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    confusedbyitall's Avatar
    confusedbyitall Posts: 48, Reputation: -2
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    #1

    Jul 14, 2008, 03:40 PM
    My wife isn't "in love" anymore, usually.
    I will try to summarize the situation and would love input, please!

    We have been married 11.5 years, together about 13. We have two kids.

    We get along fine. We have our differences, but without bitterness or blow out arguments.

    She has a hard time telling me things that are on her mind if she thinks I might disagree because she doesn't like conflict. If there is disagreement or other than near total agreement she perceives conflict.

    She says she senses a bad, negative, moody vibe from me about things that she thinks I'll be unhappy about, like say doing something I don't really feel like doing, even when I'm in a totally OK mood. I actually am rarely grumpy except in the morning before I have caffeine, and at that, am not negative and grumpy. I try to just quietly take care of things as I sip on some coffee and then am fine. I am otherwise positive, not negative, and rarely grumpy, and do not get very mad, and when I get mad I don't hold a grudge or stay mad, at all, ever.

    She and I get along well. We like spending time together. With kids it's hard to have that time, but, we do make some time a couple of times a month to go out on our own, have the kids stay over at a friend's house, etc. We talk, smile, laugh, joke.

    I let her know on a daily basis how beautiful she is, and periodically make sure to tell her I think she is a great mom to our kids, and that she's smart, a nice person, that she's great. I say it so much I do think sometimes I shouldn't so often or it will be worn out! She knows how I feel about her and has told me so.

    A few years ago, when her schedule revolved only around the kids when they were much younger, both around 3 and 5 years old, she got into a rut. She was unhappy. She wasn't sure what it was, and I thought the worst. She said it wasn't necessarily even me, and didn't know for sure, but maybe it was, some. She saw a councilor for a while, weekly I think, for a handful of months. She had no activities of her own, not even say reading a book on her own, working out at the gym, going out with a girlfriend on her own without the kids around. She made a positive step or two to change that, and including the counseling she said she felt much better.

    We have moved to a very pleasant area of the country, of the world for that matter, to Oregon, from having lived in the DC area in a higher stress environment. She wanted to move here. I liked it here, too, and agreed. We both like it here, have made friends, go out as couples, as families, and go to get togethers sometimes, etc.

    My job now is much less stressful than it was. It isn't without concerns, but I am well at ease with myself and we both are living a much healthier and happier lifestyle here. We exercise, don't do drugs, don't abuse booze, make time to go out alone, and so on. We both are involved or attend activities the kids are in, too. She sees friends with me, and girlfriends on her own without the kids. I sometimes will do something with the kids for a few hours, too, so she has some alone time no matter what it is she is doing with it (relaxing, shopping, taking a nap, whatever it is).

    Since she talked with me a few years ago about being unhappy and not being sure about what it was, I have been scared that it was in fact about being with me and she just didn't dare say so. She is one of the best people I've ever met in my whole life. I do everything I can to make things good for her and us. She is highly attractive to me. Our sex life isn't exciting now, usually anyway! but it does exist, a couple of times a week typically. Sometimes it is, especially if it's not at the end of the day and we're tired, or if the kids are away, it is actually pretty good. It's not like being mid 20s and having all day to lounge and pretend you are rabbits, but... I asked her every now and then over the past two years, and more over the past year, whether she was doing OK, whether she's happy, and she said yes. She says she loves me. She is attracted to me. She knows I'm nice to her, not mean to her, she cares for me.

    Saturday she said she isn't getting out of our relationship what she thinks she should. She said sometimes it's better, and sometimes worse, but when it's worse she feels empty inside somehow. She said she isn't in love with me anymore, but, that she loves me, and again, sometimes it's better, and sometimes it's worse.

    She wants a divorce.

    I feel like I just got hit by a tornado.

    What would you recommend? I very likely will show her these answers and discuss them, so please be respectful of her and me in your answers. I appreciate your taking the time to give input.

    Confused and sleepless just South of Seattle
    JudyKayTee's Avatar
    JudyKayTee Posts: 46,503, Reputation: 4600
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    #2

    Jul 14, 2008, 04:01 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by confusedbyitall
    Saturday she said she isn't getting out of our relationship what she thinks she should. She said sometimes it's better, and sometimes worse, but when it's worse she feels empty inside somehow. She said she isn't in love with me anymore, but, that she loves me, and again, sometimes it's better, and sometimes it's worse.

    She wants a divorce.

    I feel like I just got hit by a tornado.

    What would you recommend? I very likely will show her these answers and discuss them, so please be respectful of her and me in your answers. I appreciate your taking the time to give input.

    Confused and sleepless just South of Seattle


    I seldom post on this board (unless the legal board is "slow"). I'm a widow and posts like this - and divorce certainly is a fact of life - are upsetting to me. I was also divorced some years ago.

    Very wise minds, people who post here regularly, will come along, I'm sure. As I said - I'm an amateur at this stuff.

    Have you tried or are you willing to try couples counselling? I know she has gone to a counsellor but have you? Have you tried it together?

    If she is positive that this is what she wants, that the marriage is making her unhappy, well, then I think you have to bite the bullet. I don't know why or how people fall in love or, for that matter, why/how they fall out of love. I just don't know.

    I do know I've broken up dating relationships with "it's not you, it's me, I love you but I'm not in love with you" because for whatever reason I thought something, someone, someplace else would make me happier and the relationship was no longer fulfilling to me.

    I know you feel she's the best person who has ever come into your life but if she doesn't feel that same way any longer, then it's pretty much a charade.

    I wish I had something wise and wonderful to say to both of you - this can be no easier on her than it is on you. It's hard to hurt someone you care about but at leat she's come straight out and told you.

    Now I think the two of you have to decide together how to move forward to whatever your future is, together or apart.
    simoneaugie's Avatar
    simoneaugie Posts: 2,490, Reputation: 438
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    #3

    Jul 14, 2008, 07:11 PM
    I am probably dead wrong about the two of you. But, if it was me married to a nice guy like you, if it was me, the only thing that could make me want to leave and look elsewhere would be a lack of orgasms.
    confusedbyitall's Avatar
    confusedbyitall Posts: 48, Reputation: -2
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    #4

    Jul 14, 2008, 08:59 PM
    Judy Kay Tee and Simone,

    Thanks for your input so far. Judy, I'd say what you've said is true. It can just happen, I guess. Our issue lies in communication and a perception on her part of what my mood or view of things is. It also lies in her difficulty in saying what is on her mind. Those are facts as she and I would both say them if we were with you now. I did just suggest counseling, that we find a retreat location with counseling for a few days and get away, and if it matches with the recommendations for how to proceed, that we implement what we learn. We talked today for a couple of hours. It was painful, but very productive. I made suggestions for her learning about my moods (ways to ask without having to discuss, even non-verbally asking to see whether she's right or wrong and my giving feedback without having to discuss or debate at that time at least, even just as hidden words in discussion that others around us wouldn't pick up on.) I said it seems we should go away to a retreat, then maybe even spend some time apart, a couple of weeks (accommodations aren't a problem), so we can get away from interacting with each other during the noise of the day to day. We should go away every weekend on a mini-vacation, hold hands, talk, go out, do things, out of town, for a month or two. Let's date again. The reasons we were attracted to begin with aren't gone. She doesn't disagree. We'll see, but she might go for trying. But no, counseling wasn't suggested. We didn't even discuss anything. She's painfully introverted and internalizes both things that are there and things she thinks are there, and for that matter things she think would be there if she were to say anything, and that becomes her reality of communication. Her parents agree. They are also shocked by all of this and know that's the root of it and that it can be addressed probably relatively easily if she were to agree to try.
    talaniman's Avatar
    talaniman Posts: 54,328, Reputation: 10855
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    #5

    Jul 14, 2008, 10:46 PM
    What kind of listener are you?
    confusedbyitall's Avatar
    confusedbyitall Posts: 48, Reputation: -2
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    #6

    Jul 15, 2008, 02:45 AM
    That is a great question. I do listen. I hear. We both have gone through intensive communication training both by profession and by way of her dad who is an expert in the area. Their take on things is that they understand what's going on, it drives them crazy, and they can't understand how completely quiet a person can be about certain things until it becomes negative in their minds where negativity doesn't exist.

    In short, I do listen. There in large part is nothing to hear because she assumes if she says something I might disagree. Disagreement is to her confrontation. I am like a guy playing charades with 1/4 of the clues who has no one telling him warmer or hotter but just being told now that I lost the game with no idea why.
    yazz226's Avatar
    yazz226 Posts: 9, Reputation: 2
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    #7

    Jul 15, 2008, 03:22 AM
    I undrstand how you would feel... in fact I really wish you two would get back together.. honest!. obviously, she shd to be a nice person too.. thts why u don't intend on leaving her.. and as for u.. ppl could make mistakes in life.. thats absolutely human... after all this mishap.. it would be tough living together... but uv tried your best... wat else could you do?. tell her that you are srry for anything that had made her unhappy and tell her that it would be much easier for you if she shared her feelings.ie." what she wants"... u have two adorable kids... for their sake... just for one more chance... she should be absolutely in a confused state too... help her recover when she gives you another chance... I shall pray to the Almighty that everything would bcom perfectly all right between you and your wife... do update me and if your wife is reading this... "i dont know ur trouble sitting in front of this screen...but i really wish you give him a second chance" nobody is perfect
    All the best
    JudyKayTee's Avatar
    JudyKayTee Posts: 46,503, Reputation: 4600
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    #8

    Jul 15, 2008, 05:37 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by talaniman
    What kind of listener are you??


    You beat me to it. I have heard so many friends say, "I tell him but he doesn't hear me."
    talaniman's Avatar
    talaniman Posts: 54,328, Reputation: 10855
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    #9

    Jul 15, 2008, 06:30 AM
    From experience, when there is no input, it leads to assumptions and filling in the blanks, and 11 years of that, geez how did you make it that long? Often though I find introverted people can communicate in other ways so please indulge my questions.

    What is her education background?
    Are there siblings
    You just moved are there friends?
    Does she work?
    Does she have hobbies?
    What does she do when not being mom?
    Why did you move?
    Whose idea was it?

    Often we forget how isolated we can be, with no social outlets, and that's the direction I'm going in. No matter how much loving, caring time you spend, it may not be enough, for her to be fulfilled as a person. That's why the questions.
    N0help4u's Avatar
    N0help4u Posts: 19,823, Reputation: 2035
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    #10

    Jul 15, 2008, 07:29 AM
    From what I have seen with people and relationships it sounds like she is feeling somewhere between dissatisfied to miserable. When people feel like that they often project THEIR feelings onto assuming it being vibes from the other when actually it is THEIR feelings they are not owning up to.
    She feels like she fell out of love because she IS in a rut.
    She needs some spark and spice added to her life.
    Many couples are content with getting in a rut when they are older but some people hate it. She does need to come to realize that life and love is not a feeling level to be maintained but something you need to work at AND a commitment rather than an emotion. And she should not rely on you for her happiness. She needs a life outside the home
    I think
    Ask her to give you one more chance and make things different-
    Either spend money on romancing, dating, etc...
    Or spend money on a marriage counselor.


    The grass isn't any greener
    She could meet somebody and have a whirlwind romance only to find when settled he is just as 'boring' to her.
    smokedetector's Avatar
    smokedetector Posts: 368, Reputation: 56
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    #11

    Jul 15, 2008, 08:16 AM
    I have one thing to say to the both of you, and it is something I came across while researching marriage for my PSYC class. The quote goes something like this: "You are going to have good times and bad times whether or not you are with someone. You have to decide if you are having bad times BECAUSE of the other person before you should consider leaving."

    It's not like once you two are single things will miraculously get better, like what happens when people get out of abusive relationships. In those situations, the other person was directly causing the problems. It seems to me that she needs to find herself, rather than lose you. She was in love with you once, right? It's not so far fetched to get there again, if you both work on it. You two obviously care deeply for each other, and I didn't read anything about cheating or abuse, so what you have here is an honest to God healthy relationship (minus the communication part, but that can be fixed at a personal level, not relationship level). It's the people in the relationship that are in question here, not the relationship itself. Work on fixing yourselves, for yourselves, and for each other. I wish you both the best of luck.
    confusedbyitall's Avatar
    confusedbyitall Posts: 48, Reputation: -2
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    #12

    Jul 15, 2008, 09:21 AM
    Smokedetector and N0help4u,

    Thanks to you two, also, for taking the time to comment. Smoke, that sums it up very well. We talked yesterday. It was tough for her, but she made that effort in this difficult time. We're going to, maybe, if she wants to, go away for a few days to a week to a retreat type setting with help. I can help a lot in this, too, helping her to feel comfortable communication, even if it's non-verbal. Doing that, then spending some alone, recooperative time, I would think, would do wonders for us. She's considering it, which is normal for the way she communicates (very introverted).

    Thanks again for the very thoughtful response.
    confusedbyitall's Avatar
    confusedbyitall Posts: 48, Reputation: -2
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    #13

    Jul 15, 2008, 09:41 AM
    Talaniman,

    Earlier on, say 4 to 5 years into our marriage, it became apparent that she didn't have anything for herself. She was staying at home with the kids, and that was important to us, but still, she had no outlet, no real friends where we were. We moved close to her dad and step mom. She knew a few people there, too, whom she saw sometimes. She still had no real time she took for herself. She had no hobbies. I encouraged her to try something, do something she wants, maybe with me, maybe on her own given she does like some down time away from people which is also typical of introverted communicators.

    Now, where we are, we do go out sometimes as a family with another family or two, and as a couple with them, too. She sees a girlfriend (one of a few) here and there to get out a little. She goes to the gym which she likes rather than say setting up a treadmill at home or something. She is remarkably a lot more active now, relatively, for herself, which I find to be great.

    To your questions:

    What is her education background?
    Master's in Speech Language Pathology (nearly perfect grades)

    Are there siblings (She has a step brother she didn't grow up with, otherwise she's an only child)
    You just moved are there friends? (We moved two years ago. We know a handful of couples I'd say we like well enough and see sometimes to say casually at least that they are friends. My definition of friend, a true friend, is pretty much lifelong or with that potential... We are friendly, though, and enjoy some peoples' company for sure, yes. And her best friend from gradeschool lives just down the street, too. Her dad and step mom just moved into town about 2 months ago.)
    Does she work? (No, and hasn't for years, but is now in school to be an esthetician and enjoys that. She wants to work after graduation in that field and after she has confidence in her skills open her own studio.)
    Does she have hobbies? (Scrapbooking rarely. Going to the gym a few times a week. Nothing else at all and I don't recall her ever saying she was ever really into x, y, or z, bowling, playing Rummy, going hiking, anything.)
    What does she do when not being mom? (Now she studies, goes to the gym, and sometimes sees a friend for lunch or something. Prior to going back to school she spent a little more time with me, too. We'd make time to get out for a couple of hours without the kids maybe a couple of times a month.)
    Why did you move? (I started my own business and was geographically flexible. We both wanted to be somewhere we thought we'd like rather than just think is OK, and wanted to be somewhere scenic and be in a good environment for raising the kids. We talked over the course of a year about places we might want to move to. That process, too, was hard for her to think about, but she'd sometimes have input and want to discuss it, so we did it at a pace that was comfortable relatively for her.)
    Whose idea was it? (We were on the east coast. Neither of us is from there, and we didn't want to stay there. She said one day, regarding starting my own business, something like, "well, you aren't getting any younger!" like as in, let's do it. She was the one who suggested moving here. She says she really likes it here. We both do.)

    I think her going back to school and being active in this field, outside of the house, is going to be great for her as concerns feeling more fulfilled. As I mentioned, earlier on she didn't have anything at all for herself. I encouraged her to, but there was nothing. For me even it became boring because I never had something new to hear from her or to ask her about or maybe to join in with her on. That is better now, somewhat, and seems to be going in the right direction. I've been thrilled when she's talked about doing a couple of things as a job/hobby. I liked seeing that it was in her, you know? When she told me she was really thinking about going to school for this, I was so extremely happy because she'd have something for herself that she can be proud of and also to occupy herself with in a way that she'd interact with people, clients, maybe repeat clients, outside of the house. I'm still happy for her in that way even though right now it's tough to get really excited given what we're going through.
    N0help4u's Avatar
    N0help4u Posts: 19,823, Reputation: 2035
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    #14

    Jul 15, 2008, 10:09 AM
    Yeah she needs to fulfill her own sense of being and not look to you for that.

    One thing I often tell people that want to leave their spouse is what do you see happening that isn't happening now with your spouse? Why can't you make it happen while married.

    IF they are wanting to 'meet someone new' I ask them how would you feel if all you meet were relationships that do not live up to what you had or what you are anticipating and then your spouse doesn't want you back? How would you feel? Where would you be then?
    JudyKayTee's Avatar
    JudyKayTee Posts: 46,503, Reputation: 4600
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    #15

    Jul 15, 2008, 10:34 AM
    [Comments on this post
    confusedbyitall agrees: I listen but there's nothing to hear a lot of the time. Her assumptions and previous observations form the answer for her before it is formed as a question or statement for me to hear.]



    Well, maybe that's part of the problem. It isn't all about great sex and telling her how beautiful she is, what a great mother she is. Maybe it's about seeing when she's sad or depressed and asking questions. Maybe it's not about offering suggestions about how she can improve herself and make herself happier.

    Maybe it's looking at yourself a little bit, too.

    As you post and I read along the relationship is less perfect that originally stated. I find the "assumptions and observations" comment telling. You seem to be directing on how to feel, what to do.

    There is nothing compared to the loneliness you feel when you are lonely but with another person. I think she's lonely - just my very unprofessional opinion.
    confusedbyitall's Avatar
    confusedbyitall Posts: 48, Reputation: -2
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    #16

    Jul 15, 2008, 10:34 AM
    She had said she isn't getting out of the relationship what she thinks she should, but couldn't say anything she thought she should get. That was before yesterday when we talked for quite a while about communication. It seems that is the issue really. I even asked whether she is bored, as in, does she just crave having someone new for that thrill and wants to justify it by leaving me, as in, cheating would be "wrong" but leaving and then doing it is OK. She said that isn't it at all. She also said she knows I think she's one of the best people I've ever met, and the best woman I've ever met, that I think she's great looking, a great mom, and she does think I'm very nice to her. I think it really comes down to the internalizing of things including assumptions about things that just aren't there that have eaten her up inside. Also, yes, she needs something for herself she can point to and say is hers. She doesn't have that yet.
    N0help4u's Avatar
    N0help4u Posts: 19,823, Reputation: 2035
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    #17

    Jul 15, 2008, 10:39 AM
    Women can tend to feel like that when the kids are grown and capable of taking care of themselves then mom feels less needed and then starts internalizing and realizes 'WHAT does she HAVE?'. So it would be good for her to take some classes and hobbies and find fun things to do with you.
    JudyKayTee's Avatar
    JudyKayTee Posts: 46,503, Reputation: 4600
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    #18

    Jul 15, 2008, 10:52 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by confusedbyitall
    She had said she isn't getting out of the relationship what she thinks she should, but couldn't say anything she thought she should get. That was before yesterday when we talked for quite a while about communication. It seems that is the issue really. I even asked whether she is bored, as in, does she just crave having someone new for that thrill and wants to justify it by leaving me, as in, cheating would be "wrong" but leaving and then doing it is ok. She said that isn't it at all. She also said she knows I think she's one of the best people I've ever met, and the best woman I've ever met, that I think she's great looking, a great mom, and she does think I'm very nice to her. I think it really comes down to the internalizing of things including assumptions about things that just aren't there that have eaten her up inside. Also, yes, she needs something for herself she can point to and say is hers. She doesn't have that yet.

    What assumptions about what things? I'm lost here.
    N0help4u's Avatar
    N0help4u Posts: 19,823, Reputation: 2035
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    #19

    Jul 15, 2008, 10:57 AM
    I am guessing things like how she feels he is in a mood when he isn't
    confusedbyitall's Avatar
    confusedbyitall Posts: 48, Reputation: -2
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    #20

    Jul 15, 2008, 11:01 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by JudyKayTee
    [Comments on this post
    confusedbyitall agrees: I listen but there's nothing to hear a lot of the time. Her assumptions and previous observations form the answer for her before it is formed as a question or statement for me to hear.]



    Well, maybe that's part of the problem. It isn't all about great sex and telling her how beautiful she is, what a great mother she is. Maybe it's about seeing when she's sad or depressed and asking questions. Maybe it's not about offering suggestions about how she can improve herself and make herself happier.

    Maybe it's looking at yourself a little bit, too.

    As you post and I read along the relationship is less perfect that originally stated. I find the "assumptions and observations" comment telling. You seem to be directing on how to feel, what to do.

    There is nothing compared to the loneliness you feel when you are lonely but with another person. I think she's lonely - just my very unprofessional opinion.

    I can see how it might come across that way in writing here on the computer without a fuller picture. I by no means direct or tell her what to think or anything like that. What I was referring to is in the communication cycle, people, as Taliman (sorry I got the name wrong I think hinted at) is people receive an intended message based on their own personal history and understandings, observations, etc. If you grew up having people tell you that the label hung on the color black is green, and then I asked whether you saw the green grass, you would say no even if you did see it. That is a very simplified example. I know this is something we'd need to understand about each other, as did her dad who works in this field. Nevertheless, it isn't as if this has been an ongoing overt, discussed problem. It wasn't discussed at all because there was never feedback that it was a problem... Does that make sense?

    She has seen me in a grumpy mood, and has seen me get upset or angry. She wants to avoid conflict. Conflict to her, as an extreme introvert in communication, is anything that is more than a pleasant and insignificant difference of opinions. It causes her to stop saying what she wants. It also is a cause for her to assume (and this is by her own admission, but she says she knows I'd be mad or not like it or whatever it is) that if she were to say something it would lead to conflict and she dislikes that so severely that she doesn't say anything and is left with a very bad feeling about it. She avoids saying most things, because she "knows" this would get me mad and upset. She never found out because she didn't talk. The alternate history played out in her mind is what has become her reality about all of those times she's sure I'd be "mad". I don't get very upset, or mad, don't fume about things. If she'd inquire, I'd honestly tell her when I am or am not upset, but the question, and therefore feedback to her, isn't there for her to see in fact I'm totally fine.

    This discussion of how to improve her communication definitely does include what I can do to help her. It does seem like I'm dwelling on this issue, but it is the issue. Her dad, an expert in the area of communication styles as I mentioned earlier, and her step mom, both find all of this to be true. It is in fact the cause of her negative feelings. They say they have had this experience with her also, and with my father in law's sister who is also very similar in her communication style.

    I do ask about her when she seems down! I think your thoughts there, given that wasn't mentioned previously, are very important and that was a great observation on your part. I ask, she has a hard time saying anything is wrong about anything, no matter what the cause of her being down might be. This also is something her dad and step mom have observed. Our interactions aren't me telling her she needs to do this or that, or she needs to think this or that, by far not. She does need to speak up so she can be heard and so I can understand what she wants more. She doesn't, and she says she doesn't, because she assumes it would lead to conflict.

    It's not all about how she is broken and needs to be fixed. It is, though, the case that she is an extreme introvert in communication. She does assume a lot about things she never inquires about and takes away the negative mostly because she's afraid to possibly be exposed to a possible debate or difference of opinions. These are all things she has said herself.

    Thanks for your thoughtful input, but I describe it, as did her step mom last night, that you can spend so much effort and time just trying to get her to open up at all about anything. About some things she is at ease. If it involves a decision where there may be a difference of opinions or a disagreement (not argument, not hateful talk, none of that), she doesn't engage in conversation. I've encouraged her, let her know it's OK to tell me what she's thinking, don't worry, I honestly won't be upset...

    In communicating better, I need to know how I can best help her feel at ease in letting me know things, letting me know what is important, letting me know if it seems to her I'm tense or "grumpy" or whatever it is, which can happen. I'm human. I want to do that for her and us.

    I didn't say the relationship is perfect. But I will say, it is without major blow outs, major disagreements, and so on. It is full of respect for each other. She hasn't been mean or talked hatefully to me, and vice versa. It is without bickering, petty revenge over little things...

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