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Ok May I will specifically ask the question. Why don’t you temporarily separate right now to give each other space to process your emotions and heal?


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Originally Posted by LH19
Ok May I will specifically ask the question. Why don’t you temporarily separate right now to give each other space to process your emotions and heal?

I can't see doing that to the kids. It feels selfish and throws a whole additional set of issues and difficulties into the pot, both for them and for me as a parent. I feel like I have enough to manage with my own feelings plus COVID. The kids are having a tough time with COVID related things right now (not being able to see friends/family) and honestly to add the fear of their parents separating and what that means feels overwhelming to me as a parent. Doable if necessary. Not worthwhile if not necessary.

It isn't like we are at each others' throats or weeping in the corners or anything. We mostly are fine. We do our own things during the day (WFH), he usually makes me breakfast and/or lunch, we sometimes eat together or sometimes I have to eat while still on a call or working. We make dinner together or trade off dinner and dishes. He makes us cocktails at 5. We trade off driving the kids to and from school. We work on the MBR renovation plans, picking tile and paint colors and all the rest. Some nights we watch TV together or some nights he watches TV and I read (or journal if I'm in an angry place). We talk about COVID and work and politics. We have gotten into some arguments late at night, average I'd say twice a week the last couple weeks, usually driven by something rude he says and I blow up because my anger is just beneath the surface. I'm getting a punching bag to put in the basement which I think will help me. H goes surfing every morning which gives him time to process and think on his own (and time for me on my own as well). He is encouraging me to find a similar outlet. It used to be yoga for me, but not being able to go to the studio-- it just isn't the same thing when I do it at home. So I'm thinking on this one.

We did talk in the beginning about possibly having H sleep in the basement. We decided not to pursue that for the same reason (not bringing up unnecessary fears for the kids-- my IC suggested telling them that it was because of H's snoring but folks here rightly said not to lie) but we always could do that if we decided it would be better. We also always could separate if we decide that is the right move. Nothing is off the table. But to the extent I can handle this without getting the children involved, I will.

And I know you are going to say they see more than you think, this is damaging for them to have two parents who aren't in love or whatever. I hear you, I am monitoring this very closely, and I feel quite confident that they are better off where they are right now than they would be if we separated. I am extremely confident in my parenting abilities and my knowledge of my own children. We have a very close relationship and I'm not worried about what they're seeing or hearing right now doing any damage to them.


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I think the point is if you want a happy healthy 2 parent home in the long run, the very best chance you have of that is separating while you both heal. In the end, what will be better for them? Not right in this moment.
The end game is the most important.

From here, honestly, it looks like at best you can achieve a compare ting relationship under the same roof. Healing, regaining trust, understanding yourselves and healing from the pain trying to be done under the same roof whiling “hiding it” from your kids,what percentage of that working towards a solid end game do you think there really is?

I honestly think you guys will keep playing the same game under the same roof and the outcome is almost inevitable. I’m sorry to be so honest.

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Ginger, I take your point. If it weren't for COVID, maybe I'd be leaning towards that too. Maybe we limp through the next year or two and then split up then-- but at least then I'll have all the regular outlets that simply aren't available to me right now. And the children will as well.

You may be absolutely right that I'm making this choice to live together right now based on short-term rather than long-term factors, but right now, I can't see adding the short-term stress of S to the COVID stress mix for any of us. I don't see the harm, though, to anything but our future MR in making that choice. And if that ends up being what happens, so be it. I don't think I'll regret my choice to live together for the reasons I'm making it down the line. Maybe I'm weak for not being able to combine parenting through S and COVID because it is the best chance my M has. I think I'm being realistic. But I will talk it over with my IC.

Also, yes, while we are avoiding having difficult conversations in front of the children and there are times when I am angry and need to go vent it off when they're awake and around, I'm not faking anything. When we're together as a family, we're happy. I'm happy. Kids are happy. H looks and acts happy. I can focus wholly on them and being a family and not think at all about all the other $hit. If feeling $hitty about H and our MR pervaded my entire life and I thought about it all day long-- wow, then absolutely, I would be gagging for some sort of S. It isn't like that. At least not right now.


Me (46) H (42)
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Fair enough May tough times for sure even in the best marriages. So you know my thoughts on a reconciliation requirements. Based on your comments he’s definitely not there right now. Like you say only time will tell what his true attentions are moving forward.


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Hi sweet May,

Again, your thread is chock full of so much wisdom and advice, it is really interesting and valuable to read.

I totally get the reasons why a S doesn't work for you right now. I personally believe it might be the easier path to M 2.0, but I understand that it is not the better choice for you as a family at the moment. It may be the more difficult path, but you strike me as a person who is not afraid of hard work, so I completely trust in your ability to navigate this. My point of view is preempted on you healing this M while living under the same roof.

To expand on some of the earlier advice, what would it look like if you made a spreadsheet of 'issues I have control over (ie me), issues I don't (ie H) and where we meet (the M)'. Compartmentalizing has been a huge help in detachment for me. It is a daily reminder of what I can control and what I can't. You have a lot of blurry lines right now, and I think if you were really honest with yourself (through a list like this), you will find those arenas where you are able to detach. I won't go into a list of what I see in your posts, other posters have pointed them out, but it might be a helpful exercise.

Something happened recently in my situation where I was confronted with an interaction with H that I was able to do a complete 180. (Thanks to detachment). I was a fly on the wall observing the interaction between us, while still being a participant in the interaction. I will go into more detail on my own thread, but the end result was an awareness of how my previous responses, though intended as being helpful, loving and supportive, were actually truncating H's ability to feel the whole spectrum of his own emotions (most of them bad) and therefore not allowing him to acknowledge, learn and heal himself.

Allowing a person to experience the full gamut of their emotions, their experience and their narrative, with little influence from yours is really the swiftest path to healing. And regardless of how much H has f*cked up, he still deserves to have his own feelings, his own process in all of this, separate from you and yours.

You are telling H how he should feel right now. Whether covertly (silently upset, angry), or overtly ('May won't be invested in M 2.0 until he feels differently about AP'). So his feelings are dominated by you. Which to his credit, amputates his ability to feel all the emotions within himself, learn from them and move on to the place he really wants to be (which I truly believe for him is M 2.0). You are unhappy with an inauthentic response from him, but at the same time you are setting him up for failure because deep down, his authentic response is antithesis to your needs. His authentic responses, feelings, growth are superseded by his desire to keep you happy, to keep you present and working on M 2.0.

This is why S work in these scenarios. But in the absence of a S, you are going to have to do the doubly-hard job of separated YOUR feelings from your desires of H's feelings that trend in your favor.

Which brings us back to the list. What can you control? What can't you control?

(((May)))

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Oh, Sage. How did you know I love spreadsheets and lists so much??? Now if I do this, can I assign probabilities and make a formula that will promise me this will all work out in the end? jk smile

Originally Posted by Sage
You have a lot of blurry lines right now, and I think if you were really honest with yourself (through a list like this), you will find those arenas where you are able to detach. I won't go into a list of what I see in your posts, other posters have pointed them out, but it might be a helpful exercise.

OK so to be sure I'm getting this right... I obviously need to detach in all the areas where I have no control. Stop wasting energy on that which is outside of my control?

I know I'm not detached. I can say that and *also* know I'd be OK if we split... but that doesn't stop me from feeling enraged and hurt and having a pit in my stomach when I think about my H and all the things he's done and said, to me and to her. And what he was ready to unleash on our children. Just... a lot of anger there, for something that is hard to grasp right now, since he actually is physically here and no longer in touch with her. How can I have this much anger and betrayal for something that isn't actually happening anymore? I guess that is why I'm focusing so much on what is in his heart. Because-- LH, you're right on-- he *isn't* ready to piece, even if he thinks he is.

Originally Posted by Sage
You are telling H how he should feel right now. Whether covertly (silently upset, angry), or overtly ('May won't be invested in M 2.0 until he feels differently about AP'). So his feelings are dominated by you. Which to his credit, amputates his ability to feel all the emotions within himself, learn from them and move on to the place he really wants to be (which I truly believe for him is M 2.0). You are unhappy with an inauthentic response from him, but at the same time you are setting him up for failure because deep down, his authentic response is antithesis to your needs. His authentic responses, feelings, growth are superseded by his desire to keep you happy, to keep you present and working on M 2.0.

Mmmmm. Truth. Yikes.

So now I'm getting back to the whole... keep DBing. Be Wayfarer. Detach and PMA and GAL so he can do his thing without being shackled by me. And find my own outlets for my rage and sadness. Like an IHS without the label? Which feels depressing at the moment. I feel like when I spend too much time thinking on all of this, where we are, where we aren't, the requirements to reconcile and not being there yet, his inadequate remorse, the ghost of AP who I still want to stab in the eyeballs, I get more and more angry and frustrated. Less zen. (so from a feelings perspective, this is when I let myself feel the feelings and be okay with that, not shove them down?)

H went to pick up the kids and they're getting dinner to bring home, and he keeps texting me cute photos of them. This is all so. GD. difficult.

xoxo I will work on that spreadsheet. Now I'm going to go indulge my rage while he's not here.


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Originally Posted by may22
OK so to be sure I'm getting this right... I obviously need to detach in all the areas where I have no control. Stop wasting energy on that which is outside of my control?


You got it, girl.

Originally Posted by may22
I know I'm not detached. I can say that and *also* know I'd be OK if we split...


I am not sure that these are mutually exclusive. I feel pretty clearly detached from H right now, but I am not sure I am completely OK with our situation or forever ending our M. Detachment for me has been categorizing what is in my control and what isn't and not overthinking, overanalyzing or internalizing those things which are out of my control. This has been a really, really hard process for me (scientist, type A, goal-achiever). But I feel more love and compassion for H than I have in a year, and yet I am the least attached I have been in year. I am still learning the words to describe what detachment means to me and I am sure it is different for everyone.

Originally Posted by may22
but that doesn't stop me from feeling enraged and hurt and having a pit in my stomach when I think about my H and all the things he's done and said, to me and to her. And what he was ready to unleash on our children. Just... a lot of anger there, for something that is hard to grasp right now, since he actually is physically here and no longer in touch with her. How can I have this much anger and betrayal for something that isn't actually happening anymore?


All totally normal and totally OK feelings. You are allowed to feel these things. You are justified to feel these things. These feelings are under your control.

I know earlier on in your sitch, people were worried about where in the world was The Angry May. That you didn't seem to have enough anger fueling you. We all have different arcs in the Kubler Ross grief process, so the fact that this anger is erupting now is just part of your path. Don't shove it down, ignore it or treat your anger as something to be avoided. Until you fully embrace that anger and sit with her awhile, listen to her narrative, really hear her out, she will have a lot of control. But you get to decide when you're ready to have a good old session with your girl Anger. Right now she may have a purpose and you may not be ready to sit with her. That's OK. Just make sure she stays in the right spreadsheet column.

Originally Posted by may22
So now I'm getting back to the whole... keep DBing. Be Wayfarer. Detach and PMA and GAL so he can do his thing without being shackled by me. And find my own outlets for my rage and sadness. Like an IHS without the label?


Hmm. This feels more of the same May to me. That you have to somehow subjugate your feelings or actions for him. What if you were to allow yourself to feel everything? Do whatever you GD please? Feel sh*tty one day and super happy the next? Practice being really authentic to yourself? Just while doing all this, take notice of what you can control and what you can't, and make sure your expectations stay in the correct column of the spreadsheet.

Alison is really inspirational with this kind of stuff right now. Her last post where H snapped at her trying to help him and how she recognized that she did what she could and wasn't going to take ownership of his negative headspace. She just shrugged and went to bed. Alison's H had his feelings, she had hers, they didn't match, meh, oh well. Everything stayed in the correct column.

But let's play this out in your situation.
Hypothetically, you wake up and H does something really nice for you.
But then, unbeknownst to H, you are triggered and you feel like you want to rage.
You were triggered.
You have a right to feel rage.
But H doesn't necessarily deserve your rage in that moment.
In his eyes, he was adding something to the M column.
He can't control that you were triggered in that very moment (your column).
He did do something very, very bad that is the root cause of the trigger (his column).
But you have decided that you want to try and stick this out and make this work (your column)
So you are going to go downstairs and punch your new bag for a few minutes until the endorphins kick in and you feel able to face the world again.

This will repeat and replay as long as it needs to. There is no timeline, there is no formula. One day you will wake up with less rage. One day you will notice that you laughed more in the past week than you did all year. One day you will truly feel deep in your soul that H's actions and emotions don't have the same power over you they once did.

Originally Posted by may22
Which feels depressing at the moment. I feel like when I spend too much time thinking on all of this, where we are, where we aren't, the requirements to reconcile and not being there yet, his inadequate remorse, the ghost of AP who I still want to stab in the eyeballs, I get more and more angry and frustrated. Less zen. (so from a feelings perspective, this is when I let myself feel the feelings and be okay with that, not shove them down?)


Take stock of how you label emotions. Like zen is good and depression is bad. That you are not further along in your process = bad and reconciling under certain conditions = good. What if you just took a huge deep breath and said to yourself 'bring it on' and let everything little thought and emotion come to you authentically.

(And then furiously write them down in their correct column)

You are on the precipice of some hard, amazing, soul-changing work, darling May. You are going to come out of this process an even more amazing person than you already are, if that is even possible.

(((May)))

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May,

I think part of the problem is the person who cares the least about the relationship in in control of the relationship and you are having a hard to accepting that after everything he has done to you that he is the the one in control. I think that makes you really angry. Your H is detached right now either because he can take or leave the marriage or because he has zero fear of you ending it. That’s the problem with “reconciliation” without remorse. Right now he has zero incentive to put any effort into this marriage. That may change in the future but the real question will be what is the driving force behind the change?


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I think that is very very true. It also plays out in a sexual relationship - where the partner who has least interest in or desire for sex controls how much of it there is, when and of what type. As the HD partner, I know how much rage it is possible to feel about that (and under that rage, fear and helplessness).

But in some ways, I think your H, May is wanting you to feel all kinds of things you aren't feeling, and is unable to love you as you are - angry, untrusting, hurt, needing space for those feelings. He can't do it. And you can't love him as he is - selfish, arrogant, flawed, too fragile of ego to be able to countenance, truly, the hurt he's done, and still missing the times when he had someone in his life who admired him and didn't seem to see all those flaws. And instead of acceptance, he's working on you to get you to be in a state where he can feel like he can love you, and you're doing just the same to him, and it's still not a marriage - it's really no different to the ways you were working on each other over this trip away - you holding it over his head for good behaviour, and him working and working at working at you, always with the unspoken threat there was another woman in his life who'd behave nicely and tell him how constantly flawless he was if you couldn't or wouldn't.

It may be peaceful day to day, but it is incredibly toxic and while your kids may not know that now (and I doubt that, to be honest) then they will surely know it as they grow and this toxic dynamic continues, or it blows up in all of your faces some point this year or next, when you're not able to provide the ego stroking he still needs, or he's not able to provide the contrition you need.

Can you emotionally separate, if you are unwilling to physically separate? Can you just decide - in your head - he is not your husband any more? That he stopped being your husband the second he was unfaithful to you, and as yet, you have not reconciled or begun a new marriage? Can you accept that if he is not your husband he owes you no more fidelity or care taking or contrition than a civil stranger? I do think someone up thread said that all of this is based in expectations, and if you could just emotionally separate (better physically, but I accept that is something you are unwilling to try) and get rid of the expectations then I think you'd both have a bit more peace to go through your processes.

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