How do I handle this? (marriage problems)

My wife and I normally have a great marriage. We complement each other well and we have a lot of fun together. We have the same values and goals in life. Overall, I couldn’t be happier with the woman I married.

But sometimes she drives me crazy! When we have a conflict about something, or sometimes before there is even a conflict, she will convince herself of something that is totally not based in reality in order to get her way. Basically, she goes into perfect denial mode. Whatever she wants to become true, she makes true and then argues from that perspective.

Here’s what happened last night:

(before I get into this, you should know that sex is usually not something we fight over. We have a very healthy and active sex life.)

All night last night I was saying it had been a while since we made love and I was really looking forward to spending some alone-time in the bedroom with her. She agreed and seemed anxious to hop into the sack with me too. Some of the specific things I said throughout the night were, “well we better go do it a.s.a.p.” after she told me her period was starting soon. And “well, I guess we we had better go practice if we’re going to make a baby one of these days.”

So 10:00pm rolls around and she starts pulling out all these curtains she bought and showing me. When I expressed concern that it was late, and we still needed to “snuggle”, she said, “Don’t worry, hun, we can stay up late after this. I just want you to see the stuff I bought.” So I held up different curtains to the wall for about a half-hour and was perfectly happy to do so.

Then we go up to bed. She lights a candle. I dim the other lights down low. She slides into bed. I put my arm around her and giver her a little nuzzle. Then it happens… CLICK… I can see it happen in her eyes. Reality has shifted. Suddenly she says, “Now I should tell you I’m way too tired to do a lot with you tonight.” I was rather surprised, to say the least. But I actually handled it well, considering… I said, “Well, can we at least cuddle and take each others’ clothes off?” Her reply: “No, I know what you’ll do–you always try to tempt me to do more. I don’t have any energy for that.” At this point her body went stiff as a board.

So of course I said, “Well what has been going on all night? We’ve both been saying we wanted to do this all night long.” Here comes the denial… her reply, “Oh, I never thought you meant SEX. At no time did I get the idea you wanted to have SEX. I just thought you meant cuddling.”

How am I supposed to respond to this? I went through all the conversations we had had that night with her and she kept saying, “You never specifically said SEX.”

Eventually, she admitted to me that in order to avoid “disappointing” me, she convinced HERSELF that there had been a miscommunication even though there had been none. What makes this impossible to handle is that she is SUCCESSFUL at convincing herself of an alternate reality. It took an hour and a half of hurt feelings and discussion before she admitted this.

And its not like its just one thing at a time. Her realities are constantly shifting throughout the conflict to suit whatever points she wants to make. I spend most of my time in the conflict talking about things that NEVER happened. For example, at one point during the discussion, she said, “Well I just wanted to ease into it gradually. If you hadn’t given all these demands and expectations, we would be cuddling naked right now and probably moving on to do more.” (of course, I never gave any demands or expectations, I put my arm around her and nuzzled her neck. And then when I suggested we cuddle naked, she refused.)

How am I supposed to respond to this??? I’m constantly arguing about what did and did not happen, and every time I shoot down one of her false accusations, she just does a reality shift and claims some other bizarre thing with no basis in reality.

OK, now I should say I am not a complete idiot when it comes to women. I realize that for her it is not about what actually HAPPENED it is about what she is feeling. The problem is that the way she chooses to communicate her feelings is by twisting past events to justify those feelings and then tell me that she feels this way because <insert stuff that never happened here>. What am I supposed to say to that?

Find the nearest wall and repeatedly hit your head against it. Or her’s, depending on how aggravated you are.*

*Joke, people! Joke! Don’t pit me!

One approach would be to be very explicit when you’re talking with her. Don’t use subtle hints. For example, “Honey, I would like to have sexual intercourse tonight between 10:00 and 10:45. Would you agree to that?” Of course that might work so well either.

I would suggest talking with her at a neutral time and tell her about instances where you felt the communication fell apart. Give her examples of how you thought the situation was going one way but she thought it meant something else. Don’t be angry about it. You’re just trying to understand things better. I would suggest not using the sex situation since sex can be an emotionally charged issue. You want to talk about how the communication isn’t working–not about why she didn’t want to have sex that night.

So tell her that when you two disagree, it causes you frustration and you want to fix it. Ask her if she wants you to be more specific when you are talking about things. Also make sure she feels comfortable disagreeing with you. It could be that she goes along with what you’re saying just because she doesn’t want to get into a disagreement about it. Then when push comes to shove, she’s forced to justify her position.

Most people have things about them that drive others crazy. I think I’d feel the same way in your situation. But at least she admitted to having “convinced HERSELF that there had been a miscommunication even though there had been none.” That’s a good sign. Now that it’s established that she has this tendency, maybe she’ll try not to do it as much. You probably do things that drive her up a wall too. But you’re mostly happy with each other. You should consider yourselves lucky.

No answer to this question is possible.

I would however like to give a hardy and loud:

preach on brother
seriously though, my wife/ ex-wife does the exact same thing

And the lone female quietly tiptoes out of this thread, feeling there’s no way to win this one…

Not enough energy? Just tell her to lie still and don’t talk.
I’m kidding, of course. This should help.

This is exactly why I don’t want to get married. Sorry, dude.

AT!AT!AT! Get back in here Ivy - or at least admit you are the very same way or have the capability to be therin.

Dil - buddy! It never goes away, it never quells, it only get stronger. Learn to manage up. Don’t do things your wife doesn’t like, be more explicit in your addresses to her, articulate, don’t drag your knuckles, and don’t sacrifice yourself. She will then continue to love and respect you forever.

No! No! Phlosphr let go! You can’t make me! Not if you paid me a million bucks!!

::ivylass flees for her life, looking for a male-bashing thread to recover in…::

Your running only makes you look more guilty young lass. Come and take your medicine like a good girl.
**covers hands around mouth and yells "So does this mean you are the same way…?"


** My take: You were begging for sex and she didn’t want to deal with it, so she kept brushing you off hoping you’d give up. When you didn’t give up, she told you it’s not going to happen. You, obviously confused because she had been saying that you would have sex, needed an explanation. It took her 90 minutes to come up with a story you would buy. It didn’t matter that her story made no sense. She just wanted you off her back. Unfortunately, you now think she’s crazy.

Or she really is crazy. Either way, you’re stuck with her.

This is precisely why we need a third sex.

One the men can screw and the women can blame everything on.

::ivylass shrieks uncontrollably::

Auntie Em! Baker! OpalCat! FairyChatMom! Somebody help meeeeee!!!

Dude, are you married to my ex?
Seriously is her name Amy?
Although Amy’s reality shifts would not be so near timewise to her shifts. More like, what do you mean I said I wouldn’t have sex with other guys? I never said that!

Sounds like she doesn’t know how to say ‘gee sorry sweetie I don’t want sex tonight’

Although you say this happens with other subjects so I will amend that to she doesn’t know how to tell you no. Unfortunately her communication issues seem to spark the arguement she is obviously trying to avoid.

Does she do this to other people or just you? Was this some kind of learned behavior she picked up from a previous SO or family member?


[SUB]don’t hurt me[/sub]

Hmm…I can’t address any other instance in your marriage, but in this particular instance I’d say she was not in the mood for sex, did not want to disappoint you, thus gave half-hearted answers, hoping you’d give up. When you didn’t give up, she was confronted with the prospect of having sex she did not want and tried to make you mad at her so she could convince herself you changed your mind about wanting sex with her.

I can only tell you how this works at my house. The days leading up to my period are decidedly unsexy. The hormones are just not in sync with the idea of sex. I am very unhorny right before my period. My husband, of course, thinks of these last few days before my period as his last great chance for sex for awhile, and persists in asking for it.

The fact that I feel so very not in the mood makes me feel guilty. I don’t know why. When I feel guilty, I tend to try to talk myself into having sex, even though I clearly do not want to have sex. Then I feel really bad because no matter what I do, I just can’t get in the mood. The end result is that, mostly subconsciously (I say mostly because I do have a low level awareness of this), I pick a fight with my husband.

You see, if I act like I would have had sex if only he didn’t act like such a jerk–which I wholly admit I caused him to do with my faulty communication–then I can dump off some of the guilt which I would have felt had I just said no.

Does it make sense? Absolutely not. But does anything a woman does when she is premenstrual make sense?

I think you can either accept that she may not be in the mood in the days leading up to her period and tell her you know this and it is ok, or you can be very explicit in your wants, saying, “I am not sure if you feel sexy tonight, but I would very much like to have sex with you. If you aren’t in the mood, and don’t think you can get in the mood, please just tell me. I will be disappointed, but I will not be angry, because I recognize that you cannot control whether or not you feel like having sex. It is ok to say no.”

If you are this clear and she still plays head games, then I’d say you have a problem.

To be honest with you, your wife will not get any better. I have seen this before with a friend of mine and his wife. It is some form of self serving personality type that frustrates the other in the relationship to beyond tears.

Tell me, is your wife material? My friend’s wife is the most greedy thing I have ever witnessed. I am just trying to see if there is any correlation to materialism and her personality.

My answer to you is either get used to it, or leave. Marriage counseling will help in the short run, but she will revert back to herself in time. As suggested above, you can state exactly what you want and when, then call her on it when she flips, but you will find that she will start to feel controlled and or molested.

Either live without, or push and live with the consequences.

Frankly, am I the only guy who sees an entire evening of ‘hint dropping’ as creepy? If I were a girl that would make me want to stay up late looking at curtains.

Or laundry.

Or XBox.


Uh, I’m here, but I’m not sure I can help you, except to say that my husband has admitted to deliberately misinterpreting something I said in order to win an argument. (More accurately, in order to sidetrack us from the original argument coughwhichhewaslosingcough by starting a nitpicky tangential argument, but that’s beside the point . . . )

It ain’t just women.

But might I suggest, dil, that next time you don’t back her into a corner with logic like that? That’s just mean. :wink:

Hey Ivylass! Start the motor and unlock the passenger door! I’m right behind you, Sister!