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joyces (@joyces)

Major Changes as Spouses Age

Aging Well | Last Active: Oct 23, 2020 | Replies (51)

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@gingerw

@joyces What I am about to say may be taken a few different ways, by many. I am speaking from my own personal experience, and am not lecturing, nor telling you what to do. It comes from a place of concern for both of you. People are creatures of habit. We get used to doing certain things, and even enhancing that. Those actions are not always a positive.

Doing for others can be seen as a sign of partnership, of love, of wanting to help. But sometimes what we see as being helpful, can be the other person taking advantage of you. As it escalates, each one loses their true self in the spiral. I have been there/done that/got the T-shirt! The one doing becomes resentful, angry, exhausted. The one receiving may also become resentful, angry, and exhausted. Changing the behaviors that have become habit is very hard, but not not doable. But it takes both parties to want to make that effort. Without cooperation and working together to be better able to have a good relationship, it won't happen. Stating limits will no doubt cause frustration as a new normal slowly evolves. That frustration may come out as irritation, ignoring the other, shouting matches, slammed doors, etc. One thing I never allowed was physical abuse. And when I tried to make the changes to a more balanced relationship, and received no support/effort from the other person, I had to make the decision to stay or go, for my own well-being. That simple. Because I had to value myself more.

Was it easy? Heck, no. Did it all take a toll on me? Oh, you bet! Physically, mentally, emotionally, financially. But having made the decision to have a healthier relationship, I tried what I could to accomplish my side of things. Was it worth it? Yes!

He won't change unless you do, too.
Ginger

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Replies to "@joyces What I am about to say may be taken a few different ways, by many...."

Response to Ginger, Vol. Mentor: Yes, I was in that situation 45 years ago, when I determined I could afford to walk away from the house and its contents, taking only my two kids, two dogs, a cat, my truck and my boat. I claim it was an extraordinarily liberated escape…I made more than he did, so I had the luxury of just walking out, not having to ask for child support (which he never would have paid willingly). So, I've been there, done that, got the Tee-shirt!

Now, it's a different situation. Although we can live comfortably in our little bit of woodland paradise near the ocean, we don't have enough money saved so that I could give him all the money and stay here. Actually, we don't have enough money saved to enable us to live separately. We're in a fortunate and unique situation here: extremely low taxes due to the fact that we have no access to public water/sewer and our acreage is taxed as a single lot, we own the place, we have low monthly costs and can heat the house with our Earth stove, using wood that simply falls on our land. We live here for an average of less than $3,000/mo, but to rent even a studio apt. in this tourist town means a minimum of over $1,000/mo, which doesn't leave much if we were living separately, in greatly reduced circumstances. In addition, there's no way he could live unassisted. I simply hope that he won't get to the point where he'll need to move to assisted living soon.

@ginger, @joyces, Ginger, your response was a powerful post and one worth re-reading if a person is as conflict adverse as I was for many, many years. My situation years ago was much like the one you describe. Also very change adverse, it took far too long and too much invested physical and emotional energy, tongue biting and loss of self-esteem for me to eventually make a decision to leave the relationship. The spouse wouldn't consider couple counseling. That was one of the hardest but best and healthiest decisions I ever made. I now do not believe that we were put on earth to "save" the other guy but rather that each healthy relationship requires some give and take, compromise and willingness to change. If that can not occur, then it is time to consider other options.