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May, I don't want to pile on. But I do want to challenge your statement that you trust your H.

From my vantage point, you have already conceded your boundaries because the alternative is too frightening to contemplate. At first you said you wouldn't go as long as there was an active affair. Then you would only go if he permanently cut off all contact. Now you'll go if as long as he has the intention of never contacting her again. See how you progressively wore yourself down? I know you know that blocking her is meaningless as it can be undone at any time and there are virtually unlimited methods of staying in contact.

You said he will be angry and possibly divorce you if you refuse to go on the trip. You understand that divorce means losing time with the kids and possibly losing the house. No judgement whatsoever on those issues; they are massive concerns. But making decisions from a place of fear means you fall back on anything you can control - setting conditions that punish him and give you the outcome you want.

"I won't go on the trip unless you block her and intend to never talk to her again."

Such statements are not boundaries, but threats. Boundaries are not about punishing someone who has been hurtful. Holding to a boundary may not be liked by the other person, but it's essential in maintaining your integrity. Threats, punishment and conditions actually weaken a boundary. That is because the other person's response becomes more important than your own limit. A controlling person senses this and manipulates his response to make you unsure of your boundaries.

"I can't (not "won't" - important distinction here) go on a family trip with a husband who is not committed to our family."

This is where I think your trust in H is disingenuous. You can't possibly, honestly, truly trust your H after all that has happened. Yet you say you do. I think you are trying to convince yourself that you trust him in order to circumvent the above original boundary in your mind. Does going on this trip violate your integrity? What mental gymnastics are you performing to give yourself permission to go on this trip? Are you weakening your own boundary out of fear?

Regarding his nice, sweet, and fun behaviours - this is what CL calls a 'b!tch cookie'. As in, does he really deserve kudos for exhibiting the bare minimum of socially acceptable human relationship behaviours? I know it's hard (((May))). I bet your H has his good points and I believe they are genuine. But to use another food analogy - a delicious sandwich with a tiny bit of sh!t in it is still a sh!t sandwich.


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Originally Posted by scout12
Regarding his nice, sweet, and fun behaviours - this is what CL calls a 'b!tch cookie'. As in, does he really deserve kudos for exhibiting the bare minimum of socially acceptable human relationship behaviours? I know it's hard (((May))). I bet your H has his good points and I believe they are genuine. But to use another food analogy - a delicious sandwich with a tiny bit of sh!t in it is still a sh!t sandwich.


Scout- I literally have a google doc full of all your quotes. Lol. This one is gold!

May- Take your time to think about what is right for you. What you feel is right for you right now might be different 3 months later. Think about your core values and how your H aligns/deviates from them. With time, I believe you will be able to see things clearer. Youíre a strong, smart woman, donít let fear take the steering wheel.


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hi Scout,

I do love the $hit sandwich analogy... that is an awesome one. Though I would argue, I don't think he exhibits the bare minimum of socially acceptable relational behaviors. I had a number of serious relationships before I met H. I have a lot of close female friends and couple friends and I feel very confident in saying his behaviors are not anywhere close to the bare minimum. (I mean, I've also read enough threads on these boards that I feel I have a clear understanding of what unacceptable behavior looks like... maybe that clouds my judgment somewhat too. IDK. But. Still a bit of $hit in the sandwich here, regardless. But I do want to push back a little on this. He *was* the alien H others have experienced for a long time, probably the whole first year of the A. I just didn't know about it or these boards or anything else. He has been in IC for a year and a half and he has worked a lot on many of his faults. A lot on honesty too. Ugh, I don't want to feel like I'm defending him. I'm not trying to. But please do give me a little tiny bit of credit on this one.

Originally Posted by scout12
From my vantage point, you have already conceded your boundaries because the alternative is too frightening to contemplate. At first you said you wouldn't go as long as there was an active affair. Then you would only go if he permanently cut off all contact. Now you'll go if as long as he has the intention of never contacting her again. See how you progressively wore yourself down? I know you know that blocking her is meaningless as it can be undone at any time and there are virtually unlimited methods of staying in contact.

I'm going to push back on this one a bit too... though I don't disagree that I have gained a lot of fear for the S/D scenario around the children and custody once *my* fantasy D bubble got popped (which you really helped me to do, thank you.) I know this is all stuff I can work through, but right now, that is not what I want. However, at first I did say I wouldn't go if there was an active affair. And I told him that and he said after a few days/ week/ who knows, I can't keep track of time anymore-- OK, I am breaking it off with her. I said, great. Sorry, your word isn't enough this time. I need proof she is gone forever and technological supports to make it so (blocking).

Then, some wise posters here (I'm thinking of FS specifically) pushed me on this, saying it was impossible for him or anyone to commit to that-- the best he could really do would be to say his intention was to cut it off with her permanently. And H was saying the same thing to me, so I did compromise on that one. So I don't actually really think I progressively wore myself down. He is saying that the A is over, he is blocking her on all channels, his intention is to not be in touch with her ever again. I feel secure in my ability to participate on the trip under these circumstances.

Originally Posted by scout12
"I can't (not "won't" - important distinction here) go on a family trip with a husband who is not committed to our family."

I do believe he is committed to the family. I do not believe that he is committed to me as his W in every sense of the word. As his partner, best friend, co-parent, yes. The romantic/emotional intimacy side, IDK right now. I am in no way ready to explore that until I'm satisfied she's gone for good. He is in no way ready to explore that until he is NC for awhile and has some distance. He says he wants this trip to begin to knit this all back together. And I can't do that until I feel secure that the A is truly over. So, I simply can't participate in the way he wants me to participate unless I'm satisfied she's gone.

My boundary might be more: I can't go on a trip with the worry that AP is still in the picture. That's the truth. 100%. I don't want to worry about it. And I think I have the ability to actually *not* worry about it. I do think I can trust him. And I know it sounds crazy because I have trusted him every single other time he fed me trickle truth and told me something and said that was the extent of things, only to find out later that oh wait... there was more. I know that seems unbelievable that i can tell you I do trust him now when he says he's done with the A for good. I can say there is a lot more transparency generally. But basically I think it is just part of my nature. I'm not trying to do mental gymnastics. Maybe I do see what I want to see or believe what I want to believe... no doubt that is a part of it. But, as I've said before, I'm a trusting fool. It is who I am. And that is OK with me. I don't want to lose that part of myself through all of this.

I know he can unblock her, of course. Or find another way to get in touch with her. At this point, I'm really not worried about it. Maybe I will be when we get back (assuming we go). But for now... I'm not really going to sweat it.

Originally Posted by Wooba
May- Take your time to think about what is right for you. What you feel is right for you right now might be different 3 months later. Think about your core values and how your H aligns/deviates from them. With time, I believe you will be able to see things clearer. Youíre a strong, smart woman, donít let fear take the steering wheel.

Wooba... that is really helpful. I have felt like there was a ton of pressure on this trip. It is also coinciding with me needing to make some decisions about my career which is wound up in all of this too, so just a lot of pressure in a small time frame. I think where I am is to not worry about making any decisions right now-- take my time, as you say. Assuming we go on this vacation, just relax and have it be a vacation. Think about work stuff also and come to some decision in that arena. i do think time will help.


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So I'm on for a little bit, and I'm trying to keep up. I'll give you my very very brief take on things here.

MAY TAKE THE D@MN JOB! Take the job. Take the money. Take the change. Take the job.

Next, I truly think you should just go on the trip. No qualifiers. No expectations. That goes for H too. No expectations of this is make or break the MR healing process, blah, blah, blah. I'd honestly say hey I'm going to let all of my qualifiers go if you let all your expectations about this trip go, Clark Griswald. Let's not build this up into some kind of life changing marriage retreat. Let's just let it be what it is a family vacation. Take a break from all this back and forth. All of the will he, won't he. All of the chaos and deception. Seriously. I worry every single day that we won't every get to the meat and potatoes of these issues and then I remember that there's plenty of time to dig into this later. We are enjoying each other so much right now. All you guys do, and I'm not dumping that on you, I know like 90% is H is mull over the SSM and the A. It's so much the focus of your MR and household right now you guys kind of just circle it over and over and over again like it's the only thing you can talk about. Wouldn't it be nice just to talk about beautiful sunsets and terrible traffic? Is there any way you and H can promise to not talk about AP or the A or H's ridiculous behavior or you being controlling or your pain or either of your fears or anger for this trip. Can you guys just exist on the surface for this trip and find out if you actually still like each other? You a while back put it out there that you wondered if this was more of a relapse than a collapse. Could you maybe focus on that he might have had a relapse and this trip is his rehab? You guys as a family unit pulls at him. That's clear. And you love him as the father of your children. Can you look at this trip as a just a family trip? And let the chips fall where they may after wards?

You can take that all with a grain of salt but that's what I see right now.
Thinking of you often. xoxoxoxo

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Hi Wayfinder,

On the job... I think I will. I just emailed asking for what she was thinking in terms of compensation, and let her know I'm taking the next several weeks off to think about all of this. There's another, also probably more lucrative, opportunity on the table that I'm also thinking through. I know I'm really fortunate to be in this space. When else besides when you graduate from college or maybe a degree program do you get to have several opportunities in front of you to choose from? That has never happened to me, at least-- it is more like stay with the current job or consider one other opportunity at a time. So I kind of want to take my time with this and really think it all through.

On the trip... we are going and I like the no qualifiers, no expectations, just have fun together as a family. It is what he asked for and what I'm going to do. Not worry about anything else. I think you're so right that we've been spinning around this A and SSM and what it all means and the kids and the future and what if what if what if for so long that it is just exhausting. So a break from that is so attractive. And a break from our phones and work and IC and everything else. May take a break from this forum too.

Quote
Can you guys just exist on the surface for this trip and find out if you actually still like each other? You a while back put it out there that you wondered if this was more of a relapse than a collapse. Could you maybe focus on that he might have had a relapse and this trip is his rehab? You guys as a family unit pulls at him. That's clear. And you love him as the father of your children. Can you look at this trip as a just a family trip? And let the chips fall where they may after wards?

Yes. I think I can do all of this. I think he can too. (I know he can, he is a master at compartmentalizing anyway). And the Clark Griswald thing is hilarious. That is exactly where he is on all of this... so hopefully he can chill and not go too overboard in terms of expectations for everyone (kids included, I know he wants them to be like gung-ho hikers and they're like, 8 and 10 and sometimes just want to play instead).

Also, he did it. He talked to her and has blocked her on every channel. He asked if I wanted to do it together or do it in front of me and I said no need, maybe he can show me later. I asked him how he was feeling and he said he felt good. That this is what he wants and he feels good to have it done. We hugged. I was honestly surprised-- I expected him to say it was hard or he felt badly, or something, but he gave me a really genuine smile and said, this is what I want and I feel good about it. Me--I feel relief, that's about it. Maybe will ask him a bit more about it after the kids go down, just to make sure I have no lingering questions about it, let him show me how it all works, confirm where we are... and then maybe say the no expectations, no qualifiers, let's just have fun as a family thing.


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I whole-heartedly agree with WF on your situation!

And by your last post, it sounds like you and H are both in a good place to move forward with this trip and truly enjoy the family time. I think the hardest thing for you will be living in the present moment and not intellectualizing the potential future. So, here is a gentle nudge to rely on your meditation training and truly be 'here and now' for the next month. Don't read too much into ANYTHING that comes up between you and H, whether it is deep love/regard and/or a moment of second guessing. Live your way into a future that you want and don't sweat the small stuff (and as my late father would say, 'it's all small stuff, sweetheart').

You've got this, May. I am so proud of how far you have come!

(((May)))

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Good look May. And please consider if you need another STI test - he slept with her again during his big goodbye and didn't tell you about it for weeks and weeks - and depending on how relations between you were going at that time (and I don't mean to pry) knowingly exposed you again to disease and infection. You are going to have to make your own decisions on this, and you are choosing to trust him right now - and that is your right. But please please protect your health.

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Hi Alison-- yes, 100%. In fact I asked him to do it too and he said he would. I'm pretty pissed about that and told him how I felt, particularly because of the testing which somehow made me feel a bit of a clean slate, and that it really felt gross to me that he would sleep with her again and not tell me about it. Anyway, probably not immediately due to COVID but it will definitely happen.


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May

Ok so he said he cut off contact . Whether his decision your ultimatum or which ever . Now where to go from here . Just my two cents . You both talk too much . This though has been going on awhile thereís been back and forth progress then regression . Actions not words . Stop listening to whatever heís telling you , pay more attention to his actions . The good ,the bad , the ugly . One of the hardest traits for me to acquire was learning to just zip it and pay attention. Sometimes I zip it too much in others opinions but ultimately Iím the one who lives with it . I control me not H

Vacation you want to go just go . Donít put the weight of your life , your marriage , your kids on a trip . Go have fun . Like real fun . One of the things I learned was the best time my husband has with me is when I just go with the flow and do whatever . I donít plan . I donít stress . I just let him take the lead and go .

I am not shocked over the fact he slept with the A partner in his long goodbye and not shocked he started talking to her again . You will know when heís committed. He wonít just say it . Itís more a rock bottom lasting repeatedly saying it . They are basically broken . Looking back it was almost pitiful to watch . My H rarely talks about it . You can see when he does it makes him feel just sick . If anything I get the opposite. His buddy going through divorce . Wife all crazy , threatening to get full custody of kid , bury him in child support . The one thing this forum taught me was boundaries not threats . Which in turn actually built trust . Heís not here out of fear , heís here knowing he could leave and still have a great relationship with his kids .

Iíll give you a good laugh . Other night my H I think is honestly just overwhelmed managing a household, the kids , Iím a ghost most days .Basically said Iím oblivious to him and he feels I donít appreciate what heís been doing at home. I just stood there while he yelled . First time Iíve heard him yell in 10 months . After he was done I said now whatís really up . H responds sometimes I do not know why I wanted to move home so bad . My response simple . I didnít ask you to move home . You are free to be happy wherever you choose . - see itís not I donít want him here . He knows I do . But heís also learned Iím not the person he walked out on a year ago . He wants to go . Go . I wouldnít chase him. I probably wouldnít even pick up the phone and call him if he left again . Needless to say he realized on his own he was just being over emotional . Took me shopping for a new bedroom set out of pure guilt Iím sure .

Be the strong May , maybe a bit more carefree . Long haul girl . Long !!!!

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Thinking of you, may, and hoping you are getting a much-needed break on this trip, and enjoying the experience for you.


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