The mommy boards are making me sad again

They’re all fighting with their husbands.

They tell each other it’s normal. All marriages go through these kinds of issues.

I really like being abnormal. I like having a husband who doesn’t take his stress out on me. I like having a partner who eases a burden rather than adding to it. If my partner purposefully caused me stress, I think I would probably be happier being single. Not 100% sure, but I like to think that I have high standards and wouldn’t be too uncomfortable in my own skin even if it meant I had to clean out the cat litter every night.

Of course, I can’t comfort these ladies. I can’t make up problems. I can’t give advice (or rather I could, but I’m fairly sure my head would be bitten off… the other woman on the board who actually gets along with her husband and has a well-behaved kid has tried in the past, and it wasn’t pretty). I don’t like fighting. I like problem-solving. I like using “I” words and “we” words. I like appreciating my husband and having him appreciate me. I like feeling like we’re on the same side.

I wish everybody had as good a relationship as we have. Maybe it was the years of having roommates that forced good roommate skills. Maybe we’re just romantics and totally believe in love and trust. Maybe it’s because #2 schooled me in communication without confrontation in high school (even though she often chose not to use it herself!) Maybe we got all our fights out the first 4 years of our relationship when we were teenagers.

Anyhow, I just wanted to share that it makes me sad. And I hope I’m not the only person who rarely fights with her spouse and likes not doing so. (I know of some folks who never fought and divorced because the marriage was too boring. But we prefer positive excitement in ours– mostly food related.)

#2 wonders why #1 continues to read angst-ridden fora.  Perhaps it’s hard to find non-angsty ones?  Has #1 tried Offbeat Mama? Perhaps she can’t look away?

#1 reminds #2 of her addictions.  This is the legacy forum.  I’m always trying not to start another!  (Though I may have to get off the forum… one woman on there is totally passive aggressive and I don’t think she has ever said anything to me… a bunch of people wish her luck for something, she thanks them one by one and deliberately excludes me… a number of folks say their kids are sick, every one gets a hope you feel better except me… everyone who says something gets a reply, except me.  This is the woman I blogged about earlier so I’m pretty sure it is deliberate.  And I just don’t care enough about drama to confront her, so much easier to leave.)

Do you think couples have to fight? If someone actually asked for advice (they never do… they just want to complain), what would you suggest?

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53 Responses to “The mommy boards are making me sad again”

  1. First Gen American Says:

    I’m sure glad I don’t go to these forums. Sounds downright depressing. I’m sad fro them too and the worst part is that they all believe there is no better way.

    I feel very lucky about my family unit…although I wouldn’t mind if the kids gave me a little less lip about certain things.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      My advice, always, btw, is to marry an engineer.

      With all their other wonderful attributes, there’s something to be said for a spouse who looks at problems as challenges that can be fixed instead of wasting time focusing blame on anybody.

      • bogart Says:

        LOL, no, no, this is exactly what gets men in trouble with (many) women. See http://smarshyboy.blogspot.com/2006/09/happiest-infertile-on-block.html .

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Oh yeah, I forgot that I totally have a Y chromosome.

        I was totally on board with “We’ll try again next month.” And I would probably have been pretty upset if DH had behaved like a 2 year old, since I depend on him to be the rational one and remind me how to be a better person. Still, I think engineers make great husbands for anyone, so long as they have the “I will let you know when I want empathy not solutions” talk early on.

  2. Kevin Says:

    Ooooooh, it all makes sense now!

    No wonder you were defending LifeAndMyFinance‘s tactics on GetRichSlowly – you’re doing the same thing! I can’t believe I didn’t notice this before, but I just did some quick data-mining, and you’ve been just as busy as him, it’s just he’s quite a bit better at it.

    8th The Power of Patience (#4)

    7th Spare Change: Paranormal Romance Edition (-)
    7th Book Review: Living the Savvy Life (-)

    6th Reader Story: Why I Spent 00 to See the Space Shuttle (#2)

    5th The GRS Garden Project: February 2011 Update (#1)

    4th Ask the Readers: How Much Should You Spend on Self Improvement? (#3)

    3rd Getting Started with Estate Planning (-)
    3rd Developing Systems That Work (#4)

    2nd Spare Change: Tweetchat Today! Edition (-)
    2nd Gaming Without Breaking the Bank (#9)

    1st From the Rich to the Poor (or, What I Learned in Africa) (#7)

    How would you like it if someone treated YOUR blog like their own personal spam playground? Do you not realize how disrespectful it is?

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Honey, I’m one of those “long term commenters” that JD specifically says he welcomes links from (so long as they are relevant). Why don’t you pay attention to your OWN blog and let JD police his.

      Also, if you keep datamining, you’ll see that I was a frequent and early commenter long before we had a blog.

      We do welcome all relevant conversation, including links to blogs of commenters, so long as they are relevant. We are about encouraging conversation, not silencing it.

      Btw, I know that you’re a troll, but I’m humoring you this time. Future trollish messages that have nothing to do with the topic will be deleted.

      How funny… I have a really hard time seeing you as a mountie. I thought Canadians were supposed to be polite.

    • everyday tips Says:

      I don’t even understand this comment. What a waste of time this research was.

  3. Becky Says:

    My husband and I don’t really fight at all. We have disagreements occassionally, and once in a while hurt feelings because one of us didn’t express ourselves properly, but we don’t have yelling fights. I can’t imagine living like that; it would stress me out, and like you I don’t think I would put up with it.
    I am convinced that most of these women are not friends with their husbands. Ryan and I were friends for years before we started dating and then got married. It allowed both of us to know the other one as we really are; there was no pretending to impress a date.
    I always want to tell people that while it might happen to a lot of people, you shouldn’t consider it “just a part of being married” to fight with your spouse on a regular basis. Go to some counseling sessions; talk to them. See if you can figure out what is behind the arguing.
    Just my thoughts.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      That’s a really good point. I wonder if these women are hurt by surrounding themselves with others who have the same problems. Counseling or just some basic training in communication could do a lot to make life easier.

  4. Jacq @ Single Mom Rich Mom Says:

    Call me naive, but I thought that when you post a comment on another blog had more to do with when they publish and when you read it in the morning. I just thought the Life and My Finances guy was an early riser that read GRS first thing in the a.m. Kevin – if you have issues, I wish you’d emailed Grumpy directly and not brought up your concerns regarding someone else on this completely unrelated post.

    Just an interesting sidenote – most gifted people are very committed to defending injustices in their own way. Just like mounties!

    To the post at hand – I’ve never been on a mommy forum and never read a mommy blog. Except I read a Dooce post once, is that a mommy blog? I wasn’t sure since they were just talking about anti-depressants. But there seemed to be many pictures of children. Which just made me feel guilty that I don’t take more pictures of my own kids.

    Re the fighting, I tend to try to see both sides of most things (even my own situations). When I do ask for advice (which isn’t very often in life it seems), I do it because I know I’m not seeing things clearly because of emotion and it brings me back to focusing on facts to present a case to others. 95% of the time I follow some version of the advice if enough agenda-less people say the same thing. This is just an observation, but I think a lot of people like to be seen as victims. I’m not quite sure why. Maybe so they won’t have to actually DO anything differently.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We’re a mommy blog about once a week. ;) But we don’t post pictures of children because we’re anonymous and because our child is too young to give permission.

      I suspect you’re right about some folks secretly enjoying drama or victimhood. Personally I prefer happiness and work very hard to try to increase the chance of having it.

  5. everyday tips Says:

    It is so sad how some couples just can’t get along. I think some people actually enjoy living in misery.

    We fought a little the first few couple years of marriage. Then I realized he can’t read my mind, and I can’t read his. As long as you can be open and talk, there is really no reason to fight. (Unless someone has uncontrollable spending, alcohol problems, etc.)

    Now that we have been married 20 years, it is amazing how little we even disagree about something.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      That was exactly the advice we gave to DH’s brother right before he got married. Sometimes we’re so in love that we feel like we should be able to read each other’s minds, but we really can’t! Keep those lines of communication open, and don’t ever assume your significant other is just doing something to punish you.

  6. MutantSupermodel Says:

    Forums = yuck. They’re just digital versions of the high school cafeteria and I’m way past that stuffs.

    Marriage = also yuck. But that’s because I’m jaded and cynical and bitter and whatever other yuck words you can think of. My parents and my grandparents did a smashing job with it but it is most definitely not an arena I excelled at.

    Oddly enough, now that I think about it, we didn’t fight either. Well, we did but only when he was drunk and never remembered in the morning which was always disappointing because I worked very hard at composing some completely horrible, awful, demeaning, shocking litanies and they’d evaporate with the hang over.

    Yeah, marriage = yuck.

  7. Molly On Money Says:

    First marriage: fought everyday…I became a very angry grumpy person. Someone I did not recognize. I left him because I was grumpy and he didn’t treat my dog well. At least that’s what he tells everyone and it’s pretty accurate.
    Second marriage: We fight about twice a year (I just confirmed this with the spouse). We are very bad at it. We ignore each other for about 24hrs stewing in our juices. It’s incredibly unsettling and disturbing. I believe sometimes we just get off track!
    I’ve given up on close friendships where they don’t ‘like’ their spouse (I’m talking about when they are never satisfied with their spouse).

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      The bulk of our fighting stopped when we found out about my hypoglycemia… now if I get testy someone feeds me!

      Shame on your first husband for not treating your dog well. I’m glad your 2nd husband is awesome.

  8. Dame Eleanor Hull Says:

    I completely agree about engineers! One of my friends (another happy engineer-partner) pointed out that when an engineer has a mid-life crisis, it results in a new laptop, not a new wife.

    • First Gen American Says:

      Oh my god Dame, that’s so funny. Engineers rock and that’s brilliant marriage advice. My husband does analyze our disagreements like they are an equation. Sometimes he figures out some really basic AHA things that I make it so much easier to get along. The most profound to date is he’s the tortoise and I’m the hare. If we expect the other to work at our pace, things go badly. Now that we know, we can work around that knowledge.

      Nicole you must be getting popular as you’ve got your first hater post. So sad. I always think you post very relevant stuff. For the record, you can always link relevant articles in your comments on my blog. It just adds to the discussion.

  9. Niki Says:

    My husband and I did fight when we were younger, we were really young, 19 and 20. We figured it though, we seldom argue. It may be crazy but I really enjoy his company.
    I find it weird to blog about spousal arguments. I understand the point of trying to be honest in your writing, but I find it disrespectful toward my husband and for my readers too. Like you said, what advice could they give or what could they do. It isn’t a conversation either it’s just vomiting your problems onto someone else.
    Wow! I didn’t realize I felt so strongly.

  10. Debbie M Says:

    I do not think couples have to fight.

    I once had a boyfriend who worried because we hadn’t yet had a fight. I joked to him that we’d already had several fights, and I had won them all. He joked that this was great because it didn’t hurt a bit!

    I do think we have to communicate and compromise. (After picking people with similar enough values so that you’re not having to compromise on everything or even everything important.) But if you go at it with the idea that your partner does not want to deliberately hurt you, but that he has his own wishes that may not match, and you both want each other to be happy, you can often figure something out. Generally there are also a few things you just have to agree to disagree on (people are so danged multi-faceted).

    I don’t like drama at home. A supportive home helps me take risks elsewhere such as by trying new things. And trying new things is the opposite of boring. Sitting around rolled up in a ball waiting for the ibuprofen to take effect, or rubbing the knots out of your neck muscles, or drinking water to rehydrate after the crying is not fun.

    I’d definitely rather be single than fighting.

  11. brokeprofessionals Says:

    I have seen some marriages that are great with spirited debate once in a while. I have seen some marriages that almost do seem boring from the lack of fighting. At the end of the day the one thing that seems to bridge the gap (in my opinion) is this: all good marriages involve mutual respect. There doesn’t have to be a yell or a loud sound to be dismissive of someone. You can raise your voice if you are passionate about something (I won’t go so far as to say that you can respectfully yell at someone), but you can be passionate, but the respect has to be there. I guess my final point is that you also have to be someone worth respecting and respect yourself. If you have all that I think you have a great shot. My wife and I rarely fight. Then again I have seen plenty of people talk about how great their marriage is and then years later they divorce. Marriage isn’t easy, but as your saying, if you are in it with the right person, it can be amazingly fulfilling. Of course we do not have kids so we really can’t talk, lol.

  12. bogart Says:

    Interesting question. I’m pretty conflict-averse (OK, OK, I’m phenomenally conflict averse except that I absolutely will take a stand and not back down on something I really believe in. Oh, and I’m stubborn as all get out. But otherwise phenomenally conflict averse. Where was I?), but beyond that, my DH brought to our marriage the rule “no keeping lists (of bad things your spouse has done)” As I understand it the rule basically means that if the other person does something that irritates you you’ve got 24 hours to discuss/negotiate/get-the-hell-out/forgive, and after that, you’re done (and in whatever state you find yourself, but if he’s still in the same house as you, you have to stop being mad about it). Obviously that’s kind of an overstatement/oversimplification, but for us so far it’s worked pretty well for us. Oh, and I’m conflict averse. Did I mention that?

    I also very much like having a spouse whom I can count on to pull his weight, on average, over time (which I do), so that if on any given day/occasion he’s being a dope I can just figure it will balance out in the end, and I can do nice things for him spontaneously without worrying that I’m being too nice — because he’s just as nice to me, on average, over time.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      It’s nice that I don’t have to keep a list because if DH is doing something that annoys the crap out of me, I can ask him politely to stop without getting yelled at. It’s awesome.

      And I totally agree with you on the not keeping track of things. Mine is also awesome about pulling his own weight. (And if he’s not, I can say, I’m sick of washing dishes, or whatever. And he can say the same, though he never does… so I guess I do keep track a little bit to make sure I’m doing half the chores.)

  13. Z Says:

    Interesting to think about. My mother bickers to bond. I am only recently understanding this.

    I’ve never married. Partners I’ve fought with are few and they stand out.

    1st one I fought with (defining fight as something other than disagreement or just spirited debate): he wanted serious relationship, I didn’t, we fought over my right to refuse.

    2d one I fought with: I wanted more-serious relationship or none, he wanted dating/sex on demand no strings; we fought about my right to refuse that arrangement.

    3d one I fought with: I wanted him to take better care of self and behave better, or else me leave; he wanted me to stay and him not to make any changes. We fought over my right to leave (“abandon,” he said).

    What I learned: don’t try to negotiate for right to refuse, just refuse.

    Point of post: I don’t fight if there’s not some major, underlying, unresolvable issue about power sharing. If I should just go and I don’t, I fight. Otherwise not … even if there are differences to work out or things like that.

    But for some people I think fighting isn’t fighting, it’s some form of entertainment.

  14. Z Says:

    P.S. Yet I’m not conflict averse at all. I mean, I don’t do conflict for entertainment, but it doesn’t freak me out and I even find it interesting. Perhaps that makes me a good advocate / good negotiator? (My hobby may be foreign languages but the job I’m suited for is law.)

  15. Lindy Mint Says:

    I grew up in a family where confrontation was avoided at all costs. That’s not to say that it was good though, there was a lot of walking on eggshells and stuffed emotions.

    I am so thankful that I don’t fight with my husband (wouldn’t have married him otherwise), but we do have a relationship where we can hash things out and come to an agreement without worrying about destroying the delicate balance. This is much different from fighting constantly though, which I agree with you, is NOT normal. Or at least not healthy.

    (Wow, I wish I was an early commenter because I’m missing all the action!)

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Yeah, being afraid to discuss things isn’t great either. I’m so happy that DH and I can discuss things like adults. When I was little I wanted to be mature when I grew up.

      Last year in preschool, they asked all the kids what they wanted to be when they grew up. DC said, “I want to be a grown-up.” I think that’s a great answer and something we all should aspire to.

  16. Dr. O Says:

    Hubby and I *discuss*, but we rarely fight anymore. We did a lot of that the first year we lived together and the first year of our marriage. But getting pregnant with Monkey changed all that. Not that that’s why we got pregnant, but we just started using our time more wisely, and we don’t get into stuff unless it stays in our craw for more than a few days (hence no fighting about something that only momentarily irritates us). We try to think of the other’s situation when dealing with difficult issues (jobs/money/etc). As we’ve gotten to know each other better, we’ve found our strengths and weaknesses are complementary – so we each focus on the tasks that we do well. It works for us. I know I don’t want to go back to fighting as often as we did when we were learning how to live with one another. We’re both happier with this more peaceful arrangement.

  17. Rumpus Says:

    I don’t approve of fighting. My parents didn’t fight and I wouldn’t be in a relationship that involved arguing more than rarely. I make a point to treat people with the respect they deserve, and a big part of that is not letting my life get out of balance. Even if I’m working long hours and everything’s breaking and someone moved my cheese at work and I’m scared about the tenure clock, that stuff doesn’t come home. It doesn’t even leave my office when I head to class or to talk with a colleague. I think that everyone needs to police themselves because that’s why communities of any size can work without restricting personal freedoms.

  18. Link Round Up: Daylight Savings Time Edition | Everyday Tips and Thoughts... Says:

    [...] Grumpy Rumblings of the Untenured keeps reading those mommy boards, and it is getting them down!  Well, actually it is only making one of them sad since the other does not read those forums. [...]

  19. Sandy H Says:

    I did belong to an Online Mommy Support Group. We actually just asked questions and received answers regarding our children. I don’t think anyone brought into the group husband arguments or anything like that. It was just a LOT of really good Mommy Baby sharing.

    My husband and I rarely argue. We do disagree on things like money, and if he can buy an iPad NOW, or if he should wait until we’ve either paid down debt or saved for our house.
    We have a great relationship- but it does make me feel sad for my friends/coworkers who are constantly fighting with their husbands.

  20. Revanche Says:

    Couples? Have to fight? Good gravy, no. It’s going to happen sometimes, when one or both partners forget to be rational, when someone is tired, hungry, stressed, upset by something that happened earlier they’re not ready to talk about but forget to mention it or didn’t have time to … I needn’t continue, right? Of course not. Life happens. Sometimes we get annoyed, sometimes we get upset, and then sometimes a disagreement turns into a fight.

    What matters is whether you live in that place or whether one or both of you get out of that place and say: ok so here’s the real problem, shall we solve it?

    Personally, I feel too ding-dang old for the drama so it’s a lot less work to cut as directly to what appears to be the root of the grumpiness as possible and just deal with it.

    It’s funny, though, we worked exceedingly well at this, plus the “I’m not a mind-reader” rule when we were long distance. Now that we’re same-household, we’re relearning each other in that context and some of it has been seamless and some unexpectedly hard. So yes, there have been a few fights. But we work through them. And we figure out how to do it better next time.

    I understand the need to vent at times, but there’s such a danger in getting in there and wallowing without actually looking for a path to improvement. I can’t understand wanting to live in that.

  21. Mel Says:

    We do fight sometimes. Not often, maybe a few times a year, and we both end up feeling really awful afterwards. I think for us it’s not necessarily a bad thing to fight. We grew up on opposite sides of the world in very different societies in completely different languages, we now live in his world (currently with his parents) and sometimes it is just *really* hard. More than half of our fights have resulted in some issue coming out – and being resolved – that either had been repressed as “that’s just the way it is”, or never really thought about enough to verbalise. Sometimes it just feels like a safe way to get rid of the stress and frustration that comes with living in a country without speaking/understanding much of the language.

    But even with those fights, I think we have a wonderful relationship and I couldn’t ask for more. He’s currently away for a few months for something that could drastically change our lives for the better. I make sure he knows he has my full support in it, he makes sure I know how much he appreciates that. He really, truly is my best friend and even in the middle of fights, I can’t imagine life without him.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Wouldn’t it be nice if instead of repressing and blowing up, you could head off problems before they become huge, and discuss things in a manner that helps problems be resolved peacefully and in a spirit of togetherness? (You can!)

      • Mel Says:

        Yeah, that’d be ideal, and it’s usually how we work. But…

        There are things that we both suck up, because there is no other reasonable way to deal with them (him: having less than no time, but still having to come with me to the dentist because she doesn’t speak English. me: waiting until 12:30pm for the optometrist appointment scheduled for 10am, or trying to understand a simple spoken sentence and failing miserably, while holding up an impatient queue). Although most times these things just melt away on their own, sometimes they build up and build up until they’re just too much for one of us and they explode. Sometimes that means me collapsing into his arms in tears, sometimes it means him having a weekend day alone and undisturbed. But sometimes, something the other does acts as a trigger and it comes out as a fight.

        I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t think that fighting is necessarily always a bad thing. Sometimes stress does reach boiling point despite our best efforts and I would rather that happen between me and him, where we know that we will quickly forgive each other and maybe even learn something, than between say him and his boss or me and his mother, where damage won’t be so easily repaired.

        I think it’s perfectly possible to have a healthy relationship without fights – in my previous relationship, there were maybe 2 fights over 5 years. Even the breakup was remarkably civil! But fights don’t necessarily mean an unhealthy relationship – sometimes they can even indicate a healthy, honest one with lots of love and mutual respect.


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