Author Topic: no more giving myself ultimatums  (Read 1034 times)

Mizpah

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no more giving myself ultimatums
« on: June 23, 2017, 01:00:40 PM »
So I've been with NG for nearly 4 years now.  When we got together, he (a widower) was not even a year in.  I was about 2 1/2.  I feel like I recap in every post, and it's gotta be boring by now.  Briefly: exciting sexy chemistry-laden long distance fling, quickly got very serious, then found out I was pregnant (despite doc telling me I couldn't), we decide I'll move to be with him and raise our child together.  Left big city, all my friends, to be in the country.  Huge seismic shift for me, extremely homesick, emotionally needy (pregnant, homesick, came from a super close relationship with DH to a somewhat distant relationship style preference on his part), he withdrew almost immediately, we quickly lost a sense of alliance and love and turned into enemies really, with tons and tons of fighting nearly constantly for nearly two years.  I was distraught regularly and so sad and just wanted him to love me like before and he wanted me to not cause problems, but I couldn't with how heartbroken I felt.  We slowly became better people toward/with each other, learned each other, both compromised our styles and treatment, and what was horrid and rancorous is now generally sweet and loving.  We have our moments, but who doesn't?  And it's more about normal stuff, like household maintenance/operation issues, rather than hating each other's guts because of emotional differences, etc. 

One thing I've been unable to shed, though, is sadness and anger over his not wanting to get married.  It's funny, because before him I never cared about marriage.  But now I do.  Or rather, I care about him not wanting to get married, maybe not actually about being married.  I worry that I love him more than he loves me (likely, just because of our different ways of being in life and in relationships), I feel tortured over the fact that he wanted to marry her but not me (this is a big part of it, I hate feeling like I'm not #1 to the person I'm with - he never wanted to get married before her, and now he doesn't want to again - *I* want to be the exception, I don't want to be just another one, and the exception is someone else), I obsess over people maybe thinking I'm just some replacement or a regret or a shotgun partner, that he's only with me because I got pregnant, I obsess over a ring I saw on-line, I feel like I lose my self-respect by staying when I'm not getting this thing that I want (leave or you have no self-respect, I'm telling myself inside), I feel angry and sad and like this is the final sub-tragedy in the larger tragedy of losing DH: losing DH who wanted to bond us in soul and in life in every single way possible, and ending up with/loving someone who doesn't want to marry me.  It's caused me so much heartbreak and it's caused us so much discord.  I've been giving myself deadlines: "If he doesn't propose by blank date, I'm leaving.  Ok, he didn't propose.  If he doesn't propose by this new date, I'm going to leave.  I can't live like this anymore.  I can't do this to myself anymore."

And that's the kernel: "I can't do this to myself anymore." 

I don't want to leave him.  I love our love, I love our life (as stressful and difficult as it can be), I love our family, I love being with him and not being with someone who is not him, I love him being with me and not being with someone who is not me, etc., etc.  In order to cope with not having what I want (him wanting to marry me), I've been telling myself to sacrifice what I want (him, our family intact, and our everyday life together).

I've looked at it emotionally/romantically and as a rejection.  He's always looked at it pragmatically: doesn't want to get married just to get divorced, loves me but we fight/fought.  It's kind of funny, because a big part of the reason we've fought so much is because I don't feel loved (by my own index/criteria/behavior/expectations (we are VERY different), not by his - if I judge it all by his, it's very clear that he loves me).  Then he reacts to the fighting by disengaging and withdrawing and not wanting to get married, which leads me to feel unloved, and it's all this insane circular nonsense.  I've tried to only see it from my perspective, but if I'm honest with myself and him, I understand his perspective, as pragmatic and unromantic as it may be.  He makes decisions differently than I do, and while I prefer passion and dedication no matter what, it's probably wise and smart to be cautious and see how we do over time, as those initial major stresses on our relationship fade into the past. 

So the latest deadline I set for myself is this coming Wednesday.  And I think it's the last deadline I'm going to set.  He's not going to propose.  I don't want him to because I want him to, because of pressure.  I want him to want that with me.  Maybe he will eventually.  I hope.  I still hope.  I still feel sad and hurt.  Part of me feels that it's a hurt that can't even ever be fixed by him EVENTUALLY proposing, because I'll always know that I wanted it so much and he didn't.  BUT.  I'm going to stop torturing myself.  And try to let myself enjoy what we have, the love he gives me.  Because being married wouldn't change that.  And the whole reason I want to get married is because I want that, what I already have.... 

I hate having to be mature. 
« Last Edit: June 28, 2017, 09:29:38 AM by Mizpah »
widowed 2011 (DH 28)

Forgottenwife

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Re: no more giving myself ultimatums
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2017, 01:43:36 PM »
I don't want him to because I want him to, because of pressure.  I want him to want that with me.  Maybe he will eventually.  I hope.  I still hope.  I still feel sad and hurt.  Part of me feels that it's a hurt that can't even ever be fixed by him EVENTUALLY proposing, because I'll always know that I wanted it so much and he didn't. 

Huge hugs Mizpah today as we navigate this new life. I can relate in may ways, our situations are similar. I am living with the man of my dreams truly, a better match for me than my late husband. A man I would literally follow to the ends of the earth. My NG just doesn't want to ever get married, even though we live like a married couple. His reasons are his own.

It is so true now in 2017 that people aren't getting married as in the past. I think if this were 1957, we would both already be remarried (and so would many people that I know who are living similarly) seems that for some, marriage just isn't a big deal anymore.

It is regrettable that each of you don't get what you want, one of you has to compromise. Sad for you that it is you who compromises in this way, with the knowledge that your man does not want the same and does not desire having you for his wife. That has got to hurt. I do hope whether he *just my opinion* - wakes up one day and realizes just how lucky he is to have your love and devotion and companionship, a beautiful, smart and attentive woman that wants to give herself to him in marriage, and he cannot wait even one more day to be your husband - or not, that you really can come to a peace with whatever choices you make in this life, staying or not, living with and loving him or not. Living with what you called, 'a sadness and anger' sounds tiring. I wish only the best, for all of you. I'm sorry he doesn't want what is in your heart too.

Mizpah

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Re: no more giving myself ultimatums
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2017, 02:02:53 PM »
our situations are similar. I am living with the man of my dreams truly, a better match for me than my late husband. A man I would literally follow to the ends of the earth.

This part is different for me, though, and part of that pesky maturing I'm being forced to do.  We're NOT perfect for each other, we're NOT a better match for each other than we were for our lost loves, I would not characterize him as the man of my dreams, though I love him dearly, and I doubt I'd ever follow anyone but DH to the ends of the earth (this all sounds so terrible!).  We're not "imperfect but perfect for each other," it's more like we're imperfect and also really imperfect together.  And so part of all of this for me is an unpleasant, forced examination of my own motives and desires - is there part of me that desperately wants him to want to marry me precisely because he doesn't want to?  That there's an element of hurt pride/ego, some rejection I want healed without having to admit that maybe I have refused to recognize his reservations because maybe I share them, or that I have different concerns/reservations.  I don't know.  Maybe I presented it as more simple than it actually is for me.  I think I've allowed myself to occupy a space of rejectedness and victimhood, maybe partly because a victim bears no blame/responsibility - I'd like to be innocent.  I can tell myself that he's the one who's hurt me, not just life - that's easier, that's simpler - and also, if HE's the one who's hurt me, he's the one who can heal/comfort me, whereas if it's just life/chance that has hurt, there is no balm or comforter or solution.  It's easier if he's the one who's decided we're not passionately crazily in love above all other concerns like compatibility and dynamics, then it's not that I have to face that DH was perfect for me and I'm making do, "just" making something good and lovely out of what I've been dealt (having to redefine love as something less poetic and more mundane and quiet and realistic).  I'm angry at him for what I have interpreted as him loving DW more than me, but perhaps I'm as guilty.  I'm angry at him for caring more about how we get along than about lofty theoretical ideas about love.  But maybe his having been concerned about those adult things relieves me from having to.  I don't know.  I could examine this for hours and days and years, and apparently I have, to no true conclusion.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2017, 09:31:57 AM by Mizpah »
widowed 2011 (DH 28)

Forgottenwife

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Re: no more giving myself ultimatums
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2017, 02:07:08 PM »
Sorry, I just meant we are similar in living with a man that we wish would want to marry us, that is the part I can relate to. I understand its very different other than that part.

I still wish you all the best!


Mizpah

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Re: no more giving myself ultimatums
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2017, 02:13:01 PM »
No apologies necessary.  Just further exploring.  I'm clearly all caught up in tangles in my head! 
widowed 2011 (DH 28)

Metv

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Re: no more giving myself ultimatums
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2017, 02:15:34 PM »
 ::)
« Last Edit: June 24, 2017, 12:07:33 AM by Metv »

arneal

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Re: no more giving myself ultimatums
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2017, 02:41:04 PM »
Mizpah: first, {{{hugs}}}

Second, your post makes me think about why we want things sometimes. You mentioned that you had a certain type of relationship with your LH and the one with NG is very different. Might it be that your litmus for what a relationship looks like is based on what came before? This question is not to diminish the rest of your post by far but is offered as food for thought.

I am only a year in with my NG. He is more affectionate in some ways and less in others than LH. I go back and forth with thoughts of marriage to him but have no idea if he does the same. We don't talk about it; while his previous marriage did not last long, they courted for quite some time, and in the end the relationship was damaging to him. He remains hurt and for this reason our conversations about marriage tend toward the esoteric. He has never said he was against marrying again and neither have I. We don't refer to ourselves as a couple, but I don't get that either of us came from families that used labels in relationships a lot. But I'd like to -- similar to you, I'd like to be the difference maker :) However, and thanks to 'talking out' my thoughts and feelings here, amongst people who have been or are in similar straits, as well as reading several dating blogs (because between two marriages, both of which left me widowed, I have spent nearly half my life married and don't know how to date) has helped me come to terms with going with the flow, not expecting this man to be what I've created in my head and accepting him as he is.

That said, acceptance and settling are two very different things. More food for thought, so no answers expected: are you and he in this because you've gotten comfortable? Is the idea of trying to build relationship -- any form of loving, close, intimacy -- seem like too much work or too impossible to seek out elsewhere? Do you love him and does he love you, as individuals -- not as the other parent of the child you had together? Are you in love with one another?

Maybe I'm just a beach hippie, but I believe where I live is sanctuary. There should be peace for everyone who shares the space. Arguments don't happen here. Do we disagree? Do we drive each other crazy with our habits and quirks? Surely! But fighting? Nope. I know what soul-discord that causes from my first marriage and knew I never wanted to live like that again. My second husband helped me work toward this notion of sanctuary; despite how crazy we made each other from time to time, we never fought or had a cross word in 16 years because we talked about everything, no matter how hard it was.

So what do you want? Can you get it in this relationship? Not without a serious set of conversations. Courageous conversations where you are willing to hear your guy and he is willing to hear you, without judgment or expectation beyond honesty. Where you both identify what it means to move forward, either on the same path or on complementary ones where you can be good together but not together for your child.

You deserve every happiness in the world. Life is too short to settle for not having it. But it's what you make it. If you can make it with this man, great -- life is about compromise after all. If you can't, what does that mean? Only you and he can figure that out.

Sending love and light ...
Andree'

Seek peace, and pursue it - Psalm 34:14b

Mizpah

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Re: no more giving myself ultimatums
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2017, 03:14:41 PM »
You mentioned that you had a certain type of relationship with your LH and the one with NG is very different. Might it be that your litmus for what a relationship looks like is based on what came before? This question is not to diminish the rest of your post by far but is offered as food for thought.

not expecting this man to be what I've created in my head and accepting him as he is.

That said, acceptance and settling are two very different things. More food for thought, so no answers expected: are you and he in this because you've gotten comfortable? Is the idea of trying to build relationship -- any form of loving, close, intimacy -- seem like too much work or too impossible to seek out elsewhere? Do you love him and does he love you, as individuals -- not as the other parent of the child you had together? Are you in love with one another?

Maybe I'm just a beach hippie, but I believe where I live is sanctuary. There should be peace for everyone who shares the space. Arguments don't happen here.

So what do you want? Can you get it in this relationship?

Life is too short to settle for not having it. But it's what you make it. If you can make it with this man, great -- life is about compromise after all. If you can't, what does that mean? Only you and he can figure that out.

Thanks, arneal.  I think you hit the nail on the head.  I think I entered this relationship thinking HE wasn't ready and that I was much further along in terms of healing.  In terms of time, I was further along, but I think that my relationship with DH was both a blessing and a curse in its greatness.  And the curse aspect of it has made its mark on my current relationship.  With DH, that infatuated initial phase never faded.  But in real life, in most relationships, it does.  You can't keep up that infatuation.  And don't they say that studies/brain scans show that being in love looks just like being insane? 

I think my expectations WERE skewed, and that I've been judging this relationship based on that one.  Wanting that when I have this, and this is so very different, but my life is so different now, and *I* am so different now - and these men are so different, but both wonderful, in very different ways.  DH was young and idealistic, and our lives were a bit luxurious - we had few worries and few things taking our attention away from showering each other with pure love.  Now, NG and I are both truly adults, with truly adult responsibilities and all the stresses that come with that.  And while DH had had a somewhat easy, very love-filled life, NG has had a (to put it mildly) rough time of it since childhood/babyhood, and in a lot of ways, losing DW was not even close to the worst of it.  I think I overestimated how well-adjusted I was, because I was only well-adjusted in a vacuum, and wasn't able to apply it to my new life, I wasn't able to accept what I now had or appreciate it because I was so hyper-aware of what was lacking in comparison.   

Are we in love?  I don't know.  I'm not sure I know what that means anymore.  Were we infatuated in the beginning?  Yes.  Is there still lust and chemistry?  Yes.  Do we spend our free time gazing into each other's eyes and praising each other?  No, and we don't really have much free time.   

Our home wasn't a sanctuary for a long time, and it felt terrible.  But in the past year or two, it has become that.  We have flare-ups (we're both intense and have tempers), but I think we used to dread going home and now it's lovely.  Am I settling?  I don't think so.  I wanted him.  I got him.  Does he give me what I want?  Let's say he doesn't give me what I thought I wanted.  We don't have conversations like the ones you described, and we likely never will.  But he planted me a big garden of gorgeous flowers.  He speaks in a different language than me and different from what I'm used to.  But I'm learning to appreciate it.  I don't think it's settling.  I think it's maturing, understanding, accepting, growing even.  I think I posted a long time ago that DH made me a happy woman, but maybe not a better woman, and that, through some growing pains and adjustment, NG has made me a better woman. 

I've never been one of those rays of sunshine who are always positive, so learning appreciation doesn't come naturally to me.  But learning to appreciate what we share, instead of obsessing on the one thing I don't have (marriage), like a temper tantrum, is I think important for me.  Maybe I won't be able to reconcile myself to it in the end, but I think letting the pressure off myself will help me to see clearly if this is giving me what I need or not. 
« Last Edit: June 28, 2017, 09:23:08 AM by Mizpah »
widowed 2011 (DH 28)

arneal

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Re: no more giving myself ultimatums
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2017, 03:29:01 PM »
Yes, yes, and yes, Mizpah! Appreciation! We all are so different which is what makes the human mosaic so interesting. On another thread we've had lots of discussion of what I guess we could call love language -- how do you say I love you versus the other person. Some folks just blurt it out all over the place, others plant gardens of flowers, others use touch or looks, and on and on.

It sounds like you are either already in or are standing at the precipice of a good place for yourself. And that's what counts :)
Andree'

Seek peace, and pursue it - Psalm 34:14b

Captains wife

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Re: no more giving myself ultimatums
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2017, 06:32:07 AM »
It's great Mizpah that you are very self reflective. And taking that attitude since your relationship is in a much better place is a positive way to move forward. I can understand why you feel how you feel- not the same but I was never that into getting married but when I lost it I (for a period of time) was very much wishing one of my relationships would lead to marriage again. Yet as time has gone on, I've learned to be ok that my life hasn't turned out as I had always imagined it would turn out. I really try and stay focused  and positive on the good things I do have in my life and be happy with that. Taking that pressure off yourself will also take pressure off your relationship - it does sound as though you and NG needed to figure out each other's love languages (and they are different). And although the transition sounds as though it has been tough, you have a beautiful child you are raising together. Not everyone gets to experience that. Wishing you all the best - and thank you for sharing.

jgib

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Re: no more giving myself ultimatums
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2017, 12:55:26 PM »
Mizpah, I believe you already know the answers, you just don't like them very much.  This happens to us all in different aspects of our lives.
I will be honest with you and your "like a temper tantrum " comment is what my thoughts were about your first post.  You just being upset about what you wanted and weren't getting instead of seeing the whole picture.  Then your next post really showed some insight and self reflection and like I say, I think you really do know the answers for yourself, they are just not exactly how you want then.
Nobody can really tell you what is best for you but you are smart you will get it.  Maybe stop overthinking it so much, relax, take a deep breath and feel lucky for what you have for a few moments each day.

Captains wife

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Re: no more giving myself ultimatums
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2017, 07:56:32 AM »
I love this comment....


 "And don't they say that studies/brain scans show that being in love looks just like being insane?" 

daysofelijah

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Re: no more giving myself ultimatums
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2017, 08:59:49 AM »
I had some of those ultimatums in my head for a while, not about the getting married, but about NG saying I love you. Took him a loooong time.

I don't really know how to give any advice but thought I should reply. It seems like you both have made it through a lot of hard times that were inevitable, and now you are in a place where you could be happy? It may come down to you making the choice of saying, "It is what it is" he doesn't want to get married, can you live with that and still be happy? Because it doesn't sound like ultimatums or pushing is going to force him to make that leap. Maybe someday he will want to, but maybe not. Are you okay with it never happening, or are you okay with waiting until your child is much older? I'm sure these are all things that you have already asked yourself.

You know my story. NG was, probably still is, not too excited about the idea of getting married again. I have made my position clear from the beginning though that marriage is a necessity to a long term relationship with me. I refused to live with him without a proposal. In some ways I nudged him into it, I suppose, but there was no forcing or ultimatum either, he is a grown man. So he made the choice if he wants to keep me and have me in his life full time, I need us to be married.

You falling pregnant lost that ability to be able to stay apart from him and you were in some ways forced to make the move and leap. So now you feel stuck.

More and more, the "it is what it is" attitude is entering my life. There are things I can't change so I have to decide if I can live with it how it is, or if I can't then I need to choose to make a change. Maturity is tough. You were lucky to have such a wonderful life with your DH. I hope you have find contentment in your new life as well.
Amy, mom to four (14,13,9,5)

TooSoon

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Re: no more giving myself ultimatums
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2017, 10:08:38 AM »
One hard won lesson I've learned is the concept of "acceptance."  I fought it (and sometimes still do fight it) tooth and nail but I've learned the power of just accepting things the way they are sometimes.  It felt like capitulation and capitulation was never in my vocabulary before (with before being the operative word here).  Fundamentally not liking the word "acceptance,"  I adopted the mantras "its just for now" or "this isn't forever" or "its not permanent" And as much as I hate to say this, most of the time, if I just give it some time, acceptance comes or the circumstances change or it resolves with time. 

I'm absolutely not minimizing what you're saying.  But as daysofelijah said, I've often gotten myself to the point of "Can I live with this?"  and therein found the answer to my question..."Can I live with long distance for one more year?"  "Can I do this job for one more year?"  One question you might ask, which is simply a recalibration of the "Can I live with this?" question is the "Do I want to live without this?" question or the "Would my (our - your daughter) life be better without him?"  or "Can I envisage a better future without him?" or any similar configuration of the same.  I think that's the one that always kept me going with Andy when things got/are difficult or I was/am conflicted. 

Not sure this is helpful at all; am just offering maybe more avenues for thinking it through.  xoxoxox

Abitlost

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Re: no more giving myself ultimatums
« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2017, 10:20:27 AM »
Mizpah,

Your post makes me sad. I have not read all the responses so forgive me if I am redundant or out of line.

Over the years I have gleaned from your posts that you are varying degrees of discontent, resentful even, in your life with NG. In equal proportions, it seems you try to justify your decisions to yourself...but still the strife wears on you. I'm sorry to be blunt and tell me to shut up if you wish, but you and NG seem  diametrically opposed with very little common ground. My prediction -- not that you asked for it -- is that this life extrapolated over the years will either quash the person you are inside (which is different from maturation, acceptance, etc.) or you will continue to live an unsatisfied and unfulfilled life. Would you be with him if not for your daughter?

I spent (wasted) 4.5 years in an unsatisfying relationship with Ex-BF, justifying it because I didn't think I could ever replicate what I had in what was my perfect marriage with DH. Throughout the relationship, I often thought to myself that DH would be extraordinarily disappointed in me going from what I had with him to that. Despite how painful the breakup was, I am beyond happy to say I am now with someone whom DH would endorse. I honestly could not be happier! It does exist.

abl