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Help me to help him...

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Regretitall posted 9/30/2019 10:19 AM

Hi everyone. This is my first post here. My husband found this group some time ago and pointed me here a couple months back. I'm here asking for advice today. I'll share our story first.

So we've been married for over 10 years, together for over 11. We have a 9 and 6 year old together, as well as his son from his first marriage who is 23. We have 3 grandchildren through him. We've experienced many negative things together over the years. I lost my gramma when I was 7 months pregnant with our youngest. She was my first really big loss. I feel I never got to grieve properly for her because I was so worried about harming the baby somehow. Just over a year later my dad was diagnosed with cancer and he was gone in 9 months. So days under 2 years after my gramma past, I lost my dad. He was my biggest supporter. My husband was amazing through all of my/our losses. Literally, amazing. We've had fights and arguments and losses and gains and everything that a couple goes through and he's always been a rock for me. I never doubted his love. Ever.

Then I did. Roughly 2 years after losing my dad to cancer, my husband was diagnosed with cancer. Thankfully, it was what doctors call "the best cancer to get". It has been removed and almost 3 years out, all of his checkups are coming back just fine. My poor husband was scared shitless to hear the word cancer for himself. But this wonderful man cared too much for me to show me how afraid he was. He knew how much it hurt me to lose my dad and he didn't want me having to go through it again with him. So in his brain, shutting me out would make it easier. It made it worse. He suffered mostly in silence. I suffered and wondered if this was the end for us. He's pushing middle age, so I thought he was hitting a mid-life crisis. Or his health scare was enough for him to know that I wasn't what he wanted for his future. He became distant, closed off, mean and sometimes downright cruel with the things he would say to me. He owns all of that. We've done so much talking since all of this. He's let me into parts of his life and past that I wasn't ever shown. We've grown a lot as a couple since all of this, but we need help.

When he shut me out and I thought the thoughts posted above, I wrongfully ended up speaking to someone else. I didn't go looking for an affair; it fell in my lap. I was so lost and broken, I did what I have always been so very, very against and had an affair. It started as just talking and did rather quickly go to physical. My husband stumbled upon messages July 2018 and that alerted him to the emotional part of the affair. Unfortunately, I was not strong enough to be fair to him and tell him the whole truth back then. So we advanced quite a bit over the last year. And then I hit him with the physical part of the affair at the end of last month. He is still here. He still loves me. We're fighting our way through this.

Problem I'm having is I don't always know what to do for him. He has access to all of my emails, facebook, texts, etc. Always. He has looked at banking and credit cards. I'm very accountable with where I'm going and when I'll be back and with checking in with him while I'm gone. I'm doing everything that I have read in books or articles when it comes to transparency. He says I need to fight for him. He says I need to be more compassionate at times. I tell him daily that I love him. Multiple times a day. I tell him I'm sorry for all of this an awful lot. When he's upset, I'll hug him or hold his hand. We talk through it. But apparently I'm somehow missing something. He told me to come here and ask what other's in my situation do to help their betrayed spouse. Please help me to help my husband....

BluesPower posted 9/30/2019 11:01 AM

So absolutely every single word in your post is justifying your affair, and wondering why he won't get over it.

I hope that you have the courage to listen to what the people here are going to tell you.

So far, basically you have done and continue to do everything wrong.

Not to be mean, but you have to wake up if you want this to work out. You need to wake up now.

hikingout posted 9/30/2019 11:15 AM

Okay, I am going to say a lot but in the spirit of you are asking for help and that means to me you want the truth. I should also say I am also a WS what I am going to tell you are things I had to face and work on as well.

First, transparency, that is all good and usually required. But, understand that it's the thing that really takes the least effort of a WS. That to me just says "compliant". Same with all the other efforts you mentioned.

I think the thing I am not hearing in here is really getting to your whys. Your why is not "I fell into an affair". That's a justification. It's not about the relationship. It's about character flaws that you have that contributed to your cheating. Then, you need to take those whys and work on them. You are focusing on recovering the marriage, which is not a bad thing, but until you figure out why it was okay for you to go and have an affair things will not progress.


I too feel I had an affair that was somewhat precipitated by crisis. But, when I look at my own character, there were problems all along that the crisis just exposed. Some of us are very good at the "happy path" and when things go wrong and push comes to shove we do not have the coping skills and we do destructive things.

I agree with BluesPower in that you are still justifying a lot of what you did, and until you face your truths and work on yourself anything you do will seem empty to your husband.

Are you in IC? Also, you need to read "how to help your spouse heal". There are also some really great articles over in the healing library that you might want to look over. And, you need to prepare yourself because your husband is going to go through stages of grief and mostly what you are looking at right now is shock.

But, you really have to work on yourself, demonstrate that along with a lot of consistency. It doesn't mean you will save your marriage, but it does mean that you will grow and become healthy.

[This message edited by hikingout at 11:44 AM, September 30th (Monday)]

Chaos posted 9/30/2019 11:28 AM

If you want to help him - truly help him - stop making excuses.

The transparency is good and all - a requirement actually - but are you doing it to check off boxes? It needs to be done, but if you are just saying "look - look - I'm showing you everything - see" like a little kid yelling "look mom look" before jumping in a pool...

You need to be honest with yourself before you can be honest with him.

And you need to be honest about it all. Even the dark stuff you [and many] don't want to admit exists.

I'm reading that he "owns" his part that led you to cheat - but am not reading about you "owning" anything about your behavior - just a lot of excuses.

You both were in the same marriages. If you felt shut out you had many options.

I didn't go looking for an affair; it fell in my lap.

This is an excuse. Because when something creepy crawly falls in my lap, I yell "eeeekkkkkk" and get up, throw it off and move quickly in the opposite direction.

Until you are honest with yourself, you are just going through the motions. Granted, those motions take work, but the best help you can give him is your honesty. And that starts with you.

DIFM posted 9/30/2019 13:02 PM

Keep in mind, dday was very recently. It wasn't 2018, it was the last time you revealed a lie you've kept hidden all this time. He is raw and bleeding and traumatized. I echo what has been said, if you can't go deeper in knowing and articulating the source of your broken character, then you are not as far as you may think you are or showing yet what he needs to see.

fooled13years posted 9/30/2019 14:58 PM

Regretitall

I lost my gramma when I was 7 months pregnant with our youngest. She was my first really big loss. I feel I never got to grieve properly for her

Are you saying that because you were not able to grieve properly for the death of your gramma that you felt entitled to have an affair?

I lost my dad. He was my biggest supporter.

I do not doubt that your dad loved you but I guarantee you that he was not your biggest supporter simply based on what you say next

My husband was amazing through all of my/our losses. Literally, amazing.
Heís always been a rock for me.

It sounds to me that your BH was your biggest supporter

I never doubted his love. Ever. Then I did.

I read this as though you are saying my BH loved me so much that I knew I could cheat and he would forgive me.

My poor husband was scared shitless to hear the word cancer for himself. But this wonderful man cared too much for me to show me how afraid he was. He knew how much it hurt me to lose my dad and he didn't want me having to go through it again with him.

So he was caring for you by trying to keep you safe through this and you chose to repaying him by having an affair?

So in his brain, shutting me out would make it easier. It made it worse. He suffered mostly in silence.
I suffered and wondered if this was the end for us.

Men and women handle things differently. As you said above he was trying to protect you, and you were wondering if this was the end of you?

This makes no sense.

Did you ever talk to him to let him know that you were strong enough to help him through this? Silly question by the fact that you cheated on him.

He's pushing middle age, so I thought he was hitting a mid-life crisis. Or his health scare was enough for him to know that I wasn't what he wanted for his future.

Did you ever talk to him? You either do not believe what you said above about your BHís positive attributes or you know he is reading this.

He became distant, closed off, When he shut me out and I thought the thoughts posted above,

I wrongfully ended up speaking to someone else. I didn't go looking for an affair; it fell in my lap.

I was so lost and broken, I did what I have always been so very, very against and had an affair. It started as just talking and did rather quickly go to physical. My husband stumbled upon messages July 2018 and that alerted him to the emotional part of the affair. Unfortunately, I was not strong enough to be fair to him and tell him the whole truth back then. So we advanced quite a bit over the last year. And then I hit him with the physical part of the affair at the end of last month.


Until you are honest with yourself you will never be able to be honest with him.
IMHO you made him go through his health scare alone by assuming things about him. You used his cancer diagnosis as a means to have an affair. Are you sure this was not supposed to be an exit affair for you?

He is still here. He still loves me.

Are you sure? I mean you can see that your BH is still there physically but are you sure he is there emotionally and still loves you? Would you be able to still love him if he had done the same to you while struggling with everything?

Problem I'm having is I don't always know what to do for him.

It appears to me that there is no way you would know what to do for him because IMO you do not even know who he is as a person.

He has access to all of my emails, facebook, texts, etc. Always. He has looked at banking and credit cards. I'm very accountable with where I'm going and when I'll be back and with checking in with him while I'm gone. I'm doing everything that I have read in books or articles when it comes to transparency. He says I need to fight for him. He says I need to be more compassionate at times. I tell him daily that I love him. Multiple times a day. I tell him I'm sorry for all of this an awful lot. When he's upset, I'll hug him or hold his hand. We talk through it. But apparently I'm somehow missing something. He told me to come here and ask what other's in my situation do to help their betrayed spouse. Please help me to help my husband....

All the things you are doing above are fine if you think the bare minimum will help you through this.

When he was literally in a fight for his life you made it all about you.

My advice is there is nothing you can do to help him as a BH until you know who he is as a person.

Get to know who he is, not by expecting him to tell you, but by recounting all of your time together.

Remember him as a man from the first time you met, through the dating, the wedding, your married life. His actions during all this time will remind you of who he was and who he is today

Unhinged posted 9/30/2019 16:17 PM

I didn't go looking for an affair; it fell in my lap.
Affairs don't just fall in people's laps. You chose the affair. It was a conscious, deliberate choice.

If you truly want to help your husband, start with owning your choices and actions. No more excuses. No more shifting the blame to external factors, especially him.

If you truly want to help your husband, be completely and totally honest and open about every thing. No more lies or trickle truth. Lay it all out there and let him decide what he wants to do.

godheals posted 9/30/2019 17:57 PM

First-Does he know everything? Was there any lying? Come clean to everything and correct any lie you told NOW. The lies afterwards what really kills the M. Be 100 percent honest at all the times. I canít stress this part enough to anyone! Donít lie.

Second- It sounds like you lack compassion and empathy. It seems like your doing the bare minimum here. Saying I love you once a day or a million times a Day is not going to mean a thing to him right now. Itís actions. More actions and then a lot more actions. Words are empty to him....

Stop blaming him for your choice to cheat.

I believe I was doing some things rights a year out BUT I was blaming my H for my actions to cheat. I wanted so bad to throw his flaws in the mix when I didnít like what I was hearing or he was talking to me like MR. Perfect. I realized that I needed to stop blaming him for my A. It slowly was getting better after that.

An Affair can come knocking on the door but itís your job to shut the door in itís face. You made the choice to let it walk through the door.

Remorse is about HIS feelings and not your feelings.

Are you doing IC?

survrus posted 9/30/2019 19:02 PM

Regret,

Don't lie about anything or you will reset his recovery clock to zero or negative. Even things not related to infidelity like how much you spent.

Anything you are holding back get out, don't minimize omit or excuse.

Offer to write a timeline and take a polygraph.

QuietDan posted 9/30/2019 23:01 PM

Well, everyone else is covering the mental and basic emotional stuff.
However, since you mentioned that your latest big reveal introduced that the relationship was also a physical affair.
Since it's only been a few week, I suspect that there are all sorts of issues, problems, and challenges with that aspect of the relationship now.
In all likelihood, any problems, history, challenges, and unresolved differences that were present prior to the affair, have likely taken on all sorts of additional issues and anxieties.
Your husband is likely having some issues with feelings of sexual inadequacy, anxiety, and insecurity.
Don't know how transparent you have been.
Odds are, you've probably done some minimizing on this subject.
Hopefully you've taken some time to research what's involved with reconnecting and rebuilding sexual intimacy.
In all likelihood, your husband is being less than transparent with how much he is struggling with and tormented by this issue. In all likelihood, you are probably, significantly underestimating the issues, challenges, and likely negative effects that this is, and will affect your marriage.


[This message edited by QuietDan at 11:03 PM, September 30th (Monday)]

Regretitall posted 10/1/2019 09:37 AM

I thank everyone for the replies. I'm sorry that my initial post was taken more as justifying and not just getting the facts out. As far as his cancer, yes, that is when things got really bad for us and I tried to get him to let me in, but he wouldn't accept my help. I did not have an affair while he was still dealing with the cancer. He has been cancer free for almost 3 years now. This affair took place last year. I did not mean to indicate that I had an affair because of his cancer, I was just trying to explain how and why things got so bad for us. I also was not using the deaths of my dad or gramma to justify anything. When this all came out, I wrote my husband 2 massive emails explaining everything that had been wrong in my life that contributed to my feelings of inadequacy and fear and isolation. I was just trying to give a time line idea of what happened in our lives to everyone here who I was asking advice from.

I know totally that the choice to have an affair was my choice alone and it doesn't matter what was wrong in our life. My husband has said to me more than once that he was in the same marriage as me and he was also unhappy, but he didn't choose an affair. I'm sad to say that all it took was a few kind words from an acquaintance for my battered ego to latch onto. I wish that I had been stronger to have told him no, that I wasn't interested. If I could change what I did, I absolutely would. All I can do now is try to save my marriage. My husband is here with me. He chooses to be here with me. He has told me that he loves me and doesn't want a life without me. But there are times when it gets overwhelming for him and I apparently don't really know how to help. He says he needs more. He says he needs me to fight.

As far as a timeline of the affair, he's been given that. We've discussed everything many times. He initially wanted a polygraph (that's why I ended up admitting to the physical) but now he's not sure. He's fairly confident that I have told him everything now. And I have. And he knows that I am more than willing to go for a polygraph if he ends up changing his mind about wanting one.

The sex and intimacy is going very well. We've really put the importance back into that since last summer. He has moments now where thoughts or images bother him during being physical, but mostly we are able to work through them and continue. If it comes to be that we need to take a break from sex or intimacy, then I'm fine with that. I'm fine with whatever needs to happen to help him feel safe and secure with me again.

I have a hard time admitting when I am wrong. I have a hard time realizing that I don't know how to fix things. Yes, I will tell him "but I did this, this and this like the book says". And he will get upset cuz it's not just about following the checklist in the book.

My husband wants to get through this with me. I don't want to lose him on account of not knowing what it is he's totally looking for. So I was looking for advice as to things I am missing. We have open communication. I do sincerely apologize, often. I am an open book for everything. I'm going to figure out exactly what it is that he's needing from me. I will be what he needs me to be.

Thank you all for your words.

numb&dumb posted 10/1/2019 10:04 AM

It could just be me, but most of things you describe doing as passive. You need to do more active things.

When it comes to R be leader. Your H is likely too wounded to drive R. You can be supportive in an active way without making it look like manipulation.

He is calling all the shots. He wants you to use what you've read to do things on your own. Don't make him heal himself and the M. Take a very active role.

You can't be afraid of doing the "wrong" thing either. You will miss the mark at times. He will take things the "wrong" way. It is all part of the process.

Effort counts. Effort counts as much as effect does in R. Passively agreeing to his requests is fine sometimes, but at others you have to figure something out on your own and then implement it.

Try coming up with just one thing every two weeks that speaks to him in his love language. Don't point these things out to him. Let him just take them in.

Show how attracted you are to him. When he speaks listen without getting caught up in your head.

Communicate when you are feeling low about your choices. Let him in when you are feeling vulnerable.

Are you in IC ? Is he ?

TimSC posted 10/1/2019 10:17 AM

Some say the hardest part of R is not the physical actions by the wayward but the lies and trickle truths.

You lied to your husband before and during your affair until he discovered it himself and then lied to him more until you were forced to admit the whole truth under threat of a polygraph.

You never wanted to be truthful with your husband. That is a big part of your betrayal that he is having trouble accepting. You destroyed the trust that he had in you as his wife. You took away his confidant, his best friend. His safety.

That is what he has trouble accepting and dealing with. He cannot trust you to be truthful now and that is what he needs to have, a spouse he can trust.

It will take a long time before that trust can be given again. Maybe years. Just keep being totally truthful to with him even if you don't want to. By the way, the excuse that you did not want to cause him pain by being truthful is BS. You were not truthful because you were selfish.

I trusted my wife 100%...until I discovered her affair with a guy at her gym. I decided to let her stay. Mainly because we had two young kids and it would disrupt all our live if we divorced and because after six month I felt I could trust her at least enough to tell me if she got the urge get close to another man again. The 100% trust I had in her never returned. But she knows there will be no third chance given if I discover anything even remotely inappropriate.

DoinBettr posted 10/1/2019 11:06 AM

So, lets break down 3 points.
1) He wants more open and honest communication. You state you are there multiple times, but just stopped lying last month when threatened with a polygraph. Do you see how you are driving for trust but just started being truthful. You need to start talking about other times that aren't related that might have been issues as well. Admitting these will help him believe you. That raw openness is really tough for people. Just a stray thought could hurt your BS, but you talk about it because that is the antibiotics on the open wound.
2) Your "Why" is not complete. That needs to get better. You talk about all the reasons you were pushed away and why you feel those ways. You talk about the fear. What about the parts your AP glommed onto? What did he do that was different than other guys? There were other guys who wanted to sleep with you, NSA. So why this guy over the others? You need to dig into what this guy said initially and when this really started. That is going to identify how you assure your husband you won't do this again. Don't run to him and say, "See I found my thing." It is going to run deep. It is also going to be a stack of things.
3) You are attributing your husband's sickness to your cheating. Wow, be careful with that. You do realize your husband is going to be twice as scared if he ever gets sick again. If you get sick would you be ok with your husband having an affair? If not, how would you feel? Those answers are going to hurt. So feel those feelings, because that is the hurt he will feel everyday going forward.
The best thing my wife did recently, she sat down and really thought through all the great things I was doing during her straying and why they never felt like enough. She was a wreck afterward, but the list she made was insane. That helped us because I started realizing I couldn't stop her no matter what I did. She wanted the affair. She had to sit in that and cry it out. Realize it was inside her. It took a year for her to get that.
You will get better because your husband is pushing you get better. Why aren't you pushing yourself to get better and pulling him along? Before he ever questions where you are, do you think, "Is he right now scared I am doing something bad? I should quickly text him to put him at ease." That is where he wants you to be.

zooom posted 10/1/2019 23:02 PM

I do agree with numb&dumb that you are acting a bit too passive.

You mentioned that your husband is waffling about getting a polygraph. How about taking the initiative and setting it up yourself. It'll give him peace of mind that you haven't hid anything else from him. Go find a place that does it, find the costs, maybe google prepare a list of questions that he can further add to it, and then present it to him. This will show him how serious you are about repairing the relationship.

Look up what trickle truthing is. If you're still hiding some stuff and you rationalize it by not wanting to hurt him anymore, when he finds out it'll break him even more. You've already done this to him before so don't do it again. You can look at other WS threads that have done that. It's much better to get everything out in the open now with your initiative rather than your husband having to pull it out of you. THIS IS IMPORTANT PLEASE TAKE HEED. If you have told him everything already, good job.

Lifeitself posted 10/2/2019 03:51 AM

You mentioned heís middle aged, is there age gap between you&your husband? Could this be one of the reasons of your affair?

Regretitall posted 10/2/2019 08:27 AM

He's 3.5 years older than I am. I just mentioned middle age cuz we're both in our 40s and I thought at that time, that perhaps he was re-evaluating his life.

Neither of us are in counseling, either together or apart. He refuses. He's done it many, many years ago and said it's pointless. He's not much of a talker so he says it doesn't work for him. I'm not sure at this point whether or not I want to do counseling. It's not out of the question.

There is no more TT happening. Everything has been spelled out. The emotional part of the affair was discovered 14 plus months ago, so we've discussed many times what the AP and I talked about. Feelings involved. The whys. In the past month since the physical has been admitted to, we've talked a lot about that. He knows about all the times. Nothing has been left out.

We tend to talk well in messages or emails. My husband finds it easier sometimes to be able to read it and absorb it. Or go back and see again what was said before answering. I wrote him another big email yesterday, but in the way of talking to a diary. He really appreciated it.

This morning I did the quiz to find out my love language and sent it to him to find out his as well. Hopefully that will help us both to understand what the other needs most.

I find the back and forth really painful. Yes, I know I deserve all the pain in the world for having hurt him, but it still hurts me. He'll say he wants to be here and how much he loves me. How he doesn't want a life without the kids and I. But then the next day or later the same day he'll say he doesn't want this anymore. Or he doesn't think he'll ever get past this. He says to keep fighting for him and I'm trying to do that. But how do I know when he doesn't want me to fight anymore? How do I know if or when he is just done? I sure hope it never comes to that.

HellFire posted 10/2/2019 08:58 AM

I think it's way too soon to be doing the love languages quiz, and expecting him to show you love in the way you need it. After 14 plus months of false R,and a new dday a month ago, he has been retraumatized. False R is a horrible thing to try to recover from. He needs to breath,get through the day, practice self care, etc. Right now, he shouldn't be expected to do anything for you,other than not be abusive. Way too soon.

Zugzwang posted 10/2/2019 16:08 PM

But how do I know when he doesn't want me to fight anymore?

What does that matter? That is passive. If you want it, you just don't stop. Why are you doing this? To keep him? To make him happy? It really sounds like damage control and white-knuckling. Fix the marriage and relationship and everything will be sparkly. NO. Fix you. The marriage might work. The driving factor is for you to reconcile yourself and become healthy for any relationship regardless of who you are with. Not to fill in somewhere. IDK, just sounds like a lot of focus on the marriage and that used as an excuse for why you cheated.

Buffer posted 10/5/2019 05:05 AM

Help him by helping yourself.

You state he isnít a talker, sometimes preferred to read so to fully digest the emotional content of the conversation.

Then communicate with him this way but make him understand. His masculinity has been hit with a bat twice once for the EA and one more recently with the TT regarding the PA.

Help him.

Good luck

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