hi everyone,

wow, lots of really great food for thought here! I have a few minutes and want to share a few thoughts back:

first, now I feel like a huge slob. For a bit of context, for most of our M, I did 90% of the shopping and cooking. H helped cleaning up the kitchen and I did most of the rest of the cleaning of the house. (Yes, we both have FT jobs). When we had our first child we sprung for a cleaning service (best $ I've ever spent) so much of the deep cleaning is managed by them these days, though during the lockdowns I re-developed enormous respect for their skills and profession and was filled with gratitude for what they do. In the second year of the A, H started IC, I read DB and started practicing 180s (I did not know about the A at this point). He stepped up a lot around the house. Now he does 90% of the grocery shopping and 50% of the cooking. I probably do 75% of the kitchen stuff and everything else-- vacuuming, bathrooms, tidying up every night. (To be fair, as he likes to point out all the time, he does 90 percent of the yardwork. But that isn't a daily task.)

I clean up something of his at least half a dozen times a day. It doesn't bother me, UNTIL he starts acting like a d!ck when he decides to do something. Before, I would get angry and resentful and I stopped cleaning up after him, or if I did it would be resentful while doing it. Now, I am not. I TRULY don't care about leaving that spoon dirty. I TRULY don't care that he's mad about it. I'm not angry and letting it seep out or anything. I. don't. care. If I did, I think I'd go back down that hole of resentment regarding everything else and that is M1.0. I'm not going back there. Maybe there is a more enlightened and inclusive way I could do this? I would be open to it. Basically I'm trying to protect myself from feeling resentful. He feels like me saying I don't care about the spoon is saying I don't care about him and his feelings-- or at least, that is how he felt. I'm not sure how to deal with that.

On being explicit about what I want-- yes, I have been explicit. He knows. Am I asking too much? Maybe. I don't expect it is going to happen, though, at least not anytime soon.

Originally Posted by steve85
Originally Posted by may22
They would include reading the Shirley Glass and Gottman books, initiating R talks, spending time and energy figuring out an MC who will take our insurance.

may, are these things that you would expect from your H before all of this? I mean did he engage in these kinds of activities previously? If one of you needed to see a specialist, would he do the research to find a specialist that accepted your insurance, or is that something you did? Was he a reader of self-help books prior to all of this?

My point is that, yes you need to have requirements for him to come back and to R and piece. (By the way, I see in your sig you think you are attempting to R again, but there can be no R without piecing!) But you cannot expect him to become someone he isn't. And your requirements have to be realistic. Like expecting that OW is completely out of his head. Yeah.......probably not realistic. I know you'd love for this to be the case. And you may have an idealistic, romantic belief that it is possible. But take it from another man, it probably isn't. Guys have a tough time getting the girl from 5th grade out of their heads, let alone a woman they have had sexual relations with! The key here is that you work through whether or not you are ok with that truth, and if you can live with the idea that when you married this man, this OW was not in his head, but now all this time later she is.

All good points, and you have me rethinking this a bit. I'm *always* the researcher. For everything. And no, neither of us ever read self-help books. It was a big hurdle for me to overcome to buy DR. But I'm glad I did smile

And in/re R vs piecing... I see it differently, that you must first decide to reconcile and then begin piecing, and sometimes the reconciliation process takes some time. For instance, in Blu's case, her H wanted to R and they spent some time in MC and spending time together before she agreed to let him move back in and they began piecing. I feel like that is where we are, except we happen to live in the same house. He has said explicitly to me he wants this to work, he wants M2.0, he wants to build a new MR with me, to have the life we want to live together. He loves me, he is working on getting her out of his mind, we have total transparency, etc. He has said he needs time and he (maybe a month ago is the last time he said this) that he thinks I am trying to jump too far ahead. I think he has a fair point, and I also have stuff to work on myself-- so I have stopped talking to him about this and focused on my own feelings and processing them. I have felt like the danger in this is that I will truly stop caring and won't want him as an H anymore. TBH, I feel like this maybe more than I should as someone who is supposed to be standing.

And finding a MC that will take our insurance... he did it the first time. Motivated, I believe, by a desire to check that box and get Ded from me and run off with his AP. (I didn't know about her.) So he is FULLY capable of doing this legwork if he is motivated enough, so I'm comfortable sticking with that one. He also did the legwork to find his own IC. (I found the MC the second time around, who it turns out doesn't take our insurance after all and we haven't seen him since lockdown.) And he has picked up both books and read parts of them, though not this time around... and I know I pushed him to do it when he did it before. This time, I'm curious to see if he does it on his own. I've told him it would be a way for him to better understand what I'm going through. I feel like he really wants to minimize my trauma and pain, because it makes him feel too guilty.

And about getting her out of his head... yeah, he still has a crush on Winnie Cooper from the Wonder Years. I feel like I can be okay that it happened, as soon as I believe that it is wholly in the past. That he doesn't believe himself to be "in love" with her anymore. That he fully regrets his actions and wishes he didn't do it.

The last time we had an R talk, I asked him what he would do if she reached out to him. He said, I'll tell you about it. I said, would you respond at all? he said no, I'd talk to you about it first so we could decide what to do together. This is a huge change from where he was before, even more so because this was his idea, not mine. But, I also told him that what I wanted was if that phone rang and he realized it was her, for his first thought to be... fC&k. why is she calling me? I don't want to deal with her, not the butterflies or whatever I know her calls elicited in him before. Truth is, I don't know where his head is, and which camp he'd fall into if this happened. I don't know that he knows himself. But that is what I want. Is that too much?

I do not think if I push him he'll go back to OW's arms, at this point. I really don't. It is funny because I think I was afraid of that for a long time. Now, I don't really think it would happen and if it did, I think a big part of me would be secretly glad because I could just wash my hands of all of this and move on.

I do think that H wants M2.0, not M1.0, at least intellectually. I'm not sure, though, what M2.0 means to him because we haven't really talked about it. I have a suspicion that M2.0 might just mean he gets his way more because he thinks in M1.0 I ran the show. That would be disappointing to me, if that is the case. He is scared of digging into the hard work of why he cheated because he thinks if he really faced up to it being completely wrong and let go of all his justifications, he would not be able to handle it. it would break him. (He's said this to me on more than one occasion.) But this is all on his side of the road, not mine. He'll either do this work, or he won't. I can't do it for him. I just need to keep focusing on me and seeing if I see progress on his side, or I don't, and then at some point whether or not I want to keep trying if I don't think he's capable of doing the work it takes to be a good H.

I don't think I expect him to be that person, right now. I did, for a long time. Now, I don't. It makes me sad, but it is what it is. I am just annoyed when I feel like he wants to jump ahead on some parts-- having me be squishy happy because he bought me a record-- without dealing with all the garbage underneath. I feel like allowing myself to be squishy happy about stuff like that is letting a wound scab over without clearing out all the pus inside, and it will become an abscess. I don't want that. If he's ready to clean it out, I am too. If he isn't, we gotta let that thing air out, and that is manifested in some level of distance between us.

LH, I think the A was longer than it might have been otherwise because it was long-distance. They saw each other maybe every 6-8 weeks for a magical few nights and then he flew back home. The first nine months or so were standard stuff, then they went into romeo and juliet mode, breaking up every time they saw each other. he told me in July of 2019 she re-sent him an email he'd sent her in July of 2018, which I think basically said I'll leave May soon and we can be together, and the reason she re-sent it to him was because absolutely nothing had changed. I still didn't even know about her existence. He said he tried to leave me, he tried to end it with her, he couldn't do either. (That's where his fantasyland D came from, where we'd all be best friends and sister-wives.) Steve, I think you'd written recently (I think it was you) about your W flip-flopping back and forth between wanting to stay and wanting to go. This is what my H has said to me, that one minute he would be convinced that he had to leave and be with her, 100%, and ten minutes later he would think the exact opposite. Anyway, I think that the long distance aspect of all of this (plus twu wuv, of course) is why it lasted so long without him being a sociopath. Though he was very, very angry with me about the SSM, also.

Wayfarer, thinking on your post.

Wow, seeing that there was more action since I started writing this but I gotta go... will read and respond more later. I really appreciate all of this.

Me (46) H (42)
M:14 T:18, D9 & D11
4/19 - 12/19: series of escalating BDs
9/20 - present: R and piecing