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A Message from Michele
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Re: a new normal [Re: Oceangl] #2895691
05/22/20 11:23 PM
05/22/20 11:23 PM
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may22 Offline OP
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Alison, OG, thank you.

Originally Posted by AlisonUK
I am not sure if you want to talk about the A because you are fearful there are more details you don't yet know about, and knowing those details, while painful, might take away that fear.

Or if it is because the details of the affair are less important than hearing your H tell you that he takes responsibility, that it was wrong, that he regrets it, feels remorse, and that your actions around the SSM are not an adequate excuse for it in his mind.

Is it both?

Yes, it is both. On the first, I'm not sure I would label it fear as much as this burning desire to KNOW. I just want to know. I have always been this way. I do so much better when I have all the cards, even if the information is hurtful or difficult. I feel like the last two years of my life were all thrown in disarray with the knowledge of the A, and even though it really feels awful to rearrange things now knowing that he was having this A, I just want to put all the pieces together. I think my fear is more about letting it go on too long without that reset, and it will feel worse to get the hard information the longer it takes. Maybe that isn't true (the MC definitely challenged me on this) but that is my fear.

(In thinking about this more, I do have a fear that there are worse things that I don't know about, like if he slept with her on that last visit. Most of me feels like what he did was so bad, doesn't get much worse, it is all a matter of degree and there really isn't anything he could say that would make it appreciably worse, especially if I keep to my boundary of not hearing anything about feelings. But I've been surprised before.)

And yes, I very much want to hear him take responsibility for the A. He has said he knows what he did was wrong and way worse than what I did, but I'd really like to hear him take responsibility outside of any reference to the SSM. I think he knows this intellectually, that he made a series of choices that only he is responsible for making, but I think that puts him in a place where he is very, very uncomfortable and he (at least in the past) has immediately retreated to him "but I was so damaged" corner. I feel like hearing him take explicit responsibility for his behavior and feel like he embraces the full depth of how huge it was will help me to feel more secure that it won't happen again. So far I feel like he dips his toe into the water here and retreats because it is so terribly uncomfortable to sit with the enormity of what he did, and how to reconcile those actions with his view of himself as a person. I feel for us to truly move on, he has to do this work.

Originally Posted by AlisonUK
When more came out in the months afterwards, I felt very betrayed and it look me a long time to understand that actually, he hadn't told me this one or two particular details not to hide things from me, but because it was genuinely irrelevant to him. It wasn't irrelevant to me and he was able to validate that feeling.

This has come up with us. I don't feel that he has yet been able to validate my feelings, he's been more along the lines of "but it doesn't matter to me therefore it shouldn't to you." And of course, all these conversations took place more than two months ago, so I don't know what he'd say now. My guess is that he'd be more open to validating, given what happened with the Spotify playlists, so perhaps some movement there. But I just don't know because we haven't talked about it.

Originally Posted by AlisonUK
I have chosen to hear this as him wanting me to know where he was at the time - wanting me to understand his heart - rather than him wanting to make excuses or put some of the blame for his actions on me and my part in our struggling marriage.

I need to work on my own response here. I actually do believe there is a large part of my H that does just want me to fully understand and sit in how he felt, just like I want him to sit in how I feel. I don't think he thinks I get it. (And maybe I really don't. You posted something about being on the other side of the SSM, I think, that was really helpful for me. I should probably go back and re-read it.)

Originally Posted by AlisonUK
I have also told him I take full responsibility for my part in the marriage and for how awful it was for both of us, but I don't take any responsibility at all for his behaviour, his infidelity and verbal abuse, and that he is always responsible for his own actions. He still struggles with this and is apt, if he gets grumpy and rude, to say that he'd have been gentler or kinder if only x hadn't done y. I've told him I find that kind of talk immature and unattractive and whether he believes or accepts it or not, he is still responsible for himself. It's an aspect of his character I find difficult. But I leave it with him. I don't poke at it. I just put responsibility back on him when he tries to hand it to me.

I'm glad to see this is getting better for you and your H. My H has some of the same tendencies, something goes wrong and he finds the closest person to blame (usually me). This is one area, though, that he's really improving on. In fact, last night he was a jerk about something stupid. I told him it wasn't OK and kind of withdrew-- not rude, but just not really participating and having fun with him. He apologized right away and then the end of the night he apologized again. Then this morning he said he really doesn't want to ever do that again and he's going to make a commitment not to do it. He has come a very, very long way in this area-- the outburst wasn't even all that bad. I think I don't feed it any more by getting angry in return, but I'm glad to see he's taking responsibility for his own behavior and putting energy into change. Maybe these are his baby practice steps towards addressing the A.

Originally Posted by AlisonUK
I suspect my H has been willing to be more transparent verbally and give a clearer account of himself verbally than yours has. I also think H's in this position will have to - over a number of very many years - take gradual responsibility for who they are.

I've been thinking that part of my slightly odd situation in all of this is because my H didn't ever move out, didn't go through the more standard process (at least as I read it here) of seeing their fantasy fall apart and coming back totally remorseful and ready to start the R process. Mine made his decision when he was still very much in the throes of the A and I've had to (probably am still) living through his grieving process. I knew (or thought I knew) what I was getting myself into and purposefully made the choice that it might be harder on me this way, but it also would spare the children. Once he decided to come clean, I do believe he stopped lying, but he simply didn't want to say tell me exactly what transpired when he broke it off when he did it. There were other things that he said he didn't want to share. At the time I felt like it was better than lying about it, which I still believe. But I also think we need to get to a place where he'll talk about it. I honestly don't know if we are there yet.

I also agree that it will probably take years for him to really accept that he did this big thing. I still can barely believe it. I imagine if I had done something like this, so awful to the person I am supposed to love forever, potentially hurt the children, etc. that it would take me a long time to really accept it and be able to live with myself. I don't think he is very far along this particular path.

Originally Posted by AlisonUK
But putting that to one side for a second, for the survival of your marriage, it is probably more important that he starts to ask himself questions about why he had the affair. And given that he still blames you for it, it sounds like he really really doesn't want to do that.

Back in January, after he told me about the full extent of the A, we went to see his IC and then started the discernment counseling. In both sessions, he set forth as his primary goal trying to understand why he did it, totally on his own. With his IC, we didn't really end up getting into it, because it was all so fresh for me and when he dipped his toe into it he got stuck in the "I was in such a bad place" with a lot of anger/resentment that it was dropped. In discernment counseling, H brought it up a number of times, but the counselor said that wasn't really DC and should be tabled for now. He's said multiple times he wants to figure this out for himself, unprompted by me. It is just that to date, he gets stuck in the SSM and all the bad feelings that dredges up and we don't move past it. Maybe I get defensive there too and contribute to the stagnation. I don't know.

Originally Posted by AlisonUK
I wonder if your H is using up his energy thinking about your questions, and delaying them, as a way of keeping the focus on you and what you want. Do you think this dynamic protects him from the more important and necessary work of looking hard at himself? He can have this silent dispute with you, and string it out as long as he wants, and that's where the focus is - May wants to know and I don't want to tell her or I want to be in control of when I tell her - rather than 'I wonder why I did this terrible thing to a woman I am now claiming to want to commit to again? What is it about me that made me choose to respond to the pain in our marriage in that way? How can I make sure I don't respond in that way again?'

I am just trying to imagine what is keeping him so motivated in refusing you something entirely normal.

I don't think he's using up any energy thinking about my questions-- he still doesn't even know them! Where we left it with the MC was that I had questions, he wasn't ready to answer them, MC suggested I write them down and give them to H, H felt that was too formal. He knows I want to know about what happened when he ended it and specifically didn't want to tell me about it because it felt too much like me trying to take control. He said he it was a big, positive thing for him when I said to go and do this your own way, and to return and feel like he had to give me a play-by-play felt like me reasserting control and him putting back on the collar and negated the freedom he felt to make his own choice about the situation. He knows one of my questions is how they communicated, but we never got beyond that. And the truth is until just this past week, we simply haven't discussed any of it, and then the last week was me saying I was really frustrated with not talking about anything, him saying he thought it was too stressful to do it during the pandemic, and now him saying we can.

I feel like there was a silent dispute about whether or not we could talk about it, not really about the content of what we'd discuss. Now that we can talk, I think all those other things are on the table to be addressed, or not, and see where we are and if there has been any movement. I don't feel like it is a control thing on his end. Truthfully, I don't think he'll be at a place of real introspection yet when we do talk.

I will also fully admit that there were times I did not respond well to learning truths about the A and how my H was feeling, especially earlier on in the process before I got more practiced at DB-ing. After BD#1 I completely shut down for probably a week. After BD#2 the same. There were multiple times over the course of the fall when I couldn't sleep and went to wake him up in the office to fight with him more. (Newbies, don't do this. NEVER productive.) There were times I cried so hard I threw up. So there is good reason for him to be scared of what might happen between us if he drops more bombs. I just don't know if there are bombs left to be dropped or more like minor bomblets, like he saw her in places I didn't know about, etc.

I think my main goal is to get all the facts about the A out on the table for myself, my questions asked and answered, and then see where we are with other things, whether we want to address the SSM, the A, other communication/connection issues or needs between us, etc. It will be a big difference if he's able to listen to my questions, understand/validate why I need them answered, and answer them while respecting my boundaries around not hearing about the feelings part. If he can do that, we will have come a long ways, and I'll be able to move forward on processing that information for myself. If he isn't ready to be transparent and answer my questions, well, then we'll know we aren't there yet.

Originally Posted by Oceangl
As a personal example relating to your situation, as crazy as it sounds, when we would do better, my subconscious would actually begin to operate out of fear, even though doing better was supposed to be what I wanted! It was still out of my comfort zone. I was scared to to trust enough that things could be better because I was so afraid I would be hurt again if i allowed that. So i would pick a fight, or bring up the A. I had to work to be okay with being uncomfortable, and to create a new comfort zone.

This resonates with me. I feel like I definitely did this over the past week. But in the end I'm glad I did because we got over the hump of "we aren't going to talk about it till after the lockdown."

Originally Posted by Oceangl
What seems to help me the most, is that when I feel that discomfort, that panic, that trigger, I go off by myself, usually in the bathroom or my room, or for a drive alone if possible. If we are out, I excuse myself to the bathroom. I sit with the feeling for a bit. I ask myself what is going on? What is my need here? Do I really need something from him or am I just frightened? Can I soothe myself? With a lot of work, nine times out of ten I can soothe myself. I can remind myself of my goals and that I will be okay no matter what.

This is awesome and something that I'm working on too, and worked on a TON during the worst part of the A. I feel like this ability to take a step back and not respond out of emotion is a huge benefit of DBing. I feel like I've gotten somewhat out of practice with some of the DBing principles and I need to keep those muscles working where it is healthy for me to do so, and this is one of them.


Me (44) H (40)
M:12 T:16
D7 and D9
BD1 ILYB: April 2019
BD2 H told me about EA: August 2019 (started Jan 2019)
BD3 Just kidding!! Been a PA for the past two years!! (Dec 2019)
Re: a new normal [Re: may22] #2895714
05/23/20 07:35 AM
05/23/20 07:35 AM
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AlisonUK Online
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May, you are doing so well. I don't think you think you are, but I think you are.

Yes, I was the HD partner in a SSM and to be honest, that made the EA ten times worse for me. There was physical attraction there, expressed to each other, and it wasn't far off from becoming a PA. I was totally dumbfounded that this man who had said some version of 'if only I wasn't so tired, you know I'd want to, but it's just impossible right now and I'm as frustrated about it as you are,' for literally years had found the emotional interest and desire and time for someone else.

And you know, as the SS wife, when I found out about the EA and he became scared of our marriage ending, shocked at what he'd done, and eager to make it up to me, I used it as a lever to get him to be close to me. You'll remember we went to MC for six months after I found out (I forced him) and while he blamed me for it the entire time, he also took lots of care to flirt with me, woo me, cherish me, come to bed with me - all of that - for weeks and weeks. And I really jumped on the 'guilt card' and made sure whenever I felt like being comforted, he knew he owed me that. And it was I think really awful for him and part of the reason he left was because he couldn't stand the idea that my forgiveness rested on him never having his own space, never being able to say, 'right now you have to deal with your own feelings.'

Perhaps this is too far away from your own experience to be useful to you, or perhaps it sheds light on your changing dynamic.


Last edited by AlisonUK; 05/23/20 07:38 AM.
Re: a new normal [Re: may22] #2895750
05/23/20 10:48 PM
05/23/20 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by may22

Yes, it is both. On the first, I'm not sure I would label it fear as much as this burning desire to KNOW. I just want to know. I have always been this way. I do so much better when I have all the cards, even if the information is hurtful or difficult. I feel like the last two years of my life were all thrown in disarray with the knowledge of the A, and even though it really feels awful to rearrange things now knowing that he was having this A, I just want to put all the pieces together. I think my fear is more about letting it go on too long without that reset, and it will feel worse to get the hard information the longer it takes. Maybe that isn't true (the MC definitely challenged me on this) but that is my fear.

(In thinking about this more, I do have a fear that there are worse things that I don't know about, like if he slept with her on that last visit. Most of me feels like what he did was so bad, doesn't get much worse, it is all a matter of degree and there really isn't anything he could say that would make it appreciably worse, especially if I keep to my boundary of not hearing anything about feelings. But I've been surprised before.)

Oh man, I echo your feeling on the burning desire to know. I've had a lot of talks with H about lying being the worst thing someone can do to me, because it takes away my autonomy and ability to make informed decisions for myself. We had a long discussion about when lying is innocuous or to avoid hurting someone's feelings (not about As, though). And to logical people, when your H is acting like an insane person, it's infuriating and makes no sense! And it probably never will because it was from a bananas place! That has saved me some mental energy - likening it to other concepts I think are dumb/make no sense/unsound etc.

Quote


Originally Posted by AlisonUK
When more came out in the months afterwards, I felt very betrayed and it look me a long time to understand that actually, he hadn't told me this one or two particular details not to hide things from me, but because it was genuinely irrelevant to him. It wasn't irrelevant to me and he was able to validate that feeling.

This has come up with us. I don't feel that he has yet been able to validate my feelings, he's been more along the lines of "but it doesn't matter to me therefore it shouldn't to you." And of course, all these conversations took place more than two months ago, so I don't know what he'd say now. My guess is that he'd be more open to validating, given what happened with the Spotify playlists, so perhaps some movement there. But I just don't know because we haven't talked about it.



Something similiar happened with H and I - I was upset about him taking a girl to a new restaurant, and then taking me (before I know about this). And I was so hurt that he would take me somewhere he had taken her etc. etc. We discussed this in MC and I was crying, and the MC was helpful and did point to this as a gender difference (she is pretty progressive so was hesitant to even go there, but she did). H was like - I wanted to take you b/c they have the best (fave dish of ours) in the city! and that was all there was to it for him. It wasn't a particularly romantic place, and the MC did a good job of mitigating this difference and helping us understand and recognize each other's perspective. It can be hard to validate when you don't consider a perspective, and are out of practice with thinking about it/actively listening.

Quote

I think my main goal is to get all the facts about the A out on the table for myself, my questions asked and answered, and then see where we are with other things, whether we want to address the SSM, the A, other communication/connection issues or needs between us, etc. It will be a big difference if he's able to listen to my questions, understand/validate why I need them answered, and answer them while respecting my boundaries around not hearing about the feelings part. If he can do that, we will have come a long ways, and I'll be able to move forward on processing that information for myself. If he isn't ready to be transparent and answer my questions, well, then we'll know we aren't there yet.

Why do you need the facts about A to work through the other stuff. Do you think that he would be more willing to open up about A if you tackled this "out of order" so to speak? Maybe create some goodwill and security for him - perhaps he is scared of how you will react with A information, and that your willingness to work through the other things hinges on how the A talks go. It'd also give him the opportunity to practice validating in a situation where he feels less pressure ? I don't want to try to mindread here!

You're doing a great job - keep it up.

Re: a new normal [Re: may22] #2895845
05/26/20 02:40 AM
05/26/20 02:40 AM
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may22 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by AlisonUK
May, you are doing so well. I don't think you think you are, but I think you are.

Thanks... I needed that.

Originally Posted by AlisonUK
Yes, I was the HD partner in a SSM and to be honest, that made the EA ten times worse for me. There was physical attraction there, expressed to each other, and it wasn't far off from becoming a PA. I was totally dumbfounded that this man who had said some version of 'if only I wasn't so tired, you know I'd want to, but it's just impossible right now and I'm as frustrated about it as you are,' for literally years had found the emotional interest and desire and time for someone else.

Ugh, that "I'm just so tired" was me for so long. I didn't even really know why I felt that way. Then I started to feel that there was something wrong with me, that it was all my fault-- which in turn sparked a lot of anger and resentment and defensiveness that started to leak into other things.

Thanks for sharing your experience, both now and before... it is really helpful. Our sitch has some similar threads but b/c the roles are reversed in the HD/LD partners, it is hard to parse out. One thing that is probably good though a bit frustrating in the moment is that my H is completely dedicated to not doing or saying anything that doesn't feel authentic. Sometimes I do wish he'd say or do something just to make me feel better, but he isn't, and it does at least help me to sort out a bit better where he stands than if he was trying do things to comfort me but felt controlled or smothered inside. He's definitely not doing that right now wink

SamCal, I think I have gotten out of the practice of validating, as has he, since we stopped seeing the MC with the lockdown. We are good at it in easy conversations now but crappy at it in difficult ones. I also think that is a good suggestion to take things out of order. I need to keep reminding myself I'm in this for the long haul, I didn't sign up for this because it was easy. Marathon not a sprint and all the rest.

Last night we had a talk about the talk, so to speak. I shared with him the questions I want answered about the A and why, where I stand on the SSM and my willingness to dig into it, my need to eventually understand why he did what he did and how things will be different in the future, whether he's ready to "burn the boats" or not, and my boundary around not hearing any more about his feelings for AP.

It went relatively well. In the back of my mind, of course I had this small hope he'd be checking all those boxes the WS is supposed to check before R-- totally transparent, remorseful, etc. Of course that did not happen. But what did happen is that he said he would answer all my questions to the best of his ability. He doesn't think there is anything out there that will be too difficult/painful-- if the revelations in the past have been at the 7,8,9 level on a scale of 1-10, there are probably things more in the 3-5 range still to be disclosed... but he knows even those may be pretty $hitty to hear about.

He said he understood why I didn't want to hear anything about his feelings, but felt that it was like if the information was a piece of art, me saying I wanted to look but still half-covering my eyes. He feels like to really understand the full scope the feelings are a very relevant piece of the puzzle. I said I got it about the feelings, no need to have more information on that-- back to the art analogy, the feelings were like the basic outline and I get all of that, now I want some of the detail that I'm missing. He said OK.

We both agreed it is important to get all the lies out and off the table, even lies of omission (that distinction is still important to him). It also became clear to me in the conversation that he feels like the feelings he had for AP somehow partially justified his actions-- he said he has been working with his IC to determine if he's just a bad person (she says no) and I think he thinks it would be way worse if he did all those things for $hits and giggles. Somehow he feels like less of a bad person because of the emotions. OK.

He said he can't answer the question of why he did it. He wants to. He talked more about working with his IC on the question of whether or not he's just a jerk. I said I thought it was something we'd have to work through together.

On the burning the boats... turns out we had a different interpretation of this. He felt like I wanted to burn the boats like Alexander the Great invading Persia, to prevent the troops from deserting-- we either go home in Persian boats or not at all. So burning the boats was a control thing for him, me wanting to control his choices. I clarified that I didn't want to burn the boats-- I wanted him to be in a place where he burnt the boats himself. He said he wants to not really care or think about if the boats are there or not. He said he's getting there.

He did refer to the AP in the past tense, said he hoped she's "moved on too" and that he does have some guilt around her and it would help him to know if she was happy and over him. It does seem like he's not spending much time and energy thinking about her from what he said, and the heat/emotion was dialed far back from where it was when we talked about her before. That doesn't mean he feels back in love with me, I think-- I didn't go there and neither did he, but he did say some things around feeling like I want to just put this all behind us and have a picture-perfect marriage, and he isn't sure he can do that yet. A lot came up around control again, and his need to feel heard/felt and be a partner in designing what M2.0 is going to look like, not just default to what I want it to be. I'm fine with all this, but do think he's just jumping to conclusions about what he imagines I want since we haven't talked about it at all.

He's also still somewhat stuck on the SSM. He said something along the lines of me thinking that now that I want to have sex, that will make things all better. That it is like five years ago he was saying he was really thirsty, and now he's covered in third degree burns and I'm offering him water. It is what he needed five years ago but not necessarily today. Okay. I have some qualms around this, that maybe it is true he'll never be able to fully restart those feelings for me. But I am trying to tell myself (channeling Yail) that it hasn't been very long at all, that things are improving slowly, not to write my future before I get there. And that he has healing and processing to do too, both about the A and his behavior but about the SSM too.

Anyway... so we talked a little, didn't dig in too much. It wasn't fun or comfortable but I'm glad we did it. I'm not sure if we'll make it a regular thing until we can get back into MC, and/or when I'll raise the issue of actually answering the questions (last night we didn't want to stay up too late so had agreed to talk about broad strokes but not have "the talk"). I do have some unfounded disappointment that he isn't farther along, but... I only control me. Need to keep my focus there.


Me (44) H (40)
M:12 T:16
D7 and D9
BD1 ILYB: April 2019
BD2 H told me about EA: August 2019 (started Jan 2019)
BD3 Just kidding!! Been a PA for the past two years!! (Dec 2019)
Re: a new normal [Re: may22] #2896364
Yesterday at 12:28 AM
Yesterday at 12:28 AM
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may22 Offline OP
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So, we had the big talk last night. It went relatively well. I got to ask all the questions I had been bottling up and he was open and transparent (with one exception), and he respected my desire to avoid any talking about the feelings, though I did mention it a bit. The upshot is:

-- I was right, they weren't just texting/calling-- they were primarily using WhatsApp. Ha! I knew it had to be something. I had snooped a bit through his texts and call logs and never found anything, never thought to look at WhatsApp. All threads are deleted, he showed me the app. He said that he went through phases when he was closer to me when if he had any communication he'd delete it immediately and times when things were more strained between us that he'd "clean up" after himself less... we didn't get into why.

-- He saw her once in another city I hadn't known about, early on.

-- He's deleted all her emails, photos, text threads, etc. He said anything that could remotely be considered a memento is gone.

--We talked about a couple of specific times that were painful to me and talking more about them was helpful-- turns out once I knew the full truth, it was far less worse than I had been imagining. Things that I had blown up in my mind to be bigger than they were.

-- On the what happened when he did the final break off-- this is the only thing he was reluctant to share about. He gave me the broad strokes. He brought up again how much he valued that I gave him the freedom to do this how he wanted and still felt like it was somehow taking that away by telling me a play-by-play. He also said where he is in his healing process that he didn't think it was a good idea to relive that conversation right now, but that he could assure me nothing happened I'd be upset about. I said, fine and that I wasn't going to ask him again about it.

-- When the feelings part did come up, he talked about it in the past tense again. He said he'd been thinking in recent weeks that maybe/probably it never would have worked out with her anyway.

-- He said he's been talking with his IC about the fact that when he was in the A, he felt like it made sense that he didn't feel the "in love" feelings with me because those feelings were elsewhere. Now that those feelings are not really there anymore for AP, he still isn't feeling them strongly for me and he doesn't know what to make of that. He said he still feels kind of ambivalent about sex, that we still don't have a "deep emotional connection." I asked him if he thought we used to and lost it or if we never had it, he said he thought we had it and lost it. Then he said maybe deep emotional connection is the wrong word, maybe "emotional intimacy." I feel like he's searching for that "in love" limerent feeling and he'll never get it again with me.

--He's been working with his IC on why he did this, he wants to work on it also when we can get back to see the MC. We talked a little about him not really fully grasping my pain and what I've been dealing with, and he said he has a really hard time with it because he knows he was the cause, and it puts him in this place that is really really hard for him. I said I get it, but at some point I think it is important for him to really go there and understand deeply what he did and how it impacted me. I said maybe that was part of the emotional blockage with me. He validated.

-- Man, the SSM is still such a hot and painful topic for him. He has not forgiven me for this-- even though it has been more than a year since I had my personal breakthrough around the SSM and (I have felt) demonstrating to him that I'm not that person anymore (for me). He is really still hanging on to this, and also resentment around incidents where he felt controlled/belittled by me that are like 5-7 years old. He brought one up, and while he talked about it calmly and how he felt at the time, the anger/disappointment/feelings of being dismissed or not good enough were still clearly right there. I apologized and told him I was wrong. (I was.) He was floored, said as many times as he's brought that incident up I'd never actually just straight up apologized, I always had a reason for why I behaved the way I did. (Not sure, but I'll give him that... if he didn't think I apologized, then I clearly didn't do a good enough job.)

--I am in this weird space about the SSM. When I had the breakthrough experience (weirdly, around the same time as Pommy had a similar experience) I also let go of all these bottled- up resentments I had been holding on for years that had been contributing to the SSM from my side. Like totally let them go to the point I can't really remember what they are and they sound stupid when I try to explain. I've told him this, and also taken responsibility, but he still has a lot of unprocessed anger around the fact that it happened and then also the fact that I 'changed my mind' one day and he felt expected him to come a-running when I snapped my fingers. For me, I'm grateful that I had this experience because it did allow me to rediscover myself as a woman, not just a mom; it let me SEE my H again, not just the simulcrum I'd been building up in my head; and it is so freeing to drop all those resentments and truly let them go. I'm hopeful at some point my H can do the same, and I don't actually think we'll ever get to M2.0 until this happens. Hopefully it is something we can work on together in MC when we can get back there, but I know this is something he needs to do for himself. Right? Or am I missing something? Any advice here? It is hard to talk about because he is still so angry and hurt about it, even when he is talking about it calmly.

--For newbies-- I just want to reinforce how very, very long all of this takes. It has been over a year since I read DR and implemented a number of 180s. One of these was being supportive about H doing some of his own stuff, and also taking time to do things just for me. This was a big 180 for me as (I'm embarrassed to say) I was not cool with time H took away from "the family" to do things for himself, and as much as H would push me to go and do things for myself I never took him up on them, because I felt guilty. This 180 was huge for me-- again, for ME-- I have discovered so much joy and peace in taking time for myself, shedding the guilt that I shouldn't be spending time and money on something just for me-- and also valuing the time apart when he goes surfing or whatever and I can sleep in. It is a major and beneficial change for both of us. When we spoke last night, he said he still feels like I just tolerate him doing his stuff and he feels guilty about it. I was floored. I have actively supported and encouraged this for more than a year. I have not once said anything that could be construed as guilt-inducing (and I know this, because I know how I used to do it-- and again, I no longer have those feelings of resentment around him doing things for himself. I truly mean it when I tell him to go and have fun.) During the lockdown, I've told him to get out and surf more because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to surf these uncrowded places without all the tourists. I said this, and he didn't disagree with me-- he said, OK, I guess you are right-- but he had internalized all this to the point that he's still holding on to a paradigm that ended more than a year ago. So here's a situation where we have been living under the same roof for all these months, I've implemented a 180 with, in this case, perfect or near-perfect consistency, been LOVING how it makes me feel-- and my H still doesn't truly trust it. I feel badly for him on this, since I know how awful it is to have any solo time tinged with guilt. (Any advice for me? Just keep it up? Should I make more of a point of it or just do what feels right to me?)

Overall, I am really glad I was able to ask all these questions and get them answered without feeling like I was pulling teeth or having to ask the exact right question to be sure I was getting the full answer. He also re-committed to it being over with AP and her being out of our lives, and if for any reason she ever tries to contact him, he'll let me know before responding. I said it was important to me that we feel like we're partners in this and he said he felt like we were. (I hadn't been feeling that so much.) We had been snippy towards each other all week, I think because the weight of knowing this conversation was coming was on both of us. I finally feel like I have what I need to put the A in the rearview mirror.'

But wow, we still have so much to work through. We did sleep together afterwards and I think we'll continue to talk about stuff, though for now I'm done digging into the "what happened" during the A. Still want to talk about the whys.


Me (44) H (40)
M:12 T:16
D7 and D9
BD1 ILYB: April 2019
BD2 H told me about EA: August 2019 (started Jan 2019)
BD3 Just kidding!! Been a PA for the past two years!! (Dec 2019)
Re: a new normal [Re: may22] #2896371
Yesterday at 05:34 AM
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Wow, May! You've been waiting for that conversation for ages. Glad it finally happened.


May'19 - Girlfriend of 2yrs left. Aug'19 - We became a "broken" couple (I needed validation, she screamed). Dec'19 - We gave up and went NC. Mar'20 - I've changed and she's eager for MC and us again.
Re: a new normal [Re: may22] #2896392
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may, I am so happy for you that you two are so open with each other. The little parts that your H was honest about still having to work through those thoughts himself first - it is a huge step for him to tell you that and for you to give him that time.

Originally Posted by may22
I feel badly for him on this, since I know how awful it is to have any solo time tinged with guilt. (Any advice for me? Just keep it up? Should I make more of a point of it or just do what feels right to me?)


I would say just keep doing what you're doing. action over words. or action along with words. continue to encourage him to have his own personal time and show him that you are truly okay with it.

M is a long journey in itself, the work will probably continue on forever. you guys are doing great!


W(me):40
H:45
M:15
BD: Sep 2019

Re: a new normal [Re: wooba] #2896407
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Quote
During the lockdown, I've told him to get out and surf more because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to surf these uncrowded places without all the tourists. I said this, and he didn't disagree with me-- he said, OK, I guess you are right-- but he had internalized all this to the point that he's still holding on to a paradigm that ended more than a year ago. So here's a situation where we have been living under the same roof for all these months, I've implemented a 180 with, in this case, perfect or near-perfect consistency, been LOVING how it makes me feel-- and my H still doesn't truly trust it. I feel badly for him on this, since I know how awful it is to have any solo time tinged with guilt. (Any advice for me? Just keep it up? Should I make more of a point of it or just do what feels right to me?)


I can really resonate with this - and I'm going to post about something similar on my thread later, so would appreciate your insight too, if you have any.

My gut feeling here is that this is his work to do, and anything that you do or don't do with the aim of getting him to see or accept or trust your changes is likely to come of as manipulative - you want him to get on board and accept your changes because sure - he'll be happier - but also because he's then more likely to act in ways you want him to, right?

I think his work is to look carefully at who you are today, rather than seeing you through the lens of the past, or his own resentment or hurt or lack of trust. And he will either do that, or not do it, in his own time. I think here, some detachment for you is needed: his reactions to or opinions about your changes are his own to deal with, and how he feels as a result of his lack of trust is also on him. You just live your life the best way you know how, and respond to him as he is today the best way you know how.

This all sounds very positive May.

Re: a new normal [Re: may22] #2896459
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It is so positive to me that you two are able to have these difficult conversations, and it seems like both of you are okay that things aren't necessarily resolved during the convo. It's an ongoing process, and I also think it's such a good sign your H is using his IC time to really try to understand himself in a new way. It sounds like, whereas you've been doing that kind of work for more than a year in earnest, it's begun more recently for your H; he's moving at his own pace, there, and perhaps his gradual understanding of why he did what he did will also come with gradual understanding of your experience, and of the SSM.

Originally Posted by may22
Man, the SSM is still such a hot and painful topic for him. He has not forgiven me for this-- even though it has been more than a year since I had my personal breakthrough around the SSM and (I have felt) demonstrating to him that I'm not that person anymore (for me). He is really still hanging on to this, and also resentment around incidents where he felt controlled/belittled by me that are like 5-7 years old.

Every time I read about your H's experience of this, I'm sent back to BD, when my H really expressed anger and hurt around the SSM fully for the first time. It reminds me I am still grappling with not taking total responsibility for where we are now because of the SSM, still struggling to fully forgive myself for not understanding or realizing how it was affecting him.

Originally Posted by may22
He said something along the lines of me thinking that now that I want to have sex, that will make things all better. That it is like five years ago he was saying he was really thirsty, and now he's covered in third degree burns and I'm offering him water.

It's been more than a year and your H hasn't forgiven you; it's no surprise, then, that my H still seems super angry sometimes, and he's off in his own MLC world. When I wrote the apology letter last fall, I straight up apologized, without offering explanations or reasons, for my part in the SSM and the fact that I hadn't been able to make changes I needed to make. So, this probably isn't the right attitude, but part of me thinks... really? Why is it taking so long for him to forgive you? You can't change the past! I also realize this is my impatience, my wanting my H to forgive me, my feeling like I deserve forgiveness myself, even though I know that his granting it is beyond my control. I know reclaiming your sexuality has been really empowering for you regardless of your H, may, but in that process did you every struggle with blaming yourself or fully forgiving yourself? If so, was letting go of this a gradual process for you or did it just click one day?

I may be hijacking a bit here, may! I apologize if I am. Feel free to say more on my thread if you can.

Originally Posted by may22
I'm hopeful at some point my H can do the same, and I don't actually think we'll ever get to M2.0 until this happens. Hopefully it is something we can work on together in MC when we can get back there, but I know this is something he needs to do for himself. Right? Or am I missing something? Any advice here? It is hard to talk about because he is still so angry and hurt about it, even when he is talking about it calmly.


Ultimately, the heartening part for me is that he's there, with you, committed to talking and working through this, in spite of the fact that he's stuck on the SSM and hasn't yet been able to let go of resentments like you have. I agree that it is absolutely something he needs to do for himself, and something you can't do for him. It seems like MC/IC will be helpful with this process. And, like Allison said, it's also part of his work to let go of the me-time guilt.

Gosh, this really is a never-ending process, but look how far you've come! Look how far you both have come. I think your advice to yourself in the second-to-last post applies here too:

Originally Posted by may22
But I am trying to tell myself (channeling Yail) that it hasn't been very long at all, that things are improving slowly, not to write my future before I get there. And that he has healing and processing to do too, both about the A and his behavior but about the SSM too.


(((may)))


T: 16 M:10
BD 6/2019
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