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When One Partner Is Happy and the Other Has a Foot Out the Door #245180
07/05/12 03:37 PM
07/05/12 03:37 PM
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The Dark Side of the Moon
AntigoneRisen Offline OP
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This is a discussion around the article:

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes: How Could He Be Happy When She Was Unhappy?

Quote:
Why has it been so surprising to us that Katie Holmes filed for divorce last week in an effort to end her marriage to Tom Cruise when so many of us had a hard time taking their union seriously in the first place? Maybe its because despite the publics initial cynicism, people eventually embraced the couple as an example of a true Hollywood love story. Apparently, Tom was as blindsided as we were by the news, according to the papers. But, unlike the couples fans who watched from a distance, he was close to the action. How is it possible that he was chugging along seemingly happy when she was evidently so unhappy that she secretly planned her exit?

Tom might have been looking through only one lens, which he does in his role as a director and producer, and was seeing things working according to his vision. Might he not have considered her needs at all? Toms previous two wives, Mimi Rogers and Nicole Kidman, have each said that during their marriage their concerns were incidental to his, especially when it came to his Scientology religion...


Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes: How Could He Be Happy When She Was Unhappy?

Beyond the celebrity and the religion... this is a commonly seen theme in marital problems. One person is so unhappy that s/he's planning her/his escape, and the other is blissfully unaware of the other partner's unhappiness.

What causes this, and what can you do from the point of view of each?


Critical Thinking: The Other National Deficit

"That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens
Re: When One Partner Is Happy and the Other Has a Foot Out the Door [Re: AntigoneRisen] #245193
07/05/12 03:56 PM
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Well, I can only speak for myself. In my interactions with Ex#2, I had been repeatedly shut down when trying to communicate my feelings, or flat out lied to and manipulated. It put me in a position where in order to keep a shred of peace in the home for my DD, I had to put on a front. I no longer felt safe discussing my issues with Ex#2, so he got the false front I use in business. In the background, I was working through my feelings about breaking up the marriage and mundane issues of separation, being extremely careful to not let on to him because of the emotional abuse I and my DD would suffer.

What could Ex#2 have done to change things? Well, he'd had many, many opportunities to "fly right" with me - to quit lying to me, to quit being abusive with me and DD, to quit judging me when I tried to share my feelings with him. At the point I just gave up and put up the front, there's precious little he could have done to change things.

What could I have done to change things? Well, the biggest one I see in retrospect is that I should have never quit talking about my feelings and what I needed in our relationship. It would have ended up just blowing up sooner, I truly think, but that would have been a blessing.


Let me not be so vain to think I'm the sole author of my victories and and a victim of my defeats. -- ze frank
Re: When One Partner Is Happy and the Other Has a Foot Out the Door [Re: AntigoneRisen] #245194
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I would not say the happy partner is always or even typically "unaware" of the unhappy partner's lack of satisfaction. Often, the happy partner knows their spouse has complaints, but does not believe those complaints are worth addressing. Either because the happy partner has convinced themselves that the complaints are baseless or unimportant. Or because the happy partner has convinced themselves that their spouse lacks the strength of will to leave.

It is similar to the recent thread involving "I never thought you'd leave".

As Harley says, complaints ought to be a welcome call to action. But in too many cases, they are instead unwelcome annoyances.

It appears that, despite 3 cases to the contrary, Tom Cruise remains shocked that ANY woman would choose to leave HIM. Seems his self-image is such that the thought a woman would voluntarily leave him simply cannot exist within his consciousness.


Solutions? There are none. There are decisions.
Re: When One Partner Is Happy and the Other Has a Foot Out the Door [Re: AntigoneRisen] #245200
07/05/12 04:07 PM
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I knew my xH was unhappy, but when we talked about it he told me that his primary unhappiness was his job and where we lived. I thought we were working together to solve that problem. He told me a week or two before he moved out that he was very unhappy. I asked what he needed to be happy and he said he didn't know. I still didn't make the connection that he was unhappy with me.

Almost two years after he moved out, xH has the same job and lives in the same area he hated, in a house that had all the aspects he told me hated. He wasn't honest with me (and possibly not with himself) on what was really bothering him.

Months after separation he told me that if I couldn't figure out what was wrong with him and how my behavior "caused" his unhappiness then I was just a callous selfish person.

I think he wasn't fully honest with me because
a) I didn't always provide a safe atmosphere for him to share. b) We never fully resolved our marital problems from years before and he'd kept up a front ever since, believing that our marriage would just magically get better (seriously)
c) He assumed I knew/understood that he felt a certain why and why, so no reason to talk about it
d) He was having an EA and he could not admit to himself that this was wrong and was impacting our marriage.

From his perspective, I think the only fix is much stronger personal boundaries and much clearer communication. Tell your partner "I do not want to be around these lovebusters. If they occur again, I'm going to remove myself from them by ...." and stick to it. That would have gotten my attention.

He also needed to acknowledge that marriage is hard work and you have to be willing to do the work. It doesn't always "just get better" on its own.

I needed to have done a better job of checking with him. Every once in a while he'd say or do something that niggled at me, but I wasn't brave enough to ask point-blank "What can I do to be a better wife? What do you want to change about our marriage? Do you think that X is a problem for us?" (and "why are you spending so much time with that female coworker?"). I assumed if he was really upset he'd tell me. I was wrong.


Current spouse: Night. D10, D9, S7

About me

You can't direct the wind, but you can adjust your sails.

http://www.divorcedmomfinances.com
Re: When One Partner Is Happy and the Other Has a Foot Out the Door [Re: holdingontoit] #245202
07/05/12 04:15 PM
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Perhaps it can also be explained by the idea of met needs versus unmet needs. In the early years of our marriage, when neither of us really knew what we were doing, there were periods of time when I was very unhappy. When I tried to talk to H about it, he thought my complaints were petty. He said everything seemed great to him!

Of course it did. He had two people working to make him happy, himself AND me. But it did make me feel that there must be something wrong with me. I must be too demanding or not appreciative enough. Mainly I had to adjust to the realities of marriage and give up the fairy tale vision of happily ever after. But H also had to learn to be less selfish and more affectionate.

I think communication is the key. If one spouse is unhappy and the other doesn't know it, their biggest problem might be the failure to communicate.

Re: When One Partner Is Happy and the Other Has a Foot Out the Door [Re: AntigoneRisen] #245203
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I love this article by Al Turtle:

Out of the Blue means Read the Tea Leaves
http://www.alturtle.com/archives/1273


we: me44 + my husband Pookie :9: + S9 + D6
Re: When One Partner Is Happy and the Other Has a Foot Out the Door [Re: flowmom] #245218
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There's also the old 'I didn't expect marriage to be work' adage.

Re: When One Partner Is Happy and the Other Has a Foot Out the Door [Re: catperson] #245232
07/05/12 05:56 PM
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"Almost no one is foolish enough to imagine that he automatically deserves great success in any field of activity; yet almost everyone believes that he automatically deserves success in marriage." - Sydney J. Harris


Can it be that one person is living his/her biological dream - or close to it - and doesn't want to make modifications to what is working for him/her? Perhaps using a minimizing, "How can s/he be as unhappy as s/he claims? Look how wonderful everything is!"


Critical Thinking: The Other National Deficit

"That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens
Re: When One Partner Is Happy and the Other Has a Foot Out the Door [Re: holdingontoit] #245233
07/05/12 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted By: holdingontoit
I would not say the happy partner is always or even typically "unaware" of the unhappy partner's lack of satisfaction. Often, the happy partner knows their spouse has complaints, but does not believe those complaints are worth addressing. Either because the happy partner has convinced themselves that the complaints are baseless or unimportant. Or because the happy partner has convinced themselves that their spouse lacks the strength of will to leave.

It is similar to the recent thread involving "I never thought you'd leave".

As Harley says, complaints ought to be a welcome call to action. But in too many cases, they are instead unwelcome annoyances.

It appears that, despite 3 cases to the contrary, Tom Cruise remains shocked that ANY woman would choose to leave HIM. Seems his self-image is such that the thought a woman would voluntarily leave him simply cannot exist within his consciousness.


Indeed it is related to my "Never Thought You'd Leave" thread. I also believe both threads are related to the dynamics discussed in this article.

My answer to the question posed in the Psychology Today article: "Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes: How Could He Be Happy When She Was Unhappy?" is:

Because his happiness was not strongly connected to hers. Whether or not she was happy was, to him, not a necessary condition of marital happiness. Thus, it was ignored.

Sometimes, this is a symptom of disbelief that another person whom you feel so close to can have a vastly different viewpoint on the same dynamics, events, and relationship. "If I'm happy, s/he must be, too."


As I said in my first post, this is a common enough dynamic.


Critical Thinking: The Other National Deficit

"That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens
Re: When One Partner Is Happy and the Other Has a Foot Out the Door [Re: AntigoneRisen] #245239
07/05/12 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted By: AntigoneRisen
Can it be that one person is living his/her biological dream - or close to it - and doesn't want to make modifications to what is working for him/her? Perhaps using a minimizing, "How can s/he be as unhappy as s/he claims? Look how wonderful everything is!"


I think this is a really good point. In my particular situation, it was easy for me to rely on my then-H's assurances that his unhappiness was caused by external factors because our life had everything I had wanted - spouse, kids, home near family, friends nearby. I couldn't/wouldn't see that he didn't really want those things.


Current spouse: Night. D10, D9, S7

About me

You can't direct the wind, but you can adjust your sails.

http://www.divorcedmomfinances.com
Re: When One Partner Is Happy and the Other Has a Foot Out the Door [Re: CajunRose] #245248
07/05/12 07:03 PM
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In our "Bad Old Days", my wife was terribly unhappy while I was more or less happy. I knew that there were things she wasn't happy about, but I had no idea how deep it ran. For my part, I knew there was a lack of intimacy, and I may have subconsciously known that I wasn't at or near the top of her priority list, but I had a family, I had a wife who I could talk to, and although I knew things could be better, they were more or less okay.

I think my obliviousness was simply selfishness. I was concerned with my own interests and my own pursuits. Another contributory factor was that my wife had entered the "state of withdrawal" - we no longer fought much, and she was not as angry with me as she had been in prior years. Since the fighting had died down, I assumed things were getting better.

Although I was surprised when I found out how unhappy she was... on a certain level I wasn't. I progressed very quickly from "I can't believe she wants to leave me" to "what am I going to do about it" - within the space of about 5-10 minutes. And I particularly remember that a week or so before my discovery, as I was getting ready for work and allowing my thoughts to wander, I started thinking about what I would do if she wanted to divorce me. Would I fight for primary custody? Probably not, as I could not find fault with her as a mother at all. Would I insist on counseling? Yes, I probably would. Etc etc...

So, in a way, although I hadn't been consciously aware of the extent of her unhappiness, it had been on the periphery of my awareness to an extent that I was able to get past the surprise and into a plan very quickly.


**Formerly known as Cuthbert Calculus**

"There is enough sadness in life without having fellows like Gussie Fink-Nottle going about in sea boots."

Glad Tidings

Gladstone's Sucess Story
Re: When One Partner Is Happy and the Other Has a Foot Out the Door [Re: Gladstone] #245253
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So, Gladstone, can you give some suggestions as to how to break through this type of mindset? Are there any short of leaving or filing for divorce?


Critical Thinking: The Other National Deficit

"That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens
Re: When One Partner Is Happy and the Other Has a Foot Out the Door [Re: AntigoneRisen] #245270
07/05/12 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted By: AntigoneRisen
This is a discussion around the article:

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes: How Could He Be Happy When She Was Unhappy?


I dont know why he was so surprised, pretty much all the articles on her since a year into the marriage talked about conflicts between them and how she wasnt happy. Heck photos of her for that last couple of years shows the same miserable face hat princess Diana had towards the end of her marriage. Their kid is a spoilt brat from the sounds of it.

Last edited by lildoggie; 07/05/12 08:03 PM.

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Re: When One Partner Is Happy and the Other Has a Foot Out the Door [Re: AntigoneRisen] #245277
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Quote:
....How is it possible that he was chugging along seemingly happy when she was evidently so unhappy that she secretly planned her exit...
Originally Posted By: AntigoneRisen
What causes this, and what can you do from the point of view of each?


She shouldn't be doing any secret planning.
He should be paying more attention to his wife.




Everything is an opportunity. There is no failure. You either learn or you succeed.
Re: When One Partner Is Happy and the Other Has a Foot Out the Door [Re: Ready2Change] #245287
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Quote:
She shouldn't be doing any secret planning.


If you are leaving, your legal strategy and plans to protect yourself and what you believe to be your children's interest by necessity must be secret.


Critical Thinking: The Other National Deficit

"That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens
Re: When One Partner Is Happy and the Other Has a Foot Out the Door [Re: AntigoneRisen] #245290
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The strategies are fairly straightforward.

For the happy spouse:
1. continue to ignore your spouse's unhappiness, in the hope it will go away or they will never have the guts to escalate
2. address your spouse's unhappiness, which might require you to change your behavior in ways you previously resisted, but are designed to minimize the risk that the unhappy spouse will drop the bomb on you

Of course, this choice depends in large part of whether the happy spouse actually cares whether the unhappy spouse stays or goes. If you don't care whether they leave, keep on neglecting them. Then again, if you feel that way, you probably are not participating in a marriage recovery / improvement board.

For the unhappy spouse:
1. continue to avoid conflict and withdraw, without communicating that the reduced conflict in no way indicates that things have gotten "better"
2. keep communicating your unhappiness, with ever escalating boundary enforcement if your spouse fails to respond

Obviously, this choice depends in large part on whether you are willing to risk the happy spouse deciding you aren't worth the hassle. If you are not willing to "play for keeps", you don't need help with your marriage. You need help enhancing your Code Value. Get into IC immediately. I know how hard this advice is to take. I spent 19.5 years believing I was not worth fighting for. Yes, it is hard for some of us. Do it anyway.


Solutions? There are none. There are decisions.
Re: When One Partner Is Happy and the Other Has a Foot Out the Door [Re: AntigoneRisen] #245377
07/06/12 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted By: AntigoneRisen
Quote:
She shouldn't be doing any secret planning.


If you are leaving, your legal strategy and plans to protect yourself and what you believe to be your children's interest by necessity must be secret.


Not to mention that if the relationship is abusive in any way, the actual leaving is the most dangerous time for a woman and children.

Katie has the added issue that she had to navigate this around her Scientology watchers in order to protect herself from some pretty nasty stuff as well as protecting Suri.


Let me not be so vain to think I'm the sole author of my victories and and a victim of my defeats. -- ze frank
Re: When One Partner Is Happy and the Other Has a Foot Out the Door [Re: holdingontoit] #245484
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Originally Posted By: HOI
Of course, this choice depends in large part of whether the happy spouse actually cares whether the unhappy spouse stays or goes. If you don't care whether they leave, keep on neglecting them. Then again, if you feel that way, you probably are not participating in a marriage recovery / improvement board.


bullseye People who do not care whether their spouse stays or goes generally aren't here. A person's presence here indicates some degree of caring and desire to fix his/her marriage.


Critical Thinking: The Other National Deficit

"That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens

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