Are relationships on an even keel?

Old 12-06-2016, 08:49 PM
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Are relationships on an even keel?

This morning my husband was nice. He briefly helped tidy up the kitchen and told me I only had to worry about work. He gave me a hug and kiss before he headed out the door to work. It was nice. This from him was different. Of course, I got up to stuff stockings, an hour later child woke me up and crawled into our bed. In the morning I packed the children's lunches, threw dinner in the crock pot, wrote out the day care check and took the children to day care. All before work. When I got home he had consumed 6 cans of beer and wouldn't say a word to me.

This morning I was feeling good about our relationship like maybe he's changing, maybe there was a glimmer of hope. Then I go to bed thinking, this relationship isn't working for me.
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Old 12-06-2016, 08:51 PM
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you focus on tiny blips of "normal" instead of seeing the big picture. three minutes of "not being an azzhole is not the beginning of a good thing. it just means that for three minutes he was not an azzhole
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Old 12-06-2016, 08:59 PM
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The roller coaster
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Old 12-06-2016, 09:05 PM
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A work in progress
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He isn't changing, hh. Anvil is right. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. The worst abusers will behave well when it's in their interest to do so. It's in his interest to keep stringing you along. It costs him nothing, but it keeps you off balance and doubting yourself.
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Old 12-06-2016, 11:00 PM
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The thing that is most amazing to me is how differently I viewed the "good" and "bad" behaviors. Like you, a brief period of "good" behavior would send me jumping to the conclusion that he was getting better/doing better/trying, and thus I should stay. That "3 minutes of not being an azzhole" was just so tremendously significant!

But the hours/days/weeks/months/years of BEING an azzhole, somehow THAT did't count. That didn't signal anything to me. There was a hugely disproportionate amount of weight put on those blips where things were good.

A couple of drops of rain every few days doesn't end the drought.
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Old 12-06-2016, 11:52 PM
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Have you ever heard of intermittent reinforcement? The oversimplified version of the theory is proven out in the lab training rats: the rat who is rewarded inconsistently for good behavior winds up trained faster and better than the one who is rewarded all the time.

That 3 minutes of "intermittent reinforcement" is working to "train" you in largely the same way, thinking that you'll have that "reward" again next time around rather than recognize that nine times of ten, that won't happen.

When I was leaving my marriage, it helped me to think about the good blips in this manner. I could recognize them as what they were rather than symbols of what could be.
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Old 12-07-2016, 04:01 AM
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When an alcoholic isn't in recovery, working a program and committed to sobriety, they are in active using and anything is possible. There is no healing going on, only the continuation of the disease.
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Old 12-07-2016, 04:13 AM
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We also refer to that around here as the 'intermittent chicken' effect. It's when we stay in an unpleasant situation because every once in a while, we receive some sort of reward.
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Old 12-07-2016, 05:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Seren View Post

We also refer to that around here as the 'intermittent chicken' effect. It's when we stay in an unpleasant situation because every once in a while, we receive some sort of reward.
Thank you everyone. I am a chick that also just receives intermittent pellets. Last night I backed away realizing talking about my resentment and his behavior wouldn't change it. He knows what I need but he always wants a relationship on his terms, from a distance no real investment without me in mind and that is what he will receive.
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Old 12-07-2016, 06:09 AM
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^^^^ This ^^^^^

So the question is.....

Is this the way you want to continue to live?
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Old 12-07-2016, 06:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Lilro View Post
^^^^ This ^^^^^

So the question is.....

Is this the way you want to continue to live?

Your question was "are relationships on an even keel?"

Some are, and can continue to maintain the ebb and flow of a healthy relationship; IMO and IME (current experience), it's not about 50/50 and who does what and keeping things "equal" (or worse, the little bits of giving to keep the other's tank just full enough not to leave) - the even keel is the balance of meeting each other's needs as well as your own. I can only do this successfully with communication and truly paying attention to (Then acting on) what my boyfriend needs. We have a pretty exceptional relationship and now- after plenty that weren't even close, and one that was abusive- I won't settle for less.

You have to decide what kind of "keel" you want to have in your life.

Good luck.
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Old 12-07-2016, 06:43 AM
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10 Signs You Are Married to Someone with a Personality Disorder | The Exhausted Woman

I first read on this forum about alcoholics and personality disorders.
This article was very helpful at a point when I felt very confused.
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Old 12-07-2016, 09:54 AM
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I guess it depends on what you mean - I interpret "even keel" to mean a constant state of balance to some degree. I don't think that's really possible for anyone but I do shoot for "equally yoked" meaning that when one is weaker/down/needy the other is up/stronger/filling in.

Those moments when we need to be able to rely on our partners come unexpectedly so to me "evenly yoked" means that I can trust in my partner enough to know that whenever/however that situation arises, he'll be there to whatever degree I need & that I will certainly offer the same support when the tables are turned.

We were NEVER evenly yoked while he was actively drinking & progressing in his alcoholism.
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Old 12-07-2016, 10:45 AM
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^^ Yep, what she said.

There is no reciprocity in a relationship with an addict....and when one spouse is addicted to a substance, and the other is addicted to the addict, times that by 10.
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Old 12-07-2016, 10:59 AM
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I think there is a major difference in normal healthy relationships then in codependent/alcoholic ones.

Even keel reminds me somehow of keeping score. I did this, he did that, etc. always looking for a balance based on I did this for them so they should be doing X for me.

I think in a healthy relationship love is without condition. In a toxic one love comes with conditions of someone else having to change, they need to stop drinking/drug then I will be more affectionate, etc. In a healthy relationship there is talk without intention. In a toxic one the talk usually revolves around someone having to stop drinking/drugs, manipulation with intention that one will get their own way in getting the other to do what why want. In a healthy relationship listening without judging or interrupting occurs. In a toxic one listening falls on deaf ears or hope hangs on every false word and the same conversation happens over and over and over again.

Bottom line you are not happy with who he is today where he seems quite content with who he is.
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Old 12-07-2016, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by hearthealth View Post
This morning I was feeling good about our relationship like maybe he's changing, maybe there was a glimmer of hope. Then I go to bed thinking, this relationship isn't working for me.
Is he still drinking?? If so then he is not changing.

Don't fool yourself, because I did. My AH was fully functional for years and that was "good enough" for me. Took his recent relapse for my eyes to be open and realize that I don't need someone to be "there" I need someone to BE THERE. I don't need a roommate, I need a partner.

Be true to yourself. If you are seeking help then when the time is right you will know what to do.

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Old 12-07-2016, 11:10 AM
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Having read the most recent posts here, I'd like to offer "on the beam" as a phrase to describe a healthy relationship. The way this phrase was explained to me was that when a plane takes off and is flying towards its destination, it follows a radio beam. Now, it's not like the plane is "locked on" to the beam and follows one rigid heading; it constantly makes tiny course corrections to keep heading in the right direction, the same way you are constantly moving the steering wheel of your car when you drive. While the plane may never actually BE perfectly "on the beam", as long as it keeps making corrections and stays close, it will get where it's going.

It seems to me that in a healthy relationship (not like I'd know from personal experience, don't think I've ever had one!), you'd be doing that same sort of "on the beam" thing--both parties are headed the same direction but they make continuous little "course corrections" as they may wander to one side or the other. There are deviations, life is certainly not a straight line, but in general, staying on or near the beam allows the partners to grow individually, support each other's individual growth, and share the work of the relationship fairly (maybe not evenly at all times, but fairly based on each person's other work and life demands).

When I put it that way, it makes me wonder why it took me so long to see how "off the beam" XAH and I were, but I did see it eventually, and that is all that counts...
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Old 12-09-2016, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by LexieCat View Post
Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.
This. This is good stuff.
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