Here's a question: How much "empathy" am I supposed to have? My husband keeps reminding me how much HE has suffered as a result of what he's done, how HE has beaten himself up thoroughly and suffers because of what he's done. Don't get me wrong-- he's not underestimating MY hurt in all of this. He just feels like HIS hurt is just as legitimate in the recovery process.
Ostensibly, I understand that. I'm an empathetic person by nature. If the tables were turned (and I'm not naive enough to say it would be IMPOSSIBLE for me to cheat on my husband-- I think we are all capable of it on some level) I would be similarly horrified with myself. It would kill me to be in his shoes.
And yet... if I empathize too much, I find myself thinking I'm a silly and weak woman.
(sorry for the inarticulate post-- I'm in a rush :(
That's a good question and a tough one to answer. I think you could offer whatever empathy you can muster.
Having said that, I probably have no empathy whatsoever in regards to the the choice he made to have his ONS. Just as your FWH can never truly empathize with you being a BS and all the issues and hurt that has caused. You can certainly try your best to understand each other but I think being truly empathetic is really difficut.
If the tables were turned (and I'm not naive enough to say it would be IMPOSSIBLE for me to cheat on my husband-- I think we are all capable of it on some level)
Although I don't disagree with this, I also believe that to be truly empathetic we must be able to imagine ourselves in that exact same position, with our Ms in the exact same state and all other things being equal. So even if I sit here and say we all have the possibility of having and A, I've never done this to my H so I just cannot relate to him or be empathetic on that same level.
Not being able to have empathy for someone doesn't mean anything negative. It just simply means we do not understand.
I do have alot of empathy for the struggles, work and effort that it has taken to rebuild our M. In other words, I have empathy for him from the first day we were in R. I think it has to do with so much time passing as well as knowing and believing we are a team again. This I feel like we went through together, whereas his choice to have a ONS we did not. Kwim?
[This message edited by ohpuhlease at 7:57 AM, August 6th (Thursday)]
I don't have any advice, but will second what ohpuhlease said.
there's just too much that time cannot erase
And the more I know, the less I understand
Because of you...I am afraid...
I am doing okay, but a little rocky lately. I just hate that I think about the ONS every day, multiple times a day. I hate that I still dream about it and still have doubts that it really was just ONE time, as my husband promises. I am almost a year out-- shouldn't I be further along than this by now? We've done so much work, but at my worst I doubt that any amount of work will help me accept and find peace with what happened.
Today my husband and I took driving tests in our new state. He failed the test and I passed it, and he was beating himself up like crazy. It was really funny until he said "this is by far the stupidest thing I've ever done".
I gave him a look that said, "Oh you did NOT just say that."
Thankfully, he let it go and didn't berate me for making him feel like crap again.... but he certainly didn't acknowledge that we both are well aware of the stupidest thing he's ever done. I hate that we have such different ways of handling this.
I wish I could rewind to last year at this time. I wish I could have stopped it from happening. I don't think I'll ever get over that I can't.
FOR FUCKS SAKE!
Neither one of you are responsible for what he did HE is responsible. And, you will get through this on your own time. There is no set timetable. Everyone is different.
I haven't posted here much because I have been dealing with other issues, and kind of put the ONS on the back burner for a bit. Not sweeping, but put on hold.
Arial and itspjw... thank you. Feeling like I'm not the only person on the planet struggling like this is so helpful. Hope all is going well with you both.
Right now, the ONS is not at the forefront of what I am dealing with. I do have to say that my H has done everything I have asked and more, and I don't have anything negative to say about his current behavior. And he is very supportive in what I am dealing with now (Sab).
Oh, and I, too, always get a lift when I see ohpuhlease's signature. It gives me hope that it will be worth it!
Ohpuhlease... just have to say that every time I view this page and see your signature, "WE ARE RECONCILED" it makes me feel hopeful. I want to write that someday and truly feel it, like you do.
Well, it took over two years for me to really be able to say it out loud. I felt like we were reconciled some time before that but I didn't want to jinx anything.
It was a tough road. Besides the initial finding out part and the immediate aftermath, I think the hardest part for me was going into year #2. That was really the 'make or break' part of it for me. I either had to accept this was always going to be a part of my M history or not. The amount of learned about myself in this time has been overwhelming but probably much needed.
Oddly enough, I feel much more secure with myself. I feel I've gained strength where there was once weakness. I've been able to be decisive where normally I would have procrastinated.
I do have to admit that my M is better than it has EVER been. I believe that is why I have progressed fairly quickly through the stages because I am happier now.
It's hard to hang on to hurt of betrayal when my life is so much better.
I have also gained more respect for myself and my FWH because I bucked the advice of all of those who said "dump him" (our adult children included). He courageously faced all of the "stink eyes" and proved he is a great H and we are closer than ever.
Sometimes good things do come out of tragedy.
Good luck to you!
My focus now has to be about finding acceptance and forgiveness, real forgiveness, which is so hard. Like ohpuhlease said... I either have to decide this is part of my marriage history or it isn't. History being the operative word. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself, right?
I'm on the way...slowly but surely... thanks in part to you guys. This forum has been such a blessing.
It applies perfectly to me, too.
Best of luck to all of you and thanks for the wonderful support.
I stated in another post that (for me) the absence of any emotional attachment makes this a bit of an easier pill to swallow. I honestly can't say if I would stay with him if there were any emotions (simply because my husband has always shown very little emotions in general). So, coming from him an EA would sting even more.
He is working very hard to create new "habbits" - as he calls them. In the last 7 weeks since DDay he has shown more emotion to me then he had in the last 3 years. He now makes it a point to tell me he loves me and kiss and hug me - on a daily basis. I just hope that his new "habbits" will remain. He is so remorseful - has cried and professed that he will become a better man - a better husband - a better father. I really want to believe him.
I have a hard time with making my mind stay in the present. I picture him with these OW - I know what they look like - through his business - though not in contact with him anymore - even this last one has since moved out of town - hopefully for good because she is a real doozy (taking legal action - long story).
If I wake up before the alarm I am screwed because my mind kicks in and I can't get back to sleep. It has lessened some in the past week or so - so I expect that time will run it's course. But, I know they will never EVER go away. I have a crazy good memory and when an image is burned in my brain it stays forever (like the stitches I got when I was 4 - I could give you every detail of that event). That scares me.
I have to agree with you about the lack of emotion involved with a ONS. At first, I was so disgusted with the fact that my husband actually slept with a HOOKER that I thought it would have been easier to swallow if there had been an emotional connection. Now I know otherwise. The reconciliation would be MUCH harder if there was premeditation and feeling.
That being said, the images I come up with in my head (early morning, in the shower, making breakfast-- they're always there, lurking) are horrible. My husband promises that he doesn't even remember what she looks like... but in my mind she is much prettier and better in bed than me. Of course, right? I think that's where we have to take control of our thoughts and say that they are not helping us at all in this healing. At least that's what we're supposed to do.
Can I ask how you found out? I too was absolutely clueless. I could have so easily remained that way... when I think about how one slip on his part meant the difference between truth and deception, it scares the living crap out of me. I get why he would want to protect himself and never want me to find out... but discovering the evidence the way I did has certainly not helped rebuild trust. Aside from NOT DOING IT AT ALL, I think coming clean to me would have been the only thing to make the recovery process easier.
As I have said before, I know why, I understand how. I even understand how he got to the point where he told himself it was ok.
My H was outed by a friend of mine and denied, denied, denied. This person had no reason to lie to me. His denial was so believable that I questioned the validity of the informant. I finally said I know you did it. If you can't come clean we are through. He finally admitted it and I kicked him out. I felt completely numb. No anger, sadness, nothing.
We had been having significant problems for so long. I didn't want to be married to him. I didn't even like him let alone love him. The children and I had detached from him. We tolerated his presence but gave him no respect, affection or support. He found it somewhere else. Do I blame him, not really? We all need love and support. He had none. Do I blame myself. No. I blame us for letting our relationship deteriorate to that point.
It was a big wake up call for both of us. After 4 days of seperation I went to bring him home. He was shocked! He was shocked that not only was I asking him to come home but, I would forgive him, we would work it out and that I loved him. I had never really been to forgiving about anything in the past.
He was like a kid in a candy store, he was so happy and excited. I had not seen him happy in so long.
We are truly R. We are best friends, lovers, are eachothers' biggest supporters.
I have sadness, not because he cheated but because I don't think anything less would have woken us up. I wish we could have gotten here another way but really do not think we could have.
Good luck to all of you and thanks for listening.
He only told me of the most recent ONS at first - and then two weeks later confessed to the prior two.
We just came back from a long weekend away - it honest went pretty well. I only had one day when the images were suffocating me. I told him - he said all the right things to reassure me. Since we are only 8 weeks out from DDay - I still worry that he is in some "honeymoon phase" and all his recent, positive changes will disappear.
I'm happy and positive one day and sad and discouraged another - but the good moments are starting to outnumber the bad... so I think we are on the right track.