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A Message from Michele
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A day at a time #2904760
09/30/20 01:04 AM
09/30/20 01:04 AM
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may22 Offline OP
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Last thread: https://www.divorcebusting.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=2903603&page=all

Recap: Ugh. I hate these. Very briefly, H had a two year long distance affair, came clean in January but very ambivalent, she might be the love of his life, blah blah blah. We're now 2-3 weeks into reconciliation attempt #3 (maybe 2.5, since I don't know if we should really count the trip we took in August when he was NC with AP as a reconciliation attempt-- more like a break from hostilities).

This time around does feel different in many ways. We got to the very edge of S/D. He found an apartment he really liked. We agreed in principle to the financial splits (which he has still agreed to memorialize in a post-nup). We were working on what to tell the children (D8 and D10, who have absolutely zero idea anything is wrong). Then, H said he got to the very precipice of D, needing to pull the trigger on the apartment, and realized he can't do it, he doesn't want to D.

He came clean with a number of final lies about their relationship, including the fact that he'd kept a box of memorabilia which he threw in the garbage in front of me. He said things I'd been waiting to hear for the past year, that he was choosing our M, he was making this decision of his own free will (said in the past he felt coerced as there had been some ultimatum-ish deadlines I'd laid out), he was going to actively work on getting over AP, could envision M2.0 with me, was going to show me by being loving, etc. He said he finally realized that his fantasy D situation (where we'd all be best friends) was never on offer, from either me or AP. It only existed in his head. He had a conversation with AP and is now NC and transparent (I have his passwords, etc.)

I was, and am, ambivalent about this. I had gotten myself to a place where I'd really dropped the rope and was ready to move on. However, I have a really hard time being the one to make the call to break up the family and doing everything I possibly can to give my children a two-parent household has always been extremely important to me. I don't want to look back on this with any regrets.

So, we're existing, together. One thing that has come up repeatedly here and with my IC is that H has tended to dump his emotional processing on me, from trying to get me to make this decision (stay or go) for him to how he feels about AP. I have a boundary around talking about how he feels about AP and have generally been trying to avoid any R-ish talks. He's been all over the place, from planning a house renovation to moping about and saying he's worried I have second thoughts. I've been trying to focus on myself. I'll repost the last entry from my last thread for continuity.


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D11
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
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2904761
09/30/20 01:06 AM
09/30/20 01:06 AM
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may22 Offline OP
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...

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

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

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

Thinking of all you guys. xx


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D11
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
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2904764
09/30/20 01:59 AM
09/30/20 01:59 AM
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Yail Offline
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May, I'm sorry I haven't been in touch. I needed to not be here, but I have periodically checked in on you silently.

After months of keeping tabs on you, I have only a bit to offer you.

The one thing I see you do time and time again is draw lines the sand. State how it must be, or what will be a deal-breaker for you. I see you spinning and exhausting yourself. It is my hope that you are able to stop spinning by no longer drawing up the rules of the game. You are trying to control your environment, and it is not yours to control. It's not a choose-your-own-adventure book where you have a singular path ahead depending on what you do tomorrow. Every day a thousand more doors open, and I really want you to stop trying to predict them (don't write your future....).

You step in and out of seeing this, and more and more with your ambivalence you are acting in a less attached way. I'm seeing it peek through.

Originally Posted by May22
But to me, it still feels like giving up any chance at reconciliation if we split.


This is one of your often repeated lines. It's a valid feeling, and I understand it. I've had similar experiences/feelings. But I might suggest you stop repeating it to yourself, because you're solidifying it. I think you would move forward in a smoother way if you could say calmly that you don't know what the future holds - EVEN if you split for a while. Even if H moved to an apartment for a while. Whatever might happen next does not set your entire future in stone.

All this to say - slow and steady. Other posters have had great discussions with you on your H. Yes, they are right that he is a self centered *bleep* and yes you are right that he's not all bad all the time...he's human. You're human. He has done some purely *bleep* things, and has a lot of growth to do that is not your responsibility. I hope he gets there.

No decisions need to be made today. Keep working on your portion of your stuff, and leave H to work on his. I really do think of you, and hope you keep moving forward.

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2904766
09/30/20 02:17 AM
09/30/20 02:17 AM
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wooba Offline
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I totally understand how you would rather just have things "stay" the way they are during this pandemic. Things are already tough enough. Another way to look at it though, is that there is no better time to live your life the way you want to. Life is hard, circumstances are tough, our time here is limited. I'm not advocating for one way or another, but just want you to keep an open mind. I think like Yail said, it is worth going back to that statement "It feels like giving up any chance at reconciliation if we split" often and examine why it only feels that way for you. You've almost always have kept an open mind when it comes to judging your H. But do that for yourself also.

xoxo


BD: Sep 2019
H moved out: Oct 2019
D talk in progress
3 kids
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2904770
09/30/20 03:32 AM
09/30/20 03:32 AM
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may22 Offline OP
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Hi Yail... so good to hear from you. I think about you a lot too. I made chicken liver pate and bacon onion jam today and both turned out really really well. Super easy too. I always feel so accomplished with little things like this smile and also think about you!!

Thanks for checking in. I feel like I am getting a bit more distance on all of this and dropping control, a little bit at a time. I think I've dropped it and then after a little while I still see how much more I have to go. It is like my pockets are full of tiny pebbles and every time I drop the one in my hand I feel like I've made such progress, and then I eventually put my hand back in my pocket and realize yes, there's still another pebble in there.

I do think that getting to that space-- even if it was only for a few days-- when I was ready to move on, was really empowering for me. I still have almost a letdown feeling when I look at all his books in the bookshelf and imagine what it would be like if they were all gone and it was only my stuff. I was ready to order new pictures of just the kids and me for all the picture frames in the house. I had the plans of who I was going to call and let know what was going on.

In fact, the day H started waffling I had almost called a mutual friend to tell him what was happening, because I know he cares and we've talked a lot about (other people's) relationships together. H, this friend and I are all on a text thread and maybe a little bit of what I wanted to do was punish H, take away one of his friends-- I know for sure this friend would despise H for what he's done, even though they're friends as well-- but I also feel so lonely and like I'm holding back by keeping silent on this huge thing happening in my life to my closest IRL friends and family. I feel like I'm lying. The idea of opening up to them is hard to explain-- both almost overwhelmingly attractive for the support I know I'd get, plus long-term concern about what them knowing would mean if H and I stay together.

Anyway, I talked about it with my IC last week, whether or not to open up to a few more people. The problem is what H has done is just SO GD bad. It isn't like a little f up. But it really bothers me to feel like I'm protecting this liar from the consequences of his own actions by my silence. I'm still not sure where I'm going to land on this, but one thing I do know is that I will (no line in the sand here, I swear) reach out to these folks if it happens again. I'm solid on that one.

Wooba, thinking on what you have said too, and both of you about examining my fears about separating and why that is so difficult for me... I know it will seem like I'm leaning on my kids here and pretending it is about them when it is really about my own fears, but I do have a lot of worry about what it would mean to them, plus selfishly not wanting to give up 50% of my time with them. I just feel so strongly that I didn't sign up for 50% time with my kids. I get it that it might have to happen and I can hate H all the way to my grave... I just don't want to have to hate MYSELF for it too. Maybe something to continue to work on with my IC.

Wooba, I also like what you are saying about COVID being a time to live your life the way you want. I've been thinking over the weekend about COVID and what I want to accomplish during this time, for me. I've been focusing recently on the negatives, but I want to relook at the possibilities. To take advantage of the WFH and not being able to go anywhere or do anything and turn it on its head. So what I've been noodling about is meditating. I went to a yoga and meditation retreat specifically to learn how to meditate last summer, and I've let it all slide and never really kept it up once I got home (got BDed soon after my return).

But this idea of being in the moment, focusing on today and not writing my future, as SamCal and Sage have said redrawing the map with a clean sheet of paper... I'm feeling like a practice of meditation can help me with this, and if I can really do it and keep it up it will be a lifetime gift I give myself. I still haven't been able to drag myself yet back into exercise or yoga, even. Maybe if I can just think about one day at a time, I can start to add these things back in, and start even a tiny little meditation every day.

xx thanks, guys. You mean so much to me.


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D11
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
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2904774
09/30/20 05:11 AM
09/30/20 05:11 AM
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Sage4 Offline
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May, firstly, can I just say what a catch you are? You are wise, self-reflective, smart, kind, inclusive and so loving. I feel lucky for your love and support and we donít even know each other IRL. Your real-life people are so fortunate to have you in their life, whether it is friends or your children and especially your H. So keep walking forth with the knowledge that you are amazing and deserving of the best that life has to offer. Whether you meditate or do more yoga or tell mutual friend about your sitch, whether you change or just stay in the exact same spot for a long time, you are still worthy of the best.

I hope that your decision to keep your situation under wraps doesnít inhibit your ability to get the support you need. Only you know what damage it could do, so I completely trust your intuition here. And I know that Hís behavior and your decision to stay at the moment has a certain societally-constructed reflection on you that you may be avoiding, but in the vein of you supporting H vs supporting yourself, it is something worth examining.

In the meantime, you are on the right path: examining where you stand on your lines in the sand, reflecting on what serves you best in the current moment and focusing on yourself. You go, girl.

Xx

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2904780
09/30/20 12:14 PM
09/30/20 12:14 PM
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May - maybe it is worth thinking about some more IRL support. It seems your only reason for not sharing your current situation with one or two carefully chosen friends (my boundary is that I only talk to women about problems in my marriage - because that is what I'd want and expect from my H - that after his EA he has lost the right to have those types of intimate friendships with women and I want to live my own values in that way too) is that they'd somehow disapprove of your H's choices and actions? You're protecting him from the disapproval that you imagine other people would feel if you asked them for support?

Both you and I know there is productive, heart-felt, woman-to-woman support that might include a bit of venting and dark humour, but which is about lifting you up, helping you find your own best path, and comforting and caring for you. And we also know there is venting, using a sob-story to play the victim, using your wounds to attract or manipulate others in unhealthy ways, forcing mutual friends to take sides, point scoring, etc.

I KNOW you have no intention of doing the second. But why deprive yourself of the first? I have a couple of friends I confide in. My H is no longer comfortable around them. That's his choice, his lane, and one of the milder consequences he faces from behaving abusively, having an EA and lying about it. I don't seek closeness with friends to punish him - I seek it because it is healthy and good for me and helps me make decisions for the benefit of myself and my marriage. If he feels bad about it, that's his work, not mine.

Please confide in someone May. You are walking a hard road here, and you are making it harder than it needs to be for the benefit of your H - and it isn't respectful, healthy or appropriate that you do that work of keeping him coddled in comfort anymore.

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2904819
09/30/20 08:03 PM
09/30/20 08:03 PM
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may22 Offline OP
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Sage, thank you... that warms my heart smile I feel I need constant reminders, also, to keep the focus on me, what serves me best today, releasing control over what may or may not be going on in my H's thick head.

I do feel a little bit of societal disapproval will surface with my choice to stay in this M after what H has done. (It even comes across on this forum.) I know my friends and family care about me, first and foremost, and I feel like it would be easy to tell them and lean on them if we are S. I feel it would be much more complicated if I tell them and I'm staying.

Alison, thank you-- I have told one friend IRL, back in January, and she is an absolute lifesaver for me. (I think you or others encouraged me to do it back then, and I'm so glad I did.) She calls or texts just to check in on me, and I feel she is 100% there for me while also respecting my choices. I told H that I'd told her this last go-round, and he said that made him feel really uncomfortable that she knows. Too bad-- I have zero guilt about this. And, I am beyond glad that I have her to lean on. Her H also cheated on her and they're now D, and so she understands a lot of what I'm going through.

The other friend who I really want to tell, whom I feel the most dishonest with, is my other closest female friend. We have talked about our relationships for hours and she knows a lot of H's MLC-like behavior and the SSM, but not about the A. We have traveled together during the time of the A when H was in his alien mode and she and her H witnessed some pretty awful behavior of H's towards me, and she asked me about it later, how she and her H should handle it if it happened again (I'd suggested we drive a particular route to go somewhere, everyone agreed, traffic ensued, and he threw a total sh!t fit, blaming me for the traffic, he knew it was a bad idea, blah blah blah. It was really embarrassing and in the moment I just let him rant and ignored it. But this was like two and a half years ago, before I knew anything about the A, ILYBINILWY, etc.)

I really don't think I can tell her if I stay with H. We are close couple friends and even if she understands my choice, the situation with the kids, etc.-- which I think she would and would be supportive-- her H's dad had an A and left his mom for the OW, and he's been scarred by it his whole life. They cut off communication with her H's brother for a time when it turned out he'd cheated on his wife. Her H will probably want to beat the $hit out of my H and I know it will ruin our family friendship forever. Our girls are close friends and I just feel like it won't be the same with them anymore. Also, I love her dearly, but she can't keep a secret if her life depended on it. So I think I might have to look elsewhere for another confidant if I want another perspective.

Thanks for continuing to support and push me, guys.

xx M


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D11
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
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2904826
09/30/20 09:47 PM
09/30/20 09:47 PM
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may22 Offline OP
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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. He had been doing a lot more in terms of cooking/cleaning since back in Feb., and that has all gone away in the last week.

Last night he started to do the dishes after dinner (I hadn't said anything, but I'd cooked three meals and cleaned up after the first two) and then went into a rant about how the house was so messy, he wouldn't have agreed to the kittens if he realized they would have so much stuff (toys) around the house, he can't live like this anymore. I listened and validated and said I agree, I'd like our house to be cleaner, if you helped clean up too then our house would be spotless. (Should I have let that last part go?)

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.

But, I didn't respond. He had a few other snippy comments for me until I told him to please cool it and take it down a notch. He went to bed early. Kids started in-person school this week (crazy and scary also) and I came home from dropping them off, he is sitting on the couch watching a baseball game instead of working, with dishes all over the kitchen from the breakfast he cooked for himself while I was gone.

Last night was also our neighbor's D8 (now D9)'s birthday, she asked if we could do the cake with her outside. H was watching TV and was totally not responding to our neighbor's texts until finally I said, you need to do this. This is about (little girl) and her BIRTHDAY. She wants to share it with us and her kids. She can't have a real birthday party. Get your @ss up and come participate. He said, I hate you (in a fake joking way) and came.

Anyway. I'm struggling with how to handle this angry a-hole living in my house. So far I've been mostly ignoring it and walking away if necessary. He's yelled the kids and I've intervened if I thought necessary, though not in a way that challenged him directly.

In the past (like when he acted like this during the A) I would get so angry-- seeing the dishes he'd leave in the sink instead of just putting them into the dishwasher would send me into a fury, and if I ended up doing them so that I could cook dinner, I'd just be so frustrated and angry the whole time. Then I got to a place where I didn't really care that much and that's where I've been-- if I see dishes in the sink and I want them cleaned, I clean them without worrying about who might have left them there. If I don't need them cleaned, I leave them and he'll generally get to them later on. (Guess my low cleanliness standards are really shining through there! smile )

I don't want to go back to the angry me regarding the day-to-day stuff, though-- life is too short and I just don't really care that much about dishes. I want to save my anger for the good stuff, like, you know, lies and betrayal. smile

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.

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... 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? 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?


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D11
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
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2904837
10/01/20 02:26 AM
10/01/20 02:26 AM
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SamCal Offline
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May, sorry that you are dealing with a whiny teenage boy currently.

I do want to say that I definitely understand not wanting to tell IRL people about what's going on - I felt that way about IRL people and also here for a while, because it just gets exhausting going from unloading about how H is being a butth0le to then having to defend H, especially to people that you know care about you, since they want to see you not be in a painful situation anymore so want you to exit ASAP. I think it's good you told at least one IRL person, and your IC obv. I asked my H not to tell anyone (I can see him getting drunk and emotional and talking about it), and I said I didn't want to tell anyone, either, but I did tell a mutual friend (I told him I was going to talk to her about it before I did, because I felt I needed more support at that point in time, and I knew I could get it from her without judgment). My H and I had several long talks about "friends of the marriage" that you have also probably read about in Gottman books, and that has helped both of us a lot.

It sounds frustrating for you to see your H mope around and throwing himself a pity party. That takes a lot of emotional bandwidth, and I am sure you'd rather him use that bandwidth in more productive ways. I don't think I have any actual advice - my knee jerk is to say just leave him alone and let him act like a mopey man, but I wonder if he will use this as another example of how you don't "see" him. (which, to diverge, is frustrating to read about b/c it's ridiculous. It reads as though he doesn't feel "seen" because you don't agree with him or what he wants to do - like, you can see him/understand a situation but still not agree with it. Like he'd feel seen if you complied with his "reasonings" or whatever). I do think it'd best to steer clear in the vein of him handling his own emotions and not dumping them on you
like he has in the past. Is he expecting you to feel sorry for him here? I know you know what he is going through right now is a reflection of him, and not you, but functionally day to day that can affect you, esp if you're having to step in when he is a turd to your girls. I think as long as you are steering clear and ensuring that you are not an outlet for rage/frustration right now, that'd be beneficial.

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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Sage4 Offline
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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
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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
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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 & D11
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
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2905146
10/06/20 09:41 PM
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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 & D11
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
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2905169
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}}Ö.you've got this! xx


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

EA: Feb 2019-May 2020
Separated: Mar-early Aug 2020
H asked to reconcile: Jun 2020
EA relapse: Oct/Nov 2020
Recon #2: since Nov 2020
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2905195
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
D talk in progress
3 kids
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2905199
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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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 & D11
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
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-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
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Yail Offline
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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.
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2905246
10/08/20 04:41 AM
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May,

There is a person on the MLC forum called Grace who is in the process of reconciling with her MLC husband after many years and something she said in one of her posts stood out to me in your situation: Grace's H recently moved back home, but they made the commitment to each other to only talk about the hard stuff in MC for the time being. That they would do their best during the week to avoid those hard conversations until they had the safe space to do so with a third party.

I know that you are not feeling very positive about MC right now, but what if it gave you and H the space to put things in check until you had that hour to discuss it with MC? Maybe two sessions a week would be necessary, but perhaps it could be a tool for both of you to table things in the moment, knowing you had an opportunity to discuss it later?

A lot of the reactions you are having are knee-jerk ones. Ask me how I know.... wink Often when I have slept on the emotion/thought/reflection, the power dissipates and I recognize that I don't really need to express it after all. If you had the accountability of a regularly-scheduled MC appointment, it might help with some of the intense pendulum-swings you are experiencing in reaction to H's alien-nice-sad-alien-nice guy.

From an outsider's perspective, H seems to be trying to the best of his current capability. And of course, you are too. What would it look like to push the yardstick out a lot further so the positive (or negative) benchmarks weren't in terms of hours and days, but more like weeks or months? Can you see H's efforts since last month? Can you see your own progress since last month? I can. But sometimes we are so mired in the trees, we can't see the forest.

All of this you know, but sometimes we need another opinion to help us see our path.

(((May)))

xx
S

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2905300
10/08/20 08:53 PM
10/08/20 08:53 PM
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may22 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Yail
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.

You're right on this. I was having a hard time seeing it. I just am so emotionally triggered by the idea that he has (present day) feelings of love for another woman. I can *sort of* handle it when it feels like it was in the past, like when we kind of ritually threw away all the mementos together of the A. I think I mentioned she had written him 39 notes about ways she loved him for his 39th birthday. I glanced at each one and then threw it in the garbage and it was so weirdly satisfying. But I think I keep wanting him to tell me all his feelings are relegated to the past tense and she's completely in the rearview mirror in his heart. He can't tell me that, though, (I want to add "yet" but that is me trying to engineer what I want) and every time I bring it up and he can't say it, it totally triggers me and feels impossible to actually validate in any real way, because all my insides are screaming how wrong it is for him to have feelings for someone else.

I guess what I'm learning here is to avoid these conversations. I know it is a boundary for me but I keep picking at the edges hoping I'll have a different answer. I do think I can validate with authenticity-- even just the "I see" or "I understand" or nodding-- the past tense actions and feelings. I simply can't do that right now in the present tense. Anyway, this was helpful, Yail. Thank you.

Sage, I'd read some of Grace's thread a few months ago, when he was first starting to come around. I'll definitely check it out again now.

Originally Posted by Sage4
I know that you are not feeling very positive about MC right now, but what if it gave you and H the space to put things in check until you had that hour to discuss it with MC? Maybe two sessions a week would be necessary, but perhaps it could be a tool for both of you to table things in the moment, knowing you had an opportunity to discuss it later?

I do think this is a good idea. I want to give it a few weeks (maybe more) and see where we are-- I guess I also feel like we each have our own work to do and maybe it is better to give the relationship work a rest until we've each had some time to work on ourselves. (Well, I can work on me. H may or may not work on himself actively. But time and some breathing room from me yelling at him probably is only positive.) We do have kids back in in-person school so this would be a possibility again. I also appreciate your comment about the knee-jerk responses-- you're completely right.

It's funny. I was thinking recently about DBing and how my ability to DB has really ebbed and flowed. I was thinking about times last fall, when he was traveling for work and in AP's city, and lying about seeing her and I knew he was lying and furious about it. But, I was able to not react right away (thanks to this board) and after sleeping on it, recognized there was no value in confronting him about it and spurring an R talk so I just ignored it and him and focused on me. So many times I was almost frantic with anxiety and anger and worry about what he was doing or what was happening and I could just take a deep breath, focus on the kids or get out of the house to GAL on my own or with a friend and avoid doing or saying something I'd regret later. I was pretty good at it. I remember wanting to avoid R talks at all costs because I learned that every single time they happened it pushed him a little further away. I never heard anything I liked.

I don't know if it is COVID and the lack of other outlets or the fact that we're now in a bit of a different place that I feel compelled to dump my feelings on him in real time, say things without that filter, give in to the knee-jerk response when a year ago when it was so much worse and harder I had the self control to stop. I also see that I've done this every time in our R attempts, pushed my own hurt and feelings onto him when I truly think he isn't in a place to be able to handle that, yet. If we were S, I wouldn't be doing that and he'd be able to focus on his own healing and grieving without needing to be smacked in the face at every turn with my anger and grief at his behavior. I get that it would be a lot for anyone, processing your own feelings while also being forced to support the feelings of someone who you so very badly wronged. As Alison says, we aren't S, so I need to figure out how to allow for the same positive opportunities we'd have in S within the construct of us living in the same house. But these behaviors of mine, I think, were a cheeseless tunnel for me in the past, so I'm going to do my best to stop and take responsibility for my own emotions and healing for awhile.

Originally Posted by Sage4
From an outsider's perspective, H seems to be trying to the best of his current capability. And of course, you are too. What would it look like to push the yardstick out a lot further so the positive (or negative) benchmarks weren't in terms of hours and days, but more like weeks or months? Can you see H's efforts since last month? Can you see your own progress since last month? I can. But sometimes we are so mired in the trees, we can't see the forest.

He says he's doing his best and I think I believe him (even though I wish he could do better, but again that isn't mine to control). You said something a few posts ago that I've been thinking about, looking at your toddler's nutrition intake over a week instead of meal-by-meal, and this yardstick analogy also resonates with me. I do think I'm really impatient to be over this current pain of seeing him grieve and knowing he still has feelings for AP. But that is not going to change this week or next-- I think you're right, I should be looking more at months.

Yail helped me with this back in the spring, saying something similar when I started to get antsy and angry that H wasn't where I wanted him to be yet. I said to myself, I'll wait until July and see where we are then. But he relapsed before that and were back to full on limbo in June. I think I have some level of fear around that happening again. I think I need to wait until after the holidays to really check in and see where we are.

I don't know that I can see any progress from either of us, tbh. I feel I've backslid and only this week am starting to pick myself back up. He, too, went from "this is what I'm choosing and I'll prove it to you with my loving behaviors" back to IDK if I'll ever get over AP, some things are out of my control (like it was fate or kismet or a random bolt of lightning that caused him to "fall" in love). IC says just another way for him to avoid responsibility by framing it like this. A lot of stuff is going on under the surface for him, I think.

Thank you for saying that you see progress, though. That really helps. And I do honestly feel so much better and lighter since the weekend when I resolved to get back to DB basics and focus all my energy back onto me.

xx May


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D11
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
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2905501
10/11/20 10:28 PM
10/11/20 10:28 PM
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may22 Offline OP
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Just a quick journal note to say-- I had a situation yesterday when I wanted so badly to dump on him, again, for having the A and to temp check and see where he was with "getting over" AP. It wasn't anything he was doing, just us needing to make some decisions around renovating the MBR and all those feelings cropping back up inside me, angry that we are in this situation, angry that I can't feel good about the MBR reno as a symbol of our M getting repaired, as he says he thinks it should be. We just aren't there, in my mind.

But instead of venting out my emotions on him, I went outside, FINALLY did a short yoga practice after all these months of not being able to get myself to practice. Cuddled with my daughters and read a book for a bit, and the urge to vent went away. I think this is the first time in a long while that I've had such an overwhelming urge to spew and managed to circumvent it, so that feels good. (We did get in a stupid fight an hour or so later, and part of me wonders if my reaction there was partially fed by the deep well of anger I have towards him about the A, but baby steps, right?)

We are going with a more expensive contractor than I would have chosen for the renos if it were just up to me, but (a) it will be my house if we split and (b) he agreed that we could write the difference into the post-nup as an additional lump sum I'd get. He sure doesn't like to talk about the post-nup. He wants to spend more money because this is our bedroom, this is an investment for the rest of our lives, etc. Part of me says okay, that makes sense. Part of me does not. This has all been good motivation for me to move forward on getting it drafted, which I have.

My IC wants to know what it will take for me to start trusting him again, and/or whether I'll ever be able to trust him again. I have been thinking about this and decided-- why bother worrying about this right now? If he doesn't do the work he needs to do on himself and get over AP in his head/heart, then there is zero reason for me to worry about trying to trust him again. I don't want an H who holds a candle for another woman in the long run. I can just continue to work on my own emotions and processing them without jumping ahead into whether or not I care to try and trust him again. If/when he gets to that place where he's ready to piece-- OK, then, I am open to working on trust and all the rest. If he never gets there, then that is when I will need to make the hard decisions... but I don't want to get ahead of myself either.

CW, if you're reading... just do the next right thing, right? smile


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D11
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
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2905507
10/11/20 11:08 PM
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Yail Offline
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May, I do think you're headed in the right direction. I say keep finding these ways to allow the emotions to pass by.

It's not that you are censoring yourself or not speaking your mind - think of it as waiting to speak when you are calm, centered, and can express yourself eloquently. That is almost never in the moment of high emotions. And I'm not saying to just go calm down and come back in and have those discussions either. What I'm saying is look at your future. Look at the time you have. Now spreeeeaaaaaddddd it out. You will have opportunity to say your piece - and in many instances you already have - so don't feel like it has to be immediate.

I think as much as you are angry with H, you are also angry there is not quick fix, that there is no check-list to get through before H is fully back and remorseful and you are also leaning towards him. This is going to take time and even in looking at your whole timeline - it's still very, very short. I know it doesn't feel like it because for you it is 24/7 every single minute of your life. But from an outsider, just know this is a blip in your life. No matter your future, it is a small bit of time and you will not be here forever.

So, just as a mental exercise, here's what I see. You are waiting for H to be "all in" before you are willing to be. That makes sense, I think it's how everyone would feel in your situation. It's a protection and pride thing. But let's change assumptions just to see where it goes. why do you think he has to be first? Why not you? Why can't you focus all of your energy on finding out how you can move forward to be "all in"? (Leaving him to his own internal work, of course. This is a silent exercise.).

I say this because I think it's akin to forgiveness. No matter your future, you have to work on the anger in your heart because it's driving you, and I want something else to drive you.

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2905517
10/12/20 01:53 AM
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May - great to hear that you were able to get away and calm down and let that urge pass. I second what Yail said about waiting until you can speak eloquently. You will get a chance to express what you're feeling, and you owe it to yourself to wait until you can best express that in a way where it gets heard. I am sure it's hard to not go in on him, because you feel justified (rightfully so imo) and that he deserves it, but ultimately does that get you closer to your (general) goal? What outcome do you want from that?

I'm glad to hear about the post-nup progress. Does the reno of the MBR need to be some big emotional symbol?

My H can be really great at "avoidance chores," by getting really into doing X thoroughly instead of doing Y that I asked, and then not having time/energy to do Y and saying ah yeah but I did X (I think this is an ADHD thing). The MBR thing almost reads like that - he is putting a lot of emotion into it, instead of elsewhere, for whatever reason. I think your energy is best spent on you instead of figuring out his emotional landscape right now, but wanted to remark on that.

I also second what Yail is saying about finding out how you can move forward to be "all in" - I think this is your IC's question just restated in a different form; trusting him again seems tantamount to being all in, and vulnerable.

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2905567
10/12/20 05:10 PM
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May, well done on managing your anger and not venting at H. I do like the bit from you earlier post about dumping all over H and realizing that he's not equipped to manage your emotions as well as his own. I think they do carry a burden of guilt, shame, fear, and perhaps H channeling his energies into a reno project is a way to counter-balance the negative energies he is dealing with. It also reminded me of something you wrote on my thread a few weeks ago:

Originally Posted by May22
If I put myself in his shoes, I could imagine feeling a lot of pain knowing how much pain he's already caused you and continues to by not snapping back into a passionate H... but conversely, I could also imagine the utter relief if I felt like my W was OK with where we were, taking it day by day, secure and confident in who she is and that this will all work out in the end.


I think it's natural to feel that anger inside, but the way you have handled it without spewing over H is brilliant. That's not to say he's off the hook, and getting away with it. But it sounds like you have identified a way to move yourself forward without needing to always loop back to the A and the past. That's progress! Of course it's to be expected that it might not always happen this way (that you can redirect your anger away from H). But being able to identify the triggers and take action to mitigate the impending explosion is fab!! x


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

EA: Feb 2019-May 2020
Separated: Mar-early Aug 2020
H asked to reconcile: Jun 2020
EA relapse: Oct/Nov 2020
Recon #2: since Nov 2020
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2905600
10/12/20 09:11 PM
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May,

I follow you and am rooting for this to work out between you. I try and think about what I can add that would be useful. Iím not sure at times. As you know, this all moves soooooo very slowly and just has to unfold naturally. All any of us can do is let up on control and focus on ourselves ó our patience, healing, etc etc. I see you trying to do that.

When I read your updates, I have the same thoughts. I want to try and share them and you can take it or leave it. We both know that our situations had some major differences. You see my H leaving our home as the last straw for you and the point of no return. Youíve said that many times. I now view my H having left as the only way we could turn things around. He had to go out there and let his A die a natural death and simultaneously come to realize what he had lost (our marriage, family and home). THIS devastation and rock bottom is what motivated his changes and genuine desire to work on himself. Then, after that, I considered taking him back.

And like you, I have also repeated myself in this many times. Apologies. I think we both have that in common :-) ... But Iím not just here to repeat the same song. Iím trying to help you understand where from my perspective I see youíre both at a standstill. (My very bias perspective I know!) Hís standstill is that he is still grieving the loss of OW and his fantasy life with her. He never went out into the world and experienced the natural problems that relationships have. Also, by admitting that his R with her could have failed, he then has to look at that it was a mistake. If he accepts it was a mistake, then he has to explore why. With that exploration comes the pain of learning what kind of troubled person make these choices. It is far easier to hold onto the idea that they could have had something special and continue to grieve the loss of her. I see those as interconnected. So what Iím saying is he is far from doing the self work you would need him to do in order to work on the M with you.

However, I think your standstill is of much greater importance. You are wavering between making decisions on what you can accept/need in a M with him and what you cannot. You donít know how to make those decisions because you see him as stuck. Here is the part you wonít like and (again from where I sit) I see as the biggest issue. You already have accepted him. You have all along. Your door has been wide open to him throughout this entire process. You drew up some boundaries ó not being friends in his fantasy D, ending contact with her, at times he slept in the basement, etc óbut the overarching theme has been you would always be there waiting no matter what. I know Iím an annoying broken record when I say this but, I firmly believe it; we teach others how to treat us. May (2by4, Iím even flinching, donít hate me) you have been teaching him for a long time that he can walk in/out/all over you, and you will still be there standing tall for your family. While this is what makes you amazing and strong, it also means he doesnít have to do anything to have you. So heís not.

The times you have pulled back (pursuer/distancer dynamic) are the times he has put in more effort. I know you get frustrated when people tell you to kick him to the curb, but I donít think they mean it to be cruel or upset you. I think they genuinely believe that he has to experience the loss of you and all that you carry to motivate any real change here. When I read your posts, I get the sense that you are waiting for something. As if in time ó weeks or months? ó he will close out on his feelings for OW and appreciate you for waiting? Whatís going to change and why? Iím not able to see how thatís going to happen. Because, again, from where Iím sitting, you have already accepted him back. You accepted him back before he closed out his desire for OW, before he did any work on himself, and mostly, before he learned your value. You were there all along, and almost stubbornly to prove you were the better one standing for your family. Iím afraid that also furthered his resentment. No one likes being the bad guy or reminded of it.

I think if there are any conditions for accepting someone back into a M, it should happen before you allow them back into your life. I donít think you can just wait around, hope it might happen and then stuff your feelings so you donít act out on them. You are a woman of very high value, May. That is maybe the only point in my post here that NO ONE here can argue. But sadly, your H cannot see that right now. I think you have a loooooot of teaching to do to undo the years of allowing him to believe otherwise.

Iím sorry. But Iím also not sorry because I canít see how this will change without some fire under your feet. I want better for you. Let him in your life, and your bed, after he has let go of his desire for OW, after he has worked through his problems and become a better man, and mostly, after he has learned and appreciated your high value.

Blu


ďForgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon.Ē Ė Nelson Mandela
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2905626
10/13/20 09:50 AM
10/13/20 09:50 AM
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may22 Offline OP
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SamCal, Pommy, Yail... thank you for the encouragement. It is hard. Actually I think it is kind of like they say when you're on a diet at first saying no to the appetizer makes you end up saying yes to dessert, because you feel like you've already denied yourself and run out of self-control? I think that is happening to me... I did so well all weekend, we did all this incredibly stressful stuff, moving everything out of the MBR and bathroom, deconstructing furniture in other rooms to make space for our bed, etc. H got frustrated a number of times and I just let it go.... and then today he said something snarky to me and I completely went off the rails.

I think I was triggered from a number of things that happened earlier in the day--I saw a mole on his back, and remembered when he was traveling a year or so ago to AP's city after he had a mole removed on his back. We were trying to get the bandage all done perfectly since he wasn't going to be able to change it for the five days of his trip... and it occurred to me, oh right. There *was* someone there to change his GD bandage. Stuff like that. Ugh. When do you ever stop thinking about that kind of thing? It just makes me so angry.

So those little things build up, I work on processing them on my own, but then I just can't handle it when he acts like a jerk. Not even alien jerk, just regular jerk... and then I start thinking OMG is this what I have signed up for??? The rest of my life with this POS?

Originally Posted by Yail
I think as much as you are angry with H, you are also angry there is not quick fix, that there is no check-list to get through before H is fully back and remorseful and you are also leaning towards him. This is going to take time and even in looking at your whole timeline - it's still very, very short.

Yes, I think you really hit this one. I *am* angry about this part too. Also, that so much of me feels like he should be the penitent, reformed H that I feel like I should have kicked out and waited to see return, if ever did. The ones you read about in the affair recovery books who are patient with their LBS's outbursts because they know they are responsible for them and shower them with love and affection to prove their commitment all day long. That is what I want. I don't have that and I knowingly accepted less.

But it still all feels unfair to me. I didn't deserve to get cheated on and lied to. I've been dealing with this -- knowing at least about AP's existence, even though for a long time I thought it was only a minor EA-- for more than a year now. The ILYB speech was more than a year and a half ago. A big part of me right now just wants this to be over, to fast-forward to the end where my life is back to normal-- whatever that ends up looking like.

Originally Posted by Yail
I know it doesn't feel like it because for you it is 24/7 every single minute of your life. But from an outsider, just know this is a blip in your life. No matter your future, it is a small bit of time and you will not be here forever.

So, just as a mental exercise, here's what I see. You are waiting for H to be "all in" before you are willing to be. That makes sense, I think it's how everyone would feel in your situation. It's a protection and pride thing. But let's change assumptions just to see where it goes. why do you think he has to be first? Why not you? Why can't you focus all of your energy on finding out how you can move forward to be "all in"? (Leaving him to his own internal work, of course. This is a silent exercise.).

I say this because I think it's akin to forgiveness. No matter your future, you have to work on the anger in your heart because it's driving you, and I want something else to drive you.

I've been thinking about this, a lot. It has really struck a chord with me.I think the biggest reason why I don't want to go all in first is that I did in the spring, and then got burned so badly. Also, now that I have all my questions answered and I know so much more about their relationship... it hurts, more than it did before. And honestly, there is a strong contingent of folks here-- the majority, really-- who do think I should have kicked him out. People who I respect and care about-- Blu, Alison, Scout--and... I don't know. Maybe I feel like I can hedge my bets a little and straddle both paths by waiting to see what happens on his end without putting the kids through a S unless it is absolutely necessary? Kristin's update affected me a lot too-- made me think it is just a matter of time before my H relapses again too, so why invest in our R when I can just invest in myself, right now.

I do like the forgiveness part, though. And I do so very much want to stop hurting and stop thinking about the A and AP-- for MYSELF, not for my M. This feeling is actually very new to me. I wanted to preserve the hurt and anger to use it to jettison me forward if we split up. Now, I'm simply feeling tired of feeling like this, no matter how justified it is.

Part of me feels like I should move over to the MLC board so I can grow up to be like the enlightened souls you see over there. (And, assuming I stick to this path, there is probably more support on that board for my choices than there is here.) I feel like I do want that peace in my heart regardless of what happens with my M. I'm finally starting to see that I could get that peace even without getting to M2.0.

Originally Posted by SamCal
I'm glad to hear about the post-nup progress. Does the reno of the MBR need to be some big emotional symbol?

My H can be really great at "avoidance chores," by getting really into doing X thoroughly instead of doing Y that I asked, and then not having time/energy to do Y and saying ah yeah but I did X (I think this is an ADHD thing). The MBR thing almost reads like that - he is putting a lot of emotion into it, instead of elsewhere, for whatever reason. I think your energy is best spent on you instead of figuring out his emotional landscape right now, but wanted to remark on that.

I do think that H has had some manic responses, needing to throw himself into something-- I actually think our trip was one of those things. Right after this round of R started he wanted to buy a camper van (which makes very little sense where we live) and then went on this dizzying research spell about it. I was in a pretty weird place, because I really felt like go ahead, spend your money if you want because if we split it is none of my business, but if we didn't split I thought it was a pretty ridiculous purchase. So I told him, go ahead, but we're writing it into the post nup that it comes out of your $$. But he said if we were going to split then he shouldn't buy a big camper van... it was all very circular and clearly a distraction. I do think this MBR reno is a little along those lines. But hey, I like it a lot better than a camper van wink

Pommy... feeding my words back to me... nice one. Hahaha. (though your H emotionally is far closer to you than mine is to me, I think.) But yes, you're right. I need to chill. Like you three are all saying.

BTW, Pommy, I put my rings back on. No big ceremony but realized I really didn't want them sitting in my dresser with workmen coming in and out of the house all day. So I put them on and told him that was why, he said ok, got it, I understand that the only reason you're putting them on is so they don't get stolen. I said, well, that is part of it, but not all of it, and said no more. So I've been wearing my rings now again for the last 24 hours. Maybe this is part of why I snapped at him, IDK.

Blu... thank you as always for your thoughtfulness and honesty. I read your post earlier today and I've been chewing on it, together with Yail's advice. Up until I got super angry with H tonight I was thinking, you know, S is just off the table right now, where we are. There is no good reason for me to take that step today. Maybe down the line. And then I thought, what would cause me to decide ok, enough is enough? And a part of me said well, I can just wait this out for another ten years, and when D8 leaves home for college I'll leave him then. Is that crazy? But it has been in my head.

And then I got so angry with him and thought enough is enough. I don't think it will happen today or tomorrow. But I know it is a possibility, for me, in a way I never really did before. I'm trying not to repeat to myself that mantra of it being over if we split, or I'm failing my kids, or whatever. Focusing on one day at a time (when I can) is helping me here. So maybe I won't be able to do it today, but I'm mulling it. It isn't a path that is closed to me, anymore. That is pretty big progress, for me.

Originally Posted by BluWave
Hís standstill is that he is still grieving the loss of OW and his fantasy life with her. He never went out into the world and experienced the natural problems that relationships have. Also, by admitting that his R with her could have failed, he then has to look at that it was a mistake. If he accepts it was a mistake, then he has to explore why. With that exploration comes the pain of learning what kind of troubled person make these choices. It is far easier to hold onto the idea that they could have had something special and continue to grieve the loss of her. I see those as interconnected. So what Iím saying is he is far from doing the self work you would need him to do in order to work on the M with you.

I think you are right on in this assessment. I will say, though, that he sees this himself too-- he's talked about this very conundrum with me. That for him to admit that the R with her wouldn't have worked out or their love wasn't real meant he made a mistake, a huge and horrifying mistake that he spent two years doing, and in order to facilitate it he became a liar (hard for someone who was a total "I cut down the apple tree" dude who couldn't even tell white lies). And he also has said he can't really bear to contemplate what it means that he did this to me for nothing, for a mistake, and that he doesn't know how he can ever forgive himself for that.

So he's built a whole house of cards based on the reality and truth of his feelings for AP that will all come crashing down if/when he admits it was all a fantasy. He says he is working on all of this with his IC. Maybe. But, I do think there is something to the fact that he at least sees this and can articulate it. He has also said that he realizes his fantasy life where we're all BFFs was indeed a fantasy and wasn't on offer from her, either-- he'd been blaming that one on me previously-- and that in the end, when it came time to actually make the leap and commit to trying out a real R with her, he couldn't do it. It wasn't worth it.

None of that to say he isn't still stuck, or will ever get unstuck. And I find his reasoning flawed-- to me, it doesn't matter how he feels about her, or if it could have worked out or not-- nothing justifies what he did. Nothing. To me, he would still need to work out all that same stuff about himself and his "ego-driven" (my IC's term) actions regardless of where we all end up. But, I also see that if you've done something that wrong, it has got to be incredibly difficult to accept it, for anyone.

I'm OK with these 2x4s, Blu. I think you're right, tbh. I have already accepted him and I have never really wavered, to him, at least, in my intention to stand for our M. I remember thinking it when I first started posting here, that I had made it so crystal clear to him how I felt about breaking up the family that he would never, ever believe that I would walk. You're also right that there is a certain stubbornness and maybe trying to show him up by standing.

phew. I'm tired and need to think on all of this more. At least coming here and posting got me back to being philosophical about all of this and I'm no longer spitting mad.

xoxo thanks, you guys. M


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D11
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
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2905655
10/13/20 03:40 PM
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May, what if you did decide to stay put for 10 years, until both girls are moved out? Some people really do stay in the home together for the kids, family and home unit. I donít think we can really judge that choice if it works for people. I know people that have done this ó they have an unspoken agreement and there was no expectation of affection, romance or fidelity. In fact my childhood BFF parents are still together and are in their 70s. They have a nice companionship. They share so much in common. We believe they both had affairs but it was never discussed between them. Her mom has shared that with her in her adulthood. So I donít think these arrangements are unheard of if the goal is to raise children in a home together. I do think both partners have to drop their expectations for romance/fidelity to zero. I know myself and I couldnít do that and wouldnít want that. But it might be something to consider. If anything for the first couple years. Because when you eliminate expectations, you also free yourself of the disappointments that follow.

Blu

Last edited by BluWave; 10/13/20 03:42 PM.

ďForgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon.Ē Ė Nelson Mandela
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2905660
10/13/20 04:09 PM
10/13/20 04:09 PM
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May,

Glad to see that you are looking at things from a more philosophical point of view instead of angry. We get into these anger spins and sometimes it clouds our thoughts. I am so sorry you and H still feel stuck. I know I'm tired of feeling that way. I am starting to see WW with less rose colored glasses and can see the manipulation and chaos going on in her world. One big difference in our situations is that your H is actually choosing to go to IC and at least attempting to work through his baggage. Now that's not to say that we should have taken them back at the drop of a dime. I agree that things would probably have turned out differently should we have made them work for it. I don't know if it's the affair or previous life lessons, but there is something to be said about the one person that is supposed to have your back choosing someone else over you that just crushes our self worth. I think that is one major reason, at least for me, that I so easily stood without question. I just didn't feel like I could be the strong, "you've gotta prove to me" type. At some point, after the ws has walked all over us, it just seems to shift. You are strong May. You are one heck of a woman who has passion for her family and would love for it to stay in tact. BUT, you are also strong enough to say you deserve a partner in life that has your back. Even if it's not H. I hope he really does work through all of his chaos and feelings and wake up from this. ((May))


KG


LBW 32 - me
WW 31
T 7 M 4
No Kids
4 dogs

Separated 1y
Navigating the mine field and GAL with or without
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2905684
10/13/20 08:30 PM
10/13/20 08:30 PM
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may22 Offline OP
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Thanks Blu, Kristin.

Blu, maybe the ten year deadline could work for me. Right now it feels a lot like giving up, that all this wouldn't have been worth it to go through. And the funny thing is that if I'd never known about the A and was still in my SSM mindset, that probably would have been all just fine with me. It is only because I know about the A and through this experience have rediscovered my own sexuality and interest in physical affection that I am no longer satisfied with the day-to-day relationship we have, when it is friendly and good as it is most of the time. I'm also mulling over more of what H's role in the SSM was, rather than just take all the responsibility on myself. There are elements that led to the SSM that I don't want to replicate in this new relationship with my H, regardless of what it all entails (together, S, in love, not).

But basically, I am thinking back to the blank sheet of paper I have now (thanks Sage and SamCal!) to map out my future. It is no longer just two destinations-- D or an idealized M2.0. I'm starting to see multiple other possible paths for me to travel. What I'm trying to do, though, is resist filling in the lines too quickly. Just seeing where I am today, what I am content with, what I need to change, making those small adjustments without (as Yail says) writing my own future too soon.

Also, I want some time to sit and process these brand-new feelings I have. The one about being okay with the possibility of being the one to choose to S. The desire to let go of the anger and worry about the A and thinking about the AP-- forgiveness for myself, not for him or her. Just the desire to be free of these feelings and it being OK to let go of the anger at some point, I don't need it anymore to fuel me and propel me into any next phase, because where I go is up to me.

And, finishing the post-nup, working on my contingencies for what happens if he talks to her again, asking my close friend and IC to make sure this last line is drawn on stone, not in the sand. I'll pick up the phone and call my mom and other best friend and tell them everything, which should give me the momentum to follow through on kicking him out.

KG, I like what you wrote on your own thread too about taking responsibility for your own healing, and this is exactly what I'm trying to do too. You sound strong and positive. I am working on that! smile

For me, the kids have always been the reason I'm standing-- the "you've gotta prove it to me" stance feels meaningless in the face of our shared responsibility to our children. And, I won't use them as pawns. I walk when I'm ready to be done, for myself and for my kids, not because it is a better DBing strategy in the long term. Sorry if I'm a DB fail for this reason, but I need to do what is right for me in the end, whether or not others here agree with my choices. And I think that is the same for you. Don't feel like you were a doormat because you chose to stand in the way that you did. You did what was right for you, and it is no longer feeling right. You need to come authentically to where you are in order to be the best KG you can be and face the future with no regrets. You know your own self-worth. I think you always have. You just let your W's choices cloud your perspective for a bit. Let that wash away and do what you need to do for yourself, now.

For me, returning to the idea of the children as the core reason for me still standing, also helps me to look at the possibility of the 10 years as something I could do, or maybe will need to do, if I decide it is in their best interest. But yes, I also fully agree with you that at some point, I need to decide if what my children are witnessing in our R is what I want them to see in an M, and if he's really walking all over me in any area besides me not kicking him out for the A. I do deserve a partner who has my back, and that isn't H right now. Question is-- am I strong enough to have children's back while still in the M, knowing I'm standing on my own without someone watching my six? For now, I'm okay with this. Maybe not forever. But for now.

Scout just wrote in her most recent thread about being grateful for the small things. Having a nice cheese in the fridge. Ice for cold drinks. A perfectly ripe avocado. I just felt a rush of desire to be there when I read this. That is what I want too, and I know it is mine for the taking. So on the menu for me today... A little yoga. A beautiful cup of espresso with just a drop of heavy cream. A gorgeous fresh piece of ahi dropped off from the CSA yesterday will become lunch and maybe one of my avocados is perfectly ripe, too-- that really sounds wonderful, to me.

xoxo M


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D11
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
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2905686
10/13/20 08:41 PM
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KristinG Offline
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It's funny that you spoke of the kids May. I seriously almost typed out that my situation and current outlook would be totally different if we had children. I think it's actually one of the things that has been pushing me to be ok with moving forward with ending things - the fact that we don't have kids. I mean, at the end of the day, the only major asset or connection that would require disentangling would be the house. In my sitch, I could end it and be on my own. Strong, independent, in a good financial situation, and healing. Instead of the the current (and painful) stuck-in-the-mud relationship in which my WS is "ILYB" and still behaving selfishly after 2 years of patience.

KG


LBW 32 - me
WW 31
T 7 M 4
No Kids
4 dogs

Separated 1y
Navigating the mine field and GAL with or without
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2905687
10/13/20 08:45 PM
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may22 Offline OP
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P.S. I forgot to say... I woke up this morning to H hugging me and apologizing for his snarky remark last night. I apologized too for flying off the handle. I'm glad it happened but the most important part to me is that I didn't really need the apology from him to feel OK about what happened or where I am right now. And that part feels the best.

I don't want to accept sarcasm as a means of communication from him, and I don't want to let my own anger and emotions dominate, so I'm glad we had the wrap-up apology on both ends. But I think before, I would have felt an emotional response, like a rush of relief with his apology-- and while I felt a little of that, and gratitude we were able to repair, I am not feeling like it matters all that much to my emotional or mental state.


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D11
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
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2905689
10/13/20 09:12 PM
10/13/20 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by may22
P.S. I forgot to say... I woke up this morning to H hugging me and apologizing for his snarky remark last night. I apologized too for flying off the handle. I'm glad it happened but the most important part to me is that I didn't really need the apology from him to feel OK about what happened or where I am right now. And that part feels the best.

I don't want to accept sarcasm as a means of communication from him, and I don't want to let my own anger and emotions dominate, so I'm glad we had the wrap-up apology on both ends. But I think before, I would have felt an emotional response, like a rush of relief with his apology-- and while I felt a little of that, and gratitude we were able to repair, I am not feeling like it matters all that much to my emotional or mental state.


Saying "I'm sorry" is a great start.... but as they say the "proof is in the pudding".


M(f): 38
D'ed: 8/12

Show empathy when there's pain. Show grace when warranted. Kindness in the midst of anger. Faith in the face of fear.

Love at all costs because you are loved well.
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2905975
10/16/20 10:19 PM
10/16/20 10:19 PM
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may22 Offline OP
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Valeska, agreed. And I truly don't know if he has the capacity to look inside himself and change... whether it is around the big things, like the A, or little things, like speaking to me in a disrespectful way cloaked by sarcasm. This is a weird thing as it was a feature of M1.0 but not too pronounced, got horrible during the alien-H phase, became waaay improved over the last year or so when I started DBing, and now has reared its ugly head again. I wish I understood where it came from. It may just be a way he externalizes his unhappiness, and it disappeared in the last year because of his guilt over the A and he tried to be nicer. (Or, he was perfectly happy cake eating for the last year and that is why the rudeness disappeared, and is now unhappy again because I took away his cake and taking it out on me.) IDK.

Journaling... I had a good session with my IC this week. She said she felt I've changed a lot since we have been working together. I asked in what way-- she said I seemed stronger; improved self-worth in/re my R with H-- not being willing to accept things from him just because he is my H or the father of my children; less fear; stronger boundaries; she feels like I'm getting to know myself better and encouraged me to continue along this path. So that all felt positive.

She gave me some tips on how to deal when triggers come up (self-talk, validating the feelings, moving into self-care mode) and my work this week is to avoid internalizing the anger and recognizing and breaking the co-dependent tendencies on my side of the fence. It's funny-- it seems as though H has been externalizing all his issues and mostly dumping them on me as the closest person, whereas my issue is swallowing it all.

We talked about how to address my anger towards H and AP. She asked if I believed that feelings needed to be experienced and have a beginning, middle, and end... I said I'd read that, and felt it made sense for some feelings, like sadness, but that my anger felt really different... that letting it go would make it go out of control, a raging fire that would consume everything in its path and be hungrier than before, not sated. (Alison, if you're reading... I remember your anger as a big, beautiful, protective bear, and my worry that my own anger would be a hellish, insatiable monster... I still feel that way. If I feed it, it only grows.)

Anyway... I am really dedicated right now to figuring out how to heal myself without relying on H for any support at all. This is my work and even though I wish I had the kind of H that I could rely on right now to help me through this situation of his making, I don't. And I don't want to make any more excuses for me or for him. I'm going to move forward healing on my own path and just not worry about where that might or might not lead in terms of my M.

We did nave another mini-argument, same dynamic-- he said something to me in a rude tone, I called him out, he denied it was rude-- and I got angry. But I this time I removed myself from the situation, had a cup of coffee, calmed down and then went back to talk with him. He said he felt like me blowing up after he does the littlest thing wrong is M1.0 all over again.

I said, I'm sorry I blew up at you. I won't do it again. (My plan is next time to simply remove myself from the situation, a la Alison.) And it feels like M1.0 to me all over again too, which scares me. Every time you choose to say something in a dismissive, rude, or sarcastic way to me instead of speaking to me in a kind and loving way-- it adds a layer of anger and resentment to my heart. That is a big part of what happened in M1.0 with me and a big reason for the SSM and why I lost my desire for you. It was covered in layers and layers of hardened plaque built by these tiny little barbs.

I simply don't want to live like that. You can make your choices about how you want to live your life and whether or not you're willing to make changes in order to have a good M with me. Just because you ended your affair does not mean you deserve a cookie. (I was reading CL last night smile )

He said, I don't think I deserve a cookie. But you aren't recognizing that I have made a major life change for you and our M.

I said, sorry. ending your affair was the right thing to do. But it is only the beginning of the work you have to do, and it isn't something I need to feel grateful about. You're simply coming back to the bare, bare minimum standard of any H, anywhere. So I'm not going to kiss you @ss over it. And if you are never truly sorry that you did it? Then we'll never have a real M.

In retrospect, this conversation probably wasn't a good idea. I was thinking as I wrote this out about Yail's recommendation to stretch out my timeline and in one sense, yesterday was just four weeks since he's gone NC with AP. Six weeks ago he wanted to D and five weeks ago he changed his mind back. I probably should have avoided the conversation and just focused on how to have better self-control in these situations and simply enforced a boundary around I won't be spoken to in a disrespectful way. But, I said my piece and all I can do now is continue to focus on me.

Hope everyone has fun plans for the weekend! xx


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D11
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
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2905978
10/17/20 12:47 AM
10/17/20 12:47 AM
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BluWave Offline
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Well I love what you said and Iím glad you said it. Plus, you meant it all, right? Iím glad you are being true to what you feel and think. He needs to see that you are strong, what your position is, and that you are not passively waiting for him to come around and decide to when to reengage with you (when it suits his mood). He is still self serving. You donít have to accept that.

Truth darts. Hit him hard. I know some people will say continue to DB ó detach, validate, GAL, etc ó but I think thatís a rough blue print for folks that are spinning and donít know where to start. I love that you are calling him out on his BS. You are teaching him how to treat you! You can also do that with grace and calm. Atta girl!!!

Blu


ďForgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon.Ē Ė Nelson Mandela
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2905987
10/17/20 09:14 AM
10/17/20 09:14 AM
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May,

I know things really started to move in my marriage with my H's sarcasm and meanness and contempt when I started with the truth darts.

Previously, when he'd acted like that, I'd either been very upset and tearful, got angry, or tried to logic him out of his horrible state. All of that was about changing him.

When I got out of the way and left him to be mean to an empty room, that helped ME and it got me into a state where I could start to do things that helped the relationship. I had a LONG time where I was STFU and I think it did achieve some necessary peace and stability and allowed me the space to heal - but part of my healing was to get angry about how I'd been treated and what I had chosen to allow, and also to see the truth. And for me, healing action is about speaking the truth.

When he is mean or sarcastic with me these days, I say 'if you're angry about something, you can tell me directly and honestly like an adult and I will hear you out. I will not be in the room for your childish sarcasm and petty remarks. I will not allow you to act out like that around me,' or some version of that. I name what is happening, what I want, and what I am now going to do. Then I leave the room and leave him to deal with his own anger.

And I do think sarcasm is a very passive aggressive and childish way of expressing resentment, anger and contempt. It's laziness - letting off steam by lashing out rather than looking inside, seeing what is wrong and expressing it clearly and assertively. I think he probably does want lots of cookies for telling you - again - that he's willing not to contact his mistress, and he's having little sulky temper tantrums now and again to let you know how resentful and deprived he feels. He is an extremely entitled man. It is very very very good that you named it, said it aloud, and called him on it.


Last edited by AlisonUK; 10/17/20 09:17 AM.
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2905988
10/17/20 09:55 AM
10/17/20 09:55 AM
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Ginger1 Offline
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Why do you think you shouldnít have had that conversation?

Itís a conversation tgat needed to be had. That was really communication

Re: A day at a time [Re: AlisonUK] #2906016
10/17/20 06:16 PM
10/17/20 06:16 PM
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may22 Offline OP
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Hi Blu, Alison, Ginger!

This is really very very helpful to me.

Originally Posted by Ginger1
Why do you think you shouldnít have had that conversation?

I actually felt really good about it when it happened, especially because I was totally in control of myself and wasn't angry when I went back to tell him how I felt. Then I typed it out here and still felt good about it. Then I read my full post just before I posted it and I felt like I had just resolved with my IC to focus on me, working on my own healing without worrying about where H is or not... then instead I launched into telling H what's what. it seemed to go against the idea of purposefully letting go of caring whether H was prepared to actually work on our R, or not. He clearly is not, so why waste my breath?

Originally Posted by BluWave
Well I love what you said and Iím glad you said it. Plus, you meant it all, right? Iím glad you are being true to what you feel and think. He needs to see that you are strong, what your position is, and that you are not passively waiting for him to come around and decide to when to reengage with you (when it suits his mood). He is still self serving. You donít have to accept that.

Truth darts. Hit him hard. I know some people will say continue to DB ó detach, validate, GAL, etc ó but I think thatís a rough blue print for folks that are spinning and donít know where to start. I love that you are calling him out on his BS. You are teaching him how to treat you! You can also do that with grace and calm. Atta girl!!!

Oh, I sooooo meant it. It felt so good to say it clearly and calmly too. The grace and calm part... I haven't been so good at that in the past. I was thinking about our fight earlier in the week that was sparked by a similar passive-aggressive, sarcastic comment where I totally lost it, and in doing so lost the ability actually communicate anything.

Maybe this is a Goldilocks thing. I've tried getting angry at this behavior for years... doesn't work. When I first started DBing, I simply ignored it and refused to be baited, and it went away, but the underlying disrespect or resentment or whatever fueled it didn't go away. Now that it is back, I don't feel I can authentically just ignore it in a STFU/ eating my $hit sandwich kind of way. It makes ME too resentful and I don't want to feel like that.

And Blu, I think you're right in that these little disrespectful actions are tied to the gigantic disrespectful actions-- at least in my head-- so by establishing that I won't accept the little ones, it is helps ME at least to feel I won't accept any of it, any more. I'm tired of it. So maybe this middle ground, truth dart and enforcing my boundary by physically walking away, will be the right mix, at least for me.

Originally Posted by AlisonUK
When I got out of the way and left him to be mean to an empty room, that helped ME and it got me into a state where I could start to do things that helped the relationship. I had a LONG time where I was STFU and I think it did achieve some necessary peace and stability and allowed me the space to heal - but part of my healing was to get angry about how I'd been treated and what I had chosen to allow, and also to see the truth. And for me, healing action is about speaking the truth.

You're really an inspiration to me in how you handled this with your H. I imagine you as this calm and strong goddess who glides out of the room with a serene and slightly disappointed look on your face, while your H sputters and froths (Haha in my imagination he's like running around in circles on his hands and knees, like a dog. IDK why that is the imagery for me, but it is!!) I remember when this was happening and thinking my H has some of these same tendencies, though nowhere near as extreme, but that those behaviors were mostly gone. Part of the challenge for me, I think, is that H can be very, very subtle in these little digs. It isn't overt. So when I get angry the narrative turns into me overreacting rather than him choosing to say something in an unkind way.

Originally Posted by AlisonUK
And I do think sarcasm is a very passive aggressive and childish way of expressing resentment, anger and contempt. It's laziness - letting off steam by lashing out rather than looking inside, seeing what is wrong and expressing it clearly and assertively. I think he probably does want lots of cookies for telling you - again - that he's willing not to contact his mistress, and he's having little sulky temper tantrums now and again to let you know how resentful and deprived he feels. He is an extremely entitled man. It is very very very good that you named it, said it aloud, and called him on it.

I agree. Sarcasm is a major tool in his interaction toolbox, with everyone. he can be very very funny, sometimes, but I do think that he uses it at least with me exactly as you say-- letting off steam when he's annoyed. He doesn't see-- or want to see, because then he'd have to change-- that communicating like that is really damaging to the relationship.

He does want cookies. Just that statement he made to me-- I'm not acknowledging he's made a MAJOR LIFE CHANGE-- like, OMG. Seriously? I'm actually glad when he says stuff like that because it helps remind me where his head still is (shall we say stuck very very far up somewhere very very dark).

Anyway. Thank you all for this feedback, it was really helpful to me in thinking about how I calibrate my own behaviors in this current world I'm in. I feel like I can continue to work on my own healing myself and yet set very clear boundaries and use truth darts when appropriate, as long as I can do it with grace and calm, to communicate to him what I will and won't accept.


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D11
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
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2906023
10/17/20 07:24 PM
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Maybe this is a Goldilocks thing. I've tried getting angry at this behavior for years... doesn't work. When I first started DBing, I simply ignored it and refused to be baited, and it went away, but the underlying disrespect or resentment or whatever fueled it didn't go away. Now that it is back, I don't feel I can authentically just ignore it in a STFU/ eating my $hit sandwich kind of way. It makes ME too resentful and I don't want to feel like that.


It feels like we've gone through very similar processes, May. I don't think I'm at all ahead of you, and in many ways our situations are extremely different. But I think what we have in common is that we have struggled to respond to a H's sarcasm, contempt, entitlement and resentment in healthy ways.

I do think that STFU and validation are good when all else is failing. But if you are choosing a marriage, and you are choosing to be connection with someone who says they want to be in connection with you, then there's room for more. And that 'more' is assertive communication. I'm not sure that is covered in the 'how to respond right after BD rules' that are so useful to us all at the start. But I do think those rules help us develop self respect, self control, self-soothing mechanisms, boundaries and a willingness to take responsibility. From that ground work (that your H has not done yet) we can speak something like the truth.

For me, I realised a lot of my anger was coming from the fact that I had allowed my H's anger to silence me. Once I decided that I would not be silenced, and he could either leave me, control himself, or hear me respond in an honest way to his childishness and I knew I would be perfectly okay with whatever he chose to do, but the only thing I would be okay with from myself was speaking it out loud, things changed for me.

I don't have a good marriage. I think my H is unhappier in the marriage than I am, because he'd prefer the fawning punch bag he used to have. I am unhappy at times, at other times I see improvement. What is consistent is that I feel better about myself, and feel like I am in a better place to make good decisions from.

I am excited for you, May. I think you stating what is true for you calmly and consistently is going to help you find your best way forward. I hope your H is enough of an adult to do the groundwork so he can find his own truth - but who cares - you are on your way.

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2906119
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May,

Just popping in to send you positive vibes and always wishing the best for you.

Mar

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2906126
10/19/20 01:21 AM
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thanks Alison and Mar.

Mar-- positive vibes right back at you! smile

Originally Posted by AlisonUK
I do think that STFU and validation are good when all else is failing. But if you are choosing a marriage, and you are choosing to be connection with someone who says they want to be in connection with you, then there's room for more. And that 'more' is assertive communication. I'm not sure that is covered in the 'how to respond right after BD rules' that are so useful to us all at the start. But I do think those rules help us develop self respect, self control, self-soothing mechanisms, boundaries and a willingness to take responsibility. From that ground work (that your H has not done yet) we can speak something like the truth.

This is really interesting, Alison. I think there is a lot of truth to this. And in the end I think it comes down to knowing yourself, having that deep well of self-love and self-respect that fuels your boundaries, and being able to do what is right for you in an authentic way, regardless of whether it pushes your spouse out or in. Because if you stop being true to yourself, you're not going to be happy whether your S is in the picture or not. i think I'm not quite as far along on this path as you are, Alison. I still need to sit in this place for a bit of being OK with leaving, OK with staying, what i will and won't accept over the long term in my M. And also, spending enough time on self-care and GAL that my H's slow timeline no longer bothers me.

I'll share something else he said during our little mini fight the other day, before I walked away and cooled down and returned to share my thoughts. He said I'd wrecked our M with the SSM (I can't recall exactly what prompted this, I think something along the lines of me basically overreacting to his rudeness, like I took a sledgehammer to our M for what was really a minor thing in the grand scheme). I said, you wrecked our M by having an A. He said (big honest eyes)-- I think the A is what may save our M. And I thought, DANG. This guy is really trying everything he can to excuse his own behavior.


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D11
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
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2906166
10/19/20 02:45 PM
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I'll share something else he said during our little mini fight the other day, before I walked away and cooled down and returned to share my thoughts. He said I'd wrecked our M with the SSM (I can't recall exactly what prompted this, I think something along the lines of me basically overreacting to his rudeness, like I took a sledgehammer to our M for what was really a minor thing in the grand scheme). I said, you wrecked our M by having an A. He said (big honest eyes)-- I think the A is what may save our M. And I thought, DANG. This guy is really trying everything he can to excuse his own behavior.


May - perhaps I could push back a little bit on this?

I know if my H had said this to me at any point I'd have wanted to break crockery, so I really really understand how you might have reacted to hearing this. And there is no excuse for his A at all - none whatsoever.

But, well, a SSM really does have terrible, terrible effects on a relationship - for both of you, though perhaps the HD spouse feels it more keenly, and feels it in a way that the LD spouse struggles to really properly feel and understand. I know for me, as the HD spouse, the SSM felt like a kind of infidelity, a betrayal of our intimate and special relationship - and it went on for such a long time, and the marriage only really functioned because the LD spouse (my H) was perfectly okay with me feeling miserable, lonely and rejected pretty much all the time.

And perhaps a SSM was working, in some ways, for you, until the A happened. Perhaps it would have gone on working for you - for a long time - so long as your H was quiet about his own misery, or didn't act it out (in what was obviously an outrageous and totally inexcusable way). And you know I am no fan of your H so it's a lot for me to push back at you - I hope gently - in this way.

What he did wasn't okay. It was so far past okay that okay is a vanishing point in the distance! He could have divorced you and that would have been a more honourable thing to do if he was unhappy in your marriage. But perhaps the A is going to be the catalyst for you having a better marriage and finally dealing with the problems that caused the SSM (that weren't yours and yours alone to fix - not at all). Or perhaps it will be the catalyst for you ending your marriage, and that being a kind of long-term good news for you both too, even if it doesn't feel like it.

I am not glad that my H had an EA and I think my H's infidelity is a drop in the water compared to yours so I don't mean to put us on the same level here. But I do think that the direct conversations we've had about what we need, and how our dynamic works would never, never have happened without that A, and my terrible reaction to it, and our separation. Things are difficult now and still not satisfactory for me (or him) in lots of ways. But they are better. And I do think we're closer, in a more real and adult way, than we were before. I wish it hadn't happened. But if it was a choice between drifting along in misery towards a divorce, or suffering the pain that brought us to a new marriage that is still evolving, then I'd sign up for him having the A and us needing to separate for that time, I really would.

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2906231
10/19/20 10:34 PM
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Hi may -

Just dropping a quick line of support. You are a very strong person - in case no one has told you that recently.

Our situations could not be more different. You have a live insight into someone in crisis that many here including myself do not have or may never have. The fact that your S is still willing to communicate with you is remarkable.

I am not really sure what to say more than that, because my sit is so different. However I think that difference offers the opportunity to learn and step outside of our own perspectives.

Don't forget to take time for you. Give yourself a break sometimes. It's ok to do that too smile

Take care.

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2906242
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May!

Hi friend! I hope you had a good day. Thanks for popping over to my MLC thread, I am always so grateful for your support. (((May)))

Oof, these conversations between you and Alison are hitting me hard. In a good way. I love Alisonís SSM perspective from the HD point of view and there is some strong truths there that are applicable to my situation as well (I was the LD partner for years and the SSM deeply affected my H). But as she says, a SSM does not give our Hs carte blanche to do what they will. Nor does it justify their actions or behavior. If it was a dealbreaker for them, then the onus was on them to express it as such and let us decide what we were capable of doing with that information. A SSM does not equal an A.

Did the SSM lead to a decline in the overall M? Probably, yes. But why is it OK for men to use it to justify their actions when there are so many women in the same position who are not straying from their marriages for the same reason? I am a little up in arms about this one, with three daughters under my wing. There are so many factors to this conversation; biology (women are not meant to desire procreation when physically sapped from childbirth/child rearing), emotions (I loved the chapter in Mating in Captivity that explored this) and just missed connections between two humans who both have needs and whose needs are to be met first with the least amount of trauma? Fascinating discussion, I am learning so much as a voyeur on this one.

Back to your specific situation, I have to say that I think itís positive that H is viewing his A as a potential marriage saver. Itís very Perel-ian of him and at this point in your sitch he could be right for once. Not as an excuse for his behavior, but in the sense that it is either going to kill the M or make it the best it could ever be. Would it be possible for you to take a 40,000í view and see this as the inflection point in your M? And that 40,000í view sees things in a broader timeline that you are at the moment. Itís not about today or tomorrow, but more like a year from now?

I have so much faith in you, strong May, to see this this through. You are Wayfarer right now. Living in the moment with a seed of understanding that this isnít the end for you and H. Trust your gut, take the longview and give yourself so much grace and compassion for what you have been through.

Xx

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2906245
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Interestingly before my wife came back and she was texting me she said the same thing. She said I know its crazy but maybe what's happened is a good thing, maybe it it will help is appreciate each other more. I was taken a back by this train of thought and wasn't sure how to respond.

Re: A day at a time [Re: WMWB] #2906246
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Originally Posted by WMWB
Interestingly before my wife came back and she was texting me she said the same thing. She said I know its crazy but maybe what's happened is a good thing, maybe it it will help is appreciate each other more. I was taken a back by this train of thought and wasn't sure how to respond.

Yeah I think it was Relationship expert Gottman who once said ďnothing spruces up a relationship like a good old down right deceitful and dirty affairĒ. Insert LH eye roll.


M:51 W:46
T:22 M:16
S:15 D:11

ďDon't chase people. Be yourself, do your own thing and work hard. The right people - the ones who really belong in your life - will come to you and stay.Ē- Will Smith
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2906248
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I think there's a difference between accepting that infidelity happens in a context and blaming the betrayed spouse for it. And there's also a difference between acknowledging that a SSM causes immense suffering for the HD partner and making that free hall pass for infidelity. Just as there's a difference between acknowledging that out of incredible suffering there is a chance for more honesty and closeness, and being glad that the affair happened.

I think we're called to look at our situations with a longer term view, and sticking in victim mode (which I actually don't think, May, you are doing) means holding on to these simplistic views, rather than accepting that it is extremely complex.

I also think that if there ever is a moment where someone looks back on an A and sees it as a catalyst for long term positive change, expressing that thought should be left to the betrayed spouse and not to the unfaithful spouse.

So I can see what you're saying. But I do think that generally infidelity happens when an immature and entitled spouse applies a bad coping mechanism to a broken marriage. And the immaturity and entitled behaviour is entirely the responsibility of the wayward spouse, but the responsibility for the broken marriage needs to be shared. Otherwise the betrayed spouse remains a powerless victim. And we're not powerless or victims unless we choose to be.

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2906256
10/20/20 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by may22
I'll share something else he said during our little mini fight the other day, before I walked away and cooled down and returned to share my thoughts. He said I'd wrecked our M with the SSM (I can't recall exactly what prompted this, I think something along the lines of me basically overreacting to his rudeness, like I took a sledgehammer to our M for what was really a minor thing in the grand scheme). I said, you wrecked our M by having an A. He said (big honest eyes)-- I think the A is what may save our M. And I thought, DANG. This guy is really trying everything he can to excuse his own behavior.


This is baiting, and you took the bait.

When things are calm - perhaps you can go back and tell your H how you feel when he does this. Often in the moment when someone lashes out - it is difficult to do anything but Defend ourselves. This is not to hear about how he feels... again it's about how he can express it.

You and your H need to set some ground rules... even when you fight. Topics, behaviors, tactics, that is completely off the table. Neither of you will be perfect... but when the mistake happens - you go right to "Hey.. we agreed we weren't going to do this in our fights" and your H has every right to do the same.

You can't walk out the door every time you and your H disagrees. You gotta create the tools to work through the disagreements.


M(f): 38
D'ed: 8/12

Show empathy when there's pain. Show grace when warranted. Kindness in the midst of anger. Faith in the face of fear.

Love at all costs because you are loved well.
Re: A day at a time [Re: WMWB] #2906259
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Originally Posted by WMWB
Interestingly before my wife came back and she was texting me she said the same thing. She said I know its crazy but maybe what's happened is a good thing, maybe it it will help is appreciate each other more. I was taken a back by this train of thought and wasn't sure how to respond.


#1 rule of DBing: BELIEVE NOTHING THEY SAY AND ONLY HALF OF WHAT THEY DO.

They will say a lot of things. You can put stock into approaching 0% of it.


M(51), W(52),D(17)
M-20, T-23 Bomb Drop - Dec.23, 2017
Ring and Piecing since March 2018
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2906262
10/20/20 02:19 PM
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My first H had an EA (possibly a PA but I didnít ask as I didnít think it would help me to know at the time) with a mutual friend seven years into our relationship (two years into our marriage). I accidentally found out about it (I had NO idea) and it ended as soon as I confronted him. I remember being very conscious about how I dealt with it. I knew that if I focused on the affair and on making him feel bad about it, we were doomed. Instead, I focused on the reasons why it happened. TBH, I had known that my H and I had been drifting apart and that he was struggling but I was too scared to approach him about it so I just left it and hoped it would fix itself. The affair was a wake up call that I needed to get more serious about it so I did... we did. Our relationship got a heck of a lot better after that and we got a lot closer. I rarely thought about the affair in the years that followed because I understood how it happened and I knew it was not the problem...it was just his misguided solution.

We did eventually divorce but that had nothing to do with the affair. We parted as friends who were going in different directions. That was 20 years ago and he and I are still on the best of terms. He lives about six hours away from me so we donít see each other often but we do keep in touch and I have nothing but love for him and he says the same about me. So I fully understand what your H meant when he said the A might be the thing that saves your marriage. I hope he is right. smile


Me 51
H 46
B/G Twins 11
SD19
Legal SA - January 2019
Divorce filed - June 2019
Divorce final - November 2019

Together 14 years
Married 12 years
BD1 - May 2014
BD2 - September 14, 2018

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2906271
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This is a very interesting and thought provoking conversation :-) I like the different POVs. We all had M issues before our BD! Heck, anyone that is M long enough will have issues to work out whether they split or not. Some issues are more common and some are more severe. Iím not sure we can even categorize them based on severity because our perception of what we as individuals can tolerate varies greatly.

For me, I can tolerate a lot ó some drama, probably a SSM (I donít know for how long), the physical separation (which ultimately is what saved us). What I could not tolerate, or so I thought, was any type of infidelity, and thatís exactly what I got. The full blown PA with my ďbest friend.Ē The worst kind! Shaking head. So what we tolerate also changes. Iím not sure other women would have even taken him back after that. I didnít really think I would either. And here we are still together. But why?

So where am I going wit this? We look for similarities between our sitches because it helps us understand our own sitch better. It also brings us comfort and we feel less alone. However, I think there are as many differences as there are similarities. Not just in the events that occurred but in who we are as people and what matters to us. For you May, he ended the A and has not left the home. So for now, that is enough.

My concern is that he still makes excuses and blame shifts. That prevents any movement in the M. Yes, you guys had a SSM. Well so do millions of other M couples. Him continuing to bring up problems or look to blame you for the SSM shows how far away he is from doing any real work. Itís been 3 years now since the A started? So that is at least 3 years he has made excuses and not done any self work. That timeline and what has now become an engrained adult behavior pattern is very concerning. Please continue to not tolerate this and speak up. It doesnít have to be good enough for you. You can tell him point blank that you want a partner that is willing to look at his own actions and take responsibility for those and in turn you will continue to do the same.

I think the reason my M is surviving doesnít have to do with how bad our sitch got or what either of us can tolerate. I think it survives because we are both willing to do the hard work ó take responsibility for our mistakes and compromise. Your H is going to have to get there at some point. Only you know how long you can wait.

Blu


ďForgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon.Ē Ė Nelson Mandela
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2906276
10/20/20 06:06 PM
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That's such an interesting point, Blu. I like to look out for your posts.

I imagine people trying to repair a broken marriage as standing on a see-saw. If one of them steps forward to take some responsibility, but the other doesn't, the whole thing is unbalanced. It can be just as destructive to repair to accept responsibility for too much, as it can be to accept responsibility for too little. And things will definitely wobble a lot as both partners step forwards at different times, in different ways, and to different degrees. When the betrayed spouse steps forward and says some version of 'I want to explore my part in the brokeness that was the context of your infidelity' that's a healthy and good move. When the betrayed spouse says 'I want you to explore in what ways you made it easier for me to be unfaithful' that's a bad move. I guess ideally both partners would have their hands full of their own stuff, and be too busy dealing with that to start heaping stuff on their spouse.

Re: A day at a time [Re: DejaVu6] #2906299
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haha, I was thinking I'd sleep on Alison, Sage, and IW's posts and respond this morning... got a lot more than I'd bargained for! I think this is such an interesting discussion and I have some thoughts to contribute.

First, I wanted to say to IW... thank you. That means a lot coming from you. Though I'm going to bet that a lot of people (including those who know me IRL) might use the term "stubborn" instead of "strong"... LOL.

Also, I think it was Sage who said several months ago when I was posting a lot about what my H was saying that it was helpful for her to know that perspective, since I do happen to have an H with zero filter who likes to tell me everything he's thinking, as long as I'm willing to listen. I will continue to share here what he says in the hopes it is helpful for others, though I've set up boundaries now around what I am and am not willing to listen to. That has been helpful for me, but I don't have quite as much to share. I think his internal narrative hasn't changed all that much. I'm sure he'll let me know when it does.

Sage, I've thought a lot about the timeline and stretching it out-- you and Yail have both been really helpful to me here-- and it does really help, a lot. The truth is, when I do move up to the 30,000 foot distance, I'm totally okay with where I am right now. I did choose this. My H did end his affair and is still in the home. I still am one thousand percent motivated by ensuring I can provide the best possible environment for my children, and for now that is still us all living under one roof, even with the occasional fights. I'm committed to monitoring this closely as we move forward. And in three or six or twelve months, if things are better-- great. If things are the same or worse-- time to reevaluate my choices.

Alison, I really appreciate you pushing back on the SSM. I think I got defensive (yes, Valeska, you called it) and maybe is one of the reasons why I think I should stay away from these conversations right now, because I don't think my H is in the headspace at this point to really engage on an even basis here, and it makes me angry and defensive. (Yes, I control me, he doesn't make me anything... but this is a WIP.)

I actually do fully agree that in the end, I want to believe that our M is better off because of the affair, and in fact perhaps none of the change we need would have happened without that incredible trauma. I will say that for me, I don't know that I would have emerged from my side of the SSM without it. I have thought about this a lot, and I think if he'd really elevated it so that I understood how much it was affecting him, my probable response would have been OK, I'll fake it til I make it, or pity sex as infrequently as I could get away with while still keeping him satisfied. That is the honest truth. I just never thought of sex as part of my marital duty. And to me, rediscovering my own sexuality has been a huge gift to me, that I don't think would have happened if we had just trudged along the way we were going.

But H also bears some responsibility in the context that led to the SSM. A lot was on me-- I found it very difficult to reconcile motherhood with sexuality, and I know I've posted about that before-- but he also contributed to the situation. Not in the bedroom-- he was a very generous and thoughtful lover-- but outside of the bedroom, he contributed to the dismantling of intimacy between us with little bits of rudeness, or not seeing when I was overwhelmed with parenting and full time work and pitching in on his own to help-- I always had to ask, which turned him into a third child rather than a partner--and not taking time to understand (with me, and I didn't understand this either, really) how to help me to feel desired and desirable, not just a convenient person that can help him scratch an itch. Anyway. There is a lot to this and I refuse to go back to that dynamic with him.

I think in the moment I got angry because-- Blu, I think you have called it-- that he isn't doing all the processing necessary to understand why he had the affair and why he made the choices he did. He didn't need to handle it that way. And yes, maybe the affair ends up being what saves our marriage... but only if we both do the work that it takes to heal and learn from it. He is trying to skip all of that work, and that isn't okay with me. However, I also don't want to lose a grip on my own responsibility for what brought us to this place. I just don't think we're ready to discuss it as a couple. Or at least I'm not ready to talk to him about it until and if he's made some significant movement on his own journey, taking responsibility for his own actions and being truly remorseful for how the choices he made have hurt me.

Yes, the SSM happened. Yes, it was awful, much more awful than I can really appreciate, I think. But he still needs to take responsibility for how he chose to deal with it (or not, as it turns out) and the consequences of those choices. I know earlier on some posters were pushing me a little here, why am I so adamant about addressing the A before we address the SSM? I'm not married (haha) to any particular order, really, but I do want to know that he's over the AP and remorseful before we really engage in any sort of piecing work, and I think addressing the SSM falls into that category. Also, I sense in myself that defensiveness around the SSM and I think it is because he's grasping onto it without taking responsibility for his own actions. I think if we can come to it on a level playing field, both taking responsibility for our own damaging choices, then I can wholly accept my side of the responsibility and the work it will take to fix it. But where he is right now, I think it will push me backwards into defensiveness and blaming him for his part in the SSM too.

I'll comment on a few points and then stop procrastinating work:

Originally Posted by Sage4
Back to your specific situation, I have to say that I think itís positive that H is viewing his A as a potential marriage saver. Itís very Perel-ian of him and at this point in your sitch he could be right for once. Not as an excuse for his behavior, but in the sense that it is either going to kill the M or make it the best it could ever be.

I will say that I think this is a positive thing he said too even though I think he's also skipping a ton of steps and it made me angry in the moment. The reason I think it is positive is because this is a glimmer of him saying he sees the possibility of falling back in love with me, which he's said in discussions as a possibility but not from the heart. These words in the heat of the moment and the context do make me think (sorry, mindreading) that there may be movement in his getting over AP. Which to me is a prerequisite for any of this other stuff.

Ever since I found out about the A and started researching like mad about recovery, I have wanted us to be Esther Perel's "explorer" couples, who use the A as a catalyst to a far better and stronger M. But LH-- all the experts talk about this, rebuilding a stronger M because of the A, Glass and MWD too. Gottman also is the most explicit about betrayal and infidelity being a slippery slope, ranging from ignoring a bid for attention as a small act of betrayal all the way to cheating. He talks a lot about sexual rejection being a kind of infidelity (Alison, just as you say... though the down side to my H reading Gottman is that he's referred to the SSM on more than one occasion as my "affair." He says he thinks it would have been less hurtful to him to believe that I didn't want him because I was sleeping with someone else, that knowing I didn't have someone else but still was choosing not to sleep with him was somehow a deeper cut).

Originally Posted by DejaVu6
I rarely thought about the affair in the years that followed because I understood how it happened and I knew it was not the problem...it was just his misguided solution.

That not thinking about it is my holy grail at the moment, and this gives me hope. Although maybe I know too much about it and will need a lot of time to get to the place of not really thinking about it or her. One day. smile

Originally Posted by Valeska19
You and your H need to set some ground rules... even when you fight. Topics, behaviors, tactics, that is completely off the table. Neither of you will be perfect... but when the mistake happens - you go right to "Hey.. we agreed we weren't going to do this in our fights" and your H has every right to do the same.

You can't walk out the door every time you and your H disagrees. You gotta create the tools to work through the disagreements.

You're completely right, of course. It's been hard because I don't want to go back to MC right now, I don't really want to unless we're ready to piece. The last thing I want to do is listen to him be sad about missing AP, and the last time around that was pretty much what he wanted to talk about. I get that this is one of the things that makes not being S harder, in that we wouldn't have the opportunity to have fights like this if we were S. I am not sure we can set groundrules ourselves. I've brought it up a couple of times but I am also very sensitive to him thinking I'm dictating rules (the May is controlling narrative) and so have said it more like, here are some things I'm thinking that would help support me and maybe both of us during this stressful time, what do you think? And he hasn't really engaged or thought of his own ideas for ground rules, said yes, sounds good, he'd think about it and we could talk more, but he hasn't taken the initiative to come back with ideas. So I've just let it lie, for now. I guess I could see about having a joint IC session specifically around communication. Thoughts? I don't want to push this faster than it needs to go. Maybe for now it is about me being able to be calm and assertive but not get angry when things come up.

Originally Posted by BluWave
Itís been 3 years now since the A started? So that is at least 3 years he has made excuses and not done any self work. That timeline and what has now become an engrained adult behavior pattern is very concerning.

I think he created a narrative in his mind three years ago justifying his behavior and he has held onto that like a life preserver ever since. I'm not surprised, honestly, that in all that time he never looked inward for other reasons-- I think that is an incredibly painful process and he isn't going to like what he finds there, because he'll have to finally open his eyes to his behaviors being so, so very far from the person he imagines himself to be. I also think that his AP living so far away made this entire situation stretch out far longer than it would have if she lived here, and also allowed him to compartmentalize far more. Not an excuse by any means, just that I think he was stuck in a certain mindset for that period and now things are changing, perhaps, and he may or may not be able to do his own work. Right now, I think his major work is to get over AP and let go of the fantasy of her. I don't see how anything else really happens until that does.

I do think how he has finally faced the lying is a good sign, though. For months, he would say to me "the lying is the worst part. I hate myself for lying." And I would say... don't want to be a liar? Then don't lie. Easy. But he still had these lies he was holding onto because... (well he says because he was scared, didn't want to let go of the possibility that he'd end up with AP, etc.). And he has said to me now that finally getting all those last lies off his chest and not being a liar any more is very healing, and he told his IC he wouldn't lie again because he doesn't want to go back to being that person. (Steve, I know, words. Only time will tell if he can stop lying. The only good thing to all of this is I'm *finally* good at sniffing out his lies and no longer naively believe everything he says. Trust, but verify.)

Originally Posted by BluWave
Please continue to not tolerate this and speak up. It doesnít have to be good enough for you. You can tell him point blank that you want a partner that is willing to look at his own actions and take responsibility for those and in turn you will continue to do the same.

I do think I will continue (to the extent I can do it calmly and gracefully) to call him out with truth darts when I see it. The one major thing I learned from our conversation the other day is that they're only effective if we aren't in the context of an argument.

Originally Posted by AlisonUK
I imagine people trying to repair a broken marriage as standing on a see-saw. If one of them steps forward to take some responsibility, but the other doesn't, the whole thing is unbalanced. It can be just as destructive to repair to accept responsibility for too much, as it can be to accept responsibility for too little. And things will definitely wobble a lot as both partners step forwards at different times, in different ways, and to different degrees.

Yes, I see this so much in my situation. This analogy will really help me, I think, to picture us this way when I'm trying to decide if I'm okay with a little step forward, or edging back.

I will say we had a very positive last couple of days. We're doing the remodel which gives us lots and lots of opportunities for stressful situations and conversations and they've been going well. I can tell he's making an effort to be kinder and control his own frustrations before taking them out on others (me). He has stepped back up in the cleaning department and managed to handle it without any pissy remarks (sad that this is progress, but it is definitely progress over a couple of weeks ago). And he went to the store and bought me some baby cucumber plants, which he knows I really wanted. He said they were instead of flowers. It was thoughtful and sweet and I'm setting aside all the other feelings I have to be happy with my baby cucumber plants. (The snails ate all my last ones up before they had a chance to grow, and I couldn't find more ANYWHERE.)


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D11
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
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2906348
10/21/20 08:00 AM
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If you would like a suggestion, May, then I would advise you to do all the work you can in private, without discussion or reporting to your H, on any issues that are yours regarding the SSM. Don't talk to him about it, don't expect his approval, and whether that includes you being in a physical relationship with him again or not is up to you. But I think if you make this a matter of your concern, privately, then a) the changes in your behaviour and attitude to this matter will leak through anyway - he will be able to tell you are taking this seriously and b) you're not engaging in any kind of discussions with you where he's levering a real concern in order to make excuses for the issues he should be working on. I think not speaking about the SSM with him is a good idea, and responding blandly or assertively to his blame-shifting is also a good idea.

I have phrases like 'you know, you could be right,' *drifts away to do something more interesting* when my H starts throwing criticism and blame about.

I am willing to listen if my behaviour is affecting him. And I can tell the difference between a blame and a genuine piece of feedback. Blame is about H not having to do anything, feedback is a request for a change that might involve both of us. 'You're such a slack housekeeper it's no wonder I'm so grumpy in the evenings' is blame and I ignore it. 'Can we talk about setting up a rota for the housework - it really gets me down when I come home to dishes undone' is a request for change, and I engage whole heartedly. You know your H and you will know which of these he's doing very easily.

On this:

Quote
He talks a lot about sexual rejection being a kind of infidelity (Alison, just as you say... though the down side to my H reading Gottman is that he's referred to the SSM on more than one occasion as my "affair." He says he thinks it would have been less hurtful to him to believe that I didn't want him because I was sleeping with someone else, that knowing I didn't have someone else but still was choosing not to sleep with him was somehow a deeper cut).


I can tell you from my experience with a H who was the very LD partner and blamed me for his LD in all kinds of cruel ways and then went and aggressively pursued another woman and had an EA that I think probably would have turned into a PA if I had not discovered it, that for me, this was half true. The consistent sexual rejection, his blaming that on me and me not doing enough housework or being too loud or too xx turned what I always felt was an expression of love - one private special thing that was ours and only for each other, no matter what - into a transaction I had to earn through good behaviour, and every time I didn't earn it, it was proof I wasn't good enough.

I don't think like that now, and my thoughts and reaction to his LD and blame are my responsibility, but that is where I was at the time - and it is, as you know, something I still really struggle with. He'd say things like, 'maybe at the weekend if we can get the house nice' then watch me deep-clean the house then deliberately avoid me or pick an argument at bed time, then deny he was doing it. It felt not only like a rejection, but like gas-lighting, like a betrayal, and it had a horrible effect on me. I also dealt with it in extremely immature ways, which is on me.

In the end I'd almost come to the conclusion that it was him, not me. That there was nothing wrong with me and my desires, but he was LD and that's the way he was made and I should work to accept that rather than pursuing, which might have made him feel flawed or deficient in some way. I was moving towards that when I discovered a whole heap of very sexualised text messages to another woman, over 15 years his junior. It certainly did not make it easier. Not at all. Now I am not your H and your H is not me, but I would take what he's saying here with a massive pinch of salt. I don't suggest you argue the point with him, I'd just nod and smile and let it pass you by.

Re: A day at a time [Re: AlisonUK] #2906358
10/21/20 01:00 PM
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Reading your thread May I see a lot of similarities in our situation and our Stitch seem to be very similar, that said you do seem pretty grounded right now and from what I am reading you are way ahead in terms of your handle of the situation than I am which is why I have appreciated your options in my own thread.

Originally Posted by may22

that he isn't doing all the processing necessary to understand why he had the affair and why he made the choices he did. He didn't need to handle it that way. And yes, maybe the affair ends up being what saves our marriage... but only if we both do the work that it takes to heal and learn from it. He is trying to skip all of that work, and that isn't okay with me. However, I also don't want to lose a grip on my own responsibility for what brought us to this place. I just don't think we're ready to discuss it as a couple. Or at least I'm not ready to talk to him about it until and if he's made some significant movement on his own journey, taking responsibility for his own actions and being truly remorseful for how the choices he made have hurt me.


This is what I am seeing too with my own Stitch and to me it seems we're waiting on our Stitch to get over that hurdle so we can do the real R work that has the potential to build a better M. There is always a possibility that they never get to that place.

Originally Posted by may22

Ever since I found out about the A and started researching like mad about recovery, I have wanted us to be Esther Perel's "explorer" couples, who use the A as a catalyst to a far better and stronger M. But LH-- all the experts talk about this, rebuilding a stronger M because of the A, Glass and MWD too.


I have and am doing the exact same but of course this also so much more complex and its difficult to document all the scenarios and feelings that comes with infidelity. I also think reading a lot of that stuff set me up to have certain expectations like expecting instant remorse and willingness to work on the marriage and not a lot of this material covered things like the grieving process our stitch needs to go through to start the process of clearing their minds. One book I found quite balanced was "Not just friends" by Shirley Glass and of course this board. Again its all well and good to educate ourselves on this stuff but its frustrating being unable to put it into practice as our stitch isn't there yet.

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2906373
10/21/20 02:43 PM
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Iím not saying you cannot have a stronger marriage after an affair. What I am saying is you cannot if there is no remorse. If there is no remorse then you are dealing with a narcissist/sociopath or they just really donít give a $hit. Either way youíre screwed. Often the LBS are so fearful and desperate that they try to talk themselves into anything to justify their actions. So letís throw a bunch a $hit at the wall and see what sticks. I read where George Glass says affairs are great for marriages. Itís like WTF seriously?

Fact my good buddyís W had an affair 17 years ago and it was swept under the rug. Still haunts him today and he never got over it. Heís ding her when his son turns 18. Thatís really what happens when there are affairs. It destroys families.


M:51 W:46
T:22 M:16
S:15 D:11

ďDon't chase people. Be yourself, do your own thing and work hard. The right people - the ones who really belong in your life - will come to you and stay.Ē- Will Smith
Re: A day at a time [Re: LH19] #2906376
10/21/20 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by LH19
Iím not saying you cannot have a stronger marriage after an affair. What I am saying is you cannot if there is no remorse. If there is no remorse then you are dealing with a narcissist/sociopath or they just really donít give a $hit. Either way youíre screwed. Often the LBS are so fearful and desperate that they try to talk themselves into anything to justify their actions. So letís throw a bunch a $hit at the wall and see what sticks. I read where George Glass says affairs are great for marriages. Itís like WTF seriously?

Fact my good buddyís W had an affair 17 years ago and it was swept under the rug. Still haunts him today and he never got over it. Heís ding her when his son turns 18. Thatís really what happens when there are affairs. It destroys families.


I agree that there should be a degree of remorse but a lot of the material gives the expectation that it should be instant where as I think many find that it can come over time when the Stitch does the required work. That's where I am, I let my Stitch back without having any idea what I was doing (my fault) and right now I am in a situation where I need to let some time go by to see how things play out. It may well get to the point that I say this isn't enough for me and I decide to move forward by myself.

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2906381
10/21/20 03:49 PM
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MW,

I agree and this is what happens when you let them back to easily. Just like my friend and it eventually caught up with him. Thatís why I call it a ďstay of executionĒ. You better have a timeframe on her putting in the work. Remember affairs are usually an act of anger and these feelings just donít subside they have to be addressed.


M:51 W:46
T:22 M:16
S:15 D:11

ďDon't chase people. Be yourself, do your own thing and work hard. The right people - the ones who really belong in your life - will come to you and stay.Ē- Will Smith
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2906441
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Iím going to be kind of blunt here. Please forgive me in advance.

Your H had a 2 year A! He hid this from you for 2 years! Which involves some pretty serious deceit. And implies a pretty serious lack of morals .

Somebody who is capable of that has serious issues that goes beyond a SSM. He has a lot to overcome before he can build a healthy marriage with you. To be able to fundamentally carry on a 2 year love affair with his wife and young kids at home, he needs to do intensive work and have intensive remorse. And not see this is a good thing in any way.

Iím sorry. I felt like it had to be said.

Last edited by Ginger1; 10/21/20 10:45 PM.
Re: A day at a time [Re: Ginger1] #2906473
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Originally Posted by Ginger1
Iím going to be kind of blunt here. Please forgive me in advance.

Your H had a 2 year A! He hid this from you for 2 years! Which involves some pretty serious deceit. And implies a pretty serious lack of morals .

Somebody who is capable of that has serious issues that goes beyond a SSM. He has a lot to overcome before he can build a healthy marriage with you. To be able to fundamentally carry on a 2 year love affair with his wife and young kids at home, he needs to do intensive work and have intensive remorse. And not see this is a good thing in any way.

Iím sorry. I felt like it had to be said.

No disagreement here. He has a lot, a LOT to work through. TBH I don't think he is a bad or immoral person at heart, though. If he did, I would not be standing for the M. I think he made some really terrible choices and then basically felt stuck for two years, having done the unthinkable and unforgiveable to me, and yet not being able to fully detach from the M and move out/on. I feel badly for him in a lot of ways. I can't imagine how it would feel to have acted so horribly to the one person I was supposed to be there for no matter what. But, he dug that hole for himself. Ending the A was a big step for him (to him, at least) and making the choice to face what he's done. He was/is very scared of that and feels/felt (we haven't talked about this all for some time, so IDK where his head is at the moment) that what he did to me was so unforgiveable that he doesn't know how to fully acknowledge it and that he'll never be able to forgive himself. He's in IC and working on understanding why he did what he did and what it means about the kind of person he is and his identity.

Anyway. All that to say-- don't be sorry for being blunt. You are 100 percent correct. And his work is his work, not mine. I know it may seem strange that I'm open to still living with this person and believe that there is a possibility for full forgiveness on both our sides-- me forgiving him and him forgiving himself-- but I do feel that is a possibility, and one worth standing for, at least for some period of time. Also, when/if we get to this place where he's remorseful and all the rest, it is also true that I contributed to the unhealthy dynamic in our R as well, the SSM being a big part of that. So I also have work to do, if we get there.

But we are far from that place, I think. Him saying that piece about the A maybe being what saves our M, and the fact that he made a 'major life change' for me and the M, just shows how far he has to go.


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D11
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
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
Re: A day at a time [Re: AlisonUK] #2906546
10/23/20 12:54 AM
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Originally Posted by AlisonUK
He'd say things like, 'maybe at the weekend if we can get the house nice' then watch me deep-clean the house then deliberately avoid me or pick an argument at bed time, then deny he was doing it. It felt not only like a rejection, but like gas-lighting, like a betrayal, and it had a horrible effect on me. I also dealt with it in extremely immature ways, which is on me.

This kills me, Alison. It makes me so angry to read. And a tiny part of me wonders if I came across that way at all to my H and I am afraid maybe I did. Not deliberately, but setting the bar so high for what it would take for me to want to sleep with him that it was impossible for any human being to meet, because the real issue was inside of me, or at least enough of it was within me that it would have taken the both of us working hard to address it, not just him. (And I didn't do anything about it on my end, except talk to my doctor who said it was totally normal and my GFs with young children who were mostly also not sleeping with their Hs, and so neatly packaged it in my mind as not a big deal.) I never, for a moment, really empathized and imagined what it must feel like for him.

Originally Posted by AlisonUK
I have phrases like 'you know, you could be right,' *drifts away to do something more interesting* when my H starts throwing criticism and blame about.

I can use this. smile

Originally Posted by AlisonUK
If you would like a suggestion, May, then I would advise you to do all the work you can in private, without discussion or reporting to your H, on any issues that are yours regarding the SSM. Don't talk to him about it, don't expect his approval, and whether that includes you being in a physical relationship with him again or not is up to you. But I think if you make this a matter of your concern, privately, then a) the changes in your behaviour and attitude to this matter will leak through anyway - he will be able to tell you are taking this seriously and b) you're not engaging in any kind of discussions with you where he's levering a real concern in order to make excuses for the issues he should be working on. I think not speaking about the SSM with him is a good idea, and responding blandly or assertively to his blame-shifting is also a good idea.

We haven't talked about it again and I'm not planning on engaging with him about it. I did spend some time with my IC on the topic and how the feeling of rejection I've experienced with the affair is playing into all of this, also. I think my plan is to avoid any conversations about it for the time being; set boundaries around being spoken to rudely, anything that triggers in me the fear that we're going down the same pathway as before. I refuse to be treated that way.

Originally Posted by AlisonUK
I am willing to listen if my behaviour is affecting him. And I can tell the difference between a blame and a genuine piece of feedback. Blame is about H not having to do anything, feedback is a request for a change that might involve both of us. 'You're such a slack housekeeper it's no wonder I'm so grumpy in the evenings' is blame and I ignore it. 'Can we talk about setting up a rota for the housework - it really gets me down when I come home to dishes undone' is a request for change, and I engage whole heartedly. You know your H and you will know which of these he's doing very easily.

This is exactly the situation I'm in here too, the difference between blame and genuine feedback. I won't take the blame but I am open to talking on an even level--not, right now, about the SSM, but about regular day-to-day things we need to engage in to run a household together. I actually haven't heard any blame since I posted about the last exchange, and we've had situations where it easily could have gone that direction and instead he was adult about it, and I was too. I'm not sure that I'll call it progress, yet. Maybe in a few more weeks if it keeps up, I will.

On working on the SSM by myself.. one of those things that feels a little difficult to do, on my own. (ha!) I did so much research after BD on this and maybe I'll re-read the Nabowski book (did you get it, by the way? What do you think?).

For me, I think continuing to practice self-care and taking opportunities to step outside of my mom persona is one thing I can do. And, relentlessly enforcing the respect/partnership boundary in our household so that as long as we are going to be living together, I won't let myself feel taken advantage of, disrespected, or that I have a third child in the home to manage. I'll let the dishes stay undone rather than do them resentfully, or remind him it's his turn. (Argh! That will be the hardest).


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D11
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
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2906609
10/23/20 10:31 PM
10/23/20 10:31 PM
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Hi May

well, that's how I saw it at the time - and because I saw it that way, that was the feelings that I had. And those feelings got me grumpy and withdrawn and critical and all sorts. But I think actually what was happening was that H feared disappointing me, and he wanted to want to be intimate more, but he was afraid of my reaction if he was truthful with me, he didn't know what the truth of it for himself was, and it was easier - amongst all the other stress of work and young children - to avoid the matter. And the more he avoided, the more I felt rejected and the more critical and pursuing I became, and so the less attractive to him, and over the years these positions became very entrenched. What I thought of it at the time is not what I think about it now: I am more able to see his point of view (though I still do get very hurt and angry and feel rejected at times - and underneath that is a whole lot of fear - it is a work in progress as you can see by my last posts in my own thread!) and sometimes (not all the time) I am able to take who he is less personally - which puts a lot more air and grace and compassion into the situation.

I did read Come as you Are. I didn't find it as useful as I thought - though I can imagine for someone feeling less educated or positive about their body it would be hugely positive. I did find The Sex Starved Marriage Book really helpful - more for understanding my H's point of view on things (he is more talkative about that, and we do manage to speak about it without blame more often than we did, but it is still such a delicate matter. It helped me understand WHY it was such a delicate matter - that I felt there was something wrong with me that he didn't want it, and he felt I was constantly pointing out that there was something wrong with him (not attractive!) and we both would tend to get defensive when it wasn't needed. That really helped.

I don't know how or if you want to or even if it is the right time to address the SSM for yourself. I don't have experience of being in your exact shoes. And I do think Ginger is right - your H has a massive, massive problem with dishonesty and until he makes some proper attempts to explore why that is without blaming it on you (even though of course you both provided the context where the choice to be dishonest made sense to him, it was still a free choice he made that is totally his responsibility) then I can't imagine how you'd be able to be authentically vulnerable with him.

In my marriage, it actually took me changing first to make any impact on my H. He had been honest and transparent about the infidelity, but not about his own feelings or responsibility. I don't think he felt remotely able to while he felt I was still angry with him - it made him defensive. I don't think your job is to comfort and provide that soft landing for your H to look at himself - that's on him and that's what a therapist is for.

But I can say there were small changes that H as the LD partner made that helped me heal a little and our marriage improve. He was more attentive to my feelings of rejection, and when he was tired or unable, he did - not all the time, by any stretch - but sometimes - actually verbalise things like 'this isn't you, this isn't because I am angry with you or wanting you to do something or be something else. This is because I am really tired.' He also started expressing a desire for me to sleep with him (in our bed) and come to bed at the same time as him. This really meant a lot to me, and I think it must have been a pretty scary thing for him to ask for, given that I might have taken that as a prelude to contact he wasn't able or ready to have - it felt like a turning-toward. I have been so primed to be sensitive to any possible turning-away that I got hyper-vigilant about it and I had to train myself to notice his turning-towards.

And I think it is extremely appropriate that you have boundaries - really firm boundaries - with a man who has demonstrated he's so consistently dishonest. And those boundaries might feel like more turning-away to a HD partner who has been hurt by rejection in the past. But that's the way it has to be right now between the two of you.

I don't think H and me could have got to the place we are (and I'm really, really not speaking from a great marriage - just a bruised and slowly slowly slowly improving one) without that period of separation. Where he was free from what he felt was constant criticism, and I was free from what I felt was constant rejection. There needed to be the space so we could heal separately. He lived elsewhere for about seven - maybe eight months (a bit longer, actually, I think) and it wasn't long enough. A year would have been better.

Anyway - just some thoughts, probably better for my own thread but I can't find it!

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2906614
10/24/20 01:23 AM
10/24/20 01:23 AM
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may22 Offline OP
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Hi Alison,

Thank you for sharing all of this. It sounds like things are improving for the two of you, for sure.

Question for you. When you say it was you that made the first changes, that was you becoming more assertive and enforcing your boundaries? Asking him to leave? Curious what changes you made first... and if they were during your S or after he returned.

Originally Posted by AlisonUK
He had been honest and transparent about the infidelity, but not about his own feelings or responsibility. I don't think he felt remotely able to while he felt I was still angry with him - it made him defensive. I don't think your job is to comfort and provide that soft landing for your H to look at himself - that's on him and that's what a therapist is for.

I feel like this is where we are, that he finally came fully clean about the infidelity but is simply nowhere near being able to address his own feelings or responsibility here. And that the safest thing for me to do is to not engage around it at least for now.

We had a minor incident today, where we were having a conversation about a friend who is Ded and dating, and the conversation somehow turned to how people during COVID times are making decisions about safe sex or not and how the whole possibility of being infected with COVID from a new partner might make people less concerned about other stuff... anyway, it made me think of my H making that decision in/re AP, and H was talking animatedly, and I just couldn't, so said hey, I'm feeling triggered, can we stop.

And he said OK. And tried to change the subject. But I no longer really felt like talking to him and so was quiet. No anger, no yelling. But he got defensive and upset and said he felt like he was in trouble. I said, what do you mean, in trouble? You aren't in trouble. He said, I always feel like I'm in trouble. I said, how do I even get you in trouble? That makes no sense to me. (Thinking, but did not say, you are not my child. I don't get you "in trouble.") I'm not angry. (I wasn't.) I'm just sad.

He said, it isn't fair for you to get so upset out of the blue about something I said. You're the one that brought up the topic in the first place. (I had, kind of.) I said, I'm not upset about something you just said. I'm upset that you had an affair and f-ed someone else. I think that is normal, for me to be upset about that. It would be weird if I didn't feel that way. He was quiet for awhile, then went and put on his wedding ring (it was off from surfing in the morning) and came and said to me he wasn't happy with how this afternoon had gone. I didn't have any response. He wasn't apologizing, that's for sure. I think he just doesn't know how to handle any of this.

Anyway. I've felt triggered the last couple of days. I had a FB memory pop up from three years ago, where I was sharing that H was on a volunteer mission in Texas repairing houses after the floods and proud of him and encouraging people to donate to the group that he was with. That was where he met AP. Three years. (They didn't start the A right away, but flirting etc. for sure... I snooped a long time ago on his cell phone from back then and found their text exchanges in the weeks after.)

Part of me feels like the discomfort is a good thing for him-- and yet it feels really pathetic that even that little discomfort of making him think about the A gets blamed on me. Seems like there is a LOT that gets stirred up pretty easily, just at the surface, and he clearly does not like feeling those feelings. It was funny that he characterized me as being "so upset" and implying that I ruined the day by getting so upset, when all I did was go quiet. Projecting, much?

But, not my work... I have enough on my plate, since I also dislike the feelings of rejection and anger and grief that surface in these moments, and need to process them and find a way to get past them, eventually.

In terms of physical intimacy, we agreed not to have sex during the conversation about what this R attempt would look like. I don't really want to until I feel he is over AP. He said to me back in June when they were back in contact that he felt uncomfortable with sex and I decided that just don't want any part of that, right now. I don't think it will be good for my own feelings and identity around sex. That being said, we have, here and there, mostly after an evening of cocktails and conversation. I never initiate and I won't, not for now, but if I feel interested I'll engage if he initiates. So I don't really think there is any opportunity to address the SSM in any meaningful way between the two of us anyway in terms of actions.

One last thought about the dishonesty... I think he really, really believes that he is no longer dishonest and therefore that issue is in the past for him. It is like the dishonesty is no longer affecting him, therefore it no longer exists. (Same, to a certain degree, about the A itself... since he is no longer engaging in an A, he feels somehow righteous now that he's decided to do the right thing.) Zero awareness or consideration for the long tail of consequence in terms of how those past behaviors may still affect me today. Still, clearly, stuck in his own head.

But, I've decided I'm not going to worry about whether or not he is trustworthy. No need until he is over AP and remorseful and ready to start piecing, if he ever is. If and when we get there, I'll worry about that.


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D11
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
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2906624
10/24/20 08:08 AM
10/24/20 08:08 AM
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AlisonUK Offline
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Boundaries, definitely. Not only to protect me from his poor behaviour, and give him the respect as an adult to deal with his own emotions and issues and wants and needs - whether or not that felt like abandonment at the time - but it also helped me refocus my mind on what I wanted and needed in any given moment, and how I could give that to myself. It stopped me controlling and manipulating others to get my needs met, and helped me concentrate on my own needs.

All of this is essential in sex too, of course. So I think it is an indirect way of also working on the SSM. And nobody wants to have sex with a nag or a whiner or a control freak, so I do think good clear and consistently applied boundaries also makes a person more attractive.

In the moments where you are triggered, do you know what you want from your H, May? (This is some boundaries work - figuring out what you need, and how to give it to yourself or ask someone else for it, without demanding). Do you know what would help in those moments? Have you told your H what you would like from him, and are you gracious if from time to time he can't give it?

I don't have those moments any more, but when I did, my H would often experience them as me turning away and judging him or criticising him out of the blue. He was afraid that was going to be the rest of his life - me bringing up the worst thing he ever did and making him feel terrible for it whenever I felt like it. I don't think we really moved forwards and past that (and it doesn't happen any more) until I could self-soothe a bit more, and ask him for what I needed in the moment in non-blaming language, and he could respond without defending the infidelity or himself. I guess if your H experiences you being triggered as you 'turning away' that 'turning away' could also trigger him (do you see what I mean? He might be doing something entirely different - and I do think as well as all of this he's an emotionally immature entitled so and so, but you've got to work with what you've got and this man is who you choose today). I think if you consider he might be extraordinarily sensitive to signs of you 'turning away' and likely to misinterpret any quietness or distress from you as a turning-away, then maybe explaining to him what is going on with you and what you want in that moment might help.

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2906813
10/27/20 02:49 PM
10/27/20 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by may22
He said, it isn't fair for you to get so upset out of the blue about something I said. You're the one that brought up the topic in the first place. (I had, kind of.) I said, I'm not upset about something you just said. I'm upset that you had an affair and f-ed someone else. I think that is normal, for me to be upset about that. It would be weird if I didn't feel that way. He was quiet for awhile, then went and put on his wedding ring (it was off from surfing in the morning) and came and said to me he wasn't happy with how this afternoon had gone. I didn't have any response. He wasn't apologizing, that's for sure. I think he just doesn't know how to handle any of this.

I think your H needs some lessons on validating your feelings!! I think your thinking around this whole incident is great. You can see through the bs and identify what he still needs work on. I can see that it is a long road ahead for him (and you)....like you said, he needs to be okay with that discomfort. he fked up. How will he ever learn how to handle the discomfort if he keeps pouting every time it gets uncomfortable for him?

Anyways, you sound like your mind is in a good place. I'm happy for you.


BD: Sep 2019
H moved out: Oct 2019
D talk in progress
3 kids
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2906871
10/27/20 10:06 PM
10/27/20 10:06 PM
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may22 Offline OP
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Hi Alison, Wooba. Thank you.

This is all just hard. I have some days where I still feel, over a year after BD, like screaming into the air about how unfair this all is. That I didn't do anything to deserve being betrayed and lied to and cheated on. When the path ahead is just so rocky and the destination so unclear. That I'll be dealing with the emotional fallout of this abuse for years, maybe my whole life, no matter what happens between the two of us. That his "progress" is so glacially slow it can't even be measured. And that he lied for so long and about so much that who knows when and if I'll ever be able to truly trust him again. UGH.

And then I can, usually, dial myself back out to the 30,000 foot level. That I'm OK being where I am today. That (aside from my lame H) I have an enormous amount of things in my life to be grateful for. That there is nothing I can do about my H's state of mind today or tomorrow or a year from now-- all I can do is focus on me, accept that we are where we are, and continue to build and rely on my own mechanisms for healing and growth. Someone a long time ago said they think of the Frozen 2 song "Do the Next Right Thing" and I do think of this song, sometimes (I saw a documentary about the making of the film, and Kristen Bell talks about her struggles with depression and how much this song meant to her when it was hard to get out of bed in the morning and all she could do was think of the next thing to do-- get out of bed, wake up the children, just focusing on that next right thing to get her through the hard parts) and that helps.

Alison, I've been pondering your question:

Originally Posted by AlisonUK
In the moments where you are triggered, do you know what you want from your H, May? (This is some boundaries work - figuring out what you need, and how to give it to yourself or ask someone else for it, without demanding). Do you know what would help in those moments? Have you told your H what you would like from him, and are you gracious if from time to time he can't give it?

I do know what I want. I WANT him to fall at my feet and take full responsibility for his terrible actions, and apologize, and tell me he never thinks about AP anymore and wants to prove his love to me over and over and what can he do to make this better? That, obviously, is not going to happen.

So what else do I want? Honestly, even just the tiniest signals that he (a) gets it and is truly sorry and (b) cares about me and how I feel, not just about how bad I make him feel when I remind him of what has happened.

I have said this to him. Maybe not in a way he can hear. I also recognize that I actually get a little bit of this in these moments, often, but it isn't enough for me and I keep pushing or withdrawing until it disintegrates. This happened this weekend, for instance-- we had a surprise staycation overnight at a hotel with the kids, which triggered me for a couple of reasons-- H had surprised me with the same hotel for my birthday 15 years ago, and it was so romantic and fun and nothing he would do anymore with me (but feels reminiscent of all the hotel stays he had with his AP over the past couple of years)-- plus, for our anniversary last year, when I knew things were off but nothing about AP, I'd come up with a few ideas for what we could do (we had built-in child care that night). One of the suggestions I had was going to the restaurant of this same hotel. He said at the time he didn't want to do anything like that and we ended up just grabbing sushi. And now re-looking at that anniversary from the lens of the A... it just all feels so scuzzy and gross, and I'm embarrassed that I spent so much time thinking about what to do on our anniversary when his brain was obviously in a totally different place.

Anyway. We were sitting out at the hotel, kids were playing, he brought me a beer and said, put down your phone. Let's talk. So we did, but my head was just stuck in all this sadness about the past. I shared with him how I felt. He apologized, said he was truly sorry that I felt like this and that he was responsible.

But I couldn't let it go, reviewed the reasons, he didn't remember the anniversary conversation at all (so weird, his memory is totally shot for the last three years) and I kept it up until he brought up the SSM and that I'd been the one to turn away from him first.

Ha. Reading this makes it so clear that I'm just touching the hot stove again. And that maybe if I'd been out of my own head and been able to appreciate what he was able to give in that moment... that he was the one asking to connect in the first place, that he apologized and didn't blame me or anyone else... that might have been a better play on my end than picking away until he finally got defensive.

But, I didn't yell or get upset. I let out a few more truth darts-- he said he didn't feel like I was going to change, that I just wanted to go back to how it was before. I said, I don't want that and I'm not going back. But I'm changing for me and I don't really care if you see it or realize it or not, right now. I don't see any reason to discuss the SSM with you until you've burnt AP out of your heart forever. Then, we can talk. But I'm not trying to prove anything to you.

He said, what if I never get over her completely?

I said, then there isn't really a point to any of this, is there?

He said, every time we have these talks I feel like you just want to get divorced from me. I didn't really respond.

He said he thought his (our) IC has been rooting for us to D all along. IDK if that is true or not-- she is basically a master validator so I think it is more reflective of what he says to her. I said, if that is true, we both should stop seeing her. It is crazy for us to try to stay married and have a therapist who thinks that is a bad idea. We should talk to her about this. He was quite taken aback by this.

He has also been talking about a new car. I told him, I'm not comfortable talking about spending that kind of money right now. I've drafted the post-nup and we need to go over it. Maybe we can just split up all our money now and then you can spend your half on whatever you want. He didn't like that, he wants it to be something we decide together and feels like splitting our money now is just priming us for D. I said then drop the talk about the new car. But we are still signing this post-nup. He said, OK. (now I need to get up the courage to actually sit down one night and review it with him. He isn't going to like it and it is hard to get up the energy to do this in the evenings when the kids finally go down and all I want to do is collapse with a glass of wine and the TV or a book.)

We got home Sunday and actually he's gone out of his way since then to be especially nice. He hugged me and asked me to sit cuddled next to him on the couch. He held my hand. He made me a drink and rubbed my back and did all the dishes. Yesterday morning he stopped at Starbucks on his way home to get me a latte. He texted "love you" at the end of a text to me this morning--- THAT has not happened for... years? IDK. (And I finally planted the baby cucumber plants he got me last week.)

I keep thinking of Wayfarer and how she'd get thrown off when her H leaned in, and I didn't get that. Now I do. I'm wondering if he's feeling guilty about something, what has possibly changed. He had told me a couple months ago when we embarked on this R round that he was going to act lovingly towards me and show me loving behaviors that he hadn't for years... and then that never happened, until now. Anyway, it feels odd. I want to lean in but am not really able to.

Alison, i hear what you're saying as him experiencing me as turning away in these moments. I think you are probably right. That being said, I don't feel I'm in a place quite yet to care... I feel like I need to get myself first to a place of being a bit more stable and with more developed self-soothing mechanisms before I can deal with H being triggered in return by my not kissing his @ss all day long (which is kind of what it feels like right now). I think I will get there... I just want to do it at my pace, not his, and to be very careful not to do his emotional work for him. I feel like sitting in the discomfort of his own making is not a bad thing for him.

Though the more I think about it... if I am no longer "turning away" in these moments, and he no longer has the excuse of then blaming his bad feelings on me, he'll need to face them himself? (Or find something else to blame ;)) So maybe it would be helpful for his own growth and healing as well for me to think about a 180 here... I guess when you're in these situations and kind of stuck, probably any major shift in the well-worn grooves of how you interact with each other can be a good thing.

Wooba, he is a terrible validator. I think his brain is just flooded with his own $hit right now and he has no capacity to push it aside. My instinct is to let him deal with it all himself though thinking (as above) of how my own behaviors are impacting him. I feel like I have enough on my plate right now in terms of my own emotional well-being and am really trying to keep his stuff off of my plate.


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D11
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
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2906890
10/28/20 07:54 AM
10/28/20 07:54 AM
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This reminds me of the loop that H and me were in.

I'd keep acting out anger and distress until I got empathy, and he kept acting out defensiveness and lashing out until he felt safety. I didn't have 'safety' to give him ('you won't have to see how angry and hurt I am') and he didn't have empathy to give me ('you must be so scared and upset because of how terribly I've behaved').

I think it was probably more extreme (I don't hear you say your H is behaving the way mine did, at his worst) but the energy in what is happening feels the same.

And you can't give him safety from your anger and hurt without being inauthentic which destroys closeness, and he can't feel safe from your hurt and distress and anger unless he's withdrawn or dishonest or defensive or blaming, which destroys closeness.

The single only thing that helped us when we were in the very worst of this loop was separation. He was safe from my feelings. I got the care and empathy and healing I needed elsewhere. I had to accept that no matter the rights and wrongs of it, the 'shoulds' of what I might reasonably expect from a husband who had hurt me, he just was not able to offer what I needed. And he needed to accept that for the time being, he had hurt me and angered me so much by his actions that being around me was not an option for him. It was messy and one of the most extremely painful things I've ever been for but it was the only thing to do. Then when we were both less raw, slow repair work could start (and it is so slow, and still punctuated by withdrawal on his part and anxiety and distress and anger about that on mine).

Is there a way of you offering your H a bit of what he needs, even intermittently, and you also being able to get a bit of what you need from someone or something other than your husband? Would that make the loop you are in a bit less intense?


Last edited by AlisonUK; 10/28/20 07:58 AM.
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2906899
10/28/20 11:17 AM
10/28/20 11:17 AM
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IronWill Offline
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Hi may -

Wow is your sit different from mine. So much communicating and so many interactions. You're really strong for being able to put up with H's behavior.

I struggled a lot with turning my brain off early in my situation. It would just. Not. Stop. It was like a problem solving machine that had been uber-hyped up. It was as if I thought that if i thought hard enough or long enough, eventually i would come to a solution.

Of course that did not work. I ended up not sleeping, not eating, and generally feeling the most miserable i had in my life.

I finally realized i had to stop.

So now when the spinning starts - i imagine a giant red STOP sign. Then, these are some of the phrases i repeat to myself:

"You have been over this a thousand times."
"You cannot use logic if someone is being illogical."
"How does this thinking help me? Am i feeling better now?"

Hang in there, may. You know the truth.

Stay true to you. Be the light in the darkness.

Take care smile

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2906944
10/28/20 04:08 PM
10/28/20 04:08 PM
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Hey May. Sorry to hear it sounds like you're cycling a bit when you're feeling triggered. Good job staying silent and not letting the triggers cause emotional vomit. I agree with Allison, if you can figure out a way to create some distance and safety for you both either by finding something to help soothe yourself when you are triggered (instead of hoping and praying H will comfort you)? I relate so much. The depth of pain that washes over your gut when you're triggered is miserable. And to top it off, all you want is for H to wrap you up and tell you that he is sorry and loves you. It blows. IW has some great advice there with stopping the intrusive thoughts. I find it also helps to think of the worst case situation and realize that you will still be OK if that happens. The feelings overwhelming you in that moment won't matter when you're through this.

I noticed you said that you and H talked and have put sex on the back burner for now. I think that is completely healthy and fine, but a word of caution here. WW and I did the same thing at one point. She said that she felt like she just wanted to focus on us and rebuilding and worry about that part later. Then, in less than a month, she resumed PA with AP. Now, I say this not because I think that H is going to fly cross country and meet up with AP. But, looking back at my sitch, I think that WW wanted to resume things and subconsciously this gave her some peace of mind and lessened the guilt. I wonder if your H is wavering in his strength of remaining NC and that he might be subconsciously using the fact that you both have decided not to have sex to justify (possibly) reaching back out.

I really hope this is not the case and that I'm just reading into it. That's one thing interesting about this forum. Every sitch is different and we all have different viewpoints based on our own experience.

Big hugs May. Have a Happy Halloween with the girls!

Kristin


LBW 32 - me
WW 31
T 7 M 4
No Kids
4 dogs

Separated 1y
Navigating the mine field and GAL with or without
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2906957
10/28/20 05:57 PM
10/28/20 05:57 PM
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Initially when my wife came back we went through a period of Hysterical Bonding. We always had a pretty decent sex life and neither of us ever had any complaints in that department. Now she has decided to put sex on the back burner and I have to say that has been difficult not to have that level of intimacy with her, I miss it (amongst lots of things). Anyway what's interesting is Kristen has suggested (and it may not be the case) that your H could use the "no sex" as justification to restart his PA and perhaps my wife has also used the "no sex" because she may be back in touch with OM.

There are certainly circumstances where no sex can be healthy but I do think it can also put another barrier between couples and adds another "problem" that they need to overcome to work back to get the level of intimacy that feels safe and satisfying again.

Re: A day at a time [Re: WMWB] #2906960
10/28/20 06:16 PM
10/28/20 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by WMWB
Initially when my wife came back we went through a period of Hysterical Bonding. We always had a pretty decent sex life and neither of us ever had any complaints in that department. Now she has decided to put sex on the back burner and I have to say that has been difficult not to have that level of intimacy with her, I miss it (amongst lots of things). Anyway what's interesting is Kristen has suggested (and it may not be the case) that your H could use the "no sex" as justification to restart his PA and perhaps my wife has also used the "no sex" because she may be back in touch with OM.

There are certainly circumstances where no sex can be healthy but I do think it can also put another barrier between couples and adds another "problem" that they need to overcome to work back to get the level of intimacy that feels safe and satisfying again.

I think you have to be careful when making these assumptions when one spouse may have one foot out the door. Sex may be just another reminder that there is no emotional connection or intimacy in the relationship and use it as justification.


M:51 W:46
T:22 M:16
S:15 D:11

ďDon't chase people. Be yourself, do your own thing and work hard. The right people - the ones who really belong in your life - will come to you and stay.Ē- Will Smith
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2906992
10/28/20 10:52 PM
10/28/20 10:52 PM
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Hi, May. I wanted to drop in and wish you Happy Holidays if that is possible with all the covid stuff going on and your ongoing family drama. Wow, I can't believe you're still caught in that vortex. It was a year ago this week when my husband decided he wanted a divorce but it never happened. After about 6 weeks of personal anguish, I decided that was enough and started to move on on my own. Then out of the blue he came back. We're okay. We have been married a very long time (over 30 years) so we just fell back into the old relationship with a little more heightened sensitivity. He's very considerate and seems to be sorry about what he did, but I don't dwell on it. I hope everyone else here who I knew is okay. Anyway I hope that you and your family have a nice holiday season.

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2907067
10/29/20 04:26 PM
10/29/20 04:26 PM
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Hi May!

I have been thinking about your situation as mine has taught me some new lessons lately (I hope to update my thread soon!) and wanted to share some thoughts.

I know this is hopelessly pedantic, but I think you need to find ways to further detach. Not in the unloving sense, but to really, really feel deep in your bones that you will be just fine whatever happens. What would it take for you to get to 'meh'? I think that complete detachment will really allow both of you to start from a clean slate. I can't imagine how impossibly hard it is to get to that point with someone whom you interact with day in and day out, with how hard you have worked to save this M and get to M2.0. But I really truly believe (because I am living it at the moment), that total detachment is the only path to move forward, whether alone or with H.

I made the mistake of believing that total detachment was going to be fueled by my anger towards H, so that's where my focus was. That his unsavory side would be the thing that brought me to 'meh'. But total detachment comes from within-- more of a deep, deep understanding of your own self-worth, a recognition of YOUR values (irrespective of how H is or is not validating your values), becoming into your own, and completely differentiating from H. Basically, finding yourself again. An amazing poem was shared with my recently that encapsulates this so well:

LOVE AFTER LOVE

The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror, and each will smile at the other's welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

--Derek Wolcott

I don't have a recipe for reaching this place. In my own process, once I came out of the sadness and depression, rocketed by anger, I settled into my true stasis, which is love and compassion. I had to fill my own empty cup first; self-love and self-compassion, before there was any to share with H. But now that my own cup is filled, I am able to differentiate and slowly finding there are reserves left over that I may choose to share.

I reached far out there in woo-woo land to help me get here. I have relied on psychotherapy, tarot, psychics, amazing astrologers, energy healers and my own inner faith to help me find this place. And I know I still have a long journey ahead of me, but for the first time I see it as MY journey, not one that is attached to the outcome of my M. I can say without hesitation that I am now truly detached.

Do whatever it takes to get yourself here. My guess is that once you have a toehold on detachment, it will capture H's attention (not that this is the intent, simply a byproduct of the journey). This will do the inverse of what has been happening in your situation so far: H will start working for you in earnest, which will free up more psychic space for you to continue to examine yourself and your R objectively.

And although it is a good start, I don't think detachment comes from ignoring H's jabs or your triggers. I think that detachment comes from a deep wellspring within YOU. Who are YOU, May? What do you love about yourself, what are you worthy of, what would you say to yourself if you were truly a friend to you? Can you separate your self-worth from your coupledom?

You are amazing. I have every belief that you will come on the other side of this journey an even more amazing person than you already are, if that is even possible. And every single lesson you learn, you are teaching to your daughters. My wish for mine is that they see that self-love is more important than being loved by others. That they will ALWAYS have themselves, that there is a deep well within them that will serve them during the hard times and get filled back up during the easy ones.

(((May)))

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2907077
10/29/20 06:54 PM
10/29/20 06:54 PM
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May have you worked through the possibility that you may just have to let the past go? To completely forgive, not bring it up again and find a way of accountability moving forward?

What about what type of transparency you would need? What would that look like? What about asking your H to find an accountability partner? What if he joined a men's group?

I think if there is ever a place for M2.0 you have to let go of M1.0 --- not just forgive but to literally not bring it up again.

Perhaps reading the book The Love Path would help you find a way to reconnect with your H.

It seems that your H is genuinely trying to hold on and to work this R. You are in control May... you get to decide but I caution you that if you don't find a way to forgive your H and put it in the past you will continue to stay on this crazy cycle. The vows were for better or for worse and so sadly our spouses can show us the "worse" for sure. Realize that neither of you will be happy in M2.0 if you have not let go of what happened. I'm not asking you to forget.

If you don't think you can do that I don't think any amount of IC, or MC will bring you happiness. We are all flawed... can you still love this man despite his flaws?

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2907106
10/29/20 09:06 PM
10/29/20 09:06 PM
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may22 Offline OP
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Hi everyone,

So good to hear from all of you! I've been noodling on a lot of this over the past couple of days and had a really productive session with my IC yesterday with some concrete actions I'm planning over the next week-- will share more on that in a bit.

Right now, I need advice around one quick thing, though. H has significantly ramped up his tactile and "loving" behaviors. I have mentioned some of them--bringing thoughtful, small gifts for me; saying "love you" at the end of a text (used to happen all the time, truly can't remember when I've seen it last, though... years for sure-- it hit me hard when I got it); acts of service (my primary LL-- and this is a change from a month or so ago, when he started spewing about my imaginary poor housekeeping skills in the infrequent times he'd actually lift a finger around the house); and a really significant ramp-up in non-sexual touching. Like, enough that I'm weirded out and I don't know how to respond.

After the first BD, I noticed that if he touched me accidentally, or I touched him-- like our knees would touch as we sat next to each other, or our feet would touch in bed-- he'd move away. At first it was like he'd jump away. Then it moved to our legs would be touching for a minute or so and then he'd move away. But he always moved away. Early on, when we were in MC the first time around and I learned that his LL was physical touch, I started doing it more-- touching him as I walked past, etc. He told me it weirded him out, he felt it was forced and so I stopped. (He was in the A at the time, I just didn't know). So I've been very very careful to not initiate any physical touch. In the spring, when we were trying to R the first time, there was maybe a month where he started to ramp up the non-sexual touches, and then it all went downhill after AP reached out to him. I'd say we are at double what it was back then and he won't move away if we accidentally touch.

I used to be a dolphin trainer so my immediate instinct is to reinforce these behaviors, but I'm weirded out by where they are coming from (are they authentic? Or is he "trying"? And if he's "trying", is that necessarily a bad thing?) So far I've been small and careful in my responses. Like, when he added "love you" to the end of an informational text, I responded with hearting it rather than the thumbs up that I normally give. I don't move my leg away either when we touch. I've been verbally appreciative of the gifts and the acts of service, and done a couple of nice things for him in return. (though acts of service is pretty far down on his LL list.)

So.... any thoughts? I will say that even though I'm suspicious of the reasons, it feels good. I'm not a big toucher by nature, but this is making me realize how starved I am for human touch besides my kids.


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D11
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
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2907113
10/29/20 09:45 PM
10/29/20 09:45 PM
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may22 Offline OP
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Kristin, WMWB, LH... the sex is a difficult issue, because of the SSM. It is definitely not the case where it is something we can fall back into because it has been years since we had a healthy sex life.

When H met AP, he says we hadn't had sex in six months. I dispute this, but it is true that we probably had sex only a handful of times in the six months prior. (I know it hadn't been six months since I knew it was bad to always say no and so if it got to be more than a month I'd say yes the next time even though I didn't want to. Yes, I know this is incredibly unhealthy and all the rest.) H then "realized" after conversations with AP that our marriage was in fact not a good one because of the SSM, and that I had "stolen" years of his life away. He decided to stop initiating to see how long it would take me to initiate, and I never did. After a couple months of this, he started the PA with AP. Maybe a month or so later I initiated (because I was realizing whoops, it had been a long time) and he told me I had broken him sexually and he was now the one that didn't want to have sex with me. (Wow, the gaslighting is blinding me right now.)

It was a year after that conversation, a year of MC and alien H and zero sex that we went away for a long weekend together and I had my epiphany around my feelings for my H and around sex. We had a lot of really hard conversations and had sex for the first time in more than a year, and it was like the scales had fallen from my eyes and my heart. (of course, now I know that H was viewing that weekend as an ending and a precursor to D. I had no idea he had been in an A for more than a year at that point. I'd asked him point blank several times if there was someone else and got gaslit every time.) My attitude towards sex changed instantly, and I started the process of researching female sexuality and trying to learn more about what had happened to me. I also forgave H for all the little resentments that had built up over the years and felt love for him again.

Then we had about a year of these weird midnight encounters, where he'd wake up in the middle of the night and initiate. Sometimes afterwards he'd act all guilty and mopey (because he felt like he was cheating on AP) and I got the drip-drip-drip of truth... first, a couple of months after our weekend away, the ILYB; then a few months later the EA; then a few months after that I learned it was a 2 year long PA. The night he told me it had been a PA I think we had hysterical bonding sex and that continued for a month or so. I've had a hard time figuring out for myself what was driving this on my side-- the MC said I was basically marking my territory.

When we tried to R in the spring, sex to me was something where I wanted to show a 180, and I was frankly frustrated that he wasn't all that into it (except for the midnight encounters, which continued). When we laid the ground rules for our second R attempt (the trip), we both decided we didn't want to have sex for awhile. On his end, he wants the staring into each others' souls romantic connection sex, and we haven't really done that throughout. AP is a big specter in this for both of us and I kind of got to the point where even though I am finally appreciating sex and wanting to explore my own sexuality, I don't want to feel like there is a third party in the room, in my head or his, and I don't have that security at this point. Also, most of the programs that address rebuilding sexual intimacy between partners call for a break for awhile and then slowly starting back up with non-sexual physical contact... I just think it is a subject of so much tension and emotion for both of us, for so many reasons, that taking a break is not a bad thing. I don't actually think he is using this as an excuse to get back together with AP, since we set this prior to his (most recent) decision to R. So it isn't like anything has really changed. I think it is very possible that this is part of what happened in the spring, though.

And for all that... I mostly don't respond for the middle of the night initiations any more, even though they continue, though not as frequently as before. I pretend I'm asleep. And some nights, when we've been having drinks and chatting (kind of like date nights at home, though we don't call it that) we end up having sex. He's also initiated after fights I think because it is a reconnecting experience for both of us. So we aren't NOT having sex. We just aren't having it very much.

TMI I'm sure--- sorry guys! This was actually helpful for me to write out, to look at this full timeline from this particular lens. Anyway, all in all to say, if this is what drives him back into AP's arms... OK. I'm comfortable with that. I don't want my own fledgling sexuality to be messed up by sleeping with someone, even though I happen to be married to him, who isn't feeling it for me. Hopefully, we get there together. But this--feeling like a sexual being again, not just a mom-- is something that is important to me, for me, and is a gift I've received through all of this trauma to date. I don't want to squander it.


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D11
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
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2907114
10/29/20 10:00 PM
10/29/20 10:00 PM
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Hello my dear sweet May,
I've missed you, and apparently missed a lot. So I'll update on my life on my thread at some point here, but I just read through practically a book about where you're at right now. I have a few thoughts.

-I stand by my very early recommendation that you and H promise to shelf this dissecting the MR whether it be M1.0 or M2.0 to a specific time and day unless something is absolutely pressing. You guys are in a never ending cycle of p!ssing each other off because neither one of you are willing to let go of what in M1.0 put you both in a position to need a M2.0. this is not to equate what you did and what he did. They aren't equal, and there isn't a ton of causation as much as H would like to think there is. The only causation is your SSM made him miserable and question himself, you and your mutual love and affection. His A made you question yourself, him and your marriage. So for that you guys are on equal ground. If you keep you two keep circling the same thing over and over again you're going to circle yourselves right down the drain together. Some one has to be the stop in this cycle. Should it be you...nope. But if it's not you who will it be?

-The anger. Oh hunny the anger. So I hit another anger wall, I'll update that in my own space, but I just want to remind you and any one else of something I told you before. This from the perspective of a WW that went back for a while, the betrayer will be in (maybe not in the way you want or need, but in their head in) long before the betrayed will be "over it." You will be angry far longer than he will be working getting over AP. You will be sad far longer than he will have doubts about a future for the two of you. And with that deal if you really want to give you two a shot at a future you have to assume some responsibility for that anger and sadness of your own. In they way it's not your job to heal him. To help him get over her. To hold his hand while he learns to forgive himself. It's not his job to sop up all of your anger and sadness no matter how much of it was his doing. The fact is he hasn't made you be angry. He hasn't made you sad. You gave him the permission to let him make you feel that way. And now where you're at, you're giving the ghost of AP permission to very strong feelings and a ton of energy she doesn't deserve. You're also given you're husband 2 years ago, 3 years ago, 1 year ago, a man who no longer actually exists a whole lot of permission to rob you of positivity, and happiness, and wide eyed faith that things always work out in the end. You've allowed the ghosts of people to steal your softness. Your anger and sadness are completely valid. But you can't allow ghosts to tie you to the past and let you drown in all the heaviness of that time. May, you don't have to let go of it all, but at some point here you do need to start letting go. You need to give your soul a chance to breathe. You're future is completely unwritten and totally within your control.

- As far as the touching. I'm going to tell you what you told me. Why is this so scary? you may need to explore that. Personally I think you're terrified this is April all over again. That being said if he's reaching out let him, and do your best to find away to lean in. I'm still very weirded out when my H does somethings. It takes a few attempts on his part for me to relax and ease back into it. He grabbed my hand while we were driving and pulled it up to his lips and gave my hand a kiss. The first time I cried. The second time I worried. The third time I smiled. And now it's just something we're doing again.

This all takes time. So much time. So many baby steps. And so many leaps of faith. So much pulling apart all that affair PTSD from what is happening now. None of this is easy or intuitive. It so much work individually and together. But you got this my dear. You have it.

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2907118
10/29/20 10:36 PM
10/29/20 10:36 PM
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Oh Wayfarer, I've missed you!! I think of you a lot, you know. I swear when I'm having trouble I think to myself that I need to pull on my inner WF, put my big girl panties on, and move forward.

I really want to hear how things are going with you guys when you have a chance.

I've been thinking a lot about how you got thrown off when H leaned in and why I'm thinking that way now. I think you're totally right that I'm worried we're back where we were before, or that I'm going to start to lean in and open myself back up to getting hurt again. I feel like I'm holding on so fiercely to this "I'll be OK no matter what" and almost living parallel tracks, one where we are on the road to piecing and one where he might just get back in touch with AP tomorrow and then he's out. Or, a year from now he's not over her and I can't stand it anymore and I'm the one to leave. IDK. I can't yet let go of that parallel track, because I am scared to leave it behind in case I still need it.

I've been thinking, though, that maybe what got you through all of this is that you leaned on the "he's leaving" through all of this. You bought into that-- or at least it seemed like you did-- and having that as your expectation seemed like it really helped you to get through the worst of it-- but then it got hard again, in the opposite way, when he started leaning in and you realized OMG he isn't going anywhere after all. Am I interpreting that right? I felt like I did the opposite in the spring-- really believed we were on the path to piecing-- and so this time have been wanting to take a wait and see approach but not let myself be vulnerable. (WWWD, right?) How are you seeing this from where you are right now, looking back?

I'll respond more later... I want to talk about the anger part (I'm also remembering in the spring you were like, where's that anger, May? it is going to swamp you when it finally comes!) and letting go and avoiding R talks for now. I also want to respond to Sage, Kristin, Newbie (missed you!), KC, and Alison-- lots of thoughtful stuff to chew on and parallels to what you're saying. (Sorry I write books on all of this. It is cathartic for me.) i have some very specific assignments from my IC right now that I think are really in great alignment with what all of you are saying.

But I also want to note that I spend a lot of time here (also with my IC) on these conversations and the negative stuff, when it really is only a fraction of our interactions, especially over the past couple of weeks (once the alien went back in his hole). Most of the time, we are doing well, having fun, laughing at each other's stupid jokes. Watching shows together and drinking good beer or homemade cocktails, cooking, doing puzzles with the kids, freaking out about COVID and the election and all the rest. These $hitty conversations happen once or twice a week. And I probably get triggered a handful of times a day, which isn't fun. I *want* to take my power back from the ghost of AP and my H and have total control over my own feelings and happiness... but I'm just not there, yet.

xoxo M


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D11
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
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2907152
10/30/20 02:37 AM
10/30/20 02:37 AM
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Originally Posted by IronWill
So now when the spinning starts - i imagine a giant red STOP sign. Then, these are some of the phrases i repeat to myself:

"You have been over this a thousand times."
"You cannot use logic if someone is being illogical."
"How does this thinking help me? Am i feeling better now?"

IW-- the "stop sign" imagery and self-talk helps. Thank you for sharing this! I remember reading about the stop-sign technique, but it didn't really work for me so far (my brain is like, don't tell me what to do!) but the reasoning piece added on makes a lot of sense to me. I know how you feel with the brain working overdrive, click click clicking away, trying to hit on the right logical answer. Turning it OFF is always a challenge for me.

My IC had me using self-talk when I'm triggered about my feelings, which has been helpful, but more along the lines of self-validation. I like this extension into what to do (or better yet, not do) -- think that will be really helpful for me.

Originally Posted by AlisonUK
Is there a way of you offering your H a bit of what he needs, even intermittently, and you also being able to get a bit of what you need from someone or something other than your husband? Would that make the loop you are in a bit less intense?

I think this idea of self-soothing for MYSELF is what I need to do... and when I can do that, I can also be more forgiving of H in the day-to-day. Zooming out to the 30,000 foot level helps me a lot too. This is what I've been trying to work on with my IC the last few weeks--I just haven't hit on the right solution that helps every time. I can do it sometimes... maybe most of the time... but then once or twice a week I can't and then proceed to dump all my emotional garbage on him, he pushes it right back onto me, and we are back to that same dynamic.

I don't think it has ever been quite as intense as what you describe with your H, but I do agree that the same underlying forces are at work. How much of all this does your H understand? Or is he simply working through this on his own, responding to the boundaries you set up?

Originally Posted by KristinG
I find it also helps to think of the worst case situation and realize that you will still be OK if that happens. The feelings overwhelming you in that moment won't matter when you're through this.

Yes, that is a big difference where I sit today than where I have been at any other point in the journey. As I said to WF above, I wonder a bit if holding onto that narrative in my head is holding me back a bit, though, from also allowing myself to reconnect with my H. (I wonder sometimes if part of me is pushing him away in these interactions specifically to see if he'll go.) What I'm coming to is along Sage's lines-- I need to really embrace that ok-ness deep into my bones, so that I take it with me wherever I go, no matter what happens. That is definitely a WIP. Right now I'm having a hard time holding the parallel futures in my head.

Newbie-- soooo good to hear from you and I'm really glad you're doing well! You might consider posting an update for folks, I know there are newbies who are really in the darkest hardest part right now and hearing a success story about how dropping the rope really worked would be helpful for them. (Also, when I get down I think about you saying AP is TOAST and it makes me smile smile )

KC-- I can forgive him, I know... I talked with my IC about this yesterday, both forgiveness and trust, and working through the gaslighting. I told her that my gut is still to trust him and it is actually my head that stops me and reminds me that maybe I'm being foolish. My natural instinct is to trust and to look for the good in people, including him. I just want to be cautious, this time around, and be sure I'm taking care of myself first and foremost.

Also, while I'm totally open to forgiving him, he's got to be actually sorry first. A few posts ago Alison asked me what I'm looking for from him, and I said a glimmer that he actually feels sorry and empathetic about how I'm feeling when this stuff comes up for me, not just angry that me bringing it up makes him feel bad or guilty or whatever. I just think we have a long ways to go here.

Darling Sage... I heart you so much, you know. Thank you for the poem and your thoughts. I feel such a connection to you, in how we both look at the world, that you sharing this with me is more helpful than you know. It feels like you've moved so quickly into this place of zen detachment (WF had that too... I'm so envious of both of you) ... now what, ten months since WF was in the roughest patch and four since you were there? What am I missing? Knowing you have reached the promised land makes me feel hopeful for myself. But I do feel a little left behind, watching so many friends here grow and move on and here I am (by choice, I know!).

Originally Posted by Sage4
And although it is a good start, I don't think detachment comes from ignoring H's jabs or your triggers. I think that detachment comes from a deep wellspring within YOU. Who are YOU, May? What do you love about yourself, what are you worthy of, what would you say to yourself if you were truly a friend to you? Can you separate your self-worth from your coupledom?

This is exactly where I spent time with my IC yesterday, along with this idea from Wayfarer:

Originally Posted by Wayfarer
And with that deal if you really want to give you two a shot at a future you have to assume some responsibility for that anger and sadness of your own. In they way it's not your job to heal him. To help him get over her. To hold his hand while he learns to forgive himself. It's not his job to sop up all of your anger and sadness no matter how much of it was his doing. The fact is he hasn't made you be angry. He hasn't made you sad. You gave him the permission to let him make you feel that way. And now where you're at, you're giving the ghost of AP permission to very strong feelings and a ton of energy she doesn't deserve. You're also given you're husband 2 years ago, 3 years ago, 1 year ago, a man who no longer actually exists a whole lot of permission to rob you of positivity, and happiness, and wide eyed faith that things always work out in the end. You've allowed the ghosts of people to steal your softness. Your anger and sadness are completely valid. But you can't allow ghosts to tie you to the past and let you drown in all the heaviness of that time. May, you don't have to let go of it all, but at some point here you do need to start letting go. You need to give your soul a chance to breathe. You're future is completely unwritten and totally within your control.


Taking back ownership of my own emotions and healing myself, rather than looking to him to help me. Getting to know myself again, not May the mom or May the wife or May the working professional or May the friend or May the daughter, but ME.

She thinks we're on parallel tracks right now, processing our grief-- his grief over the end of the A, my grief over what I've lost in my marriage and what that all means to me and what I had believed to be true about myself. And neither of us are in a place to help validate or process the other's grief, but until we each work through this we aren't in a place to meet as equals and partners and figure out how to build a new relationship.

For me-- she wants me to address that deep well of ugly, ugly rage inside of me this week. That the rage and the sadness are uncomfortable for me and until I really process those feelings and get through them, I'll stay stuck. I want to reclaim myself and not be angry or hard. I want to love and be loved and let go because that is so much more who I am than this anxious and protective person I am feeling during these triggering moments. I have an enormous amount of rage towards AP (who probably doesn't think of me at ALL, never has, so why I waste time here is mortifying) and once I get through that pile, towards H.

So... any ideas? No rage rooms in my town... I was thinking writing mean letters of all the horrible things I'd want to say to her and burning it? Voodoo dolls? I think some ritual will help me here, especially because I feel so uncomfortable acknowledging how the ugliness of the feelings inside of me.


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D11
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
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2907166
10/30/20 10:56 AM
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Hi may -

I'm glad that technique might be able to help you. It is a work in progress for me, but any deliberate change requires a lot of time to implement, so don't be too hard on yourself if you feel you are occasionally regressing. I fall backwards sometimes. It [censored] but all you have to do is realize you've regressed and it stops the cycle. Then you can take a breath and start again.

I like the idea of writing letters then destroying them as a way of expressing and releasing rage.

When I was in the midst of my time right after BD I was writing furiously in a journal. I was so angry one day that I was pressing the pen so hard into the notebook that the pen broke and spilled ink everywhere. I hurled the book and let out several primal screams. I actually made myself hoarse doing this. Then I cried for half an hour.

Not sure thats the best way to handle things, but its reality and its what happened. I also felt the anger leave immediately.

A couple of notes: i made sure I was far from everyone when I would write in my journal. And I made absolute sure that W saw no evidence of this meltdown.

You will find some "may"-ish way to do this, i am sure.

Take care smile

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2907188
10/30/20 02:59 PM
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Dealing with that rage...oh boy. Well I stand by a rage room for anyone reading this who has one that's operational though this mess. But given what you're working with May, I've had to give it some thought. Hiking alone and screaming in to the abyss. I've done that. Not now but in my youth. Running until my lungs feel like they are on fire thinking about all the horrible things that keep me up at night on my bad days. The writing and burning is a great idea, or writing and burying. The writing I think will give you some closure. The finality of destroying it in some fashion I think will help you to create a doorway, or gate, or chapter end for all of that. I think the ability just word vomit all that's been stirring this whole time is going to go a long way for you. The worst part of DBing is keeping so much in for so long to try to save yourself and your marriage. It's so hard to not want to just dump all of that pain, anger, frustration, and grief on to the WAS/WS. That's something I've been working with my IC on as well. Learning what is and isn't appropriate to say when these big feelings come up in waves and I feel like I'm drowning in it. For me it's a little more complex because I was trained to swallow this stuff from a young age. The only way I know how to advocate for myself is to first detach and then walk away with no going back. Making the choice to stay, and H's decision to turn back in to the marriage is a huge exercise for me to break my ingrained behavior. My fear with H turning back in is rooted in part in here.

Which brings us to the fear with leaning in that you asked. With hindsight I think I walked that parallel path the whole time. Early on because I knew he was convinced he was leaving. And he was. Later on because he wasn't sure if he was leaving. He wasn't. Then more recently because I wasn't sure he was staying or going or honestly if I was. Another piece in that was that I've spent so much of my life being loved when it was a convenience that I felt like he was leaning in because he was using me. I felt that his leaning is was only to fill his needs and none of mine, and I'm so, so tired of being that person. I'm so tired of being a security blanket for adults. I've been that my entire life, and as I near 40 I don't want that in any respect, as something that's happening in my life. His leaning in scared me because if it was genuine what did that mean for me? What kind of power in the situation would I have to give up to allow him back in? Is he going to be willing to do the work to get us to the other side of this? Is this going to happen all over again? Am I stupid? Am I naÔve? Question after question of what it meant if I leaned back in with him. I still worry. I still hear those questions in my head. I probably will for a very long time. However, now I have the ability to remind myself that this is my choice. I can change my mind at anytime. I'm not a passive part of this relationship. I am not a passive participant in my own life. That falling in love, even if it's falling back in love is inherently risky. That these fears are no different than starting a new relationship or dating an ex again. That I always thought the risk was worth it before, and if love comes at the cost of risk that I'm willing to take that chance. That I have been over and over and over again no matter how much I've been hurt.

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2907201
10/30/20 05:31 PM
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May

you don't need to wait for him to be sorry before you can forgive him. Maybe he's waiting for you to understand the SSM and the affect it had on him before he can forgive you. Maybe you're both going to hang about in this spot for ages waiting for someone to go first, and if you carry on looking at it as a transaction, you will both be stuck there forever. He doesn't need to be fully sorry yet, or express it in a way that is meaningful to you yet - but you can still forgive him when you are ready to.

And forgiving him doesn't mean staying married, or being married in any particular way, or that what he did was okay. It just means you forgive him and you're able to move on from where you are now.

But if you want marriage 2.0 then you need to grieve marriage 1 and feel all the feelings you need to about that for as long as you need to feel them. Dumping them on him or waiting for him to soothe them is a distraction.

My experience is this: I had to be really really angry for a long time (you will have noticed this on my thread...!) I needed to be bitter and petty and blame him entirely. It was a stage and I needed to pass through it, and whenever I tried to get my H involved in that stage of my own process, or he tried to get me involved his that stage of his process, we kept each other stuck. The separation worked for us - but maybe for you there is another way. But this is the gate you go through.

Then I worked on understanding. It meant moving past the anger and judgement and actually just understanding - right or wrong - that my H had been lonely, in pain, sad, had lost his own wife and marriage, had wounds from his own childhood, and had acted out in very human ways. It hurt me and it wasn't okay, but I understood it. It stopped me feeling both like a poor put upon victim and also like I had the moral high ground. Relinquishing those comfy positions of un-forgiveness is uncomfortable and necessary. I understood what he had done in this way I think even before he described it to me himself. I think I forgave him, or started to forgive him, before he felt sorry - because he was working on his own anger, and forgiving me (and he was doing that, I think, before I had the understanding of how I had hurt him, or how my own childhood wounds had shown up in the marriage to his detriment). When we get tangled up these days, it's generally over who has the 'right' to feel angry and need to forgive, and those conversations go nowhere. Better to avoid them, for us, and work on being compassionate towards my own anger and compassionate towards the pain that I can understand lay underneath my husband's behaviour. I do hate what he did and I would never tolerate it again. But I understand where it came from. And I do feel compassion for him when he was in that place.

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2907202
10/30/20 05:45 PM
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Quote
I don't think it has ever been quite as intense as what you describe with your H, but I do agree that the same underlying forces are at work. How much of all this does your H understand? Or is he simply working through this on his own, responding to the boundaries you set up?


At the time we were separated, nothing. I think each of us just thought the other was being entirely unreasonable and crazy (he thought that about me) or that they were being deliberately cruel and with-holding (I thought that about him).

When we get into that cycle now, it is much much less intense and we're a little bit better and just backing off and putting some air into the situation. He needs space, I need connection, and I still get a bit annoyed that we have to do SPACE (what he wants = space to be alone and safe from my feelings) before CONNECTION (what I want - evidence that he cares, that he understands, that he feels empathic towards me).

Sometimes I think - okay, I respect that you can't do connection right now, but why can't you understand that I can't do space right now? But that is the way that it is - that's how boundaries work - when he needs space there's not a thing I can or should do about it other than respect that, and he does make efforts to show empathy these days, which is new, and which I need to work on trusting and accepting.

I also understand something I didn't before - which is that my negative feelings have such a strong affect on him because he really, really loves me, he hates me being unhappy, and when I am unhappy his first thought is that he's done something wrong, and is to blame, and then he gets defensive and treats me as if I am blaming him. That's all on him, and it doesn't matter how many times I am telling him that me seeking closeness is not a criticism of him - it's just how he's made - and underneath the blame and lashing out is a heart that is very tender for me, and very vulnerable. I see that in a way I didn't before, when I could only see the lashing out and think what a monster he was (I still think that sometimes!!)

We have discussed this cycle explicitly. I think he does understand it in the same way as I do, and we are able to talk about it as 'here is this thing that happens' rather than 'here are the ways you let me down or don't do what I need in that moment' - taking the blame out of it is a new thing, and really really helpful.

And it still does happen, and when it does, a lot of the older intense feelings bubble up for me, and that's hard for me and for him. But I used to feel this white-hot rage at how CRUEL he was being, and now I am feeling something more along the lines of 'I wish he could give me what I need right now, and I see that he can't, and I feel awful about that but it isn't forever' and that feels much more bearable with and healthy.

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2907214
10/30/20 07:42 PM
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IW, WF.... the primal screams. My IC recommended this too. I just CAN'T! I have started saying things aloud in the car when I'm alone to kind of practice. Why this is so difficult for me is a question all to itself (and stems from my FOO, I'm sure).

Originally Posted by Wayfarer
The worst part of DBing is keeping so much in for so long to try to save yourself and your marriage. It's so hard to not want to just dump all of that pain, anger, frustration, and grief on to the WAS/WS. That's something I've been working with my IC on as well. Learning what is and isn't appropriate to say when these big feelings come up in waves and I feel like I'm drowning in it.

This. Is so true. And the LBS holds this and holds it and holds it while the WAS leaves or waffles or whatever, and it is like this dam straining under the pressure and so, so hard not to let it all go once the WAS starts turning in. But my H is nowhere near ready for that. It pushes him backwards every time, away from me and my too-intense feelings. (Wow, this imagery is making a lot of sense to me.) It also helps me to understand why S is so often helpful-- because I could, for instance, be working on draining that lake without my H around, while he's ideally getting to the place where he could actually handle some of the water that remains and not get swept away in the current. But since that is not the path I've chosen for now, draining that lake is my responsibility and I need to divert it away from the spillway.

After talking it over with my IC, the way I'm thinking about the rage and the sadness is like a toxic layered liquid (the rage is on top of the sadness) that I need to drain away, or maybe like pus that needs to be drained from a wound before it can heal. And I can't even get to any of these next steps until I figure out how to drain it away, and mechanisms for keeping it away once it's been dealt with. Only then can I be ME.

Wayfarer, I thought all night about you saying I'm letting ghosts steal my softness and wide-eyed belief that things always turn out for the best. This hit me hard, really hard. I don't want that. I want some mix of being true to who I am, plus the strength of knowing I'm OK no matter what, that I'm choosing this and can choose differently tomorrow, if I want. "Not being a passive participant in my own life"-- that is terrific and exactly it.

My H always gets on me for being black-and-white and I have never thought I am... but in this scenario I'm seeing it within me. The discomfort I have in holding onto two parallel paths. The feeling, somehow, that strength = walking and staying = being true to my inner hopeful self, and that those two things are at odds... when I don't think they are.

For you Frozen fans... maybe it is all about finding my Frozen 2 Anna.

Originally Posted by AlisonUK
My experience is this: I had to be really really angry for a long time (you will have noticed this on my thread...!) I needed to be bitter and petty and blame him entirely. It was a stage and I needed to pass through it, and whenever I tried to get my H involved in that stage of my own process, or he tried to get me involved his that stage of his process, we kept each other stuck. The separation worked for us - but maybe for you there is another way. But this is the gate you go through.

Then I worked on understanding. It meant moving past the anger and judgement and actually just understanding - right or wrong - that my H had been lonely, in pain, sad, had lost his own wife and marriage, had wounds from his own childhood, and had acted out in very human ways. It hurt me and it wasn't okay, but I understood it. It stopped me feeling both like a poor put upon victim and also like I had the moral high ground. Relinquishing those comfy positions of un-forgiveness is uncomfortable and necessary.

Alison, you have such a clear way of talking about these processes. I don't know that I'm ready to relinquish the moral high ground just yet wink... which is just more evidence that I need to find a way to really work through my anger and pain on my own.

Part of the reason I haven't wanted to S, even though I see the value in many ways, is that I feel a whole new and possibly, for me, overwhelming/unrecoverable wave of pain and betrayal and damage will come from S. Like yet another tidal wave of damage will sweep through and deposit a whole new layer of grief and pain and damage to work through on the other end. And the necessary involvement of the children, adding their fear and pain and confusion to the mix, just seems to me to be too much. If I can deal with this on my own without involving them, I will.

Originally Posted by AlisonUK
I also understand something I didn't before - which is that my negative feelings have such a strong affect on him because he really, really loves me, he hates me being unhappy, and when I am unhappy his first thought is that he's done something wrong, and is to blame, and then he gets defensive and treats me as if I am blaming him. That's all on him, and it doesn't matter how many times I am telling him that me seeking closeness is not a criticism of him - it's just how he's made - and underneath the blame and lashing out is a heart that is very tender for me, and very vulnerable. I see that in a way I didn't before, when I could only see the lashing out and think what a monster he was (I still think that sometimes!!)

My H has said this to me a number of times throughout all of this. Not the "because I really, really love you"... those words haven't fallen from his lips... but that he can't stand seeing me unhappy, he calls it his "Kryptonite" and it is impossible for him to think or behave rationally when he sees me upset. He'll either jump to the fix-it mode or has that exact same train of thought, that he's done something wrong and gets defensive. (As an aside, this feels like a mommy complex thing, and I don't like it.)

In any case, I'm planning on carving out some time for myself this weekend to dedicate to draining my rage pool. Writing, running, screaming. I kind of want to make a ceramic art piece that represents AP and how I feel about her and then smash it into pieces. Not that I have any means of making a ceramic art piece... wondering if raiding my kids' collection of air-dry clay will do. (Don't think it will have that satisfying smash.) Ha!

And... I realized I have buried my own question by posting so much and would really love some feedback on the loving/tactile behaviors. He's really ramped them up and I am like freezing when he touches me-- not because I don't like it but because I'm totally freaked out about it and what it means and all that. (More context a few posts above if you're interested.) I feel I can gently reinforce the acts of service and small thoughtful actions but am at a loss about the touching. And to the extent I *could* reinforce these behaviors or respond in kind, I think it a positive way it could, possibly, be a virtual cycle where we can at least help each other out in a positive way, even when we are unable to deal with each other when we're feeling the harder feelings. (PT is his LL far beyond everything else.) But I'm also freaked out about scaring away the cat. What do I do?


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D11
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
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2907217
10/30/20 07:58 PM
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What I tried to let you know before is I did freeze. But I think that got buried too. I was scared. Even when things started to change and he was clear he wanted to come back into the bed and he absolutely had to tell me he loved me. I was freaked out by the things that I wanted for so long. As far as I know there is no easy fix. It's a lot of internal dialog telling yourself it's ok. That this doesn't mean he's staying or he's going. It just means he wants to hold your hand. He wants to text I love you. He wants to come up behind you and wrap his arms around you. Taking the gestures for face value and appreciated them for face value. For context H started with his LL acts of service. And eventually leaned into mine PT. What's happening could be a thaw. Something he had put on ice before, and now he doesn't want it on ice any more. The only thing you can do is lean in and see what happens. You won't spook him if you match his energy, or stay just a half step below. What tends to spook them from what I've seen is not matching the energy and the LBS falling all over themselves for these little lean ins. My worry for you is if you don't push through and keep freezing at his touch he's going to get all in his head about you and the SSM. It's going to be uncomfortable. It's going to feel unnatural. Not like when you first start dating like it's easy. All of it comes with a lot of heavy stuff, but you just kind of have to be in the moment. Not worry about the last or the next and just try to meet him where he's at.

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2907221
10/30/20 08:58 PM
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I'd do what is natural and honest, May. I thought it was very strange and unhealthy that you'd pretend to be asleep when he'd initiate sex with you, and that you'd both agree not to have sex but also be having sex. If he initiates touch or sex and you want to reciprocate, then go ahead. If you don't want to, then you can decline gracefully. If you want to say something like 'I'd really like to see where this takes us, but I feel afraid and I am nervous about your expectations' then go ahead, or just process that yourself, don't over think, and in every single moment either say yes or say no, move towards or move away, depending on what is honest for you in that moment.

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2907261
10/31/20 04:31 AM
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Originally Posted by AlisonUK
thought it was very strange and unhealthy that you'd pretend to be asleep when he'd initiate sex with you, and that you'd both agree not to have sex but also be having sex. If he initiates touch or sex and you want to reciprocate, then go ahead. If you don't want to, then you can decline gracefully.

I know it sounds crazy. He says he's asleep in the times that he initiates in the middle of the night, that he isn't fully awake when it happens. He is uncomfortable with this and so am I-- he doesn't like not feeling in control. It isn't like he's verbalizing anything... it is more that he touches me and I know I could move it in one direction by responding. If I don't respond by pretending to be asleep, his hand falls away after a very short time and I think it was just like a waking dream and he rolls over. Sometimes, I've waited and he clearly wakes up and continues and then I will either respond if I feel like it or, if I don't, I'll taken his hand and firmly placed it off of my body and that is my way of saying no, not now.

Also, this should show you how infrequently we generally touch... and this was the case during the SSM too... that a touch of his hand on my leg or stomach-- not exactly party town-- equals him initiating. This isn't what I want in my life in the long term, by any means, but it is our starting place. And there is a long history of me FREEZING when this happened, the dread knotting in my stomach, trying to figure out what to say to him to avoid it escalating. I feel awful for both of us even putting myself back in that position mentally. (And since both you and WF are the HD partners, you guys are probably like whaaaat is she even talking about???)

In any case, he has zero recollection of any of this when he wakes up if nothing happens. Zero. So maybe it is avoidance on my part, but simply not responding in these moments feels like my best course of action, sometimes, especially given our history.

The agreeing not to have sex but sometimes doing it feels a little like we're "breaking the rules" and being naughty and having fun together. Our IC has said to both of us individually she thinks adding sex to the mix with everything else going on is not a good idea, so it has a little of the thumbing your nose at the authority figure there. IDK. It doesn't bother me, and we haven't had a situation where I feel like I've hurt his feelings in saying no, yet, or that I feel pressured into saying yes. It has been fun and uncomplicated and like breaks from all the other heavy stuff. I guess in my mind we will get to a place (if we do) where we're piecing, and then we will talk about the SSM and how we want to handle reestablishing physical intimacy between us in a deliberate way, and these little interludes are like mini vacations from real life that don't count.

Regarding the non-sexual touching... I'd like to respond. I want so badly to, but my natural instinct is to freeze right now because it is so unusual, I'm wondering what it means, I'm wondering it I'm opening myself up to be hurt again, all those things run through my head and then I've missed the opportunity to respond naturally in the moment. I'm also scared of spooking him-- like you say, WF. I think keeping a step below his energy is key, and just trying to reciprocate, if I can and want to, and see how that goes.

Wayfarer, I also think accepting that he's doing any of this because he *wants to* feels so unusual to me, because I've totally internalized what he's said to me about not being in love with me, etc. So I'm having a hard time believing he wants this, he must have some reason, which might be "trying" which might be OK but not that he actually feels that way. Is that how you felt?

Thanks, both. I really appreciate your thoughtful responses. This is hard and I feel like I'm working through a LOT this week.


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D11
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
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2907266
10/31/20 09:56 AM
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You are working through such a lot, May. And it doesn't all have to be worked through in one go, or this week.

This really jumped out at me from one of your previous posts:

Quote
My H has said this to me a number of times throughout all of this. Not the "because I really, really love you"... those words haven't fallen from his lips... but that he can't stand seeing me unhappy, he calls it his "Kryptonite" and it is impossible for him to think or behave rationally when he sees me upset. He'll either jump to the fix-it mode or has that exact same train of thought, that he's done something wrong and gets defensive. (As an aside, this feels like a mommy complex thing, and I don't like it.)


This dynamic I am talking about that went between me and H was set in place LONG before his EA and our really really terrible time, but when he had actually done something that wasn't okay, and I had every right to be angry, he had no ability at all to hear that, to be with me, to comfort me and accept me being angry. This is on him - and I have also wondered if it's a mummy issue (he tells me his mother was critical and cold and often angry and impossible to please - that's his perception of his childhood and his primary relationship with a woman...)

I think I had to just let H feel all that and get out of the way when his feelings about that resulted in some pretty unpleasant behaviour. It is all on him. And it might be one of his flaws and weaknesses that we have to build our marriage around: I've got my own childhood wounds, and we are who we are, and marriage (I hope) can work well even if the two people in it are human and imperfect.

With the freezing around physical touch - maybe that is something that you need to work on privately. I have had that experience myself, even as the HD partner. When H came back and he was initiating more, I really struggled to respond, but felt I couldn't NOT respond, or he'd never ask again, and I felt scared and angry and resentful and a bit of 'who do you think you are?' thrown in. And I blamed him for a lot of those feelings. I did feel sexually broken for a while, and that is was his fault. Now I think I was scared, and not ready to be vulnerable, and he was doing his best but he was scared too, and that resulted in some quite awkward attempts to initiate.

Do you believe your husband is actually asleep when he initiates? I think you're pretending to be asleep so you don't have to say yes or no, and he's pretending to be asleep so he doesn't actually have to initiate. I could be wrong, but that strikes me as two people who are terrified, but who also really want to get close.

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2907267
10/31/20 10:56 AM
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I am going to ask you a tough question. A really tough question. You donít have to answer if you donít want.

Is there any other reason aside from the kids that you are trying to make this work? If you didnít have kids would you try? Or would you be out that door and never looking back?

Do you love him?

Re: A day at a time [Re: Ginger1] #2907305
10/31/20 09:14 PM
10/31/20 09:14 PM
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may22 Offline OP
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hi Alison,

That dynamic between my H and me has existed forever, too. It is only since this crisis unfolded, though, that we've talked about it and I have a better understanding about what is happening. Before, I thought he was just acting like a jerk. He is a mama's boy for sure-- chats with his mom on the phone nearly every day-- but she is generally kind and supportive, not critical (that would more be my mother). Regardless, he has a hard time disappointing the women in his life, and I include AP in that. He also has a hard time when we disagree generally, even if it isn't a fight. He wants us to be on the same page all the time. This whole we can't get divorced unless we both agree it is the best thing for him to run off and live with his AP is the same dynamic, just taken to a truly bizarre degree.

Anyway, I do believe this stems from a deep well of care/love, and a vulnerability and insecurity about disappointing me (or his mom or AP. He told me the hardest thing about breaking it off with her was disappointing her, feeling that he'd let her down, he'd led her to believe something that now wasn't going to happen, did this mean he'd caused her to waste three years of her life aged 31-34, barf, blah blah blah). With me, he's talked about it in terms of our relationship and how he feels about me, or what I mean to him, but not like he loves me soooooo much. I feel I could be more empathetic about it all if he said it that way.... but it is still his problem that he needs to deal with and I am trying to just understand it is happening when it does but not cater to it or freak out in return. And, most of the air goes out of all of it when I don't respond to his defensiveness by getting defensive in return.

Originally Posted by AlisonUK
Do you believe your husband is actually asleep when he initiates? I think you're pretending to be asleep so you don't have to say yes or no, and he's pretending to be asleep so he doesn't actually have to initiate. I could be wrong, but that strikes me as two people who are terrified, but who also really want to get close.

Oh god. This made me cry. I don't know. I've never questioned it when he says he is still asleep when this happens. At first I thought it was because his unconscious self had forgiven me for sexually 'breaking' him before his conscious self did. I do know that I can nearly always predict when it is going to happen before we go to sleep. There is sexual tension between us, whether he wants to admit it or not, and while some nights it happens without me knowing it would when I went to bed, I've been 100% accurate when I think as I'm getting ready for bed that it will happen tonight. No false positives. I'm going to need to sit on this.

Originally Posted by Ginger1
I am going to ask you a tough question. A really tough question. You donít have to answer if you donít want.

Is there any other reason aside from the kids that you are trying to make this work? If you didnít have kids would you try? Or would you be out that door and never looking back?

Do you love him?

Ginger, I do love him. I spent a lot of time on this early on-- is this relationship worth saving, the one between the two of us, not just the family unit? Is he a good person who screwed up or just an a-hole?

The thing is... he's my best friend and I'm his. He's my person. That is what has made this all so devastating-- I never in a million years would have believed he could have done this, the one person I trusted more than anyone else in the world, the one person I believed would always, always have my back.

There have been times in our relationship, though, that my love for him calcified under layers of resentment. I think if I had found out about the affair during the first year of it, I would have gone full scorched-earth D on him and never looked back. As luck (or non-luck) had it, I went through a process where I accepted my own contributions to our R problems and forgave him for his part, not knowing yet about the A, and rediscovered my love for him.

All that being said... while I do love him, if it weren't for the kids, I would have walked. Absolutely. There is zero reason to go through all this struggle if it weren't for those two girls. And not just for them, but for myself, and my identity as a mother and my desire to spend as much time with them as I can, even beyond wanting to give them a happy and functional two parent household if it is within my power to do so. I could find another love, I'm confident of that. But that person wouldn't be the father of my children, and if I can make it work with him, I will. I believe we have the ingredients to make it work if we both want it-- friendship, love, general compatibility.


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D11
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
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2907308
10/31/20 11:37 PM
10/31/20 11:37 PM
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CWarrior Online
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Happy Halloween! Wishing you and DH are able to enjoy your holidays, despite lingering issues.


May'19 - separation. | Dec'19, Oct'20, Jan'21 - painful breakups. | Jan'21 - freedom!
"We the ones who play hard, we live hard, we love hard, we light up the dark." -- Kesha

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2907683
11/04/20 09:16 PM
11/04/20 09:16 PM
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Hi May, how are you holding up?

I can't help but feel like the current election climate is a metaphor for life at the moment: patience, patience, patience. Covid: patience, patience, patience. And our relationships: patience, patience, patience. This is all really too GD much patience for my 'take-charge and get it done swiftly' personality. I am struggling under the weight of it all, but have nothing left to do but just be... patient. Sigh.

I have been thinking about zen and finding loving compassion towards H. You quoted this on my thread:

Originally Posted by may22
So I am struggling a bit here to reconcile these two things-- empathy for him and -- I don't know what emotion is tied to the way he's treated me. Anger, I guess. Frustration. I think I need to do some loving-kindness meditation practice, maybe.


Can I ask an existential question? Are you motivated to find loving-kindness because first and foremost you think that would be good for your R and/or H?

Emotionally evolved people like yourself might immediately respond 'of course not! It's for my sake, I want to be an enlightened human.' This is a place I was living for a long while. I should be more kind and accepting, I should have less feelings/anger/sadness, I should be more compassionate, I should be more zen. But it was kind of superficial if I really dug into it. I wanted to do those things for somewhat selfish reasons: I wanted my H to love me again, I wanted my M back, I wanted things to go back to 'normal'. I wanted to be enlightened. I wanted to be 'bigger' or 'better' than H.

Compassionate, loving kindness wasn't blooming within me from the inside-out; uncontainable, naturally overflowing onto others. It was something I was trying to apply externally. And therefore of limited supply.

You have done way more work on yourself in the zen/mediation practice than I have, so you may come back to this and say 'no, it is authentic and uncontainable.' Beautiful.

I found that I had to experience a lot of other emotional releases before the authentic compassion flows freely. Anger? Frustration? Sadness? We are societally constructed to believe those are 'bad' emotions and must be swiftly executed. But when I really sat with my sadness, or my anger without judgement, just feeling those emotions and letting them take me where they will, I was able to let them move on naturally without a fight.

This was a huge part of my process towards detachment: I had spent so much time with each of those emotions, I was no longer afraid of them, they couldn't control me any longer. They gave up their real estate within me and that allowed the space for compassion to blossom.

And before I come across as too preachy perfect, I had a HUGE bloom of rage this morning that came out of nowhere (haha, who are we kidding: elections? homeschool burnout? being a LBS?). I almost cancelled H coming over to the watch the kids while I took one to the dentist because I was afraid of what I might say or do to him. But I let that anger take me over for a moment, it went to some really, really dark places and then just when I thought it would be there forever, it moved on.

This is a really, really long way of saying that I believe it is OK to feel anger and frustration and sadness, that they are cultivars of compassion. And those emotions won't hinder your growth or the blossoming of M 2.0, unless any of them take permanent residence in your soul. So maybe make friends with them and witness their value as equal to compassionate kindness?

You are amazing, here's hoping we don't have to wait too patiently for at least one positive answer in our country wink

xx

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2907769
11/06/20 01:27 AM
11/06/20 01:27 AM
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may22 Offline OP
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Thanks, CW, Sage! CW, we had a really cozy and fun Halloween with pinatas and scary movies and all the candy the kids wanted. smile

Hi Sage,

Oh yes, patience, keeping a lid on my bubbling rage (for aaaaalllll the things), and staying up late watching the election returns realizing that none of any of this is under my control... I guess I have had practice over the past year. So many things to worry about right now it is like my brain can't really keep up. And I also far prefer to get my checklist out and get some $hit done, so this whole letting go-patience-zen thing is hard for me.

Originally Posted by Sage4
Can I ask an existential question? Are you motivated to find loving-kindness because first and foremost you think that would be good for your R and/or H?

No, I'm really not... though it isn't because I am an enlightened human. It is purely selfish because I hate feeling this way. I don't like being motivated by anger, or having these feelings of rage and frustration and sadness inside of me. I look ay my H and I just don't know how to knit all the different feelings I have towards him together. He's a proven liar and cheater, though I do believe he isn't lying and cheating any more. He treated me like cr@p. He was ready to throw away our life together like a used napkin. He was ready to completely disrupt the children's lives and break up their family out of selfishness, though he told himself it was out of love. Which makes me want to vomit. And yet. This person is the man I vowed to love through thick and thin. The father of my children. My best friend. How do I reconcile all of those things? How and when do I open my heart back up? When will I know it is safe?

I read your thread's, and WF's, and IW and DnJ's, and I am so envious of that feeling of loving detachment. I guess I care less about feeling compassionate towards him than I do about letting go of the hurt and the anger inside of me. I'm also dealing with the feelings around AP, and the rage is much much more pointed with her, either because all I know about her is she's a wannabe homewrecker who did her very best for two and a half years to break up my family, or because it is easier to hate her than hate my H. Probably a combination of the two.

So, compassion and loving kindness currently take up no real estate within me. They are not authentically overflowing towards others. I just want to have those feelings take up residence and kick out the ugly ones. Not out of hope for my R, but selfishly, for myself.

Originally Posted by Sage4
I found that I had to experience a lot of other emotional releases before the authentic compassion flows freely. Anger? Frustration? Sadness? We are societally constructed to believe those are 'bad' emotions and must be swiftly executed. But when I really sat with my sadness, or my anger without judgement, just feeling those emotions and letting them take me where they will, I was able to let them move on naturally without a fight.

This was a huge part of my process towards detachment: I had spent so much time with each of those emotions, I was no longer afraid of them, they couldn't control me any longer. They gave up their real estate within me and that allowed the space for compassion to blossom.

This is really so helpful to me and Alison said something similar, about having to sit in the anger and process it before being able to move on. I think this is where I am, though the processing of it is so, so difficult for me. I didn't do so well on my IC assignment of feeling the rage and letting it move through me... instead it turned into an uncontrollable forest fire. I made the mistake of journaling on election night after my H went to bed, pouring all my ugly feelings out onto paper, and ended up waking up my H and interrogating him about AP, whether he was still in contact with her, whether he wanted to, etc. It was pretty bad and we got in a big fight, both saying things to hurt the other, and ended up with about 2 hours of sleep. Of course this was also all fueled by my election night anxiety (probably like your own rage bloom) and I should have avoided it... but it was not good. We had makeup sex and I felt icky about it afterwards.

In the morning, he woke me up and said a lot of really positive things to me, apologizing for going off the handle the night before, that he loves me, I'm his best friend, he is getting over AP, he knows there is progress and his feelings for her are fading. We're in this catch-22 where what he wants of me is to be his partner and best friend and to be building our M back up now, because that helps him get over AP. Whereas I don't feel I can give him that authentically right now, not until she's completely out of the picture and the thought of her embarrasses him. (IDK why that is the image I want, him grossed out at the idea of her, just like I am.) I told him I don't want to have sex with him for now. It isn't good for me. Not while she's still ghosting about our R, in his mind or mine. He said okay. I feel strongly enough about this that I don't think I'm going to have any trouble enforcing it. It isn't serving me right now and I feel strongly that I don't want to screw around with my fledgling re-interest in sex by sleeping with an H who hasn't fully extracted his heart from another woman. (And TBH I think all the discussion on this thread about it helped me to crystallize this, so thanks to all of you. I realized I care less about the previous SSM and his fear of going back there than I do about my own relationship with sex and desire, and while it was helpful for me for awhile to engage with him to prove I had it in me, I got through that part and no longer need to prove anything.)

My IC said she thinks it is a good thing I'm processing this anger and sadness, now, and that my anger is righteous and I need to own that and not apologize for it. That my H doesn't feel truly remorseful because he has been protected from any real consequences from his actions (beyond "losing" AP).

I think I want to hang onto my anger, at least a little bit of it, to use if I need it in the future. IC thinks it gives me a measure of emotional safety, the anger as a wall to prevent me from being vulnerable. And, the emotional trauma is part of that too. I love how you put it, Sage-- letting yourself process those feelings until they didn't scare you any more and they didn't control you anymore. I really really don't want to let them take up residence in my soul. I'm scared of that, letting this whole thing fundamentally change me for the worse. More to process, I think. I wish I knew when I could start to feel safe again letting myself open up to believing it might all really work out with H.


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D11
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
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2907798
11/06/20 03:21 PM
11/06/20 03:21 PM
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May, reading this I was both genuinely happy for you that you are sitting in your anger and unleashing it a bit instead of eating it and also genuinely worried about your expectations and how this is manifesting. Your anger is more than righteous. H and AP deserve all the fire you're feeling in their respective directions. 2+ years is a long, long time to be betrayed and deceived. It's long, long time to be fighting against demons you can't see. And now, now you can see it all so clearly. But hindsight my dear is 20/20 and you can't go back and change the past. You can't catch on faster. He can't stop sooner. AP can't get out of your lives any faster. Everything that has happened, has happened. It is what it is, and there is no going back. You can't expect H to get over AP faster. You can't expect H to be disgusted by her. You can't single handedly determine if and when AP is no longer influencing your relationship with H to your liking. You can't pick fights in the middle of the night because you're enraged. I'm sorry my dear you're entitled to your anger, but you aren't entitled to forcing H into the middle of your process. It is no more his job to deal with your rage as it is your job to help him get over AP. The boundaries you two have around this stuff are incredibly hazy and IMHO a huge detriment to the two of you moving forward in either direction.

AP is trash. I will never disagree with that. Someone who knows full well what she's doing to a marriage and children and does it anyway is a garbage person. H was selfish and immature and frankly lazy, just so wrapped up in his own mess that he chose to look outside the MR to fix what wasn't right instead of the looking inward and toward the MR. Those are undisputed facts. And frankly you don't need to feel one iota of compassion for people who are that disgustingly selfish. However, if you want to work on this marriage. If you want to heal and move forward. You can't just sit in the anger and loose it upon the world. My dear, at some point here you have to find forgiveness. Real, true forgiveness. For H, for AP and for yourself.

May, I'm sorry but I still think there is a whole lot of anger at yourself wrapped up in all of this. I know how bright you are. How grounded you are. How centered you are most of the time and being bulldozed with this stuff upsets not only what you thought your MR was, what your future was but a huge chunk of your identity. I think a huge part of the reason I've been able to take a such a 30,000 ft view is because I learned a long time ago allowing bad thing to happen to me, figuring it out way too late isn't about me. However, I spent a very long time wrestling with the idea that things like this were a good chunk my fault. Not in childish idea of "oh this is all my fault." But being genuinely upset with myself for being naÔve, for not catching on to intent and motive faster, for letting myself believe in the good in people, for being so stupid, or so soft. For allowing people to use me, mistreat me, to fool me. I know how intelligent I am, how pathetic was I to allow this happen? I think we all end up wondering if we are actually that stupid, that unlovable, that unworthy, and those questions shake what we thought what we knew about ourselves to the core. It's why so much time in the DBing process is spent building yourself back up again. Finding you. Worrying about you. You become unshakable and much more tethered to your identity again when you separate the crisis from who you are. I think it would behoove you to take some time not just writing out your frustrations and playing the blame game, but to genuinely try to take an outsiders perspective and dig into what is really fueling all of this fire. Detangling all of that is going to go a long way in moving forward from this alone or with H.

Also to be clear, I don't think you need to rush to forgiveness, or blow through your negative emotions on this, but at some point here you will need to be the one calling the shots not your feelings. Please understand forgiveness isn't for them. It isn't for them to wipe the slate clean or to be absolved of all their sins. Forgiveness is about making peace with the things you can't change and simply letting all of that heaviness and heartache go, because it doesn't serve you. Because AP and the whole A living rent free in your brain doesn't serve you or your future goals. Because holding on to H not crawling back the way you would've liked or letting AP go on your time table doesn't serve you or your future goals. Because allowing your identity to be shaky in light of all of this doesn't serve you. Forgiveness is a cleansing. A ritual. It closes the doors on things that we may never get the closure on that we want or deserve. It puts us firmly in the driver seat of what we allow to affect us as well as the future of our journey. Forgiveness isn't forgetting. It isn't a cease fire, or a lock box to shove everything into. Forgiveness is a path to moving on that is healthy for you. Neither of them deserve your forgiveness, but you, your heart, your soul and your mind deserve the weight of all this being lifted from you. Forgiveness is a totally selfishly motivated act. It's also the step in the path towards loving kindness.

Reconciling what he did and what he wants now takes time. It takes time on both your parts. And the fact is you may never reconcile them. You may very well have to walk away from this marriage because you can't. But you can't even begin to reconcile those things until you start letting go. Your H the man who stands before you now is not H from 10 years ago. He's not H from 2 years ago. He's not H from 6 months ago. May you're not the May from 10 years ago or 2 years ago or 6 months ago. That's why they call this stuff M 2.0. You aren't the same people. This isn't the same relationship. This is truly starting over. Like a brand new boyfriend, you have to re-learn the ins and outs and he's going to have to learn the new May, and you're going to have to redevelop the dynamics of your relationship, and re-build trust. If you want to move forward you can't keep trying to make this restart fit inside the last game played. I know day to day most days are good days. I know day to day most days are normal, relatively happy, functioning family days. But you've both been so enmeshed in each other's process have you guys ever drawn clear lines where the old relationship ends the new reality begins and the demarcation where M 2.0 lies on the horizon? My H isn't a big talker. So that conversation was one that was never had even though we both started the process. He just stopped doing the stuff he new bothered me and started doing things to make me happy, and I reciprocated. We've since sat down and chatted about how we'd like to be in this new version of us. How we'd like to function for and with each other. Knowing how much he wants to build something better and stronger took us a long way from "ok we're going to try to make this work" to "we're making this work." I know you are doing a ton of work to find your footing after all this trauma, but how much work are you guys putting in to re-build and re-start? Could focusing on that effort in times of anguish, anger, and stress help alleviate some of the bubbling emotions? I don't know, my dear. I know you come here in times of pain so were missing chapters upon chapters of good days. I just worry because I know what you want and I want you to get that if you think that's what's best for you and the little ones.

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2908177
11/10/20 09:30 PM
11/10/20 09:30 PM
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Hi Wayfarer,

I've been think a lot on what you've posted, both here and on your own thread. A few things are surfacing for me. I'm having doubts right now about my ability to stand, the possibility that this is going to work out and we'll actually ever get to piecing. I had always looked at you and your sitch for inspiration... if WF can do this, so can I. And your H seemed even farther gone than mine at the beginning.

But now I don't know if this is the case at all. It seems like your H had a little MLC fantasy blip. Rewound to a younger version of him and an old family friend. Pretended to himself that this is what he wanted and jumped all the way inÖ but it was never real. He had to take pills to get it up with her, FFS! And she was the one to break down the fantasy for him.

Whereas my H led a full-on double life for two years and planned his escape the whole time. Sex with her was staring into each others eyes ML. She telling him everything he ever wanted to hear, how amazing and smart he was, how much she loved him and desired him every hour of every day. And he just said so much $hit to me about how he felt about her that Iím having the hardest time having faith in the future of our MR, right now. Now Iím feeling that my H was waaaay farther gone than yours, even though his AP lived so far away. And his stubbornness and insecurity and pride are all barriers to him ever doing the work to get through this.

We got in a stupid fight again the other night. He said something slightly rude, I lost my $hit. In the morning he apologized profusely. Weíre both scared this is M1.0 rearing its head again. I told him I felt like I was able to give him what heís asking for now in the springó optimism and trust and all the restóbut after he broke that trust TWICE I just canít do it now. He said, youíre telling me your window was open then and now it is shut. And I wasnít ready then, even if I said I was. My window was shut but now itís open. Why canít you open your window? It seems like the only way forward. I said, I donít know. Maybe in a few months Iíll feel safe enough to do it. I really donít feel I can, right now, until I feel AP is gone forever.

Originally Posted by wayfarer
2+ years is a long, long time to be betrayed and deceived. It's long, long time to be fighting against demons you can't see. And now, now you can see it all so clearly. But hindsight my dear is 20/20 and you can't go back and change the past. You can't catch on faster. He can't stop sooner. AP can't get out of your lives any faster. Everything that has happened, has happened. It is what it is, and there is no going back.

This is where Iím sitting right now. I know youíre right. But I am going over and over in my head all these things that happened especially during the first year of the A and realizing I was living a lie and I didnít even know it. How foolish and naive I was. The anger is still there, heavy and overwhelming, but there is a deep and profound sadness too and that feels overwhelming in its own way. Maybe like Sage I can just feel these feelings and be okay with them for now. It is just hard.

And while he is leaning in in some ways, heís still doing his best to avoid really taking responsibility for his actions. There has been progress hereó he no longer bounces directly to the SSM. But it is still there, unspoken but I see it in his body language, his justification for behaving the way he did. heís tied himself up in knots about not being able to believe that what he did was really all that wrong because that means heís a bad person, unworthy of forgiveness. He doesnít like to see me feeling badly or angry because it makes him feel guilty and he doesnít like feeling that way. We talked about an aspect of the A the other day that I was thinking about and upset about, and H said, Iím really sorry. That was unfair of me. I was likeÖ unfair. Unfair is such a weak word for what it really was. It is like the palest of pink when weíre talking about deep, blood red. Even using a word like ďunfairĒ undermines the gravity of what you did. It shows me that you donít get it, at all. He listened, he didnít argue or bounce over to the SSM, but I know he really doesnít GET IT, yet. And maybe he never ever will.

Originally Posted by wayfarer
You can't expect H to get over AP faster. You can't expect H to be disgusted by her. You can't single handedly determine if and when AP is no longer influencing your relationship with H to your liking. You can't pick fights in the middle of the night because you're enraged.

Youíre right. I know youíre right. I just hate being in this place right now. Iím angry with him and frustrated with myself. I have no control over his path. I want to feel safe and I feel I canít until her ghost is gone. I canít stand giving her any bandwidth in my head and yet sheís there.

Originally Posted by wayfarer
I think it would behoove you to take some time not just writing out your frustrations and playing the blame game, but to genuinely try to take an outsiders perspective and dig into what is really fueling all of this fire. Detangling all of that is going to go a long way in moving forward from this alone or with H.

okay. I think youíre right on this too. (of course you are.) IC also wants me to focus on ďdeepening the relationship with myself.Ē I asked her what that means and she said doing things just for me, focusing on what I need and want and feeding myself those things.

I donít want to make COVID excuses but it is just so hard without any outlets. A year ago I could go out with friends or get a massage. Go to yoga. My friend thinks I should take up something really physical like kickboxing but nothing like that is available in my areaó IC thinks martial arts, same issue. I thought about buying a punching bag (which Scout had suggested long long ago) but I felt like H would be so triggered by me using itÖ it isnít like walking out the door to go to the gym where I could take out my anger in peace. Heíll hear every punch. But you know what? I bought one last night. So maybe this will help.

I was reading about the stages of grief on someone elseís thread and it was interesting in that bargaining and anger were reversed from the model Iím used to, and I see how that fits my path much betteró shock, denial, bargaining, anger, sadness, acceptance. Iím in anger and I sense the sadness just beyond. The only way through this is through it. It isnít fun work to do but Iím feeling that a lot of the self-care and calming mechanisms Iíve relied on throughout this were just bandaids to paper over the wound. I need to drain it. But the process sure is painful.

IC said to me yesterday in order for a couple to heal from an affair, the betrayer needs to be fully remorseful and take full responsibility for his actions. The victim needs to be able to see a way to forgiveness. Did I see potential for either of those two things? I said, I wouldnít be here if I didnítÖ but we arenít there yet. She asked me what I could do to support H in the remorse and forgiveness part (trick question)ó I said nothing, his work to do. She said, yes. Still need to let go and let God.

I do think I can forgive. I am just scared to let myself go there. And I want to see the work on his side before I take that step.

Itís hard. Today he wanted to talk. Said heís having a hard time with my distrust and anger. That he feels we were on top of a building, at the very edge, a couple of months ago. Now weíve walked down two stories but you are acting like we are still at the very edge. I said, I canít read your mind, and for two and a half years there were things happening that I didnít know about. The affair. You still being in touch with her in the spring when you said you werenít. So OK, in your mind we are two stories down. I just canít take your word for it. I want to be two stories down too, but I just donít know if youíre telling me the truth.

He said, then ask me to leave. If you donít trust me, ask me to leave. This will never work without trust. It is really hard to tell you Iím here, Iím not going anywhere, sheís gone, she isnít coming back, and knowing you donít believe me. You're not looking at the evidence right in front of your eyes. I'm here. I never left. If I didn't want to be here, I would have gone. Iím not actively in love with her anymore. (Note, this is the first time Iíve heard this. Previously he has said his feelings are ďfading.Ē But I also think ďactivelyĒ is a wiggle word. I didnít engage on it, though.) But I canít tell you I hate her and I donít know that I ever will nor do I want to. Iím trying to keep going down the stairs together and youíre pulling backwards.

I said, I am trying to trust you. he said, youíre hedging. Which is true, and I think to be expected.

Originally Posted by wayfarer
If you want to move forward you can't keep trying to make this restart fit inside the last game playedÖ.I know you are doing a ton of work to find your footing after all this trauma, but how much work are you guys putting in to re-build and re-start? Could focusing on that effort in times of anguish, anger, and stress help alleviate some of the bubbling emotions?

Maybe. Probably. I fear that without it, we just fall back into the grooves of how we interacted before and that is a slow train to M1.0 all over again. Weíve been talking about doing what you suggested, carving out time each week reserved for talking about this stuff. Maybe seeing a MC again. Setting down ground rules for how we treat each other while we both work through our own processes. He told me the other night he so many things have been on hold and he wants to build the life he wants to live and he wants to build it together with me, but Iím holding back.

I guess I feel first and foremost my duty to myself is to process the anger and the sadness in healthy chunks so that it doesnít overwhelm me or prevent me from parenting or work. Second priority is to refocus on me, reestablish this relationship with myself as IC has said. (That work seems less clear to me.) Third priority is to figure out how I do all of the above without damaging what R my H and I do have together at the moment, and preserving the opportunities in the future. Do I just do my best to trust him and move forward? Do I stay where I am and wait and see? Reading about all the sitches here makes me feel that answer is clearÖ wait and see, then wait some more. I just worry about our windows closing if I hold back for too long.


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D11
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
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2908185
11/10/20 10:54 PM
11/10/20 10:54 PM
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Oh May - where you are is hard, but I do think you are where you need to be.

I can share some experience with you? H and I don't really talk about his EA anymore (and I do acknowledge in the scale of infidelity, his was small potatoes compared to what your H has put you through - that offence to your marriage and wound in your heart.) I'm satisfied I know all I need to know, and I am satisfied he is behaving absolutely faithfully to me today. But if we both told our stories about that time, they'd be different. H would use words like 'unfair' and 'not having my needs met' and those are true stories for him. And I'd use stories like 'feeding your ego' and 'you had other options' and 'you felt comfortably lying to me' and those are true stories for me. I don't think our stories will ever totally match, and I am not sure that is necessary for healing. He knows how much it hurt and why it hurt, and I think I do understand a bit of what was happening for him at the time and why it was linked to how he was experiencing our marriage at the time. I think we both have blind spots, and the choice was fairly clear - I could either accept his view, and require him to accept mine, we could agree on that, and work on a new marriage where we could care for our relationship in such a way that we'd never slide back to that place again. Or we could keep on arguing, forever, that he'd never understand exactly why and how it was so painful to me, and I'd never understand how he felt he had no other options. So we left it behind, and I do think my heart has left it behind too. I don't know if that is the healthiest or the best way to do it - I talked about it a lot in IC and we never have productively in MC (though I am open to that happening someday if we need to) and I don't feel I am in denial or suppressing anything in order to stay in my marriage.

And all that is heart work. The action that follows heart work could have been us divorcing, and me deciding that I didn't want to be open to trusting him again (that is a work in progress, but I do want to try) and that would have been a good decision if it was the one I needed to take.

I wonder, May, if you need to accept that there are aspects of your experience - as a woman, as a mother, as a friend, in your professional and creative and spiritual life, and in your healing from this terrible wound - that he isn't going to understand because he isn't you. There's always a kind of existential privacy inside marriage, and I can't help but wonder if you are stuck because you are expecting him to understand your pain and anger in a way that just isn't possible. Maybe instead of asking him to get up close to it and really see it, your job is to get up close and see it very closely for yourself? Perhaps that is what your IC was getting at? You can ask him to respect that, and you can also - perhaps - respect that there are aspects of his experience you won't ever know or understand. And that is where trust comes in. Trust yourself first, then you will know if you want to learn to trust him or not very clearly.

I also - and this might be left-field - wonder if you need some kind of ending-ritual. He never moved out. You never ended your marriage, and you have not yet begun your new marriage. I am not suggesting anything as public as a divorce or a vow renewal, and this might not even have to involve your H. But I am remembering how affected you were by him throwing out all those old trinkets and letters - the ritual and action of that. Is there something you can do - some skin-on-action - that is about ending that old marriage? Really burning it down and getting rid of it? Clearing the decks for something new - whatever that might look like, either you alone or together? Maybe in time you'll have some kind of reconnecting ritual (a friend who went through something similar threw her wedding ring off a bridge and a few months later, accepted a new one from her H - maybe you don't need anything as dramatic as that!) Could that be something that your H is attempting with the bedroom renovation? Maybe you can't start something new with him not because he's not sorry enough, or not understanding enough, or not rid of the OW enough (you will never ever KNOW that - and that isn't because he is dishonest, or has been - it is because you can't live inside his head so sooner or later you will have to trust, or accept you don't trust anymore) but because you have not really let the old thing die.

Just some thoughts. Have a digital covid-safe hug from me.

Last edited by AlisonUK; 11/10/20 10:56 PM.
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2908321
11/12/20 01:24 PM
11/12/20 01:24 PM
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wooba Offline
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May, none of this is easy....you have been doing so much work for yourself and for both of you. with covid, I can see how it is really hard for a broken M to heal when both people can't GAL and at least have some physical distance. I think what Alison said was interesting. What if there is always going to be this disconnect between you and H's realities? He knows he hurt you, but he will probably never understand the hurt the way you do.

I have to say though, when I read the part were your H said "If you don't trust me, then ask me to leave" and "I'm not actively in love with her anymore".....I really just want to punch him in the face. what kinds of sh*t is that??


BD: Sep 2019
H moved out: Oct 2019
D talk in progress
3 kids
Re: A day at a time [Re: wooba] #2908323
11/12/20 01:30 PM
11/12/20 01:30 PM
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SteveLW Online
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Originally Posted by wooba
May, none of this is easy....you have been doing so much work for yourself and for both of you. with covid, I can see how it is really hard for a broken M to heal when both people can't GAL and at least have some physical distance. I think what Alison said was interesting. What if there is always going to be this disconnect between you and H's realities? He knows he hurt you, but he will probably never understand the hurt the way you do.

I have to say though, when I read the part were your H said "If you don't trust me, then ask me to leave" and "I'm not actively in love with her anymore".....I really just want to punch him in the face. what kinds of sh*t is that??



Words from a lying cheater....that's what it is. This is why argument and discussions do not work. May, if you guys are not in MC then I give you about a 2% chance of making this work,

And while wooba wants to punch him for the quotes above, the "just trust me" attitude is what has me indignant. For 2 1/2 years he has done nothing to earn trust.....but now you are supposed to just trust him. Yeah, doesn't work that way buddy.

May, rather than going back and rereading your threads, can you enumerate for me the things that you required of him for him to come back?


M(51), W(52),D(17)
M-20, T-23 Bomb Drop - Dec.23, 2017
Ring and Piecing since March 2018
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2908356
11/12/20 06:46 PM
11/12/20 06:46 PM
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may22 Offline OP
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Alison, Wooba... will respond more. The ritual idea makes a lot of sense to me.

Steve, the primary requirement was 100% NC with AP forever. In addition, signing a post-nup that outlines the financial and custody arrangements we had discussed, which are favorable to me. (Note that we haven't actually done this yet, but have talked about it at length. I just need to sit him down one night and actually review the paperwork together. I don't know what is stopping me on this.)

Beyond that, there were significant changes in what he said. Previously, he had said things like "I don't know if I can ever be happy" in the MR with me. When we made the decision to stay together and work on the MR, he said things he had never said throughout this entire saga-- he believed we could fall back in love with each other, he wanted that, he had not shown me loving behaviors for years and he would show me through actions that he had changed. Instead of acting like running off with AP was his perfect life and staying with me and the kids was Plan B, he said he was actively choosing me and the MR. That was what he wanted. He went to the edge of D, securing an apartment, etc and looked at his life Ded from me, and realized that is not what he wants. He also told me that the fantasy D he had hung onto for so long was just that, a fantasy, and not only because I wouldn't have participated; AP wouldn't have participated in it either. Finally, he also came clean on a last set of lies and went through and threw out a box of mementos from AP.

I do believe he has been NC with AP this entire time and that the lies have stopped. (This is something central to his identity and I think a big relief for him.) He has not been showing me "loving behaviors" throughout the last two months since he cut it off with AP as he said he would, though those have stepped up somewhat in the last couple of weeks (which TBH kind of freaks me out, especially the PT). He went through a few weeks of being a total @ss, alien, angry and depressed. That seems to have lifted, for now. He is doing lots of acts of service (my LL) but cannot seem to deal with my anger. He is 100% open to MC but I'm not super interested until he is over AP since last time we were in MC when he cut it off with her he spent most of the time whining about being sad about her, and hearing him talk about her is a boundary for me.

That's basically it. He wants me to lean in and trust him. I simply can't right now.


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D11
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
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2908374
11/12/20 09:50 PM
11/12/20 09:50 PM
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AlisonUK Offline
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May

I think it is entirely understandable that you can't trust him right now. It is a sane decision. It doesn't seem to me that you are trying to manipulate, punish or control him. But you are accepting very clearly the fact he lied to you for an extended period of time, and after you found out about that, he decided to carry on lying to you for some more time. And as a result, you are unable to trust him.

He might have all kinds of feelings about that, but none of those are your problem.

I think here the problem might be that he thinks you're in piecing or marriage 2.0 and is confused or annoyed that you are saying you want that, but acting otherwise. Is it that you're still waiting for something from him?

Nothing from him is going to take away your anger - he is never going to be able to feel your hurt and understand it the way you do. And trust will take a long time to return. Maybe years, considering what a good liar he has been, and how incomplete his remorse is. I don't know if you will ever trust him fully again. Is it okay for you to start piecing without feeling that trust? Is it okay for you to have this in-house separation right now with an indeterminate time period on it?

Do you know what you want from him in order to start piecing? Have you told him? Or alternatively, have you told him you can't start piecing, you need more time, and you should consider yourself in an in-house-separation right now?

Do you know which one of these it is?

Re: A day at a time [Re: may22] #2908394
11/13/20 09:27 AM
11/13/20 09:27 AM
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may22 Offline OP
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Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D11
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
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
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