Sunday, June 07, 2009

Open Discussion

So, a few days ago I was talking with a good friend about a mutual friend and about another friend and that friend's friend's friend and our friend's friend and another friend (or something like that).
And I came up with this:

There is nothing more lonely than a woman who is emotionally, mentally, and spiritually ignored by a man who has promised to cherish her forever.


P.S. And for clarity's sake (and to head off differing branches of debate), let's assume this woman and man are married (or were) and have children (one or many--any age), and practice the same religion.


Anonymous said...

I can top that: Take all you said except take out the ignore part and add emotional abuse where everything is her fault and she has no soft place to fall.

THAT is lonely.

Sara said...

Sounds right ... I can't imagine anything worse. Watching my parents go thru their divorce (12 yrs ago!) was SO SAD.

Julie P said...

Not just lonely, but heartbreaking. How sad.

Anonymous said...

It's so lonely to be there. To be doing everything that you can think of and to be ignored. And then add to it his anger because you still aren't doing enough.

Anonymous said...

Oh Cheryl, you're singing my song.

Conservative Family said...

I am just grateful that has never happened to me. I know several people it has happened to and it is not fun. Especially when children are involved. It makes you sad to see but I have also seen it happen to my brother... change the scenario to man who is...
If you are in a situation to help do it. If not just pray for them and hope that someone close to them will help them.

Gio, Judi and Boys said...

How do you always know what I'm thinking about??? I have family members that are going through this right now. It is the hardest thing to watch.
The most important thing in all of it is that there is no communication and when there is, the husband is putting the blame on his wife and telling her that she will never change and putting the blame on her.
I think that egos get in the way.
Like I told my family member, always have a prayer in your heart, use your knees a lot and rely on the spirit to guide you.
Each person must decide for themself.
What a sad and lonely week.....

Alison Wonderland said...

Wow, well this post isn't a downer or anything. But you're right. I have to say that I'm so beyond grateful that that's just not something that I've ever had to deal with.

My advice to that person would be to try to look at the situation as honestly as possible. Put aside your pride and see what you are doing wrong in the relationship (these things aren't ever entirely one sided) and then to sit down and talk about it with the spouse. It's not going to be a fun or comfortable conversation but it's one that's got to happen. After that, I don't know. (Prayer throughout the whole thing goes without saying doesn't it?)

But no, I can't really think of anything lonelier than that.

Janelle said...

In my freshman year of college I got a shock near the end of the school year. My old Bishop was getting divorced. How wierd. Everything always seemed fine, it was a shock to me and the ward. It was even a shock to my Bishop.

Apparently his wife had felt ignored, used and unappreciated. She had enough and walked out without agreeing to counseling or trying anything else. He was heartbroken. Years later, and after being remarried, he says he understands now. She didn't want to have to ask to be appreciated, she just wanted to be and feel loved. My Bishop says there are many things he would have done differently if given the chance.

I hope your friend's husband (or wife for your commeter) find this lesson out before their spouse says, "Enough is enough."

It is possible for one member of a couple to think they are in a great marriage that doesn't need improvement and the other party to be desperately lonely.

Anonymous - you need a soft place to fall. I wish I could give it to you.

tamrobot said...

I know sometimes my DH feels like I ignore him when I get wrapped up in stuff I do (running, crafts, videogames, tv shows, etc). I need to be better about this. I don't want him to be sad.

Alison Wonderland said...

I can't help but respond to Janelle's comment.

I absolutely get that she didn't want to have to ask. Who does? But frankly, if you don't ask you don't get. He's not a mind reader. Is your pride really worth your marriage?

(I don't me you, "you". Just the generic "you" that if I was interested in using proper English would be "one".)

Jill said...

I agree with Alison. Men are wired different than women (the nothing box ring a bell?) and they sometimes need things spelled out for them. When they say they are thinking about nothing, it's usually the case. When a woman says nothing, it is loaded with hidden meaning. I'm not saying that the wife is in the wrong here. Here's my theory. It all comes down to communication. We've all been in a situation where communication broke down and that turned an anthill into Everest. Whether something went unsaid or was said in the wrong way, it can easily snowball into a huge issue that can't be repaired.

I will also say, it goes the other way too. I know people (protecting the innocent...or not so innocent as the case may be) who are in the opposite shoes. Men sometimes get treated poorly too. And women aren't the only ones who have emotional needs to be met.

Interesting conversation. What are your thoughts, Cheryl?

Anonymous said...

Gotta respond to Alison.

This kind of situation is way beyond being fixed by an open conversation. It's so much more complex and tangled and painful than that. Trust me; I know.

Cheryl said...

My thoughts are thus:

I agree with Alison, and I agree with the last Anonymous. Frankly, these types of situations are not easy and are not easily solved. Because it depends on the people involved. It also depends on whether one spouse has given up or not. It mostly depends on if there truly is abuse, and if the spouse giving the abuse is willing to change. Or not.

Not willing to change quite often equates selfishness --but in the same breath, forcing/making/wanting someone to change is also selfish.
Obviously, if the abuser is refusing to change, then they are actually the selfish ones.

Are my rambling thoughts making any sense, yet?

The pendulum is filled with many examples --one extreme is abuse and refusal to salvage a marriage one willingly entered into. Another extreme is allowing oneself to be abused in the name of "saving the marriage" as well.

I like how other people pointed out that it's not just the wife being ignored by the husband --that it could be the other way around. I also like that communication was talked about.

I find, that in my own life, when I refuse to talk with Brandon about the things that bother me --even if I risk hurting his feelings or causing contention in our marriage--I end up making things worse. I stew and stew and then blow up, whereas if I had just been strong enough to express my concerns and emotions (vulnerability, anyone?), we would have had a much more pleasant conversation with fewer tears (this is the part where I am trying to change, you know?). So, communication absolutely is key. Without communication, it just doesn't work. But then again, sometimes we can communicate until we're blue in the face, but if the "abuser" party is still unwilling to make any efforts to improve after said communication, then there's really nothing else that can be done. But cry and pray and maybe leave the marriage (so sad).

Granted, this idea of a lonely woman, being left behind (or ignored or abused) is much more complicated than my one sentence up there. And I think it could actually apply to all of us at one time or another in our marriages (male and female). Marriage isn't always cake! But the idea behind my sentence rings true --and it still sucks.

[And my love goes out to all my anonymous commenters who are living it right now. I'm so sorry! Please accept all my big hugs I'm sending your way...]

Anonymous said...

I have a friend who was recently divorced...her husband cheated but is blaming it on her because she wasn't "there" enough for him on many levels..physically, emotionally etc. She did not know that he felt this way because he never told her or communicated. I understand it is much more complex than a simple conversation but she would have done ANYTHING to fix it, counseling etc....if something is never communicated how can the other party fix it? And if it is communicated and it doesn't change then you really have to look at the relationship and if it is abusive. Abuse of any kind is a deal breaker in my book.

Jill said...

Thank you, Anonymous! That is exactly what I was meaning, but I didn't say it nearly as well as you. I was never implying that a simple conversation could bring a couple back from the brink of divorce.

Kellyry said...

How absolutely true that quote is. It's something I remember when I get lonely as a singleton and wonder if I should have married X or Y. But then I remember that those relationships were not fulfilling, emotionally, spiritually. And I remember the deep, deep loneliness of being in a relationship like that and how miserable it was.

I realize this may not have been your point, but thanks for allowing me to draw the encouragement I need from it anyway. :-)

And as the sister of a woman who is in such a relationship, I see the heartbreak and I feel for her, and every other person (man or woman) who is in a similar situation.

Desi said...

One more thought on the issue of communication. I think a lot of times one or both people in the relationship think they are communicating and making their wants/needs known, but because we as men and women tend to be so different we aren’t really hearing what the other person is saying because it’s like we are speaking different languages. I know that I can say something to my husband a million times, but because maybe I’m saying it in a way as to not hurt feelings or something like that the message that I feel has been pretty clear doesn’t get across to him. Later if we have a huge argument about it then I realize that he didn’t actually “hear” what I was saying because I was speaking English and he was hearing French…make sense?

Sometimes I find it really hard to communicate with my husband because we have such different ways of communicating. One book that I really like is “The Five Love Languages.” It’s not very well written in my opinion, but it has a good message. I think it might be a good starting point for couples who are at the point that you are talking about here.

I have a couple of friends who are really struggling in their marriages right now and it makes me so grateful for my husband, even with all of our issues, because I know it could be worse.