This is not so much a question, but I wanted to lay out my situation, as well as how my reaction has changed since coming here.
I'd love feedback, but this could also just be read as a simple FR.
Context: MRP since November, bf 16%, 167lbs, 5'10" or so. Fitter than I've ever been but need to add more muscle. Wife is a SAHM and we have two boys, 1 and 2.5. As /u/man_in_the_world has pointed out, I am in a pretty classic "Constantly Complaining Passenger" situation. I've been called a "100% Pushover Prince" and that's probably accurate.
My wife is mostly likely struggling with some kind of mild depression. We're coming off of a 1.5 year long dry spell sexually - we've had sex three times in the past two months, all of which came after blow-out, emotional fights resulting from me enforcing some (minor) boundaries.
[My most recent OYS.] (https://www.reddit.com/r/marriedredpill/comments/5wmvbo/own_your_shit_weekly_february_28_2017/debkvkc/)
A few days ago I got home from work and just immediately sensed the mood was bad. Kids were running around and overtired/wild, wife was super stressed, yelling at the dog, yelling at the kids, storming around, the whole nine.
This is a pretty common occurrence (maybe 1/3 of the time?), but was particularly bad this time around. So, I swooped in and starting taking over - interrupted my wife yelling at my son, helped the kids eat, got them cleaned up, moved them upstairs for an early bed time.
Our oldest was completely overtired and acting wild, hyperactive, unable to listen. I was just ignoring this behavior, since he can't really control himself in this state, and just getting him into PJs. My wife yelled at him again for doing something stupid, at which point I said "I got this. Take (our other son) into our room and I'll handle the big one."
She stalked out of the bedroom, turned around, said "Good night" in a cold voice, and closed the door.
This really, really bothered me. I saw a reaction on the kid's face as well, although it didn't last long. But I saw the pattern: kid can't behave, withdraw affection. Emotional manipulation, same thing she does with me when we disagree. It pissed me off.
Before putting our son down I brought him into the other room and asked him to give his Mom a hug and kiss. He was bashful, but they had their moment and I was able to put him down, then put our youngest down.
Came downstairs, wife was making cake for our upcoming youngest son's party. She was chatty with me, talking about the party and her day and so on.
I stopped the flow of conversation and said: "Hey, so let's talk about today."
I told her I didn't think she did this on purpose, but that seeing her leave the room in that way brought up memories of my own childhood. I told her that it's completely understandable to be stressed and pissed at the kids, and that lord knows, I get pissed at them too. But that I felt that withdrawing affection from them in that way is damaging, and so let's make a rule that whenever the kids go to sleep, we bury the hatchet with them in our heads and make sure to kiss and hug them first.
I was very polite and kind, as I always am. But this drove her nuts. She immediately came back with "I guess I fuck EVERYTHING up" and "I'm a TERRIBLE mother." I said "You know I don't think that's true," and then just let her go a bit longer with that kind of comment. She then shut down entirely.
She was getting ready to run to the store anyway, but on her way out she acted like she was going to punch the countertop and didn't. She then said, "I can't even stand to be in the same room as you," to which I replied "OK..." as she stormed out.
It's crazy - one year ago I would've been all torn up about this, anxious, fretting over her and her feelings. Instead, I just made a sandwich and watched TV, enjoying the house to myself. I wanted to turn in early and read, so I did that. I was upstairs when she got home.
We've barely spoken for two days, all the while I've just been doing my thing. This morning, while at the gym, I get the texts:
Her: You really hurt me the way you talked to me the other night. Me: I hear you. let's talk about it tonight after the kids are in bed.
...And that's it. I definitely would've fallen deep into the text trap before, but now I just see all this as emotional manipulation.
- Of COURSE I should call her out on shit she does with the kids, just as I hope she would with me.
- Of COURSE I have a right to criticize her, just as she does with me.
- Of COURSE she needs to own her mistakes and try to do better, just like I do.
This all just feels like an attempt to turn this into something about her hurt feelings, rather than what it's ACTUALLY about - me setting a firm boundary and not allowing emotional manipulation of our kids.
Anyway, that's where we're at.
My plan for tonight is to:
- bring it up at the appropriate time
- let her talk
- not say much, but firmly restate the boundary
- not apologize, because i did nothing wrong
- if she goes off the rails, tell her it's time for us to go into marriage and family counseling.
But honestly...the change in MY mood, my emotions...it's kind of mind blowing. I never understood how easily I was being manipulated, how her emotions - which I can't control - were dictating my own mood, happiness, actions.
I don't know if my approach tonight will be the "right" one. I'd love to have it go well, because I like my wife. But I'm realizing that if things go south, I'll be fine. I'm comfortable in my own worth, my actions, my standards.