Divorcebusting.com

Crossroads

Posted By: may22

Crossroads - 09/12/20 01:12 AM

Last thread: https://www.divorcebusting.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=2900563&page=all

Recap: My H told me a year ago that he had been in a long distance EA, it was over, but he wasn't sure he wanted to stay married. In December he told me it had actually been a 2 year long PA. She lives about 5000 miles away, they probably saw each other an average of every six to eight weeks because of H's work travel. We went through a month of limbo and discernment counseling and he broke it off with her in February. They got back in touch four months later and sparked it back up (she reached out to tell him she was moving on forever, he lost the plot). Another six weeks of limbo (she's the love of his life, he doesn't know if he can be happy without her, but he wants to stay BFFs with me) and he broke it off again in July in order to go on a 5 week trip with me and the kids-- my condition for going was that he go NC, block her on all communication channels, and at least be able to tell me he had no intention of contacting her again (he "can't predict the future" and so didn't want to say she was absolutely out of his life forever). We got back a week and a half ago. A few days ago, H told me he was thinking about her again and wanted to be with her and we should S.

I said, OK and have been moving forward with my plans for a life without H. We have talked generally about finances and child custody and are on the same page, though we haven't gone through the spreadsheets in detail. At first I was the angriest I have ever been in my life and having a hard time dealing with the anger. I've been basically NC and avoided him as much as possible. He has been sleeping in the basement and checking out apartments.

H, of course, has now started waffling. As usual.

LH/Ginger... I don't want to stay in a loveless M for the sake of the kids. Especially a loveless M to a weak and selfish liar. What I have said all along is that I wanted the chance to work on it and give our M the best possible shot. That if we both looked each other in the eyes and gave it our best and we couldn't make it work-- then, OK. But I want to be secure in my heart that I did everything I possibly could to give my children a happy two-parent household. I don't want to have any regrets, especially regrets linked to the kids.
Posted By: LH19

Re: Crossroads - 09/12/20 01:44 AM

May,

Every single person on this board wanted to work on our marriages to give it the best chance. Unfortunately it takes two people to make that happen. I am 100% sure you can be secure in your heart that you did everything possible to give your kids a happy two parent home.

I am friends of a couple in an unhappy marriage. Their children are roughly the same age as mine. I can promise you my kids are more adjusted and happier then their kids.

It’s time to open the cage door May and set your husband free.
Posted By: Sage4

Re: Crossroads - 09/12/20 01:49 AM

May, you have been so strong and clear and have had amazing boundaries over the past few days, which have been inspiring to read. Don’t let his waffling alter your course at this point. Anything less than full-steam ahead is going to result in the same outcome you have found yourself in a few different times over the past year. And you are finally trusting yourself that you will be OK in a different outcome. Don’t let him take that away from you. Whether you find your footing on your own, or a real version of M2.0, keep steaming ahead. Unfortunately, I don’t think you’ll find the latter until you execute the former.

Keep seeing H for who he really is. Let that fuel you into the next step. If H is REALLY, TRULY, FAITHFULLY invested in finding M2.0, NOTHING will stop him. Not a S, not division of assets and custody, not divorce proceedings. NOTHING will stop him if he is 100% committed to finding his way back into your trust and back into your heart. So, you have nothing to lose by putting your foot to the metal and gunning your beautiful self into a new life.

Everything H has said to you in his waffling is an attempt to put the onus back on you for all of this, which I hope you see. ‘You will never forgive me. You will never really love me again. You are just doing this for the kids.’ Bull f*cking sh!t. You may be a sexy little kitten, but don’t for one minute lap that up like warm milk. (You will never be able to look at that real kitten of yours the same again— sorry, not sorry wink ).

From the 30,000 ft (AKA an outsider’s) view, your path is clear: you do the best for YOU right now. H will work his ever-living socks off to convince you of path B if he is sincere in M 2.0. And if he’s not, then you are well on your way to your own path B.

You are worth so much more than what you are receiving right now. And only you can put up the boundaries to find your way there.

(((May)))

Xx
Posted By: Ginger1

Re: Crossroads - 09/12/20 02:02 AM

I had dinner with my cousin tonight who is I Unhappily married and actually been carrying on an affair for 2 years
With a married man. Their son is 8 years old. She told me that he just always asks us to stop fighting . She said he feels the tension. He hears it when they think they are hiding it. And she knows this isn’t better for him. I have a feeling he would almost be relieved eventually if they divorced, quite honestly.

Like LH said. BOTH parties need to want and commit to making it marriage 2.0. It doesn’t work only when one partner does.

Please don’t let his waffling change your course. It almost seems as if he wants in, you want in, if he wants out, you want out.

You’ve put every effort in. At this point you need to do what’s healthy for you, not go according to whatever he is feeling that day. You deserve better than than
Posted By: may22

Re: Crossroads - 09/12/20 02:05 AM

Update.

He came to me today and said basically everything I have been wanting to hear for the past year.

He apologized deeply for everything, for hurting me, for having the affair, for causing so much damage and grief. He said if he could go back in time to when he first crossed the line with AP, he wouldn't do it again. He wants to remove AP from his head and heart. He said he wants to fall back in love with me and (like he just figured this out) that he couldn't possibly have those feelings for me right now when he's put a pin in them with another person. He needs to remove that pin and is going to do everything he can to do so. He is planning on treating it like an addiction and working with his IC on it, that he'll have healthy activities like hiking and cooking (?) to lean on when she pops up in his head.

He talked about M2.0 and that he wants it and can envision it and wants to work hard towards it. That he knows there were a lot of little ways that he was intentionally or not being a d!ck to me over the past 2.5 years because he wanted me to D him. That he'd built up all these justifications in his head for why the R with AP was the right choice, but now he sees it was purely selfish. He doesn't want to be a selfish person. He doesn't want to be a liar. He wants to end the behavior that was causing him to lie and thinks once that is over, he can once again be an honest person. The deception has been tearing him apart for years and eating at his soul. He doesn't want to be that person anymore.

He wants to invest in me, the children, and our MR. He says he knows I don't trust him but that he will show me how he loves me and is investing in our MR, that he will be loving and cultivate loving feelings towards me by demonstrating loving behaviors. He said I haven't seen him do that for a long, long time and he will show me through his actions that he's serious about recommitting to the M.

He said this time, he's making this decision and commitment on his own for himself and for us, not because he felt coerced into it by me, and that (to him) will make all the difference. He wants to never talk to AP again and to relegate her to the status of someone who he thinks of occasionally, with fondness, and hopes is doing OK. He wants this for himself and not because I'm asking him to do it.

He acknowledged that a part of this decision is motivated by fear, and while he doesn't think fear should be the basis for any decision, that it is fear for the well-being of the children and he thinks that is a healthy fear. But that is just part of the reasons for the decision. He loves me, never stopped loving me, loves our children and our life together, and wants to rebuild the emotional intimacy between us. He's willing to read the books or do the programs or whatever it takes.

I was pretty shocked, to be honest. Also I'm totally exhausted and don't really know how to process any of this right now. He seemed very different from how he's seemed in these conversations in the past. I asked him what changed. He said, he went looking at apartments and one came through. He could move in tomorrow. And when he got that email he realized that isn't what he wants. He also spoke to his mom and brother and good friend and thought a lot last night after we talked. His brother helped him see he was being selfish (haha not me!). His friend told him that as a father his number one responsibility is to protect his children, and by not giving our MR 100% and ending the A he is failing his children. His mom told him she thinks he would be making a horrible mistake to leave. His dad sent him some Catholic videos about being a man (H has always been very very Catholic, the entire time I've known him he has gone to Mass every Sunday, until, surprise surprise, a couple of years ago he stopped unless he needed to take our Ds in for CCD) and he watched them and a couple things said in there really affected him and made him think about who he is and who he wants to be. Fundamentally he doesn't want to be a man who is a selfish liar.

(FWIW, I texted his mom yesterday to thank her for her support, tell her she should know she could always reach out to the kids through me and not feel like she needed to go through H. That I was very sorry but I felt I'd done everything humanly possible to give the girls a chance at a happy two-parent household but wasn't sure I could go through any more of this. Previously, I'd told her I was standing for our M. She didn't text me back for like half an hour and said she loved all of us, was at a loss for words, and continued to pray for a better resolution to all of this. It sounds like in that half hour gap she texted H that he was making a horrible mistake and his dad sent the videos over.)

He also talked about the MLC aspects of what had happened to him and the fears of not living the life he wants to live. He wants to work together to incorporate some of the things he felt I always prevented him from doing into M2.0. (He does have a point here, I was a b!tch about a lot of stuff.)

But, he understands if I don't want this, if I can't trust him, if I still want to D. It is my choice and I don't need to make it today.

I said OK. I need to think on all of this. It is a lot.

And there you go. He left to run some errands. I think I'm going to take a nap and not think about this for the afternoon.
Posted By: Valeska19

Re: Crossroads - 09/12/20 02:42 AM

Oh May - what an emotional rollercoaster. Taking a nap sounds like a great idea. Now is a good time to up the self care. You're right. You don't have to make the decision today. Take all the time your heart needs.
Posted By: PLC

Re: Crossroads - 09/12/20 03:05 AM

May,

Understandable, take that rest. It is a lot to think about.

PLC
Posted By: wooba

Re: Crossroads - 09/12/20 06:48 AM

May, if my H comes back to me crawling on his knees right now asking to reconcile, I would ask him to sign the divorce papers (with terms favorable to me) first before anything. So my advice for you is to protect your assets and custody rights before indulging your H in his wishful thinking. Please don’t go down that road again with him.

Originally Posted by may22
He also talked about the MLC aspects of what had happened to him and the fears of not living the life he wants to live. He wants to work together to incorporate some of the things he felt I always prevented him from doing into M2.0. (He does have a point here, I was a b!tch about a lot of stuff.)


No. He does not have a point here. You “prevented” him from doing what? He is a grown man and needs to take responsibilities for his own failings. He f*cked up. Did he expect you to hold his hand working torward M2.0??

That was a lot of talk from your H. Words are just words.
Posted By: LH19

Re: Crossroads - 09/12/20 10:37 AM

I will say one thing, these WW husbands on this board are fuching pieces of work puss#%s. I'm in I'm out. I'm in I'm out. You woman deserve so much more!

Well May as the saying goes"actions not words".
Posted By: KitCat

Re: Crossroads - 09/12/20 11:48 AM

So for what its worth that took a lot of gumption for your H to come and say all that too you. It seems that you listened and didn't say much but you could have easily gotten up and walked away and decided it was too late to hear any of that.

I think if your H is serious about his words you will see immediate action.

Why not sit back and enjoy the show -so to speak. Just like when our WAS have to see serious continuous efforts to be different and that they truly do not believe at first that the changes are real... now its your turn to sit back and see if he seriously makes the changes and is he consistent over time?

In all honesty an A is like a drug dependency... just like a break up triggers those addiction like behaviors in the LBS. The first step is the recognition as such and that he needs to do replacement behaviors --- that's big IMO.

Take the time to sort things out - maybe you would feel better working toward M2.0 if you separated to give yourself some breathing room while he shows consistent behavior over time that he is committed to this and loving you in the future.

Bottom line May is the ball has been and continues to be in your court. You know what is best and quite frankly is proof yet again that they only tend to want to come back when you've moved on.

HUGS!!!
Posted By: scout12

Re: Crossroads - 09/12/20 12:59 PM

For what it’s worth? It’s worth absolutely nothing. Ready for the Universal Bullsh!t Translator?

Blameshifting: “incorporate the things you prevented him from doing”, “coerce him into staying”

Minimising responsibility: “it’s an addiction”, “this is your choice (to D)” (subtext: and harm the children)

Self-pity: “tearing him apart for years and eating at his soul”

Entitlement: “OW is someone he’ll think about occasionally with fondness” - how dare he say this to you?

Hedging: “part of his decision is motivated by fear”, “will do everything he can”, “wants to work towards it”

Self-preservation: “realised he doesn’t want the new apartment” (subtext: doesn’t want to give up creature comforts, doesn’t want to pay alimony/child support, doesn’t want to lose the nice house you share)

Manipulation: “I love you and never stopped loving you” - shades of “he hits me because he loves me”

Image management: “it’s best for the children”, “don’t want to be a selfish liar”, the change of tune after his family applied pressure

WEAK. This is just fear of consequences again. He doesn’t want to be a selfish liar? Well, he is one. People don’t change their character at 40 years old. This dude is fully baked and sorry to say, he’s a sh!t biscuit. He’ll always be a liar and a cheater. An alcoholic is an alcoholic regardless if they ever have another drink.

You can’t have love without respect. He has consistently demonstrated a profound lack of respect for you. Can you see the jabs of disrespect peppered throughout this grand declaration? You seem to have gotten to the point where you no longer respect him. Can you ever respect him again after all of this weak behaviour?
Posted By: Ginger1

Re: Crossroads - 09/12/20 01:17 PM

Honestly, may. It seems like he doesn’t want the divorce to be on him. He wants it to be on you .

How many times has he done this before ?
Posted By: cardinal

Re: Crossroads - 09/12/20 05:29 PM

I hate that he's putting you through all this again, may. It does seem convenient that all of these words come when you are finally ready to move forward for you and the children, and when he must have noticed that his usual tricks weren't working this time to pull you back in. If AP called him tomorrow with some emergency, would he not go right back to the same "I just can't know for sure!" place? I realize it's much easier to be sitting miles and miles away saying all this, not the same as being there on the ground, in your shoes. Do you feel your patience wearing thin? ((may))
Posted By: BluWave

Re: Crossroads - 09/12/20 10:47 PM

Originally Posted by scout12
For what it’s worth? It’s worth absolutely nothing. Ready for the Universal Bullsh!t Translator?

Blameshifting: “incorporate the things you prevented him from doing”, “coerce him into staying”

Minimising responsibility: “it’s an addiction”, “this is your choice (to D)” (subtext: and harm the children)

Self-pity: “tearing him apart for years and eating at his soul”

Entitlement: “OW is someone he’ll think about occasionally with fondness” - how dare he say this to you?

Hedging: “part of his decision is motivated by fear”, “will do everything he can”, “wants to work towards it”

Self-preservation: “realised he doesn’t want the new apartment” (subtext: doesn’t want to give up creature comforts, doesn’t want to pay alimony/child support, doesn’t want to lose the nice house you share)

Manipulation: “I love you and never stopped loving you” - shades of “he hits me because he loves me”

Image management: “it’s best for the children”, “don’t want to be a selfish liar”, the change of tune after his family applied pressure

WEAK. This is just fear of consequences again. He doesn’t want to be a selfish liar? Well, he is one. People don’t change their character at 40 years old. This dude is fully baked and sorry to say, he’s a sh!t biscuit. He’ll always be a liar and a cheater. An alcoholic is an alcoholic regardless if they ever have another drink.

You can’t have love without respect. He has consistently demonstrated a profound lack of respect for you. Can you see the jabs of disrespect peppered throughout this grand declaration? You seem to have gotten to the point where you no longer respect him. Can you ever respect him again after all of this weak behaviour?


Scout, I’m right with you on all points. May, I hope you read this over several times.

So what happened when he emailed her (plan A)? Maybe he has finally missed out on that opportunity and so he is moving back to you (plan B)?

I don’t understand why he gets to come and go from this M as he pleases? And with no regard for how this affects you? His entitlement is troubling. Why do you continue to allow this?

It is one thing to be sorry and have regrets. It is quite another to have genuine remorse and empathy for what he has put you through. I would think after all the damage he has caused, a good man would not keep trying to jump back in when he feels you slipping away. Someone worthy of your acceptance, would more so want to understand your emotional process and how he can support you through the trauma. He should hope that one day you may be interested in Ring but not expect it or even ask for It. How dare he!

Right now after jerking you around for years, lying and cheating, justifying and blame shifting, he should just show you a better person — he does that with actions and consistency over time. Months and years. That’s it. He hasn’t done this ever or now, and so I don’t see any reason to trust him or consider taking him back.

Move on, May. Kick him out. . Let him do the real work this time! Then down the road you might see a better man and make a decision. This is years in the making and will be many more years in the fixing. Just focus on you and the girls now, start your own healing without him.

Blu
Posted By: may22

Re: Crossroads - 09/13/20 01:24 AM

Originally Posted by wooba
May, if my H comes back to me crawling on his knees right now asking to reconcile, I would ask him to sign the divorce papers (with terms favorable to me) first before anything. So my advice for you is to protect your assets and custody rights before indulging your H in his wishful thinking. Please don’t go down that road again with him.

He says he will sign a post-nup agreement.

Originally Posted by wooba
No. He does not have a point here. You “prevented” him from doing what?

Originally Posted by scout12
Blameshifting: “incorporate the things you prevented him from doing”,

This is around one of my 180s, and I fully acknowledge my faults here. After we had children, I had a lot of guilt around spending money and time on myself, and therefore did not. I also then got very angry with H if he ever wanted to do things on his own, things I wasn't interested in doing, like go to a certain concert or a football game. I would get incredibly angry with him and try to make him feel guilty if he wanted to do something for himself. For instance, he loves surfing, it is his sanity-making exercise and form of meditation. I would get super annoyed if he would go more than say once a week because I felt he was choosing himself over supporting me by being there in the morning to feed the kids breakfast, etc. When the truth is, it is no big deal, he should absolutely have the freedom to go surfing some mornings and I should be able to go to yoga some mornings. But I did all I could to guilt him into not doing those things, because I felt guilty about doing them myself.

He always encouraged me, though, to do things for myself, get a massage, go to yoga, go out with girlfriends in the evenings, etc. This was one of my 180s -- being OK with doing things separately and letting go of the guilt around that-- and truly something I'm grateful for, for myself, that I've made this change. I'm happier and healthier for it for myself and I truly don't care at all when he goes surfing in the morning or whatever. Anyway, it isn't really relevant to the discussion at this point, except that he didn't bring it up in a "I want" way. He actually said, you've changed too, you know, and brought up this 180 of mine. And said he appreciates it and wants that ability for us both to do things we enjoy, together and apart, in M2.0. he used it as a positive example.

Originally Posted by Ginger
Honestly, may. It seems like he doesn’t want the divorce to be on him. He wants it to be on you .

How many times has he done this before ?

Third time's a charm, right? (jk) He ended the A in February after we went through discernment counseling (BD for learning it was a PA and had been going on for 2 years was 12/30). He had a business trip to her city planned and I had set that as a deadline for him to end the affair, or we were done. We did well for four months then she reached out to say she was moving on. Then he blocked her and said he was ending all communication with her at the end of July as it was a condition I'd set to go on a trip as a family, otherwise we were done. Now this Monday he told me (without having contacted her yet) that he was unhappy and wanted to S.

Pattern has been, he says he thinks he wants to leave to be with AP, she's the love of his life blah blah blah. I flip out, eventually settle down and start dropping the rope. I have held it very clear that we won't be friends in a Ded situation which he cannot seem to handle. The more I drop the rope the more he leans back in until he decides to stay. I am very, very tired of this ridiculous and weak wishy-washy flip-flopping.

Originally Posted by BluWave
So what happened when he emailed her (plan A)? Maybe he has finally missed out on that opportunity and so he is moving back to you (plan B)?

He recreated the email for me because he had erased it. It basically said I know it's been awhile, I'm having a really hard time, I don't expect a response, I still care about you and please know you can always reach out to me if you need to talk. Stupid for a whole host of reasons. He said he was embarrassed he did it and it was weak. She hasn't responded. He told me his decision about 12 hours after he sent that email. He said her not responding isn't playing a part in his choice but I am not putting any credence into that.

Scout, Blu, Cardinal, Ginger-- I share much of your skepticism.

Originally Posted by LH19
Well May as the saying goes"actions not words".

Yes, assuming I stick around to see the actions.

Here's where I am at the moment. Thinking about my paths forward, making sure any choices I make are in alignment with my own values. I feel so much more empowered and in control right now than I think I ever have throughout all of this. I think if the last time around he'd given me this same speech, I would have felt trapped because I could never authentically make the decision to leave the M. Now, I feel that is a potential path for me. I'm not sure it is the one I'll make today, but I feel strong and in charge of my own future in a way I haven't in a long time.

I have no need to make this decision today, or tomorrow, or next week. I want to get that post-nup written up and signed and then see where I am and how I feel, and how he is behaving. I am going to read through my threads from Jan/Feb and again June/July to see how I felt then and see what (if anything) feels different now. I will say, honestly, that what he said and how he said it felt very, very different than it ever has in the past. And he has NEVER said to me what I want to hear, as you all well know.

Thanks to all of you for your continued support and words... it is really helpful. I'm going to go make passionfruit ice cream with D10 now smile xoxo
Posted By: BluWave

Re: Crossroads - 09/13/20 05:13 PM

May,

I am glad you are holding off on making a decision. You have been at this (posting with us) for a year now and he has been cheating for 2.5 years. So there is no hurry. I'll say again, I don't think there is even really a decision here because he has not shown you a person worth choosing. That doesn't happen with a sad face, an apology and promises. It happens when he is committed to doing the hard work and he shows you those slow, consistent changes over time. It takes many months and more likely years. I know you know that already, but I also know when you are in that moment, it is human nature to want to grasp those feelings of relief. Those feelings are fleeting. Really, all emotions are fleeting.

My biggest concern for you is that you over analyze so many details, which leads to justifications, and then the bigger picture becomes overshadowed. I have watched you do this before and so I want to caution you to that. I tend to think that in life, and in relationships as well, our greatest strengths are inversely our biggest obstacles. Esther Perel discusses this often in her work -- what initially attracts us to our partner is ultimately what also leads to destroying the relationship. It is as if we are attracted to this unmet need in childhood and then that attachment style goes unchecked and it backfires. I see you as this very intelligent, loving and loyal person. I see you wanting to understand him, what happened in your M and make sense of things. But there are some things that just do not make sense and we need to come to a point where we accept that.

You might want to make sense of why he did what he did and that he is showing all of these signs of improvement (you said that each time by the way) but it doesn't matter. What matters is the bigger picture. He has been dishonest, selfish and not prioritized you or his family in a very long time. You continue to believe what he tells you. You honestly just believe what he told you about his email to her? I find myself just shaking my head more and more with every month that I read your posts. I feel sad for you. I want to see a May that really, truly values herself and how she deserves to be treated. I know you are an amazing, loving and loyal woman and you want to see the good in him. That is your strong suit but that has now become your greatest weakness. Because you have taught him how to treat you. He has treated you very poorly for a long time and he will continue to do so until you say enough is enough! Why are you even entertaining the idea of taking him back when he has again dragged you through the mud???

I don't see that there is a decision to be made here. He sees it that way because you have allowed him to lie, cheat and then come and go as it suits him. There is only a decision to stay married to a good and honest man. For someone as corrupt as him, that will take a very long time to fix and also to prove to you. What decision can you make without all of that first?

I think your thread has come so far away from the basic principles we learn here. Please go back and read Sandi's 37 rules and think about what they mean and why. The overall focus is that we separate oursleves from someone that treats us badly and rejects us. Then we focus on ourself and our kids and do the healing. We have to heal ourself so we can be strong and be able to make that tough decision if it ever comes around. If that other person comes back around and shows us someone that deserves another chance, then we are better equipped to do the hard work. In your sitch, that has never happened, and worse, he keeps trying to break you down and you allow it. .... It is really simple and doesn't involve the frequent over analysis, which in your sitch I fear has become a lot of justification and excuses for what he is doing. I think you want to believe he is a good man because you love the idea of him and the family, or you still love what you could have had.

Sorry for the 2by4. I just don't understand or believe why you are or will just allow all this BS again and again. This was strike 3. He's out.

Blu
Posted By: SamCal

Re: Crossroads - 09/13/20 06:30 PM

^^^this.

I don't really have anything to contribute that others haven't already articulated (better than I could, too), but it does really come off as he is still shirking responsibility in terms of not wanting to be the person to end it. If AP had answered that email, do you think this convo would happen? If you look at his actions, even within that 24 hour span, they don't align with what he is saying. I am sure he wants what he is saying to be true, but he can't speak it into existence - he has to actually do it. He's put off making a decision on this for years - and still can't really do it even when the variable of you knowing about it appears.

Have you talked to your mom about it? I know you wanted to but he asked you to put it off.
Posted By: may22

Re: Crossroads - 09/13/20 08:35 PM

Hi guys,

I'm really thinking about everything you have all posted here. Blu, I know I'm an overanalyzer. it is who I am. I will research online for hours before buying ANYTHING. It is really important to me to know that I am making the right choice for me and my kids. TBH if I *don't* look at it from every angle, I know I'll have regrets in the end. D is hard. I know it. I believe there is something better on the other side for me, absolutely. But I believe in marriage. I believe in the vows that I made. Even though my H has turned out to be a total $hithead, unfortunately he is the father of my children and it simply isn't all that easy for me to wash my hands of him and walk away. it goes against a lot of what I believe.

I still haven't made a decision. At this point I want to focus on what is good for me, in this moment, and that is getting a post-nup agreed to and signed. (Wooba, thanks for this idea to still move forward with a post-nup-- having that security no matter what, in this moment where he's feeling like he's feeling, is really important to me going forward.) All this other stuff can wait. I am in no hurry. He is pushing a little, not a lot, because apparently he really liked this apartment and needs to tell them by tomorrow. Too bad, so sad. I have been very patient and if he isn't willing to give me even a fraction of that patience back, then, this is all easy.

I know this is going to sound like I'm defending him, or defending my inability to make a decision, but I do want to point out that kicking someone out who is saying he doesn't want to leave is a lot harder than not taking someone back who has already left. At least, it feels like that to me, from where I sit today. What is the difference, really, in letting him prove through his actions with him in the house rather than once we are separated and traumatized the children? MWD in her books consistently say in-house separation is better than leaving, as long as you can handle it. The DB coach I had said the same thing.

The cage door is open. He has an apartment waiting for him. The only thing I can say to him that would make him go is that I am choosing D and promise to be friends with you, that I'll work with you through this D as a team sport and we'll all be happy on the other side. I know if I said that he would say OK and take the apartment. But. I can't say that honestly. I will NOT be friends with him. D is NOT a team sport. I will prioritize the children absolutely. But we will not be friends. And honesty, to me, is a core value. I will not be inauthentic to who I am and what is important to me, even if taking that path is harder and more painful. I have said all along I can't be the one to pull the trigger, but I know there will be a time when I'm ready. I do see that path in front of me right now. I can't say that I think it is the best choice for me and the children, authentically, today. But nor do I need to make that choice today.

We have had a few conversations in which he says he feels like I'm the one arguing to S and he's the one defending the M. He said it feels like I've been the lifeboat supporting our M for a long time, and he's been trying to sink it, only focused on himself and his selfishness. Now I'm realizing that its all been about him and my needs matter, at the same time that he is choosing our M, and he feels like I'm sticking a knife and ripping a giant hole in my lifeboat before his is blown up. Can't we wait until we row ashore for me to let go? (Scout, was it you that called him an emotional vampire? I feel like this shows that so clearly... he takes and takes and takes until I say I can't anymore, then he asks for just a bit more.)

SamCal, I haven't. I really don't want to until I'm absolutely sure. You're right, too, that 24 hours (or 48 or wherever we are right now) is a very, very short time. His actions since he made the decision and told me what he is choosing have been consistent, but that is a drop in the bucket. I don't know what he would be doing right now if she'd responded. Perhaps it would have given him the fuel he needs to take the apartment. What he is saying to me is that it has never been enough, his feelings for her, to actually leave. And when it finally came to the precipice, where we are as close as we have ever been to actually divorcing, all he had to do was take that final step, he couldn't do it. And so he knows he can't. He can't leave me and the girls. (probably more correct to say, the girls and me... he can't leave our family.)

Blu, I know I've said there is improvement every time. And it is honestly very true. He has steadfastly refused to say any of these things he's saying now, even knowing it was what I needed to hear. And I don't believe he is a cold-eyed manipulator who knows what to say to reel me back in. If he was, he would have said all this $hit before. To me, the question is less does he mean what he says right now, but more does he have the strength of character to actually act on it or not (all evidence points to not). And/or, is he saying this now because he feels it but tomorrow will go back to FEELING something else again? Just like we shouldn't be taken in by their negative spewing, nor should we be taken in when they swing the other way.

I'll re-read Sandi's rules. I feel I am continuing to work on my detachment and not letting him or his A hurt me. My emotions aren't getting pulled in this time, or at least not to the extent they have in the past. If I choose to stay, it will not be in reconciliation. it will be in continued DBing, not for him, but for me, while I see what he does. While there is a part of me that is happy to hear these words from him, finally, I know they aren't enough. They mean nothing without the actions to back them up. He's saying he wants the chance to show me the actions. I need to decide if it is worth the strong possibility of yet another fail.
Posted By: Ginger1

Re: Crossroads - 09/13/20 09:56 PM

I’m just going to leave this here:

What if OW did respond to that email and she said she wanted to be with him?

Do you think his comeback would have happened?
Posted By: may22

Re: Crossroads - 09/14/20 02:17 AM

So, more drama, friends.

He took me down to the basement where he got out a box hidden back somewhere crazy. he said, I know you asked me if I had any mementos of her. I lied. Here they are. And he opened the box and proceeded to name each memento and throw it into the garbage. He said, you can look at any of this if you want, or you don't need to. Playbills from shows they went to (including Hamilton, Wayfarer), tickets to Harry Potter at Universal (where we took our kids the next year together), love notes from her. Two candles she had given him. A vase she had given him.

Oh, yeah. Also, they had seen each other in a bunch of other cities he hadn't told me about. He went to a wedding with her as her date. They went to breweries we had talked about visiting together. He went through each one. He checked with me several times-- do you want to hear this? I said yes and he kept going. She came to our hometown, which he'd specifically told me she hadn't done. I was here. He took her on a couple of hikes, other places we had gone together. Slept with her at her hotel room one night and came home to me.

He said, I was never going to tell you about this box. I was going to hang onto it in the hopes that one day we would get back together. She had given him 39 love notes for his 39th birthday, all things she loved about him. He handed them to me and I put them in the garbage.

I think my detachment was complete. I didn't say anything. I didn't actually feel anything, except a vague positive feeling about knowing the truth. he said, she is a good person. It really bothers me when you say she's a whore. I had glanced at enough of the notes to actually feel empathy towards her in the moment, towards both of them. I said, she isn't a bad person. He started crying.

Oh, and.... there never was any email. He felt caught in the moment when I asked if they'd been in contact and made up the email on the spot. he hadn't talked to her during our trip at all, but the morning of the day her told me he wanted a D he talked to her, and they've been in contact this week (until Friday, when he told me he was choosing me). She's still there for him. He showed her the apartment he wants. He said she's saying she isn't sure what she wants, but he knows she's still there if he called her and said he was taking the apartment and is choosing her.

I still said nothing, really. Felt nothing, really. He took the garbage out and put it in the trash outside, replaced the bag. He said, I will call and decline the apartment. To me, this is the perfect apartment. If I'm going to leave, this represents to me the ideal situation. It is absolutely perfect. it has space for the kids, close but not walkable, beautiful, not depressing like a number of other ones I've looked at. I still have what is my very final chance with her. But I'm not choosing that. Sometime this week I will call her and tell her I'm choosing you and my girls and declining the apartment, and that I don't want to be in contact with her anymore. I said ok. He talked a lot about this time being different because it is coming from him, he is making the choice, he wants to reclaim all the memories of the places they went for us. I asked if he was still OK signing the pre-nup, he said yes.

I guess I could have taken that moment to say enough is enough. I didn't-- I didn't really feel angry or anything. For whatever reason this most recent (I was going to say "final" though who knows... though at this point I don't possibly know what more he could share that is worse than what he has). is this detachment? I'm really like, whatever, at this point. Just want to get that prenup signed and decide from there.

I know I know I know. But, detachment feels pretty good.
Posted By: scout12

Re: Crossroads - 09/14/20 02:54 AM

Gross. Why don't you take the apartment for you and the girls?
Posted By: PLC

Re: Crossroads - 09/14/20 05:20 AM

Why does he even have to call her and tell her his decision? What does he owe her? Nothing.
Posted By: may22

Re: Crossroads - 09/14/20 07:37 AM

Scout... I'm not leaving this house. I'm working on drafting up what I want in the post-nup and a big part is that this house is mine.

PLC... Assuming I decide I want to stay with him, I want him to have closure with her. I think it is important for him. And, even though she's a sad sorry person who was willing to have a relationship with a married man... he's been d!cking her around for 2.5 years. That is messed up. She needs it too. I really don't GAF too much at this point. Plus I have zero control over whether he talks to her or not. If he thinks he needs to do this, that is his choice. Once it happens, if it happens, I can see the lay of the land at that point and see what I think.

I'm not holding my breath, though. just focusing on me. The new revelations were interesting. We will see.

Aside from all that, I did some reorganizing and clearing out of my stuff in my bedroom, chilled with the girls, watched a movie cuddled with them outside (we had set up an outdoor movie screen in the spring), tried a new recipe with my sous vide, bought a Roomba and set it up (my H thinks I have too many floor cleaning appliances and didn't want another but D8 is sort of allergic to the kittens and I'm trying to keep it under control), and did some serious cuddling with these two silly little kittens. I feel pretty calm, all things considered.
Posted By: BluWave

Re: Crossroads - 09/14/20 10:29 AM

More of the same drama and him lying and not respecting your boundaries. He throws you a few crumbs, expects credit for his minimal interest in you and you allow it. Same script. The only difference here is that you are starting to become desensitized to it. This is how people end up staying with and abuser.

Again, there is no decision to be made here. You can decide to be married to a person AFTER they show you a person that is marriage material. He is not. He continues to only think of himself and his relief in sharing that drama and getting it off his chest. He is his choosing plan B. For now..... I don’t see anywhere how he cares for your experience and process.

This is all very sad to me. I wish you valued yourself more than to think this is acceptable (to even entertain his selfish drama). And you don’t have to try and convince us he is a good person and this time is different. This is your life. We will care for you and try and support you anyways because that’s what friends do. But I don’t think anyone is convinced of anything. I only see that your tolerance what BS continues and now you are becoming numb to it. I’m sorry. :-(

Blu
Posted By: LH19

Re: Crossroads - 09/14/20 12:45 PM

M,

BW is a very wise woman and right now if you let him back it is at best a "Stay of Execution" until the next OW comes along. Get him out of the house and if he wants to show you with actions he's changed then you can cross that bridge when you come to it.
Posted By: wooba

Re: Crossroads - 09/14/20 02:23 PM

Originally Posted by may22
I know this is going to sound like I'm defending him, or defending my inability to make a decision, but I do want to point out that kicking someone out who is saying he doesn't want to leave is a lot harder than not taking someone back who has already left. At least, it feels like that to me, from where I sit today. What is the difference, really, in letting him prove through his actions with him in the house rather than once we are separated and traumatized the children? MWD in her books consistently say in-house separation is better than leaving, as long as you can handle it. The DB coach I had said the same thing.


It is hard. And the difference is that you will get to heal properly. Without him around you don’t constantly get all this bs from him and have it mess with your head. Stop worrying about the children. They will be fine and you know it. You need to put yourself first. Everything else I agree with the posters above. Detachment is when you don’t let his crap upset you. But self love is knowing that you need to walk away from his crap. I know this is all incredibly hard. But please take your time to think it through. What exactly is left of this man that you feel like you still need to hold on to him?
Posted By: wayfarer

Re: Crossroads - 09/14/20 02:42 PM

So I just have a few thoughts on all of this. He's a master manipulator. Like heavy weight champion of the world. I won't disagree for a second with everyone else on here about that. Or that he's selfish, immature, and very likely not making this choice from a place that rest solidly in the thought that you are a person of high value and that you are irreplaceable in his life. However, the reality here is those words are all coming from people who were the LBS.

Returning or making that choice for M 2.0 isn't a pretty or straight line. There was a 2.5 year long relationship here how many people get over their serious relationships of 3 years over night? They don't. You wanting to see him have his closure is a kindness he doesn't deserve, but it is coming from a logical place. Not a manipulated one. There is going to be a long hang over here, and an even longer road to recovery. Affairs almost never last that long, and the reality is it didn't last as long as it did because you allowed it to, you didn't know. You simply didn't know for the bulk of it. The fact that you are starting to have empathy for them both and have become so detached is such a sign of strength and growth through this. You acknowledging you can't control his feelings of loss over AP is a big deal. Most people on here probably wouldn't tolerate the amount of information both you and I endured. But if nothing else we've grown though the pain, and frankly we both will have closure on the OW in a way that others may never get.

The other thing is you're hearing from a lot of people who were physically separated. Very, very few of us have dealt with this process with the WS in the same house full time from beginning of the A to piecing. It's a pretty rare occurrence on here. I think there are plethora of variables in that. So with that in mind I'll agree you need to keep focusing on you. Keep self assessing what's acceptable for you. What's healthy and what's not for you. Keep checking and re-checking those boundaries.You really should get the legal stuff in order here, as a safety net. However, outside of that you have time. You don't have to kick him out to make this decision, but if you do, out doesn't mean over. Yes, I like you felt like if he's out that door I'm done with this, but it doesn't have to be. Right now I think it's just important you take your space as you need it and if that means him in the basement, ok. If that means him in another house, ok. I think it's also important to make sure you have the time you need here. So if you want a week, a month or a year to decided and you want to do it with him in the house that's up to you.

This is your journey. If M 2.0 is what you want and you want to go for it with him never leaving the home that's up to you. You want him out that's up to you too. And if you just want to give it a little time to see if this time is any different, that's yours too.

None of this is a perfect science and no matter what road you choose. Both will be arduous. And neither will make everyone happy all of the time.
Posted By: Ginger1

Re: Crossroads - 09/14/20 02:50 PM

I echo what everyone else says.

This isn’t easy for sure. And I know a part of this is not wanting to be the one to “end the marriage”

He is really a master manipulator.

He needs to get his closure and heal on his own. That isn’t for you to do. Help him and support him in this. That’s on him.

I don’t know how you trust him when he keeps lying. And getting numb to this is actually more worrisome.

I would have him leave and get this apartment and let him Heal and get over his AP of 2 years all on his own. Then if he truly heals and stops being a manipulator and liar, maybe when he’s healed you guys can work on marriage 2.0.

But he is all over the place. he is not ready for marriage 2.0. He’s got a lot of work to do on himself before he is ready to work at a better marriage.

Your kids will be fine. Probably better actually.

Time for him to get out of your space and let him work on his issues
Posted By: Gigi123

Re: Crossroads - 09/14/20 03:04 PM

Hey May

Im into vedic astrology and just that point of view and living, it very much encourages spiritual growth. I was listening to a lecture the other day In relation to betrayal in marriage and how to act. And whilst their view is that the partner that was given to you is your partner for life and the one you need to learn to love and accept, in case of betrayal, you distance yourself, you grow, and not allow to be used or humiliated in any way. And i see so many similarities with db here! And i feel like his journey is starting now....from the moment you ask him to leave and live separately until he proves to you that he is worth it. He might never do that May, he might never learn or grow, but do you see that you are driven by fear here, fear that the notion of your marriage will be lost. You dont have to D now, but you need to have self respect and grow into a happy woman who is content and in harmony with herself.

The choice is absolutely yours and i think everyone here will support you no matter what.

P.s i see so many similarities with my H and i often wonder if he is capable of changing his lying ways
Posted By: Pommy99

Re: Crossroads - 09/14/20 03:11 PM

May, how can you be sure that AP didn't give him full blown rejection after he reached out? This is a very fast u-turn on his part. Do you believe him when he says she is still there for him and this is HIS choice?

Thinking of you x
Posted By: unchien

Re: Crossroads - 09/14/20 04:06 PM

may ~

The most empathetic thing I can say about your H is that he seems like he's in an emotional vortex and making highly impulsive decisions. He does not sound like someone who has undergone deep introspection and made the kind of lasting change you are looking for. He sounds like someone operating under a lot of fear and emotion and making dramatic gestures like showing you that box of cr*p.

True lasting change is evident over time. It is not dependent on the daily fluctuations of one's emotions.

Hang in there, you have a lot of people here rooting for you. Things will get better.
Posted By: may22

Re: Crossroads - 09/14/20 11:42 PM

Thanks, everyone. Thinking a lot. If I make this decision, it will not be spur of the moment as crossing the line of asking my H to leave has always been the one thing I said I would never, ever do. That I cannot do it, that taking that step is violating one of my core values and breaking a sacred oath I made to my children when I chose to have them.

I am not saying I think it is wrong for people to leave their Hs or to D. I think every situation is different and people need to make the choices that are the best for their children and then them, in that order. I also think that for most if not many, those two things are the same. But not always. I am now 100% prepared to be on my own, with my kids, establish my own life without H, be the best mom I could be, find that sexy philanthropist (Sage wink ) and have that thrill and joy of falling in love again with someone new. Seeing what I can do on my own. Fixing the $hit around the house myself. Taking over all those tasks that H does and finding empowerment in doing it all on my own. Reclaiming space in the house and with my time from H. Being able to be wholly honest with my friends and family and let myself lean on them. I am ready for that. Looking forward to it, even.

And, for the first time, I also see that the option, for me, to make the choice myself is there. It was never really there for me before. Now it is, and I can do it if I decide it is what I want for me and for my kids. But just because that option is now available to me psychologically doesn't mean I will decide it is the right choice for me, today. But having it as an option is so freeing. I wish you guys could feel how I feel right now. I know that I can make this choice when I'm ready to make it, and I can make it tomorrow or in two months or a year (once I get the post nup done, I'm doing nothing until that is ironed out and signed).

I'm not numb to the lying. But for whatever reason, hearing all those last things and seeing the memorabilia go in the garbage made it real to me, maybe for the first time, totally real. That my husband has been in a relationship with another woman for a long time. That our marriage is indeed over. It was over a long time ago. I just didn't know. Now I do. I'm not holding on to what was anymore, or what I wished it to be. It is what it is. Nothing to be done about the past. Only decisions to be made about the future, and if I want to consider a new relationship with my H, or move on on my own.

And after standing through all of the BS I have stood through, I'm really not prepared to ask him to leave at this very moment out of anger about the latest revelation. Especially because for those of you who have been following me, you know that while his body has been here, he has never said explicitly to me that he wants this M, that he believes we can reestablish intimacy between us, fall back in love, whatever.

Also, I don't think he's being purposefully manipulative. I actually don't think he has the EQ to do that, especially at this level. He is confused and sad and scared. And I am not going to get emotionally dragged into caring about where his head is right now. The emotional fog has lifted for me around my H at the moment. I am no longer buffeted by anger and sadness when I think about H and AP together. It happened. (I do still have rage about the potential future, though. That isn't dealt with yet.) I am not gobbling up these crumbs. But I may-- may-- be willing to wait a bit to see if something more substantial can emerge.

Question for you guys, though. I have my next IC appointment on Wednesday and want to talk to her about my values and the question that has come up here a bunch, whether or not I value myself. Any other suggestions? We've talked somewhat about my attitude towards D, which I can address again with her as well.

I love and appreciate you all, so much. xx M
Posted By: LH19

Re: Crossroads - 09/14/20 11:46 PM

M,

I wanted to bring your post from PM99s thread in regards to your comments to me. I want to make it clear that I am not telling you to "kick your H to the curb". What I am suggesting that you need to get him out of the house to work on himself and earn another chance with you. Right now he does not see you as a person of value and quite frankly I think he gets his rocks off manipulating you. If he doesn't have to work to get you back he will certainly walk again in the future. You are seeing it first hand with PM99 what happens when it's too easy. You are being driven by fear and what you fear you attract. You talk about your core values, beliefs and boundaries. I am assuming that affairs, lies and manipulation don't make the list. You can certainly turn a blind eye and let him right back in with no questions asked that is certainly your right. Or you can stand strong and make it clear that it's not so simple anymore. Humans by nature want what they have to work for so make him earn it.
Posted By: Ginger1

Re: Crossroads - 09/14/20 11:55 PM

You are extremely skeptical of how one day he wanted to go back to OW and found an apartment to the next day saying the right things to stay in the house, right?how do you flop from going back to your affair partner of 2 years one day to the next being totally committed to rebuilding your M?

He said all the right things to get the vacation he wanted. He got it. And came home and said he wanted his mistress back and he was in love with her.

Do these things align with your core values?

I get that you feel empowered to ask him to leave....

But may, do you have any boundaries? What are your boundaries if you do? How do you enforce them?
Posted By: may22

Re: Crossroads - 09/15/20 12:19 AM

Originally Posted by Pommy99
May, how can you be sure that AP didn't give him full blown rejection after he reached out? This is a very fast u-turn on his part. Do you believe him when he says she is still there for him and this is HIS choice?

I'm sure. There were a lot of details. Also, I think he'd be more worried about trashing the potential for our R by telling me he was lying again about his communication with her than by me feeling he was choosing me as plan B because plan A wasn't available anymore.

Originally Posted by LH19
I want to make it clear that I am not telling you to "kick your H to the curb". What I am suggesting that you need to get him out of the house to work on himself and earn another chance with you.

I get that and appreciate the clarification. Like a trial separation? Or done and moving on? I just don't feel like a trial separation is useful at all. I have zero chance of trusting he won't be in contact with his AP if we S for any reason, which means that basically I have to believe he is talking to her, which then means I'm done. No need to look back. It is the same exact thing as him moving out and us separating for real. I feel it would just be more wishy-washiness. Also, it is the actual separation and its effects on the children that is my major roadblock to a separation, so it isn't a trigger I want to pull until I'm absolutely sure that is what is best for the children and for me.

I could potentially get behind asking him to move down to the basement for a bit to give me more space. That has been something I'm considering.

Originally Posted by Gigi123
He might never do that May, he might never learn or grow, but do you see that you are driven by fear here, fear that the notion of your marriage will be lost. You dont have to D now, but you need to have self respect and grow into a happy woman who is content and in harmony with herself.

Thanks, Gigi... I need to look up vedic astrology. I actually am not scared that my marriage is lost. It is gone. That's OK. There is nothing I can do about that now. What's past is past, and I'm trying to make sure I have a totally clear-eyed view of what is now and what I can do within my own boundaries and in alignment with my own values before I make my next move.

Originally Posted by LH19
You talk about your core values, beliefs and boundaries. I am assuming that affairs, lies and manipulation don't make the list.

My core values, beliefs, and boundaries are for me and shape what is and is not acceptable in terms of my own choices and behaviors. H's behavior and choices are all on him, not on me. Of course I never would have picked a life partner whose values were that different from my own. I don't think they were. But people do change, are in a bad place and starting to look at 40, get on a slippery slope of small choices that feel good and seem OK and can be justified in the moment, and suddenly you are not the person you thought you were. I think that is what has happened to my H.

Now he needs to find his way back-- not necessarily back into our M, but back to having his behaviors align with his own values. Or, he won't. I don't know and it is completely out of my control. He spent all this time convincing himself that D was the right course of action because True Love, or our R had no chance, or I didn't really love him because of the SSM, or whatever. He's grieved our M. I've now grieved it too, this past week. He can decide to be someone who lives by his values, or maybe he want to be that person but is too weak or governed by his own impulses and selfishness to actually do it, or maybe he no longer cares and just wants to consume whatever life has on offer without worrying about breaking commitments or the consequences your choices have on other people. That is for him to decide. For me, I need to decide how I want to live my own life, how I want to feel when I look back on this time period without regret. I'm not going to ask him to leave because I think it would have the greatest chance of saving my marriage. I can't traumatize the children without actually knowing in my bones that the best thing for all of us is to leave. And when I leave, or ask him to leave, it will be for good. (Yes, Wayfinder, I know it doesn't have to be that way. But that is where my heart is at this point.)
Posted By: Valeska19

Re: Crossroads - 09/15/20 12:19 AM

Originally Posted by may22
Question for you guys, though. I have my next IC appointment on Wednesday and want to talk to her about my values and the question that has come up here a bunch, whether or not I value myself. Any other suggestions? We've talked somewhat about my attitude towards D, which I can address again with her as well.


I agree with Ginger about boundaries. That would be my suggestion to discuss above all else as they are a form of self care and help enforce/protect/figure out your core values.

Also - how about a plan or a list of benchmarks that your H has show/follow?
Posted By: may22

Re: Crossroads - 09/15/20 02:44 AM

Hi Ginger and Valeska,

Boundaries... what i have been working on with my IC since June. Something that basically didn't exist in our relationship so has been pretty difficult for me to even understand, let alone stand up and enforce. A bunch of posters, especially AlisonUK, have really helped me here.

My current boundaries are:
-- leaving the M, S or D, is a bright line for me. I will not be friends if we S or D. We will not play happy family. Easy.
-- I do not want to hear about H's feelings for AP. (I realize that we kind of blew through this one with him telling me the rest of the stories about the times they spent together and her love notes to him. But, it was my choice to look and to listen-- he checked in multiple times throughout to be sure I did want to hear.) To the extent that I want to know about the A, I want it to be facts, not feelings. This has been relatively easy for me to hold, excepting the conversation yesterday. For months after we tried to R the first time he found it impossible to discuss any aspect of the A without shoving BUT I LOVE HER down my throat, so we avoided talking about it/her.
-- I do not want to talk about any fantasyland D scenarios where he is with AP yet H and I still eat dinner as a family and vacation together.
-- I don't want to talk about the SSM with him. I've shared where I was multiple times and my regret for hurting him, and to me there is no reason to go over it again and again if we are not staying together. I am tired of it coming up as a justification for the A, so am not willing to talk about it any more.
-- I will not make this decision for him.

Those are my authentic boundaries at this point. My IC really wants me to stop being empathetic to him and stop letting him lean on me to process his emotions (she thinks I shoulder his emotional burden and he has this unhealthy need to process through all this cr@p with me, has wanted me to make the decision together with him, etc.). For the most part, he's stopped bringing up the SSM and talking about fantasyland D scenarios.

I still need to stop him from talking about his feelings for AP, though he will respect my boundary with a simple hand motion reminder. (Before, he would pout and say he didn't want to talk about the outlines of what had happened without the feelings because they were inseparable). I'm actually wondering if spilling the rest of his guts will help here-- he'd said in the week leading up to the most recent BD and during that conversation that he felt there were things I still needed to understand about him, that I didn't "see" him, and from what I can tell I think that it is all just about his feelings for her that I had refused to hear.

This week has been the longest week ever.
Posted By: may22

Re: Crossroads - 09/15/20 03:04 AM

Originally Posted by wayfarer
The other thing is you're hearing from a lot of people who were physically separated. Very, very few of us have dealt with this process with the WS in the same house full time from beginning of the A to piecing. It's a pretty rare occurrence on here. I think there are plethora of variables in that. So with that in mind I'll agree you need to keep focusing on you. Keep self assessing what's acceptable for you. What's healthy and what's not for you. Keep checking and re-checking those boundaries.You really should get the legal stuff in order here, as a safety net. However, outside of that you have time. You don't have to kick him out to make this decision, but if you do, out doesn't mean over. Yes, I like you felt like if he's out that door I'm done with this, but it doesn't have to be. Right now I think it's just important you take your space as you need it and if that means him in the basement, ok. If that means him in another house, ok. I think it's also important to make sure you have the time you need here. So if you want a week, a month or a year to decided and you want to do it with him in the house that's up to you.

Wayfarer, this is really very helpful. I have to say I've had you on my mind quite a bit, recently. I remember you saying once that you actually felt kind of bad for your H when he got dumped by his AP. You were able to see so clearly from the very, very beginning what was going on and just took your own emotions out of it, decided what was best for your girls and buckled down and just took one step at a time, every day, no BS. Sometimes I think if I had been able to channel more of my inner WF back in the spring I'd be in a different place right now, but maybe not. Guess it is all part of my journey. But I'm feeling that inner WF zen right now that I have been chasing for so long and it feels good. xoxo
Posted By: Sage4

Re: Crossroads - 09/15/20 04:25 AM

Hi May,

I agree with so much of what everyone is saying and suggesting. And I also totally empathize with the position you are in and the paths that lay before you. None of which have clear roadmap for you to follow. Which means that you get to listen to your gut, stay true to you and do the best you can right now with the information you have (from H, from all of us, from within yourself).

I think there is a blurry line between enabling H/empathizing too much with him, and your own self-worth/value. For a long time in my R, I was able to be a great enabler and also have a strong sense of self worth and value. So the two felt pretty exclusive from each other to me. Until H betrayed my trust/love/emotional support. The enabler in me wanted to be big and take it all and 'help' him through this difficult time. But I couldn't do that and also protect my own value as a human. So I spent too long losing my own self-worth in this process. Which made me 1) less attractive; and 2) highlighted H's inadequacies, because here he was decimating me and even then, I 'pitied' and tried to take care of him. (<<not really, of course, but I can see that's what he felt)

I know that many people see H as a master manipulator, but he could also just be really dependent on you to fix, answer, solve and navigate the tough emotional stuff for him as he lacks the muscle strength to do so on his own. Which is partly his fault and partly yours for enabling him for so long. H needs to fall, hard. And then build himself back up, brick by brick so he has the stamina and strength to stand on his own two feet for the rest of his life. Can you 'allow' this to happen? Can you watch him do this and not lift a finger to help him? Because until he does this all on his own, you will not be able to move forward into a true partnership and path to M 2.0. WF is a great example of this.

Along this thought, would you be willing to explore if the things you think are lines in the sand right now, might not be in your best interest? Nor facilitate the best outcome? Can you let go of everything you thought were absolute truths right now and start from scratch? No matter what happens in the future, right now you are walking in a very different landscape than you were a few months ago and you might need a different pair of shoes.

You are going to be great, May. Whatever happens.

(((May)))
Posted By: may22

Re: Crossroads - 09/15/20 08:28 AM

Hi Sage,

it is good to hear from you... hope you are doing OK.

Question for you about the enabling. Did you realize you were doing this during the healthy part of your M? Or is it just now that you're seeing it? For me, I never ever ever thought that was a role I played with my H. I definitely don't see myself even now as helping him or taking care of him. Just frustrated and angry with him and sort of sorry for him in between. When we were talking more and when everyone here and my IC was like screaming at me to stop processing all his garbage with him/for him, I was totally taken aback. It didn't feel like that to me at all. I felt like I was just trying to follow the DB validation rules (along with the occasional truth dart when I couldn't stand it any longer).

More recently, though, I've recognized this more. Most of all last week when I was in a place to be able to shut him down quickly each time and it really became clear that he wants me to talk about it all with him. The entire time he has wanted me to make the decision for him. My IC's exercise for me was to shut my mouth and let him stew when he says self-pitying things. I can do this. I think if I choose to stay i'll need to build pretty thick emotional walls for awhile. Expect nothing. Co exist and focus on the children and myself and see how that goes.

A different pair of shoes. That resonates. if it were just my shoes it would be so easy. my girls love their dad so GD much. I almost wish we were high conflict so I had a good reason to S.
Posted By: LH19

Re: Crossroads - 09/15/20 08:55 AM

Well May if your core values are loyalty, honesty and integrity and your husbands are infidelity, lies and manipulation you can certainly see where this could/will be an issue in your marriage.

So I know you have read on the board what it takes for a successful reconciliation. I have posted many times and I know Sandi has also. So if right out of the gate you are afraid to separate for him to work on his issues that he will text A/P then do you really reconciliation is really on the table?

So a two plus year affair is not a reason to separate but some yelling at one another is acceptable? Come on May quit BSing yourself. When you are seeing your IC forget about your marriage and get to the root cause of what you are so afraid of and start working on that.
Posted By: Valeska19

Re: Crossroads - 09/15/20 04:40 PM

Originally Posted by may22
Boundaries... what i have been working on with my IC since June. Something that basically didn't exist in our relationship so has been pretty difficult for me to even understand, let alone stand up and enforce. A bunch of posters, especially AlisonUK, have really helped me here.


I totally get it. I've been in IC for 3 months specifically dealing with boundaries. If you want - Google Vicki Tidwell Palmer and boundaries. She is a game changer for me.

Originally Posted by may22

My current boundaries are:
-- I will not make this decision for him.


My question for you is yes - you will make not the decision for him - but are you enabling his indecision-making?

Originally Posted by may22
Those are my authentic boundaries at this point. My IC really wants me to stop being empathetic to him and stop letting him lean on me to process his emotions (she thinks I shoulder his emotional burden and he has this unhealthy need to process through all this cr@p with me, has wanted me to make the decision together with him, etc.). For the most part, he's stopped bringing up the SSM and talking about fantasyland D scenarios.

Totally agreed. I said something to Pommy on her thread.. His emotional spew is not your burden. He needs to find someone else to talk to about all this stuff.

Originally Posted by may22
I still need to stop him from talking about his feelings for AP, though he will respect my boundary with a simple hand motion reminder. (Before, he would pout and say he didn't want to talk about the outlines of what had happened without the feelings because they were inseparable). I'm actually wondering if spilling the rest of his guts will help here-- he'd said in the week leading up to the most recent BD and during that conversation that he felt there were things I still needed to understand about him, that I didn't "see" him, and from what I can tell I think that it is all just about his feelings for her that I had refused to hear.
.

I would not suggest that H spill his guts w/o guidance. A therapeutic disclosure of sorts. Are you familiar with that?
Posted By: Sage4

Re: Crossroads - 09/15/20 05:21 PM

Good morning, May!

Originally Posted by may22
Question for you about the enabling. Did you realize you were doing this during the healthy part of your M? Or is it just now that you're seeing it? For me, I never ever ever thought that was a role I played with my H. I definitely don't see myself even now as helping him or taking care of him. Just frustrated and angry with him and sort of sorry for him in between. When we were talking more and when everyone here and my IC was like screaming at me to stop processing all his garbage with him/for him, I was totally taken aback. It didn't feel like that to me at all. I felt like I was just trying to follow the DB validation rules (along with the occasional truth dart when I couldn't stand it any longer).


I had no idea the depths of my enabling until my IC pointed it out to be in really clear terms. And then family members started telling me stories of when they were worried about how much I was 'helping'' H deal with the stress of his job and life at the expense of my own well-being. The enabling can be unrecognizable in real time. The very fact that your H feels comfortable telling you all the juicy details of his feelings for AP (and has for a long time) is a sign of you emotionally enabling him. If you look at any place in your R where you don't have good boundaries, you will find enabling occurring. Other arenas where I was guilty of enabling: me just 'getting it done' instead of asking for H's help or not expecting equitable contributions to our family life. Anywhere in your life where you didn't let H stand on his own two feet, anywhere that you stepped in to 'fix' a problem, enabling may be lurking.

But let's just say for the sake of discussion, that you are only enabling H now with this whole A thing. That needs to end for your own well-being.

Originally Posted by may22
More recently, though, I've recognized this more. Most of all last week when I was in a place to be able to shut him down quickly each time and it really became clear that he wants me to talk about it all with him.


I echo Valeska's suggestion of a therapeutic disclosure. He (along with the help of a therapist) can get all the details out on paper, all his feelings, all of it. And you get to digest it on your own terms, with the support of a therapist to help you deal with the information contained.

Originally Posted by may22
A different pair of shoes. That resonates. if it were just my shoes it would be so easy. my girls love their dad so GD much. I almost wish we were high conflict so I had a good reason to S.


Of course they love their Dad. As they should. I am not suggesting walking in a new pair of shoes means that you have to S. But I just think you need to draw that roadmap on a blank sheet of paper, not one with lots of Sharpie marks on it already.
Posted By: may22

Re: Crossroads - 09/15/20 07:51 PM

Originally Posted by LH19
Well May if your core values are loyalty, honesty and integrity and your husbands are infidelity, lies and manipulation you can certainly see where this could/will be an issue in your marriage.

Hi LH, I don't think my H's core values are infidelity, lies, and manipulation. I don't think his behavior is in alignment with his values. I think you can change that by changing your behavior or, with time, your behavior erodes your values until you are no longer the person you thought you were. Question is, I guess, how far along that path he is... but that is his work to do, not mine.

Originally Posted by LH19
So I know you have read on the board what it takes for a successful reconciliation. I have posted many times and I know Sandi has also. So if right out of the gate you are afraid to separate for him to work on his issues that he will text A/P then do you really reconciliation is really on the table?

On the "trial" S, I was thinking more along the lines of what happened in Pommy's sitch. I just don't believe in trial separations UNLESS you can be fully 100% certain that both parties are doing it to work through things on their own and decide if the M is right for them. In my case, I'd have to believe 100% he wasn't going to start texting AP again. I don't 100% believe he's going to stop all contact forever with AP now. How could I have the trust to believe he could in an S situation? This man is scared of being alone.

Originally Posted by LH19
So a two plus year affair is not a reason to separate but some yelling at one another is acceptable? Come on May quit BSing yourself. When you are seeing your IC forget about your marriage and get to the root cause of what you are so afraid of and start working on that.

A two year plus A is absolutely reason to S, for me. It is not, necessarily, for my children. A high-conflict environment for the children is reason to S. I've read a lot about the effects of D on children, and that children in a "secretly unhappy" M do worse than children in openly conflictual households (all assuming you can eventually develop a healthy co-parenting relationship-- kids whose parents continue to fight after D do the very worst), even many years down the line, and as adults they can have serious issues with trust and intimacy because you've thrown this bomb that to them came out of nowhere.

TBH, I don't think it is a good idea for me to go here-- I think it will end up with me backsliding like I did in July. I spent multiple sessions going through this issue with my IC. A major part of my identity is being a mother. In fact, that probably contributed a lot to the problems in my M, particularly the SSM. I absolutely am incapable of pulling the trigger on this family and breaking it apart unless I know in my bones it was the right thing to do for the children. (And people telling me it is won't really help. I need to come to it myself.)

My IC tested this boundary for me a lot for weeks and then finally said OK. Let's see how we can protect you given that. We also worked out what it would take for me to do it-- I'd need to believe it was better for the children, meaning either the atmosphere in the home was toxic or getting there, or I was beaten down enough to feel it was negatively affecting my parenting. Last week, I felt both were true. I was done. I was not speaking to him. I was unable to be a good mom with him under this roof, which is why i asked him to leave.

In any case, I know many/most of you here have S or D and your kids are just fine, maybe better off than before, and this probably is super annoying and frustrating to you that this part is so hard for me. And I'm sure some of you think this is just me projecting my own fears onto my kids. I truly don't think so. It is about my own identity and how I see myself. And F him if he's going to get me to compromise my own values and my own understanding of who I am on top of everything else he's done.

Originally Posted by Valeska19
My question for you is yes - you will make not the decision for him - but are you enabling his indecision-making?

I think I have enabled his indecision throughout this whole process. I don't think I'm doing that anymore in the past week. But I will carefully watch myself to be sure I'm not.

Originally Posted by Valeska19
I would not suggest that H spill his guts w/o guidance. A therapeutic disclosure of sorts. Are you familiar with that?

Originally Posted by Sage4
I echo Valeska's suggestion of a therapeutic disclosure. He (along with the help of a therapist) can get all the details out on paper, all his feelings, all of it. And you get to digest it on your own terms, with the support of a therapist to help you deal with the information contained.

What I'd meant is his spillage the other day with the box of memorabilia that he'd sworn didn't exist, her visit to our city, all the places they visited that he says we will need to reclaim for ours. He's said several times post that convo that I know 100% now. I asked him what would possibly make me think this is really everything. He said he understands why I wouldn't trust him on this, but that the difference is that this was his choice to tell me everything. That these last things he's shared were things that he thought I never really needed to know if we split, this is one of his ways of demonstrating to me that he's letting go of AP and committing to the M.

But, I do think this idea of a therapeutic disclosure or at least the opportunity for one would make sense if we stay together. I'll hold onto this one.

Sage-- super helpful about the enabling. I am definitely seeing it in the processing of the A, and me NOT engaging this week has been both freeing for me and potentially part of the reason he's acting differently this time.

I'll give you an example of how he has needed my approval throughout all of this. When he first told me he had an "emotional connection" to someone a year ago now, I of course looked her up online and found a photo. She's 11 years younger than me, same ethnic mix, but... plain looking. Kind of pretty, I can see how someone would think so, but not beautiful by any stretch. And not trying to toot my own horn here but significantly less attractive than I am. It was like when FlySolo said her H's GF was like a watered down version of her. So I said to H, I found her online. And man. I am shocked. She is NOT an attractive person. He looked at me and was all upset, and then he went and found ANOTHER photo of her online that was more attractive. He said that first one was a bad photo. This is more what she looks like. I just looked at him and shook my head.

Sunday, when he did his whole spill, he told me it always bothered him that I didn't think she was pretty. How messed up is that??
Posted By: may22

Re: Crossroads - 09/15/20 10:33 PM

LH, bringing this over from Pommy's thread:

Originally Posted by LH19
Originally Posted by Pommy99
I guess the truth is I'm scared, I'm scared he will walk away, I'm scared he wont be in my life. I'm scared of having to start over again at my age!

^^^^^^^^^^^This is what is keeping you from getting what you want in your marriage. Life will present you with people and circumstances to show you where you are not free. If you can overcome this you will eventually get what you want out of a relationship.

May22 writes paragraphs and paragraphs of words when it can be summed up in two sentences.

Thank you for being honest PM99.

LH, you've made your point, I know what you think. I'm glad you know me so well. Please at the very least keep it off of Pommy's thread, will you?

Thanks.
Posted By: Valeska19

Re: Crossroads - 09/15/20 10:45 PM

Originally Posted by may22
[On the "trial" S, I was thinking more along the lines of what happened in Pommy's sitch. I just don't believe in trial separations UNLESS you can be fully 100% certain that both parties are doing it to work through things on their own and decide if the M is right for them. In my case, I'd have to believe 100% he wasn't going to start texting AP again. I don't 100% believe he's going to stop all contact forever with AP now. How could I have the trust to believe he could in an S situation? This man is scared of being alone.

This seems like you are controlling the situation. If your H was ACTUALLY not texting his AP and committed to the marriage - the S wouldn't be as necessary.

Therapeutic separations can be very healing for a relationship. You set it for a period of time. Set ground rules, etc.
They help provide space and safety needed for each party to think and figure out what they want.

Do you think you are being honest with yourself here? Is it that you don't believe in it? or are you scared because you won't have eyes on your H and he could "wander" back to AP? You response above seems to point to the latter.
Posted By: KitCat

Re: Crossroads - 09/15/20 11:38 PM

May

I would lean toward keeping H in the house and accepting his last ditch effort to be honest as he showed you things he did not ever plan to and did not have to. Don't get me wrong as there is a lot of work ahead. But, you have to choose forgiveness if not for him... for you. Please set boundaries on what is acceptable behavior but you are going to have to get to a point where you just don't bring it up again. Could you? Could you forgive and not bring it up again?

I think in reading through your posts I sense that keeping H in the house gives you the feeling of control.

If he moves to an apartment you lose control. The ability to know if he is in touch with AP. Control comes from fear --- so what are you afraid of? You've listed it. Your fear is if he moves out he will be contact with AP... but wouldn't it mean more to you if he moved out and he made a choice to not contact AP and instead chose to do some work with the idea of winning you back? I think that is a much bigger powerful statement than he stays in the house and commits to you under duress.

There is no easy answer here.

You have to chose what is best for you. Try taking your kids out of the equation for a bit. Sure a 2 parent household is best but a household where mom is miserable or dad is miserable is still not a healthy environment to grow up in.

HUGS!
Posted By: may22

Re: Crossroads - 09/15/20 11:39 PM

Originally Posted by Valeska
Do you think you are being honest with yourself here? Is it that you don't believe in it? or are you scared because you won't have eyes on your H and he could "wander" back to AP? You response above seems to point to the latter.

For me, there are a few different things. One, trust is a squirmy and tricky thing that I don't have a whole lot of, right now. I know myself and I know I'll just doubt that he's really not in contact with her, probably regardless of whether or not he's in the house, no matter what he says. I'm going to bet that I'll doubt more if I don't see him. He is a giant cake-eater. I just want to call his bluff and say-- in or out, buddy. He's saying in, but I'll believe that when I see it. The only way I can believe it is to see it/him and his actions, and the opportunities to see that and rebuild trust seem a lot less if we are S than if we live under the same roof.

The biggest thing for me, though, is the effect of the S on the kids. I just am having a hard time wrapping my head around the benefits of a trial/therapeutic S for me or for H vs what it is telling the children.

All that being said, I'm open to the idea, especially if I felt like it was really just about the two of us and our relationship. I just feel like doing things to work on our R while he still has her in his head is useless. We've talked about him sleeping in the basement for awhile (suggestion of my IC, who said we could tell the kids Dad has some allergies and is snoring a lot so sleeping in the basement to help Mommy get more sleep because sleep is so important, or something like that, so avoiding my fears about the kids).
Posted By: IronWill

Re: Crossroads - 09/15/20 11:47 PM

Hi may -

Still reading along.

The only thing I'll add is that a "trial separation" isn't "trial" at all. Its a separation - IHS, trial, actual S - they are all the same thing. The word "trial" is added by Cs and Ls to ease the transition for both LBS and WAS.

What each of you do during the S is not the business of the other person.

You control you, H controls H.

Sorry - I know it's pretty direct, but that cuts through all the fog and mud.

Take care - stay strong.
Posted By: scout12

Re: Crossroads - 09/15/20 11:48 PM

Just gently, what would be wrong with leveling with the girls in an age-appropriate way if you decide that him moving out is the best way forward?

“Sometimes in adult relationships, we need to press pause to figure some things out. It doesn’t mean that we don’t love each other or love you both. Dad is going to live by himself for a little while and Mum will be staying here in this house. We’ll make sure you see us both every day and nothing else will change for you guys. It’s okay to feel any kind of way about this and you can talk to Mum or Dad at any time. We are both sorting out our own feelings as well and we don’t have all the answers. No matter what happens, you are both our first priority and we’ll do anything to support you.”

Is that less frightening than having the big D talk? It would be honest and authentic and considerate.
Posted By: Valeska19

Re: Crossroads - 09/15/20 11:54 PM

Originally Posted by may22
For me, there are a few different things. One, trust is a squirmy and tricky thing that I don't have a whole lot of, right now. I know myself and I know I'll just doubt that he's really not in contact with her, probably regardless of whether or not he's in the house, no matter what he says. I'm going to bet that I'll doubt more if I don't see him. He is a giant cake-eater. I just want to call his bluff and say-- in or out, buddy. He's saying in, but I'll believe that when I see it. The only way I can believe it is to see it/him and his actions, and the opportunities to see that and rebuild trust seem a lot less if we are S than if we live under the same roof.


I understand that's your perception and your truth. I disagree with it as I have seen and personally experienced the benefits of space and letting go through a S. But it is your decision. And that's okay.

Originally Posted by may22
All that being said, I'm open to the idea, especially if I felt like it was really just about the two of us and our relationship. I just feel like doing things to work on our R while he still has her in his head is useless. We've talked about him sleeping in the basement for awhile (suggestion of my IC, who said we could tell the kids Dad has some allergies and is snoring a lot so sleeping in the basement to help Mommy get more sleep because sleep is so important, or something like that, so avoiding my fears about the kids).


Please do not lie to your children. You're not teaching them the value of honesty. That will do way more damage in the long run than telling them the truth now and helping them through whatever feelings they have.

Instead that you can say it's a decision that's both you and H agreed upon. If your kids express some kind of fear. Listen and Validate, but you do not need to give them more info into why you made the decision.
Posted By: Ginger1

Re: Crossroads - 09/16/20 12:04 AM

May, what's your end goal? I imagine it is to have a healthy LONG lasting marriage, right?

What's the goal for your kids? I think it's for your kids to have healthy, happy parents and a stable life, right?

So let's break this down. The path you are on now and have been on have NOT been leading to a healthy long last marriage.The path is not leading ot kids with happy healthy parents and a stable life.

What is happening now is a father and a husband who carried on a two year intense affair under your roof, in front of your eyes and he dam well knew the risks that would have to his stable home and his kids. Right now he is a man you can't trust, who hasn;t changed, who is all words and zero actions. Who knows he can go on whatever whim he wants and he won't have any consequences and you'll follow right along with it. He manipulates you into the vacation he wants. Then he tells you he wants ot be with OW and would bet the farm on the fact he did such a quick turnaround, is because he was rejected by OW. I honestly have no doubts about this. No one does that quick of a turnaround.

Then I have read about the nutty stuff he says to you, how he wants you to be his emotional crutch for his breakup with OW and how he gets to do all of that. ANd i have read your self proclaimed angry outbursts you have.

Someone wise told me something so true: we teach people how we treat us. I am afraid you are teaching him that it is OK to treat you this way.

You want ot keep him under your roof so he doesn;t have temptation to contact OW? I mean, he can do that as well under your roof. He carried on a vry involved deep affair right under your roof. You can't keep him from anything and you can't control what he will do.

The road to a happy healthy marriage is him wanting to do this. Wanting ot do what it takes to keep his family together. Wanting to get rid of OW because he wants to and he wants to have a happy healthy long lasting marriage. Keeping him under the roof while he does this work and you watching this will not need lead and will not give you the best outcome for your kids.

A therapeutic separation would be your best chance quite honestly. Because I would say there are .01% of M's that came back from such a severe infidelity successfully in the same home.

and you aren;t making the decision for him to leave. You are making the decision. You have a voice here.

Your heart is in the right place for your kids, no doubt. But I am afraid the path this is on is the worst one for having this work in the run. You could probably keep everyone under one roof for now. But it is almost inevitable who this is going ot play out if he doesn't do the work on his own and truly want it.

The truth is you say you need him under your roof to work on the marriage, to see his changes, etc. But working in the marriage isn't what actually needs to be done right now. He needs ot work on himself, by himself, before he can even come close to putting true work int he marriage. ANd I would bet you, under your continuous scrutiny needing to see his changes, most of them won't be real, or he will buckle under the pressure. He isn't ready to work on the marriage. He is just terrified of being alone. He needs to work on himself hardcore before he could come close to truly recommitting tothe marriage.



Posted By: may22

Re: Crossroads - 09/16/20 12:17 AM

Originally Posted by IronWill
The only thing I'll add is that a "trial separation" isn't "trial" at all. Its a separation - IHS, trial, actual S - they are all the same thing. The word "trial" is added by Cs and Ls to ease the transition for both LBS and WAS.

What each of you do during the S is not the business of the other person.

You control you, H controls H.

Sorry - I know it's pretty direct, but that cuts through all the fog and mud.

IW, you said it. S is S. Helps to have it this directly. I also see how it can be helpful, Valeska-- it actually feels attractive in a lot of ways right now. But it feels very final, to me. Like why bother. We can just be done, then.

Scout... what you wrote is exactly right and exactly what I will say if we do this. Honestly, reading it like that really helps me. Thank you. (Although, I've also read that if you know you want to D, you should just say that and not string the kids along... so if I go back to my S is S and might as well be D feeling, am I just stringing this out and making it harder on the kids out of my own discomfort and therefore selfishness? Pretending that we are Sing to work on our R from afar when we're really just too chicken to make the call now?)

Valeska, you're absolutely right about not lying to the kids. (H says even if we get through this he wants to sit our Ds down each when they turn 18 and tell them what happened and why. I'm not totally convinced of this but will cross that bridge if and when we ever get there.) Thanks for the reminder. I'm embarrassed I even considered it.
Posted By: may22

Re: Crossroads - 09/16/20 12:51 AM

Ginger, I hear you. I will push back in a couple of places.

One, he has never, ever told me the words that he is saying now, that he wants this, he wants the M. You guys keep saying he is a man of all words and no actions. Actually, he has been a man of ambivalent words and no action. This is actually, honestly, different. He says it is because he went up to the very precipice of divorce, looked over the edge, and decided it was not what he wanted. He does not have the EQ to be the master level manipulator you guys all think he is. He is sad, weak, and confused. You can buy it or not.

Two, I'm not worried that he was rejected by OW. I don't think so. When he lies there are no details. I am pretty good at sniffing this out at this point. He is a great liar by omission. (Also, what happened to wanting what you can't have? Last time she told him she was moving on was when he lost his $hit and reignited the A.) No, she's not back to the "I'll wait for you as long as it takes" where she was in July. I'm sure it is more of an ultimatum like "I'm not waiting around for you to leave your W any more." But you can believe that or not believe that. I'm comfortable here.

Three, I don't want to keep him under this roof so he doesn't have the temptation to contact OW. That is a small side-piece of why I'm not particularly interested in a trial/therapeutic separation. It is not to try to prevent him from contacting her. It is because I have anxiety about it, not whether he does it or not. His behavior is not within my control. I will just have less anxiety about it if he's here, and IF we decide to work on the M, then I want to give it the best shot possible, not tank it with anxiety or any more trust issues than there need to be.

I was just thinking... you know how DB says to not put pressure on the WAWs because it makes them want to bolt in the other direction? I am thinking about this here. I feel like there is so much pressure to make him go from so many of you that I'm starting to feel the need to defend him. I've honestly been in a place where I was ready to say GO, please, just GO. And I'm feeling so much pressure here that it is making me pull into the opposite direction.

Maybe.. .can I ask everyone here a favor? Cool it on the advice for a minute? I am in no hurry to make this decision. I'm not doing a single thing until I get the post nup drafted and signed and I don't want to have him sign until he's done what he said he was going to do with the conversation with AP and formally turned down the apartment, neither of which, to my knowledge, have happened yet. I have not asked. He will do it and tell me about it or he won't. If we decide to S there will be another nice apartment, I'm not worried about missing that opportunity either.

Right now, what I WANT to do, is focus on what is best for me. I have an IC appointment tomorrow and will be talking about boundaries, whether or not I have confidence and self-worth issues, fears for me, fears for my kids, how to protect myself and support myself through all this no matter what choice I make.

I will not and cannot ask him to leave without being utterly confident it is the right decision. That is not a decision I can make today, and I have no plans to make it today. I don't want to take a break from this board because it has been an absolute lifeline for me for the past year. Because I feel like so many of you are friends even though we don't know each other. Because you push me in ways I know my own friends and family wouldn't be able to do. I welcome the diversity of opinion and I like being challenged. But right now I think it isn't in my best interest to have quite as much pressure here as I feel right now.

Thanks, guys. I appreciate you all, truly. I am just feeling a bit overwhelmed right now.
Posted By: Ginger1

Re: Crossroads - 09/16/20 01:12 AM

I will absolutely respect your boundaries.

I wish you all the best
Posted By: cardinal

Re: Crossroads - 09/16/20 01:32 AM

((may)) I just listened to a video someone shared--Elizabeth Gilbert saying, in some small part, that sometimes we live our lives one day at a time, and sometimes we live our lives one breath at a time. You can live one breath at a time, too--you don't have to have everything all decided right now, and I'm glad you realize that. Take a breather. Yes, focus on you. I hope your IC appointment is helpful!
Posted By: wooba

Re: Crossroads - 09/16/20 02:24 AM

may, hang in there. I'm rooting for you whatever your decisions are. (((hug)))
Posted By: SamCal

Re: Crossroads - 09/16/20 03:14 AM

May - hang in there. I admire you for speaking so candidly about your H and your talks/feelings - I am sure it can be really hard to open up here and feel vulnerable and then have to defend him. You seem self aware enough to make your own decisions, and take what comes with them.

I've brought this up in others' threads before, but in the enabling vein - an impactful al anon saying that I think about a lot is giving someone the dignity to fail on their own. I think that applies and sounds like what doing nothing right now is here for you - you're giving him the dignity to fail, and that is a good thing. By not engaging and taking some time, it leaves your own emotional bandwidth available for you instead of being used up solving his problems (directly or indirectly). Kicking him out is only solving his problem of indecision for him when you aren't sure if it'd be solving a problem for you. Only do what solves your problems, and those of your children. I def agree that the post-nup sounds like it falls into that category. It doesn't mean he will fail - that's on him to find out, and he can't do that unless others let him.

I think the same applies here to you/those who give you advice - you are allowed the dignity to fail (or not fail) on your own, too. Hugs to you.
Posted By: Sage4

Re: Crossroads - 09/16/20 03:48 AM

(((May)))

I want to expand on what SamCal so eloquently stated:

Originally Posted by SamCal
I think that applies and sounds like what doing nothing right now is here for you - you're giving him the dignity to fail, and that is a good thing. By not engaging and taking some time, it leaves your own emotional bandwidth available for you instead of being used up solving his problems (directly or indirectly). Kicking him out is only solving his problem of indecision for him when you aren't sure if it'd be solving a problem for you.


I attempted to go down this path with the new shoes comment, but she put it so much more succinctly. Drawing that roadmap on a clean sheet of paper doesn't necessarily demand a physical S. Maybe you just need to separate your emotions from H's to allow him to hit rock bottom and rise from the ashes on his own. I think if anyone (besides WF) can do this, it is you.

I don't remember who said it, but I agree with not lying to the kids about H's sleeping arrangements. It is much more authentic to say 'Daddy and I are having a lot of big feelings right now and need to sleep in different beds so we have more time to think.' 'Does that mean you are going to get a D?' 'You two will be the first to know if there are going to be big changes in our family. But right now, you don't need to worry about that. Right now, you just need to know that both Daddy and I love you to the moon and back times a million (or whatever your love phrase is).' And then do something loving, but relationally neutral, like watch a show as a family on the couch.

Have you heard the saying that there is a million different ways to raise great kids? I would venture to say that there are a billion different ways to make a great marriage. We see but a fraction of that figure here on this board. So you keep doing you, stay true to May and cherry pick the messages that are meant for you and your situation.

xxx
Posted By: may22

Re: Crossroads - 09/16/20 08:57 AM

Ginger-- thank you, I really appreciate that and it isn't you. It was just getting overwhelming. I know that every single person that takes the time to post here on other people's threads is doing so out of caring and compassion and what they've learned from their own experiences. I feel like my H when he freaks out and tells me to stop solutioning and listen. I guess in this moment I'm looking for a little more validation and a little less concrete advice.

Valeska-- I looked up Vicky Tidwell Palmer, thank you. Really interesting.

Cardinal-- somehow permission to just focus on the next moment, the next breath, makes relief sweep through me. Thank you.

Wooba-- hugs back to you. xoxo

SamCal-- what you wrote is really helpful and is resonating. You're right in that kicking him out solves a problem for him by taking the decision out of his hands, but doesn't necessarily solve my problems. And his problems are his problems. I feel so strongly about this-- maybe it is a teeny bit of pettiness, but if he really wants/wanted to leave, he needs to stand up and do it himself, not get me to do his dirty work for him. I just feel a wave of resentment at that idea. He's got to make his own decisions and figure out his own stuff. I have enough on my plate right now. i really like how you put it--saving my own emotional bandwidth for myself, and giving him the dignity to fail.

Also... thank you for saying it out loud-- I *am* ready to take the consequences of this decision (once I get that postnup signed-- having that in place takes away a lot of the potential negative consequences of not splitting now when he's feeling guilty). I feel I'm pretty clear-eyed on that one.

The thing is... I *was* terrified of being on my own, for months and months. The thought of starting over, of being single, of losing my health insurance, of failing ... that was enormous for me. Thanks in great part to this board, over the past year I have slowly gone through each one of my fears and faced them... all but the children one. The fear of hurting my kids along with the selfish loss of time with them is still not dealt with. But if it wasn't for them... honestly, to me the easy path is to tell him to go. It feels so attractive. I am well aware staying is the rockier and longer path, with no guarantee of success.

Sage, I get it now...time to rethink the paradigm and put me and the kids in the middle of the paper instead of H. I'm not sure what that means yet, but I love the idea of a fresh piece of paper, taking my time to decide where things go, what direction we want to go in, and how to let H do his thing without pushing his emotional processing onto me. If I do decide to stay, I think this time I will have to have much clearer boundaries around this than I have in the past.

xoxo thanks you guys. Thinking of all of you.
Posted By: BluWave

Re: Crossroads - 09/16/20 04:49 PM

May, I am sorry our direct advice and comments have become hurtful or frustrating for you. I hear you. I can certainly be more mindful of what I say. I’m not sure if this helps, but often when another person’s thread triggers us, our own advice can become just as much aimed at ourself (subconsciously) as it is towards that poster. I know for me, your husbands behavior and continued lack of regard for your boundaries (ie the memory box and having you process that with him despite you telling him for a year you do not want to discuss OW) absolutely enrages me. I imagine other posters feel similar — they have come to adore you and then see this man mistreat you and they just want to rescue you.


We are all different tho in our personal psychologies and desires. I think it was Wayfarer (?) who even posted that because both of you had an in home separation, that your situations were more unique and similar, and she suggests that others do not understand as well. I see this a lot here, myself included, where a poster tries to make a connection by finding similarities. I do also happen to think our one million subtle differences that are not reflected in our writings are equally as important and so we do need to be cautious of that. You are far, far more tolerant of your Hs selfishness than I ever was. I would have kicked him to the curb long ago before ever considering him back. Honestly, with everything he has done and said, I don’t think I ever would be with a man like that. You have also told me before that him moving out felt like a place of no return, whereas for me, it was the only way I could have my dignity and space to see what life was like Dd. So we are different. But there are also subtle differences in just who we are as people and details we don’t think to share here.

Hard truths that feels like judgmental advice hurts. I admire all of you for sharing your stories. I didn’t share until years after my H came back. But I did have people that told me things I did not what to hear. I even lost a couple friends in it all. The therapist I was seeing definitely would rub me wrong! She would tell me to get over things, this wasn’t about OW (who was a friend) and it wasn’t about her daughter and my Ds friendship. Her insensitivity at times infuriated me. Now looking back on that years later, I can actually see her points. Because I’m not in the thick of it or trigggred by it. She was forcing me to think about things differently and not just wallow in my own self pity. I think I needed to hear that

So someone just posted for you to cherry pick the advice you want to hear but I am suggesting otherwise. I want you to understand how different, not just similar, we all are. People are saying things for a reason. Partly their own triggers from their sitch, but more so a lot of us see a terrible injustice here. May, you what to really understand your H and make sense of this, and that just shows what a beautiful person you are. But we also see you allowing so much neglect of your boundaries, emotional abuse and the continued selfishness. I’m not sure you can even see how toxic this all is because you are stuck in the middle of it. Like a child in a war torn country just trying to survive. And others around you want to help but genuinely dont know how.

I will respect your boundary and not give you advice. I will say, I hope you have a very good IC that can help you work through your emotional trauma. There must be a million subtleties we are not reading. If we teach people how to treat us than why have you taught him to step all over you for years? And I also don’t believe this is about the kids. I have 3 daughters and it would make me sick to think of a man treating them this way. So maybe when you are ready, can you really think about why so many people here ARE telling you to kick him to the curb. You know we care about you. And you know we are saying it for some reasons. I think this will become more clear to you years down the road either way, but for now, it might be worth just thinking about.

Blu
Posted By: unchien

Re: Crossroads - 09/16/20 05:36 PM

may ~

I hope you can find some inner peace and calmness while working through things.

We all project our own individual situations onto others here. For instance, if you are anything like me, you are frustrated by advice on what to do because you just want some time and space to process things, not necessarily because you agree or disagree with it. And I have difficulty with others telling me what to do. The harder they push, the more I recoil.
Posted By: may22

Re: Crossroads - 09/16/20 09:39 PM

Thanks Blu, Unchien.

Unchien, I think you're right on in that I do need some space to process and I am feeling pressure to make a move on here, like yesterday, and WTF is wrong with me for not already doing it. I must be afraid, I must have no self-worth or self-respect, I'm using my children as an excuse, I'm willfully blind to my H's continuing transgressions. I *feel* the frustration with me coming across from some posters, and I get it. I really do.

But it isn't helping me right now. It is pushing me backwards, I think. And right now I need to feel the freedom to focus on me and what I want, not what other people think is best for me, or what other people would do in my situation, or EVEN what I might advise someone else in my same situation.

Blu, I think you are right on in that all our situations are different in a thousand ways. You're someone who has really helped me see that-- that we have different boundaries and values and bright lines. For me, where I stand today (recognizing this could change), I could never, ever see my way to allowing my H back into my life and my home if he left to go live with another woman. But when I look at you and your situation, I don't think-- wow, she must have no self- respect to be with a man who walked out on her and their family. I think, from what I know of you, you are incredibly thoughtful and empathetic and smart and giving. You are quite literally risking your life to care for others and have been for months. You spend time to come to these forums to help other people and do it in a more thoughtful and empathetic way than any of the other vets. You're not just pushing your own experience. You're trying to put yourself in the poster's shoes and figure out the best way to help them see more of what is happening, even when that is really hard for them. (me.) I am beyond grateful for all you have done and continue to do to support me.

To me, I see your R with your H and I think-- I admire you, so much, for being the bigger person, for forgiving your H and rebuilding your family and MR even after he did such an awful and horrible thing to you and your children. To me, what your H did is a million times worse than what my H did. It is unforgivable. That is how I feel and I know I could change that with time, but that is where I am and where I've been for more than a year, now. I hope I don't come across as judgmental or anything. And I know it was really important for you to see your H as almost a new person, someone who was 100% remorseful and ready to do the hard work to change before you allowed him back into your life. If it were me in that same situation, I can't actually see taking my H back even under those circumstances, but if I did, he would have to crawl on his hands and knees and prove to me over a long, long period of time that it would be worth it to even consider the remotest possibility of forgiving him. So, I think I do understand how it feels to say NO, this is enough. For me, that line is leaving, and he hasn't crossed that yet. I know that for you and for many others here, you don't see much of a difference between the A and leaving. I do. Maybe it is only because it hasn't happened yet. But to ME, it is categorically different.

The sharing of the memory box-- I actually don't see that as crossing my true boundary, which is hearing about how he feels about her. He was very careful not to do that. He did, finally, what I have been asking for over a year. I know I've said here, I've said to H, I've said to the MC, I've said to my IC... I WANT TO KNOW. I am a person who wants to know the truth even if it is painful. He went through every fact and figure and place that I wanted to know about. I obviously got a taste of how he felt about her from the love notes but he didn't say it to me. He spoke in the past tense. He did it while quite literally throwing it all away into the garbage. He was totally transparent. His eyes, his demeanor, his body language were miles away from how it has been in the past when we've had these conversations. He was open and engaged and willing, not hunched and brows low and sulky. He checked over and over to ask how I was doing, was I ok, did I want him to continue. He said I am telling you this because I want to stay together. Because I never thought you needed to know these things if we split. And I'm telling you now also knowing that this could be the straw that breaks the camel's back, knowing that it might be too much, too many lies, for you to ever believe me again. But I am telling you as a sign of my intention to be here, with you, in this M.

So, for me, I don't see it as him trampling on my boundaries. It was exactly what I have asked for for more than a year. And... I feel so much more at peace about all of it. It is weird, honestly, and I'm going to talk with my IC today about why this disclosure left me feeling much more peaceful and with a lot less anger. It may have been the context-- throwing it all away as we spoke-- but I feel far better about all of it than I did before we went through that little exercise.

The choice to ask him to leave is a big, big decision for me. And not one I can make easily. To me, the most important part of all of this is coming through with my sense of self intact. That no matter how my H behaved, I acted with integrity, honesty, and put my children's best interests first, always. (yes, I recognize that putting the children first may entail putting me first so that I can be the best mom I can be to them. I am measuring that every day.)

xx thank you all, honestly, for being there for me, even (especially) when I push back. xx
Posted By: BluWave

Re: Crossroads - 09/17/20 12:22 AM

May, your explanation reads very different now. I didn’t realize you wanted this type of interaction with him and it brought you relief. Perhaps I read more discomfort or reluctance the first time around when you described it.

I take no offense at all to what you say. I imagine there are many women that would not take my H back after he did what he did. Sometimes I’m surprised I did too. Lol. And I’m so far passed that time that it is no longer a trigger for me to talk about it. I do want to clarify a couple things tho. He did not just pick up and leave and he did not live with her. He also was not having a PA at any point ever when he lived in this house or our bed. They had a 6-8 month EA and then I found out and exploded. He floundered around like a lost puppy for a few weeks and I kicked him to the curb. I told him if you are not ready to commit to working on our M, then get out, I won’t have you living here unsure or thinking about someone else. So after 4 weeks of drama and him not working things out, I drew the line.

To my surprise, he did leave and he actually lived with his parents for about 10 months. That when their PA started and they had a full on relationship. I’m sure he was at her place often as she gladly left her H and got and apartment. He did not allow our kids to see them together (they knew her well and were friends with her kids) but she certainly tried. I told him don’t you ever or you will regret it every day and I will make sure if that. He knew I would never take him back if he did, and I would not have. And outside of our home, and in the “real world” their R failed quickly. We tried to keep things smooth for the kids, I did not lie to them, and we each saw them or spoke to them every 1-2 days. It was very hard nonetheless!

Blu
Posted By: Pommy99

Re: Crossroads - 09/17/20 09:04 AM

May, from reading your last post to Blu about the memory box episode, which you clearly see as significant and positive, coupled with all the conflict that has gone on in the last week, you have a huge amount to process. You have every right to take your time. You have your own timeline too, to process, to make decisions...or to do nothing for awhile and try and tune out all the chatter inside (and outside) your head.

Yesterday I was likening what is going on in my own head to an old computer terminal, with lines and lines of script being processed at 100 miles an hour, line after line of green code running up the screen, too much to take in, too fast to read. I imagined a screensaver in my head, something calm and hypnotic, lol!

Do something for you today May. Get outside of your own head. What can you do that is genuinely for you (as opposed to just a distraction)?

Thinking of you heaps xx
Posted By: wooba

Re: Crossroads - 09/17/20 02:05 PM

may, only you know what kind of reality you're in. We're all just trying to put together a picture from your words here and I'm sure things get lost in translation. I hope your emotions have calmed down a little bit after the incident. This forum is great for seeking different perspectives, and I'm sorry that you were feeling judged and pressured. I think sometimes we forget that those who come here for help are already in a vulnerable state. Sometimes we need to give a little honey along with the medicine. wink
Posted By: unchien

Re: Crossroads - 09/17/20 03:04 PM

Originally Posted by unchien
Unchien, I think you're right on in that I do need some space to process and I am feeling pressure to make a move on here, like yesterday, and WTF is wrong with me for not already doing it. I must be afraid, I must have no self-worth or self-respect, I'm using my children as an excuse, I'm willfully blind to my H's continuing transgressions. I *feel* the frustration with me coming across from some posters, and I get it. I really do.

But it isn't helping me right now. It is pushing me backwards, I think. And right now I need to feel the freedom to focus on me and what I want, not what other people think is best for me, or what other people would do in my situation, or EVEN what I might advise someone else in my same situation.

My IC would point out the cognitive distortions:

"WTF is wrong with me"
"I must have no self-worth or self-respect"
"I'm using my children as an excuse"
"I'm willfully blind"

(Not sure if these were your thoughts, or the thoughts you are hearing from posters)

I have my opinions about your sitch. I think your H (like literally every WAS) has pointed you into a corner where somehow you are the one having to make the truly difficult decisions. I think true lasting change is possible, but incredibly difficult and rare. But that doesn't mean it is impossible.

I also received a lot of advice on what to do in my situation. Most of it, in retrospect, was completely correct. EXCEPT... I wasn't ready. I look back today and think that perhaps I would have been better off had I been more decisive sooner... but again, I wasn't ready. And the process of finding that inner strength, for me, is the true gift of DB, and why I keep coming back to the forums even though my MR, by the time I even found this board, was completely gone.

And that's me giving advice when you've asked for no advice =) Focus on you and finding your emotional center.
Posted By: CWarrior

Re: Crossroads - 09/17/20 04:14 PM

Hi May,

I read your latest updates. Wow, such a difficult situation to be in! I hope the upcoming weekend offers you some respite and calm. I'll refrain from advice per your request. You are strong. You've got this!
Posted By: may22

Re: Crossroads - 09/17/20 09:32 PM

Hi Blu, Pommy, U, CW, Wooba... thank you.

U, those things are not what I think about myself. It is what I am hearing from posters here. I do sometimes wonder if I'm being stupid or willfully blind, but I spend a lot of time introspecting on all of this and I'm generally comfortable with my choices (and, the consequences of them). I did talk about this with my IC yesterday, particularly about the number of posters who believe I don't value myself or have any self-respect. She dismissed the self-worth comments. She said she thinks boards like this can be incredibly valuable for so many reasons but that there can also be a certain amount of group-think and projections taking place. To take advice with a grain of salt and set my boundaries here just as I do IRL.

I'm definitely open to advice about things to think about or consider... I just wanted a time out on the "WTF is wrong with you for not making him leave yesterday, you must not value yourself" type comments. I think I've been pretty clear that this decision isn't happening until a few big things take place (post-nup signed, convo with AP takes place, H gives me transparency on that convo). Then I can take all the information I have. If that convo doesn't take place, or the transparency with me isn't 100% there, or I don't have some minimal level of confidence that we are at least starting from a different place than we have before, it is an easy decision. Isn't much of a decision at all, really. It is only if I do feel those things happened and there is a real chance between us that I have a choice to make at all. And we aren't there yet.

Blu, Wooba, I think I almost purposefully make H look worse than he is sometimes because I want you to believe that I'm not fooling myself, I can see the worst aspects of him and don't need it pointed out to me, that I'm not being blind to his faults. I'm trying to look at all of this from as unemotional a place as possible (recognizing that isn't ever going to be totally possible) and so it is important to me to really not be spackling over his faults. And they are MAJOR, perhaps unforgivable (but perhaps not). Maybe I emphasize them too much then. I re-read the post about the big disclosure/memento disposal ceremony and in the moment I really felt very little. I was calm. I felt empathy for AP. It was only after that I really started to realize how much anger had left, how much more at peace I felt. My IC said she thought we both got a lot of closure from it, me in finally getting the truth from H, H in my acknowledgment of the A to him in that moment. And it was strange to me that what I felt I was communicating as calm detachment read to people here as numbness. I didn't feel numb. I felt peace.

He told me last night it was done, he wasn't really happy about how it went but he thinks it is done. It was by text, not by phone. I said, OK, when you're ready to tell me about it, I'm ready to hear it. But I can't commit to any next steps with you until we have transparency on this. (And, the way he described the interaction, that he "thinks" it is done, isn't exactly confidence inspiring. But I refrained from commenting.)

He said he's sad and his IC says he needs to let himself be sad, sometimes. He said it is like a friend died. I said, you told me before, in the spring, that it was like a spouse dying, and people don't say you'll just get over your spouse. You learn to live with it. He said, I said that??? (no, I made it up.) He said, I don't remember that. (these people remember NOTHING.) But that isn't how I feel right now. So maybe you can count that as progress. Maybe.

I get it that he feels sad, and if there is any possibility of us working out, I both need to recognize this is the case and give him the space he needs to process those feelings, but also I need to protect myself. I feel that telling me he is sad is pushing on my boundaries. He isn't saying the words love or whatever, but obviously it is implied. But it is also the truth. I'm wrestling with this a bit right now. Do I want to deal with this going forward? Do I want to cut my losses and move on? I'm seeing the path ahead if he doesn't MO as really rocky for a really really really long time, if it even works.

He also told me he realized that his fantasy D situation was truly a fantasy. He had always thought it was because I wasn't allowing it, but he has come to realize that it wasn't what AP was offering, either. It was never going to happen on anyone's end. It only ever existed in his imagination. Maybe he is mourning that fantasy in a way, as well.

Pommy, I think what you're saying is absolutely right. (And I also know that sensation of the green computer lines of code just pushing pushing pushing-- that really resonates with me too.) I need time and space to let this all settle in and process everything that has happened as well as what hasn't happened before I make any moves. I need to take care of myself and sit with all this for a bit. Continue to enforce my boundaries with him. I suggested this morning that we take some space from each other for a while, like after the kids go to bed to not feel any need to hang out together, to do our own things and have that be the expectation. He said OK. He said he'd prefer to still sleep together in the bed but is open to sleeping elsewhere if that helps me. I haven't totally decided that yet.

IC made me commit to yoga, even just simple yin yoga. I think I will take you up on your suggestion to do one thing genuinely just for me... as long as you agree to do the same! We can be accountability partners in a self-care project. Sound good??

Thanks everyone xx
Posted By: Ginger1

Re: Crossroads - 09/17/20 10:03 PM

I do promise you, anything I have ever posted to you is definitely not a projection of myself, but simply from what I’ve seen work and not work and the outcomes from 12 years on these boards. But I will admit, sometimes we can see what we can coming from miles away and already kind of know the outcome and really want to change the path you you. Maybe that’s kind of a projection. Again, I’m not going to come tell you what to do. Heck, I’m not even going to talk about what he is doing or not doing and what to believe or not believe. You will do what you will do. I’m not going to try to change that. Quite frankly, I’m done having that discussion with anyone on these boards.

I am going to challenge you to set you kids aside for minute. Set affair partner aside for a minute. Set aside who h is and h is not for a minute. I feel like it’s always about the kids and H’s emotions and his attachment to his A partner, and him having resentment. And him, him him him and everything is according to where he is at.

What do you want out of your life and out of a relationship/M? What is acceptable and enjoyable to YOU? What do you evvision for yourself. Minus 2 parents under one roof, and no affair.

What looks healthy and acceptable and maybe even enjoyable to YOu?

Don’t even have to answer that here. Just something to think about .
Posted By: scout12

Re: Crossroads - 09/17/20 10:50 PM

May, if I may (hehe)... I think you may (lol) sense frustration from people who are recognising patterns and want to help you see them. And I do get your frustration when ten people in a row say the same thing. So this is not advice, just an observation.

The most obvious pattern I see is all the little boundaries he has crossed without consequence.

You have your bright line that he cannot cross - moving out. That's great. All your other lines have been drawn in the sand. And the problem with drawing lines in the sand is that they wash away. Thinking back over your journey, it feels like there have been so many times you've said "if he does/doesn't do X, I will/won't do Y". But when push comes to shove, he kicks sand everywhere and messes up your line.

And here's where people maybe get frustrated. Instead of shaking off the sand and redrawing the line, you take a few steps further down the beach and draw a new line. You tell us why he did it - heatstroke, scared by a shark, tripped over etc. And to us, it looks like H is slowly forcing you into the ocean step by step. People are watching it happen and waving and shouting to prevent you from eventually drowning.

This is not to say that you are stupid or helpless or blind at all. You know yourself and you know your H. You may actually be drawing a giant picture in the sand with all the lines and we just can't see it. Maybe you intend to go in the water because you're an awesome swimmer. But from our deck chairs on the beach, we don't know that.

This is just a metaphor, obviously, and a dramatic one at that. I might be completely wrong and out here on a limb with my opinion. So if this post doesn't serve you, feel free to disregard.
Posted By: may22

Re: Crossroads - 09/18/20 04:18 AM

Ginger, these are good questions that have been posed to me before-- in fact, I was just looking at my notes on my phone and those same questions are there. What do I want for myself in a partner? I want basically a combination of the H I have now (well not at this exact minute, but I had in the spring) in terms of a partner, co-parent, thought partner, etc. It was weird to me that if I hadn't started wanting sex again, the H I had all spring was perfect, thoughtful, funny, doing his half or more of the day-to-day work around the around the house-- all my old beefs were gone. Plus, the H I had before the SSM started, who loved me more than anything in the world, would do anything for me, was romantic and kind and adoring and wrote me a letter every single day when he was deployed. Who always let me know I was his priority. And (since we're dreaming here) a more fulfilling sexual relationship and stronger communication than we had in the past. Not taking each other for granted. In general, outside of the children? I want trust. Respect. Love. Travel. Cooking. Learning new things. Laughing. Having FUN every day. Inside jokes. That's a start, at least.

Scout, thank you for this. H actually said to me the other night that I kept making threats and then not following up on them. I asked what he meant and he couldn't think of one except me saying I want to get divorced at a number of points throughout this and then of course we aren't divorced yet. I want to re-read through my threads and see where those little boundaries have been crossed... I know that I've been $hit at boundaries until more recently, but my IC just said yesterday that she thought I'd been doing a lot better in sticking to my boundaries now than a month ago, and that enforcing is a lot easier than establishing. I feel a little confused because both of you only know what I tell you and I don't think I say anything differently here as I do to my IC... so I need to think on this more. I know from back in January my main boundaries were I wouldn't work on our M with a third party in the picture and I wouldn't be friends if we Ded. I have obviously still been living with him with a third party in the picture both back in January and then again in June/July (and this past week), but we haven't also been working on our R during those times (MC, etc.) I guess in my head I would have booted him out the second he reengaged in June, and I didn't. But, my boundary was not that I wouldn't live with him, but that I wouldn't work on our relationship in any direction. Anyway, I welcome more thoughts on this.

And to your analogy... I know I'm nowhere near as good of a swimmer as you are, but I'm not bad, and all along I've said I'll swim through the deepest, most shark-infested parts if it reduces the impact on my kids. If there's a chance that we can actually rebuild our M without bringing the children into it, I will fight for that chance. Every time. Knowing it will be harder on me and the odds of success are low. And I'm not yet to the point of believing it is better for the children for us to S regardless.

I really am, though, trying to take focus off of him and put it back on me. I promise. smile

She called him today to follow up on their text exchange, and he said it was done, over. He went through the whole conversation with me. I'm not sure if I'm satisfied. Maybe I never can be satisfied, I'll never be able to trust that this is really it. I don't know. I told him I'm not ready to put my rings back on and I still wasn't sure if it it was enough for me to recommit. I need to think on it.
Posted By: LH19

Re: Crossroads - 09/18/20 08:16 AM

So that should be it for the OW. Is her number blocked? Is there full transparency and you have access to his computer and phone? If you do not I wouldn’t invest any energy into the relationship.
Posted By: may22

Re: Crossroads - 09/18/20 01:09 PM

Originally Posted by LH19
So that should be it for the OW. Is her number blocked? Is there full transparency and you have access to his computer and phone? If you do not I wouldn’t invest any energy into the relationship.

There's a chance he will speak with her again today. The one specific thing I told him I was dissatisfied with in their conversation is that he didn't specifically say please don't ever contact me again. He felt it was clear and she won't. I have zero trust in her judgment on this given the history here. But, I don't want to tell him what to do. This is his to handle and I will need to decide if I'm comfortable. But other than that, yes to all your questions. He confirmed last night he'll block her number (she's already blocked on WhatsApp), delete her contact info, and change back his phone password (he changed it this past week).

All that being said. None of the above means $hit, really, unless he lives it out. She could always find a way to reach him if she really wants. He could be the one to call her. He could unblock her. He could change his phone password. All things he did just a couple of weeks ago. And, I don't want to be the police and check it all the time.

I've been reading my journal from January again, to see what is different this time, if anything is different this time. There are some key things, and transparency and blocking her are two of them. So, there's that. But I still don't think I'll be interested in investing any energy into this R for awhile regardless. He's pretty sad about the conversation and while I get it I'm not the one to help him through this. I feel like we both just need some space.
Posted By: LH19

Re: Crossroads - 09/18/20 02:31 PM

Originally Posted by may22
But I still don't think I'll be interested in investing any energy into this R for awhile regardless.

That's right. Live your life and do your thing. You will know eventually if he is serious or not.

Interesting you mentioned needing space but don't want to separate.
Posted By: may22

Re: Crossroads - 09/18/20 06:57 PM

Originally Posted by LH19
That's right. Live your life and do your thing. You will know eventually if he is serious or not.

Interesting you mentioned needing space but don't want to separate.

Yeah. I know.

My mom lives in an area affected by the smoke and since she's stuck inside, has been going through old photos. She keeps scanning them in and texting them to me or in combinations with my brothers or H. She just sent one of our wedding to me and H together. It really hit me hard. That M is over. We'll never be those people again.
Posted By: may22

Re: Crossroads - 09/20/20 01:17 AM

One of my colleagues passed away yesterday of COVID-19. She was completely fine one day, went home, had a slight fever that evening and got tested. Was fine with nothing but a slight fever for a week and then totally crashed. Two weeks in the ICU and it looked like she was moving in the right direction but then took a turn again for the worse. We had to tell all the staff over zoom. It would have been her 30th work anniversary next month. And then the news about RGB... I ended up in an emergency half hour session with my IC yesterday evening.

Our plan-- she said she feels all my sessions are taken up by me talking about H, what he says, thinks, and does. (Sound familiar? I was a little embarrassed.) She wants to spend sessions going forward just talking about me. She said it was time for me to go into power saver mode, hunker down, and just worry about myself for awhile. Which is what I'm doing. Ordered takeout from a place I love last night, took a bubble bath, and got a good night's sleep. Made lists of movies I want to watch. Downloaded a bunch of escapist novels. Went for a drive. Hung out with my kids. Played with the kittens. Responded to one of the potential job offer people (they've all reached back out knowing I'm back from the trip now, and I couldn't get up enough whatever to engage). Have barely interacted with my H at all. Thinking about getting a hotel room for a few nights just to get some space from everything.

just wanted to say thanks to all of you for sticking with me and supporting me even when I'm having a hard time listening. the one thing I will say is that reading my journal and posts from last fall-- I may not be where I need to get, yet, but I've come a long, long way. Thanks to all of you. xx
Posted By: Valeska19

Re: Crossroads - 09/20/20 01:33 AM

Originally Posted by may22
One of my colleagues passed away yesterday of COVID-19. She was completely fine one day, went home, had a slight fever that evening and got tested. Was fine with nothing but a slight fever for a week and then totally crashed. Two weeks in the ICU and it looked like she was moving in the right direction but then took a turn again for the worse. We had to tell all the staff over zoom. It would have been her 30th work anniversary next month. And then the news about RGB... I ended up in an emergency half hour session with my IC yesterday evening.


Very sorry to hear about your colleague May.

Originally Posted by may22
Our plan-- she said she feels all my sessions are taken up by me talking about H, what he says, thinks, and does. (Sound familiar? I was a little embarrassed.)

Eh.. It happens. Now you see it and now you can get excited about how to take care of May.

Originally Posted by may22
She wants to spend sessions going forward just talking about me. She said it was time for me to go into power saver mode, hunker down, and just worry about myself for awhile. Which is what I'm doing. Ordered takeout from a place I love last night, took a bubble bath, and got a good night's sleep. Made lists of movies I want to watch. Downloaded a bunch of escapist novels. Went for a drive. Hung out with my kids. Played with the kittens.


Yas!! Love the self care here.

Originally Posted by may22
Have barely interacted with my H at all. Thinking about getting a hotel room for a few nights just to get some space from everything.

Sounds like it a nice break! I would say to pick the room that includes a jet tub and room service!
Posted By: SamCal

Re: Crossroads - 09/20/20 04:33 AM

May - so sorry to hear about your colleague. It's strange how sometimes life throws us some opportunities for more perspective sometimes.

Your just worrying about yourself mode sounds very fun and I hope that it also grants you some perspective. I had felt that same way re: my first IC during S; I was just gabbing at the IC the same way I did my close friends who knew what was going on, and didn't really get much support or advice. Once I switched ICs, I made a point to change that dynamic; my new one is a way better IC for me so that has been helpful. I know you've expressed how much you like your IC before, so that's awesome to hear that she is looking out for you as well.

That does sound tough re: your mom sending you wedding photos. It can be difficult to let yourself grieve and let go of that version of your M. I sometimes feel that way, too. I then think about how the pre-S version of my M also contained the things that we both did that led to the S, and the crappier stuff that happened during S, and that helps ease the pain of moving away from that. Some of those things from M 1.0 I want to move away from!

It sounds exhausting when you recount interacting with your H right now. I think your time focused on you will help you put that energy into something that serves you, and deciding what path that is, on your own timetable.
Posted By: Sage4

Re: Crossroads - 09/21/20 01:59 AM

I am sorry to hear about your colleague, May. Covid svcks, especially when it hits so close to home.

I am happy to hear your IC directed you to focus on you right now. But on the same token, she is a real-life confidant that can help you navigate some of H’s behavior, so don’t beat yourself up if you need to vent here and there. Life is messy; relationships are not an individual’s path, but a joint one. You will find you in this process, of that I am sure.

I love to read you contemplating your previous lines in the sand, and where you have allowed them to become squiggly over the course of your journey. I think this contemplation will allow you to find where your true boundaries are and build your (blank paper) roadmap from there.

I also love the idea of you getting out of the house for a bit— whether taking a few days in a hotel or even just finally taking H up on his offer to support you doing yoga or going out for a bit to do your own thing. It is not only healing, but also a 180 and great GALing for you. But the hotel room would be particularly dreamy. I couldn’t have survived my sitch without some nights alone to do some deep thinking.

And re: your mama sending photos: thank god that marriage is gone. You wouldn’t want to start over on the same marriage anyway. But I also empathize with the grief of innocence lost.

May, I believe in you. To make the best decision for yourself, your children and your future. And I do believe that H is really trying right now. However imperfect that may look from the outside. Only you know your M and only you can make the best choices for you.

I hope you had a good weekend. Thinking of you. (((May)))
Posted By: may22

Re: Crossroads - 09/22/20 09:26 PM

Thanks Valeska, SamCal, Sage.

The GALing has been going well, even with barely leaving the house. I haven't pulled the trigger on the hotel room yet, mostly because we're still on total lockdown here and it just doesn't seem safe. So instead I behaved as I would if I were at a hotel. I slept in (my H hates this), I read my novel, I ordered take out instead of cooking (H picked it up). I played board games with the kids, watched a football game of my home team instead of H's, spent gift certificates I'd been saving up on me. I put away all my affair reading and post-nup research. I just put that all out of my mind as much as I could and focused on being OK, gratitude for the small things.

Taking a bit of a step back from H is really illuminating. He was quite uncomfortable with all of this. At one point we talked a little about his conversation with AP. I don't think he's going to reach out to do the clarifying thing, the crystal-clear "please never contact me again" statement-- he feels it was clear from the conversation that the door is closed on both sides. And he feels it is his work now to detach emotionally from AP such that even if she did reach out at some point in the future he wouldn't care, that another conversation with her wouldn't help him in that direction. Whatever. His choice, his life, and for me it simply means I have less confidence in this iteration of a reconciliation attempt than perhaps I would otherwise.

I indicated this, grabbed my computer and walked away (to do some online shopping). H stewed for a bit and then came out and said I'd ruined the morning. That he'd been in a good mood and now he wasn't. I asked why? He said, when I think you're upset or angry it makes me upset. I saw you grab your computer and I thought you were coming out here to journal (and presumably write out all the bad $hit I think about him). I said, no, I was spending a gift certificate online. But you should think about why that bothers you so much. What is that pit in your stomach telling you?

Then yesterday morning he came to me and said, I feel like you're second guessing staying with me. I feel like you're thinking you made the wrong choice. (I have told him, I'm here, for now, I don't have a lot of trust in you or in this process, but I'm not prepared at this moment to walk out the door or kick you out. I'm OK with just being, for awhile, and seeing where this goes, seeing if you do in fact do the things you've finally told me you want to do, from consciously and with intention detangling yourself emotionally from AP to demonstrating loving behaviors towards me. But I'm not ready to put my ring back on yet. (His is on.)

I didn't really respond. The truth is, of course, he's right. That I'd already been redecorating the office in my head, thinking I didn't need to worry about the screen doors and the kittens so much (H is a fanatic about those GD screens), thinking about freedom, about not needing to incorporate his needs/wishes/desires into our family decisions, about my future philanthropist H who adores me and shows me every day. Rather than this half-@ssed man standing in front of me who simply can't be that person for me right now.

He said, that makes me scared (Pommy!!). He feels that being here physically and making this choice is a big deal and that I shouldn't dismiss it and only focus on what he isn't doing or saying yet. That this is typical May, p!ssed because I'm getting a B right now and only an A+ is good enough for me. That we need to be able to sit in this place for awhile, he needs time to be sad and grieve not only AP but the life he imagined living. Which again, is such a GD fantasy it makes me angry to talk about and so I don't. But it is simply so ridiculous. Sage, it made me think about your sitch, and that your logical perspective is that of course your H and the OW can't be seriously thinking about making it work together... but maybe don't underestimate the power of the fantasy and just how unmoored it can be from reality.

He's really starting to wrestle with his identity and what it means for him to have done what he did in the context of staying. (Still so weird to me that the context matters so much.) He said he has a really hard time imagining totally reopening the emotional connection with me, being totally vulnerable, and then looking at the enormity of the betrayal and what it means that he did that... how can he even process that? I listened. I was not really able to validate (felt more like saying YEAH what does that mean and to me it means you do everything within your power to fix it, not navel-gaze and feel sorry for yourself). But, I listened and asked if he'd worked on that at all with his IC. He said he's been so focused in IC on his ambivalence and what to do that he hasn't really touched on any of this other stuff and he'd like to now.

Anyway... listening to him, I get it. He has a lot of work to do both in getting over AP and in understanding his own behaviors and identity, and that work all has to take place before we are even remotely in a position to consider rebuilding our M. But I also have healing to do, anger and sadness and grief and how to process this betrayal from the one person I believed had my back no matter what.

It has felt to me all along that there were only two paths to healing for me-- one on my own where I can fully embrace that he is a fu%!kwit and I'm better off without him, and one where he is fully remorseful and crawling back on his hands and knees, ready to do whatever it takes, desperately back in love with me. This middle path is complicated for me and I can't quite see it, yet. Trying to continue to focus on me and sit in the moment without fast-forwarding in my head towards any particular destination.

SamCal, you're right in framing M1.0 as being over and not somewhere I'd like to go back to. There are parts of it, though, that I'm really grieving. The knowing in my heart that this person was the one I was going to grow old with.

Sage, he is trying. And trying differently than he did before, with a lot more honesty and transparency-- which is both positive but also hard in that he is categorically not going to say or do anything just because I wish it were so. It still feels a lot about him and what he needs right now and I'm not sure he has anything to give beyond what he's doing today. I'm still working on being OK with just being, in this moment.
Posted By: Valeska19

Re: Crossroads - 09/22/20 11:22 PM

Originally Posted by may22
The GALing has been going well, even with barely leaving the house. I haven't pulled the trigger on the hotel room yet, mostly because we're still on total lockdown here and it just doesn't seem safe. So instead I behaved as I would if I were at a hotel. I slept in (my H hates this), I read my novel, I ordered take out instead of cooking (H picked it up). I played board games with the kids, watched a football game of my home team instead of H's, spent gift certificates I'd been saving up on me. I put away all my affair reading and post-nup research. I just put that all out of my mind as much as I could and focused on being OK, gratitude for the small things.


Don't it feel good to self care? Well done!

Originally Posted by may22
Taking a bit of a step back from H is really illuminating. He was quite uncomfortable with all of this. At one point we talked a little about his conversation with AP. I don't think he's going to reach out to do the clarifying thing, the crystal-clear "please never contact me again" statement-- he feels it was clear from the conversation that the door is closed on both sides. And he feels it is his work now to detach emotionally from AP such that even if she did reach out at some point in the future he wouldn't care, that another conversation with her wouldn't help him in that direction. Whatever. His choice, his life, and for me it simply means I have less confidence in this iteration of a reconciliation attempt than perhaps I would otherwise.

I indicated this, grabbed my computer and walked away (to do some online shopping). H stewed for a bit and then came out and said I'd ruined the morning. That he'd been in a good mood and now he wasn't. I asked why? He said, when I think you're upset or angry it makes me upset. I saw you grab your computer and I thought you were coming out here to journal (and presumably write out all the bad $hit I think about him). I said, no, I was spending a gift certificate online. But you should think about why that bothers you so much. What is that pit in your stomach telling you?


This all makes sense. He's not used to this new behavior so he's trying to lure you back into the same pattern. Don't give in. My only small 2x4 is you telling him why he needs to think about it. My three favorite words are "I hear you". That goes a long way with validating whilst staying in your own lane. Remember... how your H deals with his sh!t is his responsibility.

Originally Posted by may22
Then yesterday morning he came to me and said, I feel like you're second guessing staying with me. I feel like you're thinking you made the wrong choice. (I have told him, I'm here, for now, I don't have a lot of trust in you or in this process, but I'm not prepared at this moment to walk out the door or kick you out. I'm OK with just being, for awhile, and seeing where this goes, seeing if you do in fact do the things you've finally told me you want to do, from consciously and with intention detangling yourself emotionally from AP to demonstrating loving behaviors towards me. But I'm not ready to put my ring back on yet. (His is on.)


Another good place for validation.
"I hear you" or "I understand this is a little uncomfortable for you H".

He may push a little more... but you stay firm on your decision that your focus is on you.


Originally Posted by may22
He's really starting to wrestle with his identity and what it means for him to have done what he did in the context of staying. (Still so weird to me that the context matters so much.) He said he has a really hard time imagining totally reopening the emotional connection with me, being totally vulnerable, and then looking at the enormity of the betrayal and what it means that he did that... how can he even process that? I listened. I was not really able to validate (felt more like saying YEAH what does that mean and to me it means you do everything within your power to fix it, not navel-gaze and feel sorry for yourself). But, I listened and asked if he'd worked on that at all with his IC. He said he's been so focused in IC on his ambivalence and what to do that he hasn't really touched on any of this other stuff and he'd like to now.

I also think this is true. From what I can tell... he is used to being center of attention... and you are used to giving it to him (both positively and negatively)

As you recenter your focus to you - he's gonna push it more and more Prepare yourself for that. Whether that's guilt tripping or accusing you of the same behavior... it might take him a little bit to come around to the new dance you are creating. It's okay.

Originally Posted by may22
Anyway... listening to him, I get it. He has a lot of work to do both in getting over AP and in understanding his own behaviors and identity, and that work all has to take place before we are even remotely in a position to consider rebuilding our M. But I also have healing to do, anger and sadness and grief and how to process this betrayal from the one person I believed had my back no matter what.


Totally agree. I just want to touch on the something you said about how us oldies jump to recommend "S". It's not that we want that... but sometimes it's so d@mn hard to get space or self care in a way that's good for us. It can also calm us down so we can act/behave in a way that's true to our integrity. If you can do all those things whilst being in the same house... I think that's really fantastic!

Originally Posted by may22
It has felt to me all along that there were only two paths to healing for me-- one on my own where I can fully embrace that he is a fu%!kwit and I'm better off without him, and one where he is fully remorseful and crawling back on his hands and knees, ready to do whatever it takes, desperately back in love with me. This middle path is complicated for me and I can't quite see it, yet. Trying to continue to focus on me and sit in the moment without fast-forwarding in my head towards any particular destination.


That's the best way to look at it. The "whatever it takes" or "desperately back in love with me" are normal feelings... but also general and not achievable as a grandiose statement. Give it time. It'll become more clear the more you focus on you.

Originally Posted by may22
Sage, he is trying. And trying differently than he did before, with a lot more honesty and transparency-- which is both positive but also hard in that he is categorically not going to say or do anything just because I wish it were so. It still feels a lot about him and what he needs right now and I'm not sure he has anything to give beyond what he's doing today. I'm still working on being OK with just being, in this moment.


That may be true. One day at a time okay? No need to put the cart before the horse.
Posted By: cardinal

Re: Crossroads - 09/23/20 03:01 PM

May, I feel the focus on you throughout this post, and it makes me really happy. Maybe seeing a middle path clearly isn’t necessary, because you’re creating it as you go, step by step. It is all of these moments you’re prioritizing your own work and healing with IC and through self care (sleep in, root for your home team!), while letting your H have some space to also do the necessary work on himself. You can’t soothe him the way he might have relied on you to in the past—this is his work. You sound more than ever like you know that to your core. ((May))
Posted By: may22

Re: Crossroads - 09/23/20 07:11 PM

Thanks Valeska and Cardinal.

Valeska, the "I hear you" is really helpful. I think validation has never been a strong suit for me with my H. I'm definitely getting better at it with my children. I think maybe I need more detachment to be able to validate with authenticity. I still feel annoyed and angry when he starts to veer into territory that smacks of justification. I also have moods where I'm feeling good and strong and centered and am ok with listening to him talk a bit about where he's struggling right now and can validate. Other times, not so much-- or more likely, he'll say something small that triggers me and then I'm angry all over again, and want to just disengage and go do something else for myself. (As I read this, maybe what I need is a lighthearted validation/gotta go kind of phrase that gives me both.)

Question-- do you think that validating him right now interferes with his need to work on himself without leaning on me?

Originally Posted by Valeska
That may be true. One day at a time okay? No need to put the cart before the horse.

This. I need to keep this mantra in my head.

Cardinal-- I hope you're right. It is funny, though, this focus on me needs to come afresh every day. It isn't like a place I get to and stay there. It is always needing to be rediscovered and readjusted. I am also so used to making sure H and the girls are all feeling okay that it is something I need to constantly recalibrate and remind myself to think about ME. And there are so many little things and patterns we have fallen into that recognizing them before getting sucked into them is hard, really hard.

He has this big trip that was planned for the summer, that morphed into the closer-to-home version we took in August, but is back to planning for next summer. He told me this trip is core to his identity and he needs it to rebuild his understanding of who he is, post-A. He *says* with his mouth that he wants me to be a full partner in it, that it should be something we are giving our girls together. And yet he spent so much time planning this while in the midst of the affair that I don't feel like it is mine, too, by any stretch-- for a long time, the trip was the external signal to me of his MLC because I didn't know about the A, so it kind of gets wrapped up together in my mind. Also, I can't really get excited about something that is so far off in the future unknown when we may or may not be together.

This led to some tense moments last night and this morning, H saying I don't understand him if I don't understand why this trip is so important, that I am included and if I wanted to be included I should enthusiastically jump into the planning of it, and the fact that I'm not tells him I'm not excited about it (and therefore don't "see" him)... just going around in circles. He gets really upset if I say anything about not being sure if we'll be together a year from now, makes him feel like I'm not committed. And yet I can't be enthusiastic or committed until... I don't even know. Until I am confident AP is out of the picture for good, both in terms of actual contact and in his head.

it's like, he needs me to be able to collaborate on a medium-term thing for him to be able to be focused and confident in the short-term. He says thinking about this trip and collaborating with me on things like this help him to detach from AP in his head. And yet, I'm having a hard time (actually, simply not really doing it at this point) collaborating on the medium-term things without having commitment or more certainty about the long-term. I don't want to plan an H-focused vacation that may or may not happen. And I'm not really willing at this point to spend a lot of time and energy thinking about a future family scenario where everything between us is peachy but we never got the spark back. That feels like failure to me, at least where I sit right now. H thinks that is a necessary step on the path, if we are ever to get to the fallen-back-in-love R. I just have discomfort because I'm worried that will be good enough for H, and it isn't going to be good enough for me.
Posted By: Gigi123

Re: Crossroads - 09/23/20 07:41 PM

May

And this iS probably against all rules, but life is so short and you just never know whats around the corner, you didnt know that your m v 1.0 would t exist, you didnt know that H would have an A and yes you dont know if in a years time you will be a family. And im not saying that you need to jump all in, but what is the worst that can happen if you do show your commitment and help plan the trip? Are you afraid of the heartbreak? The man has hurt you in every possible way and you have survived, can he really do any more to cause hurt?
What would it take for you to show your commitment? How can you ever be certain that his AP is out of him mind, that is not something you can control. Obviously this needs to feel right for you, what if its what is needed for him to take that turn and start healing?
Do you know i can totally see my H being like this and i consider it a weakness, im straight to the point and dont mope around and the whole back and forth drives me mad, but we are all different and somehow the universe has put you two together to build a family and be a partnership. You can show commitment whilst still keeping your dignity and commanding respect.
Posted By: Ginger1

Re: Crossroads - 09/23/20 08:11 PM

This man is extremely extremely self-centered. It seems like he expects you to to take responsibility for his healing from his A. And what is so important to him should be the most important to everyone.

Has he asked you why you need or want at all?
Posted By: Ginger1

Re: Crossroads - 09/23/20 08:56 PM

And I do want to really encourage continuing to take care of you and concern yourself with you. Your H is very needy and that could really suck you dry.
Posted By: may22

Re: Crossroads - 09/23/20 10:19 PM

Ginger,

Yup. He is EXTREMELY self-centered. Probably something he's always struggled with somewhat but magnified a thousand times during the A. My belief is that he's maxed out emotionally and simply doesn't have much if anything to give outside of focusing on himself right now. (Much like how I want to be!!) He'll put the kids first (in his mind that is what he is doing right now by recommitting to the M), both in little ways and big, though sometimes I think he has a hard time disconnecting what he wants the kids to want vs what they actually want. But, he's a good dad. And before the A, he was a good H and I felt like he prioritized me.

He has asked and has implemented things I need, but small things. Like small ways to show me he's committed. He's wearing his ring again (and remembering to put it back on after surfing), making an effort to make eye contact, smile, be present. Acts of service have always been my primary LL and he's been doing that quite a bit as well, making meals, cleaning up, unloading the dishwasher, making me a drink, giving me an unsolicited backrub, going grocery shopping. Bigger things I want-- like saying to me that he doesn't give a rat's @ss about AP anymore-- that he won't do. He is pretty explicit that he isn't going to say anything just because he knows I want to hear it, unless it is true, and that we can't fast-forward to that place. He has to get there authentically. Of course he wants me to help him do it (by being nice and fun and not bringing up the A) and I don't know that I can. So we're kind of in a bind there.

He's doing other things that I think he believes are what I need right now, like getting estimates from contractors to renovate the MBR, because it is something I've wanted to do for a long time now and he thinks it is a symbolic way for us to refresh the space (plus he said he feels like so many things have been on hold for us because of the A that he wants to get back to moving forward in our lives together). This is positive I think generally, but it probably wouldn't be the number one thing on my mind if I was asked what I needed right now to heal. I basically want emotional safety and to believe AP is gone for good. He's given me his phone password and told me she is gone for good, but I don't think I can get to that place and actually trust it without time. Just like he can't get to the place of having her gone for good from his head without time. And in the end what I really want is that second thing to happen, not just the first.

Which all leads me back to-- he does his own work, I do mine, and I can't really rely on him for more than the little stuff right now. I just need to accept that and not worry about it so much, I think.

Gigi,

What you describe I feel, a lot of the times. What do I have to lose? I've said over and over that it is worth TRYING and I know even if I do open my heart back up and have it broken again that I'll survive. What is stopping me is a few things-- one, feeling stupid, two, being tired of shoving down my own needs yet again for my H, I feel like it is just setting us up for a lifetime of him thinking he can walk all over me, three, I feel tapped out at the moment and don't feel like being his emotional crutch anymore. I feel like svcking it up and being fun and planning this trip just subsumes my own needs to his, again, and I'm just not prepared to do that at this exact moment until I feel a little more secure in the direction we are headed.

I also consider his behavior a weakness. I have lost a lot of respect for him through this whole process. He has always been someone who was decisive and truthful and definitely didn't mope around like this. It is really not an attractive look.

Maybe I can think about what I need to see from him, behaviorally, and hear from him in order to feel OK giving him more of what he wants. But all in all I just want to keep the focus on me for awhile rather than him for awhile. I've never really done this before and I want to exercise it like a muscle.
Posted By: AlisonUK

Re: Crossroads - 09/24/20 05:56 AM

Quote
Bigger things I want-- like saying to me that he doesn't give a rat's @ss about AP anymore-- that he won't do. He is pretty explicit that he isn't going to say anything just because he knows I want to hear it, unless it is true, and that we can't fast-forward to that place. He has to get there authentically.


Hello May!

I have been reading along with you these past few weeks but not posting much. I'm not sure if you want advice, or. not, so please forgive me and ignore if I overstep. But this, above, what your husband is saying to you - can you say some version of that right back at him regarding his trip?

It looks to me like he doesn't really have a problem with how you are behaving day to day, and in general, you don't have a problem with how he's behaving day to day. But each of you want the other to feel and think something that you don't trust is happening and don't think you can be happy without. And each of you want 'evidence' that that feeling and thinking change is taking place. Now I've got much more sympathy with your need than I do with your husband's - he's continued being dishonest and the business with the mementoes seems like a dramatic and silly gesture - just like this trip. I think he's addicted to drama and big events and is trying to replace the AP with the trip. And I think you're right to let him get on with his life and concentrate entirely on yourself, and tell him you're not yet ready to collaborate with him because you 'can't fast forward to that place' (use his words - let him recognise what you are doing).

But more generally, I think you're both supplying the same energy to this dynamic - in that you want the other person to think and feel a certain way, and provide evidence of that thinking and feeling in a change of behaviour. I don't think that is necessarily unreasonable, but there's so much pressure on this - your husband communicating in all kinds of ways that he won't be okay, he won't be happy, he won't be faithful - unless he gets what he wants from you - and I think in some ways you are doing the same back - you won't be okay in the marriage, you won't be committed - unless you get what you need from him. There's a lot of bargaining and this is why you are stuck.

My feeling is that you won't resolve this without a separation. He doesn't seem to be able to leave you alone and sort out his own trip, deal with his own feelings, and learn to be okay even if his wife is angry with him, or has hurt him, or is busy with her own life and. not able to spend as much time as she once did polishing up his ego and participating in his adolescent fantasies. I think he will work on you to provide that 'supply' forever - because even if working on you causes an argument, causes upset, and still doesn't get him what he wants, that is preferable to him than looking inwards and meeting some of his own needs and soothing his own ego. I really do.

But as you've decided to stay, and you're communicating to him pretty powerfully that there's pretty much nothing he can do that would cause you to end the marriage (it's a very very parental type relationship, isn't it?) I think the only thing you can do is work on acceptance - he's selfish and dishonest and isn't able to really participate in an adult functioning marriage. He's going to carry on trying to get you hooked into a game where you meet his needs while yours aren't important. You will probably never, ever be able to reasonably trust him while also being clear sighted and honest with yourself. If you can accept those things, I think you will be able to detach from him fully and he'll be this slightly embarrassing presence in the house you have to bump into now and again while you're off living your amazing life. That might not be your destination, but I do think you won't get past where you are now until you go through that gate.
Posted By: may22

Re: Crossroads - 09/24/20 09:40 AM

Hi Alison!!

How are you? I have been thinking of you quite a bit... figured you were taking a break from this place. Which I kind of want to do too, but am not sure I can at this exact moment. Can you give an update on how things are going with you?

I took your advice and said exactly that to H tonight about the trip, with his own words. That I'm simply not in a place to engage with him about the trip authentically. He said, OK. Then he asked, when will you be? I said, I don't know. When things are more solid. When you're over AP. He said, what if that never happens? I said, (Kind of pissed off but I don't think I showed it) then, we'll have to see, I guess. (He goes, and then what about the KIDS??? I walked away.)

I also suggested taking more space from each other in the house. Even if we aren't separated, to not expect to spend time together in the evenings after the kids go down. To do our own thing. He didn't agree to it exactly-- I kind of laid it out there are something to consider, and he seemed open to it-- but I think the next time we talk I'll say it is what I need right now. I know I've fed this dynamic for a very very long time, and I need to constantly be thinking and consciously letting go, not interacting, not responding to him and also not dumping my own $hit on him either, which I've also done for years.

What I'm trying to do right now and what I talked to my IC about today is just being, now. Just accepting what is and being OK with it. Not pushing for any particular outcome, or outlining in my head what comes next. Just being.

In terms of trusting again... I know I've said this before but I'm a trusting fool. I can't help it, it is who I am. I have to consciously remind myself NOT to trust H right now. Maybe I'm missing a spidey sense. It has burnt me professionally and (clearly now) personally but I'm OK with it. It is part of who I am and I don't want to lose that just because H is an unworthy duck. Whether with H or someone else in the future, it is important to me to be able to trust fully, again. This is something I'm not really all that worried about-- if we get there together, ok. great. if we don't, we don't, and we move on from there. But it isn't something I can or should expect today and I'm just going to not worry about it, for now.

In terms of communicating to him there is nothing he could do to end this M... he's said something twice over the past couple of days that was confusing to me, and I'm not sure how to respond, so I haven't. He said maybe it would be better if I could tell him if he contacted her again it would absolutely be over and I would kick him out of the house. I'm not sure how to interpret that and don't really know what he means. IC wondered if he's trying to push my boundaries or pull a bit of a power play. I have actually been working on for myself what I'll do if he does it again, which is-- call my mom and tell her, then call my other best friend (who doesn't know) and tell her. I think those two conversations will set enough into place for the momentum to carry me through kicking him out. The finances will all be handled in the post-nup so all we'll have to talk about is what to tell the kids and how long it will take for him to get his @ss out of the house. But, these plans are for ME, not for him. And it felt weird disclosing them to him, so I didn't. Any thoughts on this? Part of me thinks he wants an ultimatum to help him keep to his decision and the other (larger) half of me thinks he wants to be able to shove it all off on me and just wants an excuse. So I've just not responded, but would be interested in your interpretations.
Posted By: Pommy99

Re: Crossroads - 09/24/20 11:28 AM

Originally Posted by may22
I also suggested taking more space from each other in the house. Even if we aren't separated, to not expect to spend time together in the evenings after the kids go down. To do our own thing. He didn't agree to it exactly--
This is really good and it is interesting how your H is responding. You are so good at this May, it's fantastic that you are in a place where you can be liberated in your own home. My H is responding the same way - he doesn't like it if I choose to read on the bed while he is downstairs cooking dinner, or if we are watching his programme on TV and I read on my ipad, for example. I find this so frustrating - that these WAHs can live this lie of a life, not needing our company whilst being entertained by OW, but have huge expectations whilst at home (and I don't believe it is purely down to the desire to reconcile). Alison used the term 'supply' which does suggest a narcissistic trait, and I do feel it is true, that both our Hs need a constant supply of attention and are not comfortable in their own company. I do know for a fact that my H does not like himself much right now. How does your H feel about himself? .

Originally Posted by may22
In terms of trusting again... I know I've said this before but I'm a trusting fool. I can't help it, it is who I am. I have to consciously remind myself NOT to trust H right now. Maybe I'm missing a spidey sense. It has burnt me professionally and (clearly now) personally but I'm OK with it. It is part of who I am and I don't want to lose that just because H is an unworthy duck.
You and me both May - the trust counter with my H has been reset to zero (probably more like -100), but I have this amazing capability to forgive and forget. How do you interact with H when you have to remind yourself not to trust him? I am struggling with this - I still naturally want to be loving, even in the aftermath of another mini-BD, and I feel like it sends the message that I am accepting his behaviours. (I need to post about this on my own thread.)

Originally Posted by may22
In terms of communicating to him there is nothing he could do to end this M... he's said something twice over the past couple of days that was confusing to me, and I'm not sure how to respond, so I haven't. He said maybe it would be better if I could tell him if he contacted her again it would absolutely be over and I would kick him out of the house. Part of me thinks he wants an ultimatum to help him keep to his decision and the other (larger) half of me thinks he wants to be able to shove it all off on me and just wants an excuse. So I've just not responded, but would be interested in your interpretations.
When my H left amidst his 'confusion' he said he wanted to know what it felt like to really lose me, to know that I wasn't there for him as a W anymore. He said everything he had in life he had worked hard for, and he needed to feel like he had earned me. Tbh I thought this last bit was complete BS, although there is an element in truth of wanting what we cant have, thrill of the chase etc. I would say you are right on both counts - he needs to know he's used up all his 9 lives, and he wants to know that if he did transgress, he wouldn't be faced with a difficult decision of leaving you - you would kindly do it for him. I really do think your H does need to know what it feels like to have lost you. Your door is always open for him (I am guilty of the same). I would respond to his question with a question - "why do you think it will be better if I said that?"

I can see you making so much progress May. As for H, he seems to be making a concerted effort to do the right thing, even if his feelings are playing catchup. It's perfectly right that you now move forwards on your own timelines. I just wondered if you are making time for "date night" (even if under lockdown), R discussions off limits, doing something fun together just the two of you? How do you feel about showing him love and warmth? (I'm asking for myself!!)
Posted By: AlisonUK

Re: Crossroads - 09/24/20 11:37 AM

Quote
he's said something twice over the past couple of days that was confusing to me, and I'm not sure how to respond, so I haven't. He said maybe it would be better if I could tell him if he contacted her again it would absolutely be over and I would kick him out of the house.


He wants you to be mommy so he can blame you when he's unhappy or messes up. Stay well out of the way of this. He's in the house because he's choosing to be, right now. You're not kicking him out or making solid plans to leave him, right now. Those things speak louder than anything either of you say at the moment, so you may as well just duck out of these conversations.

You can decide what your lines in the sand are (and deciding there's actually nothing he can do that would make you kick him out is entirely up to you - and it is what you're communicating right now with your actions - and that's a perfectly fine choice to make if that's the truth of where you are) but there's no point discussing them with him. Boundaries are things that you enact, not that you describe and discuss and get negotiation on and agreement for in advance.

I have a boundary around keeping confidences. If a friend breaks a confidence, I never tell them anything personal again. But I've never said to my friends 'by the way, this is how I do friendship, here are my rules, just so you know' and when I have drawn that boundary, I've never said, 'right, now the terms of our friendship have changes and here are the topics we will no longer be discussing. Is that okay with you?' - I just live it. I think boundaries work best (for me) when they are totally silent.

(And I will update my thread! Very soon!)
Posted By: Ginger1

Re: Crossroads - 09/24/20 03:14 PM

Oh boy. He pretty much told you, I am trampling on your boundaries because you let me.

And he needs to be a big boy, take responsibility and do his own healing. He wants everything to be on you. This is not your job.

But he knows you won’t kick him out. And he pretty much told you that’s a reason why he is so wish washy with other woman. He knows he can do it and he still gets to stay so it gets very tempting to him.
Posted By: Ginger1

Re: Crossroads - 09/24/20 03:25 PM

For clarification, I’m not telling to kick him out. I promised not to do that. But please don’t take on his work he needs to do for himself. He’s got to want it, and he’s the only one who can do it .
Posted By: Valeska19

Re: Crossroads - 09/24/20 03:52 PM

Originally Posted by may22
Question-- do you think that validating him right now interferes with his need to work on himself without leaning on me?


I think the bigger question is why are you asking this? Is it control? Is it fear?

You can validate people all the time w/o engaging or even accepting it as true for you. You are just understanding that they are in pain.

Originally Posted by may22
I also suggested taking more space from each other in the house. Even if we aren't separated, to not expect to spend time together in the evenings after the kids go down. To do our own thing. He didn't agree to it exactly-- I kind of laid it out there are something to consider, and he seemed open to it-- but I think the next time we talk I'll say it is what I need right now. I know I've fed this dynamic for a very very long time, and I need to constantly be thinking and consciously letting go, not interacting, not responding to him and also not dumping my own $hit on him either, which I've also done for years.


As Alison said... boundaries are actions. You really don't have to tell him anything... just take the space. I understand that when you did - he got a little panicked.. but that's in his lane.

There seems to be a pattern based on your posts that when May focuses on May... H gets uncomfortable, lashes out, acts childish...whatever. You try to communicate with him as loving as you can why you doing what you are doing in the hopes that he will respond differently. You tell him your needs hoping he will respect them. But he only does this as long as he is comfortable.

He needs to learn to get comfortable with his feelings. May you can't help him through this. That's his journey. His lane.

I feel for you and can relate in so many ways. Your relationship dynamic has taught you to control your relationship... but perhaps part of you controlling it is because if you let H be the way he is acting now - he would show you things he didn't want to see. You would have to make decisions you don't want to make.

I'm not saying a D or S, but for now.... it could just be your taking care of self. Stop pursuing him. The relationship. Etc. Let him act his way. Validate that you understand he's upset, but you still have to make the decision for YOU. And then see how the pattern changes. It will be a "HOW" if you stick to your part.

It will be uncomfortable for him. It will be uncomfortable for you. Change usually is.

((May))
Posted By: may22

Re: Crossroads - 09/25/20 12:45 AM

Thanks Pommy, Alison, Valeska.

Originally Posted by Pommy99
Alison used the term 'supply' which does suggest a narcissistic trait, and I do feel it is true, that both our Hs need a constant supply of attention and are not comfortable in their own company. I do know for a fact that my H does not like himself much right now. How does your H feel about himself?

He does not like himself very much either, which is a very very very uncomfortable place for him to be. He says he wants to work with his IC on his identity, who he is, what does it mean that he was capable of such enormous betrayal. On how to be a better person. And at the same time not wanting to throw out everything associated with the A in the garbage (a bit of MLC/YOLO stuff). We had a conversation about an indigenous perspective of having responsibilities vs having rights, and he very much wants to be someone who cares first and foremost about his responsibilities.

I'd say, though, my H is comfortable generally in his own company. he just needs/wants my approval and buy-in. I think the fact that I'm not, this time, saying "oh great, thank you H for ditching your OW, you've done the right thing" like I was the first time around, and also not being super angry and telling him over and over "you're an irredeemable duck" for having had the A, like I did on the trip, is making him uncomfortable. He said to me, if he'd left for AP, at least he knows she would have been happy. I haven't yelled at him or been really nice to him. I've just been. I have said when it occurs to me that I feel betrayed, I can't trust him, and he's listened and accepted that. I feel like in not giving him something to react to it is forcing him to think about stuff more on his own and with his IC. Which I do think is happening. The week he almost left I told him I thought he was a narcissist. He told me last week he read up on narcissism, talked to his IC about it, reviewed the different types, thinks some things fit and others don't. He talked to his IC about taking the inventory test. We'll see. Maybe just another ploy for attention.

Originally Posted by Pommy99
How do you interact with H when you have to remind yourself not to trust him?

I'm trying to gut check my natural (or maybe habituated) responses before responding either to him, or when I have an urge to go talk to him about something. I can, if I want, let it go and have fun with him. I've only let myself do this a couple of times. If I feel the anxiety pit of not trusting him, I listen to it and don't engage-- I feel like the first time around I would have shoved it down and acted as-if, the second time around I would have spewed my feelings onto him. This time, I think about other ways to soothe myself that don't involve H.

I think acting as-if has its place... I was thinking about your situation, and being the loving wife whilst your H hasn't committed to cutting off all contact with OW-- and thinking, maybe this is a cheeseless tunnel for you. Acting as-if and being the loving wife hasn't gotten you where you want to go. Instead, it seems to have enabled your H's continued cake-eating and waffling/ambivalence. I believe this was the case in my own sitch and something I need to remember and guard against. So, maybe don't act the loving wife anymore?

Originally Posted by Pommy99
would say you are right on both counts - he needs to know he's used up all his 9 lives, and he wants to know that if he did transgress, he wouldn't be faced with a difficult decision of leaving you - you would kindly do it for him.

I think you're right on in this interpretation. I think I'll just leave it without responding, though maybe asking him that "why do you ask" question would also be interesting. My plans are for me. Alison and Valeska, I also see your points in that I've done this in the past where I talk through my reasoning or boundaries with him and that gives him a chance to poke holes or push things or whatever. In this case, you're absolutely right, Alison, in that there will be no need for words.

Generally, with the added distance I have in my head right now having been ready to S/D and not engaging as I have in the past, I feel like I've tried different things that haven't worked, and from a DB perspective now trying something different-- something that is harder on me, for sure, to button my lip and not engage-- but knowing that what I did in the past didn't work for either of us, so time to try something new, and something just on me that doesn't require his participation.

Alison, Ginger, it has been just two weeks now since he said he was choosing the M and just about a week since he told her it was over. I believe him that he isn't in contact with her. Whether that remains the status quo is yet to be seen. I also don't know if he is actually working in his head to actively disentangle himself from her emotionally, like he said he would. But that is all beyond my control. he will or he won't. But, I will say that he hasn't been wishy-washy about her since he made that decision. Again, only two weeks. But his behavior and words are very different this time. I'm not trying to justify my decision or make you guys think I did the right thing-- I'm fairly confident a good number of people following along are thinking I'm just delaying the inevitable and taking over/unders on when he'll be back in touch with AP-- but, I am where I am, today.

I feel like if I was going to kick him out, I either should have done it back when he was still talking with her, or in the future if/when he does again. Right now doesn't make a ton of sense to me as I do believe he is trying and this isn't something where you'd expect to have any real change in just a couple of weeks. So, the best I can do given where I am right now is to -- as you've all been saying-- buckle down, focus on me, detach.

And, I talked to my IC yesterday about helping me to enforce the boundary of kicking him out if he gets back in touch with her. So you guys too-- please keep me honest here (really honest, not Lindsay Graham honest). If he gets back in touch with her, he's out. The post-nup will be signed, all the financial details worked out. The only things to do will be getting him out ASAP and what we tell the kids. I'm trying to set myself up for as easy a transition with as much support as possible to ensure I can follow through.

Originally Posted by Valeska19
Originally Posted by may22
Question-- do you think that validating him right now interferes with his need to work on himself without leaning on me?


I think the bigger question is why are you asking this? Is it control? Is it fear?

You can validate people all the time w/o engaging or even accepting it as true for you. You are just understanding that they are in pain.

I think the reason I asked this was because folks here and my IC have been very very clear that this is his work to do, not mine, and I need to stop shouldering his emotional processing load for both of our sakes. So I guess I was wondering if validation counted as helping him to do the work that is really his to do, not mine. Is the act of validating helping take off some of his mental burden? I am definitely not open to validating or listening at all to him processing his feelings around AP-- that is a boundary for me and easy to enforce. But his concerns about his own identity, why he did this, and both his hurt from the SSM in the past and his worry that we'll slide back into it eventually-- I'm unsure if listening or validating these thoughts is crossing any lines. (I feel a little bit like the SSM talk is-- I told him last time he brought it up that I'd be happy to discuss it once he was over AP, but in the near term it didn't feel good on my end to discuss it. I'm not sure if that is a boundary for my own safety, or if it is a discomfort I need to push through eventually.)

Originally Posted by Pommy99
I just wondered if you are making time for "date night" (even if under lockdown), R discussions off limits, doing something fun together just the two of you? How do you feel about showing him love and warmth? (I'm asking for myself!!)

Yes, I've given myself permission to have sort of a truce twice now, both Saturday nights. We've had some drinks, hung out, chatted. Stayed away from R talks. (maybe had a bit too much to drink and blew our shared/agreed upon boundary of no physical intimacy for the time being last weekend... oh well.) Not sure if this generally is a good idea or a bad one. It does help me to blow off some of the steam and weirdness between us to have a little window of what was normal before, focusing on the positives of what we do still have between us rather than what we don't.
Posted By: Valeska19

Re: Crossroads - 09/25/20 03:35 AM

Originally Posted by Valeska19
Originally Posted by may22
Question-- do you think that validating him right now interferes with his need to work on himself without leaning on me?


I think the bigger question is why are you asking this? Is it control? Is it fear?

You can validate people all the time w/o engaging or even accepting it as true for you. You are just understanding that they are in pain.

Originally Posted by may22
I think the reason I asked this was because folks here and my IC have been very very clear that this is his work to do, not mine, and I need to stop shouldering his emotional processing load for both of our sakes. So I guess I was wondering if validation counted as helping him to do the work that is really his to do, not mine. Is the act of validating helping take off some of his mental burden? I am definitely not open to validating or listening at all to him processing his feelings around AP-- that is a boundary for me and easy to enforce. But his concerns about his own identity, why he did this, and both his hurt from the SSM in the past and his worry that we'll slide back into it eventually-- I'm unsure if listening or validating these thoughts is crossing any lines. (I feel a little bit like the SSM talk is-- I told him last time he brought it up that I'd be happy to discuss it once he was over AP, but in the near term it didn't feel good on my end to discuss it. I'm not sure if that is a boundary for my own safety, or if it is a discomfort I need to push through eventually.)


I personally think it just doesn't add fuel to the fire. You certainly don't have to validate him at all. It's your choice.
I'm starting to use "I hear you" more often. It felt uncomfortable at first but now I just leave it at that and continue on.
It helps me with a self boundary to not be tempted to allow that shoulder to cry on or to absorb more than I need to.
Posted By: may22

Re: Crossroads - 09/25/20 08:28 AM

Valeska, that makes sense. I think I will try to validate as long as I don't feel it is crossing into any boundaries of mine (talking about AP, for instance) and as long as I feel good in the process.

So, the thing about this trip-- there was one major thing that was making me feel like I was an appendage rather than a partner in the trip. It is hard to explain without getting into too many details, but something I'd felt really uncomfortable about in the spring but elected to not make a big deal about (b/c pressure). When he reopened the trip discussions with me this element slapped me in the face-- basically how he was framing it, as a father-daughter trip. In the midst of the conversation last night I said that particular framing made me feel excluded and that was one of the things he got totally upset and defensive about.

Today, in the middle of the day he showed me some planning portions of it, and he'd completely changed the framing to remove the elements that made it seem like I was invisible. I was honestly really touched. I feel like I should reinforce this but a voice in the back of my head is saying not to make too big a deal about it either. I said, thank you, that means a lot, but didn't go into any more about it.

Then tonight I had some zoom cocktails with a fellowship group I'm a part of (we were supposed to be at this dreamy resort for a retreat this week and instead we're all just zooming, ugh) and he was great, totally gave me my space, did his own thing but was friendly and kind, took care of the kids going to bed and then went to bed early himself, while I may stay up a bit later, finish my glass of wine and read my book. Not a bad day/night.
Posted By: AlisonUK

Re: Crossroads - 09/25/20 12:39 PM

May,

one thing I read somewhere, which was really powerful to me, was that pretty much all human communication can be boiled down to 'please can I have this' or 'thank you for this' or 'yes I will give you this' or 'no I can't give you that.'

It has helped me listen to H differently. Now I listen for the request, and decide if my answer is 'yes I will give you this' or 'no I can't give you that'. Sometimes he is venting and by doing that he seems to be asking 'please will you listen to me as I find that comforting' or 'please will you do or say something so that I feel different'. As soon as I have identified the request - or understand that he is giving a 'yes' or a 'no' to one of mine, I act accordingly.

It can take a while to understand what the request is. Sometimes someone seems to want reassurance, but they actually want you to take the blame. Sometimes someone wants permission to set a boundary, or reassurance that if they do set a boundary, the other won't be angry or withdraw. I think adult communication involves staying in the moment, making requests and not demands, and being clear in your yes and no. It's simple, and also very difficult.

I think your husband is repeatedly saying some version of 'please will you make me feel better' - his fantasy D was about feeling better. Working on you to accept blame was about making him feel better. Agreeing to the trip then agreeing to being friends after the D wasn't about those things really but about making him feel better. Now, him wanting help through his process, and reassurance about what the future will look like, and signs of your commitment are all about him wanting you to make him feel better. I don't think you need to say many words to answer those requests. You can just gently step away and live your no. He NEEDS to feel some pain or he won't change. You aren't punishing him, you're just saying no to what he is asking for.
Posted By: may22

Re: Crossroads - 09/28/20 08:09 PM

Hi Alison,

I had a visceral response to this theory and needed to sit with it for awhile. At first, it felt really transactional and that it didn't allow for altruistic behavior or communication at all. After reading it a few times and sitting with it over the past couple of days, I see how altruism has a place here-- and not that altruism has any place in my husband's behavior or communication right now, nor my own. smile

And, regardless, I agree that my H is repeatedly saying some version of please help make me feel better. And it really isn't my job to do that. (His lane, Valeska-- that terminology helps me.) He needs to find his own way. And I know I also have a lot of healing to do, both in terms of dealing with the hurt and betrayal and anger as well as what I want or need myself for my own future.

I'm having a hard time grappling with the fact that I am going to need to do this all on my own too. Even though my H is here in his body, he isn't someone I can lean on to help me heal and process my own issues. It makes me sad, thinking about that. I know am actively choosing this path. It just feels lonely. I guess I'm alone either way. I get angry, sometimes, thinking of how selfish and weak my H is.

I see how separating would make all this so much easier. But to me, it still feels like giving up any chance at reconciliation if we split. And, I've spent some time on the negative side of this-- not my usual MO, as I usually like to focus on achieving what I want vs avoiding what I don't want... but in this case, I also think that there are a series of outcomes that I really, truly don't want, including AP moving out here and having contact with my children (still have the blind rage if I sit in this), and in the nearer term trying to navigate COVID whilst going through an S or D and with the outlets I'd have at any other time-- being able to spend time with friends here, ability to have say my mom come out and stay with me for awhile-- being gone, for now. My support system is very, very truncated at the moment. Some of my close friends here are also not taking COVID as seriously as we are, and I am also feeing those relationships fraying somewhat because of this.

So when I try to take that 30,000 foot view-- that if I keep chugging along and focusing on me, not making any big moves, etc.-- hopefully with time we'll move to a place where AP is more likely to be out of the picture, either because she's moved on or he's successfully worked to get her out of his head, COVID restrictions will eventually be lifted and I could rely on my support system for real support rather than phone calls, if we end up splitting. And possibly the time passing and space for us to each work on our own $hit will make the possibility of true reconciliation/piecing possible. I don't know. But focusing on the long game is helping me to detach and keep moving forward, one day at a time.

We have mostly had good days since I posted last, until yesterday. H was a bit of an a-hole and I called him out on it. He got really grumpy and yelled at the kids and stomped all around for the rest of the day/evening. Super touchy. He asked me why I'd been so mean all day and said "if you are going to just act like an @sshole, you should sleep somewhere else". It seemed to me so clear that he was just trying to deflect his own feelings of guilt about his behavior onto me. I truly had said very little to him, except telling him he was being an @sshole when he actually was. And he really shouldn't have yelled at the kids the way he did. He apologized to them (not to me), went to bed early and woke up grumpy again. I know I have to just let it be and not engage. It's hard, though. Like totally flipping the relationship dynamics of the past 17 years upside down.

Thinking of all you guys. xx
Posted By: AlisonUK

Re: Crossroads - 09/29/20 07:55 AM

It me hard that way too when I first read it, May. (The book is called Non Violent Communication, if you're interested). What made the difference to me was understanding the difference between a request and a demand. A demand has consequences. There's always an unspoken 'or else' in a demand. When someone demands something of you, you know it. When they request something, you feel free to enact your boundaries in a way that is good for you, say no safely or say yes totally freely. It makes giving altruistic, rather than bargaining.

Anyway - it really transformed how I speak with my children and my H - and while it hasn't changed the way he speaks to me, it has changed the way I listen to him. I can often hear, under his grumbling, a very simple request for care and attention. At other times, a demand that I take the blame for his feelings. When he is requesting care, I give it. When he is demanding I accept unreasonable criticism (because it makes him feel better) I step away. At least he knows - I hope - that when I give him care it is given freely, and because I want to, not because I am trying to manipulate him out of a bad mood so he will be nice to me.
Posted By: job

Re: Crossroads - 09/29/20 02:20 PM

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