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Doc@DrIrene.com

Comments to So Hard To Give Him Space

Comments to So Hard To Give Him Space

Material posted here is intended for educational purposes only, and must not be considered a substitute for informed advice from your own health care provider.

Courtesy of Dr. Irene Matiatos  Copyrightę 2000. The material on this website may be distributed freely for non-commercial or educational purposes provided that author credit is given. For commercial distribution, please contact the author at Doc@drirene.com

 

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, June 23, 2000

S1

I used to be terribly clingy in relationships and would stay with an abusive man too long. I hadn't learned to love myself, so I was always looking for someone to love me. I would hold onto any sign that I considered "love", and would panic if it wasn't there. I put all my power in the other person's hands - it was very sad and self-destructive. Fortunately, through recovery, I have learned to love myself completely and I don't need someone else to make me feel good. It really started when I started taking care of myself - exercising, eating right, taking quiet time for me, speaking my mind...

My last relationship was a little different because me ex-bf was abusive. He asked me to back off because he felt pressured and he needed time to get his business off the ground (the truth is he's terribly afraid of commitment), so I did. At the end of the relationship he said I had been distant for the last 6 months. He was right, I had backed off because he had asked me to and now it was being thrown up in my face. That was very painful. I believe I have learned to detach in a healthy way and protect myself from abuse.

The books, support groups and journaling are very helpful. Take care of you,

Suzanne

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, June 23, 2000

S1

Katie,

My husband is going through the same thing right now with me. We've been together for 11 years. Every day, he asks me to commit to the marriage, saying that he needs to know that I will be there in the long run. I can tell you how that makes me feel. I feel like he is pushing me away, because he's trying to control me again. I don't want to be controlled anymore, so I stay away from him as much as possible lately. Right now, I am committing only to working on fixing myself and my problems. I'm sure your husband is doing the same thing right now. It would probably be a good idea for you to do the same--work on yourself. Also, try working on being happy with yourself, not your relationship. The relationship will improve because of it.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, June 23, 2000

S1

Katie:

I did just want to add that my sister was a very jealous of her husband (when he never gave her reason to be) and very insecure always having to look to him for her self worth. She went on Paxil and I now believe that she had a chemical imbalance. She no longer does this and can't believe that she acted this way towards him. She now believes that she was anxious and acted obsessively towards her husband for reasons that were not even there. She used all her energy to "worry" about this. Once the anxiety was gone...so was the obsessive need to "worry" about something. Good luck!

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, June 23, 2000

S1

Katie I am male who was in the same situation as you. I continued to full court press, I wanted answers, actions, now, now, now. I thought that was the way to resolving the problem quickly. She kept saying she needed space and time to reflect on things that had happened. She did tell me many times she still loved me and to this day I do believe she meant it. I could not see or understand how to fill her request, and I continued to be a bull in a china closet. So much I pushed her to another man who she became intimate with. The only thing I can share with you is you CANT hold on so tight, and that some of the reasons we are attracted to someone is that they were independent and there was a spark within THEM (you). If you lose vision and goals, drive in your own life you tend to be hang on REAL TIGHT to your partner. I was not that way at the beginning, but became that way over a 9 year period, I got comfortable, and then almost obsessive. Hind sight, I would NEVER do now what I did and am embarrassed about the way I treated the ONE that I wanted to spend my life with. Hope this useful for you, I KNOW its hard to step back, but if you don't, you may end up like I am now, single for over a year now. Thanx again Dr Irene, Willie Thank to YOU Willie!

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, June 23, 2000

S1

Gosh, Katie, your letter is alarming. Medication can initially help you deal with your anxiety, but you must get to the bottom of the cause of your anxiety and lack of self love and self confidence. This can be done with a professional counselor. Otherwise, you may think of yourself as "just" a medicated, depressed, needy person. I'll bet you love your kids unconditionally. Learn to love yourself unconditionally, warts, neediness, suppressed hostility maybe, whatever, and all. You say you want to continue your marriage, but do you want things to be exactly the same? Your husband does not, apparently. Change is coming whether you want it to come or not, so make it a good change (a healthy you in a normal relationship) and not a bad change (Divorce! Abandonment! My kids and I will starve in the darkness! I can't handle it! Life will be intolerably bad!) Face your worst fear. Imagine it has happened- THEN positively imagine yourself getting up on your feet and making everything even better! Example- You're evicted, on the street with your kids. Then imagine yourself calling a friend or staying in a shelter- (hey! It's not as bad as I thought....)then finding a place to live that's even better- a pool so Jimmy can learn to swim! Closer to schools and work- or, in a peaceful countryside, deer in the front yard, no bothersome neighbors- here's where you stick in the things you may not like about your present situation. Positive imagry. Acknowledge that what you have now is not all PERFECT, and what change may bring will not be all BAD. There's no black and whites in life decisions, only infinite shades of gray. You owe it to your kids as well as yourself to show them how to live a happy, confident life. Love yourself! Dr. I's gang already does, our Lord does, your husband does, or did at one time, your kids sure love you- they can't all be wrong! Best wishes, best of luck- and keep us posted! :)

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, June 24, 2000

S1

Hi Katie,

I have a cousin who sounds just like you. She was married for 15 years when her husband couldn't stand her neediness anymore either. They were on the verge of divorce, but she took care of her problems and today they are still married....going on 22 years now. She is still needy...but not to the same extent.

I will tell you what I told her.. yes she drove us all crazy with her constant need for reassurance.

I told her this is what it's like dealing with you...I was very frank with her. You are like a bottomless pit...no amount of reassurance is ever enough. What you require is not humanly possible for anyone to supply you with. You have learn how to take care of your own emotional needs. It is not anyone else's job to do that for you....time to grow up. Otherwise, you will never be happy and content and noone will ever be able to meet all those needs...which are more like demands. It's not okay to ask 15 times...do I look okay...with "are you sure"...to every response. It's like why bother telling you...you never believe me anyway. Take the energy you waste by asking others....and put it into fixing the problem. I told her she was hypervigilant......and too self centered.

Her husband made a list of things he wanted her to do for herself. She resisted big time. Till she realized she either did them or he was gone. So she got a job...turns out her boss loves her and she thinks he is the nicest boss she ever had...and she hadn't worked in 19 years..she was terrified of needing to get a job. Then she got a hobby...horse back riding. She never had a hobby before. She made new friends and found it to a great way to stay in shape. She had no idea that horseback riding was such a good workout. She always complained about her figure. With her new salary...they can now afford luxuries. She discovered she loves going to the beauty parlor and getting her hair done. She always complained about how her looked. Now she feels much more confident in her looks...and no longer asks you 15 times...... do I look okay. Yes she still needs reassurance...more so than the average person....but now it's doable....and she now appreciates it. 

Like it or not.....you have to make changes if you want to stay married. There is nothing sexy or nice about draining your spouse dry. What he hears is this:..........you can't satisfy me.....no matter what you say or do...my list just gets longer....filling my needs is impossible for I am an abyss. The more you give me...the more I want...and the more unsatisfied I become. It's not your husbands job to take care of your emotions....that's your job and no one else's. It's okay to be needy at times...we are all human. However, it's not okay to be needy 24x7x365. You are an adult..not an infant.

If my cousin can do it.....you can do it too. My cousin was so needy...that she had no friends left..she drove everyone away...even her own relatives....kept their distance. We couldn't understand how her husband could stand it. We ran out of patience long ago. Now we can actually enjoy her company...and she accepts our compliments. She is much happier and so is everyone else.

Get counseling and learn how to meet your own emotional needs. They can and do teach you these skills. You have to learn all sorts of skills in life...driving a car....raising kids..reading...ect. Learning how to be independent...is no different from learning these other things. A healthy marriage consists of 2 adults....not one child and one adult. Prove to your husband that you can be the adult partner he needs, deserves and wants you to be. :)

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, June 24, 2000

S1

There are many men who get married, have small children and then decide the whole thing is just too much. Why? Because they still need their Mommies and they have been "taken away" by the demands of the small children. Read Pat Evans book on emotional abuse, especially the part about "withholding". I was married for 12 years before I had my children. As it turned out, after I had a little girl, the thing he missed the most was my teaching salary. He then informed me that he had only loved me the first two years of our marriage... I really wished he had informed me of this before we had the kids. Anyway, after a long miserable time of going to ALANON, counseling and the whole bargaining bit, he filed the papers for divorce. He really didn't like my battered women's groups. Anyway, I went back to teaching, he managed to get my kids to move in with him by buying a house next to the high school where my son attends. Lately, I have noticed that my son has been becoming verbally abusive towards me, repeating the pattern that I had hoped to break. The words of Dr. Irene come back to haunt me, " Don't give away the candy store." One of the most difficult lessons I've had to learn is this: take care of me first. Everything we learn about being a woman in this society tries to contradict this. Bless you, mother of small children. I have been there and I know that you need support and most of all love. Mary   Katie, this does not mean your husband will file for divorce too. It just means you need to do what you need to do for YOU. Everything else falls into place.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, June 28, 2000

S1

Hi Katie! I'm on your husband's end of a similar relationship. My husband is a very needy, unsure person, and when he doesn't get his many needs met, he becomes angry and abusive. I'm the one who has had the eternal wake-up call, and realized things have to change. I guess my comments are similar to everyone else's. I know it's hard and very scary to stop worrying and give him the space, but if you truly want to save your marriage, you must. As I have begun to change and grow, it is very threatening to my husband. He, too, seems to need constant reassurance of my love and commitment. The thing is, though, I will not go back to the way things were. If we are to have a relationship, things are going to have to change, and that scares him. I'm sure, from your leter, that it scares the livin' beejeebers out of you, too. Keep this in mind, though, the harder and more desparately you try to hang on to someone else, especially in a relationship which was not healthy to begin with, the faster they are goung to back off and want the h--- out of it. You can't smother another person and expect them to stay around, if they have found out who they are and want an adult, healthy relationship. Another thing; one of the other posts mentioned Paxil. My husband has started taking it, and I can already see a difference. While meds are not the whole answer, I think it has helped him move out of the depression and extreme anxiety and begin to really be able to look at himself and see what he's been doing. This is a big step for him, a person who never wants to even take vitamins. I must say, though, that you need to be very careful, and know what you want. I changed, I grew, and I decided that I was not going to stay in a relationship that was so damaging to me. I finally had to give him an ultimatum: things will change, he will stop the abuse, or he will move out. Now, we've been married for 20 years, and have 7 children; I am committed to our marriage, and was asking for a separation. This was not a light decision on my part, but I simply could not go on with things the way they were. Anyway, it came down to him asking me which computer he could take when he moved in with his sister, that he finally realized that I meant business, and I was not going to back down. Katie, listen to your husband!! Let him have the space to grow, and start growing yourself, or you may end up with your worst fears coming true. You are worth it. Do you REALLY want a desparate, grabbing, needy relationship with the man you love? Is this really love? God bless you!

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, June 28, 2000

S1

Hi Katie! I'm on your husband's end of a similar relationship. My husband is a very needy, unsure person, and when he doesn't get his many needs met, he becomes angry and abusive. I'm the one who has had the eternal wake-up call, and realized things have to change. I guess my comments are similar to everyone else's. I know it's hard and very scary to stop worrying and give him the space, but if you truly want to save your marriage, you must. As I have begun to change and grow, it is very threatening to my husband. He, too, seems to need constant reassurance of my love and commitment. The thing is, though, I will not go back to the way things were. If we are to have a relationship, things are going to have to change, and that scares him. I'm sure, from your leter, that it scares the livin' beejeebers out of you, too. Keep this in mind, though, the harder and more desparately you try to hang on to someone else, especially in a relationship which was not healthy to begin with, the faster they are goung to back off and want the h--- out of it. You can't smother another person and expect them to stay around, if they have found out who they are and want an adult, healthy relationship. Another thing; one of the other posts mentioned Paxil. My husband has started taking it, and I can already see a difference. While meds are not the whole answer, I think it has helped him move out of the depression and extreme anxiety and begin to really be able to look at himself and see what he's been doing. This is a big step for him, a person who never wants to even take vitamins. I must say, though, that you need to be very careful, and know what you want. I changed, I grew, and I decided that I was not going to stay in a relationship that was so damaging to me. I finally had to give him an ultimatum: things will change, he will stop the abuse, or he will move out. Now, we've been married for 20 years, and have 7 children; I am committed to our marriage, and was asking for a separation. This was not a light decision on my part, but I simply could not go on with things the way they were. Anyway, it came down to him asking me which computer he could take when he moved in with his sister, that he finally realized that I meant business, and I was not going to back down. Katie, listen to your husband!! Let him have the space to grow, and start growing yourself, or you may end up with your worst fears coming true. You are worth it. Do you REALLY want a desparate, grabbing, needy relationship with the man you love? Is this really love? God bless you!

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, June 28, 2000

S1

Hi Katie! I'm on your husband's end of a similar relationship. My husband is a very needy, unsure person, and when he doesn't get his many needs met, he becomes angry and abusive. I'm the one who has had the eternal wake-up call, and realized things have to change. I guess my comments are similar to everyone else's. I know it's hard and very scary to stop worrying and give him the space, but if you truly want to save your marriage, you must. As I have begun to change and grow, it is very threatening to my husband. He, too, seems to need constant reassurance of my love and commitment. The thing is, though, I will not go back to the way things were. If we are to have a relationship, things are going to have to change, and that scares him. I'm sure, from your leter, that it scares the livin' beejeebers out of you, too. Keep this in mind, though, the harder and more desparately you try to hang on to someone else, especially in a relationship which was not healthy to begin with, the faster they are goung to back off and want the h--- out of it. You can't smother another person and expect them to stay around, if they have found out who they are and want an adult, healthy relationship. Another thing; one of the other posts mentioned Paxil. My husband has started taking it, and I can already see a difference. While meds are not the whole answer, I think it has helped him move out of the depression and extreme anxiety and begin to really be able to look at himself and see what he's been doing. This is a big step for him, a person who never wants to even take vitamins. I must say, though, that you need to be very careful, and know what you want. I changed, I grew, and I decided that I was not going to stay in a relationship that was so damaging to me. I finally had to give him an ultimatum: things will change, he will stop the abuse, or he will move out. Now, we've been married for 20 years, and have 7 children; I am committed to our marriage, and was asking for a separation. This was not a light decision on my part, but I simply could not go on with things the way they were. Anyway, it came down to him asking me which computer he could take when he moved in with his sister, that he finally realized that I meant business, and I was not going to back down. Katie, listen to your husband!! Let him have the space to grow, and start growing yourself, or you may end up with your worst fears coming true. You are worth it. Do you REALLY want a desparate, grabbing, needy relationship with the man you love? Is this really love? God bless you!

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, June 28, 2000

S1

Katie, I'm a guy, divorced, who was married to someone who sounds a lot like you. All I can say is that the advice you got here is EXCELLENT!! Please follow it before it's too late. Do not underestimate th power of the meds! My ex drove my son and I away!

Ed

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, June 28, 2000

S1

Katie, I'm a guy, divorced, who was married to someone who sounds a lot like you. All I can say is that the advice you got here is EXCELLENT!! Please follow it before it's too late. Do not underestimate th power of the meds! My ex drove my son and I away!

Ed

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, June 28, 2000

S1

My husband has travelled often, and I only became clingy after years of being told I wasn't good enough. Now every time he goes, I'm convinced he's cheating or never coming back. You know what I JUST discovered? I could do that too, but I wouldn't. I'm human and so is he. And if he's going to do those kinds of things to me, I'll be sad for a while and move on, cos it means he's not good enough for me.My H. thinks there's very little to talk about (I'm moving out and finding counselling). You have a better situation-your husband is actually trying to find out what the problem is! Maybe it will make him more able to be there for you. Dr. Irene gives the best advice...if you figure out why the unsureness scares you, then you'll know what you can do, and you'll probably want the space, too. Good luck... JG

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, June 28, 2000

S1

My husband has travelled often, and I only became clingy after years of being told I wasn't good enough. Now every time he goes, I'm convinced he's cheating or never coming back. You know what I JUST discovered? I could do that too, but I wouldn't. I'm human and so is he. And if he's going to do those kinds of things to me, I'll be sad for a while and move on, cos it means he's not good enough for me.My H. thinks there's very little to talk about (I'm moving out and finding counselling). You have a better situation-your husband is actually trying to find out what the problem is! Maybe it will make him more able to be there for you. Dr. Irene gives the best advice...if you figure out why the unsureness scares you, then you'll know what you can do, and you'll probably want the space, too. When I get crazy wondering, and I'm losing it and want him to hold me and he doesn't feel like giving any more (or at all) I walk away from him entirely, and read a book. Sleepless nights sometimes, but I don't hate myself the next day. Do something you like to do, read or draw or sew or something. Keep yer hands busy and your brain might rest-mine does. Good luck... JG

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, July 04, 2000

S1

Get a hobby, figure out ways to build your self-esteem....

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, June 07, 2002

S1

Katie: I feel your fear and your pain! But if you want to keep your husband, give him space. Furthermore, become exciting in what you are doing in your life...find something that you enjoy, and do it! The desperation you feel is apparent, and it will be the demise of your marriage. You are sitting on a shaky fence with him in therapy, so gear up with all the weapons you can, be the woman he cannot live without. Stop asking for reassurance! I certainly understand why you are feeling the need for it, but the truth is, it will push him away. Look your best, believe in yourself! Remember that he loves you, now just be the woman he can't stop loving. Victims and needy people aren't sexy. Confidence and joy are sexy!!!!!! I'm going through the exact same situation right now, which is why I'm reading your letter...hee hee...see helping you just helped me know what I really do have to do myself, even though I feel fear....I re-connect with the beauty in me every 5 minutes sometimes during the day, reminding myself that he loves me, and if I don't give him space, I will lose him. I engage in things I enjoy as much as possible, and I listen to music, and dance around the house, singing along, it's impossible to sing and think sad thoughts at the same time (of course, only play upbeat songs). You have NOTHING to lose by getting your act together and living each day with joy somehow and tossing the neediness out the window; you have everything to lose if you don't! Dr. John Gray has a "rubberband theory": When the relationship gets stretched to it's limit (meaning space between two partners), it naturally springs back, bringing the partner back to you, because when the rubberband is stretched to it's limit, your man will feel the lack of intimacy and will come back for it, but if you don't let him experience the space that makes him miss the intimacy, and you chase after him, the rubberband will never get stretched to it's limit....the more he moves away, the more you move toward him, never allowing him to feel the need for intimacy....I should apologize to Dr. John Gray, because I did not explain it as well he does...but I heard him say it years ago, and I've used it and it works....what you and your husband are going through is distancing that occurs to some degree in all relationships. Your husband has even told you CLEARLY that your neeediness is driving him away....of course it is, it would drive me away too (and I'll bet you'd be driven away by a man who did it too). I've been known to be needy myself, so I understand your feelings...but it's just not attractive or effective!!! I sincerely wish you the best of luck....B.L.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, June 07, 2002

S1

Katie: I feel your fear and your pain! But if you want to keep your husband, give him space. Furthermore, become exciting in what you are doing in your life...find something that you enjoy, and do it! The desperation you feel is apparent, and it will be the demise of your marriage. You are sitting on a shaky fence with him in therapy, so gear up with all the weapons you can, be the woman he cannot live without. Stop asking for reassurance! I certainly understand why you are feeling the need for it, but the truth is, it will push him away. Look your best, believe in yourself! Remember that he loves you, now just be the woman he can't stop loving. Victims and needy people aren't sexy. Confidence and joy are sexy!!!!!! I'm going through the exact same situation right now, which is why I'm reading your letter...hee hee...see helping you just helped me know what I really do have to do myself, even though I feel fear....I re-connect with the beauty in me every 5 minutes sometimes during the day, reminding myself that he loves me, and if I don't give him space, I will lose him. I engage in things I enjoy as much as possible, and I listen to music, and dance around the house, singing along, it's impossible to sing and think sad thoughts at the same time (of course, only play upbeat songs). You have NOTHING to lose by getting your act together and living each day with joy somehow and tossing the neediness out the window; you have everything to lose if you don't! Dr. John Gray has a "rubberband theory": When the relationship gets stretched to it's limit (meaning space between two partners), it naturally springs back, bringing the partner back to you, because when the rubberband is stretched to it's limit, your man will feel the lack of intimacy and will come back for it, but if you don't let him experience the space that makes him miss the intimacy, and you chase after him, the rubberband will never get stretched to it's limit....the more he moves away, the more you move toward him, never allowing him to feel the need for intimacy....I should apologize to Dr. John Gray, because I did not explain it as well he does...but I heard him say it years ago, and I've used it and it works....what you and your husband are going through is distancing that occurs to some degree in all relationships. Your husband has even told you CLEARLY that your neeediness is driving him away....of course it is, it would drive me away too (and I'll bet you'd be driven away by a man who did it too). I've been known to be needy myself, so I understand your feelings...but it's just not attractive or effective!!! I sincerely wish you the best of luck....B.L.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, June 07, 2002

S1

Katie: I feel your fear and your pain! But neediness isn't sexy or attractive...and it will ONLY serve to bring about what you most fear: losing your husband. So get exciting, joyful, and confident...those are sexy and attractive. Not only give your husband space, but distance yourself from him by occupying your mind and time doing things you enjoy...even of it means just going to Barnes & Noble and enjoying a delicious Cafe Mocah in one of their comfy chairs, while you read books that will boost your confidence and decreased your co-dependency. Listen to music and dance when you're alone...works wonders. Stop asking for reassurance! I certainly understand why you are feeling the need for it, but the truth is, it will push him away. Look your best, believe in yourself! Remember that he loves you, now just be the woman he can't stop loving. You have NOTHING to lose by getting your act together and living each day with joy somehow and tossing the neediness out the window; you have everything to lose if you don't! Dr. John Gray has a "rubberband theory": When the relationship gets stretched to it's limit (meaning space between two partners), it naturally springs back, bringing the partner back to you, because when the rubberband is stretched to it's limit, your man will feel the lack of intimacy and will come back for it, but if you don't let him experience the space that makes him miss the intimacy, and you chase after him, the rubberband will never get stretched to it's limit....the more he moves away, the more you move toward him, never allowing him to feel the need for intimacy....I should apologize to Dr. John Gray, because I did not explain it as well he does...but I heard him say it years ago, and I've used it and it works....I sincerely wish you the best of luck....I've been there and my advice saved my relationship...B.L.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, June 07, 2002

S1

Katie: I feel your fear and your pain! But neediness isn't sexy or attractive...and it will ONLY serve to bring about what you most fear: losing your husband. So get exciting, joyful, and confident...those are sexy and attractive. Not only give your husband space, but distance yourself from him by occupying your mind and time doing things you enjoy...oh, and listen to upbeat music and dance when you're home alone...and keep working on your co-dependency issue. JUST GET SEXY AND ATTRACTIVE--I.E., CONFIDENT AND JOYFUL!! I sincerely wish you the best of luck....I've been there and my advice saved my relationship...B.L.