Suggestions for wording during a difficult conversation?

Reverie

Active member
Hi all,

I'm looking for help/suggestions for effective, non-threatening wording to try to raise some issues with my husband around some recent communication missteps and a newly developing controlling behavior pattern. I've read some stuff on non-violent communication (NVC) but I'm having trouble figuring out how to apply it to the things I want to say.

I don't want to make him feel bad or put him on the defensive, but I do want to be treated respectfully in communication and to be able to conduct my autonomous life within our agreements without catching flak for it. All of this behavior is new, and he may just be having "a bad week" but I have a history (in past relationships) of being too doormat-y in the face of controlling behavior and passive aggression, and I am trying to learn how to healthily stand my ground and stand up for myself.

Here are the communication missteps and the problem behaviors that have occurred in the past week:

1. Throwing a hissy fit that, in his absence while he is on vacation this weekend, I will be doing a recreational activity with a platonic mutual friend that we are all supposed to do together later this summer. He says that because we talked about doing it together, now he is "excluded" that we are doing it first without him. Elements of hissy fit as follows.

a. Expecting me to read his mind by saying "I'm your husband and you know me better than anyone. You should have known that I would feel this way."

b. Using sarcasm.

c. Putting words in our (our friend's and my) mouths in the form of a mocking conversation where he said "Let's wait for him to go out of town and THEN do it."

d. Insinuating that I'd delayed telling him about these plans until the last moment (when the plan is for today, and I told him yesterday, moments after being invited).

e. A bit of hypocrisy because my husband is off on a vacation with other friends (that I don't have the funds to go on), and so our friend here at home had invited me to hang out with him because he wanted me to have some fun too. So my husband was basically expecting that I not be having fun without him while he's off having fun without me first.

2. Not taking my words at face value when I told him that, while I intended not to have sex with a recently ended FWB if we were to meet up this weekend, I also know that this person is sometimes a weakness of mine, and there is a slim chance that I will succumb in a moment of weakness because hanging out with exes is tricky and people, including me, are flawed. He said he was taking that as I was planning for it to happen. When what I told him was the opposite: I was planning for it not to happen, but I didn't want to blindside him or look like a liar if I had a moment of weakness. I was trying to be vulnerable and honest about my weaknesses, but it backfired.

3. Our current agreements are that we are allowed to have group sex together and casual FWB separately, but when I exchanged numbers with someone at a party last weekend and expressed interest in getting to know him better, my husband pouted about it and said that he had been looking forward to our not having any other opposite sex partners for a while. But he had not expressed that to me when my last thing ended, so I did not know that he wanted our agreements changed. And when I asked him if that's what he wanted, then, he said no, he was happy to still have the freedom even if he wasn't acting on it. In the end, he said I was acting within bounds and could go ahead but he "wasn't thrilled with it." So the elements of this are something like...

a. Expecting me to read his mind that he does not currently want me seeking opposite sex partners.

b. Giving apparently grudging consent to continuing with what we'd already agreed upon, when I asked whether he would prefer a renegotiation.

c. Generally just kind of using pouty passive aggression instead of being direct with what he actually wants and refusing to meet me in a place of direct negotiation.

So, my goal here is just to sort of tighten up our overall communication and agreement-setting practices. I think we used to relate in a very healthy manner, and I want to make sure we do not get too far off course with that. Since we usually have related in a healthy manner, I am rather out of practice with dealing with unhealthy relating strategies, so I want to make sure I don't mess this up.

My priority is that I manage to relate to him with LOVE and COMPASSION, but to still stand up for myself and let him know that the communication strategies and controlling behaviors he has recently employed are not acceptable to me.

I'm just not sure the best way to go about wording it without activating his defenses. Any thoughts or suggestions about how to best go about this are most welcome! Thanks!

ETA: Further details on this situation, if they would be helpful, are available in my blog (linked in my sig); I just didn't want this post to be a million words long, so I tried to distill it to the nuts and bolts.
 
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FallenAngelina

Well-known member
All of this behavior is new, and he may just be having "a bad week"

Just to clarify: ALL of this kind of resentment and sarcasm is new for him within the past week? Before a week ago, he did not behave this way? Because if this is totally out of character for him, then something is going on that's bringing up a lot of insecurity in him. I don't know if you need to focus on standing up for yourself so much as keep your compassionate orientation toward him and inquire what is ibbling at him. Just judging from what you wrote, he sounds jealous and fearful of being "forgotten" or perhaps "old news." And very likely, he feels embarrassed about those feelings.

You two are newlyweds, yes? Marriage does change relationships. We start hearing our parents coming out of our mouths and we adopt expectations, fears and associations that we never thought we'd get caught up in. It's really different than living together because we all live with dormant and unresolved family of origin stuff that only comes out when we find ourselves in that same family situation. From my experience, I can say that the expectations and fears can be disturbing and embarrassing - many of which I didn't even know I had until I officially became a "wife." Just a thought that might explain some of his wonky feelings that were not there before.
 
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Reverie

Active member
Yes! It's the weirdest thing!

I mean, I can think of maybe three times ever, over four years of knowing each other, where he's said a mean, snappish thing out of character because he was stressed out at how our poly situation was going, but all of those have been when he felt "stuck" in some way.

The first two were tension between me and his ex, years ago, during the time it was becoming clear that it wasn't going to work out between them. And the third was when we were negotiating fluid bonding between me and my last FWB a few months ago, and he was really uncomfortable with it. But all that stuff is water under the bridge now, and we haven't been having any other troubles leading up to this week.
 

FallenAngelina

Well-known member
OK, then I'd definitely take a soft "Honey, are you OK?" approach and not an "I'm standing up for myself against your crappy behavior" approach. I don't think it's the wording you need to concern yourself with so much as the demeanor you bring to the convo. Something is painful for him and yeah, he's not expressing himself with much grace, but sounds like this isn't typical. A soft approach is going to invite him to open up to you much more than calling him out on his snark.
 

Reverie

Active member
OK, then I'd definitely take a soft "Honey, are you OK?" approach and not an "I'm standing up for myself against your crappy behavior" approach. I don't think it's the wording you need to concern yourself with so much as the demeanor you bring to the convo. Something is painful for him and yeah, he's not expressing himself with much grace, but sounds like this isn't typical. A soft approach is going to invite him to open up to you much more than calling him out on his snark.

OK, thanks, this is super helpful. I'd love to draw him out and figure out what's causing it, if he even knows. I definitely don't want to contribute to any pain he's having, if he is having some kind of pain.
 

Reverie

Active member
Quick clarification: should I cite any examples of this stuff as reasons why I'm asking? Like, not give him a laundry-list rundown of bad behaviors like I did here, obviously, but maybe a more general comment or something?
 

Emm

Stealth Mod
"You haven't seemed yourself lately, what's bothering you?" Is a very general opener that might get him talking, but you'll need to have examples ready for when he asks what you mean. If he brushes you off with a "no, I'm fine" and refuses to say any more, that's when you need to start being firm. Don't be so compassionate that you let him avoid having a necessary conversation.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I'm sorry you struggle.

I would start with something like...

"I have noticed you seem snappy and on edge recently. Are you doing ok?

Good. Glad you are better / I'm sorry things are still rough for you. I wish you would have told me sooner this is going on with you. (<----Depends on his answer)

I have a request about meta-communication. Not to rehash the thing again, but talk about HOW we communicated during that episode and make a request so we can communicate better moving foward. Are you willing to give me 5 minutes of your time to do that?

(If yes, carry on. If not... "When would be a good time? How about Friday at 8 PM? Does another time work better for you" Then pick it back up then....)


You are going on vacation without me. I was making plans to have fun locally.

If the plans disappointed you because you wanted to be included on (going to the beach), I prefer you ask me to change the plans to something else like (going to the movies) and set up a (beach trip) when you get back so you can come too. (<--- examples only, fill in with whatever it actually is.)

Could you be willing to do that next time? Tell me directly that you are bummed to miss out and want me to rearrange a bit so you can be included? (Wait for answer.)

You did not do that last time. You seem to expect me to mind reader you. When I cannot do that, you act out at me like I'm supposed to be able to do it anyway. I do not like this. I prefer you not whoosh. If you whoosh again, you can expect me to leave the room and let you cool off on your own. I am willing to talk WITH you and sort things out, but I'm not willing to be whooshed at. I find it unpleasant.

Thank you for hearing me out. I appreciate it. "​

Then just stick with your new boundary. He whooshes? You leave the room. You don't have to sit there like a captive audience.

Then he can whoosh or not whoosh next time, but he cannot be surprised if you say "I'm sorry, I'm getting triggered. I cannot be here like this trying to solve problems with sarcasm and snippy side stuff. I am going to give you some space to cool off. We can talk later when you are cooler headed and it can be a more productive conversation between us."

And then get up and leave the room.

2. Not taking my words at face value when I told him that, while I intended not to have sex with a recently ended FWB if we were to meet up this weekend, I also know that this person is sometimes a weakness of mine, and there is a slim chance that I will succumb in a moment of weakness because hanging out with exes is tricky and people, including me, are flawed. He said he was taking that as I was planning for it to happen. When what I told him was the opposite: I was planning for it not to happen, but I didn't want to blindside him or look like a liar if I had a moment of weakness. I was trying to be vulnerable and honest about my weaknesses, but it backfired.

You guys sound like you can have group sex and casual sex in your agreements. So what was the purpose of this conversation? I might be wrong but it sounds like "random announcement" to me. :confused: You could have just skipped it, seen the ex FWB and had sex/not had sex. Just get on with your life.

Or just agreed with him. "Yeah, sex might happen. So making you aware." Either skip it entirely or just call it "close enough" when he seems to understand the possibility might be there. Not get hung up/nitpick the "planned" or "not planned" bit. Get to the heart of the matter : sex might happen.

I do not like people coming at me with "random announcements." They piss me off because usually it is interrupting my work. I teach the kids to say "Excuse me, mom. I need to make you aware."

"Ok... hang on." (so I have time to pause my work and get my brain together.) "Ok, what is it? I'm ready now."

"I need you to know that blahblahblah. That's it. Thanks for listening."

"Ok. I am aware now. You are welcome. "

So if you are going around making "random interrupt-y announcements" rather than making him aware more politely? That could change.

3. Our current agreements are that we are allowed to have group sex together and casual FWB separately, but when I exchanged numbers with someone at a party last weekend and expressed interest in getting to know him better, my husband pouted about it and said that he had been looking forward to our not having any other opposite sex partners for a while. But he had not expressed that to me when my last thing ended, so I did not know that he wanted our agreements changed. And when I asked him if that's what he wanted, then, he said no, he was happy to still have the freedom even if he wasn't acting on it. In the end, he said I was acting within bounds and could go ahead but he "wasn't thrilled with it."

Sounds like it's solved enough for now. So... where is problem for you? :confused:

Let him not be thrilled. That's his stuff. Not yours. You aren't breaking agreements and nobody is asking to change agreements. The "in tray" on your desk is empty. So why not just chillax? All your trays are clear for the moment. It's not like you have to be doing the work over there in HIS trays on HIS desk too.

All this stuff?

a. Expecting me to read his mind that he does not currently want me seeking opposite sex partners.

You cannot read minds. So nothing actually in any of your in trays on your desk. I grey it out.


b. Giving apparently grudging consent to continuing with what we'd already agreed upon, when I asked whether he would prefer a renegotiation.

He doesn't want to fill out a form to put in your in tray called "Renegotiate." No form? In tray empty? Nothing on your desk then. So I grey this out.


c. Generally just kind of using pouty passive aggression instead of being direct with what he actually wants and refusing to meet me in a place of direct negotiation.

No direct negotiation/requests? Nothing in your in tray. So I grey it out.

You have no action items on your desk. You could chillax. Whether he's sitting over there hot or cold, huffy or happy, farty or itchy... not your biz. Nothing in your in tray.

My MIL used to be like that. Be all huffy pants because people were not mind reader-ing her. I ignored her while thinking "Go on lady. Keep on huffing. I'm a toaster."

I LOVE being a toaster. Until someone puts the bread in and pushes the button, I'm not making any toast. They have to make actual requests.
  • They huff and puff? No toast.
  • They put bread next to toaster on counter? No toast.
  • They put bread in slot but do not push button? No toast.
  • They put bread in, push button? TADA! Toast!

I think you could be more "toaster." And be ok with DH huffing. If he actually wants some toast, he can open mouth and ask for your help or figure it out himself.

I'm just not sure the best way to go about wording it without activating his defenses. Any thoughts or suggestions about how to best go about this are most welcome! Thanks!

I suggested some things above. I also think you need to learn to let him be Mr Grumpy and let him un-grump on his own. Stop leaping up to serve toast unasked. He has a mouth. He can ask for what he needs.

It's like you "hover" trying to anticipate so he doesn't whoosh at you. Or you tip toe around him trying to "pre-manage" his feelings for him so he doesn't whoosh at you.

His whoosh is not your job. You cannot control the whoosh. You CAN control where you stand when he whooshes. So tell him you don't like to be whooshed at, and when he does it, you are going to leave the room and not discuss anything with him til he cools off. Whoosh all he wants over there.

Let him handle his own emotional baggage. You aren't doing anything horrible here.

If he's not able to solve his defensive listening on his own, ask him if he's willing to do a module with you. Something like this:
http://msue.anr.msu.edu/uploads/236/64484/MOD_3_LISTENING_TO_FACE_VOICE_AND_BODY.pdf

I'd love to draw him out and figure out what's causing it, if he even knows. I definitely don't want to contribute to any pain he's having, if he is having some kind of pain.

For what purpose?


I do not fish. If someone asks me "I need some help processing stuff. Could you be willing to help me?" Then I might say "Ok, sure." But I'm not going on "fishing expeditions" or "drawing things out" of people. That's lazy relating on their part. Them wanting me to do all the work.

I will check in once like "Are you ok? You seem out of sorts" but if they tell me "I'm fine" I am going to believe them. Even if they aren't really fine.

That's the only way I know how to teach people to say what they actually mean and STOP expecting me to mind reader. If I make it a habit of "going fishing" then they are going to keep on expecting me to mind reader and fish for "the real answer."

If they are disappointed later that I did not guess, divine, or mind reader that they are not actually fine? Tough. They could have been emotionally honest and say some thing else. "Not really fine... but not ready to talk. Check back in a week if I don't first." Or something like that.

If you want things to change here? I think you are going to have to ask him if he is willing to change some of his behaviors. As well as change some of yours. If I were in your shoes I would start with those areas.

HTH!

Galagirl
 
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FallenAngelina

Well-known member
I also think you need to learn to let him be Mr Grumpy and let him un-grump on his own. Stop leaping up to serve toast unasked. He has a mouth. He can ask for what he needs. It's like you "hover" trying to anticipate so he doesn't whoosh at you. Or you tip toe around him trying to "pre-manage" his feelings for him so he doesn't whoosh at you.

This is gold. The ability to let someone be upset (with you or with anything) without it ruining your day is a big part of a good, emotionally secure relationship. It's a skill that can be learned.
 

Dagferi

Well-known member
I agree with Galagirl.

Rider needs to learn to deal with his own crap. Stop trying to manage his feelings.
 

Ravenscroft

Banned
Reverie, much of your initial post does suggest that you have passive-aggressive tendencies.

In particular, consider how you explained the scenario you laid out concerning your FWB: wishy-washy all the way through, "I'm definitely NOT going to have sex with him but if I do (which I won't but I might) then I want to know you're okay with it because like you know how small and weak I am, tee-hee." You've set it up such that your husband is being asked to not merely accept but to approve & take on some share of responsibility for whatever you might decide to do.

You could have left it at "Dunno, I might fuck him. You okay with that?"

The fact that you've so neatly catalogued his "sins" of the past week reads very much as though you are tracking his reactions to the various stimuli sets you are springing on him.

A further sign is that nowhere in your posts do you even flirt with the possibility that you might have some least little bit of responsibility in this scenario. Instead, your presentation seems structured to gain maximal sympathy from your audience; most of the responses, in fact, absolve you of all sin & tell you your husband is indeed A Big Meanie. This is common "echo chamber" coalition building for a passive-aggressive person.

If you are indeed displaying passive aggression, then your husband's "negative" outbursts make complete sense, expressions of his frustration.

First, stop poking the bear (that'd be Rider).

Second, admit you've been poking the bear -- you need to talk to him, however awkwardly, rather than enlisting faceless strangers to help you craft the perfect slam-dunk prosecution.

Third, you need to admit that you've had a major role in creating these circumstances.

Fourth, the two of you need to work this out, as a partnership (something both would probably claim to have, right?), possibly with professional assistance.

Fifth, the two of you need to unlearn the underhandedness in your relationship & in yourselves, or it will poison what you have & continue to ruin the future.
 

Reverie

Active member
Then he can whoosh or not whoosh next time, but he cannot be surprised if you say "I'm sorry, I'm getting triggered. I cannot be here like this trying to solve problems with sarcasm and snippy side stuff. I am going to give you some space to cool off. We can talk later when you are cooler headed and it can be a more productive conversation between us."

And then get up and leave the room.

Yeah, this is basically what I ended up doing, in a way. We were talking over IM, and I told him that the way the conversation was going was upsetting me, and also I didn't want to really get into it and cast a cloud over his vacation, so I set a time with him to talk when he gets back instead and nixed continuing on that topic until that time. That much seems to have worked. We've been connecting mostly happily and normally on other topics since then. I posted here in prep for that conversation, which we're scheduled to have Wednesday. I just wanted to make sure I handle it right and don't screw it up!



You guys sound like you can have group sex and casual sex in your agreements. So what was the purpose of this conversation? I might be wrong but it sounds like "random announcement" to me. :confused: You could have just skipped it, seen the ex FWB and had sex/not had sex. Just get on with your life.

Or just agreed with him. "Yeah, sex might happen. So making you aware." Either skip it entirely or just call it "close enough" when he seems to understand the possibility might be there. Not get hung up/nitpick the "planned" or "not planned" bit. Get to the heart of the matter : sex might happen.

I do not like people coming at me with "random announcements." They piss me off because usually it is interrupting my work. I teach the kids to say "Excuse me, mom. I need to make you aware."

"Ok... hang on." (so I have time to pause my work and get my brain together.) "Ok, what is it? I'm ready now."

"I need you to know that blahblahblah. That's it. Thanks for listening."

"Ok. I am aware now. You are welcome. "

So if you are going around making "random interrupt-y announcements" rather than making him aware more politely? That could change.

I don't THINK I was interrupting anything, but I can certainly build that speedbump in before announcing stuff in the future. Maybe it would help. The reason I felt like I needed to let him know was just that we are in the habit of, as you say, making each other aware when there's a possibility of sex with someone, so that we don't feel blindsided if it happens. Trial and error for us has shown that this is the solution that usually works best for us. This is the first time we failed.

All of the rest of this is excellent advice. It's true that I kind of panic a bit when I see that he's unhappy, and I do try to pre-manage that from happening. I'm going to read and re-read this a few times to let it sink in and have it be something that springs to mind when I start to feel that way. I especially like the toaster analogy!

Thank you so much!
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Glad it helped you some.

We were talking over IM, and I told him that the way the conversation was going was upsetting me, and also I didn't want to really get into it and cast a cloud over his vacation

I would suggest you not do this any more.

IM, text and similar is for "small talk" conversations like "Could you be willing to get some milk on the way home from work?"

It is not for "serious talks." So maybe consider not just HOW you say things, but over what METHOD or MEDIUM you say them.

Galagirl
 

Reverie

Active member
Reverie, much of your initial post does suggest that you have passive-aggressive tendencies.

In particular, consider how you explained the scenario you laid out concerning your FWB: wishy-washy all the way through, "I'm definitely NOT going to have sex with him but if I do (which I won't but I might) then I want to know you're okay with it because like you know how small and weak I am, tee-hee." You've set it up such that your husband is being asked to not merely accept but to approve & take on some share of responsibility for whatever you might decide to do.

You could have left it at "Dunno, I might fuck him. You okay with that?"

The fact that you've so neatly catalogued his "sins" of the past week reads very much as though you are tracking his reactions to the various stimuli sets you are springing on him.

A further sign is that nowhere in your posts do you even flirt with the possibility that you might have some least little bit of responsibility in this scenario. Instead, your presentation seems structured to gain maximal sympathy from your audience; most of the responses, in fact, absolve you of all sin & tell you your husband is indeed A Big Meanie. This is common "echo chamber" coalition building for a passive-aggressive person.

If you are indeed displaying passive aggression, then your husband's "negative" outbursts make complete sense, expressions of his frustration.

First, stop poking the bear (that'd be Rider).

Second, admit you've been poking the bear -- you need to talk to him, however awkwardly, rather than enlisting faceless strangers to help you craft the perfect slam-dunk prosecution.

Third, you need to admit that you've had a major role in creating these circumstances.

Fourth, the two of you need to work this out, as a partnership (something both would probably claim to have, right?), possibly with professional assistance.

Fifth, the two of you need to unlearn the underhandedness in your relationship & in yourselves, or it will poison what you have & continue to ruin the future.

To clarify a bit, because I'm not sure we're understanding each other here . . .

What I was aiming for, with telling him about the ex, was not for his approval, per se, but just a heads up that there was a possibility that it could happen. I don't hold him in any way responsible for my actions, but I felt like I wasn't telling the whole story if I didn't admit there was a possibility, since where we'd last left it was that I was frustrated with and done with this guy. I was trying to be like, "Hey, I have trouble with impulse control around this particular person, and I don't want it to come out of left field if I falter." Because that hadn't previously been established, and it is the truth. "Wishy-washy" is a fair criticism, but I guess I just wanted him to KNOW I was feeling the possibility for wishy-washiness.

So I guess I'm confused about what I wrote that reads as a request for approval rather than trying to inform, since that's not really what was happening.

As for my having some responsibility in the matter, I'm sure that there's something about the way we've been interacting that is rubbing him the wrong way, or else he probably would not be lashing out at me. I've come here to engage with "faceless strangers" to try to figure out the best strategy for interacting better in our upcoming conversation, because I don't really feel like I know what the best approach to take is, and I don't want to make the situation worse. Outside perspective from people with more/other life experiences is super helpful for me to see whether I'm thinking about it wrong and to give me some starting points when I feel out of my depth.

So I'm also confused about why you seem to have suggested that talking to him and also talking to strangers who might be able to provide me some perspective are mutually exclusive here.

Working on a partnership is indeed the aim here, but I don't think that either of us is being underhanded or poisonous. I definitely don't want to "poke" at him, and I don't think he's a Big Meanie (in fact, he's generally the most golden-hearted person I've ever met), and I didn't get that impression that anyone else's responses suggest that he is either. There's just been a sudden behavior shift and I'm trying to figure out how to best handle it, admitting up front that I really don't have much of a clue. When it comes to him, I am rarely stumped, but this time I was.

Generally when he and I have an issue, we do talk to each other and lay it bare, which sometimes takes some fumbling around in the darkness before we can find the stuff that rings the truest. We're BOTH still learning how to become more self-aware, hence the fumbling. Sometimes we just have to talk it out and play hot/cold until we get to the heart of the matter.

As for whether I am being passive aggressive, the people who are closest to me often praise me for my direct, straightforward communication, willingness to state and ask for exactly what I want, confronting issues head on, never making people guess what I'm feeling, and, most recently "always saying the thing that needs to be said." I'm not claiming to be perfect, but if I hear something repeatedly from the people around me, unprompted, I am inclined to believe them. Perhaps you could give me examples of the things I've written in here that deviate from that? I'm willing to consider that I have behaved badly in some way, but I'm not sure that that is the type of bad behavior that I tend toward.

The purpose of this post was to figure out how to best express stuff that was bothering me without making him feel bad/worse. I found most of the responses to be very helpful in re-framing how to think about this all, but I am not really sure what to do with yours.
 

Reverie

Active member
Glad it helped you some.



I would suggest you not do this any more.

IM, text and similar is for "small talk" conversations like "Could you be willing to get some milk on the way home from work?"

It is not for "serious talks." So maybe consider not just HOW you say things, but over what METHOD or MEDIUM you say them.

Galagirl

Yes, I also said that to him too, as I was backing away from continuing on that subject: "I don't think this is a good conversation to be having over IM. Let's pick it up in person when you get back."

I had to re-state the "I'm not talking about this any more right now. We'll talk when you're back" a few times before he was willing to disengage, but when I was explicit about IM being a poor channel for it, I think he finally got it and dropped the matter.

Unfortunately, since I was not expecting telling him about my plans for the next day to be a source of conflict, we were already on IM when the trouble started. We generally HAVE learned, pretty early on, that serious stuff is best left to real-life communication. Miscommunication is very easy to do over IM!
 

FallenAngelina

Well-known member
I often have wonderfully in-depth texting convos that go on for quite awhile and are productive. Sometimes we're addressing conflict and sometimes we're talking about non-conflict, but texting can be a great way to slow down, really think, share and learn from each other (friend or lover.) Texting quality totally depends on who is doing the texting and how into it they are. Sure, many people reserve texting for quick, superficial, informational exchanges, but my experience is that if someone and I have good texting chemistry, we can have some very meaningful and insightful written conversations that go places that an on-the-spot verbal convo doesn't always. Of course, we talk, too, but texting can be enormously satisfying and deep. Perhaps texting is different than IM because longer pauses are generally "allowed" in texting, whereas IM tends to be more immediate. I dunno, but texting is just an additional form of communication and is whatever the participants make it.
 
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Reverie

Active member
I often have wonderfully in-depth texting convos that go on for quite awhile and are productive. Sometimes we're addressing conflict and sometimes we're talking about non-conflict, but texting can be a great way to slow down, really think, share and learn from each other (friend or lover.) Texting quality totally depends on who is doing the texting and how into it they are. Sure, many people reserve texting for quick, superficial, informational exchanges, but my experience is that if someone and I have good texting chemistry, we can have some very meaningful and insightful written conversations that go places that an on-the-spot verbal convo doesn't always. Of course, we talk, too, but texting can be enormously satisfying and deep. Perhaps texting is different than IM because longer pauses are generally "allowed" in texting, whereas IM tends to be more immediate. I dunno, but texting is just an additional form of communication and is whatever the participants make it.

Yes, I also have friends with whom I can discuss serious stuff and conflict over IM, so I feel you. I've found that in this particular relationship though, we are far more likely to come to a swift, peaceable resolution in person. I think we find the physical presence and connection soothing, and find its lack alienating.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
What I was aiming for, with telling him about the ex, was not for his approval, per se, but just a heads up that there was a possibility that it could happen.

Perhaps if you had left it at that.

"Excuse me, can I have a moment? (wait for response.) It's just a heads up. I wanted to make you aware there's a possibility I might share sex with my ex."​

"Wishy-washy" is a fair criticism, but I guess I just wanted him to KNOW I was feeling the possibility for wishy-washiness.

I'm not Ravenscroft, but to me it seemed you were using too many words when few would serve just as well if not better for clarity. In that event you are expressing 2 things and not just one.

"There's a possibility I might share sex with my ex."​

AND

"I'm still processing my feelings on all that."​

So the full message could have been....

"Excuse me, can i have a moment? (wait for response.) It's just a heads up. I have 2-3 things.

1) I wanted to make you aware there's a possibility I might share sex with my ex this time.

2) I'm also experiencing some uncertainty or wishy-washy. I'm still processing my feelings on that break up. I'm not solid on it.

and optional

3) Could you be willing to help me process my feelings about this ex later? "​

rather than all this stuff

I told him that, while I intended not to have sex with a recently ended FWB if we were to meet up this weekend, I also know that this person is sometimes a weakness of mine, and there is a slim chance that I will succumb in a moment of weakness because hanging out with exes is tricky and people, including me, are flawed.

If it was something like that? I think it sounds like a lot of words in one LONG sentence. When less words in smaller sentences would be more effective communication.

You want more direct communication from him. So you could do same back. Don't make your feelings his job like plopping them in his lap. If you need help processing your feelings or uncertainty, make an actual request.

"Could you be willing to help me process some feelings?​

But I get that if you are/were feeling uncertain, sometimes things come out less clear than ideal. This is just thinking about how to improve so next time communication with you husband can go better.

So my suggestions would be....

  • Wait til you have your thoughts together better if you are making someone aware. If you need help sorting your thoughts, make an actual request.
  • No IM, since you know "in person" works better with him.
  • Lead into it with asking for a moment of his time first. Don't do "random announcements all interrupt-y" like things from the sky. It's jarring.
  • Less overall words. Aim for clarity.
  • Don't do long run on sentences. Break up the words into smaller sentences.
  • Try to have one idea per message. If there's a combo, tell him there's gonna be a a list, and then list it out. Don't do more than 3 things at a time.

Most people don't have big working memories. I find 3 things tops works ok.

Galagirl
 
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Reverie

Active member
Thanks, GG. This is a very good idea. I do tend to be wordy. Sometimes it's OK, but I do know that other times people have told me it's too much. Slowing down and breaking things into smaller, more succinct chunks seems like a sound strategy.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hi Reverie,

It does sound like some kind of cloud is looming over Rider's head, I don't know if something has been troubling him lately. Perhaps you could start Wednesday's conversation with something like, "I've recently been feeling like we haven't been communicating as well as we usually do. I was wondering if something was bothering you that I wasn't aware of." Kind of a tricky conversation to have, but that might be one way to start it. You can of course adjust my suggestion to what you feel would work best.

Let us know how it goes, okay?
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 
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