Author Topic: no more giving myself ultimatums  (Read 1028 times)

Bunny

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  • widowed 2012
Re: no more giving myself ultimatums
« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2017, 12:28:17 PM »
You are a smart and thoughtful woman. But you suffer from the same afflictions I myself have to fight against- fixation and rumination. To follow along with TooSoon's excellent advice on Acceptance, I will add that the truest and freest way to love anyone is without expectations. When i am able to release myself from their grip it is amazing how much easier my life becomes, how much lighter, happier I feel.

Look, your relationship with your DH was absurdly ideal. And your boyfriend had finally found a woman he wanted to marry. You both got to reach that Peak of Ultimate Joy. And then they died on you. And now here you both are, stuck with less than perfect and a baby probably the only thing holding you two together. Well, I don't really think that's true, but I'm sure it's felt like it sometimes. You know, babies can be extremely hard on a relationship. That's a test neither of you dealt with with DH or fiancé, so true comparisons can't really be that accurate, can they? I've watched many a blissful relationship take a nosedive when children came along. And it can take parents quite a while to get their sea legs back. Throw a couple dashes of widowhood into the mix and is it any wonder you two are having some pretty darn intense growing pains?

It's funny how you want to be your boyfriend's ideal while freely admitting he is most certainly not yours- human nature is such a silly, fickle little thing sometimes, isn't it? You want what you cannot give. And, to make matters worse, your boyfriend is seemingly content with this. I was super duper into marrying my husband, but I have zero desire to marry my boyfriend- even though I'm planning on being with him until one of us drops dead. I don't know why I'm not interested. I know he wants to get married, but thus far has not tried to push the matter (probably because he knows I don't take ultimatums very well).

I'm going to recommend a book to you that a widow recommended on the ywbb. Actually, I wish I could make everyone in the world read this book- it has helped me so much. Here's a review of it I just found on-line:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/heart-and-soul-healing/201303/undefended-love

Please, please, please Read This Book before you decide what it is you want or don't want.
It is a fearful thing to love what Death can touch.

StillWidowed

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Re: no more giving myself ultimatums
« Reply #16 on: June 29, 2017, 01:02:45 PM »
It's ok if you keep giving yourself deadlines.  I did the same thing with my ex bf.  Only to keep the vicious cycle going for another year, then another.  My sister never worried about me.  She said I know when you've had enough, you'll walk.  And she was right.  I eventually got to the point where the stress was just too much and I couldn't let it keep wearing on me.  Do I still think about him?  Yep.  Do I still miss him?  Yep.  Do I want to contact him and start the cycle all over again?  Nope.  But it took me a long time to get here.  Just like our grief, this too will take as long as it takes.  And when you're ready to move on, you will.

(((Hugs)))

Mizpah

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Re: no more giving myself ultimatums
« Reply #17 on: June 29, 2017, 01:10:05 PM »
Oh gosh, I love all of you, and I think you're all right, even when you contradict each other, and even when you tell me my relationship is doomed and you feel sad for me.  And that's the thing about my situation (all of ours, I'm sure): it is not simple, and many different contradicting things are correct.  It is complicated with many different factors.  I wrote this after I read ABitLost's comments and probably was defensive and I wasn't going to post it (for worry that I was just simply being defensive), but I guess I will:

"
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?

You're not out of line, and there are parts of what you say that have kernels of truth in them, and are arguments I've mounted against myself, but I think it's overly simplistic, which is inherent in this kind of forum, with posting snippets (and usually when in a rough time).  I am discontent and resentful.  Absolutely.  But it's not all or even largely because of him or because we are different.  And I think this goes to a big part of why we had so many problems for a couple years.  I went through huge changes all at once, and was lonely and isolated - it became very easy for me to blame him for a whole array of things.  I was quashed by leaving the home I'd known for over a decade and loved fiercely, by leaving all my friends and I had a huge social circle, by leaving a really satisfying job, by leaving my synagogue and my classes, by leaving the place where I ran and worked out, by leaving DH's family and the ritual of visiting his grave, and I think most of all I was quashed by the severe life change in becoming a mother, losing freedom (and sleep for 16 months) and the freedom to be selfish in my decisions and time.  I lost the ability to be the most important person.  In my life with DH, for example, I had no money worries.  But I have huge educational debt, and now with daycare, I really need to face financial realities.  For another example, in my life with DH, I was always #1 to him.  But he didn't have kids, we didn't have kids.  In many ways, I think these years have been me adjusting to being a responsible, mature, accountable adult, and doing it very ungracefully.   

I do see your point, and perhaps I'm just being defensive, but, like I said, our dynamic has improved so vastly, and my main problem is just this marriage issue.  Our day-to-day life is lovely and sweet, and my favorite place in the whole world is cuddled in bed in the morning with him.  My whole life I've struggled with perfectionism and being insatiable, always wanting everything to be better and more perfect.  Even DH used to tell me I drive myself "cuckoo." 

Is my relationship quashing who I am?  I'd say my current life is, the life of a financially struggling working mom.  Would I have stayed with him if not for my daughter?  If we're talking a couple years ago, no, definitely not.  If we're talking about right now, absolutely.  I said to my therapist a few months ago that I stayed in large part because of my daughter, and now I'm so glad that I did, that I couldn't have known then what it would be now.  Partly because we're different, we've opened up whole other aspects of life for each other and exposed each other to things we never expected to influence us. 

My post makes you sad - it *is* sad.  The story is sad.  But it's not sad because I'm settling for a certain relationship, it's sad because I was with a man to whom I was the center of the world, and now I'm with a mature man who doesn't think it's a great idea to get married before seeing if a relationship can stabilize and flourish consistently.  Because it hurts me even though I understand it and even respect it.  I still want what I want.  And I want it now. 

Does it sound terrible, as a widow, to say I'm not overly concerned with what I think DH would want for me?  I'm such a different person now - I'm more concerned with what I want for me.  I want NG.  I just want him to want to marry me too. 

(And in response to people who say pressuring him won't help, it's more that I'm pressuring MYSELF - to leave, that I'm linking it all to a concept of my self-respect, that I can't stay unless he proposes, that if he doesn't propose it means I'm vulnerable to him, I love him more than he loves me, that he loves me less than he loved/loves DW, etc., etc.) 

Do I protest too much?  Like TooSoon says, I'm struggling with acceptance.  I don't want anything less than exactly what I want."



And to that, that I wrote before, I'll add:

Bunny, you've got it: my relationship with DH was absurdly ideal.  Absurdly, and NG's relationship with LW was perfect for him (she had very few demands on him, seemingly wanted little but a roof over her head and occasional pragmatic assistance - I'm a bit more... intense).  Having a baby together while he was freshly grieving and sixteen months of interrupted sleep really did a number on us in the early stages of our relationship, for sure, and yeah - children put enormous strains on relationships, not to mention the blending aspect.

And I am a hypocrite for sure (and a fixated, overthinking one, yes) - wanting to be his ideal despite not being able to give the same award (obviously not something I'd ever say to him).  Human nature is, partly, greedy, voracious, jealous, ego-driven, hungry hungry hungry.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2017, 01:40:49 PM by Mizpah »
widowed 2011 (DH 28)

TooSoon

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Re: no more giving myself ultimatums
« Reply #18 on: June 29, 2017, 02:07:26 PM »

I don't want anything less than exactly what I want."



We might share DNA.  This is me, too.  100%.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2017, 02:19:13 PM by TooSoon »

Metv

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Re: no more giving myself ultimatums
« Reply #19 on: June 29, 2017, 02:53:16 PM »
Not to butt in but it seems to come down to one question. Are you happy or can be with the way thing are, now ? I've asked myself that, during several post relationships. And the changes I made were for myself. Saying to myself, hey self, you cannot change someone else. To me, the longer I waited to speak my mind, the worse off I was. So even though the decisions sometimes hurt,I knew it was what I had to do. For my own well being. Just a thought.

Mizpah

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Re: no more giving myself ultimatums
« Reply #20 on: June 29, 2017, 03:17:11 PM »
Not to butt in

Open to all always

I think that's exactly the point of no longer giving myself ultimatums: to see if I can stop fixating, and if I stop fixating, to see if I'm actually happy.  Maybe I am, maybe I'm not, but I don't think I can tell when I'm constantly torturing myself by issuing deadline after deadline to myself and threatening myself. 

And as for changing someone else, what I've found is actually, strangely, the opposite: once I changed my behaviors toward him, he changed his behaviors toward me.  I think people can and do regularly change, ourselves and each other.  You know that phrase: hurt people hurt people.  If damage can change us, then can't effort and being mindful and more accepting?
widowed 2011 (DH 28)

Metv

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Re: no more giving myself ultimatums
« Reply #21 on: June 29, 2017, 03:23:24 PM »
The changes we make to (for) ourselves, will ultimately change some behaviors of those close to us, but the change initiates from us, and the others remain, inherently, themselves. Others will react.
Maybe it could be rephrased, but the idea is the same. Just offering speculation.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2017, 03:25:31 PM by Metv »

Metv

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Re: no more giving myself ultimatums
« Reply #22 on: June 29, 2017, 06:54:39 PM »
I have to write that down. I went to pretty extensive lengths to seek advise and counseling not only about being alone, but also what makes others tick. Grateful to those who guided and helped me. I called it the Me 1rst advise, and although I'm kind of new here, I always rout for the widowed.

arneal

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Re: no more giving myself ultimatums
« Reply #23 on: June 30, 2017, 01:34:33 AM »
Mizpah -- that post you weren't going to post digs into a few more of your 'I want items'. It seems that you got accustomed to a lifestyle -- financial security, being the sun around which your LH rotated, being free to do as you wished. As you said, your NG has a different view of life. Questions: did you know that when you all were less entangled? Did it not matter or was the attraction (infatuation, whatever you want to label it) overwhelming the things that now have bubbled to the surface? Did you not desire marriage back then, was it not a topic of conversation, did you assume he wanted to marry? Do you believe, over and above adoring him, you can make this life work, even if it doesn't have the bells and whistles you had with your LH? Is it 'just' the marriage thing? I don't mean that one lightly as being legally together (having the paper that declares you wed) is very important to some people.

I hope my questions and comments here are not too far out; I have never been in your previous situation, even though my second husband was probably pretty close -- he was a musician so never were we NOT concerned about how the next bill was getting paid lol -- because he called himself my biggest fan. He was always in my corner and as emotionally supportive as he could be up until the day he died. The first husband was a bus and truck driver, very ill tempered, which is probably what took him from life; my happiness was the last thing on his mind. I am an only child and have always been very independent. Have money, don't have money ... I will work and get what I want. I get tongue-tied when people do things for me as I am not used to it  ;D I tell myself I would get married again and I would like to marry my NG, but if it doesn't happen, that's okay too. I hope we remain 'a thing' until one or the other of us meets our end. I look at my mother who hasn't remarried since my dad died nearly 23 years ago: she has her 'friend', who lived with a woman for about the same amount of time and they never got married. My mom says she doesn't want to -- she likes having her own place and whatnot. She stays at his house, he stays at hers, they each go home if they get on each other's nerves or simply have things to do on their own turf. It is what it is. They make each other happy, they look out for each other (they are each other's health guardian so he can make decisions for her and she can make decisions for him). At their ages, they crack me up.

Just a late night rambling here. Want to see you come back and post how absolutely ridiculously happy you are, no matter the reason or path to it {{{hugs!!!}}}
Andree'

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

Mizpah

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Re: no more giving myself ultimatums
« Reply #24 on: July 07, 2017, 09:03:55 AM »
As you said, your NG has a different view of life. Questions: did you know that when you all were less entangled? Did it not matter or was the attraction (infatuation, whatever you want to label it) overwhelming the things that now have bubbled to the surface? Did you not desire marriage back then, was it not a topic of conversation, did you assume he wanted to marry? Do you believe, over and above adoring him, you can make this life work, even if it doesn't have the bells and whistles you had with your LH? Is it 'just' the marriage thing? I don't mean that one lightly as being legally together (having the paper that declares you wed) is very important to some people.

I hope my questions and comments here are not too far out

Did I know it?  Yes and no.  He was very different in courtship than he has been in a relationship, and I suppose we all are *to an extent*.  (He was very attentive and I was very easygoing.  We both did a pretty quick 180 once "$h!t got real.")  I think, because of his childhood and relationship history, he knows "the script" for courtship, but not for actual intimacy and emotional bonding???  And I had different expectations from a casual fling partner and a life partner, and I don't think he realized how much I would expect to be able to rely on him. 

As for marriage, I didn't care then *and* he said something early on that made me believe he wanted to marry me.  So we both kind of flip flopped there as well.  (As I'm typing this, I'm really digesting the whole "you don't know how you'll react to a situation until you're in it" pearl of wisdom that I firmly believe in about grief, but didn't realize held true to relationships transitioning from easy fun fantasy swiftly to hard core real life struggles.)

And do I believe it can work without bells and whistles?  Absolutely. 

Is it just marriage?  I think it's what marriage has come to mean for me in this context: that I'm not second-best (wanted to marry his DW but not me), that he chooses me (not just that he's with me because of our baby or because we've passively happened to stay together over time), that he's in this like I am for good.  Maybe it's all my insecurities conveniently packaged into one thing.

Thanks for being my therapist, arneal (and everybody)!  And sorry for subjecting everyone to my overthink and babble.  I hope recoupling is easier for everyone else, and if not, that there may be a scrap or two here that can give them some comfort?   :-\ ??? ::)

(As for reporting in ridiculously happy, I can at least say I'm feeling less obsessed, fixated, haunted, soul-destroyed, largely because of talking through it, as well as because of the improvements I see/cause/enjoy in my relationship daily.)
« Last Edit: July 07, 2017, 10:39:34 AM by Mizpah »
widowed 2011 (DH 28)

arneal

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Re: no more giving myself ultimatums
« Reply #25 on: July 07, 2017, 10:58:47 AM »
Thank you, Mizpah, for trusting us. Something my LH once said about trusting and love: it's like opening your chest and allowing someone to hold your heart in their hands whilst trusting them not to crush it and harm you. Add to that another word of wisdom from my friend/little brother I never had: dating and recoupling is so junior high  ;D ::)

I hear you about not being second best. I would dare say if after having LW he's chosen to be with you, that you aren't second best ... that you are different and first best in your space like LW was different and first best in her space. I think I shared that I read dating and relationship information and one thing I read a while ago was about the notion of a soul mate -- do we get just one. The commentator wrote no, otherwise basically people would never separate or divorce and if a partner died, the other partner would never be able to recouple.

And as far as being wanted for you, not because of obligation -- hell, yeah! Jokes aside, the issue there is having the conversation about it and being ready to move forward should the answer not be what you are hoping for. If he says he's in it for all of you and because he wants to be with you, there it is. If he says he's in it for obligation, there it is. You then have the knowledge and can decide whether you believe that he is there for you and leave it go or if he's in it for the obligation, you can decide your next moves. Not easy in any case, but better to know than eat yourself from the inside out not knowing.

{{{hugs mightily}}}
Andree'

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