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Old 01-08-2014, 09:31 PM
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Default Advice: communication

Need to vent a little and get some advice on how to cope, I think.

As many of you are aware, I'm currently in a long distance relationship. My husband is enlisted and is currently away for training. He's been gone for 4.5 months, will likely be gone for another 2-3 months, but that could easily turn into 8-9 months if after training he is stationed with a battalion that is currently deployed. We'll know more the end of February, but that is besides the point. The first two months he was gone SUCKED. I'm pretty sure I went through a form of depression. Now him being gone is pretty normal. Still doesn't feel right, mind you, but it's normal. So that isn't really the issue I'm having. My problem is the communication.

Michael has never been one that relies on verbal communication. He expresses a lot of his feelings and thoughts with non-verbal cues. When he was here, this wasn't an issue, because I was getting feedback from him. Now that he is gone...I'm relying purely on his verbal communications skills to keep in touch with me, and I am finding those a bit lacking, to say the least. To make matters worse, he thinks texting should be limited to brief messages and he views talking on the phone to accomplish something, not really just for idle chit chat. (He also hates email, due to being dyslexic.)

Then there is me. I don't want to say that I'm needy...but I kind of am. Maybe not so much needy, but I'm insecure with myself. I tend to shut down and am just this boiling writhing mass of angst on the inside when I perceive anything negative towards me or what I'm responsible for. So, when I don't hear from Michael for stretches of time, my brain starts getting all worried and anxious and I can't turn it off. Which then makes me upset with myself, which then gets me more upset...vicious cycle. Ultimately, I don't pull myself out of it until I hear from him, even if it is just a short, plain text.
I didn't feel this way when he was at RTC and our only form of communication was letters, because he wrote me consistently. I knew on Wednesday morning when I'd get the mail there would be a letter from him. And even though that was only once a week, and I was getting news that was a week past, it was consistent and I knew he cared because, well, he was writing letters.

I've briefly discussed with him these issues when it really started getting to me, and he made an effort to communicate more and tell me when he was about ready to have a crazy schedule so I knew not to expect any communication. And that was alright. One morning he sent me a text that said, "Going to be a crazy week, may not hear much from me." And I didn't hear from him for three? days. No issues on my part.

So, what brings on this post, you ask? Boiling cauldron of angst over here because I haven't heard from him since Monday morning. Felt kind of put out because I hadn't heard from him (even after some rather drunk texting I sent him last night LOL), then I got mad at myself for feeling put out...the cycle continues.

My mind says this: He doesn't need to have hours of conversation with me, but it does make me feel a little hurt that I'm not worth the trouble of sending a one sentence text to right before bed, or first thing in the morning. Heck, I'd be happy with an emoticon. Just something to let me know that I haven't completely dropped off the face of his earth. Basically, the equivalent to the kiss on a cheek in the morning on his way out the door to go to work.

While my logic says: He's busy. He loves you. He will be in touch when he can. He isn't viewing the situation the same as you are.

I guess what I'd like is advice...ways that I can stop feeling so danged upset when I don't hear from him? I know he loves me. I know he is busy. I know he has insanely long days and at times is only getting 2-4 hours of sleep before starting again. But that isn't helping me feel any better, and I am really finding it quite ridiculous that I get so worked up about not hearing from him.

Someone be my therapist!
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Old 01-08-2014, 09:58 PM
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My communication advice: Communicate with him.

He's a boy. He's stationed somewhere where there is lots to do, distractions abound and he is likely exhausted at the end of every day. He's a boy. You've already discussed that he doesn't like text communication due to dyslexia and otherwise dislikes idle chit chat.

Oh, and he's a boy.

You said you've only briefly discussed these issues and only when it really got to you? Tell him more often, and more firmly. Explain that you don't mean to sound like you're nagging, but that it's very important to you on your side of the conversation to have that touch-base a little more often, even if it's a four-word sentence.

Sometimes he'll do it. And sometimes he likely won't. He's a boy. But keep the lines of communication OPEN. Don't wait for the feelings to boil up and spout out a steam cloud of anxiety and worry and make you feel the way you do now. Tell him, and tell him regularly. In a long-distance relationship, communicating your feelings directly as you have them is crucial.

And believe me, I'm really not trying to be preachy here. The advice I'm giving here is a current struggle for myself with my BF as well, who travels frequently for work (much shorter spans of time, but still). It's a hard balance and I've never been the best at communication, but you have to be as upfront as you can manage.

I'm not the most comforting advisor at times. I prefer to give the advice one needs to hear. <3 Good luck!

ETA: Sorry, I just re-read and remembered you mentioning the weekly letters. Perhaps communicate your issues with him first, then arrange to have a weekly "check-up" where you both either sit at an IM window or on the phone and update each other on your weeks? That way, all other correspondence is bonus, but you have that consistent thing to look forward to each week. Food for thought.
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Old 01-08-2014, 10:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllieMackie View Post
My communication advice: Communicate with him.

He's a boy. He's stationed somewhere where there is lots to do, distractions abound and he is likely exhausted at the end of every day. He's a boy. You've already discussed that he doesn't like text communication due to dyslexia and otherwise dislikes idle chit chat.

Oh, and he's a boy.

You said you've only briefly discussed these issues and only when it really got to you? Tell him more often, and more firmly. Explain that you don't mean to sound like you're nagging, but that it's very important to you on your side of the conversation to have that touch-base a little more often, even if it's a four-word sentence.

Sometimes he'll do it. And sometimes he likely won't. He's a boy. But keep the lines of communication OPEN. Don't wait for the feelings to boil up and spout out a steam cloud of anxiety and worry and make you feel the way you do now. Tell him, and tell him regularly. In a long-distance relationship, communicating your feelings directly as you have them is crucial.

And believe me, I'm really not trying to be preachy here. The advice I'm giving here is a current struggle for myself with my BF as well, who travels frequently for work (much shorter spans of time, but still). It's a hard balance and I've never been the best at communication, but you have to be as upfront as you can manage.

I'm not the most comforting advisor at times. I prefer to give the advice one needs to hear. <3 Good luck!

ETA: Sorry, I just re-read and remembered you mentioning the weekly letters. Perhaps communicate your issues with him first, then arrange to have a weekly "check-up" where you both either sit at an IM window or on the phone and update each other on your weeks? That way, all other correspondence is bonus, but you have that consistent thing to look forward to each week. Food for thought.
Just hearing you say it made me feel better. That is pretty much where my own mind was headed...but I needed it confirmed. And that I wasn't being overbearing or unfounded in my emotions for *wanting* more communication.

And that is a brilliant idea about "scheduling" talk time. We tend to do that anyway on Sundays as that is both of our free time (we play a lot of Civ5 while skyping lol), but it would help me feel better if it was more or less set in stone: aka, if we won't be talking that day due to scheduling, reschedule for another time.
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Old 01-08-2014, 10:07 PM
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Well, he's probably not going to call/text/etc as much as you would like him to. And you're probably not going to not need him to call/text/etc as much as he would like you to.

But somewhere in the middle is compromise. If he can make the effort to do it a little more often and try to understand that when he sends a little "good night, " text before he goes to bed what you REALLY see is "I love you!"... and you can make the effort to remind yourself that this particular thing isn't how he's used to saying "I love you!" and isn't a reflection of his feelings (or lack thereof) then you can meet there in the middle.

As someone who easily gets really caught up in the things that are keeping me busy, one thing I'd suggest is to try to set specific times for him to call or text you as much as is possible within his schedule.
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Old 01-08-2014, 10:45 PM
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Maybe write a journal\diary\blog? When I start stressing I also tend to over think. When SO and I were long distance, there were many emails I never sent. Just writing my feelings out helped. Maybe it's silly but just an idea.

I agree with the others. Boys aren't the best at communicating. Subtlety is wasted them
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Old 01-08-2014, 11:04 PM
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I actually don't think it's fair to say that men aren't good at communicating. But many men communicate feelings of love and caring differently than many women do, practically like a different language.

If you can really internalize how YOUR husband tends to communicate "I love you" to you, and that just because he's not good at "saying" it the same way you do, it will go a long way towards assuaging your angst.

For example, even in this day and age, my husband (along with a lot of men) still "says" I love you by doing things like... chopping the ice dams out of the gutters, lol. It's hard to see stuff like that as a gesture of love sometimes when you're craving something a bit more tangibly affectionate, but for the most part that's how he sincerely means it. After all, I can't imagine he'd spend a whole Saturday doing crap like that if he didn't care about our life here together.
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Old 01-08-2014, 11:18 PM
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As someone who is 'like a guy' in this regard, I would definitely vote for scheduling times to talk! I am a really 'out of sight, out of mind' person even when it comes to people I really care about and love. It has nothing to do with my feelings for them, it's just...how my brain works. I am trying to work on it because obviously it does bother people sometimes, as seen here, and justifiably so. But if there is a structure to my communication with someone, I will keep at it.
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Old 01-09-2014, 05:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sassafras View Post
I actually don't think it's fair to say that men aren't good at communicating. But many men communicate feelings of love and caring differently than many women do, practically like a different language.

If you can really internalize how YOUR husband tends to communicate "I love you" to you, and that just because he's not good at "saying" it the same way you do, it will go a long way towards assuaging your angst.

For example, even in this day and age, my husband (along with a lot of men) still "says" I love you by doing things like... chopping the ice dams out of the gutters, lol. It's hard to see stuff like that as a gesture of love sometimes when you're craving something a bit more tangibly affectionate, but for the most part that's how he sincerely means it. After all, I can't imagine he'd spend a whole Saturday doing crap like that if he didn't care about our life here together.
Definitely agree

Men communicate differently than women and to be honest it drives me freaking bananas lol. If I've learned anything over the years it's that if you are feeling some type of way don't be afraid to SPEAK UP and let your man know how you feel, just don't do it when your angry or upset or feeling needy do it when your in a good state of mind.

The thing that struck me about your post and I might be reading it completely wrong so forgive me if I am, but you called him your husband and then said your in a long distance relationship. Now to me your husband being away for months at a time is completely different than a "long distance relationship". Long distance relationships usually comprise of two people that are together but have their own separate lives, but in your case you and your hubs have a life together. Maybe that's why the communication thing your going through is happening he loves you, youre his wife and he believes that, that is enough.

Women are needy creatures when it comes to communication and when we don't get the convo that we need we often feel like something is wrong or we did something wrong and 99% of the time that is completely untrue. So just talk to him tell him how you feel and I forgot who said it but definitely scheduling a time to talk during the week is a fabulous idea
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Old 01-09-2014, 06:40 AM
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I agree with what has been said!

Men and women often think differently.

For example, I whine about something and my boyfriend has to offer a solution. I don't want a solution, I wanted an emotional rant and release. But he's always about the logic. I'm the thinker, he's the doer.

I've learnt that in MY relationship I have to remember he can't mind read and if I need him to understand how I feel I have to tell him what I need him to do or what I want from him. Remember there's thinkers and there's doers lol. And you know what... He usually DOES what I ask

Sounds like you're the thinker like me, and he is the doer, offering practical solutions. If it was me, I'd try explaining what I was thinking and what he could try to do to help.

And what your feeling is completely normal, you're not crazy or needy, and even then there is NOTHING wrong with needing to feel wanted, missed and loved. Nothing.
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Old 01-09-2014, 06:58 AM
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If there's one thing I've learned in all the years I've been married, it's that you've got to be specific. If you mention something, nine times out of ten he'll come back with, "why didn't you tell me that?".

So, this: "Heck, I'd be happy with an emoticon. Just something to let me know that I haven't completely dropped off the face of his earth. Basically, the equivalent to the kiss on a cheek in the morning on his way out the door to go to work." It's a start.
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