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When they can't even look at you...

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LifeDestroyer posted 9/28/2019 18:40 PM

How do you handle your BS not being able to look at you? He looks at me, gut there are times when he can't. He will close his eyes or turn his head away. He can't bare to look at me. It is an awful awful feeling knowing that I caused my husband to not be able to look at me without feeling pain.

When he closes his eyes or turns his head, I want to leave the room so he doesn't have to see me and feel that pain for a little bit. I don't though. I sit there and wait. I sit there so he knows that I'm not going anywhere. I wait and ask him if he wants me to leave.

How do you handle it? What do you do or say when the one you betrayed can't stand to look at you?

No stop sign, so to the BS, what do you want your WS to do when that happens?

Lostgirl410 posted 9/28/2019 18:46 PM

Have you asked him what he needs in those moments?

Acknowledge you can see his pain, and ask what action would be the most helpful for him when it happens.

HellFire posted 9/28/2019 18:47 PM

Though it's been 10 years, I so remember this. It was physically painful to look at him. I've never felt like that before, or since. The pain is intense. At this stage, I felt like I was drowning.

Honestly, there's not much you can do to help him through this part. I think what you are doing is all you can do in the moment.

Have you asked him what he'd like you to do during those moments, when he isn't drowning? He probably doesn't know either.

This too shall pass.

[This message edited by HellFire at 6:48 PM, September 28th (Saturday)]

LifeDestroyer posted 9/28/2019 18:52 PM

I've only asked if he wants me to leave in those moments. He either says he doesn't know or no, that he wants me to stay.

oldtruck posted 9/28/2019 19:18 PM

I would not ask anymore, rather hug him through it,
or sit next to him and hold his hand through it.

HellFire posted 9/28/2019 19:29 PM

Ask him when he's not in that moment. You should also ask him before you touch him. If my husband had tried to touch me, it would have made it worse. If I can't look at him because it hurts too much, the very last thing I would have wanted would be his touch. But all BS are different. Ask him, then do exactly what he needs.

LifeDestroyer posted 9/28/2019 19:33 PM

I do ask before I touch him or hug him or sit right next to him in those moments.

ibonnie posted 9/28/2019 19:41 PM

No stop sign, so to the BS, what do you want your WS to do when that happens?

In a perfect world? Disappear and return with the husband and life I thought I had.

In reality? Just go away.

leavingorbit posted 9/28/2019 19:56 PM

For my BH, asking if I should leave was another way to distance myself or not be present with him. He called me on that immediately when I offered it “helpfully,” as it was really just avoidant. Leaving it up to him by asking him what was helpful and then giving what he needed was the best way to support him.

My BH didn’t want any kind of distance. Touch and proximity are most helpful for him. It took me awhile to get over my own crap and let go of the outcome. Prioritizing myself and my fear hurt him immensely, making HIM the priority by not trying to offer a solution or “fix” his pain is what my focus remains now when he’s struggling.

AloneAndDrowning posted 9/28/2019 21:34 PM

BS here. When I hurt, when I cant look at him, when I struggle... I NEED him to be in that moment with me. I need to see that he hurts knowing this is his fault. I need him to hold me. I need him to reassure me. But I am a woman, and I know we are wired differently than men. I think its appropriate to ask him what he needs in those moments. I had to tell my WS because he was afraid I would lash out if he came near me or touched me.

Buffer posted 9/29/2019 00:40 AM

Sorry LD
When this happens, just gently touch his shoulder ask him to look at you.
Tell him you are sorry for his pain and triggers.
Tell him the OM means nothing, you want him and only him.

You can never admit too much regret for your past. But that cannot be undone, you are working on your selfish ways. Tell him every day with him, is a day better in your life.
Or similar words but you know what I mean.

These words must have meaning not just a paraphrase off the cuff remark

Unhinged posted 9/29/2019 03:32 AM

I do ask before I touch him or hug him or sit right next to him in those moments.
Yes. And be then ready for any possible range of reactions from him.

It's taken me yearzzzzzz… to get comfortable around my FWW again. We're about 4 1/2 years out. I can look in there the eyes now, comfortably, happily (most of the time).

Reconciliation is a marathon, not a sprint.

It was incredibly... surreal to look my wife in the eyes and hold her gaze for even a few seconds. She was still that beautiful woman I married all of those years ago, but now her face was that of a stranger. I didn't recognize her any more and that beauty had become pernicious (once upon a time her eyes and smile could drop my IQ).

You're going to have to be more patient than you have ever imagined possible. You're going to have to work really, really hard to demonstrate, consistently, over a very long period of time, that you're truly committed to him and your marriage and family.

[This message edited by Unhinged at 3:33 AM, September 29th (Sunday)]

Unhinged posted 9/29/2019 03:32 AM

D'oh!

[This message edited by Unhinged at 3:33 AM, September 29th (Sunday)]

standinghere posted 9/29/2019 03:33 AM

What Buffer said.


Offering to leave will make it seem like he is less than the AP, because you would rather leave than face what you have done to him and support him through it.

Tell him what you want, ask him what he needs, and do not ignore his pain.

Get this, if nothing else. You can run away, you can leave the room, you can hide from the pain you have caused, but the pain is still there.

It is no different than physically torturing someone (an apt description of what this feels like), then walking into the next room and thinking that you being in the other room somehow makes the emotional pain and memory of the physical pain of the torture you have inflicted go away because you are in the other room. That is fantasy thinking.


gmc94 posted 9/29/2019 12:02 PM

BW here. I feel this way too. More often than I’ve ever told my WH.

First, imagine how absolutely horrifying it is for him to not be able to look at his own spouse. It’s awful, simply awful to be in that space.

You're going to have to be more patient than you have ever imagined possible. You're going to have to work really, really hard to demonstrate, consistently, over a very long period of time, that you're truly committed to him and your marriage and family.
And do not leave unless he specifically asks you, bc:
You can run away, you can leave the room, you can hide from the pain you have caused, but the pain is still there.

It is no different than physically torturing someone (an apt description of what this feels like), then walking into the next room and thinking that you being in the other room somehow makes the emotional pain and memory of the physical pain of the torture you have inflicted go away because you are in the other room. That is fantasy thinking.

[This message edited by gmc94 at 12:04 PM, September 29th, 2019 (Sunday)]

Oldwounds posted 9/29/2019 12:35 PM

I've been there.

It was really tough on my wife as well, but this process can be so overwhelming.

Sometimes early on I had 10,000 questions in my head, not knowing which ones to ask. And other times the pain was too much, so looking away to get my bearings was my only shot of getting through that moment.

My wife hung in there. If I needed space, I asked for it, otherwise she would simply be there for me. Sometimes that turned into a hug or a hand holding moment, others I just silently pushed through and she patiently waited. And waited.

After a while, through her consistent effort, I started to believe she wanted to be there for my toughest days, no matter what.

ISurvivedSoFar posted 9/29/2019 12:43 PM

I think reinforcing by words and BEHAVIOR that you are there for him no matter what and particularly in a way you weren't before.

I want to leave the room so he doesn't have to see me and feel that pain for a little bit. I don't though. I sit there and wait. I sit there so he knows that I'm not going anywhere. I wait and ask him if he wants me to leave.
I think I would appreciate that so much. My WS described that look as hollow, that my eyes were dead and frankly they were. I was shell shocked. And sometimes the worst part was having to look at my abuser. At times he absolutely disgusted me to the point where it felt like he physically was poison and if I touched him I'd die. It was that bad. Then there were times when I longed for a return to the past and I was scanning him to see if any remnants of the person I thought he was remained.

That's what the marathon is all about. It is about letting go of the past and what we knew or thought and accepting the present fully. Getting to the accepting reality fully is tough and we drag, rage, mourn, and hope against hope in a cycle as we process and re-process this trauma.

I felt like I was raped emotionally. I've used those strong words before - they aren't to hurt any WS, they are to aptly describe the unbelievable life-altering impact this has on a person and the feeling of being exposed against our will. You are very lucky he is showing grace with you at this point. Do all you can to be there for him which includes not being there if that is what he requests and needs.

LifeDestroyer posted 9/29/2019 12:58 PM

described that look as hollow, that my eyes were dead and frankly they were. I was shell shocked. And sometimes the worst part was having to look at my abuser. At times he absolutely disgusted me to the point where it felt like he physically was poison and if I touched him I'd die.

I don't see hollow or dead eyes. I see pain. I see disgust. I see confusion. I see hurt. I see sadness. I see depression. I see shame. I see my failure.

I sit there and wait in hopes that he might actually see me for a little bit, not what I've done. I guess the real question is, does that ever happen? Do you ever see us and not the affair? Will he ever be able to look at me and not feel pain? Is that actually possible?

Jameson1977 posted 9/29/2019 12:59 PM

LD, this takes a long time to overcome. I did the same as your BH. There are times I'm feeling low and I have a hard time looking at my WW for very long. I do/did the same as your BH, close my eyes, look down, away, etc. It hurts you, yes, imagine what he's going through. I was so sad that I couldn't look into my wife's eyes for more than a second or two.

I agree with others, hold him, reaffirm your commitment to him, but I wouldn't ask him what he needs you to do. The most meaningful things my WW did for me were things she did on her own without being coached or told.

ISurvivedSoFar posted 9/29/2019 13:08 PM

Gently, don't make this about you.

I see shame. I see my failure.
Your failure has done nothing short of destroy him. That's his reality.
I guess the real question is, does that ever happen? Do you ever see us and not the affair? Will he ever be able to look at me and not feel pain? Is that actually possible?
I'll answer this for you. Yes, but it takes a long, long, long, long, time. Don't hold your breath for it. I'm just a few weeks away from four years out. The other day in MC my WS said, "You'll see, it will get better, you'll be over it." And I corrected him and said, no, I won't ever be over it. It is my new normal. I learn to live with it.

That is my truth. In spite of it I will thrive. In spite of it I have grown tremendously. That is the journey. But the scar is real. It's like saying you got in a horrific car accident and woke up without an arm. Will you ever get over the fact that you don't have an arm? No. Will you learn to live with it as your new reality? Likely yes. Will some great things happen because you've joined a community that has created bonds beyond what you had otherwise? Sure.

This is the new reality that has been created by your hand and unfortunately has to be managed by him that was foisted on him. Again I'm not trying to be harsh. But the idea that this all can go away is a false one. It doesn't. Instead learn to embrace the new norm and figure out how you can change into somebody who could never again do this to the person they purport to love.

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