

Mike
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Old 10-23-2016, 03:48 PM
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Desert Eyes.....thank you so much!!
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Old 10-24-2016, 09:40 AM
  # 29 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by DesertEyes View Post
Youtube links can be real complicated sometimes.

Try this link:

https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...Do+It+Again%22

Mike
thank you. I'll check it out when I get off work later.

I wanted to add a lot of stuff about the 'horizontal tango' lol, but that would get too messy for me to post. What's funny is that I've never felt more connected to a man during sex than I do to my man today. And, I mean, NEVER. So, that part of our relationship is not a problem. The man can rub his right toe up the arch of my left foot and we're signaling to each other that 'tonight's a go!' and I am turned on, lol. I can't say that every time is amazing and connected emotionally but about 75% of the time, I feel like he literally is trying to become one with me. With my ex and others before, I always felt like sex was just sex and that it was something used for their release or for physical connection. With my man today, I feel like sex is a part of our emotional connection, as well, and that means a LOT to me.

We actually have good flow and similar needs in this area. It's a HUGE part of what makes 'us' work.

Also, to add to what Mike said earlier. I looked back on all the experiences I've had with my man: 3 day backpacking trip a few months ago that was a wonderful bonding experience, sailing in San Francisco last year among other things, trips to Palm Springs, camping trips with the kids, kayaking over the summer often, boating with his family at the lake, cabin rentals and hiking excursions, and we just got back from a 4 day trip to CO to see the leaves changing and spend some time in the mountain air and relaxing together.

Throw in the fact that when we have weekends without his kids, he makes sure we do something special together. ALWAYS. Dinner's out, lighting a candle and putting on good music for us to sit and talk and have a glass of wine, taking day trips, or whatever. We enjoy each other's company and we actually make a great team around the house and when it comes to tag teaming the kids, as well.

We have separate interests, as well. He golfs, I play tennis. He lifts weights, I do yoga.

So, I really have to take a look at myself and see WTF my problem is. He was worried last year that I was jumping the gun and committing to him too early. He, himself, having been divorced for a few years knew where I was emotionally and what I most likely needed. He tried to push me towards understanding that I had options and that I might want to explore them before committing to him. But, I fell for him and I love him and now I am where I am because of me and my choices. He's not perfect and I'm not perfect. The question remains: are my needs too much for anybody or just for him and are my needs/wants extreme because I am selfishly looking for validation from outside myself and needing someone to meet needs that no one can truly meet for me? What is reasonable and what isn't 'for me'?
And, only I can answer that, huh?
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Old 10-24-2016, 10:16 AM
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lizatola...well, I guess that pretty much throws my horizontal tango theory out the window...lol.....
So, now, I will spitball in another direction...(nobody ever said that dandylion is not persistent)....

Let me ask...."Is he complaining about your "needs for validation".....
Could it possibly be that, from you past, your needs for validation, etc. were ignored by others. That when you needed nurturing and validation from the others...that you were walking on thin ice, where angels fear to tread. Weren't you usually rejected and criticized when you asked for your needs? Didn't it signal the potential of rocking the boat too much and losing the relationships?
I am just asking because, I get that impression, from following your threads for a number of years.....

Could it be that you are having fears that if you ask for too much---that it m ight be something that will cause him to loose interest and flee??
If that should be the case, for you.....I don't hear anything from your writings that suggests that he is feeling too put upon......

Could it be that having someone like him has put y ou a bit our of your normal "comfort zone" for the time being.....

I'm just asking......
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Old 10-25-2016, 03:45 PM
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It is okay - and perhaps preferable - to live an easy-going life.

To float where we once might have kicked,

To let go where we might have held on or even grasped

I think we finally get to the point where we understand drama is NOT the center of our lives, isn't necessary, and really, is actually working against our serenity.

It's another layer of what it was like we no longer lived with the alcoholic in our lives - suddenly too silent, suddenly without familiar conflict, suddenly with far too much time for ourselves.

We had to detox from the anticipatory chaos, the chaos itself, and the chaos hangover that we were used to. And we did.

And then along comes drama, just another stand-in for the alcoholic who used to command our attention.

All that time we used to spend on drama is now available for US, and that is healthy, yet terribly disconcerting. When we understand the gift of free time and freedom to attend to what pleases us, not what commands us to overexcite and hyperventilate about nothing much at all, about just noise, we have shed another alcoholic skin, and that is something to revel in.

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Old 10-25-2016, 06:29 PM
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"We had to detox from the anticipatory chaos, the chaos itself, and the chaos hangover that we were used to. And we did."

That sums it up perfectly!
Thank you.
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Old 10-26-2016, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by dandylion View Post
lizatola...well, I guess that pretty much throws my horizontal tango theory out the window...lol.....
So, now, I will spitball in another direction...(nobody ever said that dandylion is not persistent)....

Let me ask...."Is he complaining about your "needs for validation".....
Could it possibly be that, from you past, your needs for validation, etc. were ignored by others. That when you needed nurturing and validation from the others...that you were walking on thin ice, where angels fear to tread. Weren't you usually rejected and criticized when you asked for your needs? Didn't it signal the potential of rocking the boat too much and losing the relationships?
I am just asking because, I get that impression, from following your threads for a number of years.....

Could it be that you are having fears that if you ask for too much---that it m ight be something that will cause him to loose interest and flee??
If that should be the case, for you.....I don't hear anything from your writings that suggests that he is feeling too put upon......

Could it be that having someone like him has put y ou a bit our of your normal "comfort zone" for the time being.....

I'm just asking......
LOL! Yeah, last night I swear the man just barely touched me (and I was finally done with my 'aunt flo') and we were running to the bedroom to get busy!

And, I must agree that he definitely puts me out of my comfort zone. He is not as emotionally expressive as I am and at times his off the cuff honesty throws me for a loop because I often ask, "Well, what the heck does THAT mean?" With my XAH, I was always trying to interpret what he had to say because he never actually said what he meant. So, with my new man, I find myself in old patterns and I often don't realize he's just speaking the truth.

When he told me a few weeks ago that my presence in his life made his life BETTER, I didn't realize that that was exactly what he meant.

Also, I get along really well with his ex. We can talk and talk....and I see the bf looking at me like, "Umm, enough already. You guys don't need to become best friends and start comparing notes!" It's good, though, that the kids see us communicating and getting along.

So, really.... I have a great life. Starting a new career. Have a wonderful supportive and loving partner. His kids engage me every day and ask me for help with homework and will cuddle with me, etc. My son is doing his best to enter those tough 'late teen years' and he is so emotionally mature that I am just in awe of who he is. And, I have a decent sex life to boot, lol! Not bad for 46 years old! I really can't complain but my disease makes it so easy to complain and that's why I always need recovery and program!
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Old 10-27-2016, 02:06 AM
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Hey Liz - sorry for late response.

I initially thought from your description that excitement was missing from your relationship, that perhaps you were mismatched. That the drama in the past marriage, was being "missed" in the current union.

However, I have changed my mind.

I think the problem here is just one word that is at the core of many codependents:

INSECURITY

That is what I see here. Not that you are a mismatch, rather you are insecure, because of your own demons, within this union. What you want from your partner is a higher level of admission of devotion to the relationship beyond what you are getting. BTW, what you are getting is above the norm already, and healthy. When he does not give this to you, its causing you insecurity.

Codie relationships, especially those that involve addiction, incur a level of security that is unhealthy, but there. The A is so reliant on the Codependent - the weavings of that can be everything from financial to emotional to being a Mommy rather than a partner, to having a child when its the wrong thing to do. This results is a secure feeling for the codependent that their partner is "so" reliant on them they aren't going anywhere. The unfortunate flip side of that, we see here very often, is it is those very "secured" actions that tie the Codie to the A make it very difficult, seemingly impossible at times, to leave.

We create our own jail. It can be described like this:

Having set this goal, she is also sensitive to any type of behavior that feels like rejection. In fact, she even expects it, probably based on past experiences with men, and she asks for reassurance. At first, some reassurance is given. However, the very next time he has either a trip or dinner that is business in nature, she becomes suspicious and expects that he is attempting to avoid or reject her. Then, her demandingness becomes more strident.

In a healthy relationship - a codie can destroy it with insecurity. Demanding a level of security that their partner is not willing to give as they have already done so. It becomes tiresome, it becomes a job. It can be demeaning and insulting, and often is. It can morph into levels of distrust inclusive of fears of cheating, and snooping, invasion of privacy. Demanding levels of reassurance that are ridiculous, and relationship destroying.

Your man as you describe is not as emotionally expressive at times, and that you feel out of your comfort zone. I suspect its really not because he isn't emotionally expressive (verbally), rather its that damn insecurity nipping at your heels. As you have described he shows you plenty in action, and in words, about how he feels about you.

Its not enough. It also sounds that your partner isn't going to do what you want, what you "need" as you see it, to feel he is "all in". He's already done it. What more do you need? I think that's the way he views this. He has committed to you in living together, he has shared his children with you, he has shared his life with you, he has told you you make his life better. Ding ding ding ding ding. The one who should be insecure (a bit maybe) is him. He entered into a relationship with a person not far out of a divorce in a very sick marriage..........and seems already to have observed that has potential downsides in that you may not be ready to commit again fully, or it might have been too soon. He jumped anyway.

Does any of this hit home?

I certainly could be wrong......but I don't see you missing drama. I don't see that you are bored in the relationship at all. I don't hear that you are unhappy, in fact I hear the opposite to all the above.
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Old 10-28-2016, 07:34 AM
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Yes, yes, and yes!!!
It is totally insecurity. That's why I said I know that no matter who I'm with and no matter what they give me, it will never be enough in my ill codependent mind. I know all of this and that's why when I complain about what I'm not getting, I need to really ask myself, "Are you sure it's a valid need or reasonable?"

But, to my credit, I have kept my codependent ways in check with him. I've worked through them as they come up with my sponsor and program friends. I read A LOT and journal on my disease.

Even though when he travels and is away from me, I have this deep dark desire to control his actions (call me this day, I hope he texts me 5 times today....or whatever crazy thought comes into my mind). I do not express this to him. I say, "have a great trip. Send me a picture so I can live vicariously through you while I'm slaving away at the office! I'l miss you."

I asked him once if he felt that I was too needy. He said that, compared to the last 2 women he dated, I was the opposite. He felt that I was well balanced between independence in a relationship and that I expressed my needs well when I was feeling emotional or needed something from him. Ha, if the guy only knew the crazy that sometimes came into my head.

You know what really jolted me awake this past weekend? A friend of mine in program is dating a man who she dated last year. He had told her last year that he wasn't ready for a relationship and that they were just having 'fun'. She fell in love with him anyway. And then she lamented the fact that he didn't want more even though he was up front and honest. Fast forward to this year and he reaches out and wants to try an actual relationship with her. She was ecstatic. But her codie ways were too much for him after these past few weeks. He broke up with her.

She had sent me a text with something that she said to him when he went away for this past weekend and it stunk of guilt, manipulation, and control. I shared with my bf what she and I were texting in an overview since he asked who was texting me at 10 PM, lol. He said, 'Oh damn. She's putting a noose around that guy's neck." I said, " I know." I had to ld her to just say something similar to what I said above: Have a good time, I'll miss you, hope we can connect soon when you get back, etc. She chose to disregard my advice. But, this was a lesson for her to learn about herself and how she is in a relationship. Yet, it was also a lesson for me. I had those thoughts that she had. I just chose to find ways to calm myself, to choose a different response, to relax more into the relationship, and to do my best to let go.

We are all on a different journey in our recoveries but this was eye opening to me to hear what she had been saying to this man and to know that I felt those things and had those thoughts myself. As an outsider looking in, I wasn't emotionally attached to the outcome and I saw just how much my mind f's with me while I'm in this relationship.

And, I wonder, if my bf holds back on his emotions for his own reasons? I am just out of a highly dysfunctional 20 year marriage. I am newly divorced. I come with risk just as anybody else does. Yet, he leaped into this and I agreed and here we are. Happily living together with 3 kids between us both and making it work well, actually. He shares his life with me and for that, I am grateful.

I remember writing him a card a few months ago where I thanked him for being a participatory partner. For just being present and doing things around the house that I am just not used to having be done. I told him that sometimes I get defensive because I am so used to doing everything myself and being super mom and superwoman. I don't have to do that anymore. I can let him clean the shower, lol. Which he did yesterday and he even scrubbed the floor! And, the horizontal tango last night was amazing, too. So, today, I agreed to pick his kids up from school so that he can finish his golf round. Sounds like a good compromise to me! Wink.....
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Old 10-28-2016, 07:42 AM
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Liz.....what does it look like when a man cleans the shower!?
I am trying to picture that, in my mind........
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Old 10-28-2016, 07:45 AM
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Interesting thread. The main thing I took away from it: one word, communication.

For me (going the ESH route here, applying AA to my relationship), that is one of the most critical components of my relationship. Neither of us have been in this kind of relationship before- I was married and I divorced 11 years ago, he got divorced this year after 18 years; we are 40, and we dated in high school....we sometimes refer to our relationship as a "working fairytale." That's what it is because it's the-second-chance-noone-gets story....and it's based in the real world. For us that means communication, complete trust and a faith based approach to working on ourselves individually (we are both in recovery) and then our relationship.

The biggest thing we are doing is perhaps deliberately building a relationship that is bigger, better and different from the ones that didn't work in the past. That is sometimes uncomfortable and we have some big issues on the table, largely from his side with his (alcoholic) ex-wife and their 14 yr old, for example; we talk. About everything. And we actively work on how to best express our needs, and to listen to the other person. One thing this means for me is to acknowledge my irritability or [ ] as soon as I can- I am the one who gets more ticky and he is the more even one, for example. And boundary setting- what we need and sometimes, yes, what the realistic expectations are for each other. One example of this is that since our schedules are very full and have fairly divergent hours plus lots of commitments on his side, especially, is that I asked for a commitment to one AA meeting and lunch as a date, a week. He upped the ante by saying we needed one date night a week. Done, and we're both happy. Cause I asked, and we talked. Then we stick to it because those are priorities. And so on.

I adore him and it is easy for me to be affectionate, giving, everything. I also work really hard at how to love him best, as he needs, and ask for what I need.

For us, there is too much at stake for resentment to be allowed to grow. We try to stop at the smallest things- he misjudged the time we could realistically start our date on the one night a week we get to spend together and what followed from that, for example- and right the ship. As he told me yesterday, "with you, I try to put it out there- what I'm feeling, even if it feels new or strange to actually voice all the "is this too much?" stuff....." and I do the same.

I just want a life of peace and love for and from someone worth it, and if that means learning to calmly and clearly express what I need, and the risk to do it, ok. Growth isn't always comfortable, especially in relationships when sometimes it's easy to back into a corner, get mad, go silent, whatever. We want to do different stuff so we get different results than in the past.
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Old 10-28-2016, 07:46 AM
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Yeah cleaning the shower + man? Can you snap a pic?
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Old 10-28-2016, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by dandylion View Post
Liz.....what does it look like when a man cleans the shower!?
I am trying to picture that, in my mind........
I'd tell you, dandylion, but my husband always does it while I am at work.
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Old 10-28-2016, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by dandylion View Post
Liz.....what does it look like when a man cleans the shower!?
I am trying to picture that, in my mind........
HA! I don't know because he does it when I'm not around!
Yesterday I came home from being out with his daughter and he had done the dishes, wiped down the kitchen counters, and had started laundry!

Honestly, I shouldn't complain. He once told me that I'm super easy to live with. Well, duh, that's because he makes it easy for me, too.
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