Do you love yourself?
I do believe that both of us being scared of emotional intimacy has been a huge unspoken problem in our marriage, but not insurmountable. Ironically I have always wanted more intimacy, but my walls meant that I was too scared to ask for it in case the answer was no. So I settled for less. Me talking openly to WH, me not giving up, well that's actually an emotional step forward for me - being willing to be vulnerable and risk rejection.
I'd love WH to be able to open up too. I want to give him time to see that I'm emotionally safe to open up to, which I have not been in the past. This isn't about blaming myself, it's about owning my past mistakes and trying to change. I do accept that WH may not chose to open up, that he may keep running away. It's just so sad because the person he's really running away from is himself and his own FOO issues. I understand the fear because I've been there too.
Thing is,it's only been 4 months since he left. In that 4 months he has changed a bit. When he left, he was seriously only going to leave us with £300 a month to live off (I'm a stay at home mum) that wouldn't even cover the food - Now he's pulling more of his weight financially and I'm doing ok. He wanted the D through as quickly as possible - Now he's happy to separate instead and is starting to consider the idea of R in the future (yes, I know, cake eating right now, but a big change from how he was). When he left he was being so financially irresponsible and had over £10,000 on a credit card. He was all for living in a hotel he couldn't afford and then renting a flat he couldn't afford - now he's living with his parents (not easy, his mum has dementia) and saving up for a deposit on a flat he can afford,which at least means he's looking after his money better.
All those things are not huge steps. But for him they show that something is going on inside of him. Now I have no idea what that is. It may just be a slow goodbye, but I'm trying to give him/us time to find out. I feel that if I put the barriers up right now, he won't feel emotionally safe enough to come out of his shell. And I know how that feels because I've been there.
I'm not happy to stay like this forever. That's why I posted really, I'm finding it very hard right now and am trying very hard to give him more time. It's like this weekend might be a deal breaker for me. I'm not sure how much more I can pull on my emotional reserves.
In many ways it would be easier if he'd stayed just the same as when he left. If he was still cold, distant, financially irresponsible, pushing D through etc etc. How things are now...well it gives room for hope.
So the last two nights...well the night before last I was praying and God told me to look at Ps20 (which I'm not familiar with). Then last night, in tears, I prayed and asked God just to speak to me through the Bible and opened it up on the passage about the year of the Lord's favour in Isaiah 61 - all about restoration of what has been lost and...you see, I'm a minister (currently taking a break for obvious reasons) and had assumed my ministry was over as a single mum, but it mentions being named ministers. I felt like God was reassuring me that he will turn it around and I'll minister again too.
[This message edited by Softcentre at 5:07 AM, September 13th (Friday)]
I won't get into the whole 'love' thing with your WH, but I really think you should at least read the books abour codependency and narcissism.
My problem is trying to figure out real boundaries (where I don't allow them to be crossed so don't get hurt in the first place, so I can keep my emotions out in the open), rather than reacting to situations where I have got hurt by putting walls up and retreating emotionally IYSWIM?
Detaching does not mean giving up on your M. It doesn't mean accepting S/D. It means taking care of yourself.
If you want a chance at R, you have to be willing to lose the M you currently have. I can't say it nearly as well as others have, so I'm linking to the posts that speak to this.
Even if you have already read these over the past few months, read them again. Apply them to where you are NOW.
Tactical Primer - written for newcomers to this situation, so you maybe can skip through some of the stuff, but there's still great value in SerJR's post.
Before You Say Reconcile -
Understanding the 180 -
Setting Healthy Boundaries -
"If you carry joy in your heart, you can heal any moment."
- Carlos Santana
Please allow me to give you a piece of advice: Stop with the "I'm committed to my vows for better or worse, and although it's worse, I'm still committed" talk.
Girl. Seriously. Just stop it. He cheated on you. He's still cheating on you. I don't care how religious you are, or what your relationship with god is, this has NOTHING to do with god. This has to do with your own health.
Your health. Your sanity. Your self-esteem. Your ability to function as an independent, genuine, human being.
You have been relieved of your obligation. Do you realize that? Are you aware that when your husband broke his vows, he released you?
You can be free now. You agreed to be bound to him when you married him and recited your vows. HE BROKE THE BOND.
Like others, I stayed WAY TOO LONG, and adopted the attitude that for better or worse meant that I was somehow obligated to suffer with his cake-eating, two-timing, self-absorbed, entitled, playboy attitude.
NO!!!! I was not obligated. Staying only debased my integrity, it did not strengthen it.
Please listen. You staying with open arms and an open heart will only serve to teach him that he can abuse your love. It will not set the stage for a healthy recovery of your marriage.
I get that you want to be there for him and allow him to recover his sanity. But seriously, at what cost to you? Why are you willing to be his doormat? Why are you willing to debase yourself so that he can "find himself" or some such crazy concept that only the Betrayed can concoct to rationalize allowing cake-eating?
I spent YEARS in false R with a man who probably had his first affair with only a subconscious intention that it was his "way out" of a marriage he didn't want to be in. You do not deserve to be married to a man who made a mistake in getting married in the first place. If he wasn't man enough to realize marriage wasn't right for him, if he didn't have enough self-awareness or personal ethics or commitment or whatever it takes to be a loyal husband, he should not have married you. He put on an act for you, for your family, for his family, and for himself, in order for him to move forward and get married.
Sadly, he wasn't husband material. He was a fake.
Let him go. Detach. Put up walls. Drive some posts in for the fence you need to make an effective boundary between you and him.
Let him go and suffer the consequences of his piss-poor decisions. Let him grow up without your nurturing. Let him face the music.
DON'T be there for him. I'm serious.
Be there for YOU. Focus on YOU. Focus on your healing, your learning about co-dependency, your education in self-care and self-preservation.
Let him do his own self education. Surely you understand the concept of "tough love" and what it means for a parent to let a child suffer the consequences of their own bad decisions?
You cannot be his mother and be raising him up to manhood.
It is time for him to be a man on his own.
Let go and move on.
Separated, divorcing, moving on.
I edit because I always make typos.
Detaching does not mean giving up on your M. It doesn't mean accepting S/D. It means taking care of yourself.
I'm a minister (currently taking a break for obvious reasons)
Denial - The "This can't be real" stage.: "I'm not here, This isn't happening."
Anger - The "Why me?" stage.: "How dare you do this to me?!" (either referring to God, the deceased, or oneself)
Bargaining - The "If I do this, you’ll do that" stage.: "Just let me live to see my son graduate."
Depression - The "Defeated" stage.: "I can't bear to face going through this, putting my family through this."
Acceptance - The "This is going to happen" stage.: "I'm ready, I don't want to struggle anymore."
What stage do you think you're in, Softcentre?
Here's a popular resource, too:
"Boundaries: When to Say Yes, when to Say No to Take Control of Your Life" by By Henry Cloud & John Sims Townsend
There are other problems with it too, that we cause to happen for very own selves.
I was devastated to realize my marriage was ending and was more religious about it than Nearly Exh, but as the fog lifted for myself, a new light dawned.
I did not have to live with the pain, with the mistrust.
I did not have to let this person walk on me.
I did not have to live with the monumental disrespect.
I did not have to live with the fears and unsafe things he was bringing to our home and child and me, including strangers.
I wanted respect for myself and daughter and not to be mocked by him and OW any longer. I wanted to be proud of myself again and replace all that he took away.
I want someone to take me seriously.
ETA: I forget who, but it was primarily one phrase that helped me detach more than any other cajoling or hitting me over the head, for I was a little bit like you, SoftCentre. Someone said to me that I was the only one living the marriage if he could cheat. And that he knowingly and very, very calculatingly went out and did these horrible things while we sat home and grieved and watched our world crumple.
Yes, I felt that I betrayed the church I grew up in and got married in by filing for a divorce I did not want, but I no longer could tolerate being mocked by this man, who mocked and ridiculed all that I stood for. That's what cheating means in some ways, for myself and some friends who have had it happen.
[This message edited by Ashland13 at 8:47 PM, September 13th (Friday)]
You gave me nothing and now it's all I've got - Bono
A person is a person, no matter how small. -Dr. Suess
Perserverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages.
But, after DDay#2 I knew that I simply couldn't stay. I refuse to believe that God would want me to stay and be mistreated and deceived in such a hurtful way. I recently spoke with my pastor because I'm working through a lot of anger regarding my STBXWH actions. I told my pastor that I know we are called to forgive but its proving difficult right now due to the anger. His response was, "Yes, you can forgive but forgiveness does NOT mean being a doormat."
No one, no matter what your religious preferences are, deserves to be anyone's doormat or back-up plan. You were put here to do something beautiful with your life. Focus on you because you are worth so much more that what your WH is offering right now.
Burn everything love then burn the ashes.
I think the problem is...that he talks the talk and I want to believe him.
Totally natural to want to believe what they say. However, what he's doing completely contradicts what he's saying.
He's away for the next 5 days at this wedding that the COW is also at. Just before he left he basically said that he didn't want me to shut him out, that he wanted me to tell him if I was going to.
He's vacationing w/his M and wants you to give him a heads up when you've finally, really, truly had enough???
That he hadn't forgiven me for anything and how to do it when he was scared of being hurt again. That he was going to think about the stuff I'd said to him over the weekend (that he was intentionally hurting me by still being friends with COW and that he seemed to want to hurt me, that at some point I would have to just block him out, that I'd forgiven him most things but he seemed to resent me and hold onto past hurts and use it to justify hurting me)...
Standard WH b.s. to keep you in check. He's telling you that he is vacationing w/OW, then trying to twist it to you are the problem. He is the problem.
and yet again I find myself hoping that maybe this time he'll get it, he'll figure it out.
He has no incentive to figure it out. He has OW for seedy kicks, and devoted W at home, waiting for the day he's ready to come back and play M/H.
He's kept the door open for me, telling me that he doesn't know what he wants. He wants to move into a flat for 6 months (he's currently living with his parents) to give himself some headspace to think and figure out what he does want.
He wants space to conduct his A unencumbered by you, his W. This is really what he is telling you, but dressed up in pretty words.
Which makes it harder for me to decide it's over. Faithwise,I can't call time on us and he still hasn't fully decided, so I'm stuck.
SC, it's incredibly difficult just letting go, especially when you want to R. But that can't happen while he's still actively involved w/OW. He's flat out telling you that you are 2nd choice. How long do you want to wait around, knowing you are not his first and only option?
I'm asking you that b/c I want you to think about it. You needn't respond here w/it. Answer that to yourself.
I spent close to 4 years waiting for my XH to 'get it'. I think he may be finally starting to, but it took my pushing the D thru. In the interim, OW has had almost 5 years to get her crazy embedded on him.
The longer you allow your WH to continue w/OW, the more time she has to wield her crazy, iykwim. I truly think the ONLY way to get thru to WH is not only letting go, pushing them out the door & D'ing them.
If it takes that to be the impetus for your WH to get his act together, so be it. You can always R after D.
Allowing him to continue what he is doing is soul destroying. You get no benefit sacrificing yourself to him/M.
How would YOU, as a minister, advise someone in your shoes?
This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man ~ Shakespeare, Hamlet