Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Dating => Topic started by: CakeBeret on February 20, 2012, 07:50:56 PM

Title: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: CakeBeret on February 20, 2012, 07:50:56 PM
BG: Our marriage has been really rough the last several months, but we are working on improving. We are going to begin marriage counseling next month, but in the meantime I'd like some perspective on this issue.

On Mondays, DH and I have about half an hour together after work before we leave for a family dinner, and afterwards he has a weekly xbox night. So the half hour after work plus ten minutes in the car is our only conversation time.

When I got home today, DH gave me a halfhearted hug and said hi, and then he went off to the bedroom. I waited a few minutes but he did not reappear, so I went to look for him and he was laying on the bed. He said he was tired. I tried to ask him about his day and he gave me grumpy one-word answers, so I decided to leave him alone.

I took our son outside to play and when I came in a few minutes later, DH was cleaning his gun (so I guess he wasn't *that* tired?) but he was still unwilling to converse with me. We left for dinner and we talked briefly in the car, although it's extremely hard to have a conversation in the car with our chatterbox toddler in the backseat. We did not get to talk at all during dinner

Just before he left for his xbox night, he asked what was wrong with me. I explained that his aloofness all evening had hurt my feelings. He said he was tired. I said "I know, but it still hurt my feelings that you grumped at me and ignored me." He repeated, "I. Was. Tired." I said okay, told him goodbye and said "I love you". He left without saying anything.

Was it unreasonable for me to expect a few minutes of conversation, even if he was tired, since I barely get to see him tonight?  How do you act towards your spouse/SO when you are tired after a long day's work, and what do you expect of your spouse?
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: newbiePA on February 20, 2012, 08:03:37 PM
I think he may have had a bad day, and was tired.  I think he actually communicated well. It would have been best if he said fom the outset that he needed some quiet time, but really, he said that he was tired, and found some quiet time.  I don't know about your other issues, but this doesn't seem too bad.

However, I have been wrong about many things in life, and look forward to other opinions.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: LeveeWoman on February 20, 2012, 08:23:39 PM
BG: Our marriage has been really rough the last several months, but we are working on improving. We are going to begin marriage counseling next month, but in the meantime I'd like some perspective on this issue.

On Mondays, DH and I have about half an hour together after work before we leave for a family dinner, and afterwards he has a weekly xbox night. So the half hour after work plus ten minutes in the car is our only conversation time.

When I got home today, DH gave me a halfhearted hug and said hi, and then he went off to the bedroom. I waited a few minutes but he did not reappear, so I went to look for him and he was laying on the bed. He said he was tired. I tried to ask him about his day and he gave me grumpy one-word answers, so I decided to leave him alone.

I took our son outside to play and when I came in a few minutes later, DH was cleaning his gun (so I guess he wasn't *that* tired?) but he was still unwilling to converse with me. We left for dinner and we talked briefly in the car, although it's extremely hard to have a conversation in the car with our chatterbox toddler in the backseat. We did not get to talk at all during dinner

Just before he left for his xbox night, he asked what was wrong with me. I explained that his aloofness all evening had hurt my feelings. He said he was tired. I said "I know, but it still hurt my feelings that you grumped at me and ignored me." He repeated, "I. Was. Tired." I said okay, told him goodbye and said "I love you". He left without saying anything.

Was it unreasonable for me to expect a few minutes of conversation, even if he was tired, since I barely get to see him tonight?  How do you act towards your spouse/SO when you are tired after a long day's work, and what do you expect of your spouse?

Considering the extensive issues ya'll have had in the recent past about which you have posted on another forum here, I don't know if I'd be very alarmed if this is a one-off occasion. We all have grumpy-butt days but if other things are going well, I'd give him a pass.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: wolfie on February 20, 2012, 08:31:53 PM
When I am tired from work I need alone time and I can't even spend 5 minutes talking. I can listen but usually all I am thinking is "Why can't you just shut up for a few minutes!" I just need that time to relax and unwind and de-stress. If your husband is the same way then I wouldn't be too worried about it. If it happens a lot then I would consider worrying!
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: LeveeWoman on February 20, 2012, 08:59:21 PM
When I am tired from work I need alone time and I can't even spend 5 minutes talking. I can listen but usually all I am thinking is "Why can't you just shut up for a few minutes!" I just need that time to relax and unwind and de-stress. If your husband is the same way then I wouldn't be too worried about it. If it happens a lot then I would consider worrying!

From what I understand of CakeBeret's posts on this forum and another forum at E-Hell, his behavior is violating an agreement they reached a while back.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: wolfie on February 20, 2012, 09:01:30 PM
When I am tired from work I need alone time and I can't even spend 5 minutes talking. I can listen but usually all I am thinking is "Why can't you just shut up for a few minutes!" I just need that time to relax and unwind and de-stress. If your husband is the same way then I wouldn't be too worried about it. If it happens a lot then I would consider worrying!

From what I understand of CakeBeret's posts on this forum and another forum at E-Hell, his behavior is violating an agreement they reached a while back.

I am sure that the spirit of the agreement didn't mean that when you are so wound up that you need time to yourself or you feel like you will explode you can't take it and have to talk to your partner instead.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: JennJenn68 on February 20, 2012, 09:06:11 PM
My kneejerk response is to go all protective of you, CakeBeret, but my head, which occasionally has a working brain, tells me to say, "Wait.  See if this happens again, and then start to worry."  And yes, I, too, have read the other thread.  That tells me that it's going to be difficult for you because you're dealing with worries about how this might just be yet another beginning of the end.  Try to let it go, just this once, and see what happens.

If he does it again, even after you've expressed your concern, that will be the time to take action of some kind.

Good luck.  It must be very upsetting for you.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: buvezdevin on February 20, 2012, 09:29:21 PM
OP, maybe one thing you might bring up in your soon to begin counseling would be a phrase or term your husband could use to simply indicate an "I just need to unwind by myself, there is nothing wrong, I am just tired/need me time" *and* some agreed upon parameters for how often that may be used and applicable time (not more than twice a week, half hour - or whatever).

I agree with others that by itself, this does not seem a big item one time, but in the context of your other post I understand your concern.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: TurtleDove on February 20, 2012, 11:07:35 PM
My current SO needs his alone time, as do I. We clearly communicate this to each other before the other gets upset, making it clear the distance is not about the other person but rather simply needing a bit of space for a minute or an hour or a night.  I trust my SO that when he says he needs space it is about him, not about him not wanting to be with me.  OP, see if you can get a handle on what your DH means when he needs space, and also see if he can be more caring toward you in expressing it.  Given the rest of what I know about your relatinship, you deserve FAR better than your DH is giving you.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Isometric on February 20, 2012, 11:50:10 PM
I agree with PP's about a phrase that means "I need alone time".

Having said that, I would be offended if my DH treated me like that, without an apology later on. (I can be over sensitive though)To me it doesn't sound like you were hounding him for conversation, just a few normal pleasantries, which I don't think is too much to ask.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Allyson on February 21, 2012, 12:38:29 AM
The part of this that bugs me is that he seemed to expect you to understand, accept, and be OK with his bad mood/bad day, but wouldn't let you have your reaction to his aloofness. He asked you what was wrong, and you told him. You didn't get accusatory or angry as far as I can see, but he still got snarly with you for feeling that way at all.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Cosmasia on February 21, 2012, 02:18:20 AM
I feel that in relationships there needs to be space for bad days without it shaking the very foundation of your relationship.
As I understand you have a history on here that I don't know of, so I'm not familiar with your marriage problems so feel free to ignore me if what I say doesn't at all fit your problems. :)

But I definitely feel there needs to be room for that, for days where you just don't wanna talk, where you want to be mr/ms grumpy pants without it meaning your SO gets offended or hurt (as long as you aren't lashing out of course).

IMO he was communicating pretty clearly. As I said I don't know your history so maybe this one particular day is of importance, but to me as an outsider it seems off to me that it's a problem that his monday was bad because he communicated quite clearly IMO.

Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: blarg314 on February 21, 2012, 03:18:23 AM

I think it depends if this is a pattern.

If your DH regularly goes uncommunicative, and retreats from normal interaction, or if he's prone to mood swings, or is often grouchy and expects you to read his mind, then that's a problem that needs to be addressed.

On the other hand, as a PP said, if half-an-hour of grouchiness by itself is enough to shake your relationship, that that would say to me that there is something more fundamentally wrong in the relationship, as I wouldn't consider that a major issue. In a healthy relationship, there's room to say "I had a bad day and need to rest" and go be alone for half an hour without it being taken as a personal insult.
 
For what it's worth, I don't see conversation and simple physical activity (like cleaning a gun) as being equal in terms of tiredness. There's physical tiredness (need a nap) and mental, bad day tiredness (need to be alone and not talk to people). When I'm in the latter state, doing some simply physical chore is actually quite helpful, and makes me relax and calm down.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: CakeBeret on February 21, 2012, 09:12:51 AM
If your DH regularly goes uncommunicative, and retreats from normal interaction, or if he's prone to mood swings, or is often grouchy and expects you to read his mind, then that's a problem that needs to be addressed.

This is a big part of our problems. Not so much the mood swings, but the refusal to communicate, the grouchyness, and the expected mind-reading.

Many posters have said that he communicated well. I guess I don't see that. He disappeared into another area of the house as soon as I got home, and when I tried to talk to him, he stated "I'm tired" and got snippy with me. IMO communicating well would have been "It's been a really long day. I'm going to go lay down before dinner."

The part of this that bugs me is that he seemed to expect you to understand, accept, and be OK with his bad mood/bad day, but wouldn't let you have your reaction to his aloofness. He asked you what was wrong, and you told him. You didn't get accusatory or angry as far as I can see, but he still got snarly with you for feeling that way at all.

This is a big issue for me. He gets so huffy when I try to talk to him about something like this.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: ilrag on February 21, 2012, 09:28:56 AM
With our the rest of the background I'd say it wasn't a big deal.  My husband is a total crab from work at least once a week. When that's the case I just leave him alone, I don't think there's anything wrong with it.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Bexx27 on February 21, 2012, 09:36:02 AM
The part of this that bugs me is that he seemed to expect you to understand, accept, and be OK with his bad mood/bad day, but wouldn't let you have your reaction to his aloofness. He asked you what was wrong, and you told him. You didn't get accusatory or angry as far as I can see, but he still got snarly with you for feeling that way at all.

This. By asking you what was wrong it almost seems like he was baiting you. He has to realize that emotions are contagious. He doesn't get to be grumpy and short-tempered without triggering a reaction in you. How hard would it have been for him to come home, say "I'm really tired, I need to lie down by myself for a few minutes," and retire to the bedroom? No conversation and no negative emotion for you. It sounds like he has a hard time understanding how his words and actions affect other people. Is he like that with everyone, or just you?
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Surianne on February 21, 2012, 09:42:46 AM
When I am tired from work I need alone time and I can't even spend 5 minutes talking. I can listen but usually all I am thinking is "Why can't you just shut up for a few minutes!" I just need that time to relax and unwind and de-stress. If your husband is the same way then I wouldn't be too worried about it. If it happens a lot then I would consider worrying!

I'm the same way.  There's nothing worse when I'm stressed out and exhausted than having someone keep trying to get me to talk.  I think you should have respected his "I'm tired" answer and given him some alone time.  It's perfectly valid to not be up for talking 24/7 -- so I'd cut him some slack on this one.  It sounds like he kept his temper pretty well when he must've felt pretty stressed by your repeated attempts to get him to talk.

However, I don't have the background everyone else does, so I'm only commenting based on this specific incident.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: ShadesOfGrey on February 21, 2012, 09:48:06 AM
Quote from: Cosmasia

I feel that in relationships there needs to be space for bad days without it shaking the very foundation of your relationship.
As I understand you have a history on here that I don't know of, so I'm not familiar with your marriage problems so feel free to ignore me if what I say doesn't at all fit your problems. :)

But I definitely feel there needs to be room for that, for days where you just don't wanna talk, where you want to be mr/ms grumpy pants without it meaning your SO gets offended or hurt (as long as you aren't lashing out of course).

IMO he was communicating pretty clearly. As I said I don't know your history so maybe this one particular day is of importance, but to me as an outsider it seems off to me that it's a problem that his monday was bad because he communicated quite clearly IMO.

I have to POD this - I wouldn't have tried to talk to him while he was trying to rest before what was going to prove to be a busy night. I think you need to allow space for that sort of thing - where he just wants to be alone.

That said, given your history, I can understand your concerns. It's going to take practice to get it right, but it sounds like you are on the right track overall.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Winterlight on February 21, 2012, 10:00:05 AM
The part of this that bugs me is that he seemed to expect you to understand, accept, and be OK with his bad mood/bad day, but wouldn't let you have your reaction to his aloofness. He asked you what was wrong, and you told him. You didn't get accusatory or angry as far as I can see, but he still got snarly with you for feeling that way at all.

This. I think if he'd said something like, "I'm in a lousy mood, let me go wind down a bit," that would have been more useful.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: CakeBeret on February 21, 2012, 10:06:10 AM
When I am tired from work I need alone time and I can't even spend 5 minutes talking. I can listen but usually all I am thinking is "Why can't you just shut up for a few minutes!" I just need that time to relax and unwind and de-stress. If your husband is the same way then I wouldn't be too worried about it. If it happens a lot then I would consider worrying!

I'm the same way.  There's nothing worse when I'm stressed out and exhausted than having someone keep trying to get me to talk.  I think you should have respected his "I'm tired" answer and given him some alone time.  It's perfectly valid to not be up for talking 24/7 -- so I'd cut him some slack on this one.  It sounds like he kept his temper pretty well when he must've felt pretty stressed by your repeated attempts to get him to talk.

However, I don't have the background everyone else does, so I'm only commenting based on this specific incident.

I did. Once I determined that he wasn't up for talking (and it took me a bit to realize that since he wouldn't just say it) I took the kid outside to play and let him have his quiet time.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: hobish on February 21, 2012, 10:08:32 AM
When I am tired from work I need alone time and I can't even spend 5 minutes talking. I can listen but usually all I am thinking is "Why can't you just shut up for a few minutes!" I just need that time to relax and unwind and de-stress. If your husband is the same way then I wouldn't be too worried about it. If it happens a lot then I would consider worrying!

I'm the same way.  There's nothing worse when I'm stressed out and exhausted than having someone keep trying to get me to talk.  I think you should have respected his "I'm tired" answer and given him some alone time.  It's perfectly valid to not be up for talking 24/7 -- so I'd cut him some slack on this one.  It sounds like he kept his temper pretty well when he must've felt pretty stressed by your repeated attempts to get him to talk.

However, I don't have the background everyone else does, so I'm only commenting based on this specific incident.

I agree. Heck, even on a good day, if i am getting home from work and then have 30 minutes before getting in the car and running to do other stuff i would appreciate a few minutes to myself without having to chat and talk about my day - even a good one - even with the person i love most, and especially without it being an issue that i just want to have 10 minutes of my own time. It sounds like that communicated it pretty well.



Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Surianne on February 21, 2012, 10:14:18 AM
When I am tired from work I need alone time and I can't even spend 5 minutes talking. I can listen but usually all I am thinking is "Why can't you just shut up for a few minutes!" I just need that time to relax and unwind and de-stress. If your husband is the same way then I wouldn't be too worried about it. If it happens a lot then I would consider worrying!

I'm the same way.  There's nothing worse when I'm stressed out and exhausted than having someone keep trying to get me to talk.  I think you should have respected his "I'm tired" answer and given him some alone time.  It's perfectly valid to not be up for talking 24/7 -- so I'd cut him some slack on this one.  It sounds like he kept his temper pretty well when he must've felt pretty stressed by your repeated attempts to get him to talk.

However, I don't have the background everyone else does, so I'm only commenting based on this specific incident.

I did. Once I determined that he wasn't up for talking (and it took me a bit to realize that since he wouldn't just say it) I took the kid outside to play and let him have his quiet time.

Glad to hear it -- I misinterpreted and thought you tried to talk to him more than once (when you saw him cleaning his gun) or were sulky about it later (when he asked you what was wrong).  If you left him alone and respected his space after the first "I'm tired" then I think you were fine, and there's no need to bring it up or worry about it.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: rashea on February 21, 2012, 10:14:55 AM
I think he needs to be more clear. And sometimes that's about finding a trigger word or phrase that communicates, "I'm tired and need some quiet alone time before we do dinner and then I have to go be 'on' for a while. Can I just come find you later?" when he's too tired to find those words. And, he needs to be okay with him being grouchy meaning that you're feeling a bit hurt. If you're feeling a bit hurt just because he wanted down time, that's a problem on your end, but until he communicates that, it's on him.

On the other hand, someone too tired to talk to their spouse at any point in the evening should also be too tired to go out and play xbox. And I would have a problem with the fact that he felt it was okay to be grouchy at you so soon after you've turned a corner.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: bah12 on February 21, 2012, 10:47:27 AM
Your title has it right.  This is a communication issue.

On the surface, it doesn't seem like that big of a deal.  I think everyone probably has days when conversing after a rough day is just not possible.  We all need time to wind down.  When it comes, though, at the heels of other marital problems and during the only time, all day, you have to talk, it turns into a bigger deal.  Even though it doesn't need to.

I honestly think most of the hurt feelings could have been avoided if he had simply said "I had a long day, and I'm really tired.  I need some time to unwind (cleaning his gun could have been a calming thing for him) before we go to dinner.  Please understand that I'm not angry at you."

Yes, it would be dissappointing to miss out on your time to talk, but if it's a one-off thing, I'm sure you'd understand. 

After the damage was done (disappearing and not telling you why/being snippy when you asked), then you could have said something like "I understand that you were tired and needed some time to yourself.  But it hurt my feelings when you didn't tell me that up front.  I'm ok with it now, but please just let me know in the future, ok?"

I do think that it's a bit narrowminded of him to expect you to know what's bothering him (tired) and not react to it, without having to ask him first...and yet would openly bait you by asking you what's wrong and not validating those feelings (hurt feelings). 

Hopefully, this mode of communication that you guys are in will improve with the counceling.  Hopefully, it's just as easy as learning that just because one partner feels something strongly, doesn't mean that's clear to the other partner, unless they're told specifically.  Not that the skill itself is "easy", just that it's a simpler problem to solve than deeper reasons why communication isn't happening.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: June24 on February 21, 2012, 11:29:47 AM
I don't know any of you relationship background - it sounds like there was some serious stuff. But in a healthy relationship, I think a person should be able to go to another area of their own house for relaxation without having to let you know that they're going to lie down (which is what you said you would have wanted him to tell you). It seems confining to have to  report every move like that. I think it also puts pressure on him to constantly have to "communicate" with you. He should be able to relax without having you follow him and continue tying to talk to him when he's obviously tired. What does seem strange is that you didn't talk at all at the dinner - married couples usually talk to each other even when they're in public. The problem isn't that he was tired and wanted to rest for 30 minutes. The problem is that he continued to act like he was mad at you for the rest of the day, and then got snippy about it when you got upset. 
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Bexx27 on February 21, 2012, 11:38:48 AM
I don't know any of you relationship background - it sounds like there was some serious stuff. But in a healthy relationship, I think a person should be able to go to another area of their own house for relaxation without having to let you know that they're going to lie down (which is what you said you would have wanted him to tell you). It seems confining to have to  report every move like that. I think it also puts pressure on him to constantly have to "communicate" with you. He should be able to relax without having you follow him and continue tying to talk to him when he's obviously tired. What does seem strange is that you didn't talk at all at the dinner - married couples usually talk to each other even when they're in public. The problem isn't that he was tired and wanted to rest for 30 minutes. The problem is that he continued to act like he was mad at you for the rest of the day, and then got snippy about it when you got upset.

As to the bolded, I would agree if it were just the two of them. But they have a toddler who, if he's anything like my kid, requires constant attention. DH's alone time is CakeBeret's child care time, so she at least needs to know that he won't be around for a while.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: LeveeWoman on February 21, 2012, 11:40:40 AM
I don't know any of you relationship background - it sounds like there was some serious stuff. But in a healthy relationship, I think a person should be able to go to another area of their own house for relaxation without having to let you know that they're going to lie down (which is what you said you would have wanted him to tell you). It seems confining to have to  report every move like that. I think it also puts pressure on him to constantly have to "communicate" with you. He should be able to relax without having you follow him and continue tying to talk to him when he's obviously tired. What does seem strange is that you didn't talk at all at the dinner - married couples usually talk to each other even when they're in public. The problem isn't that he was tired and wanted to rest for 30 minutes. The problem is that he continued to act like he was mad at you for the rest of the day, and then got snippy about it when you got upset.

There is quite a bit of history, and it's in the "hugs" folder.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: bah12 on February 21, 2012, 12:13:42 PM
I don't know any of you relationship background - it sounds like there was some serious stuff. But in a healthy relationship, I think a person should be able to go to another area of their own house for relaxation without having to let you know that they're going to lie down (which is what you said you would have wanted him to tell you). It seems confining to have to  report every move like that. I think it also puts pressure on him to constantly have to "communicate" with you. He should be able to relax without having you follow him and continue tying to talk to him when he's obviously tired. What does seem strange is that you didn't talk at all at the dinner - married couples usually talk to each other even when they're in public. The problem isn't that he was tired and wanted to rest for 30 minutes. The problem is that he continued to act like he was mad at you for the rest of the day, and then got snippy about it when you got upset.

This is ok...but not in every situation.  And even in cases where a couple isn't constantly communicating, there is still some communication.

Examples...this is the 30 minutes during the day that they had time for each other and it was presumed (agreed?) by each that they would spend that time together.  If one suddenly isn't up to it, he/she needs to communicate it.

In the case where people need time to themselves when they first get home or whenever, this is usually something couples talk about at some point.  When I wake up in the morning, I need 15 minutes of not being spoken to, so that I can get a cup of coffee and fully wake up before having to be pleasant.  I didn't just up and start ignoring my DH in the mornings.  I told him "this is what I need and I'll need it every single day".  I don't have to repeat myself, because I told him and we agreed to the time.

But the other thing is what you mentioned "a healthy relationship" and this one is one that has problems and they working to resolve those problems.  When a relationship is going through a rough patch, non-communication can hurt way more...and it's even more vital that each of them try that much harder to communicate so that what shouldn't be a problem, turns into a big one.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Surianne on February 21, 2012, 12:16:37 PM
But the other thing is what you mentioned "a healthy relationship" and this one is one that has problems and they working to resolve those problems.  When a relationship is going through a rough patch, non-communication can hurt way more...and it's even more vital that each of them try that much harder to communicate so that what shouldn't be a problem, turns into a big one.

For people who aren't comfortable with constant communication and need their downtime, though, wouldn't that be equally important in a relationship with problems? 

I have trouble reacting well when someone tries to get me to talk and I'm not in the mood.  I imagine it would bother me even more if I was already feeling stressed about the relationship.  I'd feel like I was pressured to be "on" all the time and couldn't relax around my significant other. 

So I think it's important recognize the needs of both parties, and not just the one that prefers lots of communication.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: DavidH on February 21, 2012, 12:24:34 PM
Looking at the original post:

"When I got home today, DH gave me a halfhearted hug and said hi, and then he went off to the bedroom. I waited a few minutes but he did not reappear, so I went to look for him and he was laying on the bed. He said he was tired. I tried to ask him about his day and he gave me grumpy one-word answers, so I decided to leave him alone."

I don't really see the issue.  He went off to the bedroom to lay down and when you went to find him he said he was tired.  The combination of the action and telling you he was tired sound like a clear signal to me, but apparently not.  When you continued to ask about his day, he remained grumpy, but once he said he was tired, why press the point?  Tired and not wanting to talk and not being able to do a repetitive task are very different.  Sometimes tired doesn't mean go to sleep, but not interact with anyone.

I took our son outside to play and when I came in a few minutes later, DH was cleaning his gun (so I guess he wasn't *that* tired?) but he was still unwilling to converse with me. We left for dinner and we talked briefly in the car, although it's extremely hard to have a conversation in the car with our chatterbox toddler in the backseat. We did not get to talk at all during dinner

Just before he left for his xbox night, he asked what was wrong with me. I explained that his aloofness all evening had hurt my feelings. He said he was tired. I said "I know, but it still hurt my feelings that you grumped at me and ignored me." He repeated, "I. Was. Tired." I said okay, told him goodbye and said "I love you". He left without saying anything.

It sounds like you were then upset with him the rest of the night and he picked up on that and asked what was wrong.  your answer of, "I know, but ..." can translate to, "I know you were tired, but I don't really care, I just wanted you to interact with me" whether or not that's how you meant it.

I think that the signal he sent, laying down, saying he was tired was clear, but I agree, he could have verbalized it better.  I can see how you wanted more interaction, but on the other hand, if you are tired and just need some time alone, someone pressing is likely to not go over well.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Surianne on February 21, 2012, 12:42:05 PM
Looking at the original post:

"When I got home today, DH gave me a halfhearted hug and said hi, and then he went off to the bedroom. I waited a few minutes but he did not reappear, so I went to look for him and he was laying on the bed. He said he was tired. I tried to ask him about his day and he gave me grumpy one-word answers, so I decided to leave him alone."

I don't really see the issue.  He went off to the bedroom to lay down and when you went to find him he said he was tired.  The combination of the action and telling you he was tired sound like a clear signal to me, but apparently not.  When you continued to ask about his day, he remained grumpy, but once he said he was tired, why press the point?  Tired and not wanting to talk and not being able to do a repetitive task are very different.  Sometimes tired doesn't mean go to sleep, but not interact with anyone.

I took our son outside to play and when I came in a few minutes later, DH was cleaning his gun (so I guess he wasn't *that* tired?) but he was still unwilling to converse with me. We left for dinner and we talked briefly in the car, although it's extremely hard to have a conversation in the car with our chatterbox toddler in the backseat. We did not get to talk at all during dinner

Just before he left for his xbox night, he asked what was wrong with me. I explained that his aloofness all evening had hurt my feelings. He said he was tired. I said "I know, but it still hurt my feelings that you grumped at me and ignored me." He repeated, "I. Was. Tired." I said okay, told him goodbye and said "I love you". He left without saying anything.

It sounds like you were then upset with him the rest of the night and he picked up on that and asked what was wrong.  your answer of, "I know, but ..." can translate to, "I know you were tired, but I don't really care, I just wanted you to interact with me" whether or not that's how you meant it.

I think that the signal he sent, laying down, saying he was tired was clear, but I agree, he could have verbalized it better.  I can see how you wanted more interaction, but on the other hand, if you are tired and just need some time alone, someone pressing is likely to not go over well.

That's pretty much what I was trying to say, but you've explained it a thousand times better.  I agree with everything.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: amylouky on February 21, 2012, 12:59:14 PM
I think that we all have bad days, and are entitled to "me time" when needed. But I also think that given the history with you and your DH, and the fact that your relationship mending is still in baby steps stage, and that communication and time together seem to be some of your big issues.. it would have upset me too.

When DH or I has had a bad day, we'll generally come in the house, give a quick hi, hug, and say something like "I'm going to need 15 mins of decompression time, okay?". That seems like what is missing here, your DH letting you know ahead of time that he was tired, so you wouldn't take his absence/grumpiness personally.

I second (third?) pp's suggestions of a phrase to use, and I think that you should bring this up in a nonaccusatory way when things have cooled down a bit.

Good luck!
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: bah12 on February 21, 2012, 01:10:51 PM
But the other thing is what you mentioned "a healthy relationship" and this one is one that has problems and they working to resolve those problems.  When a relationship is going through a rough patch, non-communication can hurt way more...and it's even more vital that each of them try that much harder to communicate so that what shouldn't be a problem, turns into a big one.

For people who aren't comfortable with constant communication and need their downtime, though, wouldn't that be equally important in a relationship with problems? 

I have trouble reacting well when someone tries to get me to talk and I'm not in the mood.  I imagine it would bother me even more if I was already feeling stressed about the relationship.  I'd feel like I was pressured to be "on" all the time and couldn't relax around my significant other. 

So I think it's important recognize the needs of both parties, and not just the one that prefers lots of communication.

DH and I have a standard rule.  When we get into an argument, he needs 30 minutes (at least) to calm down and collect his thoughts before he can even begin to start working things out.  I have a need to resolve the problem as quickly as possible, because not talking about it, makes things worse for me.

So, when we argue, and he walks off, I already know that I need to just let it be until he comes back.  And I trust that he will.  But, the reason why I know this is because it's something we've discussed before we ever got into our first argument. 

So, when I say communicate, I don't mean talking all the time.  It could be as simple as saying/writing one time "this is how I react to these situations and this is what I need." Then it's up to the other partner to respect that...and vise versa.   And if I already had some prearranged agreement with my DH and then, through no fault of his, didn't feel like I could follow-through, I think it's ultra-important to say something.  I can't possibly expect him to understand that if I choose not to spend some pre-arranged time with him, that he'll automatically know it's not about him, unless I tell him.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Surianne on February 21, 2012, 01:23:47 PM
That seems like a fair arrangement, bah12, and I think your point makes sense. 

I'm guessing the husband thought he *was* communicating by saying "I'm tired" and felt like the OP was just nagging him -- I'm very similar personality-wise to the husband, I think, so that's likely how I would have behaved in the same situation. 

I really like the suggestions (from quite a few posters)  to come up with a longer "code phrase" if "I'm tired" isn't clear enough for the OP.   

What I worry about is the assumption that the person who wants to communicate more is always the *right* one, and more communication is always best.  Whereas to my mind, it's not that simple.  When someone wants me to communicate more without being specific or giving me a break, it makes me more stressed out, not less.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: CakeBeret on February 21, 2012, 01:35:30 PM
I really like the suggestions (from quite a few posters)  to come up with a longer "code phrase" if "I'm tired" isn't clear enough for the OP.   

I think where we're diverging is the phrase "I'm tired." To me, it is a simple statement of fact and means nothing more. To you, it means "I need space; please leave me alone." I'm a literal person and I often don't "get it" when a person says one thing and means another. If he's laying on the bed and saying he's tired, I'm going to think that he's tired, but I am not going to understand that that means he wants to be left alone unless it's spelled out for me. Tired does not automatically exclude conversation, in my mind.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Surianne on February 21, 2012, 01:36:32 PM
I really like the suggestions (from quite a few posters)  to come up with a longer "code phrase" if "I'm tired" isn't clear enough for the OP.   

I think where we're diverging is the phrase "I'm tired." To me, it is a simple statement of fact and means nothing more. To you, it means "I need space; please leave me alone." I'm a literal person and I often don't "get it" when a person says one thing and means another. If he's laying on the bed and saying he's tired, I'm going to think that he's tired, but I am not going to understand that that means he wants to be left alone unless it's spelled out for me.

Yes, which is why I think the code phrase idea is a good one, since "I'm tired" doesn't work for you.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: bah12 on February 21, 2012, 01:55:02 PM
I really like the suggestions (from quite a few posters)  to come up with a longer "code phrase" if "I'm tired" isn't clear enough for the OP.   

I think where we're diverging is the phrase "I'm tired." To me, it is a simple statement of fact and means nothing more. To you, it means "I need space; please leave me alone." I'm a literal person and I often don't "get it" when a person says one thing and means another. If he's laying on the bed and saying he's tired, I'm going to think that he's tired, but I am not going to understand that that means he wants to be left alone unless it's spelled out for me.

I think it's also when he said "I'm tired".  He disappeared into the bedroom and the OP assumed he would come back out.  If he had said "I'm tired" when he hugged her hello, then she would have known he wasn't coming back out. 

She basically had to disturb him to find out that he wasn't coming back out of the room to have their time together.

So, if they had a signal, or some other agreement, ahead of time, then I agree it would work a lot better.  What he communicates is just as important as when...and how.  So, if he said "I'm tired" in an agitated tone, because she disturbed his rest, then that just compounds the problem.

Yes, which is why I think the code phrase idea is a good one, since "I'm tired" doesn't work for you.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: ShadesOfGrey on February 21, 2012, 02:37:43 PM
Quote from: CakeBeret


--- Quote from: Surianne on Today at 01:23:47 PM ---I really like the suggestions (from quite a few posters)  to come up with a longer "code phrase" if "I'm tired" isn't clear enough for the OP.   

--- End quote ---

I think where we're diverging is the phrase "I'm tired." To me, it is a simple statement of fact and means nothing more. To you, it means "I need space; please leave me alone." I'm a literal person and I often don't "get it" when a person says one thing and means another. If he's laying on the bed and saying he's tired, I'm going to think that he's tired, but I am not going to understand that that means he wants to be left alone unless it's spelled out for me. Tired does not automatically exclude conversation, in my mind.

Well, now you know what "I'm tired" means to him, so I think it's a good idea to take that cue in the future. As well, going into the bedroom away from you and your son was another clue that he was giving you (as it was different from his normal routine, it seems), and now you also know that that is a cue you need to take. He's doing a lot of changing and adjusting in terms of your agreement right now, and this is one area it seems you can adjust to his needs and learn to fit him better.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: WillyNilly on February 21, 2012, 02:55:24 PM
I really like the suggestions (from quite a few posters)  to come up with a longer "code phrase" if "I'm tired" isn't clear enough for the OP.   

I think where we're diverging is the phrase "I'm tired." To me, it is a simple statement of fact and means nothing more. To you, it means "I need space; please leave me alone." I'm a literal person and I often don't "get it" when a person says one thing and means another. If he's laying on the bed and saying he's tired, I'm going to think that he's tired, but I am not going to understand that that means he wants to be left alone unless it's spelled out for me. Tired does not automatically exclude conversation, in my mind.

But you need to own that as your failing, not his.  Because to most people, saying "I'm tired" and going into a separate room and laying down, is a very clear, concise communication of "I need some alone time because I'm weary at the moment."  You don't have to get that as your way of thinking, but you have to own that its you who's not getting it, not him who is not communicating. 

Talking is exhausting.  Especially answering questions talking.  He was tired.  Not sleepy per say, but tired.

I have read the other thread.  But I have to say if this situation is indicative of a sample slice of your lives together, you might want to consider that he might find you overbearing.  This could be a one off for sure, but if this was a normal thing - you following him and questioning him when his body language is being very clear and then his verbal language is backing it up, you need to take some responsibility.  I felt a bit stifled just reading the OP, and I'm very much a talker.  But everyone needs a moment every now and then.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: CakeBeret on February 21, 2012, 03:41:51 PM
I really like the suggestions (from quite a few posters)  to come up with a longer "code phrase" if "I'm tired" isn't clear enough for the OP.   

I think where we're diverging is the phrase "I'm tired." To me, it is a simple statement of fact and means nothing more. To you, it means "I need space; please leave me alone." I'm a literal person and I often don't "get it" when a person says one thing and means another. If he's laying on the bed and saying he's tired, I'm going to think that he's tired, but I am not going to understand that that means he wants to be left alone unless it's spelled out for me. Tired does not automatically exclude conversation, in my mind.

But you need to own that as your failing, not his.  Because to most people, saying "I'm tired" and going into a separate room and laying down, is a very clear, concise communication of "I need some alone time because I'm weary at the moment."  You don't have to get that as your way of thinking, but you have to own that its you who's not getting it, not him who is not communicating. 

Talking is exhausting.  Especially answering questions talking.  He was tired.  Not sleepy per say, but tired.

I have read the other thread.  But I have to say if this situation is indicative of a sample slice of your lives together, you might want to consider that he might find you overbearing.  This could be a one off for sure, but if this was a normal thing - you following him and questioning him when his body language is being very clear and then his verbal language is backing it up, you need to take some responsibility.  I felt a bit stifled just reading the OP, and I'm very much a talker.  But everyone needs a moment every now and then.

You do have a point. I guess I have a hard time interpreting his nonverbal cues, and determining what "means something" and what doesn't. If he's in the garage with the radio blaring, sometimes that means he wants to be left alone and sometimes that just means he found something interesting to do but doesn't mind me joining him. When he lays down in the bedroom after work--and it happens a few times a month, I think--sometimes he invites me to lay down with him and talk. I have no way of knowing without talking to him. And once I determined he didn't want to talk, I left him alone. I didn't press him for conversation all evening, figuring he'd talk to me if/when he felt like it.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: CakeBeret on February 21, 2012, 03:58:11 PM
So, would it be better to ask if he wants to be alone, or just assume that he does? How can I improve on reading these cues better?
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: WillyNilly on February 21, 2012, 04:07:49 PM
Quote
When I got home today, DH gave me a halfhearted hug and said hi, and then he went off to the bedroom. I waited a few minutes but he did not reappear, so I went to look for him and he was laying on the bed. He said he was tired. I tried to ask him about his day and he gave me grumpy one-word answers, so I decided to leave him alone.

You do have a point. I guess I have a hard time interpreting his nonverbal cues, and determining what "means something" and what doesn't. If he's in the garage with the radio blaring, sometimes that means he wants to be left alone and sometimes that just means he found something interesting to do but doesn't mind me joining him. When he lays down in the bedroom after work--and it happens a few times a month, I think--sometimes he invites me to lay down with him and talk. I have no way of knowing without talking to him. And once I determined he didn't want to talk, I left him alone. I didn't press him for conversation all evening, figuring he'd talk to me if/when he felt like it.

Perhaps this is an oversimplified answer here... but have you tried with simply opening with "hey - in a mood to chat?"  If he hesitates or is wishy-washy, well that's not great but probably means "no" but hopefully he'll just answer "sure!" or "actually I'm tired" or "I'm in a groove here" or something that says "my mind is actually somewhere else right now".  I do this with DF - I do in fact often follow him into the bedroom when he gets home from work even.  But I always start with asking if he's ok to chat.  Sometimes he says "whats up?" which clues me in he's ok for listening, but not really talking too much, sometimes he launches into something about his day, and sometimes he says "it was a tough one, give me a moment" and I wander off and fix dinner or pick up a magazine and wait for him to be ready for conversation.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: ShadesOfGrey on February 21, 2012, 04:13:10 PM
I wouldn't put him in the position of having to say no and feeling guilty (if I'm reading your interactions correctly). I'd just simply leave him alone in those situations.

When he invites you in to lay down with him and talk, take him up on it, if you're feeling up to it as well - but let him take the lead on it. If it's a garage thing and he doesn't invite you, I'd try to look for clues that are the difference between when he invites you in and when he wants to be alone (Is it a certain kind of project? Does he go in there alone after a certain stressor? Certain music to indicate his mood?)

If you really cant tell, just ask, with no guilt tripping, and with no emotion or expectation behind it. "Hey, that looks like an interesting project. Mind if I join you for an hour or would you prefer to work alone right now?" and then accept his answer. 
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: whatsanenigma on February 21, 2012, 04:36:05 PM
I wouldn't put him in the position of having to say no and feeling guilty (if I'm reading your interactions correctly). I'd just simply leave him alone in those situations.

If you really cant tell, just ask, with no guilt tripping, and with no emotion or expectation behind it. "Hey, that looks like an interesting project. Mind if I join you for an hour or would you prefer to work alone right now?" and then accept his answer.

I like this idea, especially if you can work out a good way to phrase it so he doesn't have to say the word "no".  You could say something like "Are you up for a chat now or would you rather wait until [after dinner, after you finish the project, after the little one is asleep, whatever is applicable]?"  Or even, "Hey, I'll be [place] doing [thing], when you get in the mood to chat come let me know."  I don't know if that would help or not, but personally I like to phrase questions in a way that lets the other person communicate "no" without  saying the word-it just seems to be less guilt trip inducing or pushy, IMHO for what it's worth.

Also, I just wanted to comment about use of the word "tired".  I have read a good description of introverts versus extroverts as the difference in how a person gets energy.  An extrovert gets energy from being around people and gets tired when alone.  An introvert is the opposite, and gets energy from being alone while being around other people causes tiredness.   This does not necessarily have anything to do with how enjoyable the person finds the experience of being around people or a certain person.  It's about where the energy comes from.

The reason I say that is because to an introvert, to say "I am tired" really does mean in many cases "I need alone time to recharge my batteries, nothing personal."  It doesn't necessarily mean "I am tired and need to lie down or go to sleep".  So if he is playing a computer game or cleaning a gun or whatever, that doesn't necessarily mean he's "not too tired" to do those things but "too tired" to interact with you-it could mean that he's "too tired" to be around any people and just being alone is making him not as tired.

Having said that, it does seem to be a problem to me that he seems to react as though this is your fault.  Hopefully this is a thing where you can keep communicating and it will come around to it really being nobody's "fault", nobody is "right" or "wrong", it's just a communication difference that you can resolve, so you both can understand each other's communication of love for each other.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Surianne on February 21, 2012, 05:00:38 PM
Also, I just wanted to comment about use of the word "tired".  I have read a good description of introverts versus extroverts as the difference in how a person gets energy.  An extrovert gets energy from being around people and gets tired when alone.  An introvert is the opposite, and gets energy from being alone while being around other people causes tiredness.   This does not necessarily have anything to do with how enjoyable the person finds the experience of being around people or a certain person.  It's about where the energy comes from.

The reason I say that is because to an introvert, to say "I am tired" really does mean in many cases "I need alone time to recharge my batteries, nothing personal."

Yes!  I'm an introvert and this completely describes me.

Something like WillyNilly's or DigitalPumpkin's suggestions* to ask "Up for chatting, or in the mood for some alone time?" before joining him would work well with me, because you're giving me an option without any form of pressure or guilt, which would make it easy to say "Actually I'm wiped and need to be alone for now.  I'll come say hi when I've got my energy back."

Of course I can only speak for myself, so I'd suggest talking to him directly about what he prefers, but I think their posts make for a great start.

*yikes, grammar has failed me tonight
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: bah12 on February 21, 2012, 05:02:36 PM
So, would it be better to ask if he wants to be alone, or just assume that he does? How can I improve on reading these cues better?

In light of everything that's going on with you two, I do think that the counselor you plan on seeing can help you both with this.  Giving/understanding cues, both verbal and non-verbal, on both sides.

I think posters have given you some excellent advice and the perspective you've asked for, but honestly, I don't think that this is something that is going to improve on our advice alone. 

You seem open to hearing his side of things and where you may have erred in this whole thing, so I think you're in a great position to move towards some healing.  In the meantime, I like the idea of "are you up for a chat?" as a way to guage when he does/doesn't want to be alone.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: hobish on February 21, 2012, 05:12:35 PM
I really like the suggestions (from quite a few posters)  to come up with a longer "code phrase" if "I'm tired" isn't clear enough for the OP.   

I think where we're diverging is the phrase "I'm tired." To me, it is a simple statement of fact and means nothing more. To you, it means "I need space; please leave me alone." I'm a literal person and I often don't "get it" when a person says one thing and means another. If he's laying on the bed and saying he's tired, I'm going to think that he's tired, but I am not going to understand that that means he wants to be left alone unless it's spelled out for me. Tired does not automatically exclude conversation, in my mind.

I shouldn't think it would be too hard to pick up that going forward if he - or anyone really - says they are tired, and they are laying down, it is probably a bad time for chitchat. I understand having a hard time reading nonverbal cues; but if laying down in the bedroom and speaking "I'm tired" does not convey a lack of wanting interaction I donít know what does. The need for trying to pick apart whether it is this that or the other kind of tired or make up a code phrase Ö yeah, you have some communication issues, on both sides. I am not trying to be harsh, I really just donít get how that could be unclear, especially from someone you purport to know well enough to marry and procreate with.

I have to echo WillyNilly in much of that.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Allyson on February 21, 2012, 06:40:09 PM
It really does depend on the people though. My boyfriend and I are both extroverted. For either of us, an 'I'm tired' and lying in bed would mean 'feel free to come join me to snuggle and talk'. I'm another who has a hard time interpreting non-explicit statements/cues, so to me that wouldn't be an obvious thing either.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: NutMeg on February 21, 2012, 07:04:20 PM
I guess that I'm still stuck on the fact that they have a toddler. I don't think it is right for one of the parents to disappear somewhere and leave the other parent with the task of childcare without a quick discussion. He didn't say, "I'm tired and need to lay down for a little bit, can you watch the kid?" In fact, he didn't say anything at all until CakeBeret came to find him. When you have responsibility for a small child, that's just unacceptable. I don't think that childcare is automatically the mother's job, but that seems to be what he assumed here.

This all could have been prevented if he took 15 seconds to communicate his needs. I really think people are being too hard on CakeBeret here. It shouldn't have to be her job to extrapolate from morsels of information what the correct course to take is. This is her husband, not a PA co-worker. I don't think there is anything wrong with having a bad day and needing time to oneself, but you have to be upfront about that, particularly when childcare is involved.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Surianne on February 21, 2012, 07:26:15 PM
NutMeg, I reread the OP and I'm a little lost on the toddler thing, so I wonder if there's backstory I don't know...did he promise to watch the toddler that night?  In the OP for this thread it didn't seem like something she was upset about so I think that's why a lot of people aren't focusing on the child (whereas others who know the OP's previous threads may see it as a recurring issue?).
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Mental Magpie on February 21, 2012, 07:43:14 PM
It really does depend on the people though. My boyfriend and I are both extroverted. For either of us, an 'I'm tired' and lying in bed would mean 'feel free to come join me to snuggle and talk'. I'm another who has a hard time interpreting non-explicit statements/cues, so to me that wouldn't be an obvious thing either.

I have to echo this.  If I told Dark Boyfriend I was tired, it would mean I didn't get enough sleep but that I'm still up for just about anything.  If I tell him "I need to be alone for a bit" it means I need to be alone for a bit.  Lying down in the bed? Well come lay with me, we'll chat and snuggle.  Laying down on the couch? Sit down so I can put my head in your lap and we'll chat/watch tv together.  "I'm tired" does not automatically mean "leave me alone for a bit" so I can't blame CakeBeret on that one.  Further, she gets props for, once she figured out he meant "leave me alone for a bit" she did exactly that. 

Up until he got mad at her feelings being hurt, I can also see how her DH didn't talk.  Sometimes, when I get in my own head, I don't talk a lot but more than one word sentences/answers, and I'm a talker, so it's obvious something is wrong/up.  All he had to do was communicate that to her in a way that she would understand, but he didn't.  I don't see at all how the OP was being overbearing by following him into the bedroom because she didn't understand that he said one thing and meant another.  He needs to communicate better exactly what he wants.  Also, the OPs miniupdate in which she explained that sometimes music blaring means one thing and sometimes it means another, he definitely needs to figure out say exactly what he wants because of that.

That being said, CakeBeret, I think you should sit down and tell your DH exactly how you saw the interaction in your mind.  "I didn't know you meant that you wanted to be left alone for a bit.  To me, tired means that you didn't get enough sleep.  Please, in the future, let me know exactly what you need so that I don't misinterpret it."
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: June24 on February 21, 2012, 09:09:10 PM
I guess that I'm still stuck on the fact that they have a toddler. I don't think it is right for one of the parents to disappear somewhere and leave the other parent with the task of childcare without a quick discussion. He didn't say, "I'm tired and need to lay down for a little bit, can you watch the kid?" In fact, he didn't say anything at all until CakeBeret came to find him. When you have responsibility for a small child, that's just unacceptable. I don't think that childcare is automatically the mother's job, but that seems to be what he assumed here.

This all could have been prevented if he took 15 seconds to communicate his needs. I really think people are being too hard on CakeBeret here. It shouldn't have to be her job to extrapolate from morsels of information what the correct course to take is. This is her husband, not a PA co-worker. I don't think there is anything wrong with having a bad day and needing time to oneself, but you have to be upfront about that, particularly when childcare is involved.

I don't think one parent should have to ask the other to watch their own kid in their own house. It's not like they were out somewhere where the kid could wander away and would require constant supervision. A toddler can play on his own for 30 minutes - OP doesn't have to actively watch and entertain him. I assume there's an area of the house where the child can play safely more or less on his own, unless the OP and her husband are actively engaging the child every moment he's awake. Again, it just seems like a lot of work to communicate every.single.thing like that. Anyways, it should all balance out at the end - at some point the OP may want some time alone, and go to another room and leave the kid with Dh for a while. He's not an acquaintance who should have to be asked to watch the kid - I would assume he'd keep an eye out without having to be told. I don't think it really requires so much explicit communication - that seems very draining. I guess I just don't expect to have to communicate about everything in such a close relationship. It really hasn't been my experience at all.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Adios on February 22, 2012, 12:23:57 AM

Was it unreasonable for me to expect a few minutes of conversation, even if he was tired, since I barely get to see him tonight?  How do you act towards your spouse/SO when you are tired after a long day's work, and what do you expect of your spouse?

OP, I am assuming that you and your husband have been together for quite a while, is this really the first time this has come up?

Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: CakeBeret on February 22, 2012, 08:08:33 AM

Was it unreasonable for me to expect a few minutes of conversation, even if he was tired, since I barely get to see him tonight?  How do you act towards your spouse/SO when you are tired after a long day's work, and what do you expect of your spouse?

OP, I am assuming that you and your husband have been together for quite a while, is this really the first time this has come up?

We have been together for 7.5 years and married for 3. This really is the first time we have ever had this issue.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: bah12 on February 22, 2012, 09:32:09 AM
NutMeg, I reread the OP and I'm a little lost on the toddler thing, so I wonder if there's backstory I don't know...did he promise to watch the toddler that night?  In the OP for this thread it didn't seem like something she was upset about so I think that's why a lot of people aren't focusing on the child (whereas others who know the OP's previous threads may see it as a recurring issue?).

I don't think it's a matter of promising/not promising.  I have a toddler and even when DH and I are both at home, someone has to take some responsibility for supervising her.  She can't just be locked up in her bedroom so that both parents can have downtime.  When we are both at home, but not actively involved with each other, it's just a simple matter of saying "Is DD with you?" or "Are you watching her?" so that the other one doesn't have to worry about it. There have been plenty of times that I or my DH have come home from work and said "I'm tired and need to be left alone.  Can you watch DD for half an hour?"  It's not that hard or overburdensome (like another pp said).

Nutmeg is saying that it's not automatic that childcare at home should fall on the OP.

I'm a little lost on the details of this half hour to converse.  I'm not quite sure if this was prearranged time together or not.  My responses assume that they were, and that's why I think he should have just said "I'm tired" when he came home, instead of disappearing and leaving it to her to go find him and find out what was going on.  And I'm also unsure of what the status quo is for caring for the toddler, but if there is any assumption that the OP always takes main responsibility for supervising the child so her DH can downtime whenever he feels like it...I do think that's a problem.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: anonymousmac on February 22, 2012, 09:36:17 AM
I guess that I'm still stuck on the fact that they have a toddler. I don't think it is right for one of the parents to disappear somewhere and leave the other parent with the task of childcare without a quick discussion. He didn't say, "I'm tired and need to lay down for a little bit, can you watch the kid?" In fact, he didn't say anything at all until CakeBeret came to find him. When you have responsibility for a small child, that's just unacceptable. I don't think that childcare is automatically the mother's job, but that seems to be what he assumed here.

I completely agree!  When a couple has young children together, someone going off by themselves isn't as simple as just walking away and closing the door and expecting everything to be made smooth for them.  One partner is really saying to the other, "I'm tired, and I'd really like some time to myself.  Can you please be on duty with the kids and take care of all of our joint responsibilities for a while so I can rest?"

When one partner just checks out with no warning, the other partner has no choice but to step up and handle things.  It's rude and disrespectful to put someone in a position where they have no choice in the matter, giving them no input into what they're being forced to do, especially with no warning.  What if CakeBeret also needed down time?  I bet her husband would be furious if he came home and she simply walked away and closed the door, and left him to deal with their son for an unknown amount of time, and then got angry at him if he got upset at "I'm tired" being the only thing she bothered saying to him all evening.

I completely understand needing down time.  But partners with joint responsibilities need to do each other the courtesy of communicating about it, asking each other to take over duties, not just dropping the ball with no warning.  I agree that CakeBeret and her husband need to find ways to give each other down time more smoothly, with more warning and better communication, but I can completely understand why she's upset in this situation.

Furthermore, let's not forget that CakeBeret -did- recognize what was going on, and took responsibility so her husband could have the downtime he clearly needed.  It's unfair to keep taking her to task as if she kept nagging him to talk to her.  But it's fair for her to be upset over being treated that way, and really unfair of her husband to get mad at her for being upset.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: CakeBeret on February 22, 2012, 09:56:13 AM
NutMeg, I reread the OP and I'm a little lost on the toddler thing, so I wonder if there's backstory I don't know...did he promise to watch the toddler that night?  In the OP for this thread it didn't seem like something she was upset about so I think that's why a lot of people aren't focusing on the child (whereas others who know the OP's previous threads may see it as a recurring issue?).

I don't think it's a matter of promising/not promising.  I have a toddler and even when DH and I are both at home, someone has to take some responsibility for supervising her.  She can't just be locked up in her bedroom so that both parents can have downtime.  When we are both at home, but not actively involved with each other, it's just a simple matter of saying "Is DD with you?" or "Are you watching her?" so that the other one doesn't have to worry about it. There have been plenty of times that I or my DH have come home from work and said "I'm tired and need to be left alone.  Can you watch DD for half an hour?"  It's not that hard or overburdensome (like another pp said).

Nutmeg is saying that it's not automatic that childcare at home should fall on the OP.

I'm a little lost on the details of this half hour to converse.  I'm not quite sure if this was prearranged time together or not.  My responses assume that they were, and that's why I think he should have just said "I'm tired" when he came home, instead of disappearing and leaving it to her to go find him and find out what was going on.  And I'm also unsure of what the status quo is for caring for the toddler, but if there is any assumption that the OP always takes main responsibility for supervising the child so her DH can downtime whenever he feels like it...I do think that's a problem.

The half hour to converse was not strictly prearranged, but a few weeks ago I did tell him that since that's all the time I have with him on Monday nights, I'd appreciate him spending that time with me.

I have, in the past, told DH that I was tired and needed to lay down and have quiet time after work. I went into the bedroom and shut the door. This upset our son, and DH was watching TV, so he let our son pound on the bedroom door and call for me. He would sometimes occasionally say "DS, leave Mommy alone" but not make any other effort. Not exactly restful, and so I gave up on resting while DS is awake.

Childcare at home does fall on me, and I kind of resent that, but with our bigger issues right now, I don't make a big deal out of it.

The funny thing is that I am an extreme introvert, and people exhaust me. DH, on the other hand, is sort of neutral, not terribly introverted and not terribly extroverted. I do need quiet alone time, but I've learned that I have to wait until after DS is in bed to find it.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Surianne on February 22, 2012, 10:56:19 AM
I'm a little lost on the details of this half hour to converse.  I'm not quite sure if this was prearranged time together or not.  My responses assume that they were, and that's why I think he should have just said "I'm tired" when he came home, instead of disappearing and leaving it to her to go find him and find out what was going on. 

Ahhh, now I'm starting to understand a little better.  I was definitely *not* assuming this was prearranged time that he promised to spend with the OP -- I didn't know any of the background about promises re: communication and spending time together, so I think that's why I've had such a different approach to this thread.  Some posters are seeing a broken promise where for me it was just a guy who wanted to relax a little after a bad day  :) 
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: rashea on February 22, 2012, 11:02:24 AM
I'm a little lost on the details of this half hour to converse.  I'm not quite sure if this was prearranged time together or not.  My responses assume that they were, and that's why I think he should have just said "I'm tired" when he came home, instead of disappearing and leaving it to her to go find him and find out what was going on. 

Ahhh, now I'm starting to understand a little better.  I was definitely *not* assuming this was prearranged time that he promised to spend with the OP -- I didn't know any of the background about promises re: communication and spending time together, so I think that's why I've had such a different approach to this thread.  Some posters are seeing a broken promise where for me it was just a guy who wanted to relax a little after a bad day  :)

I think a lot of us are thinking with references to CakeBeret's recent thread: http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=112016.0

ETA: I think it's helpful that some people are coming into this without that whole background, because it helps define "normal" boundaries. I added this, because I didn't want people to feel like they shouldn't post if they haven't made it through 20+ pages of backstory.

And I think the automatic default that you are taking care of your child, and that even if you ask for downtime you don't get it, is a major relationship issue that needs to be addressed.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Surianne on February 22, 2012, 11:07:25 AM
I'm a little lost on the details of this half hour to converse.  I'm not quite sure if this was prearranged time together or not.  My responses assume that they were, and that's why I think he should have just said "I'm tired" when he came home, instead of disappearing and leaving it to her to go find him and find out what was going on. 

Ahhh, now I'm starting to understand a little better.  I was definitely *not* assuming this was prearranged time that he promised to spend with the OP -- I didn't know any of the background about promises re: communication and spending time together, so I think that's why I've had such a different approach to this thread.  Some posters are seeing a broken promise where for me it was just a guy who wanted to relax a little after a bad day  :)

I think a lot of us are thinking with references to CakeBeret's recent thread: http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=112016.0

Thanks!  Whew, that's a lot of pages...if it's extremely relevant for this thread I think it's time for me to back out, no way I'll manage to get through it today  ;D 

Quote
And I think the automatic default that you are taking care of your child, and that even if you ask for downtime you don't get it, is a major relationship issue that needs to be addressed.

Was that also in response to me?  I don't think I've argued anything about the child, I just asked a question because another poster was referring to the toddler, so you probably have me mixed up with someone else.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: CakeBeret on February 22, 2012, 11:21:52 AM
Sorry for not posting the link to the other thread. I wasn't sure if it was relevant and didn't want posters to feel obligated to slog through a billion pages. ;) I should have been more precise in the OP that I'd told him previously it's important to me to spend this time together.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: rashea on February 22, 2012, 11:27:05 AM

Was that also in response to me?  I don't think I've argued anything about the child, I just asked a question because another poster was referring to the toddler, so you probably have me mixed up with someone else.

Nope, sorry, I should have been clear. That was more to the thread as a whole.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Surianne on February 22, 2012, 11:44:26 AM
Sorry for not posting the link to the other thread. I wasn't sure if it was relevant and didn't want posters to feel obligated to slog through a billion pages. ;) I should have been more precise in the OP that I'd told him previously it's important to me to spend this time together.

It's hard to know sometimes what's relevant until you start the discussion, so no worries, I doubt any of us will hold it against you  ;D 


Was that also in response to me?  I don't think I've argued anything about the child, I just asked a question because another poster was referring to the toddler, so you probably have me mixed up with someone else.

Nope, sorry, I should have been clear. That was more to the thread as a whole.

Ah thanks!  Carry on  ;D
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Jaelle on February 22, 2012, 08:24:07 PM
Commenting on the toddler thing. When DH and I are both in the house, we are both in charge of keeping tabs on the kids unless one or the other of us lets the other one know. (As in, "Hey, I need a break; I'm going to go hide and read for a little while" or "Hey, I need some quiet time to get this chore done.")

It bothers me that some seem to think that, unless the OP's DH was specifically planning on watching his child by prearrangement, he's considered absolved from the responsibility.  :( Parenthood is teamwork.

(And no, I've found you really can't leave a toddler alone for 30 minutes (as a prior poster said) unless you want to find box of tissues emptied out into the living room room or a stamp pad used as warpaint. (Before true examples ... with my younger son given less than 10 minutes for both. In fact, it was more like five.))
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: lollylegs on February 22, 2012, 10:54:35 PM
I guess that I'm still stuck on the fact that they have a toddler. I don't think it is right for one of the parents to disappear somewhere and leave the other parent with the task of childcare without a quick discussion. He didn't say, "I'm tired and need to lay down for a little bit, can you watch the kid?" In fact, he didn't say anything at all until CakeBeret came to find him. When you have responsibility for a small child, that's just unacceptable. I don't think that childcare is automatically the mother's job, but that seems to be what he assumed here.

I completely agree!  When a couple has young children together, someone going off by themselves isn't as simple as just walking away and closing the door and expecting everything to be made smooth for them.  One partner is really saying to the other, "I'm tired, and I'd really like some time to myself.  Can you please be on duty with the kids and take care of all of our joint responsibilities for a while so I can rest?"

When one partner just checks out with no warning, the other partner has no choice but to step up and handle things.  It's rude and disrespectful to put someone in a position where they have no choice in the matter, giving them no input into what they're being forced to do, especially with no warning.   What if CakeBeret also needed down time?  I bet her husband would be furious if he came home and she simply walked away and closed the door, and left him to deal with their son for an unknown amount of time, and then got angry at him if he got upset at "I'm tired" being the only thing she bothered saying to him all evening.

I completely understand needing down time.  But partners with joint responsibilities need to do each other the courtesy of communicating about it, asking each other to take over duties, not just dropping the ball with no warning.  I agree that CakeBeret and her husband need to find ways to give each other down time more smoothly, with more warning and better communication, but I can completely understand why she's upset in this situation.

Furthermore, let's not forget that CakeBeret -did- recognize what was going on, and took responsibility so her husband could have the downtime he clearly needed.  It's unfair to keep taking her to task as if she kept nagging him to talk to her.  But it's fair for her to be upset over being treated that way, and really unfair of her husband to get mad at her for being upset.

Regarding the bolded, I think that's a bit of a generalisation.  Every household has their own arrangements regarding childcare.  My partner and I never explicitly say, "I'm going to do this now, can you watch the child?"  I often sneak off to have a shower or read in our room while my partner's playing with our son, and vice versa.  It works for us.  Neither way is right or wrong, they're just different.

I do agree with your last paragraph though.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Surianne on February 23, 2012, 07:40:58 PM
It bothers me that some seem to think that, unless the OP's DH was specifically planning on watching his child by prearrangement, he's considered absolved from the responsibility.  :( Parenthood is teamwork.

Actually no, near as I can tell no one has said anything like that. 

What I'm saying is that because the OP didn't seem to feel the toddler was part of the big issue re: why she was upset with her husband, I thought it was safe to assume that it *wasn't* an issue for her -- or she'd have mentioned it in her first post.

It seems to me like posters have just jumped on childcare as a reason to pile even more blame on the OP's husband, even though we don't actually know it's a problem for her.  Why make it an issue if it's not?

If she were to say "Actually I think he really let me down on the child-watching front that night, too, and it's a big part of why I'm mad", that would be different.  If she has said that in this thread, and I missed it, please correct me, of course.  I did a pass through again to double check but may have still missed something.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Bexx27 on February 23, 2012, 07:46:20 PM
It bothers me that some seem to think that, unless the OP's DH was specifically planning on watching his child by prearrangement, he's considered absolved from the responsibility.  :( Parenthood is teamwork.

Actually no, near as I can tell no one has said anything like that. 

What I'm saying is that because the OP didn't seem to feel the toddler was part of the big issue re: why she was upset with her husband, I thought it was safe to assume that it *wasn't* an issue for her -- or she'd have mentioned it in her first post.

It seems to me like posters have just jumped on childcare as a reason to pile even more blame on the OP's husband, even though we don't actually know it's a problem for her.  Why make it an issue if it's not?

If she were to say "Actually I think he really let me down on the child-watching front that night, too, and it's a big part of why I'm mad", that would be different.  If she has said that in this thread, and I missed it, please correct me, of course.  I did a pass through again to double check but may have still missed something.

She has said that she is primarily responsible for child care and is unhappy that he doesn't step up more in that area. This is an example of him assuming, without any discussion, that she will take care of the baby while he does his own thing.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Surianne on February 23, 2012, 08:52:02 PM
She has said that she is primarily responsible for child care and is unhappy that he doesn't step up more in that area. This is an example of him assuming, without any discussion, that she will take care of the baby while he does his own thing.

Thanks Bexx.  I completely missed that.  Must've overlooked an update somewhere.

Elephantschild, my apologies for trying to correct you when I was wrong myself  ;D 
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: kareng57 on February 23, 2012, 09:06:33 PM
I guess that I'm still stuck on the fact that they have a toddler. I don't think it is right for one of the parents to disappear somewhere and leave the other parent with the task of childcare without a quick discussion. He didn't say, "I'm tired and need to lay down for a little bit, can you watch the kid?" In fact, he didn't say anything at all until CakeBeret came to find him. When you have responsibility for a small child, that's just unacceptable. I don't think that childcare is automatically the mother's job, but that seems to be what he assumed here.

This all could have been prevented if he took 15 seconds to communicate his needs. I really think people are being too hard on CakeBeret here. It shouldn't have to be her job to extrapolate from morsels of information what the correct course to take is. This is her husband, not a PA co-worker. I don't think there is anything wrong with having a bad day and needing time to oneself, but you have to be upfront about that, particularly when childcare is involved.

I don't think one parent should have to ask the other to watch their own kid in their own house. It's not like they were out somewhere where the kid could wander away and would require constant supervision. A toddler can play on his own for 30 minutes - OP doesn't have to actively watch and entertain him. I assume there's an area of the house where the child can play safely more or less on his own, unless the OP and her husband are actively engaging the child every moment he's awake. Again, it just seems like a lot of work to communicate every.single.thing like that. Anyways, it should all balance out at the end - at some point the OP may want some time alone, and go to another room and leave the kid with Dh for a while. He's not an acquaintance who should have to be asked to watch the kid - I would assume he'd keep an eye out without having to be told. I don't think it really requires so much explicit communication - that seems very draining. I guess I just don't expect to have to communicate about everything in such a close relationship. It really hasn't been my experience at all.


I do have to politely disagree here.  We were anything but overprotective parents - but we still established which one of us was actively "watching" the child(ren).  I can't recall exact details - memory gets blurred when there are two kids in 15 months - but it can't have been that complicated.  After all, many childhood accidents occur when each parent assumes that the other one was supervising.

While my late Dh was the extrovert (I'm an introvert), every now and then he'd be kind of uncommunicative and would really get irritated if I kept asking what was wrong.  "Can't a guy just be tired!?"  But for OP - I do think it's kind of unfair for him to be "too tired" to look after the child at the end of the day, if that's been the standing arrangement.  Mothers get very tired, too, and still have to do it.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Petticoats on February 24, 2012, 10:03:27 AM
CakeBeret, knowing the background, this episode set off sirens for me. What happened to the guy who was stepping up to save the marriage? Now it seems like he's returning to his poor communication habits and (as Allyson said way upthread) snipping at you when you understandably respond in a less than delighted way.

I'm also concerned that all the at-home parenting defaults to you, and I hope that's something the two of you will discuss in counseling.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Reason on February 24, 2012, 12:04:22 PM
I find more of an issue with the grumpy one word answers and a grumpy "leave me alone, I am tired" behavior. Nothing wrong with being tired. We've all been tired and we've all needed time to ourselves.

But is it really so difficult to just say that to your wife.
"I am sorry, but I am really tired right now and would like some time to myself to unwind."

The fact that he instead chose to act like a toddler instead and then got mad about it is quite troubling. Especially given his history of apparent manipulation in the past. It really looks like the pattern has not changed much, at least to me.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: VorFemme on February 24, 2012, 12:15:35 PM
I remember seeing a letter to an advice columnist decades ago where if the family came home and Mom's apron was tied on the side (so a lot of years ago - I think that it was an older book of reprinted columns), they knew that they needed to walk warily around her and Dad thought about going out or at least going for takeout (it was her "down to my last nerve" signal)

Perhaps a non-verbal signal that lets the rest of you know that he wants/needs fifteen to thirty minutes to "catch his breath" while he changes from WORK to FAMILY mode?  A baseball cap?  Sunglasses?  A "Me Time" timer that can be wound ONCE when he gets home (also useful as a kitchen timer).  A little time to eat a small snack (VorGuy sometimes skips lunch to get something done in that thirty minutes and then comes home ravenous AND cranky) to get his blood sugar and energy levels up? 

But he needs to talk to you to set up some kind of arrangement - just being grumpy is not going to work due to the past history of the last couple of years..................

Maybe something that the joint counseling can help set up...............but YOU need time to yourself, too.  Toddlers are exhausting to follow around...............you never know what they are going to do because THEY don't know either.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: JenJay on February 24, 2012, 11:20:12 PM
I find more of an issue with the grumpy one word answers and a grumpy "leave me alone, I am tired" behavior. Nothing wrong with being tired. We've all been tired and we've all needed time to ourselves.

But is it really so difficult to just say that to your wife.
"I am sorry, but I am really tired right now and would like some time to myself to unwind."

The fact that he instead chose to act like a toddler instead and then got mad about it is quite troubling. Especially given his history of apparent manipulation in the past. It really looks like the pattern has not changed much, at least to me.

This is my concern, as well. It's absolutely fine if he was mentaly worn out after work and needed to be alone. It is not fine, IMO, for him to repeatedly snip at CB and blame it on being tired when he seemed to have enough energy and good will for everyone else. It's easy to put on a fake "I'm in a great mood" face for friends and family but let your guard down and be a grouch to your partner. It's important not to do that, though. Especially in this case with this background. CB might have asked if he wanted some time alone, but he could have offered that information, too. I don't think it was fair for him to expect her to just know he wanted to be left completely alone as he went about his normal routine.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: wolfie on February 25, 2012, 12:23:03 PM
I find more of an issue with the grumpy one word answers and a grumpy "leave me alone, I am tired" behavior. Nothing wrong with being tired. We've all been tired and we've all needed time to ourselves.

But is it really so difficult to just say that to your wife.
"I am sorry, but I am really tired right now and would like some time to myself to unwind."

The fact that he instead chose to act like a toddler instead and then got mad about it is quite troubling. Especially given his history of apparent manipulation in the past. It really looks like the pattern has not changed much, at least to me.

Not to excuse CakeBeret's husband too much but its only been a few weeks. That isn't really enough time to change ingrained habits. He has made an effort to change - but to expect him to change everything overnight is unrealistic and will only lead to unhappiness. This is something that should be brought up to the marriage counselor when you go and if he doesn't make an effort to change then it is a red flag. But for now I wouldn't make this a make or break issue.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: RandomAngel on February 25, 2012, 04:04:53 PM
I find more of an issue with the grumpy one word answers and a grumpy "leave me alone, I am tired" behavior. Nothing wrong with being tired. We've all been tired and we've all needed time to ourselves.

But is it really so difficult to just say that to your wife.
"I am sorry, but I am really tired right now and would like some time to myself to unwind."

The fact that he instead chose to act like a toddler instead and then got mad about it is quite troubling. Especially given his history of apparent manipulation in the past. It really looks like the pattern has not changed much, at least to me.

Not to excuse CakeBeret's husband too much but its only been a few weeks. That isn't really enough time to change ingrained habits. He has made an effort to change - but to expect him to change everything overnight is unrealistic and will only lead to unhappiness. This is something that should be brought up to the marriage counselor when you go and if he doesn't make an effort to change then it is a red flag. But for now I wouldn't make this a make or break issue.

I agree...not to mention that he's very, very deep in "relationship debt." It sounds like he's been making an effort to pay it down, but it's not realistic to expect that he'll be "on" and in full making-things-up-to-OP mode all the time. That would be exhausting! I think it would be fair to give him a "day off" from working on things now and then...but ONLY now and then.

As for the specific incident...well, if my DH goes into the bedroom and lies down, I assume he needs some time without me. Otherwise he'd choose to be in the room where I already was! And if I had reason to worry that something was wrong, and poked my head in and ask, I'd consider "I'm tired" to be a full and complete explanation. And I can tell you that, if I kept trying to converse with him after that, he'd probably launch a pillow at my head. ;)

I see what PP's are saying about setting up a signal, but there's a lot to be said for taking things at face value, too. It sounds like your DH GAVE you some pretty clear signals, and then was upset when you held a grudge. And I don't mean to sound harsh at ALL, but I'm genuinely curious: being tired and not wanting to chat comes up now and then in seven years--have you guys really never worked out how to convey/understand that mood? Is it that he usually handles it in a radically different manner, or do you just argue about it every time?
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Mental Magpie on February 25, 2012, 04:20:55 PM
I find more of an issue with the grumpy one word answers and a grumpy "leave me alone, I am tired" behavior. Nothing wrong with being tired. We've all been tired and we've all needed time to ourselves.

But is it really so difficult to just say that to your wife.
"I am sorry, but I am really tired right now and would like some time to myself to unwind."

The fact that he instead chose to act like a toddler instead and then got mad about it is quite troubling. Especially given his history of apparent manipulation in the past. It really looks like the pattern has not changed much, at least to me.

Not to excuse CakeBeret's husband too much but its only been a few weeks. That isn't really enough time to change ingrained habits. He has made an effort to change - but to expect him to change everything overnight is unrealistic and will only lead to unhappiness. This is something that should be brought up to the marriage counselor when you go and if he doesn't make an effort to change then it is a red flag. But for now I wouldn't make this a make or break issue.

I agree...not to mention that he's very, very deep in "relationship debt." It sounds like he's been making an effort to pay it down, but it's not realistic to expect that he'll be "on" and in full making-things-up-to-OP mode all the time. That would be exhausting! I think it would be fair to give him a "day off" from working on things now and then...but ONLY now and then.

As for the specific incident...well, if my DH goes into the bedroom and lies down, I assume he needs some time without me. Otherwise he'd choose to be in the room where I already was! And if I had reason to worry that something was wrong, and poked my head in and ask, I'd consider "I'm tired" to be a full and complete explanation. And I can tell you that, if I kept trying to converse with him after that, he'd probably launch a pillow at my head. ;)

I see what PP's are saying about setting up a signal, but there's a lot to be said for taking things at face value, too. It sounds like your DH GAVE you some pretty clear signals, and then was upset when you held a grudge. And I don't mean to sound harsh at ALL, but I'm genuinely curious: being tired and not wanting to chat comes up now and then in seven years--have you guys really never worked out how to convey/understand that mood? Is it that he usually handles it in a radically different manner, or do you just argue about it every time?

I don't see where he gave clear signals, though.  I think that's what some of us are saying.  While they may be clear to him, they weren't clear to her.  If Dark Boyfriend comes in the house and immediately goes to lay down, I follow him and ask him what's wrong.  He says he's tired, I ask why, what happened?  Then we talk about it.  The signals he gave the OP are the same signals Dark Boyfriend gave me, but they mean totally different things to different people.  If the OP didn't get the signals, they weren't very clear.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: RandomAngel on February 25, 2012, 04:31:42 PM
I don't see where he gave clear signals, though.  I think that's what some of us are saying.  While they may be clear to him, they weren't clear to her.  If Dark Boyfriend comes in the house and immediately goes to lay down, I follow him and ask him what's wrong.  He says he's tired, I ask why, what happened?  Then we talk about it.  The signals he gave the OP are the same signals Dark Boyfriend gave me, but they mean totally different things to different people.  If the OP didn't get the signals, they weren't very clear.

If someone saw you, hugged you (halfheartedly or otherwise) and then deliberately walked into a different room, why on Earth would you follow them? :-\

Honestly, a lot of this thread reminds me of all the buzz about that "He's Just Not That Into You" book. I do not mean to say that any of the "he"'s under discussion are not that into you!! Please no one panic. :) It's just that it seems like a lot of women had trouble believing that, if a man doesn't call her after a date, it's because he doesn't especially want to call her. There's no complex motive, and it's not a vague signal at all...it's just not the one she wants. Similarly, there's nothing vague about leaving the room your SO is in without suggesting that they join you. It is what it is: he wants to be in a different room from you.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Mental Magpie on February 25, 2012, 04:35:49 PM
I don't see where he gave clear signals, though.  I think that's what some of us are saying.  While they may be clear to him, they weren't clear to her.  If Dark Boyfriend comes in the house and immediately goes to lay down, I follow him and ask him what's wrong.  He says he's tired, I ask why, what happened?  Then we talk about it.  The signals he gave the OP are the same signals Dark Boyfriend gave me, but they mean totally different things to different people.  If the OP didn't get the signals, they weren't very clear.

If someone saw you, hugged you (halfheartedly or otherwise) and then deliberately walked into a different room, why on Earth would you follow them? :-\

Honestly, a lot of this thread reminds me of all the buzz about that "He's Just Not That Into You" book. I do not mean to say that any of the "he"'s under discussion are not that into you!! Please no one panic. :) It's just that it seems like a lot of women had trouble believing that, if a man doesn't call her after a date, it's because he doesn't especially want to call her. There's no complex motive, and it's not a vague signal at all...it's just not the one she wants. Similarly, there's nothing vague about leaving the room your SO is in without suggesting that they join you. It is what it is: he wants to be in a different room from you.

Because I know that it means something is wrong, and if I can help, even just as a caring ear, I'm going to see if I can. 

You're still not getting what I'm saying.  For some people, that behavior means I've had a bad day leave me a lone, to others it means I've had a bad day and I want to talk about it but only if you ask first.  For Dark Boyfriend and me, it's the latter of the two.  If Dark Boyfriend leaves the room that I'm in, he could be getting something, he could just want a more comfortable place to sit, he may want to lay rather than sit.  There are so many things it could be that it doesn't automatically mean he wants to be in a different room than me.  Again, it differs between people.  Obviously, the OP saw it one way and her DH saw it the other.  That means it wasn't clear to either of them.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: ClaireC79 on February 25, 2012, 04:46:09 PM
but I would guess that if they've been together long enough to have a toddler together then she should know what HIS 'I'm tired' means (yes I know it works both ways)
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Iris on February 25, 2012, 04:50:14 PM
I don't see where he gave clear signals, though.  I think that's what some of us are saying.  While they may be clear to him, they weren't clear to her.  If Dark Boyfriend comes in the house and immediately goes to lay down, I follow him and ask him what's wrong.  He says he's tired, I ask why, what happened?  Then we talk about it.  The signals he gave the OP are the same signals Dark Boyfriend gave me, but they mean totally different things to different people.  If the OP didn't get the signals, they weren't very clear.

If someone saw you, hugged you (halfheartedly or otherwise) and then deliberately walked into a different room, why on Earth would you follow them? :-\

Honestly, a lot of this thread reminds me of all the buzz about that "He's Just Not That Into You" book. I do not mean to say that any of the "he"'s under discussion are not that into you!! Please no one panic. :) It's just that it seems like a lot of women had trouble believing that, if a man doesn't call her after a date, it's because he doesn't especially want to call her. There's no complex motive, and it's not a vague signal at all...it's just not the one she wants. Similarly, there's nothing vague about leaving the room your SO is in without suggesting that they join you. It is what it is: he wants to be in a different room from you.

Really? If I were tired and wanted to lie down I would leave the room DH was in, go into OUR bedroom and lie down. I wouldn't even remotely consider that that was sending a signal that I didn't want to be with him. It is a signal that I DO want to be in the room that has a bed in it. I wouldn't even remotely consider that he requires an invitation to come into our shared room. I'm really not trying to be snarky, but honestly what seems so obvious to you makes me go  :o so obviously this 'clear signal' you are talking about is not so clear to everyone.

If DH came home from work and laid down straight away and said "I'm tired" my automatic response would be to say "What's up? Rough day at work?" or "Poor sweetie. Do you want some quiet time?" and give him the opportunity to communicate his needs to me. To me, walking into a bedroom and lieing down on the bed communicates clearly "I would like to lie on this bed now" and that's it. They could be sick, could be in a bad mood, could have an ingrown toenail...

*Exta* FWIW after I typed that I asked DH if I should automatically leave him alone if he gave me a half-hearted hug and then walked into the bedroom and laid down and he said "No. If I wanted to be left alone I would say 'I'm stressed/tired whatever, I'd just like to be left alone.' I'd think it was weird if I told you I was tired and you didn't ask why."
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: JenJay on February 25, 2012, 04:52:54 PM
I explained that his aloofness all evening had hurt my feelings.
Was he aloof all evening or was it for the brief period of time you were home together before dinner and then other circumstances got in the way of the two of you spending any time together after you left the house? How did he interact with everyone else at dinner?

He said he was tired. I said "I know, but it still hurt my feelings that you grumped at me and ignored me."
I think what others are saying is that he wasn't necessarily grumping at/ignoring *you*, he was just feeling grumpy in general and didn't express it well. It comes back to how he treated everyone else as compared to his interactions with you.

He repeated, "I. Was. Tired." I said okay, told him goodbye and said "I love you". He left without saying anything.
This bothers me. I recall from the other thread that he has a history of expecting to be able to do as he pleases without you being upset and then, when you are upset, he turns is back on you and gets angry at you. I don't like that he ignored your "I love you". DH and I have certainly had some very cool moments but that's one phrase that never goes unanswered, even if it's "I love you, too, but I'm feeling really smothered right now. Please give me some space." or whatever.

I'm another one who would have followed my DH in case he wanted to talk about his day and I know he'd do the same if it had been me going to lay down. I do understand those who are saying they wouldn't. Either is ok, you just need to know if "I'm tired" means "I want to be alone" or "I want to vent about it." Now you know what he means.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Bethalize on February 25, 2012, 04:54:19 PM
Isn't part of the problem that DH got his downtime AND his Xbox evening but this meant CakeBeret got noting AND DH didn't acknowledge that?
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Mental Magpie on February 25, 2012, 04:56:14 PM
but I would guess that if they've been together long enough to have a toddler together then she should know what HIS 'I'm tired' means (yes I know it works both ways)

This entire thread is because they have communication problems, so no, I don't expect her to know that's what it means, especially when they're working on fixing those communication problems.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: RandomAngel on February 25, 2012, 05:08:45 PM
I don't see where he gave clear signals, though.  I think that's what some of us are saying.  While they may be clear to him, they weren't clear to her.  If Dark Boyfriend comes in the house and immediately goes to lay down, I follow him and ask him what's wrong.  He says he's tired, I ask why, what happened?  Then we talk about it.  The signals he gave the OP are the same signals Dark Boyfriend gave me, but they mean totally different things to different people.  If the OP didn't get the signals, they weren't very clear.

If someone saw you, hugged you (halfheartedly or otherwise) and then deliberately walked into a different room, why on Earth would you follow them? :-\

Honestly, a lot of this thread reminds me of all the buzz about that "He's Just Not That Into You" book. I do not mean to say that any of the "he"'s under discussion are not that into you!! Please no one panic. :) It's just that it seems like a lot of women had trouble believing that, if a man doesn't call her after a date, it's because he doesn't especially want to call her. There's no complex motive, and it's not a vague signal at all...it's just not the one she wants. Similarly, there's nothing vague about leaving the room your SO is in without suggesting that they join you. It is what it is: he wants to be in a different room from you.

Really? If I were tired and wanted to lie down I would leave the room DH was in, go into OUR bedroom and lie down. I wouldn't even remotely consider that that was sending a signal that I didn't want to be with him. It is a signal that I DO want to be in the room that has a bed in it. I wouldn't even remotely consider that he requires an invitation to come into our shared room. I'm really not trying to be snarky, but honestly what seems so obvious to you makes me go  :o so obviously this 'clear signal' you are talking about is not so clear to everyone.

If DH came home from work and laid down straight away and said "I'm tired" my automatic response would be to say "What's up? Rough day at work?" or "Poor sweetie. Do you want some quiet time?" and give him the opportunity to communicate his needs to me. To me, walking into a bedroom and lieing down on the bed communicates clearly "I would like to lie on this bed now" and that's it. They could be sick, could be in a bad mood, could have an ingrown toenail...

*Exta* FWIW after I typed that I asked DH if I should automatically leave him alone if he gave me a half-hearted hug and then walked into the bedroom and laid down and he said "No. If I wanted to be left alone I would say 'I'm stressed/tired whatever, I'd just like to be left alone.' I'd think it was weird if I told you I was tired and you didn't ask why."

I may not have explained that well--I don't really think that The Main Point of going into the bedroom would be to get away from someone. But we don't use ours during the day, and there's no particular reason why I would go in there before bedtime. If my DH were tired but wanted to talk, I'd expect him to stretch out on a couch or pick a comfy chair in the room where he found me, or in one where he might reasonably think I was planning to go. But if he knows where I am and still chooses a different room that I have no habitual reason to be in at that time, then unless he says "Come hang out while I lie down" I'm going to conclude that part of the upside of that room was that it was currently empty. And in the absence of some pre-arranged code or communication--which OP's doesn't seem to have established--I have no idea why I would assume otherwise. Why would an adult walking into an empty room with no explanation automatically mean "follow me"?
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Mental Magpie on February 25, 2012, 05:21:23 PM
I don't see where he gave clear signals, though.  I think that's what some of us are saying.  While they may be clear to him, they weren't clear to her.  If Dark Boyfriend comes in the house and immediately goes to lay down, I follow him and ask him what's wrong.  He says he's tired, I ask why, what happened?  Then we talk about it.  The signals he gave the OP are the same signals Dark Boyfriend gave me, but they mean totally different things to different people.  If the OP didn't get the signals, they weren't very clear.

If someone saw you, hugged you (halfheartedly or otherwise) and then deliberately walked into a different room, why on Earth would you follow them? :-\

Honestly, a lot of this thread reminds me of all the buzz about that "He's Just Not That Into You" book. I do not mean to say that any of the "he"'s under discussion are not that into you!! Please no one panic. :) It's just that it seems like a lot of women had trouble believing that, if a man doesn't call her after a date, it's because he doesn't especially want to call her. There's no complex motive, and it's not a vague signal at all...it's just not the one she wants. Similarly, there's nothing vague about leaving the room your SO is in without suggesting that they join you. It is what it is: he wants to be in a different room from you.

Really? If I were tired and wanted to lie down I would leave the room DH was in, go into OUR bedroom and lie down. I wouldn't even remotely consider that that was sending a signal that I didn't want to be with him. It is a signal that I DO want to be in the room that has a bed in it. I wouldn't even remotely consider that he requires an invitation to come into our shared room. I'm really not trying to be snarky, but honestly what seems so obvious to you makes me go  :o so obviously this 'clear signal' you are talking about is not so clear to everyone.

If DH came home from work and laid down straight away and said "I'm tired" my automatic response would be to say "What's up? Rough day at work?" or "Poor sweetie. Do you want some quiet time?" and give him the opportunity to communicate his needs to me. To me, walking into a bedroom and lieing down on the bed communicates clearly "I would like to lie on this bed now" and that's it. They could be sick, could be in a bad mood, could have an ingrown toenail...

*Exta* FWIW after I typed that I asked DH if I should automatically leave him alone if he gave me a half-hearted hug and then walked into the bedroom and laid down and he said "No. If I wanted to be left alone I would say 'I'm stressed/tired whatever, I'd just like to be left alone.' I'd think it was weird if I told you I was tired and you didn't ask why."

I may not have explained that well--I don't really think that The Main Point of going into the bedroom would be to get away from someone. But we don't use ours during the day, and there's no particular reason why I would go in there before bedtime. If my DH were tired but wanted to talk, I'd expect him to stretch out on a couch or pick a comfy chair in the room where he found me, or in one where he might reasonably think I was planning to go. But if he knows where I am and still chooses a different room that I have no habitual reason to be in at that time, then unless he says "Come hang out while I lie down" I'm going to conclude that part of the upside of that room was that it was currently empty. And in the absence of some pre-arranged code or communication--which OP's doesn't seem to have established--I have no idea why I would assume otherwise. Why would an adult walking into an empty room with no explanation automatically mean "follow me"?

Again, what Isis and I are trying to explain is that for some people it doesn't automatically mean "don't follow me" either.  We're also not saying that we would follow our SOs every single time, but that if we got an awkward hug and our SOs walked away, we'd follow and ask what was wrong.  There is something obviously wrong if our SOs are acting out of character, so we'd find out what it was.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: RandomAngel on February 25, 2012, 06:06:56 PM
Again, what Isis and I are trying to explain is that for some people it doesn't automatically mean "don't follow me" either.  We're also not saying that we would follow our SOs every single time, but that if we got an awkward hug and our SOs walked away, we'd follow and ask what was wrong.  There is something obviously wrong if our SOs are acting out of character, so we'd find out what it was.

Aha! I think I'm starting to see our common ground. :)

Your reaction is based on a combination of your SO's behavior and your knowledge of your SO. You two have been in this situation before, learned from it, and developed a "code." This is good communication, because actions provoke the desired response in a way that they probably wouldn't among strangers.

By contrast, OP seemed kind of mystified by what her SO's behavior meant, leading me to believe that they haven't established a protocol for this type of thing. In that case, I think it's reasonable for her DH to expect that she would take his behavior entirely at face value. In other words, he behaved in a way that would have provoked the desired response from a stranger, and was frustrated when OP chose to respond differently.

I get why she did: she has every reason to be nervous about him seeming to withdraw. But there was no mutually-agreed-upon system that dictated her actions; she was unilaterally worried that he was withdrawing, and so went looking for subtext where he claims there wasn't any. They didn't have a code, but she believed that his actions were coded, and he was annoyed.

If you want your behavior to mean something other than its surface value, then you have to either say something, or establish that pattern over time with your partner. A lot of posters have those patterns in their relationships, myself included, and it's easy to see this situation through the lens of our own habits. But the DH here just wanted his actions to mean exactly what they looked like. He went to a room where the OP wasn't, and when she followed he told her that he was tired...and it turned out that he was tired and wanted to be on his own for a while. It's not code, it's literal. So I don't agree with the PP's who've said that this was a situation in which he should have had to explain what his actions meant or set up a specific signal to indicate that he was doing exactly what he wanted to be doing--that would just be adding an extra layer of redundancy.

Whether or not him doing exactly what he wanted to be doing is acceptable under the circumstances is, of course, the other half of the topic.... :-\
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Iris on February 25, 2012, 06:20:24 PM
^Well, tbh I think there WAS a subtext here. I have avoided mentioning it because I know that CB and her husband need to work out their own codes, but if "I'm tired" meant "I'm tired" i.e. I am too physically exhausted to get off the bed and converse with you, then why would he have had the energy to stay up and play computer games instead of going to bed early? So "I'm tired" (to me) obviously meant he was stressed/needed a break/something else - all valid reasons to want down time and probably make it MORE important to have his night out, but given that they have had communication issues really recently I think it is unreasonable of him to expect CB to read his subtext. At the same time, if DH was obviously cranky and uncommunicative I would wait until the next day when he was in a better mood to say "Dude. That was not cool. How can we do things better next time?"

Not the end of the world, but to me it is a sign that there is still a ways to go. I know when DH and I got to the point that we needed to work on our communication it certainly didn't magically get better overnight so it's more or less to be expected. The main thing is for both of them to keep plugging away.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: figleaf on February 25, 2012, 07:07:44 PM
I could be the DH in this scenario with a major difference.  I always tell my DH when I need alone time.  DH and I have been together 20 years, and are pretty good at communicating, particularly our emotional needs.  The reason I identify with the DH is that I am often in need of alone time.  I have a chronic pain condition that puts me on extreme edge when my pain is at a 7 or above on the pain scale.  When I need to remove myself from the family craziness, my "code" to DH is "I need to go spend quality time with my heating pad."  DH knows that means I need pain relief, but also that I'm probably cranky. 

Sometimes if he needs time with me, or needs to talk to me about something, he will test the waters by telling me he knows I'm hurting, asking if he can do anything, and then asking if I just need pain relief or want to be alone, too.  Often, I don't mind his company, but if I really need to be alone, I'll tell him "I'm really not the best company right now."  It is a dance we do to make sure that nobody ends up feeling abandoned or smothered. Since the chronic pain has been the third party in our marriage since 2001, this method has worked pretty well.

DH and I never sat down and said "OK, this is what we will say to send the appropriate message to the other," but it has become our default method of dealing with this issue anyway.  On other issues, we have established "code" words or phrases to indicate our feelings to each other.  I'd suggest asking your DH if you could set up some "codes" to avoid feeling abandoned or snubbed in the future.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Winterlight on February 25, 2012, 07:25:57 PM
Isn't part of the problem that DH got his downtime AND his Xbox evening but this meant CakeBeret got noting AND DH didn't acknowledge that?

I'd say yes. I also agree with Reason- he's an adult, he needs to use his words, not grump at her and get mad that she can't read his mind.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Danismom on February 25, 2012, 07:36:27 PM
He needed alone time.  Everyone needs that at times.  I think he clearly communicated it by going into the bedroom and laying down.  He should have been more clear that his tired wasn't so much physical as it was a mental/emotional tired.  Many people who work with or enjoy firearms find cleaning them to be relaxing.  CB couldn't really go in and join him laying down while the toddler was up and going.  That's why I think the message of going and laying down in a different room meant he wanted to be alone. 

I'm glad CB and her DH are seeing a counselor because these sorts of things happen in every marriage and need to be worked out.  I think CB probably took it a little too personally that her DH was drained and didn't have the emotional energy, even for 30 minutes of dedicated time.  I do think that her DH should be a little apologetic that he wasn't able to give her the time though. 

Ideally, I think when CB saw that DH was tired, she should have given him a huge smacker of  a kiss and then told him to find her when he was up for company again.  That way, he gets to determine when his tiredness (physical or emotional) has abated enough to be good company.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Mental Magpie on February 25, 2012, 09:00:46 PM
Again, what Isis and I are trying to explain is that for some people it doesn't automatically mean "don't follow me" either.  We're also not saying that we would follow our SOs every single time, but that if we got an awkward hug and our SOs walked away, we'd follow and ask what was wrong.  There is something obviously wrong if our SOs are acting out of character, so we'd find out what it was.

Aha! I think I'm starting to see our common ground. :)

Your reaction is based on a combination of your SO's behavior and your knowledge of your SO. You two have been in this situation before, learned from it, and developed a "code." This is good communication, because actions provoke the desired response in a way that they probably wouldn't among strangers.

By contrast, OP seemed kind of mystified by what her SO's behavior meant, leading me to believe that they haven't established a protocol for this type of thing. In that case, I think it's reasonable for her DH to expect that she would take his behavior entirely at face value. In other words, he behaved in a way that would have provoked the desired response from a stranger, and was frustrated when OP chose to respond differently.

I get why she did: she has every reason to be nervous about him seeming to withdraw. But there was no mutually-agreed-upon system that dictated her actions; she was unilaterally worried that he was withdrawing, and so went looking for subtext where he claims there wasn't any. They didn't have a code, but she believed that his actions were coded, and he was annoyed.

If you want your behavior to mean something other than its surface value, then you have to either say something, or establish that pattern over time with your partner. A lot of posters have those patterns in their relationships, myself included, and it's easy to see this situation through the lens of our own habits. But the DH here just wanted his actions to mean exactly what they looked like. He went to a room where the OP wasn't, and when she followed he told her that he was tired...and it turned out that he was tired and wanted to be on his own for a while. It's not code, it's literal. So I don't agree with the PP's who've said that this was a situation in which he should have had to explain what his actions meant or set up a specific signal to indicate that he was doing exactly what he wanted to be doing--that would just be adding an extra layer of redundancy.

Whether or not him doing exactly what he wanted to be doing is acceptable under the circumstances is, of course, the other half of the topic.... :-\

Not knowing anyone's code, I would still take "I'm tired" to mean that the person did not get enough sleep or did something physically tiring.  That says nothing about their mood.  I actually think you're reading subtext into his saying "I'm tired" by saying it means that he needs to be left alone.  I guess that's the point I've been trying to make all along.  "I'm tired" does not mean the same thing to everyone, and to expect someone to know exactly what you (generic) mean by it without telling that person is irrational.

Because the OP and her DH haven't established a protocol, we can't expect the OP to know what he meant by "I'm tired" and neither can he.  As I've said a few times, it does not mean the same thing to everyone.  Walking away into another room does not also mean "I want to be alone"; it could mean I'm getting something, I'm just lying down because I don't want to sit and the couch is taken, I want to change my clothes, or any number of things.  Again, I don't think that a stranger would have been provoked into the response the DH wanted because those actions, even when combined, mean different things to different people.  The OP responded differently because his behavior said different things than what he meant it to say, so instead of hiding in context, he should have come right out and said it.  That is part of their communication problem, that he does/says something and expects her to read it one way instead of just out right telling her the way he wants her to read it.

I don't think the OP believed his actions were coded at all because again, she read his behavior differently than he intended because not everyone agrees on what his actions meant. 

Now that I've said it a number of times in this post, I'm going to come right out and say it again.  Not everyone reads those actions and words the same as is evidenced by both myself and Isis having said as much.  (I also asked Dark Mom and she said the same thing).  While "I'm tired" meant to  the OP that he did not get enough sleep, it meant to her DH that he wanted time alone.  That right there is evidence, too.  The word tired itself means fatigued or sleepy.  Why does that automatically mean that someone wants to be left alone?  It doesn't.  That is why the DH needs to say exactly what he means instead of expecting the OP to know that he means one of any number of meanings that can be taken from one phrase.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: anonymousmac on February 26, 2012, 09:31:22 AM
Many people have been discussing back and forth whether the DH going to another room to lay down was a clear communication that he wanted to be left alone.

But what bothers me most about this situation isn't whether he clearly communicated what he wanted (on which the jury is still out), but that just unilaterally going to do what he wanted didn't give the OP any chance for the evening to have any part of what  -she- wanted or was willing to do.  Someone can communicate something completely clearly, and yet still be acting unkindly, and their partner can still be rightfully upset. 

(I could come home and very clearly tell my husband, "I'm tired and hungry.  Go make my dinner and watch our kids while I eat it in my room!" but clear communication wouldn't make that less awful to say!)

The OP and her husband have a general plan to spend some family time together and have dinner, and then the husband has his XBox night.  By completely ignoring her and doing what he wanted, she had no chance to say, for instance, hey I really need a few minutes to catch up with you, or hey, I'm really feeling sick and need you to take over watching our son for a while, or whatever her needs were.  He almost treated her like she didn't exist, and just went ahead with fulfilling his own needs without even doing her the courtesy of asking if she was willing to handle the results of that.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: LadyL on February 26, 2012, 10:43:38 AM
Many people have been discussing back and forth whether the DH going to another room to lay down was a clear communication that he wanted to be left alone.

But what bothers me most about this situation isn't whether he clearly communicated what he wanted (on which the jury is still out), but that just unilaterally going to do what he wanted didn't give the OP any chance for the evening to have any part of what  -she- wanted or was willing to do.  Someone can communicate something completely clearly, and yet still be acting unkindly, and their partner can still be rightfully upset. 

(I could come home and very clearly tell my husband, "I'm tired and hungry.  Go make my dinner and watch our kids while I eat it in my room!" but clear communication wouldn't make that less awful to say!)

The OP and her husband have a general plan to spend some family time together and have dinner, and then the husband has his XBox night.  By completely ignoring her and doing what he wanted, she had no chance to say, for instance, hey I really need a few minutes to catch up with you, or hey, I'm really feeling sick and need you to take over watching our son for a while, or whatever her needs were.  He almost treated her like she didn't exist, and just went ahead with fulfilling his own needs without even doing her the courtesy of asking if she was willing to handle the results of that.

POD. The communication issue is secondary to the "prioritizing of needs" issue. CB's DH's needs are not more important than hers. If he was totally wiped and down for the count all night it would be different, but the fact that he had enough energy for Xbox night later on kind of bothers me. If I had acted like the DH in this story I would have scheduled a dinner with LordL for the next day as an "I'm sorry I was out of it, let's catch up" gesture. We do have nights where we basically grunt hello to each other, zone out doing seperate stuff for a few hours, then go to bed - but we make up for it by interacting more the next day.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: cheyne on February 26, 2012, 08:14:38 PM
Reading the OP before reading the background, my thought was that DH was stressed, needed some down time and didn't communicate that well. 

After reading the 20+ pages of background, I think DH is up to his old tricks.  I hope to be proven wrong on this.

OP, I thought that the Monday Family dinner was for DH and DS at his parents home and it was your night to yourself?  It sounds like this has changed since your last post in the other thread.  Is your DH still only playing Xbox or leaving the house to socialize one night per week?  Or has that gone to more nights?
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: TurtleDove on February 26, 2012, 08:43:45 PM
Reading the OP before reading the background, my thought was that DH was stressed, needed some down time and didn't communicate that well. 

After reading the 20+ pages of background, I think DH is up to his old tricks.  I hope to be proven wrong on this.
This.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Winterlight on February 27, 2012, 08:58:35 AM
Many people have been discussing back and forth whether the DH going to another room to lay down was a clear communication that he wanted to be left alone.

But what bothers me most about this situation isn't whether he clearly communicated what he wanted (on which the jury is still out), but that just unilaterally going to do what he wanted didn't give the OP any chance for the evening to have any part of what  -she- wanted or was willing to do.  Someone can communicate something completely clearly, and yet still be acting unkindly, and their partner can still be rightfully upset. 

(I could come home and very clearly tell my husband, "I'm tired and hungry.  Go make my dinner and watch our kids while I eat it in my room!" but clear communication wouldn't make that less awful to say!)

The OP and her husband have a general plan to spend some family time together and have dinner, and then the husband has his XBox night.  By completely ignoring her and doing what he wanted, she had no chance to say, for instance, hey I really need a few minutes to catch up with you, or hey, I'm really feeling sick and need you to take over watching our son for a while, or whatever her needs were.  He almost treated her like she didn't exist, and just went ahead with fulfilling his own needs without even doing her the courtesy of asking if she was willing to handle the results of that.

Excellent point. He blew her off without checking to see what she needed.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: CakeBeret on February 27, 2012, 10:06:59 AM
OP, I thought that the Monday Family dinner was for DH and DS at his parents home and it was your night to yourself?  It sounds like this has changed since your last post in the other thread.  Is your DH still only playing Xbox or leaving the house to socialize one night per week?  Or has that gone to more nights?

He's decided he needs 2 nights now, one for xbox and one to go out drinking with a newly-single friend. I have a different night that's my night to myself.

I explained that his aloofness all evening had hurt my feelings.
Was he aloof all evening or was it for the brief period of time you were home together before dinner and then other circumstances got in the way of the two of you spending any time together after you left the house? How did he interact with everyone else at dinner?

He was aloof during dinner as well, barely spoke to me and pretty much ignored me. He interacted as normal with his family.

but I would guess that if they've been together long enough to have a toddler together then she should know what HIS 'I'm tired' means (yes I know it works both ways)

But he's never said "I'm tired" and meant "Leave me the heck alone" that I know of. Either he's said he's tired and been physically tired but still willing to talk, or he's been mentally exhausted and expressed his need for alone time. Our bedroom has always been more of a place to hang out than a place just to sleep--we like to sit or lay on the bed to chat after work, for example. One or both of us often ends up in the bedroom after work, so going into the bedroom has not historically meant alone time at all.

ButThe OP and her husband have a general plan to spend some family time together and have dinner, and then the husband has his XBox night.  By completely ignoring her and doing what he wanted, she had no chance to say, for instance, hey I really need a few minutes to catch up with you, or hey, I'm really feeling sick and need you to take over watching our son for a while, or whatever her needs were.  He almost treated her like she didn't exist, and just went ahead with fulfilling his own needs without even doing her the courtesy of asking if she was willing to handle the results of that.

This is my main complaint with this issue (as with everything else in our marriage, it seems). He does what he wants, when he wants it, and I just have to deal with it.

PS: I hope I addressed everything that needed to be addressed. If I missed something, let me know. :)

Edited to fix quote.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: JenJay on February 27, 2012, 10:14:03 AM
CakeBeret, he's backsliding. Bad. It's been what, a couple of weeks since he said he'd try? He already needs an extra night to go out drinking AND still feels justified in punishing you with the cold shoulder for having the audacity (sarcasm) to be hurt when he treats you badly? I think your instincts were dead on this time and that's a good thing! I'm more convinced than ever that whichever road your marriage takes YOU are going to come out of this for the better. This isn't the hugs folder, but here's one anyway! (((HUGS)))
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: CakeBeret on February 27, 2012, 10:17:38 AM
CakeBeret, he's backsliding. Bad. It's been what, a couple of weeks since he said he'd try? He already needs an extra night to go out drinking AND still feels justified in punishing you with the cold shoulder for having the audacity (sarcasm) to be hurt when he treats you badly? I think your instincts were dead on this time and that's a good thing! I'm more convinced than ever that whichever road your marriage takes YOU are going to come out of this for the better. This isn't the hugs folder, but here's one anyway! (((HUGS)))

Thanks for the hugs. I agree he's backsliding; I felt it this whole past week.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: wolfie on February 27, 2012, 10:24:56 AM
CakeBeret, he's backsliding. Bad. It's been what, a couple of weeks since he said he'd try? He already needs an extra night to go out drinking AND still feels justified in punishing you with the cold shoulder for having the audacity (sarcasm) to be hurt when he treats you badly? I think your instincts were dead on this time and that's a good thing! I'm more convinced than ever that whichever road your marriage takes YOU are going to come out of this for the better. This isn't the hugs folder, but here's one anyway! (((HUGS)))

Thanks for the hugs. I agree he's backsliding; I felt it this whole past week.

I think he is too. But I also don't think that is all that surprising. It's hard to change behavior - especially behavior that was working well for you! This is something to address in counseling and I hope that he gets his act together and starts treating you better. Don't excuse his behavior, but don't take it as him not meaning he wants to change yet. He is going to have to strike a balance too and it will take a while before treating you the way you deserve is second nature. Take a long view - is his behavior overall doing better? Or is his behavior overall getting worse? That will tell you wether he is trying or not.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: WhiteTigerCub on February 27, 2012, 10:27:31 AM
Working on relationship matters can be taxing on one's mental capability.  I took his "I'm tried" to mean he needed some time without the pressure of 'having' to be in capacity to discuss their relationship at that time. I have certainly been in situations like that. He may be feeling resentful of having to change his communication habits 'all of a sudden' since CB brought them out into the open. Change is hard and back sliding to old thought processes is natural until the behavioral changes are habit and the true benefits realized.

Hang in there OP. I think this was a momentary blip.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: anonymousmac on February 27, 2012, 10:32:14 AM
He almost treated her like she didn't exist, and just went ahead with fulfilling his own needs without even doing her the courtesy of asking if she was willing to handle the results of that.

This is my main complaint with this issue (as with everything else in our marriage, it seems). He does what he wants, when he wants it, and I just have to deal with it.

I'm so very, very sorry!  It's a terrible situation to be in, especially when you have a child together.

I have personal experience with something like this, which is why it pushed my buttons so much to hear of you being treated this way.  In my case, it's gotten a lot better with individual and joint counseling, because in the end my husband wanted to stay and make it work, but I don't have any great ideas, unfortunately.

Can I recommend the book _Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay_ by Mira Kirshenbaum?  It has a lot of good food for thought, to help you think through what's going on and figure out what you might want to do about it.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Mental Magpie on February 27, 2012, 10:34:51 AM
CakeBeret, he's backsliding. Bad. It's been what, a couple of weeks since he said he'd try? He already needs an extra night to go out drinking AND still feels justified in punishing you with the cold shoulder for having the audacity (sarcasm) to be hurt when he treats you badly? I think your instincts were dead on this time and that's a good thing! I'm more convinced than ever that whichever road your marriage takes YOU are going to come out of this for the better. This isn't the hugs folder, but here's one anyway! (((HUGS)))

Thanks for the hugs. I agree he's backsliding; I felt it this whole past week.

I think he is too. But I also don't think that is all that surprising. It's hard to change behavior - especially behavior that was working well for you! This is something to address in counseling and I hope that he gets his act together and starts treating you better. Don't excuse his behavior, but don't take it as him not meaning he wants to change yet. He is going to have to strike a balance too and it will take a while before treating you the way you deserve is second nature. Take a long view - is his behavior overall doing better? Or is his behavior overall getting worse? That will tell you wether he is trying or not.

I completely agree with this.  He tried for a few weeks, it was hard, so he's slipping.  Give him a chance to pick it back up again.  Look at his overall behavior.  I know he's in the relationship negative, but if he's moved 10 points up then 3 points back, he's still 7 points ahead of where he was at the start of it all.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Surianne on February 27, 2012, 10:38:05 AM
CakeBeret, he's backsliding. Bad. It's been what, a couple of weeks since he said he'd try? He already needs an extra night to go out drinking AND still feels justified in punishing you with the cold shoulder for having the audacity (sarcasm) to be hurt when he treats you badly? I think your instincts were dead on this time and that's a good thing! I'm more convinced than ever that whichever road your marriage takes YOU are going to come out of this for the better. This isn't the hugs folder, but here's one anyway! (((HUGS)))

Thanks for the hugs. I agree he's backsliding; I felt it this whole past week.

I think he is too. But I also don't think that is all that surprising. It's hard to change behavior - especially behavior that was working well for you! This is something to address in counseling and I hope that he gets his act together and starts treating you better. Don't excuse his behavior, but don't take it as him not meaning he wants to change yet. He is going to have to strike a balance too and it will take a while before treating you the way you deserve is second nature. Take a long view - is his behavior overall doing better? Or is his behavior overall getting worse? That will tell you wether he is trying or not.

I completely agree with this.  He tried for a few weeks, it was hard, so he's slipping.  Give him a chance to pick it back up again.  Look at his overall behavior.  I know he's in the relationship negative, but if he's moved 10 points up then 3 points back, he's still 7 points ahead of where he was at the start of it all.

I agree, and I think that's a great way of looking at it.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Teenyweeny on February 27, 2012, 11:43:35 AM
Ok, so I think that there are *several* issues here.

The first one is the simplest: communication. OP, I totally understand where you are coming from about not picking up on the cues of others. I'm the same way myself. One thing I now do with my spouse is to simply ask what they mean by what they say.

So, "I'm tired" could be met with, "do you want a cuddle, or do you just want me to leave you be?"

Active listening is another good technique. Repeat the gist of your partner's words back to them, and see if it's right. Of course, you don't have to agree with him, but at least you will understand what your partner's position is.  It's great for opening up a dialogue.

e.g. "I feel really neglected."

"So, are you saying that you want me to spend more time with you?"

The second one is the problem of him leaving the toddler with you. My solution to that is also quite simple. Every time he does this, he owes you 'one'. Have a chart where you can mark each time he owes you 'one'. Once he gets to a pre-determined number of 'ones', he can't have any more until he's paid some back, by giving you the equivalent amount of toddler-free time.

The last one is the hardest, and something that my partner and I struggled with: you both have a right to your feelings, and you don't get to be annoyed that someone else is annoyed. People can't turn their reactions off just because you explain why you are acting a certain way. "Sorry I smacked you in the face sweetheart, I didn't see you when I was turning round." Well, that explains what you did, but it doesn't stop the other person's nose from bleeding.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Winterlight on February 27, 2012, 12:19:39 PM
[
The OP and her husband have a general plan to spend some family time together and have dinner, and then the husband has his XBox night.  By completely ignoring her and doing what he wanted, she had no chance to say, for instance, hey I really need a few minutes to catch up with you, or hey, I'm really feeling sick and need you to take over watching our son for a while, or whatever her needs were.  He almost treated her like she didn't exist, and just went ahead with fulfilling his own needs without even doing her the courtesy of asking if she was willing to handle the results of that.

This is my main complaint with this issue (as with everything else in our marriage, it seems). He does what he wants, when he wants it, and I just have to deal with it.

PS: I hope I addressed everything that needed to be addressed. If I missed something, let me know. :)

The only thing you missed is that Anonymousmac said this and I quoted it. *g*
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: rashea on February 27, 2012, 01:02:53 PM
OP, I thought that the Monday Family dinner was for DH and DS at his parents home and it was your night to yourself?  It sounds like this has changed since your last post in the other thread.  Is your DH still only playing Xbox or leaving the house to socialize one night per week?  Or has that gone to more nights?

He's decided he needs 2 nights now, one for xbox and one to go out drinking with a newly-single friend. I have a different night that's my night to myself.


And you said, "Honey, we agreed on one night a week for each of us. Let's try this for 3 months, and then renegotiate." Because I'm not seeing where you agreed that he needs 2 nights a week, and that should have been a discussion.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: CakeBeret on February 27, 2012, 01:24:57 PM
And you said, "Honey, we agreed on one night a week for each of us. Let's try this for 3 months, and then renegotiate." Because I'm not seeing where you agreed that he needs 2 nights a week, and that should have been a discussion.

We discussed it...or at least we tried. He wouldn't agree to anything less than 2 nights. We compromised (if you can call it that) by agreeing that he'll be home in time to go to bed together one of those nights. He also said he wanted me to agree that I was satisfied and that I wouldn't bring it up again. Which I wasn't really satisfied, but I felt like I had no other options and he wasn't going to let it go until I did.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: rashea on February 27, 2012, 01:28:17 PM
And you said, "Honey, we agreed on one night a week for each of us. Let's try this for 3 months, and then renegotiate." Because I'm not seeing where you agreed that he needs 2 nights a week, and that should have been a discussion.

We discussed it...or at least we tried. He wouldn't agree to anything less than 2 nights. We compromised (if you can call it that) by agreeing that he'll be home in time to go to bed together one of those nights. He also said he wanted me to agree that I was satisfied and that I wouldn't bring it up again. Which I wasn't really satisfied, but I felt like I had no other options and he wasn't going to let it go until I did.

That needs to go to the counselor. But honestly, he said 1 night a week. Now he's going back on that. He also tried to tell you how you are allowed to feel. That's sliding into emotionally abusive. And that's a bigger issue than him being grouchy one night. It's concerning that he did this so soon after committing to working on your relationship. I urge you to get a good counselor for yourself to help you see these things. And feel free to PM me if I can help.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Surianne on February 27, 2012, 01:32:33 PM
The compromise on two nights, but home in time for bed, seems fair to me as long as the OP gets two of her own nights free.  I don't know that I'd jump straight to emotionally abusive.  It sounds like he's still working on his communication skills and they're not going to magically become perfect overnight -- it takes time.  Perhaps he thought at first that one night would be enough, but then found his needs changed.  I hope the OP too would be able to bring up a possible change and discuss it with her husband if she felt she needed one, rather than stick to the original plan and feel stifled.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Sheila Take a Bow on February 27, 2012, 01:39:04 PM
And you said, "Honey, we agreed on one night a week for each of us. Let's try this for 3 months, and then renegotiate." Because I'm not seeing where you agreed that he needs 2 nights a week, and that should have been a discussion.

We discussed it...or at least we tried. He wouldn't agree to anything less than 2 nights. We compromised (if you can call it that) by agreeing that he'll be home in time to go to bed together one of those nights. He also said he wanted me to agree that I was satisfied and that I wouldn't bring it up again. Which I wasn't really satisfied, but I felt like I had no other options and he wasn't going to let it go until I did.

That sounds really manipulative to me.  And now, if you try to tell him that two nights for him and one night for you isn't working, he can tell you that you agreed to it and try to shut down the discussion that way.

I'm sorry, but this sounds like some serious backsliding to me.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Mental Magpie on February 27, 2012, 01:43:30 PM
The compromise on two nights, but home in time for bed, seems fair to me as long as the OP gets two of her own nights free.  I don't know that I'd jump straight to emotionally abusive.  It sounds like he's still working on his communication skills and they're not going to magically become perfect overnight -- it takes time.  Perhaps he thought at first that one night would be enough, but then found his needs changed.  I hope the OP too would be able to bring up a possible change and discuss it with her husband if she felt she needed one, rather than stick to the original plan and feel stifled.

I think the emotionally abusive part comes in where he wouldn't let it go until she agreed that she was satisfied and wouldn't bring it up again.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: penelope2017 on February 27, 2012, 01:47:14 PM
The compromise on two nights, but home in time for bed, seems fair to me as long as the OP gets two of her own nights free.  I don't know that I'd jump straight to emotionally abusive.  It sounds like he's still working on his communication skills and they're not going to magically become perfect overnight -- it takes time.  Perhaps he thought at first that one night would be enough, but then found his needs changed.  I hope the OP too would be able to bring up a possible change and discuss it with her husband if she felt she needed one, rather than stick to the original plan and feel stifled.

I've stayed out of all of this and the other thread, but if the OP gets two nights on her own, and DH gets two nights alone, that leaves three nights a week out of 7 they are together as a family. They have a child. Maybe that works with some families if that is what they both want. But it doesn't sound like the OP wants her DH to have more than one night alone nor does she want more than one night to herself.

I don't know. I see some people saying here that this might be a temporary backsliding. I see it as the OP's husband tried and it isn't working. Strongarming the OP into accepting what he wants, and on top of that, insisting she not only agree to it but that she is satisfied with it?

OP, I'm sorry, but I think at some point you are going to exhaust yourself trying to make this work when your DH, to me anyway, clearly wants either a. out or b. to do whatever he wants without regard for you or your child or your feelings. I know option a seems painful, but it will be inherently less painful in the long run.

If he's gone, you're alone, but with your freedom and ultimately the option to find someone who will be kind and appreciate you. If he's there, you're alone most of the time, as well as trapped and taken for granted and emotionally abused. I'm sorry, OP, but in your situation, I'd walk away at this point regardless of whatever trial period you've given him. Enough is enough.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: CakeBeret on February 27, 2012, 01:52:42 PM
The compromise on two nights, but home in time for bed, seems fair to me as long as the OP gets two of her own nights free.  I don't know that I'd jump straight to emotionally abusive.  It sounds like he's still working on his communication skills and they're not going to magically become perfect overnight -- it takes time.  Perhaps he thought at first that one night would be enough, but then found his needs changed.  I hope the OP too would be able to bring up a possible change and discuss it with her husband if she felt she needed one, rather than stick to the original plan and feel stifled.

I've stayed out of all of this and the other thread, but if the OP gets two nights on her own, and DH gets two nights alone, that leaves three nights a week out of 7 they are together as a family. They have a child. Maybe that works with some families if that is what they both want. But it doesn't sound like the OP wants her DH to have more than one night alone nor does she want more than one night to herself.

I don't know. I see some people saying here that this might be a temporary backsliding. I see it as the OP's husband tried and it isn't working. Strongarming the OP into accepting what he wants, and on top of that, insisting she not only agree to it but that she is satisfied with it?

OP, I'm sorry, but I think at some point you are going to exhaust yourself trying to make this work when your DH, to me anyway, clearly wants either a. out or b. to do whatever he wants without regard for you or your child or your feelings. I know option a seems painful, but it will be inherently less painful in the long run.

If he's gone, you're alone, but with your freedom and ultimately the option to find someone who will be kind and appreciate you. If he's there, you're alone most of the time, as well as trapped and taken for granted and emotionally abused. I'm sorry, OP, but in your situation, I'd walk away at this point regardless of whatever trial period you've given him. Enough is enough.


Plus he works late 1 night a week as well, so that would actually leave only 2 nights a week for family time.

Enough is enough? I kind of agree. I do feel like I should give the joint counseling a shot, though I've felt this past week that I'm not sure there's any chance of salvaging this. There's a lot of damage that's been done and he's still trying to manipulate me, IMO.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Surianne on February 27, 2012, 01:57:52 PM
The compromise on two nights, but home in time for bed, seems fair to me as long as the OP gets two of her own nights free.  I don't know that I'd jump straight to emotionally abusive.  It sounds like he's still working on his communication skills and they're not going to magically become perfect overnight -- it takes time.  Perhaps he thought at first that one night would be enough, but then found his needs changed.  I hope the OP too would be able to bring up a possible change and discuss it with her husband if she felt she needed one, rather than stick to the original plan and feel stifled.

I've stayed out of all of this and the other thread, but if the OP gets two nights on her own, and DH gets two nights alone, that leaves three nights a week out of 7 they are together as a family. They have a child. Maybe that works with some families if that is what they both want. But it doesn't sound like the OP wants her DH to have more than one night alone nor does she want more than one night to herself.

To the bolded: yes, that's a good point, I suppose I'm approaching this from the perspective of my own family, where alone time is very important and was when I was growing up.  I'm guessing the problem is that the husband is like me, but the OP isn't.  I hope they're able to work it out in joint counselling.  I definitely think it's possible if both parties are able to see that their approach isn't "the right one", just different, and they need to figure out the happy medium for both of them. 
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Teenyweeny on February 27, 2012, 02:02:53 PM
CakeBeret, let's deconstruct what your spouse told you.

"I am putting my foot down. I get two nights to myself, every week. You do not get to have an opinion on this. You like it or lump it."

I'm sorry, but this man just does not care about you.  A *real* spouse would talk with you, and the two of you would work out just why he felt he needed so much time, and maybe he'd find other ways for that need of his to be met, or maybe you'd agree to giving him more time, but you'd come to a solution where you both felt loved and respected. Not this, "I get what I want, plus you have to deny your feelings so that *I* don't feel bad."

Plus, two nights that you *actually spend together* every week? That isn't a marriage (barring extenuating circumstances, obviously). That's about how often most 'seriously dating' couples that I know see each other. And you can bet that they're having more fun than you are.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: rashea on February 27, 2012, 02:06:05 PM
CakeBeret, let's deconstruct what your spouse told you.

"I am putting my foot down. I get two nights to myself, every week. You do not get to have an opinion on this. You like it or lump it."

And you're not allowed to bring it up or be upset about it.

Really, read this over and over CakeBeret. This is the message you got after being extra supportive for a month. This is the message you got after him waking up and realizing that he needed to recommit to you.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: wolfie on February 27, 2012, 02:07:06 PM
The compromise on two nights, but home in time for bed, seems fair to me as long as the OP gets two of her own nights free.  I don't know that I'd jump straight to emotionally abusive.  It sounds like he's still working on his communication skills and they're not going to magically become perfect overnight -- it takes time.  Perhaps he thought at first that one night would be enough, but then found his needs changed.  I hope the OP too would be able to bring up a possible change and discuss it with her husband if she felt she needed one, rather than stick to the original plan and feel stifled.

I've stayed out of all of this and the other thread, but if the OP gets two nights on her own, and DH gets two nights alone, that leaves three nights a week out of 7 they are together as a family. They have a child. Maybe that works with some families if that is what they both want. But it doesn't sound like the OP wants her DH to have more than one night alone nor does she want more than one night to herself.

I don't know. I see some people saying here that this might be a temporary backsliding. I see it as the OP's husband tried and it isn't working. Strongarming the OP into accepting what he wants, and on top of that, insisting she not only agree to it but that she is satisfied with it?

OP, I'm sorry, but I think at some point you are going to exhaust yourself trying to make this work when your DH, to me anyway, clearly wants either a. out or b. to do whatever he wants without regard for you or your child or your feelings. I know option a seems painful, but it will be inherently less painful in the long run.

If he's gone, you're alone, but with your freedom and ultimately the option to find someone who will be kind and appreciate you. If he's there, you're alone most of the time, as well as trapped and taken for granted and emotionally abused. I'm sorry, OP, but in your situation, I'd walk away at this point regardless of whatever trial period you've given him. Enough is enough.


Plus he works late 1 night a week as well, so that would actually leave only 2 nights a week for family time.

Enough is enough? I kind of agree. I do feel like I should give the joint counseling a shot, though I've felt this past week that I'm not sure there's any chance of salvaging this. There's a lot of damage that's been done and he's still trying to manipulate me, IMO.

If i were you I would give joint counseling a try. Not necessarily because i would think it worked but so that I could say to myself "I tried everything" should things not work out. Especially if you already have a session booked. He does know that what he is doing is wrong - otherwise he wouldn't be pushing you to agree with it. If he was confident that he was in the right he wouldn't need you to validate his choice by saying you were fine with it. That is the point that I think is the big warning flag - that he wants you to validate his choice and never bring it up again. That isn't reasonable behavior - no matter what else is going on. Definitely bring it up with the counselor - I hope he shakes some sense into your husband.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Mental Magpie on February 27, 2012, 02:08:37 PM
The compromise on two nights, but home in time for bed, seems fair to me as long as the OP gets two of her own nights free.  I don't know that I'd jump straight to emotionally abusive.  It sounds like he's still working on his communication skills and they're not going to magically become perfect overnight -- it takes time.  Perhaps he thought at first that one night would be enough, but then found his needs changed.  I hope the OP too would be able to bring up a possible change and discuss it with her husband if she felt she needed one, rather than stick to the original plan and feel stifled.

I've stayed out of all of this and the other thread, but if the OP gets two nights on her own, and DH gets two nights alone, that leaves three nights a week out of 7 they are together as a family. They have a child. Maybe that works with some families if that is what they both want. But it doesn't sound like the OP wants her DH to have more than one night alone nor does she want more than one night to herself.

I don't know. I see some people saying here that this might be a temporary backsliding. I see it as the OP's husband tried and it isn't working. Strongarming the OP into accepting what he wants, and on top of that, insisting she not only agree to it but that she is satisfied with it?

OP, I'm sorry, but I think at some point you are going to exhaust yourself trying to make this work when your DH, to me anyway, clearly wants either a. out or b. to do whatever he wants without regard for you or your child or your feelings. I know option a seems painful, but it will be inherently less painful in the long run.

If he's gone, you're alone, but with your freedom and ultimately the option to find someone who will be kind and appreciate you. If he's there, you're alone most of the time, as well as trapped and taken for granted and emotionally abused. I'm sorry, OP, but in your situation, I'd walk away at this point regardless of whatever trial period you've given him. Enough is enough.

I thought it was backsliding until the most recent update in which he very clearly manipulated/emotionally abused her and at the same time completely disregarded what she may have wanted because it just wasn't that important to him.  With that update, I'm on your page; though if CakeBeret is willing to give joint counseling a try, then I think she should.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Deetee on February 27, 2012, 03:29:47 PM
Keep track, try the councelling. I'm sorry this is not going as nicely as it was a few weeks ago.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: JenJay on February 27, 2012, 03:41:18 PM
The compromise on two nights, but home in time for bed, seems fair to me as long as the OP gets two of her own nights free.  I don't know that I'd jump straight to emotionally abusive.  It sounds like he's still working on his communication skills and they're not going to magically become perfect overnight -- it takes time.  Perhaps he thought at first that one night would be enough, but then found his needs changed.  I hope the OP too would be able to bring up a possible change and discuss it with her husband if she felt she needed one, rather than stick to the original plan and feel stifled.

I think the emotionally abusive part comes in where he wouldn't let it go until she agreed that she was satisfied and wouldn't bring it up again.

Yup. The history here, per the other thread, is that CB's husband does what he wants, when he wants, including but not limited to doing absolutely nothing at all. CB is allowed to either accept this with a hug and a smile or be upset about it IF she can be upset quietly and alone so that he isn't bothered by it. If she "fails" at this and he becomes aware that she is upset then HE gets mad and she is to blame for upsetting him, which is totally legit and worth discussing for however long it takes until she realizes she was wrong to ever be upset and apologizes.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: CakeBeret on February 27, 2012, 03:46:25 PM
The compromise on two nights, but home in time for bed, seems fair to me as long as the OP gets two of her own nights free.  I don't know that I'd jump straight to emotionally abusive.  It sounds like he's still working on his communication skills and they're not going to magically become perfect overnight -- it takes time.  Perhaps he thought at first that one night would be enough, but then found his needs changed.  I hope the OP too would be able to bring up a possible change and discuss it with her husband if she felt she needed one, rather than stick to the original plan and feel stifled.

I think the emotionally abusive part comes in where he wouldn't let it go until she agreed that she was satisfied and wouldn't bring it up again.

Yup. The history here, per the other thread, is that CB's husband does what he wants, when he wants, including but not limited to doing absolutely nothing at all. CB is allowed to either accept this with a hug and a smile or be upset about it IF she can be upset quietly and alone so that he isn't bothered by it. If she "fails" at this and he becomes aware that she is upset then HE gets mad and she is to blame for upsetting him, which is totally legit and worth discussing for however long it takes until she realizes she was wrong to ever be upset and apologizes.

This made me laugh but it's also appallingly true.
Title: Re: Communication issue & need perspective
Post by: Ticia on February 27, 2012, 04:10:27 PM
With all sympathies to the OP, this is not an etiquette issue. Best of luck.

Edited to add: If you'd like me to move this to the "I need a hug" folder, please PM me and I'll do that.