It seems to me the EU not only doesn't give to their spouse but also themselves. I could never understand why my husband would do something unethical and immoral. Why didn't he care more about himself if not me. How do you look at yourself in the mirror every day when you know you are doing something wrong? But perhaps those are part of the emotions he doesn't "get," too. If he's incapable of feeling my pain, why wouldn't he be incapable of feeling his own pain.
Just rambling thought.
he wants ME to come up with a solution.
Frogger: How about fire her ass? Does that sound like a solution... she's not doing what he needs her to do, not cooperating? Have you tried that solution with him?
Try not. Do or do not, there is no try. -- Yoda
Its such a crappy situation. They both work in the same department but under separate groups. They both have leaderships roles in the department and in theory should work together on projects for the group. It is a very fuzzy line as to who's job is what so the people in these positions need to really work well together.
So of course having an A with that person was pretty stupid on his part. While in the A she would do stuff for him that she really didn't HAVE to do. The latest issue is that he is supposed to pick out a new system for the department that his group will use. In the past she would have helped him research it since her people are affected by his people's work. Now she told him she doesn't care what system he picks--and he is all upset about it. Boo hoo. She won't do the crappy research part for him now like she used to so he has to actually do it himself. He said "the administrative part of this job is not what I enjoy" Yeah just the prestige of the position is good, not the actual WORK.
So he really is just upset that now he has to actual do his own job.
ETA- He really just doesn't get it that she was doing stuff for him because she was in Luuuuvvv with him. He obviously is so in touch with his feelings that no longer have an A with her didn't change his motivations at work at all. so he can't understand how no longer being in luuuvvvv with him is why she is no longer putting forth the extra effort for his job. (Or how being a jilted lover could make someone feel oh I don't know UPSET and ANGRY at you so they don't care if your butt isn't covered and might even be happy to see your ass fired so they make sure everyone sees your mistakes.)
[This message edited by Frogger at 10:30 AM, November 27th (Tuesday)]
or he can form a committee and not invite her to be part of it, or actually invite her to be part of it and watch her self-destruct in front of people when she appears uncooperative or uninterested.
I know if my supervisor was asked to give input into a system that affected how I do my job and they declined, I'd be pissed as hell.
In theory it's "going UNDER her head" instead of "OVER her head".
now onto EU things.... we had MC last night and we were talking about assumptions and what detriment they have on communication. H says "Weepy assumes this was some big love affair and it wasn't." Well, I didn't respond or argue about it, but started to think about it.
I mean MOST of the women were prostitutes, so I would never jump to that conclusion. But I'm going to ask him if he thinks this should be easier for me to "get over" because he wasn't "In Luv" with his LTAP? Like it should make a difference to me?
Wonder what I'll hear?
Thanks for all of your thoughts and questions. The chronology of our post A history is a little confusing. I discovered and confronted my H about the A over a year after it was over. That was about 2 ½ years ago. For the first 9 months we floundered. He didn’t want to leave, but felt highly ambivalent (big time fog). I told him that if he wasn’t staying for me he needed to go. I never begged and I don’t think that I’m co-dependent. I have a career and am financially independent and more than capable of living without him. He never wanted to leave but he wouldn’t commit to me. After several months, I forced it. He was about to rent an apartment, got cold feet and and said that he wanted to work on the M.
Took us several more months to find the right MC and we’ve been in MC for about 1 ½ years. I think it took a full year of MC for my H to understand that he has EU and PA issues. He really thought “he was just born” that way, couldn’t change and that he could have a good M with a different kind of woman (you know, the kind that never makes emotional demands or has conflicts). I do think that it’s just in the last 4 or 5 months that he’s truly understood that the way he interacts with people is on a very unemotional and level and this is what creates the distance he feels, not just with me but with everyone. Even when others reach out to him, he puts up walls and keeps his distance. He just retreated to his little island of isolation. Of course, I was seen as his main antagonist since, as his W, I was the primary person in his life. His problems are serious. After d-day, in one of our many talks, he even admitted that he wasn’t sure that he loved our older daughter. She wasn’t an agreeable little girl any more but a pre-teen with all that going on and he just didn’t have a clue about how to deal with this new, highly emotional person trying to upset his island of peace. The work that we have been doing in MC is really the work that should have happened in IC. He did go to an IC during the first year after d-day at my insistence. Unfortunately, the IC he wound up with was ineffectual.
The progress in the 1 ½ years of MC has been slow. But there has been progress. My H never misses a session, we have weekly R talks, we “date” every weekend, parent and run the house together. He’s always fulfilled the “good dad role” except, of course, when it came to the girls' emotional lives. Also, truly, there has never really been any doubt in my mind (as much as any BS can be sure) that he is seeking out or even thinking about potential AP’s. The doubt in mind is whether he has really severed his connection to his fantasy, not the OP, but the fantasy that she helped create (because, in his case, that is really what it was---it was very short term, pretty much all one-sided and in his head). This **fantasy** was his ultimate justification and it served him very well to protect him from having to see himself as some middle aged adulterer chasing after the dream of lost youth. If his OP had been willing, I am certain that he would have continued to pursue the idea of living his life over again and somehow finding a magical solution to happiness (no introspection or other hard work required).
To give it up completely, means to accept exactly where he is, accept that the state of “infatuated love” that *could* make everything wonderful for him is not going to happen to him, accept that he will actually have to take responsibility to create his own happiness in this real world---even though this has not worked so well for him in the past. All this from a man who always thought the best course was to keep a low profile, try to get by and maybe, just maybe, if you’re lucky things will go right for you. It’s hard to reduce all of this to one easy explanation but suffice it to say that this is a pretty tall order for someone so unused to taking responsibility for his own emotional life and so unversed in language and feelings of a deep emotional life.
He’s trying. He’s had made some real progress in understanding himself and why our M came to be what it was---not bad, but not truly emotionally fulfilling for either of us. And, of course, I contributed to all of this. I knew something was missing and I tolerated the situation rather than risk rocking the boat. Not blaming myself for the A, just acknowledging my part in the M troubles.
He is a good man at heart. His honesty and integrity were always traits I greatly admired in him. A aside, he is still that man. I know that he believed he had something special with the OP or he never would have done what he did.
But it’s true that I don’t think he’s fully “renounced” his A because of those good feelings that he remembers. He will readily admit it was wrong, that he shouldn’t have done it. He has said he’s embarrassed and ashamed. He has said he’d never do it again because of the pain it caused me. He understands the selfishness involved. I just think he doesn’t want to let go entirely of the happy feelings he had or (false) hope they inspired that he could be a changed person if he just changed his wife. He says he understands now that wouldn’t be the case. But I don’t know that he “feels” it. Other than hiring an exorcist, I don’t know how he will ever really get rid of this. And sometimes I wonder if he has and it’s just me that has the problem here. It’s a delicate subject between us, because I just hate that look on his face whenever I discuss this with him. (It’s like, “Gee Brass, I wish I could tell you that the passion for the OP wasn’t ever there but it was and I don’t care how many books you’ve read it felt real at the time and it was so good for me.” I keep waiting the follow up sentence, “But it was all a piece of crap.”)
I’ve gotten myself so stirred up about this the last couple of days, I am going to talk to him about this again tonight and force the subject in MC if I keep hearing things that make me uncomfortable.
Sorry I’ve rambled on. I just wanted to give you a clearer picture of what’s been going on. It may not be as bad as I’ve made it seem but it has taken a long time, it’s still not resolved to my full satisfaction. Until we got in MC and got my H to start to understand himself better, it was pretty awful and I thought every day about kicking him out and fantasized about my new life with the caring and loving man in my life. And I still do have those escape fantasies—even sometimes when things are going well. I think infidelity does that to you---makes everything seem a little less certain than it used to be.
[This message edited by Brass Ring at 5:15 PM, November 27th (Tuesday)]
Just read your last post. To catch you up, I thought/think WW is a bit EU because she is so ambivilant about R. Now I'm starting to think she is still foggy/in withdrawal.
Found out last Sunday she broke NC the week before. Said it was to have closure with POS. Whatever.
I'm ready to ask for D, but then I say your post and saw your comment:
For the first 9 months we floundered. He didn’t want to leave, but felt highly ambivalent
Did the ambivilance really last that long? How did you deal with that? How did you kick his ass off the fense?
it was pretty awful and I thought every day about kicking him out and fantasized about my new life with the caring and loving man in my life.
I've also been thinking about this alot lately [but with a loving "woman", not a loving "man" ]
How did you get beyond these feelings?
After d-day, in one of our many talks, he even admitted that he wasn’t sure that he loved our older daughter. She wasn’t an agreeable little girl any more but a pre-teen with all that going on and he just didn’t have a clue about how to deal with this new, highly emotional person trying to upset his island of peace.
Unfortuniately I can relate to this. My WH really thought the kids should not interrupt his life and should do whatever he said immediately. He also seemed to lose his love for the kids before the A. He was so frustrated with them. As mentioned before with him asking about D over the smallest things, I think he almost wanted to D the kids when there was conflict with them. This is an interesting aspect of the EA that I never really took the time to focus on or think about from an EA/PA conflict avoider point of view.
HurtinginDenvir--this applied to us as well. I was blamed for all his issues and it was really hard for him to give that thought up--especially with OW feeding into that. I actually saw the A coming and I could not pull him away from OW in time, then I couldn't get him away from her to save my life. I finally reached a point where I was not threatening to leave but was truly going to leave. (We had already been in MC for a month or two, he was claiming NC, saying all the right things, refocused on us--but actually still in C and pining away for her) Anyway that started to wake him up but that was THREE months ago. NC was established mainly because he was worried I would leave him, word would get out why, and his reputation would be ruined. This is actually the reason he GAVE me for staying. (He didn't want people think he wasn't a "family man" and was an adulterer) Anyway only recently has he seemed to get it just a little that I was NOT to blame for his problems and that he loves the kids and I. (Or at least that we make his life better!) If you want to R just know that it takes time and be patient until she pulls out of the fog. Then you can work on the other issues :)
I can't remember now who asked but I do remember asking WH once that if he thought he would be happier as a single guy why was he starting up a new relationship before leaving this one? And did he realize he was jumping into ANOTHER committed relationship? So that if I left and he was "free" he really wouldn't be because he would have OW to deal with? He looked absolutely shocked. Never occured to him I guess--exchanging one ball and chain for another.
We also discussed what the real situation is when you are a middle aged single man. I asked him what he thought of the single guys who hang out at the bar all night? Who would he hang with since all his friends are married and NOT hanging out at the bar all night? Did he really want to come home to an empty house every night? What was he going to do with all that free time that he couldn't do while married? Especially since he might not want to hook up with skany hos all the time? Really big eye opener for him to think about what "freedom" looks like.
Did the ambivilance really last that long? How did you deal with that? How did you kick his ass off the fense?
Yes, it did, longer really. My profile is long, but some facts to remember are that my H’s A was summer of ’03. That fall he continued to pursue her, was horrible at home to the kids and me and, still not having given up on the idea of winning over AP #1, made a pass at potential AP#2 (who rejected him). Clearly he had left the marriage in his heart at that point, I just had no knowledge about it.
At the end of this frenzied fall of “single guy” activity, he announced his unhappiness in the M and I went about trying to make everything nice for him. He was “happy” with my changes, but still pining away for the OP (I think really the**A feelings**). He had made up his mind, however (without informing me at the time), “to tough it out” with me for the sake of preserving his family (and probably his self image) even though he was of the belief that our M was probably a mistake and that he could be happier with someone else. I didn’t discover the A and confront him for about a 1 ½ years after his “I am so unhappy” speech. In retrospect, it’s clear that during all that time he was ambivalent. I was still clueless about everything that had gone on but felt more emotionally cut off from him than ever. This feeling of utter "emptiness" in our M drove me to look for evidence of an A. When I confronted him he was still full of fog talk. I insisted that I didn’t want to be married to him if his “heart” were elsewhere. Even though he was still dreamy about the A, he did not want to leave. The OP wasn't available to him and I think the thought occurred to him that his leaving would really hurt the kids. The ambivalence was still very much there though in respect of his feelings for me and our M. He told me that he wanted to stay for the “family.” I loved him, I never wanted him to leave, but I insisted that he must if he wasn’t there for ME. Variations of the this conversation went on for 4-5 months after d-day (as well as a lot of HB which made it all the more confusing).
The hard reality of actually moving out of our home was too much for him though. He was literally 24 hours away from signing the lease when he asked if we couldn’t work on the M. This was 6 months after d-day and I knew that he was still ambivalent but also scared to death.
At this point, he had spent two years fantasizing about a different life for himself while enjoying all the benefits of home. He wasn’t actually having an A but he might as well have been. I think it was a few months into MC (1 year post d-day, 6 months after he almost moved out) when more and more of the ambivalence disappeared. But he is an ambivalent guy by nature and in all things has a difficult time expressing himself with words of certainty. He has never once said to me, “I know this what I want Brass, to be married to you forever. I can do and will do whatever it takes to make that happen.” He will and does sincerely tell me that emotional connection with me is his goal, and he is working all the time to achieve this but he is still struggling with his own security about his ability to achieve this goal. And these years have been so hard, I have to admit sometimes I lose confidence too.
I didn’t “get him off” the fence ever, in any dramatic way. It was more of a slow slipping off as reality and therapy kept giving him new insights into what his A was all about. And I absolutely do think that EU people are much more resistant to “fog lift.” First, because (in my H’s case) he really doesn’t (didn’t) understand his own emotions very well. (E.g., it took the MC to explain to him that “love” is different from a short-lived, mostly one-sided infatuation.) In order for the fog to lift you have to know the difference between the fog world and the real world. I think the lines were pretty blurry for my H and his recent fog world experience had been so darn delightful for him it was hard to accept that it wasn't part of the real world. Secondly, I think that EU people don’t value real love in the same way a non-EU person does. Over and over again, I read on the board about WS’s who want their old M back, or at least the part of where they knew they were fully loved by their BS. I don’t think my H really ever felt (beyond the very early years) that he had my full love. And that’s why he started thinking about finding it somewhere else. He really wanted to believe in the romantic notion of that special someone who makes everything in your life right forever just because of the stars were aligned perfectly when you met. I think he thought that he didn’t have the ability to have a “real love” relationship with me because it hadn’t happened “automatically” the way it is "supposed to." Our M wasn’t a loving comfortable place he wanted to re-capture. And the idea of creating a new R that could ever compete with the instant high of the A seemed unlikely to happen because, after all, he was who he was and I am who I am and how could that ever change??? He is seeing us both differently now through the work in MC.
My WH really thought the kids should not interrupt his life and should do whatever he said immediately
Frogger, it hurt so much to hear my “wonderful dad” H tell me that he thought he didn’t love D#1, minimizing her like this and giving himself an excuse to withdraw. Who could turn their back on the love of their own child. The only good thing was that it took such a burden off of me. By his admitting this, it clearly drove home to me that my H’s problems were much bigger than me and our M. D#1 is a wonderful, loving girl who adores her dad and has never given us an ounce of trouble. If he couldn’t “feel” love for her, I knew there was something major going on. Part of the reason why I continued to work with my H in MC was the realization that even if we wound up not staying married, maybe he would come to be a better dad to his girls.
Have any of your "emotionally unavailable" spouses been diagnosed that way by a therapist? Is this a "real" sickness?
Well, I don’t know if I would call it “sickness” but yes, my H was diagnosed (by a 30+ years psychologist). I think that it's more accurate to call it a behavior pattern that interferes with creating emotionally close relationships. My H has also been diagnosed as being conflict avoidant, passive aggressive and perhaps mildly depressed (or he has been at times).
Our MC was actually my IC originally. (We tried to find another counselor for MC but I completely trusted my MC and, with the consent of my H’s IC, we began to see him for MC.) Before he met my H, the MC suspected that my H might be NPD or at least have strong narcissistic tendencies---mostly because of his sense of entitlement for the A (blamed “not getting his needs met” and being angry at me), lack of remorse after d-day and lack of empathy for the way the A hurt me. I was scared of NPD because I think, for me, that would have been the end. I definitely would have left. I wanted a diagnosis I could be sure about. After we started MC, we spent a lot of time with FOO issues. The MC was able to see how my H related not only to me, but to our D’s, family members and co-workers. His diagnosis quickly became that my H had been “damaged” in childhood (by non-feeling parents) and had learned early on to shut off emotions because they only led to rejection and humiliation for him. Over years it became so automatic it felt instinctive. It’s a bit more complicated than that but that’s the essence. The MC's mantra to my H is that this is “learned” behavior that can be “unlearned” by allowing your conscious mind to prevent reacting to emotional situations with anger, stonewalling or shutting down (which allow you avoid emotional involvement). My H was very resistant to accept the fact that nurture played the predominant role in who he came to be. Also, he didn’t want to “blame” his parents (who were not bad people, just misguided). It took a lot of time to get past all of this, but I do believe that my H has changed his viewpoint on this now. Putting it all into practice is hard however (or, as the MC would say, “Not hard, just different.”)
Sorry for all these long-winded answers. I can be brief. Really.
[This message edited by Brass Ring at 4:21 PM, November 28th (Wednesday)]
I don't want to reconcile with him, but we do live together and I need some to learn how to deal with me dealing with him! I'm not looking for him to change. But I have to deal with this in a healthy way for me. Any reading materials you could recommend?
I found the co-dependency books good too.
The co-dependency thing has never been an issue with us. We really always had a nice inter or intra-dependency. We're both very self sufficient and though we shared much we also had lots of independence.
The book I probably need is "How to Live Single While Being Married but Keeping it a Secret From the World." I haven't found that out there yet.
I'm having a little trouble with the Four Agreements too because we never DID have good communication skills and one of the character traits he has that I LOATHE is the negativity. So basically I can't respond to anything he starts a conversation about...
Maybe there's some recommendations in the separated forum?
Here's a link to Amazon
Have to run now, I wish I had more time to join in with everyone. I'll get back later.
The more I read, the sicker I believe he is. I wonder how one finds a really good therapist. I know he doesn't want to start over again, but his present therapist doesn't seem to get it. I think he functions so well on the surface that you have to be really smart to know to delve. The fact that his therapist has never asked to speak to me tells me there is a problem. I say that because he is only going to therapy to try to win me back.
Since Dday I've read alot. I've really tried to educate myself, but it's hard. I can't quite put my finger on what it is we are dealing with. We haven't started MC as of yet, reasons being
1. It's taken a couple yrs for him to come out of the fog enough to admit we need help.
2. money, of course.
3. Fear of getting the wrong therapist, because we really don't know what we are up against.After reading stories here I am cautious.
But after joining this thread and realizing that FWH and I aren't alone, and there are others dealing with the same stuff, I worry,howuote]do you find the right therapist? Our situation could stil go either way at this point. We are still what I would call fragile. It sucks big time. I'm afraid the wrong therapist will tilt either of us in the wrong direction.
I think he functions so well on the surface that you have to be really smart to know to delve. The fact that his therapist has never asked to speak to me tells me there is a problem.
I feel certain the FWH is EU and PA, I don't need a
Drs DX to tell me that. I had the term coined 3+ yrs ago when I felt something missing in our relationship. Only problem was, I did not know how critical it was at the time. And like BRass Ring said earlier..with a PA/Conflict avoider you don't rock the boat..you just go along. Which is exactly as I did.
Her words and story sound so familiar to me.
I also have the book titled Emotional Unavailability by Bryn C. Collins, M.A., L.P.- recognizing it,understanding it, and avoiding it's traps-[/. This one wasn't on the list others recommended, but it was all Borders had in stock at the time. I hope I get something from it when I read it.
The thing about this current book I am reading is that the author strongly indicates that the (BS)spouse is the one who must change in order for the relationship to work. We must learn how to navigate around them (PA'S)and live in harmony with them. That somehow seems out of balance for me...a concept I can't quite bite on. PA is somewhat a learned behavior is it not?
I feel resentful that I should have to learn how to accept his "learned" behavior. He can change just as I must change therefor
creating a balance. I think this is where Brass Ring is now...finding a balance after all this time.
SIDENOTE: Are any of the others that have been in R for along time irritated that it is taking so long and you are no further than you are? Do you now see WHY ?
Yes, in FWH defense.. he is starting to make some forward advancement...finally!!!(sigh) But he is so out of touch with his feelings, who knows. I don't...he willneversay. I just continue to focus on me. There is so much of me that I must take care of right now. I need to find the willingness and strength to go on to the next stage of all of this.
Edited to say that I don't know why half my post is in italic...it doesn't appear this way in the message draft...oh well...I can't edit that now...too late
[This message edited by bobsgrl at 12:05 AM, November 29th (Thursday)]
A friend told me that I will need to find the psychic network because at the rate my cheater is moving forward he will be dead before I see anything.
eta: Between us we've seen 5 therapists (we've moved) and four were very good.
[This message edited by Skye at 7:50 AM, November 29th (Thursday)]
Face it, we HAVE to change. The way we "dealt" with them prior to the A obviously failed. Just like the way they dealt with us, their own conflict avoidance or whatever failed them.
I know I was a "slammer". If I got angry about something I didn't talk about it, but the world KNEW I was mad. He would run the opposite direction. If I was angry, he'd ignore me, or leave and wind up getting angry himself. The small change I made in being able to say "I am so angry at what you said/the A-hole driver/the kids..." whatever it is, gives him a chance to acknowledge that and ask how he can help. (well, sometimes he does).
But you all are right... it does take 2 willing to make changes. It's probably the WS first inclination to want to go back to what "worked" for them before. My H NEVER let me know what was going on or where he was. I'd get things like "What are you writing a book?" or "Thats on a need to know basis, and you don't need to know." He not only answers me now, but he volunteers the information.
Now neither of those behaviors is getting him to open up to his emotions, but they are behavioral changes that affect my emotional nature in a positive way.
eta: waiting to die isn't working for me.
[This message edited by Skye at 9:01 AM, November 29th (Thursday)]
Running your life angry is going to kill YOU, not him. It's not hurting him, it's not making him act any differently about the affair. the anger is not getting you what you want. Find a way to dispel it.
I like to scream in the car on the way home from work. I took Tai Chi, and that didn't help though.
So if anger is actually another feeling disguising itself... what is your anger really saying? Are you really just angry at him? or angry at yourself too? I know that is my biggest hurdle.