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Not wanting to hear his name again

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hdybrh posted 4/15/2019 22:02 PM

4 1/2 months into R and going as well as could be expected. (yes I know it's early).

My WS shared with me that the AP has been on her mind lately and she is trying to get closure and move on, which may be causing these thoughts. She's honored NC since d-day. She doesn't want to be thinking of him at all. (noticed Maia's withdrawal guide here, will share that)

At the end of our talk she asked if I could never mention him again, to help her move on. That she wants it to be about us moving forward together and talking about him makes her sick. She thought I would be happy about this... and I'd like nothing more than him to be forgotten as if that were possible, but I'm finding myself almost censored now. Our honestly and openness that is probably the most positive side-effect of this trauma is now seemingly changed. Now do I have to think first, should I ask this question? Bring something up? Or is my holding back going to get us closer to where we want to be, where the specter of AP doesn't hover over us.

I'm not grilling her with questions like the first couple months, but we still talk about the A a fair amount and of course the AP comes up in those discussions.

I think her intent here is positive, she has been forthcoming with all details and has expressed and demonstrated remorse.

I'm thinking this is certainly something for IC and our next MC... but wondering if this is a healthy positive step or just pushing down what needs to be dealt with in therapy and/or together. Welcome any thoughts, WS or BS. Thank you

[This message edited by hdybrh at 10:03 PM, April 15th (Monday)]

amethyst0323 posted 4/15/2019 22:10 PM

I don't think it is healthy at all although I'm no expert.

I'm 1 year out and we still talk a lot about the affair and the AP. My husband tells me he would nothing more than to never think of her or hear about her again but he knows that to heal us we need to deal with it properly. He will talk about her/the affair to any level I need. He is also dealing with his whys and part of that is reflecting on their relationship so he will lead conversations that include details of her and their relationship.

I would imagine even years down the line if something triggers you, there will be times that you will need to mention the AP. I certainly think at 4 months out it's too early to expect it to not be mentioned again.

BraveSirRobin posted 4/15/2019 23:12 PM

In a word, no. You need to be able to bring up the AP every day for the next three years, or intermittently for a decade, or 30 years from now at random if you want to. Making him a forbidden topic just adds to his mystique. I get that she doesn't want to think about him, and obviously you don't want her to either, but there can be no healing if you are censoring yourself. That's just rugsweeping, and take it from someone who is living the consequences: there is no statute of limitations for that biting you in the ass.

Jameson1977 posted 4/15/2019 23:46 PM

Agree with BraveSirRobin.

I got a whiff of this from my WW and I simply reminded her that had she not f'ed her AP, I wouldn't even know he existed.

She backed off instantly. I think it comes from good intent, but terrible timing on her part. 4.5 months in I was still all over the place.

The comment about the AP still on her mind is concerning, but I guess it's good she telling you.

Brennan87 posted 4/16/2019 07:13 AM

While I think its good your ww's mind is at this point, speaks of remorse; I think this is a bad idea. One of the most difficult things BS experience is getting the AP out of their head. You didn't have a choice in this matter and the fall out, but you have a choice in how you heal. If you need to say his name or create names (I did, my WWs AP will forever be known as Droopy Dog), then she has a choice as well. She can hear it and deal with the emotions it generates or she can choose to move on. Not trying to be rude or difficult, but her choices resulted in you identifying in a negative way with his name. She needs to put her big girl pants on, if she can screw him, she can hear his name and deal with it.
Put it back on her in a polite manner. "Dear, I can understand why you wouldn't want to hear his name and how physically and emotionally ill it makes you. I ask you to put yourself in my shoes and imagine just an iota of how I feel when I hear or say his name". This is part of healing.
Part of this on your WWs part is its a reminder of who she was, when the name is uttered. I went through the gamut. "boyfriend, Lover, Droopy, Todd (not his real name)" all generated feelings of disgust and loathing for her. However, for my healing I had to get it out....

SaddestDad posted 4/16/2019 08:04 AM

I personally have dubbed POSOM with a new name:

"Fuckhead"

In WW's written timeline and when we speak about him specifically, we make sure to use his proper new pronoun... but we won't make discussion about him forbidden because we know it'll end up creating rugsweeping and many more problems in the long run.

numb&dumb posted 4/16/2019 08:18 AM

While the intentions are pure you are way too early in this process to begin to put limits on the discussions you have.

If the end goal is a very open and honest relationship then there shouldn't be any topic that is off limits. R is about having the very hard conversations and figuring out how to deal with them together. This is a band aid not a solution.

The intent is ok, but let us be honest here. It is trying to cover up something that brings her shame. While I get the leaning to protect her it is shame that she earned and shame that she needs to work through. You don't get any further to that goal by refusing to discuss things. She is thinking about her interests only here. How exactly does this help you ?

Do you really think this is a good idea? I have to tell you not talking about something is going to make it pop up way more often than it would otherwise. You are still processing this. Why is she putting limits on what she is willing to do to help you ?

Think on it.

One of the take aways from my R is that any topic R, A, OM, future is open for discussion. Unilateral refusal to discuss topics leads to resentment. It is the opposite of what you are trying to build.

Just my .02 she is trying to forget and avoiding actually dealing with the issues in the M. Forgetting never works. It is impossible. It is now part of your shared past and refusing to talk about any aspect of your shared past just leads to a breakdown in communication, trust and ultimately intimacy.

Not to sound harsh to your W, but this is a thing that benefits her (temporarily) while preventing you from making progress. You are very early into the game. This is detrimental to the stage you are at right now.

I think you need to call her out for the selfish request this is and help her see that this is no way will be helpful for either of you.

Just for grins. If you did agree to do this what is she willing to add to the mix to avoid these issues ? What can she offer in it's place that will help you move forward? Ask her to find an alternative that accomplishes the same goal.

This request is 100% one sided. At a minimum you need something to "trust" her motivations include your best interests and not just another "dry wayward," attempt to avoid issues and run away from responsibility. Let's be clear that is what is really behind this request. An attempt to avoid taking responsibility.

Sorry man. This isn't a horrible sign, but it is not a good one either. Stand your ground. Be strong. If you are questioning it here it is likely because you know it is not a good idea already. You are going to think about OM. How can you not ? Seriously this is not an R request. This is a unilateral, selfish request to avoid responsibility and hope it goes away.

I am not going to say rug sweeping exactly. If it looks like a duck, If it walks like a duck, it is probably a duck. KWIM ?

hdybrh posted 4/16/2019 08:20 AM

Really helpful feedback.

So she drew the analogy to addiction and said that when I'm bringing him up, it's like giving an alcoholic a drink.

I disagree of course, but there's some truth to this in that the less I talk about him the less he is in her mind and she's thinking about him. But I'm sure as hell not going to hold back if I have a question or something to talk about.

Ultimately I think we need to get professional guidance through this one because I don't know of any branch of effective psychology that says that not talking about something that caused a trauma is healthy.

Sayuwontletgo posted 4/16/2019 08:28 AM

I saw a video recently that might help her understand where you are coming from with this. Itís about safety and making sure that the BSs needs are met in that area BEFORE anything else gets addressed. This is an area I personallly struggle with and it brought a lot of clarity. Iíll send you the link in pm if you are interested. Hope things get better for you : )

Brennan87 posted 4/16/2019 08:33 AM


So she drew the analogy to addiction and said that when I'm bringing him up, it's like giving an alcoholic a drink.

Did she elaborate on this analogy? As I don't see this as a positive at all. Gently, I view this as she's pining for him".

hdybrh posted 4/16/2019 08:57 AM

Yeah there is some pining for sure, which I appreciate the honesty. And it needs to end. She worries about him (they guy had some mental health issues) and how he's processed this since they've gone NC. Wonders what she meant to him and if he regrets it as much as she does. She knows these are not productive helpful thoughts and they certainly come back as we deal with the process of R. And she's dealing with the shame of her poor boundaries and betraying me for sure.

These are all clear signs it's not time to stop talking about anything.

numb&dumb posted 4/16/2019 08:57 AM

What can she offer in it's place that will help you move forward? Ask her to find an alternative that accomplishes the same goal.

I think starting here at least gets you on the same page and pays some respect to "her needs"(real or imagined). The problem with the request it is not an "us," solution. It is a her "nice to have.". Find a compromise. Counselor might help or may make it worse. Try on your own first. Who knows. She may surprise you.

BraveSirRobin posted 4/16/2019 09:00 AM

The problem is that she would rather erase him because it feels impossible to hate him. Just hitting "delete" is not an option here. It won't allow you to process the very real traumas of the A, and it won't allow her to work on how she decided he was the answer to her problems. She can't be a safe partner if she just forces herself to forget.

I'm not saying it's easy for her, but it's the only way.

hdybrh posted 4/16/2019 09:08 AM

Great point SirRobin about hating him. Does she have to truly hate him to move on?

As I've learned the details of the A it's clear to me that she was the aggressor in many ways. Of course he was complicit but in some ways hating him is hating herself for the act... which goes back to dealing with the shame.

I do agree that there's a compromise... for example we've already identified there are times of day where we don't have productive conversations about the A. And that if I get snarky and mean it's not going to help her to feel like sharing. But most importantly we have to both acknowledge that we're not healed and there's much more work to be done.

HardenMyHeart posted 4/16/2019 09:37 AM

Does she have to truly hate him to move on?
No, she does not have to hate him. The best thing would be for her to actually feel nothing towards him as one would feel for a stranger. When I was early on in R, I discussed similar things with my IC. The IC response was that the guilt from the affair was my fWW's burden to bear. If your wife is truly "remorseful", then she will accept this burden and do whatever it takes to help "you" to move forward, not what helps her to stop pining away after loverboy.
I'm thinking this is certainly something for IC and our next MC
Absolutely. You don't have the skills to break her out of her fog. The IC needs to deal with. I would also suggest you put MC on hold until you are both further along in R; otherwise you're just wasting your money. It's up to your wife to show you, through her actions, that she is a safe partner moving forward. If she is already putting limits on discussion, then she is trying to control the outcome.

I suggest you research the difference between remorse and regret. Currently your wife is showing regret. For R to be successful, she has to show remorse.

By the way, I referred to my wife's OM as "her old boyfriend". She hated that, but that's who he was and it was the truth. Running away from the truth does not change what it was.

Sorry you are going through this.

[This message edited by HardenMyHeart at 9:39 AM, April 16th (Tuesday)]

numb&dumb posted 4/16/2019 09:39 AM

Does she have to truly hate him to move on?

The end goal is indifference. For my W when she started talking about how OM could be anybody that is how I knew she had reached indifference.

Hate means he is still taking up headspace and at least there are emotions attached to him. Not positive ones, but emotions none-the-less.

sisoon posted 4/16/2019 09:39 AM

She has the problem - discomfort/shame/guilt when you bring up her ap - but she wants you to solve it for her.

I think it's similar to the need for external validation. Usually I think of that as words of confirmation, gifts, etc. With this, the external validation is helping her to avoid unpleasant reality.

BraveSirRobin posted 4/16/2019 09:50 AM

I don't know if she has to hate him, but it is often a side effect of the work, and a painful one to contemplate. It feels disloyal. I know that's fucked up, and you are where her loyalties should lie, but particularly if she was the instigator, she's probably feeling like she seduced him, used him, and abandoned him to deal with the pain on his own. She probably promised him she would never do that, that whatever happened, she'd always care about him, etc etc. In her mind, hating him for the A is the last step of her total victimization of him. She can't see that what she did to you was a much bigger betrayal, or if she does, she believes she's at least making amends for it. You have her, and he doesn't; you "won."

I've been there. She needs to accept that that is an inevitable consequence of an affair. He knew he was getting involved with a married woman, no matter what else she may have told him. He took the risk. She doesn't get to have his forgiveness or mitigate the responsibility of damaging him. She has to face and own it, not to him, but to herself.

hdybrh posted 4/16/2019 10:28 AM

Had a good chance to further talk about this with my WS. She agreed and said "I agree that itís not fair to you to censor your thoughts and conversation with me. I want to help you heal to the best of my ability. You should feel free to talk about whatever you need to talk about with me."

But that more importantly she wants to make the choice to "turn her back on him and thoughts of him." That may not be the ultimate goal of indifference but it's a good start to make that effort.

Thank you all for this insight, it helps a lot.

HardenMyHeart posted 4/16/2019 10:59 AM

"I agree that itís not fair to you to censor your thoughts and conversation with me. I want to help you heal to the best of my ability. You should feel free to talk about whatever you need to talk about with me."
These are the right words. Going forward, make sure the actions match the words.
"turn her back on him and thoughts of him."
Whatever. The OM is just a <bad word goes here> that will quickly fade as your wife realizes that a good person does not poach someones spouse. I would tell her, just don't cheat again, with anyone, when something about the marriage pisses you off.

Overall hdybrh, this does sound like you're going in the right direction. Sending best wishes for a successful R.

[This message edited by HardenMyHeart at 11:01 AM, April 16th (Tuesday)]

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