And of the few things that I *may* have been able to agree with -- when I back-tracked (using the *why* exercise), the root cause was often embedded in my behavior being a 'reaction' to HIS dysfunction, kwim?
I KWYM. I blamed myself for a lot of the problems in the marriage -- and my husband blamed me too. How convenient for him. I had my own dysfunctions, but I could at least acknowledge them.
I thought we had an average marriage pre-affair. I know I was working on it. After dday I came to realize the marriage had been shitty. Maybe I rewrote history after dday, or maybe I could finally see that my husband had really checked out years earlier and he hadn't been putting any effort forth. I could also see that I'd been there making excuses for him. I stopped doing that. So yeah the marriage had been shitty for a long time, I just didn't see his part in that.
My husband has since changed virtually everything about himself after dday. He's changed his behavior and coping mechanisms and his thought process and now the marriage is good. It's far different than it was. Hmmm, go figure. That's all it took. So, even though I suck at math, I know the 50/50 equation doesn't equate to what was going on.
My husband also had an exit affair and blamed it on our "miserable" marriage (his words). I think that I gladly took the blame for it and was completely willing to accept that he made a reasonable choice to exit an unfulfilling marriage for fun, sex, romance, and another chance at love.
Here's the problem with that...it's BS.
My husband worked very hard to convince himself that he was miserable. He worked very hard to convince himself that I was a cold nag of a wife who made his life miserable. The truth was that we were both consumed with the responsibilities of life and had lost our connection. I was trying hard, in my own limited way (while raising 2 young kids essentially alone while he worked crazy hours, too tired for frequent sex, working full-time myself while keeping house, cooking, organizing family life, etc), to keep the marriage going. We, too, were reading books (mostly that I had found and begged him to read), going to counseling, and working on the marriage. All I know is that I was loyal and faithful and he wasn't, even though neither one of us was happy.
BTW, the affair didn't make him happier. She dumped him after giving him and STD, which didn't improve his happiness. His friends and family lost respect for him, which didn't improve his happiness.
Does he have a history of making you feel responsible for his problems? Do you have a history of beating yourself up for your own mistakes and taking responsibility for other people's lives? If so, then don't be the emotional landfill here. Don't take responsibility for someone else's mistake. An exit affair is just like any other affair: an AFFAIR. It is cowardly, disrespectful, and cruelly selfish. I don't care what the reason was. If he was so miserable, he could have divorced you and moved on with his life.
However, acknowledging that there were/are problems in the marriage is honest, as every relationship has them. It is a first step towards rebuilding, if he is on board. If he doesn't show remorse, then perhaps he is not ready to reconcile, for whatever reason.
I believe you deserve not only an apology but full remorse. My husband is the same way, and still blames me for his affairs (exit plus others).
Don't beat yourself up about the affair. You can feel guilt about the state of the marriage and make changes now, but you are not responsible for his bad choices.
Thing is: you can't control another person's actions, you can't make them be faithful, and you will drive yourself cr-a-a-a-a-zy trying!
If your spouse thought the marriage was so crappy, why didn't he ask for MC?
He really does do a lot of things right. It just seems like the ONE thing that's painfully difficult for him is the ONE thing I really feel I need.
Attempting R with someone who's betrayed you is difficult, but he still wants you to do it, and just like the previous bad marriage R is not a one way street either. He can't only do the 'easy' things. So how about he matches your efforts now and does something that he deems difficult because you need it?
Trust is like paper. Once it's crumpled it can never be perfect again.
It was the first time he was actually speechless. He just assumed that I was totally thrilled with everything about our marriage, and he was the only one who felt trapped, unappreciated, etc. And yet... I didn't cheat!
My ex cheated because he was (and is) immature and selfish. The end. There are people in far worse marriages who still remain faithful. That's because they have the maturity to realize that having an affair would make an already difficult relationship even worse. They also are grown-up enough to delay any instant gratification that they might get from an A-- they're willing to either end the relationship first before they go looking for someone new or to work on it instead inviting a third (and unwanted) party into it.
I just think that a BS needs to be SURE that the issues are actual real bona-fide marriage issues before owning anything.........(but this is obviously a very 'touchy' subject for me because I was one who was in an 'abusive' type situation)
In my effort to be *concise*, I often come off as blunt and harsh. Sorry, don't mean to be offensive.
It sounds like you are working on R with your WS and not getting what you need from him. This was one of my issues with my WW, initially she wasn't giving me what I needed. But I had to learn to communicate better what my needs were to give her the opportunity to help me heal. So as you can imagine poor communication was an issue in our M before the A, and we are working to improve that in R. But my WW didn't have an A because I couldn't communicate, she had an A because she used poor coping skills and made shitty choices.
t/j @dameia: Sorry, d. I wasn't bitching about *you* saying that, just that sentiment in general.
No worries gonnabe, I wasn't insulted just trying to clarify. I was also in an abusive type M for awhile (WH was emotionally abusive, although I didn't realize it at the time). So I get where you're coming from.
I was also in an abusive type M for awhile
(WH was emotionally abusive, although I didn't realize it at the time).
JF -- my point in all of this is that the 'state of the marriage' is not the issue right now. The issue is that your spouse did not honor his commitment to you. You don't deal with a fire by throwing gasoline on it and then point your finger at the electrical spark that started it for causing all the damage.
At the time, I thought my M was good. Not great, but good. My unhappiness directly coincided w/XH's A. Shocking! The 2 months prior to DD, I'd been thinking about D'ing him daily. During that time period, XH was falling in lurve w/OW. At home, he was a colossal ass.
He blamed our M for his A. I don't buy it; I was M'd to him, quite unhappy, yet I didn't cheat on him.
T/J How happy could one really be if they've been cheated on since the very beginning of the relationship? If your spouse was never faithful to you, except spurts of time between A's? What's your reality at that point?
But the decision to have the affair is still 100% the responsibility of the wayward spouse. One should still be honest about need to change the relationship so fundamentally.
H checked out after a few years of this. On Dday he told me that I had left the M years ago and that's why he did what he did.
Most everyone agrees that the WS had a choice--tell their spouse what they need and try to work it out or leave. That's the honest way. Then there's the way that most of our spouses chose.
I think it's crucial that your H examines why he chose deceit over honesty.
One thing that you can work on is having compassion for yourself and forgiving yourself for how you acted in the M pre-A. That's where IC comes in.
I knew all this on some level, but was caught up with raising our son, trying to be a good mom, doing community work, and increasing my regular work load as well. We were good friends, we loved each other, but our intimacy was low. I see that now -- I don't think either of us had the tools to recognize that, then. No, I wasn't particularly happy either, and got less so as he distanced himself, when I became acutely unhappy, thus feeding the distancing cycle.
So all in all, we thought we were doing pretty well, because we were way better than what we grew up with - better than most of our friends. We rarely fought - no substance abuse issues, supportive on the surface. This made us very vulnerable -- this veneer of stability that had a strong foundation in some ways, but not a lot of depth. I am grateful for the foundation, because it kept us together, but there was something missing, as much as I hate to admit it.
Now that we are vulnerable and more intimate, we have some hellacious fights sometimes, but we are much closer.
ETA: Admitting there was something missing for both of us is hard, because I love my H and I have always believed in us. Obviously, I don't take responsibility for his poor choices, and I can't control him. But, I have learned a lot from this experience, and continue to do so.
[This message edited by bionicgal at 10:46 AM, August 6th (Wednesday)]
I edit, therefore I am.
He was my first sex partner. Over the years, as real life took over (raising 3 stepchildren, pet, full-time job, full-time housekeeping, etc.) my sexual needs took a back seat and he decided to pursue pornography, masturbate with cialis and (I suspect) hire hookers. I knew something was horribly wrong and when I attempted to discuss it, he hostilely shut me down. In retrospect, I can see that he was simmering with rage at me for years. I mourned nearly every day for years in frustration and loneliness.
He had badgered me for years about politics. I finally had enough and gave it right back to him. This gave him ammo for the A-I was mean.
Put these two ingredients together with a husband who refused to address his issues and he decided he deserved a mistress.
One of the reasons I am staying in the M for now is that the M is so much better than it ever was. He is acting like a real partner for the first time in many years. Frankly, I'm enjoying it (except for the triggers and his refusal to seek counseling).