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A Difficult Person

by Philip

One definition of a difficult person is a person that doesn't do things your way.

Going by that definition I am a difficult person.

My wife is the strong silent type. When we have a problem she goes off into her cave and doesn't come out till she knows what she wants, and more importantly, what she wants me to do.

I'm just the opposite.

The first words out of my mouth use to be "we need to talk." Then I would foolishly expect her to sit down with me and tell me her feelings and listen to my feelings and together work on a mutual solution that would take into account both our feelings.

I know. I'm terrible. Expecting my wife to share her feelings. Expecting her to listen to mine. Expecting us together to come up with a solution that takes both our feelings into account.

When I tried to make her do it my way, I always ended up having to start off. My wife would patiently listen for five seconds then say "what do you want?" I would then tell her I want to talk. She would then tell me to come back when I knew what I wanted.

Is it any wonder that we didn't communicate well. What with me being so difficult and all.

Then I tried doing it her way and go into my own cave and two or three days later somehow miraculously know what I want and what I want her to do. It didn't work. Two or three days later I hadn't made any progress. For some reason I couldn't process it alone.

It's just not my style. I am a difficult person because I have a different style of communicating and problem solving.

Then I started frequenting the MOM (mixed orientation marriage) message boards and discovered there were many others like me out there. The strange thing was that they were all straight wives.

These wives asked me tons of questions. Most started off with...He refuses to talk about it. Or he won't tell me what he feels. Or he holds it all in. Or some or all of the above....and usually ended with ...How can I get my (gay/bi) husband to talk?

I told them to stop being so difficult.

Actually, what I told them was I wish I knew.

I know of one straight spouse that got her husband to talk. Basically, she told him she wanted out because she was dissatisfied with their marriage partly because he wouldn't talk about his feelings. When he realized he was going to lose her if he didn't talk about his feelings then he realized he had nothing to lose by talking about it and the floodgates opened.

I tried that but it didn't work for me. After 24 years of marriage I issued an ultimatum. Talk to me or else. I scheduled a date and time and she insisted on a time limit so we agreed on a day and time and 30 minutes. Then the day and time arrived and she mumbled one sentence and refused to open up anymore. We still had twenty minutes on the timer.

I told myself stop being such a difficult person and let it go.

So what do I do now?

Well now I know my wife and I have very different styles of problem solving and communicating and that her style doesn't work for me and my style doesn't work for her.

I respect her style but I also expect her to respect my style.

I know she needs alone time to work things through. She knows I need to talk it out to work it out.

So since I need to talk it out and my wife can't or won't talk it out with me then it's OK (no, necessary) for me to go elsewhere to find someone or someone to talk it out with. If I have someone to talk about it, even if it is not her, then I can sort it out. My wife is all right with me talking to others.

I have stopped trying to get my wife to open up about her feelings but if it ever happens that someday she opens up on her own then I will not interrupt her, not give any advice or psychoanalyze (her words); I will say nothing and just listen.

And when she comes to me and tells me what she wants without telling me what the problem is or what her feelings are or what the thinking is behind what she wants then it's OK for me to say "No" without giving any explanation because she is no longer "The One that must be Obeyed".

So do we ever resolve our problems?

Yes but not always. We have learned which problems to avoid. And, as for the others, we know each other well enough to go our own way yet somehow end up in the middle.

Thanks for listening.



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