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To many of the people on this thread, let me tell you what I told a confidant a few weeks ago:  

 

Fifty/Sixty year-old women are scary.  

 

Sometimes, even to themselves.  

 

:0)

 

LOL

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Wow...what you have said sounds a lot like my life. I married just after turning 20 and have spent the last 22 years trying to measure up and always failing. Which I have failed in everything that I have set out to do since but I’m not sure if that is completely me or if some of it is the fear sabotaging me. I’m 42 and just now learning what is my responsibility and how I want to accomplish it. If that makes sense.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

 

Have you failed?  or have you just been setting impossible standards?

 

I highly recommend Brene Brown.  She has incredible wisdom that comes from years of research.  I am currently reading Daring Greatly.  Gifts of Imperfection is highly acclaimed.  All of her books are considered life changing.  

Edited by Attolia
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To many of the people on this thread, let me tell you what I told a confidant a few weeks ago:  

 

Fifty/Sixty year-old women are scary.  

 

Sometimes, even to themselves.  

 

:0)

 

 

:lol:  :001_wub:

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I remember Oprah getting ready to turn 50 and how excited she was. I was totally confused at the time. Fifty was OLD. How come she didn't look old, and was happy? I just stared at stared at the TV screen totally confused.

 

Now I get it. I think I am having a more exciting year than she did.

 

Expect 50 to be awesome.

 

My therapist isn't 50. Im not sure how old she is, but she is younger. After being privy to this year with me, I'll bet she doesn't approach 50 with limiting ideas of what is possible. The poor woman could use some prayers. Not all of this has been easy on her. LOL.

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Exactly. He fell in love with a vivacious, confident woman. Something similar happened to me because I listened to some bad teaching and thought once married I was supposed to lose all identity and interests. I became boring. He never said anything, I am not sure he realized the dynamics at play but I finally heard the right kind of advice and began to cultivate my own interests again. And dh was very supportive - even happy about it.

 

I was wondering that the "I am not enough" feeling that you described comes directly from something he said or indicated or if this feeling stems from your own perception? Sometimes we feel we are not enough yet our spouses have no clue and never felt this way.

 

 

 

I meant to respond to this but I don't think I did.  I think it is a mix.  Think that I was struggling to feel enough and I possibly deflected some of those feelings onto him, but he also said some things that made me think/feel that I just wasn't enough.  He also voiced a lot opinion early in our marriage about what a good wife should be and I was always striving to meet that mark but failing.  

Edited by Attolia
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I remember reading that women grow more confident and contented each decade of life and I didn't buy it. But it's true. Feeling powerful is very contenting

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I meant to respond to this but I don't think I did.  I think it is a mix.  Think that I was struggling to feel enough and I possibly deflected some of those feelings onto him, but he also said some things that made me think/feel that I just wasn't enough.  He also voiced a lot opinion early in our marriage about what a good wife should be and I was always striving to meet that mark but failing.  

 

My boyfriend clearly stated expectations that were theoretically impossible in the same person. He got mad when I would point that out. I was supposed to miraculously find a way to transform myself into the impossible and not trouble him with the details. He is now my ex. Bye bye! His loss, not mine. I'm having loads more fun with the younger casual guy. 

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My boyfriend clearly stated expectations that were theoretically impossible in the same person. 

 

 

Wait, wait, wait .... I have examples  :lol:   

 

I probably shouldn't share them though, right?  ugh.  For real, I love my DH but this has been a problem.  He is getting better.  

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Shoot, no less than 40 of my extra pounds are from DH getting angry if I am not hungry when he is.  Of course he would rather I was thin.  But dang, if I'm not hungry when he is I'd better eat anyway.

I have started to point out to him how ridiculous this is; however, we have been married for 30 years and I should have done this a long time ago.  Maybe 38 pounds ago actually.

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Similar.  We referred to it as 'having lost my muchness'. I lost me for about 4 years and I struggled hard. It started with people telling me I had to fit in, with a healthy dose of shame in there for not. I slowly extricated myself from things that didn't make me happy, but had to take time to figure out what did.  Who was I?  Why didn't I speak for what I wanted?  It was a long process.  It's better now, but I think some of that just has to do with age.  At 40, I don't care anymore.  I am who I am. 

 

My most important step was carving alone time for myself each week.  I take that bit of time and do something that brings me joy or that I want to do. 

 

 

I really like this phrase "having lost my muchness".  It is unique and I like it.

 

 

 

Your husband sounds so similar to mine. I read your posts and feel them deeply because I have thought the same things and had similar struggles.

 

I would suggest as you go through this process that you see a counselor to bounce your ideas off of and help you sort through these changes. Allow your life to speak, rather than talking to DH about it. For me I had to do this because deep down I was still seeking his validation and approval.

 

 

 

I am not really speaking to DH about it much for this reason.  I wrote a really, really long letter.  I have mentioned in passing an aha moment or two but I think it is very clear that I am not seeking his validation and I don't want to bounce ideas off of him too much and look for his response because I am afraid that I will be using him to guide this journey.  I used to cling to him, feeling like I had to work hard to keep him.  I had to bend over backwards to keep him in my life.  I am not that person anymore.  I mean this.  I love him but I've decided to be me and if he doesn't like that person and he decides to leave then I am at peace with that.  I will be ok.

Edited by Attolia
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Shoot, no less than 40 of my extra pounds are from DH getting angry if I am not hungry when he is.  Of course he would rather I was thin.  But dang, if I'm not hungry when he is I'd better eat anyway.

I have started to point out to him how ridiculous this is; however, we have been married for 30 years and I should have done this a long time ago.  Maybe 38 pounds ago actually.

 

I have a friend whose husband does this!  He can't stand to eat alone. You're not going to eat?  Really?

 

Good gosh, if DH did that I'd be gigantic!  He has a crazy metabolism and is hungry all.the.time.

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I remember reading that women grow more confident and contented each decade of life and I didn't buy it. But it's true. Feeling powerful is very contenting

My mom told me that the best thing that ever happened to her was turning 50.  :0)

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So, since this feels like a therapy session I will just lay something out here.  

 

Sometimes you are so emotionally wrapped up in something, or someone, or you are so lost that you don't see reality.  Getting my head clear and above the situation has helped me see clearer.  I had been in several relationships before DH.  All of those relationships I ended, my choice.  DH had never had a single girlfriend before me.  He was 7 years older than me and I was the first girl he had dated.  He really liked a few girls but they never returned the feelings.  You can feel so lost that you forget who you are...I was spunky, confident, and outgoing.  He pursued me like crazy and I turned him down the first 10 times he asked me out.  He literally followed me places and I avoided him.  How do you go from that to feeling unattracted and like you don't belong?  How?  There are times in my relationship with him when he was speaking of not feeling attracted to me in that way, he was not wanting tea, and guys were constantly trying to pick me up at the gym.  At some point you wake up and say "this isn't about me at all".

 

ETA - do y'all remember the long post about the grocery manager.  What did we name him, Quill?  Touchy Joe or something like this?  Bless.   :lol:

Edited by Attolia
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Yes, I agree. Some of us learn our enabling, fitting in behavior early. WE do it on our own, not because our partners make us. 

 

I'm so grateful for the book Boundaries, and for a good therapist, who helped me start thinking about ME, as my own person, before I met my now DH. My second marriage is so different because of it. 

I want to speak to this:  this subsuming of oneself into another person's identity/life is not necessarily the result of poor treatment by another.  It can be completely willing, especially when one marries young and has not fully formed an identity.  And it is easily invisible to the other person; how is s/he supposed to know this is going on, when half the time the person her/himself is not aware of the fact.  

 

That her dh is encouraging her process of self-discovery speaks volumes about respect and love.  

 

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So, since this feels like a therapy session I will just lay something out here.

 

Sometimes you are so emotionally wrapped up in something, or someone, or you are so lost that you don't see reality. Getting my head clear and above the situation has helped me see clearer. I had been in several relationships before DH. All of those relationships I ended, my choice. DH had never had a single girlfriend before me. He was 7 years old than me and I was the first girl he had dated. He really liked a few girls but they never returned the feelings. You can feel so lost that you forget who you are...I was spunky, confident, and outgoing. He pursued me like crazy and I turned him down the first 10 times he asked me out. He literally followed me places and I avoided him. How do you go from that to feeling unattracted and like you don't belong? How? There are times in my relationship with him when he was speaking of not feeling attracted to me in that way, he was not wanting tea, and guys were constantly trying to pick me up at the gym. At some point you wake up and say "this isn't about me at all".

 

ETA - do y'all remember the long post about the grocery manager. What did we name him, Quill? Touchy Joe or something like this? Bless. :lol:

I don't know, but I'll take a stab at it. At first you do it to make him feel secure and loved. HE pursued YOU after all, right? But over time his confidence grows and you get into the habit of stuffing yourself down to make him feel better. He hasn't learned from his family of origin to be an equal partner, so he models what he has learned from birth and puts you down to make himself feel better. One day you look up and think, "How on earth did I get here?"

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Remember- it is the you that you used to be that your husband fell in love with. (This is a realization that helped me. )

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

:iagree: with this so much! This was my big Aha! moment at the start of “transformation journey†back to being Me. The new version of the old me, with my own needs, desires, likes, and dislikes.

 

My other Aha! moment was that I needed to lead by example for my own children. How could I tell them to be themselves no matter what, when I wasn’t doing it!

Edited by fraidycat
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Shoot, no less than 40 of my extra pounds are from DH getting angry if I am not hungry when he is.  Of course he would rather I was thin.  But dang, if I'm not hungry when he is I'd better eat anyway.

I have started to point out to him how ridiculous this is; however, we have been married for 30 years and I should have done this a long time ago.  Maybe 38 pounds ago actually.

 

Demanding shared meal times gives a person a LOT of control over other people. Also what and when the food is to be cooked. I am incredibly sensitive to this tool of abuse, now, and unable to tolerate much in this area. I have some shocking one-liners that I will use, that cannot be repeated on a public forum. But I am crude. I no longer put things in my mouth I don't want there. Period.

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So, since this feels like a therapy session I will just lay something out here.  

 

Sometimes you are so emotionally wrapped up in something, or someone, or you are so lost that you don't see reality.  Getting my head clear and above the situation has helped me see clearer.  I had been in several relationships before DH.  All of those relationships I ended, my choice.  DH had never had a single girlfriend before me.  He was 7 years older than me and I was the first girl he had dated.  He really liked a few girls but they never returned the feelings.  You can feel so lost that you forget who you are...I was spunky, confident, and outgoing.  He pursued me like crazy and I turned him down the first 10 times he asked me out.  He literally followed me places and I avoided him.  How do you go from that to feeling unattracted and like you don't belong?  How?  There are times in my relationship with him when he was speaking of not feeling attracted to me in that way, he was not wanting tea, and guys were constantly trying to pick me up at the gym.  At some point you wake up and say "this isn't about me at all".

 

ETA - do y'all remember the long post about the grocery manager.  What did we name him, Quill?  Touchy Joe or something like this?  Bless.   :lol:

 

Yes to the bolded.  Yes!  I'm in that boat right now.

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Here I am worried about turning 40 and y'all are making me feel better about 50 already  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  :hurray:

 

Turning 40 was NOT fun. I was in a homeless shelter.

 

I vowed that day that 50 would be different. The actually birthday was certainly better, but...still...I didn't get fully on track till the day I landed in the emergency room a couple months later, and things took off exponentially from there. That is when I lost my fear. That is when I started living in the moment. Every day had to be special and lived like it might be my last. Lived to its fullest. Every drop milked from it, start to finish.

 

Turning 40 is when you choose what 50 will be like. Forty is prep time, not the end. Forty is when you start PLANNING your do-over if you dare. Fifty is your do-over time. Most of us truly DO have the power to create the 50's we want. What do you WANT?!!! A life is a terrible thing to waste.

 

Do you know how baby elephants are trained?

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-steven-carr-reuben-phd/what-baby-elephants-can-teach-us-about-human-freedom_b_2452099.html

 

 So inevitably I think about the famous story of how they train baby elephants in the circus. They take them when they are still small and tie a strong rope around their necks and attach the rope to a secure pole. The baby elephants naturally try to walk away and are stopped by the rope. They pull and push and twist and turn and eventually figure out that they just aren’t strong enough to break free of their shackles, so they stop resisting and just stay where they are.

 

The elephant becomes so accustomed to being held back by the rope, that merely the rope itself keeps the animal in check. If only they knew how powerful they really are. If only they realized that by the time they have grown up, even a rope “secured†to a pole can no longer contain them. Then they would know what true freedom is. But they don’t.

 

Pull on that dang rope and reevaluate its strength! Make sure you have not been tricked into thinking you are more bound than you are.

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Shoot, no less than 40 of my extra pounds are from DH getting angry if I am not hungry when he is. Of course he would rather I was thin. But dang, if I'm not hungry when he is I'd better eat anyway.

I have started to point out to him how ridiculous this is; however, we have been married for 30 years and I should have done this a long time ago. Maybe 38 pounds ago actually.

Yeah, don’t do this anymore. Let him be mad. In fact, go ahead and say that. “Well, you can just be mad, then, honey.â€

 

I have started saying, “Neither of us benefits from eating so much at this point in our lives,†and, “You know as we age, we must train ourselves to eat less.†I do mostly mean *him*, but it’s better phrased as a join effort, and he usually agrees.

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So, since this feels like a therapy session I will just lay something out here.

 

Sometimes you are so emotionally wrapped up in something, or someone, or you are so lost that you don't see reality. Getting my head clear and above the situation has helped me see clearer. I had been in several relationships before DH. All of those relationships I ended, my choice. DH had never had a single girlfriend before me. He was 7 years older than me and I was the first girl he had dated. He really liked a few girls but they never returned the feelings. You can feel so lost that you forget who you are...I was spunky, confident, and outgoing. He pursued me like crazy and I turned him down the first 10 times he asked me out. He literally followed me places and I avoided him. How do you go from that to feeling unattracted and like you don't belong? How? There are times in my relationship with him when he was speaking of not feeling attracted to me in that way, he was not wanting tea, and guys were constantly trying to pick me up at the gym. At some point you wake up and say "this isn't about me at all".

 

ETA - do y'all remember the long post about the grocery manager. What did we name him, Quill? Touchy Joe or something like this? Bless. :lol:

Hunky Joe. Yes, I remember well.

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Turning 40 was NOT fun. I was in a homeless shelter.

 

I vowed that day that 50 would be different. The actually birthday was certainly better, but...still...I didn't get fully on track till the day I landed in the emergency room a couple months later, and things took off exponentially from there. That is when I lost my fear. That is when I started living in the moment. Every day had to be special and lived like it might be my last. Lived to its fullest. Every drop milked from it, start to finish.

 

Turning 40 is when you choose what 50 will be like. Forty is prep time, not the end. Forty is when you start PLANNING your do-over if you dare. Fifty is your do-over time. Most of us truly DO have the power to create the 50's we want. What do you WANT?!!! A life is a terrible thing to waste.

 

Do you know how baby elephants are trained?

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-steven-carr-reuben-phd/what-baby-elephants-can-teach-us-about-human-freedom_b_2452099.html

 

 

So inevitably I think about the famous story of how they train baby elephants in the circus. They take them when they are still small and tie a strong rope around their necks and attach the rope to a secure pole. The baby elephants naturally try to walk away and are stopped by the rope. They pull and push and twist and turn and eventually figure out that they just aren’t strong enough to break free of their shackles, so they stop resisting and just stay where they are.

 

The elephant becomes so accustomed to being held back by the rope, that merely the rope itself keeps the animal in check. If only they knew how powerful they really are. If only they realized that by the time they have grown up, even a rope “secured†to a pole can no longer contain them. Then they would know what true freedom is. But they don’t.

Pull on that dang rope and reevaluate its strength! Make sure you have not been tricked into thinking you are more bound than you are.

Yes, I have always really liked that story. I first heard it in my early twenties and it was what allowed me to reevaluate a lot of my upbringing. That, and Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

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Yeah, don’t do this anymore. Let him be mad. In fact, go ahead and say that. “Well, you can just be mad, then, honey.â€

 

I have started saying, “Neither of us benefits from eating so much at this point in our lives,†and, “You know as we age, we must train ourselves to eat less.†I do mostly mean *him*, but it’s better phrased as a join effort, and he usually agrees.

 

Not to mention, he knows where the kitchen is and probably has some ability to follow a recipe and cook his own food if he doesn't like what you make :)

 

There are times I find myself falling into old patterns of putting him before me in an unhealthy way...but not often now. I learned my lesson well. I will remind myself that DH knows where the grocery store is, and how to make a sandwich. This applies to other areas as well, up to and including telling him that he knows how babies are made and can choose to use birth control if HE wants to. He has personal agency. What's funny is he of course knows this, and would be the very first to tell me so, it's not him making me sometimes work too hard to please him, it's my own codependent nature cropping up. 

 

It is NOT good for our marriage for me to crush my own needs to serve his. Because that leads to resentment, and resentment kills marriages/friendships/relationships. Better to stand up for myself and my needs and let him figure out a way to deal (and he does) than have that undercurrent of anger/resentment ruin everything. 

 

Jesus tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves..not MORE than ourselves. We sin when we don't love ourselves too. 

 

A line of a song this conversation reminds me of, "Yeah, it's another kind of trouble trying to hang on to who you are/when all you want to do is lose yourself in someone else's arms."

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Yeah, don’t do this anymore. Let him be mad. In fact, go ahead and say that. “Well, you can just be mad, then, honey.â€

 

I have started saying, “Neither of us benefits from eating so much at this point in our lives,†and, “You know as we age, we must train ourselves to eat less.†I do mostly mean *him*, but it’s better phrased as a join effort, and he usually agrees.

 

See, he had a reasonable response. My ex would want us all to have meals together, he believed in the family dinner. But he lacked the ability to be flexible and realize that not doing in once in a while was okay. He would have taken it as an affront to my belief in family togetherness and ignored the fact something else took priority that day, like exhaustion or school or whatever. 

 

Our last week together we had issues over meals. I still prefer to not eat as a family now, much less we're seldom eating at the same time, but it reminds me of him too much. 

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Jesus tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves..not MORE than ourselves. We sin when we don't love ourselves too. 

 

 

If you believe all forms of neglect are wrong, then you must include self-neglect, and maybe especially self-neglect.

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Our last week together we had issues over meals. I still prefer to not eat as a family now, much less we're seldom eating at the same time, but it reminds me of him too much. 

 

Some stuff takes a very long time to get over. Some we never get over. We don't have to get over some things. Some things we can accommodate. Turning 50 gives you more permission for eccentricity that isn't expected to be explained. People just claim you are menopausal and dismiss some of the stuff you do. It is meant as a diss, but USE it to your advantage. 

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I really like this phrase "having lost my muchness".  It is unique and I like it.

 

 

 

I wish I could take credit.  It's from Alice In Wonderland.  In the Tim Burton movie, when she goes back the characters are sad that she is not the Alice they once knew, and wonder if she is that Alice at all.  I didn't have words to put to how I felt before I saw that.  You cannot lose you, you're still there.  And yet..... I wasn't.

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Some stuff takes a very long time to get over. Some we never get over. We don't have to get over some things. Some things we can accommodate. Turning 50 gives you more permission for eccentricity that isn't expected to be explained. People just claim you are menopausal and dismiss some of the stuff you do. It is meant as a diss, but USE it to your advantage. 

 

My group of friends are weird anyway, so we embrace our eccentricity. None of them are near my age either, all much younger.  :lol: I turned 50 this year

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I have been in this process for the past year or a little better. Re-learning who I am, and what I like. Mine wasn’t so much losing myself to DH, but to his job demands (active-duty military) and also giving myself completely to my kids for so long. Meeting the needs of everyone else for so long left little time for me to be me that I forgot who I was.

 

I think motherhood, at least for myself and my friends, has a particular tendency to contribute to loss of confidence. There are so many ways we can question and second-guess our actions every day.

 

I have no huge insightful advice for you. I just wanted you to know you’re not alone. :grouphug: I’m on this journey with you.

 

I had that with dudeling.   my fourth was 12 1/2 when he was born.  I had been so looking forward to reaching out and having the time to explore who I was - then I was starting over with a special needs kid who was more demanding than the previous four.

just being himself - as a small child - could make me feel like a failure. 

 

dh was always supportive in his comments, if not as much with his time.  (he was starting a business.)  but the comments of outsiders . . . people who had no clue of special needs, and would blame me for being a bad parent.  gee thanks, as if I'm not struggling to figure out how to parent him enough already.  I also ended up firing my Ped, whom I'd taken my kids to since my oldest was a newborn.  Though I recall the day a couple younger women at church, recent college graduates in SLP and PT, came running up to me asking if he was on the spectrum.   they'd had ASD kids in their training programs - and were excited to identify one their professor didn't ID first.

 

Again, it is just complex.  He is not a horrible person by any means.  Physical attractiveness isn't the entire picture.  I know that when I said in other posts that DH struggles with attraction to me physically, it may seem that he is just a harsh person.  It is so much more complex than that.  And the things he said, he said in terrible times.  I have had a difficult time letting those things go and not letting them define me nor him. I couldn't unhear those things, no.  It caused deep struggles in me.  He is also from a family of men who value women for physical beauty that is unattainable.  My BIL is a bit older than DH and he was his role model.  BIL would talk about what he wanted in a wife "thin, sundress, pleasant, natural beauty, etc" and he would say that he didn't like women who were super fake/made up.  But, his head turned, the comments went flying, and he drooled over women who were super made-up, long painted nails, very fake created look.  You see, men like that don't even know what they want.  BIL and FIL talk negatively about women.  They are objects to them.  FIL talks to MIL like she is valueless.  BIL is fifty and never married and never had a girlfriend.  BIL exposed my DH to porn at a young age.  The whole situation is just bad.  DH doesn't want anything to do with any of it, but he still battles and struggles with the values that were placed in him as a young boy.  

 

ETA:  DH has nothing to do with any of them anymore.  Separating himself from them has been very freeing for him.

 

that's my brother (down to the not knowing what he wants.  I wish he'd seek out a counselor, he's really very unhappy within himself).  I told his first wife she missed her opportunity to demand a maid and a nanny to free up the time required to maintain that, despite the fact he claimed he wanted someone interested in being a mother (because ours was so lacking.)

 

when I was a teenager, and wore a size 7, he told me I needed to be skinnier.  he based it entirely by the scale.  so, counting my ribs is still too fat? sadly, he hasn't learned anything in the intervening decades.

I've a friend who went to work as a personal trainer after she divorced her first husband.  she gained 18lbs - and lost a dress size. (she's always been thin. she built a lot of muscle.)  so - it's not the scale. I'd rather have muscle. (higher metabolism too.)

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Our last week together we had issues over meals. I still prefer to not eat as a family now, much less we're seldom eating at the same time, but it reminds me of him too much. 

 

sometimes it's facing it and replacing with better memories.

 

My mother had a (very very slimy) married lover she'd bring home most nights.  this led to many late/middle of the night hand-up calls from his wife. (which could go on for hours)  It was very difficult for me as a teen.  she was in that relationship for many years - even after I married and moved away.

 

my dh's last name - is a variation of his.  dh's bffs - both have the same first name. and before dh and I started dating - he bought a lot very close to mother's slimy lover's house. that's where we live now.  there are many things about this house I hate (I can dream about being able to buy my dream home, but it will remain a dream as somethings are more important) - but from a much wider practical standpoint, it has an excellent location.  (that gets better as the years go by.)

 I almost never even think of him anymore.

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I've been reading the replies and have mixed emotions.

I am happy there are others who have similar thoughts and experiences and that erases some of my aloneness. It's easy to believe one's experiences are unique, especially with topics we don't or can't discuss with others IRL.

I am grateful for the OP and other posters for being so open about their experiences. I wish we could all meet for coffee somewhere and discuss this as a small group.

I am sad that so many others have similar thoughts and experiences. It's just another example of how little we know people and what occurs in their private lives.

I am encouraged this dialogue is taking place, even if only here on this forum. 

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that's my brother (down to the not knowing what he wants.  I wish he'd seek out a counselor, he's really very unhappy within himself).  I told his first wife she missed her opportunity to demand a maid and a nanny to free up the time required to maintain that, despite the fact he claimed he wanted someone interested in being a mother (because ours was so lacking.)

 

when I was a teenager, and wore a size 7, he told me I needed to be skinnier.  he based it entirely by the scale.  so, counting my ribs is still too fat? sadly, he hasn't learned anything in the intervening decades.

I've a friend who went to work as a personal trainer after she divorced her first husband.  she gained 18lbs - and lost a dress size. (she's always been thin. she built a lot of muscle.)  so - it's not the scale. I'd rather have muscle. (higher metabolism too.)

 

 

The demands on women are ridiculous.  Thin but not too thin, but still curvy in the right places.  Fit but not too fit, too much muscle is bad. You must be made up but not look made up.  It needs to look like you woke up that way, but we all know you didn't.  Two of the women I have met in my life who I deemed to have the "perfect" figure, I eventually found out had plastic surgery.  You see, to be that thin they didn't have bust or butt.  They had to live almost anorexically and then have some butt and bust added surgically.   :mellow:

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I've been reading the replies and have mixed emotions.

I am happy there are others who have similar thoughts and experiences and that erases some of my aloneness. It's easy to believe one's experiences are unique, especially with topics we don't or can't discuss with others IRL.

I am grateful for the OP and other posters for being so open about their experiences. I wish we could all meet for coffee somewhere and discuss this as a small group.

I am sad that so many others have similar thoughts and experiences. It's just another example of how little we know people and what occurs in their private lives.

I am encouraged this dialogue is taking place, even if only here on this forum. 

 

 

I actually thought I was close to alone so I know exactly what you mean  :grouphug:

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I can relate to this, on a much smaller scale. My husband has been in the national guard for years, and we have had a few 1-2 year deployments, plus several other times when he does training for a month or two out of state. When he is gone, I am independent - I make all the decisions, I make sure everything gets done, etc. When he comes home, I have to make room for him - and sometimes I find myself feeling way too dependent. There are things that I don't like to do, and I turn it over to him to avoid doing it. I don't like that about myself (but it is so convenient!). Then when we disagree about something small like where to go for dinner or what furniture to buy, I am often the one to give in because I value keeping the peace - but then I get resentful that I give in more than he does. If we're invited somewhere, I will leave it up to him rather than just say I really want to go. I dunno, maybe this is all normal partnership stuff. But there are times I feel like I compromise an unfair amount - and it's not because he is pushy, but because I don't like criticism so I just give in so I can't be criticized for my bad idea. I have been better about calling him out when I feel like he is being unnecessarily critical. I think that is part of confidence coming with age.

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I like the "belonging" analogy because it acknowledges that when we get married that we now belong to each other.  I think the key there is "each other" though - not the wife belonging to the man.  I should still be me and have my own likes and dislikes and the freedom to express them, but I'm not an island.  I choose to do certain things for my husband and he loves it when I do.  He chooses to do certain things for me and I love that too.  I think the resentment etc. comes in when it is no longer a choice but an expectation and a chore.   (Just musing with my typing fingers here). 

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I like the "belonging" analogy because it acknowledges that when we get married that we now belong to each other.  I think the key there is "each other" though - not the wife belonging to the man.  I should still be me and have my own likes and dislikes and the freedom to express them, but I'm not an island.  I choose to do certain things for my husband and he loves it when I do.  He chooses to do certain things for me and I love that too.  I think the resentment etc. comes in when it is no longer a choice but an expectation and a chore.   (Just musing with my typing fingers here). 

 

I really don't have sharing and equality down yet, like at all. I need clear boundaries. This is mine. That is yours.

 

I found that even entering monogamy was too difficult for me. Someone ELSE had the right to declare my body untouchable by anyone else. I no longer had the choice to do what felt best for me in the moment. I no longer had the right to seek support, even verbal support, from someone else if my primary person was unavailable or worse being a total butthead. I felt isolated and disempowered and owned.

 

My body is mine. It belongs to no one. I have total say. And I refuse to even say where it has been. Am I taking this too far? Not after what I have been through. Not considering some of my current challenges. Nope. My body is MINE.

 

I'm a mess, I know. But the people who have actually called me a slut to my face are having a lot less fun than I am, soooo... I'm not worrying too much about it. 

 

When things start off as less than ideal, they don't get ideal by us just being a "good girl". The road to becoming human is messy, because humans are messy. I want to feel what it is like to be messy. I want to feel and experience all kinds of things I haven't gotten the chance to yet. I've had a lot of firsts this year. The best ones I cannot talk about here. LOL. I want more if this. It is addictive. I want to FEEL. 

Edited by Hunter
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I really don't have sharing and equality down yet, like at all. I need clear boundaries. This is mine. That is yours.

 

I found that even entering monogamy was too difficult for me. Someone ELSE had the right to declare my body untouchable by anyone else. I no longer had the choice to do what felt best for me in the moment. I no longer had the right to seek support, even verbal support, from someone else if my primary person was unavailable or worse being a total butthead. I felt isolated and disempowered and owned.

 

My body is mine. It belongs to no one. I have total say. And I refuse to even say where it has been. Am I taking this too far? Not after what I have been through. Not considering some of my current challenges. Nope. My body is MINE.

 

I'm a mess, I know. But the people who have actually called me a slut to my face are having a lot less fun than I am, soooo... I'm not worrying too much about it. 

 

When things start off as less than ideal, they don't get ideal by us just being a "good girl". The road to becoming human is messy, because humans are messy. I want to feel what it is like to be messy. I want to feel and experience all kinds of things I haven't gotten the chance to yet. I've had a lot of firsts this year. The best ones I cannot talk about here. LOL. I want more if this. It is addictive. I want to FEEL. 

 

 

 

I see in many of your posts in this thread someone who has endured so much pain that you just can't feel or react like a "normal" person right now.  I think it is a natural result of what you have been through.  I think, in time, you will find balance and peace and more normalcy to your life.   I am sorry for all that you have been through.  Your pain is real.  

Edited by Attolia
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Here I am worried about turning 40 and y'all are making me feel better about 50 already  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  :hurray:

 

My mother gave me a card that says "The FUN starts at 40!" I keep it in my bathroom, right in view, to make sure I don't forget. :)

 

SaveSave

Edited by OhElizabeth
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My mother gave me a card that says "The FUN starts at 40!" I keep it in my bathroom, right in view, to make sure I don't forget. :)

 

 

 

 

 

I used to lift heavy and spent at least 1.5 hours per day in the gym before I began working part time.  It was very empowering.  

I miss it.  Now, I have too much on my plate for that sort of time commitment :(

 

It isn't that I care so much about how he thinks I look, but he is the one I am supposed to be intimate with right?  How can you comfortably be intimate with someone who has said that you aren't really his type physically (whatever that is)?  And he so rarely wants tea anyway, and then he suddenly does and I am supposed to feel comfortable with it?  I won't lie and say it isn't difficult to get over that mentally and emotionally.  I want our marriage to work and I want to be available for him intimately if he wants but I feel like I am sacrificing a little of myself sometimes to do that?  

 

ETA and don't even get me started on how all of the articles that say to fix this problem (that we have with his desire for tea) is for me to initiate.  No, I just can't.  Even though I am dying inside from a lack of tea, I just can't initiate it.

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To many of the people on this thread, let me tell you what I told a confidant a few weeks ago:

 

Fifty/Sixty year-old women are scary.

 

Sometimes, even to themselves.

 

:0)

I'm 59, so my 60's will be easier? (I hope?)
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I love my DH very, very much.  He is a remarkable person. He cares for us very much, he is a hard worker, but I have been in this lengthy, painful process of untangling my worth and my person from him while still wanting to be his wife and friend.  It is hard. I got married super young.  I lost myself.  I understand that marriage takes compromise and you need to lose yourself a little but I made a conscious decision to put everything about me fully aside in order to be whatever he wanted me to be.  It was a tragic, unhealthy, and horrible mistake.  And coming from a super perfectionistic family, I have never been enough for him .... never thin enough, never pretty enough, never wife enough, never mother enough, never housekeeper enough, never supportive enough, etc.  

 

It especially hit me when I was reading an article... 

 

"Where belonging encourages authenticity, space, and freedom, fitting in implies having to conceal or constrain the expression of who you really are or how you truly feel about and see the world. Referencing this wisdom from a 12 year old, Brené Brown sums up the difference between belonging and fitting: â€œIf I get to be me, I belong. If I have to be like you, it’s fitting in.â€

 

I have spent 20 years fitting into my marriage.  I lost all authenticity.  Which is like a vicious cycle, right?  I was super confident when I met DH, I was very sure of myself, and then I spent years and years of marriage very under-confident and very unsure.  Mainly because of the rejection I felt from his family and at times from him. 

 

The last few months has been a freeing process for me.  I have been very open with DH about the process I am going through and he is encouraging of it.  It is like I can suddenly get my head above it all to sort it all out.  I can see things as they are, rather than just feeling emotionally handicapped, depressed, and guilty for failing to meet a standard.  

 

​Everything I want right now is in light of what I want, not what I want to be or do for him.  Before this to even consider "what do I want?" would come with a feeling of guilt and shame because it wasn't supposed to be about me.  Now I see the sanity and safety in loving others but keeping yourself in mind as well.  It isn't selfish, it is healthy.

 

 

 â€œEvery woman that finally figured out her worth, has picked up her suitcases of pride and boarded a flight to freedom, which landed in the valley of change.â€

― S. Alder

 
 
 
 
ETA  These are just my rambling thoughts.  I wonder if someone else has gone through this or is currently battling through something similar?  I had no real reason to post this, except that this process is a huge part of my life that I haven't discussed with anyone IRL except DH.

 

 

Strangely enough, I am taking a class on this very thing - it's a Philosophy class.

 

I wonder if it is less an untangling as it is that, for the first time, you are examining deeper than simply just "going along" and asking - where is the meaning in my life and what/where do I want to choose to expend my time/energy/creativity.  Is that about right?  It's less untangling than just becoming?

 

I love that you say he is encouraging this.

 

I would suggest the next step is not a doing but an exploration.  Play in hobbies, take a class, read some books, have some conversations.  Because you are developing a thoughtful, intentional life now for you and your family.  Honestly, by getting to be passionate about your life, you DO bless those around you including your husband.  I'd suggest a big deep breath and some time exploring.

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If you have a Y, maybe you could take your 3rd grader for swim lessons or basketball or something and work out while he's in class? That's how I started, by merging caring for my ds and myself. 

Edited by OhElizabeth
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Is it okay if I respond to a deleted part about new peer set and new voices?

 

New context changes a lot. Not just the stuff that is in your face different, but it makes you realize EVERYTHING might be different in another context.

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Sorry to be quoting a deleted part, but it was so good. The 82 year old that said all men are jerks.

 

I just don't expect humans to be what I used to expect them to be. I don't even need to call them jerks. I get hurt the most when I am playing by the rules and they are not. If I stop playing by the rules, too, then their power over me diminishes. They are not always a jerk anymore or bad, because they are not hurting me, because I am taking care of myself. I'm strong enough to let it roll off, like water off a duck's back.

 

Last summer I stood in the rain one night and watched some ducks swimming unfazed by the rain storm. This was right in the middle of crisis and I had powered on and gone to a free event in the park that ended early from the rain. Every summer I walk in the rain at least once so didn't run like others and just decided to FEEL it. And I stood watching the ducks knowing they were not even feeling it.

 

I'm not sure what my conclusion is here. But just, that, humans are messier than some religions admit, or at least the way modern American churches interpret the holy books. Things are just easier when I give humans permission to be human. Myself as well as others. We have urges and hungers and needs. We are designed that way. I'm sick of beating us all up over acting exactly like we were designed to act. Whether we label it as "jerk" or "human" or something else, this is our reality. People act this way. How do we want to react to it? Why? What will be the results of that? Who will benefit the most from different reactions? Do we ever get to benefit?

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I see in many of your posts in this thread someone who has endured so much pain that you just can't feel or react like a "normal" person right now.  I think it is a natural result of what you have been through.  I think, in time, you will find balance and peace and more normalcy to your life.   I am sorry for all that you have been through.  Your pain is real.  

 

Sometimes it is beyond pain. It is isolation, from the very beginning, from the type of experiences that make people human. It is more of a lack of, rather than something done to me. 

 

Being isolated from good things is the thing I will tolerate the least now.

 

That is part of going back to school. My PTSD is not better. I just refuse not to be allowed to be included in mainstream because I have it. Yup, I twitch a lot, and will sometimes even scream and duck and even cower for a couple seconds before I recover. I have seizures when I get really overwhelmed. Tough poop. I have a legal right to be a classroom and I am going to be accommodated and tolerated to the degree general society tolerates the disruption of a physically disabled person.

 

I overreact to stimuli. My central nervous system is shot. That part is physical. I am not displaying a behavior that can be modified through education and shaming, and definitely not by threats and coercion.

 

I will not be isolated any more. I will go to school. I will be intimate with partners that enjoy me. I will join society in a way I have never been allowed, and even worse was taught not to think was for me, too. Pedal to the medal. No fear, nor regrets. We only get one life! We can waste it, or not waste it.

 

I have an immigrant friend. He lives life hard. He never thinks about should. He hardly even thinks about want. Mostly, he thinks about what he CAN do. He asked me, "What CAN you do?"

 

What CAN I do? just for the hell of it, to see if I CAN. Little kids do that, but few grownups.

 

What can YOU do? What is the limit of what is possible? Do you want to know? Or does the possibility of what you might be able to do scare the poop out of you?

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Turning 40 was NOT fun. I was in a homeless shelter.

 

I vowed that day that 50 would be different. The actually birthday was certainly better, but...still...I didn't get fully on track till the day I landed in the emergency room a couple months later, and things took off exponentially from there. That is when I lost my fear. That is when I started living in the moment. Every day had to be special and lived like it might be my last. Lived to its fullest. Every drop milked from it, start to finish.

 

Turning 40 is when you choose what 50 will be like. Forty is prep time, not the end. Forty is when you start PLANNING your do-over if you dare. Fifty is your do-over time. Most of us truly DO have the power to create the 50's we want. What do you WANT?!!! A life is a terrible thing to waste.

 

Do you know how baby elephants are trained?

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-steven-carr-reuben-phd/what-baby-elephants-can-teach-us-about-human-freedom_b_2452099.html

 

 So inevitably I think about the famous story of how they train baby elephants in the circus. They take them when they are still small and tie a strong rope around their necks and attach the rope to a secure pole. The baby elephants naturally try to walk away and are stopped by the rope. They pull and push and twist and turn and eventually figure out that they just aren’t strong enough to break free of their shackles, so they stop resisting and just stay where they are.

 

The elephant becomes so accustomed to being held back by the rope, that merely the rope itself keeps the animal in check. If only they knew how powerful they really are. If only they realized that by the time they have grown up, even a rope “secured†to a pole can no longer contain them. Then they would know what true freedom is. But they don’t.

 

Pull on that dang rope and reevaluate its strength! Make sure you have not been tricked into thinking you are more bound than you are.

 

 

 

I mean, it's a sad situation with the elephants and all, but social norms aren't quite the same thing - they often exist for a reason, and that  reason is that it is the least invasive and violent way of keeping people in check and allowing them to live peaceably together. 

 

The thing about the elephant (and I don't believe in keeping animals for a circus) is that the elephant will not be free if as an adult it breaks free of the rope.  Society can't and won't tolerate a fully grown elephant running wild around a circus; they'll just shoot him if they can't capture him.

 

Similarly, you teach your children as children not to bite, or hit, or take other people's things; you teach them to share, and to tell the truth, and to be kind, and to look out for their neighbor.  You teach your older kids not to take advantage of their friends, not to have sex with multiple partners before the age of 18 (or ideally ever), not to rape someone who is drunk at a party, not to get drunk at parties all the time, not to abandon their children, not to abdicate responsibility, not to cheat on their taxes, etc.

 

You don't teach them this because you want to constrain them and use them and keep them from free expression of self; you teach them this because society requires it of them and because it is good for them and others, and if they instead decide to cheat on their spouse, or have sex with 10+ people in a year, or steal a car, or get into a fight and stab someone, either society will enact a fiercer punishment than just constraining the behavior (because it can't tolerate people who go around stealing cars, even if that is the expression of their personal will) or they will suffer their own unhappiness (having multiple partners and cheating in a relationship are both correlated with increased rates of depression and are socially destabilizing besides).

 

 

"Just do what you want" is a stupid, juvenile attitude.  "I can't be happy unless I am doing this thing that harms myself and others, so I am going to keep doing it" is not good.  It is bad.

 

That is not to say that all self-expression is bad, and that all constraint of behavior is good - it can go too far in that direction too, of course.  

 

But I am tired of the effects of the Me Generation (the Boomers) and their attitudes about social morality.

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Attolia,

 

You should not feel that you should be "available" to your dh. He has hurt in you in a deep, and profound way by setting you up against an impossible standard from porn. Whether or not he was exposed young, whether or not that was his fault, it doesn't matter now as a grown man with a marriage in peril because of it. It is HIS job to address the issue, go to counseling, find a professional with experience, get into a support group, whatever. It is his job to change, and mend his mind and heart. There should be ZERO expectation on his part that he is any longer attractive to you because he has hurt you so much. It is his job to earn you back so to speak.

 

Being available to him for those rare times he's "in the mood" only deepens his subconscious feelings that he's entitled to you on his terms in his mind, treating you as an object not a partner, and acting towards you in response to it. In some ways, that is enabling him to not make an effort to get help. It isn't healthy for you to engage with him sexually because you are so conflicted about it. That's not good for you at all!

 

He isn't being anything close to an equal partner. At this point you need to simply take care of you and not worry about him. Really. The end. He needs to get off his butt and worry about him and the marriage for once. 

 

A long time ago, I rejected the current evangelical outlook on marriage because what ended up happening was I saw that it brought nothing but misery, depression, health problems, and despair for woman, after woman, after woman, just a train wreck of broken women. I began to realize that something is seriously wrong with the interpretation or the implementation or something for it to be this way. If the current interpretation and implementation of so many holy books as pertains to women and marriage is true, then we ought to flat out teach our daughters to never marry, or our sons for that matter.

 

I also realized that  the reason that dh and I do so well together is simply because of how we choose to handle our relationship. It has ZERO to do with a holy book, or cultural expectations, or anything else. We have instinctively just done what was best for us. Sometimes that has looked very different from what we were culturally raised with, very, very different as a matter of fact.

 

You can lead a horse to water....as the saying goes. You've tried. You've done your best. His refusal to do HIS part in this relationship, regardless of how "supportive" he seems now has left you in a mess, a crisis of identity, self esteem, confidence, likely depressed,  etc. His lame "support" of you is just that lame. He ought to be getting off his duff and finding a professional to help him deal with his own brain and character mess. That would show he really cares about you. I truly believe his saying he is supportive is simply a way of limping things along because the status quo is comfortable for him. Why change when you don't have to? If destroying your wife's identity works for you, why bother doing anything about it? If you still get your cake and eat it too, and come home to a woman worrying about your needs, why bother?

 

I am sorry. I know that must be harsh to read. But, I do believe that if you can understand that and then take the right steps for yourself and get really comfortable with the fact that he may NEVER be motivated to change, and that means either you live like amicable roommates and do your own things with boundaries in place to protect yourself from further hurt - perfectly acceptable so long as you are getting healthy yourself - or you split up, then you will be in a much better place. Don't worry about whatever other people think. Don't worry about family or whatever. If he is smart, he will see what a gem he has and do the hard work of repairing himself and then the marriage. Just don't count on him being smart, and don't listen to naysayers tell you that it is your job to make it all better, or stick it out while you die by inches inside.

 

 

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Attolia,

 

You should not feel that you should be "available" to your dh. He has hurt in you in a deep, and profound way by setting you up against an impossible standard from porn. Whether or not he was exposed young, whether or not that was his fault, it doesn't matter now as a grown man with a marriage in peril because of it. It is HIS job to address the issue, go to counseling, find a professional with experience, get into a support group, whatever. It is his job to change, and mend his mind and heart. There should be ZERO expectation on his part that he is any longer attractive to you because he has hurt you so much. It is his job to earn you back so to speak.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don't think he's been into porn in many years. I could be wrong.  

 

He has been an equal partner, just in other ways.  He works incredibly hard.  He provides greatly, he does an awful lot of laundry , etc., etc.  He isn't the lame guy who wants things from me but doesn't give.  I have asked him about low testosterone and he doesn't think it possible.  He thinks he would be tired and he is very strong, with loads of energy.  He is a good guy in many, many ways.  It is his goodness that has always made me feel insufficient.  He is nearly perfect really.  He is present and engaged.  He is a great dad.  This is why the conclusion I came to in marriage was that I wasn't enough, that I needed to change, that I needed to be more.  It is because he is so darn near perfect.  The only thing I could ever fault him for was that I wasn't good enough for him.  The conclusion I have finally been able to come to is that no one would be perfect enough.

 

 

You have tossed some very though provoking material my way and I am pondering it for sure.

Edited by Attolia

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