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Tried disengaging

Pickles45's picture

If disengaging is going into our bedroom, closing the door and watching tv in bed by myself for most of the night then I disengaged from my SO and his daughter last night. And you know? It sucked! I felt like a prisoner in my own home. I was resentful that my SO didn't seem to care that I went in there at 9 instead of staying up with him (although he did come in twice. I don't know if it was to see what I was doing or to see the dog. Probably the dog). I hated that she was up till almost 11 because yet again they cancled school for today becuase OMG it might rain this afternoon. (The south is serioulsy a joke about closing schools down for just normal weather) This meant my SO and I didnt get a chance to be alone before I had to fall asleep. 

Anyways he finally came in around midnight and didnt give me a kiss goodnight. His excuse if I had said anything would have been that I was sleeping and he didnt want to wake me up. Yeah right! I am sure he is pissed at my coldness and indifference. But what was my other choice? Sit inthe family room with them watching HGTV instead of shows I like and beign ignored since my SO was in one of his cold moods?


Lavender88's picture

That sounds awful! I live alone so it's easier for me to disengage, I just go home. But when at my OHs I would hang around in the livingroom as long as I wanted to, watching TV, reading etc. Never ignoring the kids, or him, just not being that involved. Kids hungry? Ask your Dad. Kids want something? Ask your Dad.  Kids fighting? Not my circus, not my monkeys, his problem. Kid being rude to him? If he wants to be disrespected, cool. Kid being rude to me? "I will not be spoken to in that manner" then off I go.  Kids there all day? Run errands, make plans with friends, go see a movie, read a book... You really don't have to shut yourself in a room and ignore them both.

futurobrillante99's picture

Okay - disengaging is FOR YOU! It's not to punish anyone or see if they notice and come asking you why you're disengaging.

You do it for your sanity. It's all in how you think about it. Instead of sitting in your room thinking how lonely you feel and how you're a prisoner, think instead of the crap you're not having to deal with.

What you're describing, if I was your partner, would look to me like you're in a snit and avoiding them. What he needs to see is a woman who is happier because she doesn't have to deal with his BS.

I know you're still working out how this works, but the key to disengaging effectively is to ENJOY no longer having to deal with the crap and watching while your spouse takes on more responsibility. And you're happy and more relaxed even if he's pouting and punishing you for taking care of yourself.

Him not kissing you goodnight? Did you seem like you were asleep? Who in the world would risk waking up their partner for a kiss goodnight? I wouldn't.

Let him miss you on the nights when she's there, and let him miss you on other nights, too, because you're doing things you like to take care of yourself. Put some joy back in your own heart.

You cannot lose if you invest in yourself. Even if your SO keeps up his antics, you'll still be happier.

Pickles45's picture

Keep in mind he wakes me up every night to kiss me goodnight and every morning beofre he leaves even if I am asleep. I never get upset with him waking me. I get upset when he doesn't and he knows this. Not kissing me was a passive agressive move and we both know it. 

I also made a point of acting like I was in a good mood so he cant accuse me of "being in a snit". If he mentions it today I am going to simply say that everytime he wants to act cold and standoffish I am going to go to another room becuase I would rather be alone then ignored.

futurobrillante99's picture

Then you're doing a great job if he sees you being happy!! Yes - not kissing you is deliberate punishment. Ignore him. That behavior is so immature.

If he associates you going to another room with him being cold, it might feed into his game giving him too much power. Don't connect it with him, just play like you have other things to do that are more interesting. I swear, if he's that passive aggressive, he enjoys the game way too much, and will likely escalate things. And when he sees you enjoying something, he will likely come around to interrupt whatever you're doing so you can't enjoy it too much.

If I was watching a show I liked on my own or in our room reading a book, it wasn't long before stbX was in the same room doing something annoying to disturb me. Playing his guitar while I'm watching a show. Talking to me while I'm trying to read, etc. Like a little kid screaming "notice me - pay attention to me." But it was about him not liking me finding joy in anything apart from him.

That's when I started making plans outside of the house with my friends and pursuing my interests.

tog redux's picture

Perfect answer.  You disengage WARMLY.  So if they are watching TV shows you don't like, you say, warmly, "I'm going to go watch X in the bedroom,", and then you go.  You come out and give SO a smooch goodnight before you go to bed and tell him you love him, or whatever the routine is.  Say goodnight to SD as well, warmly.  Then rinse and repeat - maybe instead of going in your bedroom, you go out and walk the dog.  Or go out for coffee with a friend, whatever.

Disengaging means you don't hang around trying to fix things or make them go as you like - you take care of your own needs. But you also don't go off in a huff hoping that SO will immediately change his behavior to please you.

Pickles45's picture

I did make a point of being nice to his daughter and hugged her goodnight and told her I was going to lay in bed and watch tv. I also made a point of talking to her in the morning before she left. I never take my hurt anger or frustration out on her. As fro my SO - after his comment earlier when I tried to give him a kiss (I posted another blog about that last night) I did not kiss him before going into the bedroom. 

tog redux's picture

OK - but again, don't do it in hope he will change, do it to take care of yourself.  Most men aren't happy with it and you will get some backlash (such as not waking you up to give you a kiss goodnight).  Continue on anyway.

beebeel's picture

Pickles, how long have you been with him? How long are you willing to go on like this? I'm sure he's great when she isn't there, but a true partner doesn't treat you differently based on who is in the room.

You aren't married yet and typically men are on their "best" behavior in the early years. His treatment of you is highly likely to become worse, not better, as the relationship goes forward. 

You have the benefit that this guy sucks at putting up a good front. Lots of guys can fake the funk for years until they feel confident you aren't going anywhere. The red flags might as well be flashing neon signs, but he seems quite confident you won't leave, or he doesn't care if you do because he's not about to change any of his behaviors. 

What happens if he starts getting her 50/50 ...or 24/7? You may be willing to endure his coldness once or twice a week, but what happens when it's much more often? 

Pickles45's picture

The problem is he is trying to change but he keeps sliding backwards. She was here all weekend and he was extra nice sweet fun etc. Then I walk in last night and bam right back to him being moody. I really think he is getting into his head too much and worrying so much about not upsetting me or his daughter that now hes starting to be standoffish with both of us. Its so frustrating! I talked to him and he seems to get what I am saying but then after ahile he goes back to his old habits. I also think he is unhappy with things about her so hes in a bad mood when shes here. It has to bother him that she has very few friends, the 2 she seems to have she never wants to spend time with and she has absoutley no interests. I also think that now that shes 14 hes having a harder time figuring out how to hang with her.

And we will never get married. To be honest I dont want to. And I am sure after his divorce and how she racked him over the coals he doesnt either.I also truly believe he does not want to ever have her 50/50 or god forbid 24/7. I think , like me, he is wating till shes 18 and we can have ourt own lives. Yes she will always be a part of his life but visting for dinners is not the same thing as us putting our life on hold every Wed and every other weekend. 

beebeel's picture

I hate to burst your bubble, but my SS who has one friend, turned 18 months ago, and was PAS'd out from 15-18  is now living in my basement fulltime with no launch date in sight. If everyone is waiting for some magic age of freedom, it doesn't exist.

He won't magically develop a healthy relationship with his daughter in four years. He won't spontaneously deal with his internal conflict and guilt in a span of four years. Her turning 18 won't change a single thing he does or how he feels about her.

Pickles45's picture

Well I know one thing (becuase he has said so over and over) that once shes 18 if she wants to live at home it will be at her mothers. He is at least firm with some things. This being the biggest one. He would never in a 1000 years admit this anyone (even himself) but I really feel like he would be fine with her being here even less then she is. He loves her and cares for her but yet doesnt seem to enjoy it when shes here. 

futurobrillante99's picture

I believe he is a likely candidate for being guilted into letting her live with you guys - don't be too sure you'll see less of her after 18.

Survivingstephell's picture

Disengaging doesn't click in for the ones being disengaged from right away sometimes.  They can get pissy and more moody.  

Keep making yourself happy, sounds like you forgot who you are.  Let him handle her and all the emotions that go with it.  Keep any "complaints" about how he is ignoring you focused on how it effects the relationship between the two of you.  Leave her out of it.  Don't connect it in any way.  

hereiam's picture

The problem is (after reading this and your previous post), HE disengages from YOU when his daughter is around. This is causing you to disengage, not only from his daughter, but from him, as well.

Iamwoman's picture

A lot of DH's become either openly hostile or passive aggressive when their wife (SM - aka us!) disengages from skids.

He will ramp it up in an attempt to get you to go back to the way things were.

You MUST stay strong throughout your disengagement if you are to succeed in changing your DH's ways. Some SM's are fortunate to have a DH who will listen to their wive's feelings and actively try to be a better parent immediately upon disengagement. It sounds like you have the other kind of DH. With your DH, it is a game of "who breaks first."

He will continue to be a jerk to you to show your the "error of your ways," and you need to not NOT break or give in to him. You must continute to disengage until he breaks first and begins to see the error of HIS ways.

I'm sorry your DH is being so pigheaded about parenting.

agitated's picture

I used to think the same thing. I no longer go and hide to disengage; I simply ignore my SD when we are in the same room (to an extent). I am polite and say hello, how was your day, etc., but don't engage in optional conversations between she and her dad. If he/they are watching something I am not particualarly interested in I will find something to do on my phone or go to the bedroom (like you did). If he/they try to "hog" the tv every night, I say something about it being my night to watch something. I've never had a problem with this aspect. However, it took DH a LONG time to come around to me being disengaged. He was moody all the time. It gets better with time.

notsobradybunch's picture

Interesting...I skimmed your other blogs. We have a lot in common. I am now FULLY disengaged. It took a LONG time to get here and I waivered many, many times. Once you get here its seriously like a huge weight has been lifted. I will say though...this situation will not disappear at 18. I'm there now and as she's currently at GMAs..this kid ain't going nowhere anytime soon...unfortunately. BUT with disengagement comes a huge sense of "don't give a shit" and trust me, its amazing. I wish I had gotten here a long time ago. As far as your DH, he'll figure it out. Mine did and that took awhile as well.

Certainly with SD18 running away, it definitely wasn't tough to hide the fact I was pretty much done with the entire situation and I've continued my stance with her return.

Willow2010's picture

Well of course he is this way.  I glanced back over some of your blogs and this man is afraid to say boo or you will flip on him. 

Just glancing over these, I see you have be angry at him for….

Spending too much time with his DD.  (the eight days a month he has her.)

Him not letting you parent his DD.

She sat with yall on the porch.

His DD answered his phone.

He does not pay enough attention to you during his limited time with his DD.

And on and on and on. 

Either disengage or get out.  This will not get better and the more you push him over little things, and try to compete with his DD, the more he is going to fight back and protect his DD, and their relationship, from you.  JMHO

Pickles45's picture

He sees her 14 days a month not 8 so basically 1/2 the time. He also sees her on other days randomly for misc reasons. Just becuase she is here with us doesnt mean our time as a couple should completely go away. 

I am an adult in OUR home and yet I cant say boo to his daughter EVER! That is just wrong! If I wash and fold her laundry I should be able to ask her to put them away. I shouldbe able to ask her to help clean up after dinner etc. It's like I am maid when she is here!

She used to NEVER leave us alone for even a second! She is finally pullig away a little bit but only becuase he and I have stopped trying to get a moment alone. Teenagers in my opinion should have a clue that adults want some time alone. She came out and sat with us when we were sitting in front of the firepit having champagne at 10pm. Sorry but I saw no need for her to be there (but like most times I vented about it on here but said nothing to him).

She should never be answering his phone! I NEVER touch his phone and he doesn't touch mine, A 14 year old should also know these bounderies. MY God we have sent each other racy texts and pics (not of each other just stuff you can attach to a text). Imagine if she saw those.

I am not expecting too much in this relationship. He is the one that can't seem to balance me and her. And that is what has been the issue since we moved in together. When I had my own apt I gave them lots of time alone and I never minded. I do however mind very much being ignored in my own home!

Oh and my anger 90%- 95% of the time is on here! I blog on here so he and his daughter dont see my hurt and anger. Last night if we had been video taped no outsider would have even known there was an issue last night. So I'm sorry but you HO is CRAP!


Step-girlfriend's picture

Totally agree with all this ^^^ Pickles. And, birth parents are able to put these boundaries into effect, but you as an SM are not. It's frustrating!

Just curious, how long have you been living together, and how long together total?


Pickles45's picture

Weve been together 3 1/2 years. Living together 1 1/2 years. I know my SO sounds like a complete douche on here and some things he is doing are douchey but hes trying and I'm trying, but it just seems like we work out one issue and another one pops up. He can be very sweet and I can be dramatic. Things that make me go to bed upset and then I try to talk to him about them the next day he's like "Really? You're that upset? It was really no big deal". My real issue lately is the hot and cold. Everyone does have different mooods differentt days but he just swings to each extreme so the highs (when he's sweet and romantic) are very high and the lows are very low. Hes moody quiet, unaffectionate etc and thats what drives me to blog on here. 

I just wish he would chill the F*** out when his daughter is here! 

Step-girlfriend's picture

I totally get the moods! I'm dealing with it right now with my SO. He seems to be upset with me and is being quiet and standoffish. I'm assuming it's because of one of these things, or both:

I busted SD9 not wiping after she peed, again. So I told her she would be going to bed 1/2 an hour early that night because of it. My SO refuses to punish her, and nagging her repeatedly isn't working, so I took matters into my own hands. He sleeps for work, so it's me with the kids, so you can bet your ass I'm not just going to sit there and leave everything go. SD9 took it like a champ- she was like, oh ok, I'll probably be tired anyway cause of volleyball. Is it just tonight, or...? I said yes, although if she continued to do it next week, it will be those nights too. She did deny not wiping, and said she didn't even go to the bathroom that night. She did, at 10:30, I heard her clear as day when I was going to bed and also knew she didn't flush, then no toilet paper. Well she must have been mostly asleep and didn't remember even going. Still. When she told my SO about it that night, all of a sudden she was "upset" about it, and again denied going. So he probably believes her and thinks I'm being "hard" on her. To his benefit, he has not said as much, since that was something he was working on- letting me have a say. She ended up only going to bed 15 mins early, and was pouty about it and didn't tell me she loves me like usual. 

The night before that, I totally busted SS12 on his phone watching youtube at 10:50pm. We shut his wifi off at 10pm, so wtf? I asked SS what he was doing and he said "Oh my wifi hasn't been turning off at 10". So yes, SS, that means stay up as late as you want watching youtube! GRRRR... I Told my SO, he said SS probably has his data turned on. Which he knows he's not supposed to do. SO said he would look at his phone. So the next night (almost 24hrs later), SO goes to say goodnight to SS and finally brings it up. He casually says "I heard you were up pretty late last night, and your data must be on. Were you watching youtube on data? Just make sure you turn it off when you're here, that's why we went over our data last month". Then said goodnight to him and went up to bed. Really??? He blatantly breaks 2 rules, staying up way past bedtime AND using data, which made us go over our data tier (we went over like 3 tiers, it really adds up), and he doesn't even get yelled at?? I am 100% sure that SS will use data again now that he knows it allows him to use internet and stay up later, especially since there was no consequences. Mind you, a while back, we went over our data plan because my wifi at work wasn't working, and my phone was using data. SO was sooo mad! He yelled at me like a child, and then brought it up at least 5 times after, annoyed each time. If I had a time machine, perhaps I could undo it, but I don't SO, so STFU! (I basically said as much). SS KNOWINGLY uses data to watch youtube, making us go over, and he doesn't get yelled at?? I was LIVID. The next day I sent SO a polite message explaining that I felt 2 rule violations were worth a punishment, and my fear is that if he knows there are no consequences, it will only get worse when he is a teen, and I am the one home to deal with it all. I also pointed out how mad he got at me for going over our data, yet SS gets nothing.

To be fair, I only see my SO for 30 mins tops each day (yesterday it was about 3 minutes), but he had a clear attitude. No kisses, just mumbled responses to anything I said. We both have the wknd off, and I really do not want to spend it fighting. But FFS, is he really THAT upset about what I said??? Or for making SD go to bed 15 mins early? F'ng ridiculous. The only other thing I can think that it may be, is I saw he had multiple messages from Crazy on the Family Wizard app, and I saw him typing a message on there. God knows what that's about, but it probably is her bitching about SD's medicine being almost out (not our fault), or SD told her she was made to unfairly go to bed early. It's possible he was in a bad mood because of crap Crazy was saying.

Either way, I have been looking forward to this wknd for a while now. We don't specific plans, but we haven't had a night together in 3 weeks. SO has been working every night, or we've had skids. I just want to hang out and have fun, and if he ruins this by being mad about this stuff, I'm going to be REALLY upset.

Pickles45's picture

I get it! My SO was still moody last night. Better but still not his fun loving self. We have the wekeend off together and have big plans (the ballet tonight) so yeah if he ruins this weekend I am going to explode. I tried asking what was up his butt Wed night but he loves to avoid things and wouldnt talk about it. I let some of these nights go by without any drama but when it happens agian I know I will go off. Its complete BS that he thinks he can be sweet some days and cold others. He even admitted that I never do that to him!

Step-girlfriend's picture

Seriously, same exact situation! My SO is hot and cold. He gets mad about stuff and stays upset for a whole day. It's ridiculous. I have been upset with him for things where he legitimately f'd up...I've calmly told him why I was upset or had hurt feelings, he apologizes or whatever, and 20 mins later we're fine. I don't hold these grudges. When he does, it sometimes ruins multiple nights a week, which is ridiculous. Life is too short to be upset about tiny things and then just not talk to the other person. I've considered keeping track of his moods, to show him how much time he wastes being upset. I also thought about texting him and saying that I just cannot do it today- he needs to get over what is bothering him before I get home from work, because I'm wound so tight I literally feel like I can't handle fighting with him. Today is not the day.

Disillusioned's picture

This is something I'm familar with too 

With my YSD especially, DH often put me on the back-burner when she was visiting EOW 

He even changed his tone to somewhat disinterested when speaking with me, compared to the gushy heart-melting tone reserved for her

It was so strange because the moment she was gone, he couldn't be nicer or sweeter to me

It did bother me and at first I hesitated to address it with DH because I felt like I would appear to be jealous of his daughter (and maybe I was to an extent, certainly I was resentful of the double-standard in how each was treated, and add to that, that at the time she was pretty cold and disrespectufl to me on occasion as well)

Eventually the best solution was to communicate how I felt to DH. Just calmly explained to him that EOW I felt sort of hurt that he treated me differently than normal/when SD wasn't around, and certainly that he treated me with a lot less affection and warmness in comparison to his daughter. That is wasn't a competition between us, that I did care for SD and went to a lot of work to give them space and faciliate a great visit for her, but it did feel like I didn't matter much and to some extent felt a little humilatiing when they insisted on having their 'alone time' when I happened to be right in the room with them all the time

Made it clear to DH that if he continued to struggle with being loving and affectionate to me regardless of whether she was around or not, and chose to act like I was invisible and encourage her to do the same, then I would be 

I then followed that up with going out with friends often on her weekends, or going to see my family, going to the spa

I actually quite enjoyed getting away from all the stress of that uncomfortable situation

And right when I had sorted of accepted that this was the way it was going to be, and if I wasn't nearly as important to DH as I had mistaken our relationship to be, well then it worked two ways and I would move on and go live my life too

I really was a lot less stressed, and probanly would have eventually decided this wasn't the relationship I wanted in my life but DH started to smarten up

I've realized all these years later that he really did and does love me a whole lot, he simply struggled with guilty divorced daddy syndrome and had to be disney dad for fear SD wouldn't come over any more, as well as his geniune efforts to be close to her and his overwhelming pride in who she was/is

All of that confusion on my end eventually faded away, I know DH loves SD dearly and I'm so happy for that. I know he loves me dearly too, and I no longer compare our relationships. If I did I might even discover that I'm "front and center" in his mind as DH once told me but it doesn't matter, work on the relationship that you and your DH have, don't worry about his realionship with SD. 

Maybe give DH the 'space' he seems to want when your SD is around, and once your DH sees you're only too happy to do that he may try harder and if not, you may just discover it's okay that you're enjoying your time away from the stress either way!

Pickles45's picture

Thankyou so mcuh for this reply!!! You and step-girlfriend made me feel so much better!!! xoxox