Tuesday, December 12, 2006

sixdegrees Gives Third Degree to 2am About Blogging at 4:31 a.m. (and Other Pressing Matters)

sixdegrees posted a comment with some interesting items:

First of all, I did notice the time that you submitted your post: 4:31 AM!!! Do you wake up early in the morning, and can't get back to sleep because of the overwhelming notion that your life is going in the wrong direction - or are you the stay up late at night kind?

I think this may be an issue of time zone display. Lately, I have been trying to come in to work an hour or two earlier than my usual time because I've got a bit heavier to-do list going on. I figure by working a some extra hours in the morning, I can avoid an all-nighter crunch next month.

I started that posting at 7:31 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, and that's what shows up when I view my blog posting's timestamp. I suspect that Blogger might adjust timestamps on postings depending on the reader's time zone setting. Check the time zone settings for both your computer and your Blogger account.

As for the stay-up-late versus get-up-early issue, I have been all over the roadmap. When I was still telecommuting (up through Nov. 2005), I was a night owl. Switching over to an office job thereafter, I started to keep less exotic hours. That changed as troubles within my marriage began to come to a boil. During the mid-to-late summer, I was staying up well past midnight a lot of times. Once I started coming to my senses and focused more on changing my own life, I moved back to a normal schedule. I'm in bed most nights sometime between 11 p.m. and midnight.

Whatever it is you are doing, keep it up. I can see your self-awareness growing by leaps and bounds. In some of your earlier postings, I felt there was a strong vein of self-centeredness. Necessary, but over-reaching. Now the pendulum is swinging back to a more balanced viewpoint.

I agree with what you're saying. I would go one step further and say that I was engaged in too much self-pity as well. Once that awareness set in, the thinking behind this blog took a major shift.

In your second to last paragraph, you talk about the dissolution of your marriage. Don't be too quick to prejudge the outcome. Yes, you absolutely must talk to your wife about the degree of your unhappiness - making it your own, not hers. But be prepared to listen to her - I'll venture a guess that she is also deeply unhappy - maybe not about sexuality but about some other aspect(s) of your relationship. Not that you are responsible for her unhappiness. Maybe she will decide that she truly wants to stay married with you and will work on serious change. From the picture you've painted, I don't think that she has been serious about personal changes and growth - but this may still happen.

Another good point.

Since August 2005, I have made four concerted attempts to talk with her about my unhappiness. Admittedly, the first two of these were awkward because I was expecting her to validate those feelings. She not only invalidated them, but she also said that I was just depressed and needed to go on medication.

As I began to wise up and own up to my own issues, I made efforts to let her make herself known in a safe environment. During our marriage counseling, she touched on this a little, saying she didn't think I was sufficiently empathetic. In another instance, she said that she didn't think I spent enough time with her and suggested that we do the grocery shopping together instead of me staying home with the kids.

A couple weeks ago, I gave her a big chance to voice her issues with me. One of the recommendations from Schnarch (Chapter 12) is to "look at both sides" of a two-choice dilemma by examining what your spouse says about you that you vehemently dispute and then finding ways to see that it might be true. He said that the spouse will most likely be all too ready to help in this area. I read the paragraph that describes this to my wife and asked her to come up with a list for me to work on. It's been two weeks, and nothing has come forth.

In the other direction, taking becka's advice from a couple weeks ago, I started a private blog that is addressed to her.

The goal of the blog is self-validated intimacy. I'm revealing my own innermost thoughts and feelings, especially those which I have been reluctant to do in the past out of fear that she would not agree with them or retaliate.

She signed up for an account and she has access to it, but I don't know whether she's read any of the posts I've put up there so far. I told her that commenting is not required, but it appreciated. I'm not going to badger her to read the blog because it's more about me disclosing than it is about her reading, understanding, and responding. I can't force her to know me; I can only give her chances to know me.

I have to keep dissolution on the table because sometimes that's the only thing that will force an entrenched spouse to go into his or her own crucible. Schnarch says that sometimes one has to go so far as to "test the waters of divorce" to bring the unwilling, yet fused, spouse to his or her senses.

What will make YOU happy?

Once again, you and my therapist must be trading notes. As part of the session on Monday, I read her the contents of the differentiated thoughts post. She recommended that I start taking a look at what would make me happy and what I really want from my life.

Might I suggest that you read "Flow" by Czentimihaly (I probably misspelled his name, he is at the University of Chicago). He has spent a lot of time trying to figure out what exactly is "happiness". Rather than focusing on your unhappiness, find the things that make you happy and make the time to pursue them.

Book recommendations are always welcome! I found the description page for a couple books by Csikszentmihalyi at Amazon:

and both books are available at the local public library, so I've put in hold requests for them.

Again - keep up the good work. I've been meaning to take a closer look at the Schnarch book - hope to find some time over the semester break to lose my self at Barnes and Nobles.

Thanks, and thanks for the feedback. Be forewarned, Schnarch is a dense read. Set aside plenty of time for it.
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