Behavioral Modification

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by witzend, May 30, 2008.

  1. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    husband and I have been in talk therapy for 2 - 3 years, trying to work on him participating in life and in our marriage, and on communication for both of us. He still has no clue what I meant last week when I said "I don't care anymore." Since then he has been trying to do things around the house that I have been mentioning and asking him to do in the past. Our problem with my asking him to do things is that I ask 40 or 50 times (not exaggerating) over a 1 to 2 year period, then he might do it. He'll leave something out, or not complete it, or do a poor job. Then I correct him, and apparently this means I don't appreciate what he does so he pouts and ignores me. I get angry and don't ask until it's unbearable. Then it's another year or two. And I don't mean huge projects. I mean what might be a 10 minute to two hour job for anyone else. Vicious cycle.

    So, today we have our next to the last fully covered session with our therapist. I explained the difference between "talk therapy" and "behavioral modification therapy" to him last night, and asked if we could do that. He said "I'd like to just keep trying what we're doing, it seems to be working." I said, "You mean what we've been doing in the last week?" Well, yeah, and I've been trying more this spring." Sorry, but I just don't see it. I didn't tell him that though. I told him, "Talk therapy isn't working for me. We don't communicate very well." Agreed. "I don't like the way I react to the things you do and I need to change for myself. "Well, I'd like to keep trying what we're doing."

    To top it off, he's not sure if he can make our appointment today. He has a business meeting at 1 and our appointment is at noon. I'm so tired of "trying to keep what we've been doing." I know darn well he will get to where he's comfortable and in a few weeks be back to his same old ****. Why doesn't he understand what he is throwing away?
  2. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I don't want to be negative nellie, but this was another of the big contributors to the demise of my marriage to dex. It was nearing the holidays when I had my ducks lined up to boot him, but even I'm not that mean, so I said nothing, but he knew things were bad...really bad...and those last few weeks he was cleaning and cooking and keeping it at home, etc...but I knew - I KNEW - as soon as the heat was off, the old would return, and I was done letting it.
    It was hard to say to a guy that you really do care about and who's presently doing what you ask, but I have never made a more sound decision. I could not go on like that.
    I hope your story has a better ending. But in the end, you gotta take care of you.
    Hugs, Witz.
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    :( So sorry. I suspect it's going to change back, and I can see that the changes aren't big enough. Do what's right for you in therapy, regardless. I agree with-Witz, that you have to take care of yourself. We can only work on ourselves.
  4. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I hope it has a better ending, too, Shari. He just seems so much like a little kid. "I'll do what mommy asks until she's not so mad then I'll go back to what I was because that's what I like." I keep telling myself that obviously I'm not happy, and I can only change myself to make myself happy. If he wants to change, he's a smart man. If he doesn't, he's not the man I hoped he was, but I can't lower myself to that level anymore...
  5. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Another little book I read in your boat was The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. Short little read, but really, really good. In a nutshell, it says....
    Everything we do is based on agreements we have made - agreements with ourselves, with other people, with God, with life. But the most important agreements are the ones we make with ourselves. In these agreements we tell ourselves who we are, how to behave, what is possible, what is impossible. One single agreement is not such a problem, but we have many agreements that come from fear, deplete our energy, and diminish our self-worth. "
  6. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Shari, I have reserved The Four Agreements at both of my local libraries, so hopefully it won't be long before I can read it.
  7. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have to ask the population here, if all men are similar to this? I suspected this was just a 'man thing' that they did not finish tasks and the wife was constantly asking them to do it. A man thing to not be able to communicate well - or understand their SO.

    Is this not a common theme in marriage?
  8. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I've read The Four Agreement a few times. There's always a new message whenever I pick it up again, depending on what's going on in our lives.

    Witz, in many ways your H sounds so much like mine. My H is going to counseling...he is only going because if he doesn't he knows that it's just a matter of time before I pack up my stuff and split. And it may come to that. Like your H, he will 'go along' with this and eventually, things will fall back into the old groove. I feel that if I'm not continuously 'on top of it' everyday, he will be contentment in skipping his appts or wrongly intepreting what his counselor is saying to him & slipping back into his own little shabby routine. We have severe communication issues.

    I've been in and out of counseling for many years for various reasons. It's been great, sad, depressing, difficult, enlightening & humbling, and I still have stuff to work on. H struggles to come to terms with his issues. His counselor is currently helping H develop self confidence. I am not so sure that would be my first target of choice, but it's HIS therapy, not mine. H has cancelled/postponed at least 5 appts that I know of. Couples counseling was helpful at first, but when things get too stressful, we fall apart again.

    I hope that communication and other things with your H grow and change for the better. But in the meantime, be sure to keep your focus on what you'd like to see for yourself and H in the future. Life is too short.
  9. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Busy, I think its far more common than I believed when I was younger and dumber... My husband, tho a good guy, still does the least amount possible to get by. My best friend's husband is much the same way. The only sitter that really understood wee difficult child, her husband is the same way, and they are divorcing now (this man won't even care for the kids while she works, and he won't hold a job.) I could go on and on.
    However, I know a few that aren't this way, too. My ex-brother in law. His wife is the lazier of the two, tho she's my friend. lol She went away for a week at work and he suprised her with a new bathroom while she was gone. He cleans, does laundry, watches the baby, etc. A former co-worker (male) does all the cooking and kitchen work in his home. Friends we camp with, he frequently turns down offers to join a friday night poker game cause he's got too much at home to do. I know a few more like that, too, so I know they're out there.
    I just don't know how to find one - how do you get thru the woo-ing crud to see the guy that's really under there and know you're getting a guy who really will do his part, or if he's just doing his part right now to put on a good show...?
    JoG, I love the 4 agreements. So simple, yet so powerful, at least to me. I read pieces of it often.
  10. janebrain

    janebrain New Member

    Hi Busywend,
    well, I guess not every husband is like this. Mine is always doing stuff around the house and we have the chores divided up according to what we each do best or dislike the least. But he was very independent when I met him--he was divorced and living on his own and didn't expect a woman to be his mommy. One other thing--his wife was the one who wanted the divorce and it came out of the blue for him. He was determined not to make the same mistakes again and he read books like " Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" to figure out how he could be a better husband if he met another woman. I like our relationship because I see he wants to please me, he just needs to be told what I want--he can't read my mind. I met him at a contra dance, he was lots of fun to dance with.
  11. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    "I have to ask the population here, if all men are similar to this?"

    In my experience, I think it is. I know with SO, (same with DEX) he would never just "do stuff" cause it needed done, or needed improving somehow. Doing stuff around the house was just not up there on the top 10 list. I won't say I didn't nag at first but at some point I just gave it up. The lawn was a constant source of irritation when it came to DEX - I liked it nice and tidy, he didn't care. If I did it, it was an all day project cause If I do something, I do it all the way, meaning edging, trimming, picking off dead blooms. If I nagged enough, I would get it mowed, period. But then would be mumbling under my breath for the rest of the day cause it wasn't up to my expectations. And SO was pretty much the same, and funny enough, Danny follows in the males footsteps - will mow with just one request, but isn't into edging, and doesn't consider the side of the house, the city green strip, which I am responsible for keeping neat, part of "our"property. Which is why I now have a gardner - its a well spent 40.00 a month - three guys and they do things exactly like I want them to, if not, they can be fired. Its one less thing to cause any friction in a relationship where the positives really outweigh the negatives. I was finding that one point of disconent spills over into other facets of the relationsip and really, life is too short to be constantly dealing with negatives.