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A Message from Michele
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Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2904843
10/01/20 04:13 AM
10/01/20 04:13 AM
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Originally Posted by may22
Oh, and let me also say... H's behavior is really erratic. I think he is maybe depressed. He swings back and forth between being nice and being a total duck, like back to the days of alien H duck-ness in the first year of the A.


This is hard to share, but it sounds like H is mourning the end of the A. Moments of niceness (he chose this! He wants to make this work!) to resentment (May forced me! It's all her fault!) are bouncing around in his amygdala-driven mind right now. As you have chosen to stick this out for the time being, seek the long-view and don't analyze his every move. Remember when your girls were picky toddlers and the pediatrician said to not worry about whether they had a varied diet in a day, but instead to look at their diet over the course of a couple of weeks? Do that. (Maybe your girls were dream children who ate everything you put in front of them from day one, if so, lucky you(!) but I am sure you can still get the analogy.)

Originally Posted by may22
He flamed at me that I say I clean up but we have different standards of cleanliness, the reason he's telling me is because when he had problems in our relationship in the past I complained that he hadn't told me (he's referring to the SSM) so here, he's telling me. He can't live like this. I just walked away. It is infuriating as I have been doing 100% of the cleaning, I'm vacuuming every day because of the kittens, picking up after him and the kids and the cats, I can't recall the last time I saw him pick up or vacuum, dust, or clean the bathrooms (he does clean up the kitchen but maybe 25% of the time)-- and somehow I have lower cleanliness standards than he does.


This is triggering for me, because my supposed lack of cleanliness was on the initial list of Things H Didn't Like About Sage at BD. Which infuriated me because of course the house would be spotless if I actually had his help in keeping it clean. Do not take it personally, validate without anger, but keep an eye on the length of Things That Bother H About May. When things start to add up and become nonsensical, maybe it's time to reevaluate which wolf inside him he is feeding and what you want to do about that.

The middle chunk of your post feels like you have too many expectations of H right now. Where is the May that dropped the rope and is going to be an observer and see where this goes? I know it's hard to be WFH and in each other's space every second, but just let his mopey toddler tantrum self fester in his own mopey toddler tantrum pool right now. The birthday party was a perfect time to GAL-- he got the texts, he knew the deal, you just get those sweet girls on out the door and let him explain his absence to the neighbors and his daughters. Stay in your lane and let him suffer his own consequences in his.

Originally Posted by may22
I see him wallowing in this self-pity and belief that his life is so awful, and it makes me mad, especially when I think about this being all of his own making and his total focus on feeling sorry for himself rather than on what he's done to me. Frankly I am losing the last shreds of respect I had for him. He can't even get his head out of his own @ss enough to take a look at the situation we're in and work to make it better. He is just a sad, sorry sack.


Yes, he is a sad sorry sack. But (2x4 warning) you chose to live with him for now, which means you are forced to witness it all in live-time. Which I think is why so many people suggested a real trial S-- in that situation you only see H on his best behavior. It is totally OK to vent here and have so much anger surrounding H and the affair and his endless self-pity, so please understand that I am giving you a re-frame rather than chiding you. I mean, you read my anger post, right? ANGRY. I see you, May.

Originally Posted by may22
Anyway, advice on how to deal with this, understanding I'm not, today, asking him to leave. I just need to figure out how to maneuver around him in my house without letting it affect my mood or work...


Your mood and the quality of your work is on you, not on H. Do you condone his behavior? NO. But he is not in charge of your mood. Be angry, let his behavior get to you, feed that bad wolf inside of you. Or, don't. Drop any expectation of him and just jolly on your way, knowing that once that prenup's signed, you have all the options in the world.

Originally Posted by may22
...but also, there is a part of me that doesn't want to let him get away with this kind of behavior. Is that just my control peeking back out and setting up a parental dynamic that we need to get away from?


No, that is a normal reaction to his behavior. Unfortunately, again, you have no control over H. You need to set boundaries up for YOU that protect you from his pathetic-ness right now. Re-read Alison's posts when her H was home, but not being such a good guy, that girl and her boundaries are pretty amazing.


Originally Posted by may22
He can act like an @ss as much as he wants as long as it doesn't affect me or the kids? And/or, if he's really going through some sort of withdrawal/grief/loss process, should I have more compassion for him?


Boundaries will protect you and the kids. And funnily enough, the few boundaries I have put into place for myself have led to me feeling more compassion for H. Because what a horrible place to live, in the head of our H's, and all their resentment (aka self-hatred, shame and guilt). And boundaries can be SO compassionate. Here's one for you to try on for size: H, I can see that you are struggling right now. We are navigating a lot of tough territory as individuals and as a couple. But I am easily triggered at the moment and will avoid interactions with you when you are in this mood. And then when he does a mood, you act super calm and super nice and just walk away and stay away until his mood has changed.

xx

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2904853
10/01/20 02:28 PM
10/01/20 02:28 PM
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I felt that societal disapproval too, May. I didn't confide in tons of people about my H'd behaviour, and many people didn't even know he was living elsewhere for all those months. There are very very very few people who know about his A, and the ones that do know very little of the detail - only that it happened and it wasn't physical when I caught him. And I did feel that shame or worry when he came back - I even hesitated to tell my IC for a few weeks, and I've been seeing her for nearly four years now!

It actually helped me to work with that feeling. I was so hampered in making boundaries, deciding for myself, taking healthy action and saying 'no' by a fear of what H would do, what he would think, how it would affect him, how he would feel about it. I struggled to be firm with the kids because of my worry about what they would think and feel about it when they looked back as adults. And now, now I couldn't even decide if I wanted my marriage or not out of fear of what other people would think. It wasn't a HUGE part of the mix, but it was a significant part of the mix that was holding me back.

I worked on that - first with my H - my need for his approval is nearly nil now. I like it when I have it, I prefer to have it, and I weigh it heavily if I am making a decision that is about the two of us. But I don't NEED it and if he doesn't give it an and has feelings about that, I decline the opportunity to deal with them for him. Similarly, I don't need to be my children's favourite person every single day either. My judgement is more important than their on several key matters: I am the parent. And I am the expert on my marriage over and above any judgements my friends might make - they are free to make them, and I'm free to decline to hear it or factor it into my decision making process.

I feel so much freer and lighter because of this. I actually let people closer to me than I used to, because I am not afraid of being so smothered by my fear of their opinions that I have to obey whatever I imagine they want me to do. And it has taken a lot of the 'work' of being married off my plate and put it back onto my H's plate, where it belongs.

I don't think you have as big a problem with his as I did, May. I am probably still behind you in this aspect of my development, and still have much room for improvement. But I think letting go of the burden of taking care of other people's opinions about me and my business has been such a lovely 180 to make.

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2904922
10/02/20 11:59 PM
10/02/20 11:59 PM
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may22 Offline OP
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Thanks so much SamCal, Sage, and Alison.

I know know know I chose this path, and maybe part of my frustration is frustration with myself more than with him. He's clearly not capable of being the H I want/deserve right now. The question is whether or not he can ever deal with his $hit and become that person again, and/or if I'm willing to slog through all this muck long enough to get there. Or if the muck will turn me off from wanting him at all, anyway.

I think part of what I'm feeling in seeing him act like this is hopelessness that he'll ever have what it takes to lever himself out of self-pity and figure out how to be happy. This is also so unlike him in all other arenas. It is just depressing and infuriating at the same time. I'm also starting to feel some of the anger towards AP resurface again, and I really really really want to get to a place where she truly does mean nothing to me, it isn't just something I tell myself. It just makes me sad that human beings can treat each other with so little care and respect. My H, of course, has acted abysmally. But she was a willing participant, too, all along, caring nothing for the damage their A could have on me or the children. It just is gross.

Sage and SamCal, what you both said was very much in alignment with my IC's appraisal of the situation. She said he's externalizing his depression and guilt onto me, this is just another mechanism for him to push off his bad feelings onto me and avoid taking responsibility for his own behavior and the consequences of them, including feeling like he's feeling right now. I need to simply not engage.

My homework this week is to not take responsibility for any of his stuff, whether his dishes or his emotions or his avoidance of child birthdays (Sage, I know you're right, i thought about that in the moment and then just couldn't let him off the hook on this one), and to simply leave the room if he starts to spew. (Alison, thought of you here and how excellent you were with this-- she said explicitly H is free to keep ranting to himself, but I don't need to be in the room.)

I have mostly done this. I slipped up once-- he was trying to fry chicken, spent a loooooong time preparing (he's never done it before) and then crowded every single piece into the pan at once. All the breading fell off, the temp dropped, and he got super frustrated, though he refrained from blaming me for it (I'm sure he could have come up with a reason). I helped a little-- suggested he take half out and do them in shifts, told him it still looked and would taste great-- and he actually calmed down and it all turned out fine. I know I could have walked away but I truly felt kind of bad for him in the moment.

And other than that, he's actually been much calmer and friendlier since I wrote my last post. We even watched a TV show together last night instead of one of us just going to bed early on our own. A friend came by for socially distanced drinks outside after dinner the night of the fried chicken event, which I think also provided a much-needed outlet for social engagement for both of us. Anyway, I'm weirdly disappointed I can't practice my disengagement with an angry H, but I've been doing well at practicing it with a more friendly H, at least, and avoiding any advice, engaging in any deep talks, and generally doing more stuff on my own than expecting we do anything together.

Alison, thanks for sharing your journey in terms of approval and fear of what others will think. I'm chewing on this. My knee-jerk is that it doesn't matter to me all that much what other people think. I actually feel like if I cared more about what other people thought I'd be gone. I'm more worried about what the future me will think. But, I also am still sitting with this to be sure that is really true and not something I'm just telling myself. I might go through the exercise of what it would mean to confide in another friend and see about that. I'm also just so glad to have this board and my IC. I'm going to comment on your new post on your own thread soon, I have some thoughts.

xx M


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D10
4/19 BD #1 ILYB
8/19 BD #2 Long-distance EA
12/19 BD #3 Actually 2 year PA
2-5/20 R attempt #1
6-7/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
8/20-present R attempt #2
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2905146
10/06/20 09:41 PM
10/06/20 09:41 PM
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may22 Offline OP
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Journaling...

H has been better. The alien a-hole that surfaced for a few days seems to have been banished, and we're back to friendly H ho does his part in the household without flipping out. I haven't done as well. It is like when he was acting like a jerk, I had a little distance emotionally and just felt like he was being a pathetic and selfish jerk and was able to remove myself and not engage. Then he gets nicer and I want to pick fights. Which I obviously shouldn't do, but have done a couple of times over the weekend.

I'm just so annoyed at him for his sad and selfish navel-gazing. He said it feels like someone he cares about has died. Inside, I want to say GOOD! It is so deeply aggravating and disrespectful and anger-inducing when I think about him spending all his energy on mourning his A and having no bandwidth left over to empathize even in the smallest ways with how his WIFE must feel about his actions. I know i chose this course. And, that logically this is a phase he will need to go through if there is ever any expectation of true R down the line, and it won't be pretty or over in a couple of weeks. I need to work on better ways to increase my own self-control, patience, and detachment.

He said he feels like he's the one making all the effort (ha! ha! ha!). He doesn't feel like I appreciate him making the decision to stay. When I asked him to explain, he said he's been wearing his wedding ring and I haven't. I said (mad) I'm not putting them back on until AP is out of your head for good. He said (nastily), maybe you'll need to find a pretty secure place for them then, since it might be awhile. I said F you and walked away. Later I came back and said, look, I don't want to put them back on until I feel pretty sure I'm not going to have to take them off again. He acknowledged.

Question for you guys on the above interaction... he's pulling back out the control narrative, that I'm telling him not only what to do but how to think and feel when I say things like this. I guess I am, but also feel like what I have now (sad sack here in body, not in heart) is not what I want. I partially feel like my own needs have been suppressed for so long during all of this that I don't want to keep that dynamic going as we move forward. And partially it is me trying, maybe unsuccessfully, to acknowledge where I am today-- subpar sitch-- without fast forwarding to where that takes us in the future. I don't know why I feel the need to communicate that to him, though. But clearly me saying anything is not helping, so I need to just drop that and let it go, for now? Shut it and validate? (Valeska, if you're reading-- I said "I hear you, I'm sorry you feel that way" and he got super annoyed, thinks I'm just mouthing the words. Which maybe I am.)

I think I'm focusing too much on her and the A and his $hitty behavior then and his selfish wallowing now. There are also a lot of good times interspersed, fun with the kids, relaxed chats in the evenings over cocktails, so I don't want to give the impression it is all barely veiled hostility. It mostly isn't. But it does come up (OK, I bring it up.) For instance, we exchanged backrubs the other night watching TV. He said hey, if you do this it feels really good. I said, snarkily, oh, is that how your girlfriend did it? He said, no, then got all quiet and sad. It kind of ruined the mood. I feel like I need to cut this out for now, even though I also feel I have every right to be angry and say this kind of thing. Self-control.

Gosh, just realizing how easy it is to post advice on other people's threads about dropping expectations, focusing on yourself, not letting your S's behaviors affect your mood, etc and how difficult it really is to implement for yourself. sorry guys. I'm definitely a work in progress.

On the positive side, I finally started exercising again and baking bread. (Which kind of cancel each other out, but oh well.) Having a socially distanced dinner with the friend who knows about the A tomorrow night. More conversations about that potential job on the table. Probably going to renovate the MB in the coming weeks. Not sleeping super well right now because the kittens are very snuggly and keep waking me up to lick my face or curl up on my neck-- very sweet, but right now I'd choose sleep over them. Got out of the house and to the beach both days this weekend. Beat the pants off my H on a Wednesday NYT crossword (he usually has the edge on me Wed-Sat). So all that is positive.

Hope you guys are all doing well. xx M


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D10
4/19 BD #1 ILYB
8/19 BD #2 Long-distance EA
12/19 BD #3 Actually 2 year PA
2-5/20 R attempt #1
6-7/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
8/20-present R attempt #2
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2905169
10/07/20 09:54 AM
10/07/20 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by may22

I'm just so annoyed at him for his sad and selfish navel-gazing. He said it feels like someone he cares about has died. Inside, I want to say GOOD! It is so deeply aggravating and disrespectful and anger-inducing when I think about him spending all his energy on mourning his A and having no bandwidth left over to empathize even in the smallest ways with how his WIFE must feel about his actions.


May, if it's any comfort, I am feeling the exact same. H is dealing with the guilt of breaking contact with EAP when she needs support the most (due to her illness), and after all, it is someone he cares about as he has known her a long time AND he had feelings for her. Bleurgh! I did say in MC she's got her own GD H to care for her, I'm sure he'd be less than enamored if he knew his W was leaning on someone she had an EA with. (MC also challenged him to consider that he didn't need to feel as guilty because she does have her own support network.)

Are you guys back in MC? I am finding the MC really helping get all of this out on the table right now. The MC is really helping ratify my feelings in front of H, and making him face them head on. Up to now, I have felt like I have been pushed into a corner and made to suck it up. MC has said this is not a good strategy as at some point the bubbling emotions will boil over. Do you have or need an outlet for your emotions right now, in H's presence?

Originally Posted by may22
He said he feels like he's the one making all the effort (ha! ha! ha!). He doesn't feel like I appreciate him making the decision to stay. When I asked him to explain, he said he's been wearing his wedding ring and I haven't. I said (mad) I'm not putting them back on until AP is out of your head for good.
I think these Hs want a homecoming and fanfare for sacrificing their cake eating in order to prioritise their M. That said, I do think it is a struggle for them. I keep reminding myself of something from the piecing thread - that initially, simply stopping what they were doing previously IS progress, and about all they can manage right now. The wedding ring thing struck a chord

Originally Posted by may22
I think I'm focusing too much on her and the A and his $hitty behavior then and his selfish wallowing now. There are also a lot of good times interspersed, fun with the kids, relaxed chats in the evenings over cocktails, so I don't want to give the impression it is all barely veiled hostility.
This is a hard place to get out of. Sometimes I feel like I am focusing on her more than H is. What is driving those feelings? Anger? Fear? Punishing H? Attention? What is the response you are looking for when you feel like this? Perhaps you need a safe channel to get this out in front of H. You may both feel like you have hashed this all out before, but be kind to yourself and remember that HE is the one that caused it to resurface and with that come back all the old feelings as well as the new feelings. Have you talked about this with H? About how you feel right now?

Sending hugs {{May}}.you've got this! xx


M:49 H:49
T:20 M:18
D:16 D:14

EA: Feb 2019-Apr 2020
Separated: Mar-early Aug 2020
H asked to reconcile: Jun 2020
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2905195
10/07/20 02:58 PM
10/07/20 02:58 PM
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Ha, yeah being snarky probably doesn't help with the situation. wink Understandably though, you are still angry. I think both of you need to be brutally honest with each other. You are still angry, it will take time for you to heal. Meanwhile you'd do your best to not lash out at him. He is still in the dog house, and probably will be there for a long time. If he is really all in as he said he is, he needs to pull up his big boy pants and stop whining. Meanwhile when both of you are trying to navigate the situation, there's bound to be friction. I think that's when boundaries and honesty are important - (does he need to make boundaries for himself if you are lashing out at him?) when he's wallowing, you leave him be and excuse yourself from that moment. He says that you're controlling....point out that you're in control of yourself. whether you put that ring back on is your action. He is the one in control of his actions. He needs to own his own actions and feelings and beliefs and stop using you as an excuse of his inability to deal with things.


BD: Sep 2019
H moved out: Oct 2019
3 kids under 12
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2905199
10/07/20 03:11 PM
10/07/20 03:11 PM
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I think the fact is - he is going to grieve. It is horrible, unpleasant and awful for you to witness. And while he is grieving, he really don't have much for you in terms of empathy or engagement. And that is horrible and unpleasant too.

I can only suggest what you don't want to do - which is to separate so you don't have to see his grieving and be triggered by it, and he doesn't need to deal with your (justified) anger and upset while he has grieving to do. You can't be husband and wife to each other right now. So you either deal with being housemates and expecting nothing from each other emotionally, or you separate.

That is hard, I know. And it isn't your fault that he can only offer 'housemate' while he himself is expecting 'wife'. But you can either go around in circles arguing about that, taking turns to be the jerk, or you can get out of the dynamic physically and let the time do what time does to the emotional process.

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2905206
10/07/20 04:51 PM
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((((May)))) just wanted to stop by an offer a hug. Don't feel like I can offer any advice as I am new to all of this myself. Just know that I am sending positive vibes.

Re: A day at a time [Re: AlisonUK] #2905232
10/07/20 11:58 PM
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may22 Offline OP
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Pommy, Wooba, Alison, Mar... thank you.

Mar-- hugs right back to you. You're going through the hardest part of all of this, right now (at least it was for me, thinking back). You'll get through this.

Wooba-- yeah, snarkiness never helps but it kind of feels good in the moment. smile

Originally Posted by Wooba
think that's when boundaries and honesty are important - (does he need to make boundaries for himself if you are lashing out at him?) when he's wallowing, you leave him be and excuse yourself from that moment. He says that you're controlling....point out that you're in control of yourself. whether you put that ring back on is your action. He is the one in control of his actions. He needs to own his own actions and feelings and beliefs and stop using you as an excuse of his inability to deal with things.

Yes, he has boundaries and has started to enforce them. If I go overboard he will stop the conversation and say he can't continue and then doesn't. He's also said "this is a boundary for me" which absolutely enraged me the first couple of times it happened. After reflection, though, I feel some grudging respect on this one and that it also helps me to have that knowledge of his boundary to keep my own temper under control. I don't want to be that person. I don't want to yell at him to try to make him feel as badly as I do (which I think has been part of my underlying and unacknowledged motivation).

I think when we aren't actively talking about the A, we both do better, though I'm fully aware that the alien may resurface again. I think the alien H also scared me for a bunch of reasons, feeling I was back to the worst times of our M, wondering if it meant he was back in touch with AP, scared that this was a preview of our lives together. And when he got nicer again then I also worried it was because he was back in touch with AP.

I am feeling more secure about him not being in touch with AP, though. We had a conversation about it the other night. He said his IC asked why he hadn't reached out to her. He said that he felt like having finally come 100% clean with me and having gone through the box of memorabilia he had told the IC and himself he would always hold onto and never tell me about-- that was kind of like going to confession. He felt cleansed and doesn't want to dirty himself. If he reached out to her he'd either need to tell me about it and blow this all up, which he doesn't want to do, or lie about it and restart that whole cycle of lying which he also doesn't want to do. His conscience on the lying front is clear right now and it is the thing he hated the worst about himself during the A and is one thing he can control. Anyway, I do feel OK on this one.

Originally Posted by Wooba
I think both of you need to be brutally honest with each other.

I think we have been very honest with each other this time around. I know I've been a lot more honest in how I feel, though I think I need to take the emotion out of it. My (controlling?) problem is that I experience anger when he is honest with me about how he feels, which is not, of course, 100% back in the marriage train with me and beating of the brow and breast over his actions and all the rest.

When he's calm and we aren't pushing each other's buttons, he's been steadfast in he has made this decision, he is here, he is working on processing what it all means, his grief over AP, his identity, how to reconcile his actions with his image of himself. He says ILY and that his love for me is unconditional. He will love me until the day he dies.

But he doesn't say he loves me romantically (because, at this moment, he does not). I need to really just reconcile myself every day to the fact that this is where we are. And I have chosen it. The day I'm no longer OK with that, when it has been too long and things haven't changed, then I can decide I don't need to accept a H anymore who doesn't love his W the way a H is supposed to love a W and can leave.

Originally Posted by Pommy99
Are you guys back in MC? I am finding the MC really helping get all of this out on the table right now. The MC is really helping ratify my feelings in front of H, and making him face them head on. Up to now, I have felt like I have been pushed into a corner and made to suck it up. MC has said this is not a good strategy as at some point the bubbling emotions will boil over. Do you have or need an outlet for your emotions right now, in H's presence?

We aren't. I kind of didn't really want to start MC until I felt he was "over" AP. We only had a few sessions with MC before we ended because of quarantine back in the spring after he cut things off with her, and they were really awful. H just wallowing in his feelings, angry that I didn't want to hear them, refusing to talk about the A or answer my questions. I really don't want a repeat of that. Of course things are somewhat different now-- I was laser focused on getting my questions answered and incredulous that he wouldn't answer them-- and now, of course, he did finally answer all of them. We talked a little about the possibility now that the kids are back in in-person school, or even a joint session with the IC. I'm not super motivated at this moment. If it was his idea, I'd probably say OK. Right now, I feel like it will be better for me to cultivate outlets for my own emotions outside of H, and limit sharing my feelings with him right now.

I think this is one of the areas where our sitches are different-- your H was never in even a fraction as deep with his EAP as my H was with his AP, and your H can say with honesty that he wants desperately to have those feelings back with you again. My H still can't really say that honestly. He can say it intellectually, wanting M2.0 and that those feelings for me are a part of that package, but he still is emotionally connected to AP. I think if my H was to the place your H is in, I'd be more inclined to pursue MC.

About my feelings around AP... I don't know what drives that. Jealousy and anger for sure. I think I'll spend some time on that with my IC this afternoon. I really want to stop giving her any head space.

Originally Posted by Pommy99
I keep reminding myself of something from the piecing thread - that initially, simply stopping what they were doing previously IS progress, and about all they can manage right now.

This struck a chord with me, Pommy. You're right. I keep bouncing back and forth between he's trying and is this good enough for me? I think it is, for now. I don't want to let go, though, of the right to decide it isn't enough anymore. Maybe I'm a little scared I will and will end up settling for crumbs. That isn't how I feel about it, though. I'm OK with being here for now because that is what is on offer and I've decided it is worthwhile to try. It won't be enough forever and I'm sticking to that.

Haha, Pommy, it does make me laugh to think of these Hs wanting us to bake them cakes for not deserting their wives and families. Woo-hoo! It really does help to know that I'm not alone.

Originally Posted by AlisonUK
I think the fact is - he is going to grieve. It is horrible, unpleasant and awful for you to witness. And while he is grieving, he really don't have much for you in terms of empathy or engagement. And that is horrible and unpleasant too.

I can only suggest what you don't want to do - which is to separate so you don't have to see his grieving and be triggered by it, and he doesn't need to deal with your (justified) anger and upset while he has grieving to do. You can't be husband and wife to each other right now. So you either deal with being housemates and expecting nothing from each other emotionally, or you separate.

That is hard, I know. And it isn't your fault that he can only offer 'housemate' while he himself is expecting 'wife'. But you can either go around in circles arguing about that, taking turns to be the jerk, or you can get out of the dynamic physically and let the time do what time does to the emotional process.

You're so right on all of this. Especially the part where we really should just be housemates but he expects 'wife' (and I think to some degree I expect 'husband' even though I know he is incapable of that right now).

I still am not okay with the idea of a physical S at the moment. I feel like I have other things to explore first to manage my own emotions and take the space I need to avoid being triggered by his grief. I want to step out of the game of taking turns to be the jerk. I don't like myself when I act like that, justified anger or not. So I want to channel those feelings elsewhere-- friend, IC, journal, exercise, here-- and cultivate the good feelings around me, with my kids, the kittens, my work, reengaging with friends, baking, cooking, enjoying the outdoors. I think I'll give this a couple weeks and see how I do.

xx thanks you guys. love you all.


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D10
4/19 BD #1 ILYB
8/19 BD #2 Long-distance EA
12/19 BD #3 Actually 2 year PA
2-5/20 R attempt #1
6-7/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
8/20-present R attempt #2
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2905233
10/08/20 12:33 AM
10/08/20 12:33 AM
Joined: Nov 2018
Posts: 685
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Yail Offline
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Yail  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2018
Posts: 685
Originally Posted by May22
Question for you guys on the above interaction... he's pulling back out the control narrative, that I'm telling him not only what to do but how to think and feel when I say things like this. I guess I am, but also feel like what I have now (sad sack here in body, not in heart) is not what I want. I partially feel like my own needs have been suppressed for so long during all of this that I don't want to keep that dynamic going as we move forward. And partially it is me trying, maybe unsuccessfully, to acknowledge where I am today-- subpar sitch-- without fast forwarding to where that takes us in the future. I don't know why I feel the need to communicate that to him, though. But clearly me saying anything is not helping, so I need to just drop that and let it go, for now? Shut it and validate? (Valeska, if you're reading-- I said "I hear you, I'm sorry you feel that way" and he got super annoyed, thinks I'm just mouthing the words. Which maybe I am.)


A note on validation from my perspective - people overdo it here when giving advice to validate-validate-validate. Sometimes, you simply need to be sure you are not INvalidating someone.

So, when H shares something unsavory with you you don't invalidate him by telling him he is wrong, or his feelings are stupid or unworthy or not real. That is invalidating him as a person. As an entity and a human being into himself he has the right to think and feel as he wishes. But you don't have to repeat everything back and say things like "I'm sorry you feel that way" (which isn't really validation - it's just a phrase people say that sounds nice but isn't really acknowledging their feelings).

"I'm sorry you feel that way" is about how YOU feel about HIS feelings. Validation isn't about how you feel. It's simply acknowledging that he has the right to feel his own feelings and they are valid.

Sometimes a simple, "I see" or nodding when H shares with you is all that's needed to validate. Just that you've heard and acknowledge that he has his own thoughts. Your opinion has no place in it.

And, a gentle push here May. Your fighting him when he does share with you is invalidating him with actions. He shares, you are telling him he's wrong. So turning around and trying to validate verbally after I can see why he doesn't believe you on that. But you see the areas where you are reacting when you shouldn't be, and I applaud you for working on them. Keep going on this work.


Last edited by Yail; 10/08/20 12:34 AM.
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