Need to vent about my marriage

I just don’t know if I can take it anymore. This kind of stuff happens ALL the time. On it’s own, it may seem like a silly thing, but this is a perfect example of what I deal with in this marriage every. single. day.

THE STORY:

My wife decided to make something new for dinner. It was DELICIOUS. I praised it to the high heavens. Of course, our boys age 5 - 13 did not react well, they are extremely picky eaters. I was taking the lead on dealing with their behavior, telling them it was very good and they needed to give it a chance, etc etc. Finally one of the boys was just over-the-top rude and I sent him to his room without dinner. So I continued to deal with the behavior of the other boys telling them if they didn’t love it the problem was they just needed to get used to it, there was absolutely nothing wrong with the food. (it was chicken enchiladas by the way, chicken, cheese, tortillas, creamy sauce, nothing spicy)

Suddenly my wife pipes in, looking at me, “Maybe you need to be more thankful so they can follow your example.”

Say WHAT?! I tried to clarify, saying “I have been DEFENDING you and this food strenuously, what do you mean my example?”

She said “Well I just haven’t heard a thank-you”.

I lost it at this point and went on a rant that went something like "We are dealing with major behavior issues here and I am doing everything I can to defend you and fight for you, and you’re sitting here this whole time being mad at ME because I didn’t say “thank you”? She kept going on and on about modeling gratefulness… I felt like screaming!

WHAT THE HELL. I think this relationship is doomed. I have stayed in it too long. (married 15 years!) She always always always goes against me when there is ANY conflict, ANY discipline issue with the kids, I am the bad guy. I can’t keep doing this anymore.

Edit-to-add: You know what the most ridiculous part is? I DID say thank you. She served me the food and I said “Thank you”. Not that that should even matter, the complaint is so stupid in context.

I hear ya, man. Though I don’t think I have an answer for you. When my wife starts getting like that, I force her to go out with her friends, or to smoke a joint or something. Doesn’t always help. However, we don’t have kids, so I’m sure that complicates things.

Sounds like you guys need to talk. Have you ever said this to her?

It would be a good place to start. It is better to see if this can be worked out than kept inside until you don’t give a shit and just leave. Better for you, better for her and better for your kids. Maybe it won’t work, but I would hit it head on just to move on from the place you are currently on.

Also, just saying, in your communications it is better to not be on the defensive. By this I mean you shouldn’t say “no, you are wrong (I am defending you. I said thank you. Whatever.)”, say instead “I am sorry you feel this way, that was not my intention, I thought I was was being grateful, I will take you feelings to heart and try to be better next time.” This diffuses the situation and then you can get your issues worked out by saying how you feel: “I feel like you are always against me”, not “You are always against me”. See what I mean?

Good luck to you. Marriages are tough and I have felt the same thing you are feeling if the details are a bit different. It is possible to salvage this if you are thoughtful about it and want to.

HFB - Married for 21 years.

I could sure use a joint right now.

At times like this, I am rather glad to not be married.

The thank you is *not *the real issue. She is determined to find something - *something *- to use against you. If it weren’t ‘thank you’, people like this would just invent another cause to use against you.

The sooner you realize this, the healthier your sanity.

Yes, we have talked about that issue many many times and it always eventually comes down to her saying, “I know I have a problem with that. I don’t know why I do it.”

She told you that she wants to hear “thank you”. Evidently saying it once is not sufficient, so say it twice.

I am not unfamiliar with marital issues. If you’re told exactly what’s missing, consider yourself lucky and do it.

I think you are right, but it seems to be on a subconscious level. I was just talking to her more about this and she said that right before she said it she was feeling so proud of me and so glad I was defending her, and there were nothing but positive feelings. And then that’s what came out of her mouth. She doesn’t know why she attacks me, she just does it. <-- her words

Maybe the root of your marital problem is the picky eater kids. Is there any way you can ditch them? No? You’re sure? Well, it sounds like a grating situation, Sterling Archer. Vent away.

You can only have a rational calm relationship with a rational calm person.

This latest revelation (to us) is huge. She says in her own words that she has very little control of her mind and her emotions. Stuff just comes bubbling up from someplace in the depths and she just runs with it with no attempt to filter it even a little.

Maybe with sufficient counseling and medication whatever is wrong with her mind can be fixed or at least mostly suppressed. But that’s the minimum effort on her part necessary to make her healthy enough for a calm rational person to live with.

You yourself may or may not be a calm rational person; I’ve never met you. But if you are, you have three choices:

  1. Live with this person as-is and be miserable. All the evidence I’ve ever seen is this will get worse with time and age.
  2. Work with her to get her the professional help she needs. And hope like heck it works.
  3. Leave.

I don’t know how to fix something that has a completely unknown root cause. We have gone the counseling route several times. Doesn’t help this.

Sometimes it’s not about root causes, it’s just about strengthening or weakening behavior patterns. What came out in the counseling?

The best way I can help is not to say a single solitary fucking word.

Well, that’s my marriage. I’ll get back to you some day re: yours…

Well it’s not like the counseling has always focused on this one issue. It’s always been brought up as a primary problem though. It’s always a bunch of things, right? And the main thing the counselors always focus on improving is communication. But I don’t think that’s our problem at this point.

I seriously hear you on this point. She says you didn’t say ‘thank you’. That could be a trigger for her, or it could be just a rationale for unloading on you. Or it could be a proxy for some entirely different issue. Or she may just want out and is looking for anything she can exploit to make that happen.

If it were me I would address the most obvious problem… the lack of sufficient “thank you”. And explore exactly what that means. If she’s tired of being the one judged for her cooking, maybe you need to cook the meal and see how it feels to get judged by your children for presenting an insufficient meal. It kind of pisses you off. One day isn’t such a big deal, but imagine that for 300 days. Women seem irrational to us but we never really understand what it is to walk a mile in their shoes.

Was one of her parents always negative about something? My mother was like this, it has taken me great effort to unlearn this behavior and find the positives of the moment.

So, you and the boys ruined dinner, with the boys being right jerks and you turning it into a power struggle, with a huge bru-ha-ha that ends with one boy swearing, you shouting, some else crying, no-one eating dinner, but somehow the cook is at fault?

That being said, your mistake was not in not saying thank-you, it was in escalating the situation, and the cook should have been able to express that. You should have just excused the kid from the table, with the restriction that no, he could not turn on the t.v. until dinner was over and the dishes were washed.

The cook wasn’t too clever in serving a meal of all new stuff to timid eaters, either, though. (Have you researched hypersensitivity to taste? It’s a real thing, not just being picky.)

(And I strongly recommend you refer to the boys as timid eaters in public, unless they really hypersensitive to taste.)

I think you missed the part where he tried to support the cook and then she attacked him.

It is probably her “time of the month”, wait a few days and it will pass…