(Closed) who's the @sshole?

posted 8 years ago in Married Life
Post # 47
Member
4304 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

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@MrsWrangler:  +1.  I already said I think the email is not a good idea to discuss such a huge issue for her.  

Post # 48
Member
1966 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I definitely think you are overreacting but you’re pregnant & that’s going to keep happening he needs to be more sensitive. My fi is also a joker & that’s totally something he would do.

Post # 49
Member
197 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

I think you over reacted to his prank. You knew he was home, do you honestly think he would let some stranger into the house and have access to you right after you shower? You are being over dramatic. 

my fiancé plays jokes all the time, that’s how he is. If he quit doing it I would be worried about the state of our relationship 

if I yelled at him, and felt the way you do judging by your email I would expect him to leave the house for a little while to let the situation defuse. you sulked in the bedroom brooding over this posting about how you do all the emotional legwork, I wouldn’t go in and try to speak either for fear of getting irrationally yelled at again. 

If you’ve been doing all the emotional work for so long, why did you get married to this person? 

Post # 50
Member
291 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

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@Lovemelovemyhorses: Really? I actually think it is an amazingly articulate email and clearly it brings up issues that need to be discussed but that the OP feels more equipped to put down in writing than to discuss in person. IMO communication is always a good thing, and if this is the way the OP feels that she needs to communicate, then better this than silence. Plus, if her husband is avoiding confrontation, then this may be the best way to get this info to him now.

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@marjojo: I am kind of awed by your ability to identify and articulate the pattern in your relationship. Your husband is lucky to have someone as emotionally aware as you and you are absolutely justified in being concerned by his pattern of fleeing from fights rather than staying and talking things out. Especially since as you predict, you will be in a much more emotionally vulnerable place soon and you will need him to step up and help you when you are upset. I don’t think that explaining things in an email is childish, I think that communication is communication and you’re allowed to need things in the relationship, too. You’re allowed to ask him to speak up if that’s what you need right now. And maybe he will be better able to hear it if he reads it in an email. 

I do think that it might be useful to rephrase some things in the section about the actual fight to take the focus off of what you think he should do (phrases like “you should have…”) and onto how the way he behaved made you feel. For example, rather than saying “When you saw how upset I was, you should have immediately backed down, realized how stupid your prank was, apologized sincerely and profusely and tried to comfort me,” I think you will get more mileage by saying something like “When you reacted to my being upset by defending your joke rather than caring for my emotional well-being, I got even angrier because in addition to being scared, I also felt like the person who should care for me the most in the whole world didn’t care at all and even abandoned me when I needed him most.” That way, you’re not dictating how he should feel about the situation, but rather communicating how what he did made you feel & explaining why you reacted the way you did.  

Also, I think you should take the focus off of how wrong he was to actually do the prank (I’m sure he’s learned his lesson on that front by now, but I’m also sure that it was well-intentioned and even though it backfired, I don’t think he was morally wrong to do the prank, only insensitive) and onto how he reacted afterward. It is wholly possible that your husband won’t ever feel that he was in the wrong for pulling a “harmless” prank, and I think you need to be ok with that possibility. He’s not automatically wrong for wanting to joke around.

What is NOT acceptable, and what can and should be changed is how the conversation went down after and how he dealt with your panicking and the fight. Are you two in couple’s counseling? He needs to get to the root of why he flees during a fight because his reaction is concerning to me. How does he handle conflict when there is no yelling involved? Did his parents fight a lot when he grew up? It is not unreasonable to ask your husband to remain in the house when you are fighting, even if he has to go to a ‘safe space’ for a while to sort things out. 

Post # 51
Member
2874 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

so what happened OP? did you send the email?

i think the prank could have blown over if he’d have just gone ‘im sorry baby, didn’t mean to scare you” and given you a hug

walking out = never cool

i say this as someone who is part of a couple do does occasionally enter into silent warfare, each waiting for the other to crack. not particularly emotionally healthy,

Post # 52
Member
5217 posts
Bee Keeper

Definitely both overreacted, big time. I am seriously surprised that this argument has carried over into day two. 

You were scared, he played a joke… I get it. You feel validated in your response given the situation. But what about his point of view? Here is a guy who has a pregnant wife, who probably is having some weird hormonal changes, emotional changes and physical changes. This joke on any other given day could  have been funny, but on this particular day, it wasn’t. Then, on top of feeling like an ass because all of these flight or fight words are being thrown around ( which, IMO would be an instant turn off in an argument like this, maybe used once, but over and over again I would seriously start calling DH Dr Phil he started with that), you’re being yelled at for issues that seemingly came out of nowhere. I don’t blame him for leaving, honestly. I am sure that he had some feelings to sort through, too. Like, my super cool, normally awesome and level headed wife just ripped me a new asshole for a joke  or how has our relationship changed so much that even playing with her turns into this massive argument.On your side, you’re sitting there seeing the ” red flags” ( used loosely here) of someone leaving mid argument and he is seeing ” red flags” of someone who overreacts and talks down to/yells at him in the  change of an instant. Both feelings are hurt and evaluating the situation here.

I am sure that HE also is expecting an apology of sorts, and I think that you should give him one. Both of you need to swallow your pride and this could have been resolved hours ago, but instead it has festered ( for you, at least) and turned into something it’s not. BOTH parties are at fault so there is no who is more wrong , because at this stage, you’ve both made you’re points and it didn’t get you anywhere.

I would go to him, forget the email and talk it out. Make some coffee or OJ or whatever, sit on the couch and the words ” I’m sorry for…” should find their way out pretty quickly, from both parties.

Post # 53
Member
291 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

Also, to those of you who are saying that it’s a silly argument and that this is an overreaction, on the one hand, yes. It is silly. On the other, it’s much better to learn to communicate well than for them to learn to suppress their emotions for the sake of harmony. This is clearly more about how they argue than what they argue about, and working out these kinks now rather than when there are much more serious things to argue about will only strengthen their relationship. My parents had different arguing styles and to a large extent, that was why they had an on-again-off-again relationship for my entire life. They married and divorced each other multiple times because they didn’t know how to weather conflict. My father grew up in a home where his parents fought constantly and loudly, and his reaction to conflict was similar to the OP’s DH’s: he would withdraw. My mom was much more confrontational, and his emotional unavailability would only make her more angry, which caused him to withdraw further, and so on. I’m not saying the OP is doomed or anything, but it is critical to learn how to argue well in a relationship.

I do agree, though, that viewing an argument in terms of who’s right and wrong is unproductive. IMO it is much healthier to approach disagreements with an attitude of how the two parties can work together to find a solution that works for both parties, rather than to see who can “win.”

Post # 54
Member
5398 posts
Bee Keeper

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@Mrs_Amanda:  excellent response! I totally agree. That email will only come off as childish and aggressive. 

OP you could print the email to look at while you’re talking face to face if you feel like you need to, but this kind of conflict shouldn’t be handled through email IMO. 

Post # 56
Member
333 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

I have worked on every one of those things with most of my male clients during therapy. Like your husband, many of them also claimed they weren’t capable of calming down or identifying emotions other than anger, but after a while we eventually explored the idea that it was more related to gendered expectations and societal norms related to the ways men convey feeling hurt or embarassed. If he’s willing to work on them for the good of the relationship, I would definitely encourage some individual counseling.

Post # 57
Member
1744 posts
Bumble bee

Some people are just more tuned in to emotional cues, and I do think that it some of it may be innate.  You seem to have more insight than most.  If he decides he wants to improve in this area he can probably learn some of what you list, but may never be able to achieve the proficiency that you desire.

Post # 58
Member
5217 posts
Bee Keeper

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@marjojo:  I don’t think it is unreasonable, but I wasn’t there to hear the conversation happening. If your husband is anything like mine ( and I suspect a lot of people feel this way), if it came across as condescending or patronizing, I can see how he would get defensive, tone and approach definitely matter. Men like to fix the issue, so right now you just presented him with a ” to-do” list of emotional checks he needs to cover in order to reach ” your level”. 

I would back off of the list and tone it down to one thing at a time. For example, calling yourself the ” therapist” could immediately shut him off to the idea of communicating because you’ve already placed yourself in the authority role. Don’t analyze it to death, if you want him to calm down before talking, work on that. Next time y’all are having something unravel like yesterday, recognize that parties are getting angry/upset and leave it at that. Then when you’re both calm again, revisit how your approach to anger changed once you decided as a couple that this is the first step you want to take.

Gradually introduce other techniques, such as having him be more active in the decision making process. For someone who doesn’t fight like this, presenting the checklist does nothing but make them go on the defensive. I will reiterate again, I think the therapy style talking/ word usage would be highly irritating when trying to have a conversation. Nothing makes you feel more defensive when you’re angry than being treated like a textbook scenario… or worse, like you’re being talked to like a child. 

I don’t think it is unreasonable at all to expect an adult to act like an adult, but I think you need to come to some compromises to him as well. Such as, if he truly does need to leave and take a drive to cool down, go hit some golf balls or shoot some hoops to blow off some steam, that you be understanding to that and let that go. HE has to have some say in what the fighting process is going to look like. Maybe the compromise is that he doesn’t just storm out without telling you where he is going, but he does have the ability to remove himself from the situation and physically leave the house without THAT causing another layer to the fight.

Post # 59
Member
1009 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

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@marjojo:  He should not have played that prank while you were in such a vulnerable state. It was cruel, NOT funny, and childish. Plus, doesn’t he realize that sometimes you cannot always control your emotions due to pregnancy hormones? He needs to know this if he doesn’t.

Second, I think a few sessions with an actual neutral counselor may benefit him. And he CAN change his way of thinking, claiming he isn’t able to is a cop-out. I hope the issue gets resolved soon. *hugs*

Post # 60
Member
1344 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

OP, I’m glad you didn’t send the email, I know it really can help just to write it out even if nobody reads it, but I think you were right to have a face to face discussion about this, and no, I don’t think you’re being unreasonable with your requests. When he says he is ‘incapable’ of controlling his emotions, I think he’s being a bit dramatic in all honesty. He could at least try. Would he consider anger management or counselling? What is most likely going on is that he doesn’t know how to express other feelings he may be having (in this case I’m guessing shock and confusion), a lot of people will react defensively when they are yelled at. Saying what they may really be feeling could be seen as ‘weakness’ and so some people are reluctant to do anything but fight back. The more he tries to control his emotions, the better he will get at it. 🙂

 

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@pookiesmom:  Yes, it was well articulated, but I do not think emailing your husband a venting email demonstrates great maturity or communication skills, and what concerns me here is that it seemed like the OP was planning to use this relatively small incident as an excuse to unload actual issues, which would likely lead to her DH becoming defensive (for the same reasons as above, he would feel attacked), I also think that it would do nothing to help the issue because as the OP mentioned, he has been treating her like a ‘crazy pregnant lady’ who is controlled by her hormones, so I could easily imagine him brushing off her email as a HUGE overreaction, because it was discussed in conjunction with his ‘joke’ (which he would probably see as the reason behind the email), and I’m guessing he sees her giving him the silent treatment and yelling at him as an overreaction in itself. I just don’t think it would have been a productive way to handle the situation. I did fully encourage the OP to talk to him, once she was calm and they had smoothed things over.

Post # 61
Member
2393 posts
Buzzing bee

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@marjojo:  

Is it expecting too much of an adult man that he be able to do these things for his partner?

 
It depends on the guy. I think this really is something that would be best sorted out in counseling.
 
I don’t think your expectations are unreasonable at ALL. As far as this particular incident goes, he seriously needs to grow up. It’s one thing to pull a stupid prank, but as soon as you showed him that you were upset, he should have immediately backpeddled and let you know that he heard you, and that he was listening to your feelings, even if he didn’t agree with your reaction. My God, you’re pregnant. He should be first and foremost concerned with whether you are comfortable. This was in the privacy of your home, not a locker room. You don’t pull out the boo-ga-loo fraternity party jokes with half naked pregnant ladies. Sheesh!!

 

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