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Please help - is it too late for us?

AnxiousHeart posted 4/15/2019 13:11 PM

Hi everyone,
I apologise in advance for the long, disjointed post but I am at breaking point and on the verge of losing everything, desperate for advice.

I have been with my husband for 13 years, married for 10. Our marriage was never an easy one, weíve both struggled with mental health issues (him: depression me: anxiety and OCD)
We were told we may never be able to have children, so it was an enormous shock to find ourselves pregnant just 6 weeks after we were married.
We were thrown head first into being parents and never really had that honeymoon period of just being us. We never had the opportunity as newlyweds to travel, enjoy each otherís company, socialise etc. We were very young and suddenly had this other human that took over and controlled our lives.
We were so grateful and adored our son, but it was such a hard period in our lives. I suffered with PND and my husband shut down and struggled to deal with everything. We were too young and inexperienced to even recognise that we were suffering from mental health issues - I just thought that was the norm for us.
Fast forward 3 years and we started to reclaim our independence and lives a little, however my anxiety was still a huge problem. I have always felt unlovable, unattractive and wondered what my husband actually saw in me. Not a day went by where I wasnít convinced he was interested in other women, didnít find me attractive and didnít love me.
This led to me seeking attention and validation from another man. It started with flattering text messages and flirting and ended up in a one night stand that understandably tore my Hís world apart. I hated myself and it made me feel worse than ever before.
We stayed together however neither of us dealt with the affair. It was swept under the rug and avoided, never mentioned again. Looking back, my H went through the Ďhysterical bondingí phase and we naively believed we were over the affair and healed. We never sought counselling for the affair or for our mental health issues.

We went on to have another son, during the childbirth I almost died as did our son. It was traumatic and as a result my H and slipped back into our anxious and depressive states. We drifted so far apart we barely felt like a married couple. There was no intimacy, lots of arguing and so much distance. We were focusing solely on our children and being the best parents we could be, we totally neglected each other. I would try to hold my husbands hand and he would pull away from me, there was no closeness.
In bed, he would build a wall out of the duvet between us despite me longing for physical touch and intimacy. We had absolutely no idea how to communicate with each other. At best, we felt like roommates. We co existed, miserably.

Last year I felt like I had had enough of living this way. I didnít even think I loved my husband and was absolutely certain he didnít love me. I struggled massively with the idea of love and spent most of my time wondering what love really was and if I had ever felt it. I told my H I wanted to separate. He was devastated and begged to seek counselling, anything to make me stay. I was so convinced we werenít in love and had started confiding in another man. You can see where this is going...this man became not only my confidante, but we embarked on a relationship. My husband does not believe we were separated at this time and very much considers it to be an affair.
I was still living at home with my husband but living another life with this man. My husband was once again devastated. I broke his heart. He tried to commit suicide after finding out I was in a relationship with this man - his lowest point: I helped him seek the help he needed and he began taking anti depressants. That was 8 months ago.
We agreed to stay living together due to our two small children but I continued my relationship with this other man for about a month.
During this point I began to realise everything I was seeking within my affair and separation were actually things I had been seeking from my H, I just didnít know how to even begin asking for them within my marriage or fixing our problems. I had a huge moment of realisation and ended my relationship with the other man. It wasnít making me happy and all I could think about was how I wish the feelings and emotions I was feeling were happening with my H. Does that even make sense?! Probably not.

My H and I continued to live in the same house with our children, co existing and raising our boys. I was no longer in a relationship with the other man and genuinely believed we were getting close again and enjoying each otherís company. On rare occasions, we were physically intimate. I was gearing up to tell my husband how I felt and that I wanted us to try again, start afresh and build a better stronger marriage.
In December 2018 my H sent me a text message telling me he had started talking to a girl 20 years younger than him online. They had been talking for months and had recently had a discussion in which they admitted they had feelings for each other and wanted to meet up and explore a relationship together. They had arranged to meet up in January, after Christmas. My H had believed we were completely done and was hoping to move out after our last Christmas together with the boys, although hadnít communicated this to me.
I was so upset. Devastated. I truly believed we were working towards a reconciliation.
I told him how I felt and how I had been feeling. I had embarked on individual counselling to address why I had affairs and what went wrong and I was feeling more aware than ever before. I also knew I loved my husband.
He was incredibly confused and shaken up by what I told him, understandably so.
After a week of us both crying, soul searching and going over everything, he agreed not to meet up with this girl and consider if he could ever see us as a couple again.
That was 4 months ago - which brings us up to today. He still cannot give me an answer as to whether he wants to try again.
His feelings seem to swing wildly. Some days he tells me he cannot continue anymore and is done and that he wants to end it and move on. Then when the reality of that hits him, he stalls and says he still has feelings for me.
He is so very conflicted, again, I understand this.
In summary, he says; he does still love me but nowhere near as much as before. Everything feels tainted now and he cannot see how that will ever change. He cannot imagine a future with me, he doesnít see us growing old together anymore, but he also cannot imagine a future without me. He would miss me unbearably but feels ashamed and embarrassed about what Iíve put him through.
He does not feel he can be tactile or intimate with me at all. He says he just cannot even imagine giving me a hug, holding my hand or kissing me. Over the past 4 months there have been around 3/4 instances where he HAS instigated a kiss, a hug and we have had sex. But it is rare.
We spend almost all of our time in a vicious cycle of heart wrenching arguing with no real resolution. Lots of shouting, frustrations and tears. He just cannot say either way what he wants or doesnít want. He cannot say that he wants to reconcile because he says he just cannot process how he feels.
I am so unsure how to progress. I desperately want to try again and start reconciliation. I love him. I cannot imagine my future without him by my side.
I spend my days longing for his touch, longing to touch and kiss him and I crave sex with him.
It breaks my heart that I have caused him so much hurt and distress and I desperately want to make amends, make it up to him and show him I can be the wife he needs and deserves.
He tells me he is no longer in contact with the girl he met online but they still follow each other on social media and it makes me feel awful, even though I know I have no right after everything Iíve done.
There have been several instances where I am convinced they are still in contact and it feels like he may be keeping his options open with her in case he decides he canít be with me. I know I have absolutely no right to feel this way, it makes me a huge hypocrite but I get insanely paranoid and jealous that he is still in contact with this girl.

We are both in crisis and in limbo and neither of us can see a way forward.
His most recent thinking, over this weekend is that we are done and he cannot continue like this. I have begged and pleaded with him to reconsider and see if we can ride this storm out until he can say yes or no with some clarity. I know he is incredibly hesitant because of his uncertainty. I also believe this is still early days and everything is still so raw.
What do I do? Is this a sign that there is no hope for us? are we better just divorcing and going our separate ways?
Should he know by now and he able to give me an answer if he even wants to reconcile?

Root posted 4/15/2019 13:27 PM

My BH hung in there for 6 years and we are divorcing. He just couldnít get past it. We tried we really did. It was just a deal breaker.

Jorge posted 4/15/2019 16:44 PM

A few things stick out to me that may help you see things differently. One, you have yet to speak of his pain. You have documented your feelings of rejection, but haven't connected with what emotional damage was caused to your husband stemming from your affair. He may also be thinking if he became depressive or experienced some other emotional disorder that impacted you, that you will have an affair.

That's been the pattern and it's possible he sees nothing different in your actions that would make him feel you are a safe partner. You can say you love him, but you have disrespected and dishonored him in such a way that he can't get past it. Until you have been betrayed, it's nearly impossible to fully appreciate the depth of despair it imposes upon the betrayed. I've read nothing that speaks to your efforts to help heal the massive damage you caused in having a lover while being married.

Trust. If I read this correctly, shortly after you sought a separation, you began confiding in another man. Unfaithful spouses have patterns of behavior. One of the many is to seek separation to allow time and space to cultivate other relationships. Regardless if this is true or not, your husband probably sees this as a cold heartless maneuver to cast him aside and try another man on for size.

If this is the case, how is it possible for him to trust you? People who are cheated on have limits to how much heartache and pain they are capable of enduring. There's a limit however and at some point, self protection and preserving what little dignity is left is prioritized over reconciliation. Perhaps he's at his limit and only MASSIVE action on your end can allow him to consider you coming anywhere near the heart you broke and stamped upon.

When a physically abusing man strikes a wife repeatedly, guess what? She's going to flinch, avoid and run scared for as long as she's in his presence, until the husband seeks to address the issues that caused him to physically abuse you. Cheating on a spouse is emotional abuse. Your husband is emotionally "flinching" and scared as the devil of re-experiencing abuse.

A chance with him begins when he can begin healing from the damage you caused. I'm not referring to the marital dysfunction prior to the infidelity, but the infidelity itself of which you own solely. His healing begins when you take significant action and steps to address how and why you abandoned him so easily and thoroughly.

Pleas may give him a clue of your interest in reconciling, but it does nothing to convince him you would be any different should he agree to do so. Lastly, might the intensity of your feelings for wanting your husband have anything to do with the other woman?

BraveSirRobin posted 4/15/2019 17:52 PM

Prepare yourself, because I'm going to be blunt.

It seems like you have a very long way to go before you can be a safe partner for your BH. There's a lot of wayward thinking in your post. Essentially, you considered yourself separated when that was convenient for your plans and married when it was not. You say that your BH "does not believe we were separated at this time and very much considers it to be an affair." This implies you think otherwise. Then you say that he became suicidal when he "found out" about OM. With a prior history of infidelity, you should know that hiding OM from him means it was an A. The timeline is a little vague, too, like you don't want it to be quite clear that you were involved with OM in at least an EA before you asked to separate. So now you're self-justifying that this was just a big misunderstanding or difference of opinion. And you kept seeing OM after that disclosure and suicide attempt, while continuing to live with your BH? Did you ever file divorce or legal separation papers? Or did you just plan to stay married and sleep with OM until it was more convenient to divorce?

Note that I'm not just trying to bludgeon you with all your bad decisions. I have plenty of my own, including that weirdly counterintuitive one of cheating because I believed my BF, whom I loved very much, wasn't entirely committed to me. I get that the healthy thing would have been to talk it out with him instead of cheating, and I get that your fear of finding out you were right about his indifference made cheap validation from another source more appealing. I've been there, so how can I judge?

But I've also been there in the stage of owning some of my shit while rugsweeping other major parts of it, so I have to call you on that. You are still trying to assign blame to your BH. You wanted to be separated until you were done with the OM (are you NC? Did he accept and adhere to that?). Now you're fighting with BH because you decided you want the marriage and he isn't sure. Only an idiot would be sure about getting back into this mess without solid, consistent and dramatic proof of change from you. Your only explanation for why he should feel safe is that, well, now you know you want him. He's found someone else without this frankly abusive and entitled behavioral history. He should have filed for divorce first, and texting you about it was pretty cold, so I'm not claiming he's perfect either. But on the other hand, you say you hadn't even told him yet that you wanted to get back together, so he may have just finally decided to accept your insistence that your marriage was over. You didn't announce your plan to reconcile until you knew he'd found someone else.

It may be possible for you to rebuild trust if he's willing to watch and wait, but you need to be working very, VERY hard at it. And the first step is to look hard at this vague bullshit about your A not being an A. You need to let go of the outcome and focus on fixing yourself. Start owning things now, or just let him go.

[This message edited by BraveSirRobin at 6:22 PM, April 15th (Monday)]

AnxiousHeart posted 4/15/2019 18:09 PM

Jorge,
Many thanks for your reply.
You are correct in saying I am yet to speak of his pain - one reason I was hesitant to do this on this post is because as you say, unless you have experienced the pain of betrayal first hand, itís so hard to fully understand and articulate just how broken the betrayed really are. I am working so hard on understanding his pain. I have broken his trust, I have destroyed his happiness, I have caused immeasurable pain.

Emotional flinching is also accurate.
Self protection and preserving dignity are spot on, thatís exactly where I think he is right now. You say a MASSIVE action on my end could allow us to progress and move forward from this limbo period, but I am at a loss how I can do this. I donít know what that massive action needs to be. I need help. I just donít know how to do this. I WANT to help him heal, I just donít know how to do it. I have asked him and he canít tell me / he just says other than build a time machine and change what happened, thereís nothing I can do?

Things I have done: entered into therapy to understand why I cheated and what drove me to be such a horrible person and ruin my Hís life. I am digging deep to discover what is wrong with me and why I have done this. I am trying to fix myself and show my husband I am dealing with my shit.
I apologise. I apologise every single day. Is there such thing as apologising too much? I thank him every day for still being here, despite this limbo period being so tough for him and so distressing, I thank him for not giving up on us just yet.
I am open and honest with him, I am completely transparent.

I donít believe the other woman situation dictates the intensity of my feelings. Iím not saying it doesnít have an effect, but the intensity of my feelings were the same before I found out about her.


AnxiousHeart posted 4/15/2019 18:38 PM

BraveSirRobin...thank you, thank you, thank you for being blunt. This is what I need to see and hear.
I will agree there is still some wayward thinking there. I am a work in progress. I am working on myself in order to help heal my husband.

I will clear a few things up, not to justify or defend my actions but just to give a clearer timeline.
I did not continue seeing OM after the suicide attempt. I had ended the relationship before the suicide attempt.
I had not filed for divorce however. I was living with BH whilst in a relationship with OM.
I hope this doesnít sound like a cop out, but I honestly didnít have a plan at this point. I was in turmoil myself. Doesnít justify what I did AT ALL. Please donít think thatís what I am trying to do.

Please. Judge away. I am prepared for the bludgeoning and bluntness if it will help. I DESPERATELY want to get to the point where I can be considered a safe partner for my husband.
It helps me massively to see this from another perspective, so I thank you for that.

I am no longer in contact with the OM, in any way. I ended the relationship and we went NC. No issues there. No desire to contact him and he hasnít attempted to contact me.

This may sound stupid or clueless, but how do I really and truly start owning these things and prove to my husband I am doing so? My therapy is really helping and he says he is proud of me for taking that step.
What else can I do at this stage? Letting go of the outcome is going to be so hard for me as I want it so badly, but I am prepared to focus on myself and fixing myself and try not to focus on the outcome.
Youíre absolutely right, at this moment I have given him absolutely every reason to believe I am not safe. This is what I need to work hard on. Itís knowing how to do that, that I am struggling with

limenavy posted 4/15/2019 22:04 PM

WS Only

[This message edited by SI Staff at 3:41 AM, April 16th (Tuesday)]

foreverlabeled posted 4/16/2019 07:34 AM

Welcome AnxiousHeart

I feel your anxiety through your words, having issues with that already I know it must be off the charts now, try to breathe and do everything you can to rein it in and calm it best you can. This calls for you to step up like never before and you will need to no doubt about that. I think about the nuke I dropped on my M and how it nearly wiped us of the map. I cannot imagine the depths of destruction a second nuke would cause to us or any M. I don't know if it is too late for y'all or not but your actions must match the severity of the situation you have put your M in and trauma you've brought upon your BH.

There is a lot to unpack here, I'm going to share with you just my first thoughts to start.

My very first post here sounded much like this one not an ounce of accountability. The blame shifting is strong here. I wanted to make sure that those here reading my post knew how unloving my BH was, how he didn't touch me or show me affection they would understand why I made the choice to cheat if they did. Wrong. Nothing justifies cheating. Everything you wrote here justifies divorce and that's it. But you didn't go that route and neither did I. We took the coward's road. Nothing or no one made you cheat. You will have to find a way to own these actions and place the blame squarely on your shoulders.

You don't seem to want to acknowledge your most recent affair for what it is, you stress that you were separated. Stating you want a separation and actually separating are two very different things. Separating and divorce are two very different things. You must know that right? You must know that your BH felt as together in the M as he's always been. This betrayal feels no less painful than the first. So now he's trying to deal with this trauma that only compounds the trauma he never dealt with the first time. I cannot even imagine the pain he must be in. So much so he tried to take his life, that is incredibly sad and heartbreaking. That's a lot of pain if he felt to end it would be better than life with his sons. I would urge you to own this A for what it is. To let go of the notion that you were separated and act accordingly. You would benefit to better understand what emotional trauma is and grief too. This is your BHs life for the foreseeable future.

I didn't know how to help either. So I made it a priority before I did anything else to know. Read "how to help your spouse heal from your affair" Linda MacDonald (seriously do it TODAY) I downloaded the kindle version as I waited for my paperback and read in The Healing Library here. There is a section there for us WSs. Start with the section labeled "what is owning your shit" It's a short but powerful mention.

This isn't the time to overload yourself with everything. You do need to find your whys but you have all the time in the world for that. Your BH is bleeding out and if there is any chance for you two the most powerful action you can take right now is to be a safe landing for him. Use your IC to get you anxiety under control and get to yourself out of crisis so that you can be the strong one right now. Use your IC to help you let go of the outcome.

Zugzwang posted 4/16/2019 08:18 AM

Your post seems like a long dissertation on how your husband has failed you and what you think he thinks. No where in that beginning till your (how many affairs) did it seem like he didn't want you. He stayed with you through it all till now.


my anxiety was still a huge problem. I have always felt unlovable, unattractive and wondered what my husband actually saw in me. Not a day went by where I wasnít convinced he was interested in other women, didnít find me attractive and didnít love me.

Did he say any of this to you? If not, then it is you and your own thinking. Your imagination. What you thought he was thinking based on your anxiety maybe? Your own warped reasoning skills. You putting yourself in his place and playing his part unrealistically. It doesn't seem you were ever fair to him at all. Maybe you made up your own dialog and motivations based on his depression and made it all about you? When it probably had nothing to do with you. Just re-read your post. What he was doing and thinking. If he didn't tell you, how do you know? Just too much he and we and not enough I.

You are blameshifting and not taking on responsibility for your own actions and feelings. Everything is blamed on cause and effect with you. Cause- your low self esteem. Effect-you seek outside validation from everyone. Cause-you aren't fed enough bullshit excuse. Real cause-you set the level and you feed yourself. Then you will not need others to validate you and base love on getting a high of being constantly wanted.

Your dialog is the problem. Not him. Not the marriage. Not being parents soon into the marriage. Not what you aren't getting from other people. It is what you aren't doing for yourself.

Whatever the case, your post really talks about how he felt and how he thinks and what he has done. You don't speak of his pain. You don't have any issue with saying what you think he was thinking during your marriage either.

I am not saying he has not faults where he might have failed in the marriage. I am saying you need to focus on you and not reconciliation. There is no reconciliation possible at this point because you two need to get yourselves healthy individually. You need to stop bouncing around from one guy to the next wanting you to feed you validation because of your warped internal dialogue. Till you do that, and fix your dialog you will never be safe for any man or any relationship.

During this point I began to realise everything I was seeking within my affair and separation were actually things I had been seeking from my H
, Stop blaming the marriage. This is a you problem. If the marriage was really that bad and you really got no love in a "realistic and healthy level"- most cheaters have an unrealistic and unhealthy level IMO- then you need to face why you stayed so long. Staying is on you. Not your husband. Why didn't you love and respect yourself to leave the right way? Everything you were seeking, were things you yourself was not providing yourself. Just you.

Action. Action needs to be taken. Start with owning you and fixing you and stop blaming your husband and the marriage. Stop focusing on the marriage. He is in shock. He is bleeding out and incredibly hurt. Let him heal and stop pushing for a marriage that no longer exists. Focus on changing you.

Own that you had multiple affairs. Who knows, maybe even more when you realize that you might have been getting emotional support and ego kibbles from other men too. You weren't divorced. You were sitting on the fence and jumped into another relationship. You had an affair. You want to help your husband. Admit that.

Jorge posted 4/16/2019 15:24 PM

You say a MASSIVE action on my end could allow us to progress and move forward from this limbo period, but I am at a loss how I can do this. I donít know what that massive action needs to be. I need help. I just donít know how to do this.

I haven't traveled this road but many on here have. Heed their advice.

Here are a few links of WW'S. Their posts and stories will provide keen, unmistakable insight on what you have to do. You can even read their mistakes, so that you'll know what to avoid.

HikingOut
https://www.survivinginfidelity.com/profiles.asp?UserID=59504&Show=1

MsSouthAfrica
https://www.survivinginfidelity.com/forums.asp?tid=617861&HL=62465
https://www.survivinginfidelity.com/profiles.asp?UserID=62465&Show=1

MrsWalloped
https://www.f.survivinginfidelity.com/forums.asp?tid=617982&AP=1&HL=
https://www.survivinginfidelity.com/profiles.asp?UserID=62313&Show=1

Perhaps posters can link the stories and profiles of the many other WW's and WH'S (daddydom) who have contributed to SI.

Letting go of the outcome, focusing on yourself so that you can be a safe and better partner with your next significant other, and selflessly helping your husband heal is your new path.

I'm not saying to concede the prospect of reconciling, but to prioritize his recovery and your growth. His recovery may very well mean divorce, separation or even limited or no contact with you, which in can expedite his recovery as is often the case. You'll have to know, your physical presence can trigger him.

You have prioritized yourself for some time now and prioritizing his recovery means having no control of where this goes and accepting that. The cost of betrayal unveils many unintended consequences and the WS relinquishing control of the outcome is one.

Lastly, you'll advance quicker in your growth once you completely release your husband's role in how you think he made you feel which led to your decision(s) to be unfaithful to him. One hundred percent ownership and not a hint of blame-shifting will get you on the right path and keep you there.

[This message edited by Jorge at 5:02 PM, April 16th (Tuesday)]

MrsSouthAfrica posted 4/16/2019 18:50 PM

AnxiousHeart - Let me ask you something. What do you and your H want from this relationship?

As I've read your post, it is glaringly clear that the problem is you assume too much of your H. Your communication towards him is a HUGE problem.

The biggest thing that helped me in my situation was being brutally honest to my partner and making sure that whatever he needed was top priority. The most affective way was to communicate as much as he would allow and use the necessary tools to make sure our communication was effective. I always looked for ANY opportunity to engage him, especially when he was having a bad day. Those days were hell and I made sure he knew that I understood his anger towards me comes from the pain of my betrayal. At 8 months out, it's still going to be a recurring theme for you guys.

Another huge issue is your convenient timing of realising your feelings for your husband before you realised he was gearing up to meet somebody, after you did so pretty much in his face. I'm sorry, but if I was him, I would not believe that for a second. He might hold on some resentment for that, the fact that you basically opened the marriage, then closed it just when he finally found someone available to experience what you've experienced. I'd tread very carefully here and make sure you deal with this as soon as you're able to. That is a huge red flag, as they say, and another problem.

The only thing you can really do and control is working on yourself. Read alot of good books relating to infidelity, be honest with him, try engaging with him. Initiate any form of activity for him, whether that's going with him to watch his favourite sport or having sex. Initiate and be prepared for rejection. Learn to deal with feeling rejected better. Your coping mechanisms need to change.

It is absolutely super important that you do not burden him with negative feelings towards yourself unless he wants that. Right now, you mindset should be: I stole from my husband. Let me give him back 10x to TRY and make up for it.


I will be honest with you, it seems that - for the moment - your husband has checked out and has one foot out the door. It's going to be a very rough ride trying to win him back but not impossible, so long as both of you want that.

FearfulAvoidance posted 4/16/2019 22:49 PM

AnxiousHeart, I think something that will be helpful for you to work on, as others have mentioned, is that you are too focused on the marriage. The marriage didn't cause you to cheat, something in you did. I'm sure you are getting to a point where you can logically understand that you are an adult who made conscious decisions along the way, and that is good. Keep working on that in therapy. But the most important step, and the hardest, is coming to terms that the marriage you had before is dead. You killed it.

That means all the resentments, all the blame, all the "reasons why" you felt entitled to step outside your marriage are also dead. They don't exist anymore. They can't exist anymore if you want the slightest chance at continuing a life next to your BH. You don't get to blame what happened before because it doesn't matter anymore. You burned it all down. YOU don't get to be mad about all the years you spent feeling unloved and unwanted. And the unfair thing is that HE can still be as mad as he wants about all of it.

This will likely be one of the hardest things you've ever done. I was able to let go of alot of my resentments early on, but at 2 years out I am still struggling with the reality that my marriage prior to my A is gone. I have not let myself grieve the death of the marriage fully and it is a huge roadblock to moving forward.

You will hear it said here often, you have to be willing to lose the marriage in order to save it. I don't believe there is any saving the original marriage after the traumatic betrayal of infidelity. The only saving that is done is of the ashes from the fire you caused, and trying to rebuild something new from them, together. Sadly it doesn't sound like you and your BH are anywhere close to that point yet, but I hope you find yourself there. And as you will likely find out, it isn't over until the papers are signed. And even then sometimes that isn't the end.

But for right now, do everything you can to keep your anxiety in check and take care of yourself. There is no magic wand in becoming a safe partner. The only way you get there is showing your BH good things, consistently, over a long period of time, and hope that eventually his gut tells him you are safe now.

Zugzwang posted 4/17/2019 08:04 AM

They can't exist anymore if you want the slightest chance at continuing a life next to your BH. You don't get to blame what happened before because it doesn't matter anymore. You burned it all down. YOU don't get to be mad about all the years you spent feeling unloved and unwanted. And the unfair thing is that HE can still be as mad as he wants about all of it.

I so disagree with this. It isn't because you burned it down. It is because it isn't the truth. There is nothing unfair about it. To even look at that way makes it a toxic tit-for-tat thing and you aren't right to compare the two. She chose to stay in that relationship and she chose to step outside of it. He didn't choose to be cheated on. There is nothing to compare to even remotely get to it being unfair.

Here is the thing about resentments. At the end of the day the only person you should be focused on is you. Resent you. If a marriage was unhealthy and wrong. You chose to stay. Who is really at fault for subjecting themselves to an unhealthy relationship? YOU So, in the end it still is about you and not the him or the marriage because you chose it. You can be angry he wasn't what you were hoping for, but resentment is a waste of time. You can't change or control him. Only you and your choices. So, why resent something you allowed to happen to you? It is never never about the marriage no matter how unhealthy it was. When you dig deeper it is always about you; your choices, your coping skills or lack there of, your lack of so much more. Unhappy things in marriage are really reflections of the broken things within yourself. It isn't about fair or unfair. It is about reality. You chose that. Your broken self chose to be in an unhealthy relationship. He simply was being who he is if that is the case and he truly showed you no love. It is like choosing to be with a lion and knowing it is a lion and expecting it to be a house cat. Always hoping to change something you will never change and then complaining when it bites you. Who chose to be with a lion they knew was a lion? So, get empowered and get angry at yourself for disrespecting yourself and not loving yourself to get out. Focus on yourself. Stop focusing on things you can't control.

You really have to take a hard look at how unhealthy the relationship was or if it was you. A place to start is to ask relatives and friends and really listen to them. Don't jump to defend, if you two or codependent it will be an automatic response. Just listen.

Maia posted 4/17/2019 08:57 AM

This might sound simple.

BH and I had to learn to play together to heal. Whether reading together, gaming together, traveling, hanging w new friends...whatever.

I'm struck by your saying "we never had the honeymoon"

Well we didn't either. Our kids were 8 and 10 when we married. Brady bunch but smaller.

When the nest emptied, we got our honeymoon and it helped heal a lot. But I think you gotta push and fight for joy. It matters. Just a thought.

Maia posted 4/17/2019 09:03 AM

Love heals. Joy heals. Theres a book called Love and war by John eldredge. Read it.

Praying for you.

FearfulAvoidance posted 4/17/2019 10:08 AM

It isn't because you burned it down. It is because it isn't the truth. There is nothing unfair about it. To even look at that way makes it a toxic tit-for-tat thing and you aren't right to compare the two. She chose to stay in that relationship and she chose to step outside of it. He didn't choose to be cheated on. There is nothing to compare to even remotely get to it being unfair.

I agree 100% with this, and I think we are trying to communicate the same thing, and you took it to the next step of personal accountability. I did not mean to suggest anything was actually unfair, but that in the early days it can feel unfair to the WS who has to let go of all the resentments that led to the A, when the BS justifiably can hold on to them if they choose.
Getting to the point of the emotional and mental space of personal accountability you are speaking of can feel unfair when you have spent the whole time feeling justified in your choices because you were "stuck" in a bad marriage. It is all bullshit. Nobody is stuck. We all make choices along the way to stay in something we start to resent. And we all have to deal with the aftermath of those choices when we choose to cheat instead of trying to work through them or choose to leave.

AnxiousHeart, please do not misunderstand me and my use of the word unfair. There is nothing unfair for you right now, even if it feels that way. Zugzwang is right in everyhing they are saying. Espcially the part about needing to look at if the relationship was actually unhealthy or if it was you. I did not mean to suggest that looking at the issues of the marriage is irrelevant. Hopefully you will get to the point where you can both talk about past resentments and figure out what the hell was really going on and how you will protect the new marriage from repeating the same mistakes. But that is a process for reconciliation, and you are not there right now. Right now is not the time to focus on the marriage that was. Because that marriage, truth or not, is gone now, because of your actions. That is why taking action now is stressed so heavily here. Your actions destroyed the marriage. Your actions are the only thing that can have a chance at saving the relationship.

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