Thanks Valeska and Cardinal.

Valeska, the "I hear you" is really helpful. I think validation has never been a strong suit for me with my H. I'm definitely getting better at it with my children. I think maybe I need more detachment to be able to validate with authenticity. I still feel annoyed and angry when he starts to veer into territory that smacks of justification. I also have moods where I'm feeling good and strong and centered and am ok with listening to him talk a bit about where he's struggling right now and can validate. Other times, not so much-- or more likely, he'll say something small that triggers me and then I'm angry all over again, and want to just disengage and go do something else for myself. (As I read this, maybe what I need is a lighthearted validation/gotta go kind of phrase that gives me both.)

Question-- do you think that validating him right now interferes with his need to work on himself without leaning on me?

Originally Posted by Valeska
That may be true. One day at a time okay? No need to put the cart before the horse.

This. I need to keep this mantra in my head.

Cardinal-- I hope you're right. It is funny, though, this focus on me needs to come afresh every day. It isn't like a place I get to and stay there. It is always needing to be rediscovered and readjusted. I am also so used to making sure H and the girls are all feeling okay that it is something I need to constantly recalibrate and remind myself to think about ME. And there are so many little things and patterns we have fallen into that recognizing them before getting sucked into them is hard, really hard.

He has this big trip that was planned for the summer, that morphed into the closer-to-home version we took in August, but is back to planning for next summer. He told me this trip is core to his identity and he needs it to rebuild his understanding of who he is, post-A. He *says* with his mouth that he wants me to be a full partner in it, that it should be something we are giving our girls together. And yet he spent so much time planning this while in the midst of the affair that I don't feel like it is mine, too, by any stretch-- for a long time, the trip was the external signal to me of his MLC because I didn't know about the A, so it kind of gets wrapped up together in my mind. Also, I can't really get excited about something that is so far off in the future unknown when we may or may not be together.

This led to some tense moments last night and this morning, H saying I don't understand him if I don't understand why this trip is so important, that I am included and if I wanted to be included I should enthusiastically jump into the planning of it, and the fact that I'm not tells him I'm not excited about it (and therefore don't "see" him)... just going around in circles. He gets really upset if I say anything about not being sure if we'll be together a year from now, makes him feel like I'm not committed. And yet I can't be enthusiastic or committed until... I don't even know. Until I am confident AP is out of the picture for good, both in terms of actual contact and in his head.

it's like, he needs me to be able to collaborate on a medium-term thing for him to be able to be focused and confident in the short-term. He says thinking about this trip and collaborating with me on things like this help him to detach from AP in his head. And yet, I'm having a hard time (actually, simply not really doing it at this point) collaborating on the medium-term things without having commitment or more certainty about the long-term. I don't want to plan an H-focused vacation that may or may not happen. And I'm not really willing at this point to spend a lot of time and energy thinking about a future family scenario where everything between us is peachy but we never got the spark back. That feels like failure to me, at least where I sit right now. H thinks that is a necessary step on the path, if we are ever to get to the fallen-back-in-love R. I just have discomfort because I'm worried that will be good enough for H, and it isn't going to be good enough for me.

Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D10
4/19 BD #1 ILYB
8/19 BD #2 Long-distance EA
12/19 BD #3 Actually 2 year PA
2-5/20 R attempt #1
6-7/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
8/20-present R attempt #2