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Discreet support for my BH - seeking advice

S0leil posted 9/1/2019 11:00 AM

We are about a year and a half into R (but only a year since DDay 2). My BH does not feel comfortable disclosing many of the most awful and intimate details of our situation to others. His one outlet other than me is our therapist. The therapist is wonderful but obviously he could benefit from someone whom he could talk with more regularly and more informally. I have mentioned (no soliciting) SI to him but he is not ready to join either though he is willing to listen to some of the things I read and share with him from these sites. He is not comfortable with the idea of local support groups.

Please share any suggestions you might have that I can pass along to him. He needs to be able to talk to other people who have been in his shoes. Is there a private BH conference line people can use for advice and for support? Are there other things he can do? Has anyone attended marriage weekend getaways that are supposed to help improve communication and trust and would you recommend those?

He says working out helps, sex helps, and he has listened to a few helpful podcasts. But he has no community.

I am open to recommendations from all parties.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 1:49 PM, September 1st (Sunday)]

sassylee posted 9/1/2019 14:06 PM

Not all people are open to Internet forums. Offer him your encouragement should he want to seek outside sources of support. Youíve given him some initial ideas and now you must allow him the agency to use them - or not.

Followtheriver posted 9/2/2019 02:16 AM


I am a WW and my BH felt very similar to yours after D-day, which was almost 4 years ago. As far as I know, he only talked about my A with 2 people, myself and our MC. He did join SI, but from what he told me, he's never really been an active member because it's just not his thing. He also chose not to do IC.

So I can understand where you are coming from. While he did not want me to disclose to anyone in real life, I did have an amazing therapist and the help, guidance and support of the SI community. I worried about him not wanting or needing the same thing. But after talking to him about it, all I could do was to trust him to know what he was doing, to do what was best for himself and to reach out if and when he changed his mind.

He needs to be able to talk to other people who have been in his shoes

Did your BH say that he needs this, your MC or is this something that you think he needs?

The therapist is wonderful but obviously he could benefit from someone whom he could talk with more regularly and more informally

From what you have written, it sounds to me, like you think or believe that you know more of what would obviously benefit and help the healing process of your BH than he does.

Why do you believe that your BH would benefit from talking to someone other than you and your MC? In what way do you think that it would help him heal?

The reason that I am asking you these questions is to get a clearer picture of your situation. While I do understand what help you are asking for, I am trying to understand the real reason why you're asking. Because on the surface it seems pretty straightforward, you want to help your BH.

But, being a wayward, much farther out, I am thinking that there is something more beneath the surface than just what you have written.

I'm wondering if deep down you are hoping that by finding more support for your BH, he won't have to lean on you for as much support? If he could talk to someone else about what he is going through, he wouldn't have to talk to you about it as often? The more support he has, the faster he can heal and the better for you that would be? If you would really be completely honest with yourself, could any of what I've said be a possibility?

Now for some hard truths. While you may have the best of intentions, your BH is the only one who gets to decide what he wants and what he needs to help his healing process, not you. And the best way for him to do that is his decision to make, not yours. All you can do is be there for him, support him and trust that he is doing the best he can after the living hell you put him through.

S0leil posted 9/2/2019 07:39 AM

You are both right. Itís not for me to dictate what he needs. Itís his choice. Perhaps in my desperation to help I am overstepping. Itís just that I have read and internalized a lot of material about infidelity and some of the promising practices and I suppose I want us to try those things that have seemed helpful to others.But I need to remember that only he can decide what is the best route for Him.

On that note, I guess I do feel that him having community could be helpful if decides he wants that one day. I feel like Iím not enough. I listen and advise, but Iím the guilty party and also have so little understanding of what he as a man is feeling. And I feel like if he could talk to someone other than me he could vent more openly to and not have to worry about negativieky impacting my mental health as he has shared that he holds back some because of his love and concern for me.

What you are saying has some validity. I am not trying to have him talk less about the A with me, but maybe he could come to me with the areas I seem better suited to answer rather than me speculating and providing my best guess as wihat direction to take.

S0leil posted 9/2/2019 10:24 AM

I forgot to add that my BH at one point after DDay 2 (which is the DDay that I consider to be the real DDay, since he only knew part of the story, the initial EA only, on DDay 1) expressed more than once his desire to have someone he could talk to about this. But now he might feel differently. He is not interested in SI or even PMing with other BHs farther along in the process right now. I wonít push him if he isnít ready for that. But I want to be proactive and help him.

There are different classes and other options for couples I have come across in my searching. There are online classes you can take as a couple, and there are weekend marriage intensives designed to help couples reconnect with one another. I think he might be more comfortable with something like that. But how do I know how to evaluate them for quality? There are online reviews, but itís hard to gauge their authenticity.

Our MC (who is also both of our IC) wants my BH to try EMDR for the mind movies, etc. But Iíve had some adverse reactions post-EMDR and I think that might be causing him to feel hesitant to do it. Even though in my case I am unpacking a lot of buried trauma from childhood so itís not unusual for me to be shaken as I dig through the muck I have ignored for decades. His is a more recent trauma and he will probably respond differently to EMDR as a result. It will probably provide him a great deal of relief. But I donít push him. When or if he feels ready he can give that a try.

I have been reading a lot of books from the wayward side of things. I want to get him some books that are helpful for BHs. He likes audio books. He said he is open to checking out what I find. Awhile ago I read some info about Esther Perel as an option on one site, but then on another site (and I think also on this site also) people were adamant that her stuff is problematic and should be left alone. So I decided Esther Perel is a no-go for us.

sisoon posted 9/2/2019 11:50 AM

I suggest checking into Retrouvaille. I have no experience with it, but just about every report I've read on SI has been positive.

tooanalytical posted 9/2/2019 19:51 PM

Retrouvaille is good and has post weekend follow up sessions to work on different relationship-communication tools. It has brought couples back together who just experienced infidelity, abuse, drugs and other serious problems. Some are already separated or divorced.

You are a year and half past DDay so I am guessing you are both past the initial trauma and into R. If that is the case I would recommend a Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekend. It will help with communication, trust and forgiveness between the two of you.

Both programs are faith based but not overbearing in any way. No required open sharing in either program. It is a private experience to reconnect.

assjack posted 9/2/2019 21:17 PM

There is also a YouTube series that may help called affair recovery.

hikingout posted 9/3/2019 09:40 AM

I am a WW and my BH felt very similar to yours after D-day, which was almost 4 years ago. As far as I know, he only talked about my A with 2 people, myself and our MC. He did join SI, but from what he told me, he's never really been an active member because it's just not his thing. He also chose not to do IC.
So I can understand where you are coming from. While he did not want me to disclose to anyone in real life, I did have an amazing therapist and the help, guidance and support of the SI community. I worried about him not wanting or needing the same thing. But after talking to him about it, all I could do was to trust him to know what he was doing, to do what was best for himself and to reach out if and when he changed his mind.

This was very much my experience too. I have noticed that many of the wives who are here have reported similar things in that way. I can't help but to think that the humiliation they feel would be exponential by other people knowing they are staying with their wife? I also think it can be a gender difference for some - after all women are groomed in many ways to discuss their feelings and men the opposite.

I don't know the answer to why it is, but I think your problem is a common one that I have seen repeated many times here, and it does not seem to effect whether R occurs. I know I have worried about it off and on as well but H has continued to show signs of healing, and the relationship has also continually gotten better.

We did marriage counseling for a brief time. And, we went to "The Science of Love" a weekend workshop that follows the teachings of Dr. Gottman. I didn't feel they addressed infidelity very much in that one, but they did teach a lot about communication and connection. I did find it helpful, but as I stated it didn't address the infidelity directly. There was a lot of time for private chats to do assignments though, and so we did apply it to where we were at the time.

I am glad you decided against Esther Pearl. Her books/teachings I feel try and normalize infidelity. I don't feel that is what is needed to heal on either end. The best book I read that helped my husband directly was how to help your spouse heal from infidelity, and maybe a little bit of Rising Strong from Brene Brown because it did help me try and relate to him differently. Mostly though that was about me staying vulnerable towards him during the process, but by doing that I feel like it helped reestablish our connection and changed the dynamic of our discussions.

DashboardMadonna posted 9/3/2019 11:37 AM


Hello..BS here-
It really boils down to the individual. As others have stated, being more open about it, doesnt necessarily mean he will heal any faster.

For some, being hyper-focused on it, could be consuming and actually delay the healing. I have only been on here a bit over a month and I followed other groups with little participation. I am beyond introverted and very private. I already find soical nuances exhausting and I dont have the energy to to sympathize with others situations, in a public setting. I wouldn't doubt your husband feels the same.

Support groups of any kind have some of the same subjects come up and it is like reopening the wound. Especially the Facebook groups, because it comes down your feed, like an assault. It can keep the anger cycling. While we betrayed sway through emotions, it can be very damaging to those Reconciling, when there is so much negativity, especially for empathic types. It can be stagnating.

You put him through false reconciliation for six months, so there is a probability that his heart is only half in it. The weight of reconciliation relies entirely on you, as it should. It is very likely that the rest of the marriage, will put you in the position of carrying they weight of the marriage, due to his distrust.

There is a pretty good chance that he has a lot of resentment and therapy/support groups feel like a redundant form of punishemnt/chore for something he didnt do. I can completely relate to that.

In my situation, my WH was not completely transparent and he gaslit the shit out the entirety of his issues. He also manipulated two marriage counselors, while trying to convince everyone that this was a marital issue. All steps to rugsweep my pain and humiliation.

About 6-7 months from DD, I found more evidence, while squeezing more trickle truth out of him. He then ran out to party and got a DUI. At that point, I washed my hands of reconciliation (not that I planned on it anayway)...I realised this person was more concerned with his vanity, while hoping to pick up where he left off in terms of his side party.

The reality on false reconciliation is that it really does put the betrayed in the mind frame of divorce, if they were not already there, to begin with. You essentially shoot yourself in the foot and put the marriage so far B.C., that you require a guide named "Simon" to pylon out of the Mesozoic period.

All jokes aside, you have to give him space and time. Even then, there is no guarantee the marriage will continue.

[This message edited by DashboardMadonna at 11:59 AM, September 3rd (Tuesday)]

S0leil posted 9/4/2019 08:38 AM

Thank you all very much for your recommendations and for sharing your experiences. I am listening and taking notes and trying to learn.

sisoon posted 9/4/2019 13:20 PM

I triggered on your opening post a couple of days ago. I'm better now, I think.

I strongly recommend that you communicate with your BH, specifically

1) ask him what he wants and give it to him if you wish,

2) offer what you want to give him and ask if he wants it, and

3) ask for what you want.

Above all, R requires honesty. R requires minimizing manipulation. Discrete support smacks of manipulation to me.

I think I understand your motivation, and I don't fault that. But R requires 2 people mindfully going after what they both want, even though they will only rarely want the same thing at the same time.

Both partners need to act consciously and mindfully. You may have effed up your M on your own, but it takes 2 to fix it. And 'fixing it' is largely a matter of (re)building an M that serves both of you. The only way to know if you can do that is to be honest about what you both want and what you both want to give.

So, if you want to make a grand gesture, offer it to your H. If he wants it, great. If he doesn't, that could be great, too.

Grand gestures are one-time events, though. What I wanted was consistency with all the small gestures for a long time. And, TBH, I wanted my W to see if I was willing to accept what she wanted to give me, because a lot of times, I didn't.

Look at it this way ... you've probably lost the ability to read each other's non-verbal communications. The way to get it back is to be explicit with words and watch for the non-verbals.

The above is JMO, even though I think I've written pretty dogmatically.

[This message edited by sisoon at 1:23 PM, September 4th (Wednesday)]

S0leil posted 9/7/2019 12:09 PM

He has told me what he wants. I am doing my best to do those things. Because I need to be honest, there is one request that I have struggled with being consistent with, but the others I have made sure that they were implemented immediately and regularly. He is not an extravagant person and doesnít ask for complicated things. But he deserves more than what he is asking for and I want to ramp things up but at the same time donít want to be disrespectful of his stated wishes while doing so and donít want to trigger him. I also want to surprise him because he has always been big on surprises in the past and I think he would appreciate the thought that went into planning something for him and not revealing what it is but at the same time we are living a life of no secrets which makes surprises hard because you have to hide things for it to work. Maybe I can tell him I am preparing to surprise him but not reveal what it is? That way it wonít be like Iím lying to him if I secretly stash money away to do or buy something nice for him?

sisoon, hiking out, too analytical thanks for the suggestions on the different marriage programs. I am thinking about Retroauville. He said he would go to a marriage weekend event if I signed us up for one. I just need to figure out childcare.

ass jack, I will look up that YouTube series.
follow the river and Dashboard Madonna I appreciate your points. He wants to trust me again he says but he doesnít yet and I donít blame him. And it makes a lot of sense that support groups for something that he never asked for (being cheated on) might feel like punishment. And the six months of false R that I put him through certainly set us back. He was already mad when he thought it had just been an EA (with no sexting or flirting or sexy pics) because we have always agreed not to have anyone between us in any way emotionally or physically. And I was adamant that the AP and I had never met up in person. I was a lying sack of shit.

My BH already hated the AP before this even though they have never met. When he found out I had been lying for months and that it was more than just an EA he felt like all the time we had been trying to R was for nothing. I was sure he was going to divorce me but he said if I was finally ready to be 100% truthful and stop lying and I was willing to comply with his terms he would consider R. I told him Iíd do whatever he wanted. A polygraph, STD testing, mapping my whereabouts at all times, changed phone numbers and emails, cutting off various people in my life that he wasnít comfortable with, full transparency on all devices and all social media and everything. He also hid VARs and cameras at the house, in both of our cars and even at my place of work although I didnít know all of that because he kept it private. He also hired a PI to follow me although I didnít know that either.

He didnít reveal all the things he was doing to verify that I wasnít cheating for many months. Not until he had been able to establish a pattern that what I was saying matched what I was doing. Once he felt reassured that I was remorseful for real he admitted it to me. I was surprised but not upset because what can I expect after what I have done to him?

I just want him to feel like he has people in his corner. But I guess I should back off and let him steer the R the way he wants and needs to and I need to continue to be truthful and continue to let him know how much he matters.

sisoon posted 9/8/2019 13:44 PM

Hmmm ... something that worked for us ....

I didn't want to celebrate our first post-d-day anniversary. My W did. I told her if she arranged something and invited me, I'd accept her invitation if I liked what she had arranged.

She invited me out to dinner at a place I liked. I accepted. On the day, she surprised me with flowers and chocolates. I was very moved. She clearly had put some thought into what she was doing, and I thought she had honored both her desire to celebrate and my desire to keep it low key.


An example of what I mean by asking ....it was important to me for my W to distinguish between what she wanted and what I wanted or was at least willing to accept.

At the start, my W thought she was doing stuff for me, when she was actually doing those things for herself. The solution was to make distinctions like the following, all of which gave me a choice between 'yes' and 'no':

1) You look like you'd like a hug? Would you?
2) Will you give me a hug?
3) I'd like to give you a hug. Will you accept one?

Every explicit request helps guide partners towards the best resolution for themselves. Lots of 'yeses' is positive for R and negative for splitting. Too many 'noes' is positive for splitting and negative for R.

And asking for what one wants is almost always positive for authenticity and healing.

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