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Encouragement/Love

hikingout posted 12/2/2019 14:46 PM

Hello Fellow WS,

I hope everyone got through the holidays okay. We had a pretty quiet break, and it was much needed. I have been thinking over some concepts and practicing them in a different way, so this is just a share back from that.

One of the things I pulled from a post, over in reconciliation a few weeks ago was a BS had talked about how there is a correlation with the investment you put in someone and how you feel about them. That sometimes the investment comes first and feelings are reinforced by that effort.

The post kind of went on to point out that the AP felt important to us because we invested in them, put forth effort. Had we been investing in our spouse and putting in that effort in a meaningful way, we may have had a similar set of butterflies. What we concentrate on expands, the power of intention, etc.

It tied into something I had been thinking for a while and have posted several times, that we experience love most by giving it.

And, it tied in recently in my life in a different way. My H has been having a hard time lately. Not really about us or me - it's his own things. I am sure the A factors in there somewhere, I think sometimes that moving forward there is no way that it doesn't factor in some way to everything for quite a long time. But, for the most part this is his own existential stuff, and he's at a crossroads personally on multiple fronts.

So, I decided for the month of December I am going to do something special for him every day, as encouragement. I left him his first surprise yesterday. And, I am sharing that not so I can just say what a great person I am or great wife, not any of that comes into play. In fact, I have to admit as I have realized over the last couple of months where he is emotionally, part of my little wayward brain briefly catastrophized the whole thing and started to make it about me. I worried it meant he needed space, or even a separation or divorce. Yeah, I know, I know. I reeled that shit in quickly, as it was my own insecurity about his unhappiness rearing it's ugly head. That insecurity has kept me from being vulnerable with him in the past, and I needed to push through those feelings and put into practice some of the things I have learned on a bigger level. I can look back and see how I have often pulled away from him during those kinds of times as a way of self protection. Sometimes out of fear of rejection, but I also think to avoid the harder stuff so I could stay in my own utopian little world. So, this time I am leaning in and I am going to do that for as long as it takes.

The reason I am sharing it is because I just got back from getting some supplies for this week for this project. Little things that I hope will go along with a note or make a smile. And, as I found the things, I was really connected to how full my heart felt and how happy that I am that I can be there to encourage him through this time as he finds his way. And it was a genuine joy. Different than the false joy I was manufacturing in the A space. And a joy I had missed out on sometimes over the years as I hid behind being busy, or retreated before I could be rejected.

So, I am just encouraging those of you struggling to make those conscious efforts of love, you will be surprised how much you learn and the rewards you will find in the process of it. I think we forget that sometimes and when we invest in whatever distractions we have it gets easier and easier to do. I am not just referring to the affair kind of distraction - but more day to day distractions that we use as excuses for not being fully there for our spouse.

I am excited to practice this for 31 days. I am so very hopeful that my husband finds some helpful encouragement that he needs while he's in this space. And, I am excited to see what changes it creates in me as well.

MrsWalloped posted 12/2/2019 17:25 PM

I think what youíre doing is great. Keep us updated to your hubbyís reaction!

One of the things I pulled from a post, over in reconciliation a few weeks ago was a BS had talked about how there is a correlation with the investment you put in someone and how you feel about them. That sometimes the investment comes first and feelings are reinforced by that effort.

I have a lot of thoughts about this, but one thing really stands out. Your post reminded me of what the Rabbi who officiated our wedding told us before the ceremony. He said that marriage is not 50/50. Itís 100/100. He said marriage is about giving. Not to be a doormat or being taken advantage of or anything like that, but in attitude and action. He said if you go in thinking about what youíre going to get out of your marriage and what heís going to do for me, then your marriage will be doomed from the start.

Of course as a WW, I lost sight of this advice. (Put that aside for a sec.)

The thing that didnít really hit me until much later in life is your point. Itís not simply about compromise or giving to your spouse because itís whats good people do or that itís nice or so you shouldnít feel entitled or selfish. Itís that as people, the way to bring love forth is to give. The more you give to someone the more you love that person. As you said, when you invest time and effort into someone, positive feelings come about.

Itís such a stark difference from what I got from my A. It was all about taking. How he made me feel about myself. My sense of power and sexiness and control. My feelings of validation. Me, me, me. I was such a taker. I was so selfish. Meanwhile I got so much more out of my marriage. Real feelings of love, connection, substance, family, positivity, real authentic things, and it didnít come from my husband giving to me, but from my contribution to our life together. When Iím present at home and 100% there with him and my children, thatís when thereís love. When Iím keeping score and saying he didnít do this or that, it takes away from our relationship. You definitely have to be open and discuss things that bother you or that your H or W may not be doing, but itís your attitude and focus that matter.

The really big Aha! moment for me was that really when it comes down to it you gain so much more by giving than you do by taking. Itís what happens when you really invest in your relationships.

Good luck with your project!

hikingout posted 12/2/2019 18:39 PM

Mrs W,
Yes! I was concerned that what I was saying wasnít enough to get it to resonate- but what you have added not only did you get it you helped me put it across even more clearly! Thank you!

ChanceAtLife35 posted 12/4/2019 19:05 PM

Wow. I love this and think itís a great idea. I hope all 31 days are filled with so much love and encouragement for your husband to where there is a smile on his face every single day. I didnít realize how selfish and an extreme taker I was until dday revealed the real me. The past several months I have stepped it up tremendously by being selfless and mindful with my BW and kids and our relationship is much better. I stumble at times, but I donít fall into those horrible patterns like I used too. It feels amazing doing for others and putting them first for once. I am actually back in school to pursue a new career change to help others beyond what I do now . I want to give more and treat others with respect and integrity. Given how shitty i was to my BW and kids, I owe them everything and more. Right now I am hanging out with my son as we watch our daughter at gymnastics practice. I am grateful to be present and spend time with them instead of up APís ass.

Good luck to you!

EllieKMAS posted 12/4/2019 19:48 PM

hiking this is awesome and such a sweet gesture!

I am going to say the next part strictly as an observation and not a judgement.

I find it interesting that as a WS this was an aha moment for you. Not to toot my own horn, but gestures like that for my loved ones are completely second nature to me and always have been. Tho that comes with it's own issues too - I am still working through some pretty massive resentments against my xwh because of him taking advantage of that part of my nature. I wish he had connected those dots like you have.

I am really happy for you that you have come to that realization and I hope your hubs feels so cared for and special, cus he should And if you'll take advice from a BS - don't stop with him. The world needs more generosity!

66charger posted 12/4/2019 21:54 PM

Really good stuff on how to love.

[This message edited by 66charger at 2:44 AM, December 5th (Thursday)]

Sadwife53 posted 12/5/2019 06:29 AM

Wonderful observation and sweet plan. Thanks for sharing. I hope it helps you feel loving and your h feel loved.

BS here. I too think the giving/ self sacrifice is part of my nature or possibly instilled in me by my FOO. I recall my sister pointing out that she and I would always automatically take the most crumbled piece of pie for ourselves... It makes me wonder if this attitude and my independence actually worked against me by making my WH feel like he wasnít needed. Perhaps I deprived him of the opportunity to foster the feelings of love that come from him taking care of me or making sacrifices for me. Thereís an overachiever thread in another forum as well that makes me wonder if this could be a common theme.

Sorry for the thread jack. As always, Iím trying to figure out what went wrong or what I could have done differently.

Chaos posted 12/5/2019 06:45 AM

Great post hikingout! And very thoughtful and sweet.

This is encouraging and FWIW made me smile this morning.

Please keep us all updated.

Justgetitoverwith posted 12/5/2019 07:37 AM

I dont read much on this forum at the moment, but this one caught my eye, and i think its lovely. I remember the joy I used to get out of browsing round for things I thought my WS would like for Xmas. I think he has always floundered at that though, and don't think he felt the same at any point. Maybe it's a man thing,or maybe its just that he hasnt been that invested. I haven't felt the same sense of wanting to do nice things for WS since dday, and I caught myself missing that the other day. But its great to hear this from your POV. I wish WS read more of your posts. :)

hikingout posted 12/5/2019 08:10 AM

I find it interesting that as a WS this was an aha moment for you. Not to toot my own horn, but gestures like that for my loved ones are completely second nature to me and always have been. Tho that comes with it's own issues too - I am still working through some pretty massive resentments against my xwh because of him taking advantage of that part of my nature. I wish he had connected those dots like you have.

Well, it was and it wasn't. I have understood for a long time now that love is best experienced by giving. I used to know that and be mindful of it, and then after years of marriage complacency stepped in and I did less over time. By about 18 months before the affair, we really had started living more separately than I had realized, and then the A came, and the aftermath of that was such hard work for a long time. It was more about grit than butterflies, ya know?

I think for me this is an evolution. The real epiphany wasn't really that you do for those you love. It was two things: that when you do those things from your heart that is when you get the butterflies and loftier feelings (I would have probably assumed that I felt those things more when he does things for me? I know, that's backwards but I just didn't associate the fluttery feelings with my own effort). The second thing that was the bigger epiphany was that I think I have been seeing a few of my first "tests" lately after the A stuff has wound down. I am not saying we are over the A, but things are back to married life, and I am seeing how I still fall down on some very fundamental things, that I never realized I fell down on. He has been traveling again after taking a long break from that to deal with our marriage, and the issues he's having has caused me to notice a bit of a withdrawal. The catastrophizing came fast and furious, and I realize that's always my knee jerk reaction and it serves noone well. By digging in and staying vulnerable this is a departure of who I was before. If he withdrew in the past to deal with something, I felt I had to fix it. I couldn't stand for him to be unhappy about something, but that was really making it about me.

So, I guess the major thing here for me was, I am staying vulnerable, I am supporting what he is going through, and I am trying to provide encouragement and love. I am honoring his space and seeing that this little period of being lost on what he wants the next direction of his journey to be is part of his story. I am reminding him that it's okay to be lost for a little while and that we don't grow in comfort. I relate a lot to what he is going through. In that way, what I went through with the A and trying to come back from that has given me a different level of humility and a calmness. I tripped over myself a little at first, but I can see that I knew what to correct and I did that.

I hope that makes sense. When I got married my mantra was always about being the right kind of partner. The problem with that is my sense of what that was? Pretty skewed looking back.

[This message edited by hikingout at 8:11 AM, December 5th (Thursday)]

hikingout posted 12/5/2019 08:26 AM

BS here. I too think the giving/ self sacrifice is part of my nature or possibly instilled in me by my FOO. I recall my sister pointing out that she and I would always automatically take the most crumbled piece of pie for ourselves... It makes me wonder if this attitude and my independence actually worked against me by making my WH feel like he wasnít needed. Perhaps I deprived him of the opportunity to foster the feelings of love that come from him taking care of me or making sacrifices for me. Thereís an overachiever thread in another forum as well that makes me wonder if this could be a common theme.


Yes, I can see what you are saying here.

I would say I am also nurturing by nature. For the majority of my marriage and in raising my kids I put myself last always. I felt fulfilled for most of that time though. There were some darker aspects for me because I think underneath mine was a fundamental (unconscious) belief that I needed to do so much for everyone to earn love. In many ways because this was skewed, I would just keep doing more and more and it was appreciated less and less. It felt expected to a certain degree. That's really where a lot of my resentments came in. So, I don't think I had it in the pure way that you have, but my husband would have told you at any time up until my A that I was the most selfless person he had ever known in his life.

It's not lost on me that I, too, may have been a little too independent, I wasn't a very needy wife by any means and over time I think that not being vulnerable or giving him the opportunity to put in the effort had it's own adverse effects on our marriage. When we were first together, I remember he took me on a date - and it was to an eye doctor. I needed glasses and had put it off, and really at the time couldn't afford it anyway. He took me and stood and helped me pick out glasses. And he was beaming (and oddly turned on?). And, he would do other things like that as well even into our marriage. Over time, it stopped and I can see that I stopped accepting those things so graciously. I would say we didn't have the money for that because the kids needed this or that, and I would take it back but tell him it was a great thought that I appreciated. The words I am sure meant nothing to him when the action was taking it back. I was really never a gift person, I score zero on my love language on that, so my failure to see that we were miscommunicating really deteriorated his efforts.

I don't know that he could ever top the gift of getting through infidelity with me, and with the kindness and grace that he has. So, at this point I think those problems might be moot for us. We can start again on love languages, and we are both seeing the benefit of being intentional again.

I am sure you realize on some level that it didn't matter what you did or didn't do. The decision to have an affair is not a result of anything but what was missing in your husband. Working to be vulnerable with each other is something that can be of benefit in rebuilding your relationship, but all those coulda woulda shouldas? Probably serve no purpose. Unless it's just a reminder that intimacy and vulnerability are interrelated and you want that moving forward.

[This message edited by hikingout at 8:30 AM, December 5th (Thursday)]

hikingout posted 12/5/2019 08:41 AM

Hi Chanceatlife - Great update! Keep it going! I think once we start the momentum the positive ways it makes us feel can really keep it going in the right direction!

66charger & Chaos, Thank you! I appreciate the support!

Justgetitoverwith - I agree Christmas shopping is often stressful and confusing for many men. Mine is definitely included in that. These years post A are really difficult on both sides at the holiday so I can understand how you would miss it. The first two Christmases for me was almost like shopping for a stranger. Not really because I don't know him, but because I really didn't know how it would be received - there was a lot of insecurity surrounding it. What would be too little/too much/is it thoughtful enough/am I overstepping?

One thing that I found beneficial for us last year was I bought us tickets for the first 4 months after Christmas to see performances, concerts, etc that I knew he would be excited about. I think this is going to be a new tradition for us - experiences over things. I hope you can have a peaceful holiday season.

EllieKMAS posted 12/5/2019 08:53 AM

HO - I totally get what you're saying. I am really happy you are reconnecting with that part or yourself! Also really great that you are making a conscious effort to remain vulnerable; in my experience, you don't realize how important that is until something major happens and you see how shut down your vulnerability was.

I think it is great that you share these epiphanies so honestly and openly.

FWIW - I know for me, had my WS made any sort of effort like this it would have meant the world to me!

hikingout posted 12/6/2019 10:33 AM

So, just an update...

We received some very good news that my H really needed. Part of his overall depression is that he's been living with pain for the past 8 months. Whenever you have hip/lower back pain they will send you through all sorts of rigors, and none of them were helping him at all. The pain had really impeded him from the activities he enjoys and I think he was feeling pretty bleak. This is one of his two main issues.

After finally going through this far enough to get an MRI, he got to hear something that he didn't know was possible this morning and that is they can fix what is wrong with him and it's a fairly routine procedure. It makes me mad we had to stay on this journey for so long for him to get to that point, but I never realized how much a pending surgery could be such positive news and something to celebrate. He's having it at the holiday time, but we are lazy and lay around a lot then anyway.

I also am already seeing a lot of positives for both of us of my month long challenge and we aren't fully through our first week yet! I highly recommend!

I am full of a lot of hope and joy today!

MrsWalloped posted 12/6/2019 12:21 PM

Thatís wonderful news about your H!

I also like what you said about experiences vs things. So true! Except for shoes. Shoes donít count, right? Jk.

And yet itís so easy to forget cause you can get caught up in the chase for things. I have lots of things. Not extravagant, but more than enough. There was a long time after DDay when I was kind of on my own working through my stuff where those things didnít bring me comfort or joy or peace of mind. And I would have traded all of them in a heartbeat just to be a couple again like we were.

Like anything of value, itís takes a conscious effort to keep in mind.

hikingout posted 12/6/2019 12:51 PM

Hi Mrs. Walloped,

Yep, I have all sorts of things too, we have been very blessed. One of the things that I have been trying to do over the last year is shed some of it. We're empty nesters. We are both pretty simple people. I just want a comfortable bed that I can sleep next to that man, have some good food in the fridge, some good books to read, some good hikes and runs to take, and see my kids as they have time. That's it. Nothing else really matters. As I have aged I find I dress more for comfort than anything else.

It's the time of year when "Good Tidings for Comfort and Joy" is a really good reminder of what the heck is important. Ya know? All good stuff there, that's a great frame you put it in.

BraveSirRobin posted 12/7/2019 11:28 AM

That's really wonderful news, hikingout! So happy that there's a solution for turnthepage.

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