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Desperately needing your help

Pages: 1 · 2

Need2Do posted 12/19/2019 10:14 AM

Yes I did those things but that isn't who I am.

Is this a form of rug sweeping the truth about ourselves. I don’t know if it is or not. But once I got my head on a little straighter and was in a place where I could accept this about myself, I’ve looked at it that this is exactly who I am. I am the same person. I made a conscious choice to hurt my husband, my family and myself for a long period of time. I don’t think it’s contradictory btw. We’re human after all. I am beautiful inside yet I have an ugliness in there too. I am kind and giving and caring. I am also selfish and shallow. I am empathetic. I am also unfeeling and uncaring. I am a strong and confident woman. I am also scared and needy and ashamed of myself. I am a good person. I also have the proven ability to do evil.
I have the song This Is Me from The Greatest Showman playing in my head now. Not like a badge of pride like the song in the movie but like a statement that I am a lot of things and some of those aren’t very pretty and are actually ugly and that’s all of me. And that’s okay. Understanding that helps me and keeps me vigilant about staying on the right path. I won’t ever let my guard down or say, “Not me. I’d never do that.” Because I have and I know I am the type of person who could. Maybe I wouldn’t anymore, but that is still part of me. I do believe I’ve changed but my history is me. This Is Me. All of it. For better or for worse, right?

This is a direct quote from Mrs. Walloped, and it is very true, something I haven't been able to accept myself, within myself. I haven't been able to accept that I am 'that person'. It wasn't until I saw it written like this that it occurred to me. I have been in a state of denial, of 'that isn't who I am', but it is, because I did it, I was 'that person' who vilified a damn good man to justify my affair, because I had no other reason to other than I was a coward and didn't 'man up' and talk to him about what I had going on inside of me.
I was 'that person' who knew what I was doing, and that it would devastate him, again, and I didn't care, because it was all about me.
I was 'that person' who didn't use a condom, and risked his health and the health of my children, because I didn't think oral sex was 'that' unsafe...I was 'that person' who kissed him after episodes with the ap.
I was 'that person' who invested my time with the ap instead of with my husband, accepting my delusional thinking that the affair could 'help' our marriage.
I was 'that person' who used two men for power and control (with an underlying current of resentment)

We are 3 1/2 years out, and we are no where...we are stuck and it is because of me. Because it is still all about me, how 'I' got here, not about how he is feeling about what I have done to him, or about his healing, or answering his questions.
I thought by disclosing the details of my affair, the dirty deeds, hearing him talk about how he feels, being an attentive, compassionate listener, feeling the pain he was experiencing was taking ownership of it, I was wrong...again...because I find myself being defensive at times, and when his anger begins to escalate...afraid, but that isn't his fault, its mine...'foo issues'.

My life has been all half assed efforts because everything I didn't seem to be good enough and was always done again by a parental unit, no matter how hard I worked. I learned that any effort I put in was not enough so why try, do the minimum, don't bother asking for help, because you won't receive it, you are left to your own devices with the attitude, you made your bed – lie in it. In the end, we felt that we didn't deserve to be heard, cared, loved, we weren't good enough. It stings...but it is what it is.
This has been proven to me over and over again through interactions over life changing events that have contributed to my 'foo issues'.

Now I need to bring my 'A game' and I don't know how. I don't know how to be the person I want to be. I don't know how to let go of the outcome, because I don't want to give up this time, I did give up – on my marriage and my husband twice, I just can't do it again. I need to show who I really can be, not the person he has been seeing, I don't live with those who kept putting me down, they are no longer part of my life.

I have been 'lurking' here in SI for a while, making a comments here and there where I felt I had something to contribute, but for the most part, figuring that all the help I needed has been given already, so it is in here somewhere. I have read through the library, read “Not 'Just Friends'”, I am in IC and have been for the past 2-1/2 years with the same therapist, had one before but he didn't help much at all.

I need help, please? I need 2 x 4's, 4 x 4's, what ever you have at hand...I need to show him that I am 'R' material, I need to prove to myself that I am 'R' material. I am worth loving...

I don't know how to talk about the affair, or what to talk about, where to start, do you gently bring it up? Do you schedule time? Do you set a period of time, like an hour? Or do you just start talking and not stop? We had marathons after D-Day, do we do that again? What about the Book? Should he read it now? And then we talk about it?

I don't want to be doing anything 1/2 assed any more...it doesn't work for me...I am 49 years old, I need to 'woman-up'.

With my hand on my heart, on one knee, I humbly ask for help. Please? I am sinking...He is giving me his grace, a grace I don't deserve, I am grateful for this gift. Please help me to show him what this gift really means to me. Thank you.

Zugzwang posted 12/19/2019 10:27 AM

Have you ever considered a life coach to help you learn how to live better?

Zugzwang posted 12/19/2019 10:32 AM

I don't think there really is any answer to your question. You just have to be at that point where you want it for yourself. You just have to be at that point where you are so disgusted in yourself that the only choice is change. That you couldn't expect anyone else to live in that with you let alone your BS and family if you can't even stand yourself. Then you have to sit in it and feel it. Face the disgust. Fear. Shame. Own it and choose to become vulnerable and choose to change. Choose being uncomfortable and feeling bad instead of running from it to feel instant gratification or numbness. Choose the hard difficult path. It isn't fast, it is slow. It is worth it. The more you change, the easier it gets and more rewarding on a personal internal level. Which each step you can build pride that you chose it.

Becca70 posted 12/19/2019 10:55 AM

First of all, it is huge that you are making this statement. It’s a brave and bold move to be willing to see both the light and dark within you. We all have it. I’m a Jordan Peterson fan-he talks about this often...how most of us view ourselves as the person who would have hidden a Jew in WWII Germany, when in fact, most of us might have been the Nazi’s to turn them in.

I am 49 too. I am BS, who is 2 years past Dday after having learned about a LTA my H had with an ex GF. It literally lasted most of our 26 years together, and we are attempting R. I can share with you what is working for us.

The perceptions of the WS and the BS are usually pretty different. The WS’s tend to see the betrayal as something that they “did”, but the BS’s are having to untangle the perception of who the WS “was”. Your post alludes to a good grasp of this, and I think it is huge and good that you get the nature of the problem. To heal, the WS has to make a very visible and open journey in front of the BS that conveys adequately that they are not just someone who would choose differently, but that they are fundamentally operating from an entirely different place emotionally and that that is sticking.

If your husband is still asking questions, of course the first piece of major advice is to answer them fully and don’t leave anything out. Your consistency is going to go miles with calming the need to constantly pepper you with questions.
He’s going to be very sad about his shattered reality, as you already know, and that takes time and new bricks to rebuild with.
If you are past that stage, then I would suggest an approach that leaves your husband out of the equation of your fundamental transformation of perspective. Here’s what I mean by this:
When this went down with us, I of course filed for divorce and threatened to leave. He didn’t do a lot of begging and pleading. A little, but not a lot. But he did immerse himself in self-help books, videos, lectures, IC, etc. When I came home from work, he’d be sitting in a chair off in some corner reading. When I went on his computer he had videos about healing from affairs that had been 3/4 watched on his desktop. He started keeping journals. I got the sense that he truly wanted to understand himself, and that he was doing this with the full knowledge that I was planning to divorce him anyway.

This is what got my attention to possibly delay divorce.
He was of course 180 in terms of being nice and attentive, etc. but holding doors open for me does not begin to make up for a parallel relationship with another person. He understood that he needed to fully turn himself inside out while I watched and independent of whatever choices I made for the marriage.

So that’s my first piece of solid advice from a BS perspective: Be the change, regardless of how he responds to it. If you have self-esteem issues, past traumas, etc. etc. dive headfirst into tackling them and let him see that without end. His anger, as you well know, is simply trapped hurt surfacing. Let him express it. My H always just moves in and says “I hurt you badly. You have the right to be angry. I’m so sorry”. Doing this every time and without defensiveness has been one of the major reasons I chose to stay longer.

Second, there is a great book that really helped us to understand each other: “How to improve your marriage without talking about it”. This was huge. Men and women, generally, deal emotionally differently. Women tend to be fear-driven, and are inclined to talk through their issues. Men tend to be shame-driven, and have these cortisol spikes that lend to incline them towards activity prior to talking. I.e., they may need to do pushups or play a card game to come down before wanting to actually talk things through. Women tend to reach for connection, men reliability...etc. etc. Knowing these particulars and how to navigate them helped us tremendously. Check out the book.

Another game-changer was “Irritating the Ones We Love”. Everyone has emotional sore-spots that we look to soothe. We can tell when we’ve flipped the lid off of someone’s jar when they overreact, and knowing this about them and ourselves can be huge for learning how to build better relationships.

Of course, there are the two classic WS favs “How to help your Spouse heal from your Affair”, and “Out of the Doghouse” that are hugely helpful for WS’s to understand the BS’s perspective, but I suspect you may be past that. You sound like you really get how your H is feeling.

We have to navigate personalities, but also gender tendencies/societal structures too. Learning more about these things really helped us.

Another thought is this:
How much time did the two of you put into learning how to be married? Us? Zero. We liked each other a lot, were attracted physically, and thought “hey it’s time”. Well, here’s your do-over. You don’t have to reinvent this wheel. There are myriad courses out there, workshops, etc. that support the building of great marriages. It’s as skill-set, not just chance.
Consider investing in a Gottman workshop, or finding things say, once a year, that actually strengthen your marriage and build vital skills for moving through life together.

This is something we plan to do, and if you take the initiative for it, it will go a really long way towards showing him you mean business. It can give him confidence that healing is also a skill-set that you can practice and grow. A Gottman weekend, for example, is about $900ish bucks for a couple (a divorce is around $6-10,000, so worth it don’t you think?)
Get on the web. There are family/marriage building courses and lectures literally everywhere.

So in summary, if there is any good advice I can give, it’s that showing tangible, proactive initiative is going to be huge.
Your husband is tired and hurting. And so are you, but people who have been through much worse still pick up their pants and carry on. Secondly get really good support for yourself if you haven’t already. You mentioned IC-hopefully you are working with someone who is good, but also you may want to consider investing in a relationship coach. They tend to be more proactive/have more action-oriented steps vs. just talk therapy in my experience. A blend of both is good if you can afford it, but having to choose between the two I’d go with an experienced relationship coach.

You can’t ever undo what has been done. None of us can. Whether you’ve cheated or not, we all carry regrets in life, but we must have faith in the lighter parts within us, yes? There was darkness...but there is also always light. Walk in the light, now. For yourself first and with no agenda particularly to sway your husband. See what happens.
Hugs.


Need2Do posted 12/19/2019 10:59 AM

You just have to be at that point where you are so disgusted in yourself that the only choice is change

On D-Day, I told my BS that I was tired of being like this, sitting in my pile of s...t and as my therapist noted, flinging my 'poo' at others so they can feel what I feel. So yes, I am at that point that I am disgusted with the person I had become.

Then you have to sit in it and feel it. Face the disgust. Fear. Shame. Own it and choose to become vulnerable and choose to change

How??? I have learned to push this down as the way to deal...How do you face it? What do you do? Right now it sits on my chest, and it feels like a lump in my throat. How do I get it out? Have you experienced something like this, how did you work through it? This is my final chance, I am afraid.

Need2Do posted 12/19/2019 12:18 PM

Thank you Becca70

If your husband is still asking questions, of course the first piece of major advice is to answer them fully and don’t leave anything out. Your consistency is going to go miles with calming the need to constantly pepper you with questions.

I don't want to appear to be putting the onness on him with my statement, but I should know what questions he needs answered before he asks them, and I don't know what they all are, I have an idea and I thought I had addressed them. But I am wrong, when I was lurking through SI, I was looking for some of the questions that BS's were asking, I found some, but they were geared to 'hows and whys', not to what my BS was asking for, if that makes sense...

My H always just moves in and says “I hurt you badly. You have the right to be angry. I’m so sorry”. Doing this every time and without defensiveness has been one of the major reasons I chose to stay longer.

I felt empathy for my BS, but I didn't know how to show it in an authentic way, I had to read about it and learn it. I don't remember a moment growing up when I experienced it myself, it was 'you made your bed...', or 'good for you' with sarcasm. When he hears this from me, it doesn't sound natural, real. Even when I cry, I have ask myself 'who am I crying for? Me or him?' Lately the answer has been 'him'.

Your husband is tired and hurting

He is tired of feeling this way, he feels that he would heal faster on his own. I can't condemn him for feeling this way, this isn't my first transgression against him. He has been feeling like this for a very long time.

I am understanding the enormous debt I owe him for the grace he has given me and I feel even lower for this second affair.

Did your BS ask you for forgiveness? I can't bring myself to do that, until I feel that I have earned that privilege.

I will consider a life coach in the future, but for now, IC, books and podcasts will have to suffice.

Women tend to be fear-driven, and are inclined to talk through their issues

I can't talk when I am afraid...'fight, flight, or freeze' I freeze...and this frustrates my BS, he is unable to have a real conversation with me. So I write out what I need to say, and either have him read it or I read it, sometimes we talk about it.

During the quiet times, I do still wish I could go back in time and stop the affair from happening - I would talk to myself as a friend over coffee, and reminder her of how much pain she would be causing.

Thank you, you took time out of your day to help me out with good sound advice. I really appreciate it.

BluesPower posted 12/19/2019 12:30 PM

Why don't you describe how things have been for the last 2 1/2 years.

How does your H feel, what has he said, is he talking about divorce more or made a serious declaration.

If you have not read "How to help your spouse heal from your affair" you need to.

What have (Or not) you been doing...

Chaos posted 12/19/2019 13:27 PM

BS here - no stop sign. I can't swing 2x4s [and wouldn't when someone is humbling themselves and asking for help]

I'll break down my 2cents FWIW and take what you will.

Now I need to bring my 'A game'

You do. And not only do you need to bring it - you need to keep it up, putting forth more and more effort. Because A games keep improving. They don't have a bar. A players keep trying to set new personal bests.

I don't know how.

That's a cop out. I think you do know how. I also think you are afraid. And I think you are afraid to admit whatever it is. You have to be honest with yourself before you can be honest with anyone else.

I don't know how to be the person I want to be.

Again - I think that is a cop out and is deep rooted in fear.

I don't know how to let go of the outcome, because I don't want to give up this time, I did give up – on my marriage and my husband twice, I just can't do it again.

You do know how. But you are afraid. You "gave up" because you chose the "easy" path of escapism. When the going got tough Need2Do chose to escape. You can choose to take the hard path this time and do your work.

I need to show who I really can be, not the person he has been seeing, I don't live with those who kept putting me down, they are no longer part of my life.

No my dear, you don't. I mean that gently [may not come across that way in print]. Please do yourself a favor and get those dark voices out of your head. At least stop listening to them. Replace those negatives with positives. Easier said than done and it takes practice. I read somewhere that it takes 21 positives to negate 1 negative. Practice.

You have your work cut out for you. Not going to pull punches. But you've come here seeking help. Good. Keep coming here. Keep asking for help. Break those big issues down to smaller ones. Baby steps. One foot in front of the other. Don't bail when it gets hard. Pause, recharge your batteries, cry if you have to, then keep on going.

Now...gently...this may be your "final" chance for your marriage. But it is not too late to be a better you.

How you face that fear and pain and shame and sorrow is through sheer fu*king grit. Same as us betrayed have to do it. You stand up, square your shoulders, hold your head high, remind yourself that you are Need2Do and can do anything you put your mind to. You walk with power and purpose barefoot through the hot coals with no end in sight. And you just keep fu*king walking. It isn't easy. Is is exhausting. It is downright ugly. And you will meet demons along the way that will try to lure you off the path. You must slay them. Funny thing about the high and hard path. It sucks while you are on it. The view, however, is spectacular.

Throwing this out there was a bold 1st step. Are you ready to take another and another and another?

sisoon posted 12/19/2019 14:12 PM

Gently, you're asking questions that are extremely difficult and maybe impossible to answer on an Internet forum. You're likely to be disappointed. From what you write, that may be a pattern that can be changed.

Why not ask your therapist how to be authentic, how to bring your A game, etc.

If your therapist can't provide an answer you can use, is it because it's the wrong therapist? Is it because you're choosing not to understand? Is it something else?

*****

I should know what questions he needs answered before he asks them....
Who told you that? How are you going to do that?

Has someone simply placed impossible demands on you in the past, and you've accepted that you should be able to meet them, even though no other human being can?

Unless you're the right sort of mutant, there's no way you can know what wants to know unless he tells you.

You can ask your H what he wants to know.

*****

We have to navigate personalities, but also gender tendencies/societal structures too.
I'm pretty sure gender tendencies have nothing to do with recovery or R. And I'm pretty sure societal pressures need to be put aside when dealing with the crisis of infidelity.

What's necessary is to be authentic.

[This message edited by sisoon at 2:15 PM, December 19th (Thursday)]

Zugzwang posted 12/19/2019 14:24 PM

I have learned to push this down as the way to deal...How do you face it?

Why do you push it down? What do you feel?

Need2Do posted 12/19/2019 15:28 PM

BluesPower:

Why don't you describe how things have been for the last 2 1/2 years.

It's hard to describe, obviously after D-Day and for 6 months after, we were in hell. I was of no use to him, I wasn't able to string together my timeline or answer most of his questions. He did most of the work. I have been 10 steps behind him since. I haven't been able to get caught up.

How does your H feel, what has he said, is he talking about divorce more or made a serious declaration.

He talks about divorce if I don't step up and meet his need to talk about the affair.
He is distant, keeps me at arms length, which is understandable because I haven't earned his trust.
We agree that until I am able to meet his needs that he has no obligation to meet mine, he does so at his discretion.
He has not fully committed to R until I am able to meet his needs.
He has listed his boundaries, what he will not tolerate from me. His patience with me is running out.

If you have not read "How to help your spouse heal from your affair" you need to.

No,I haven't read that book yet, I have read a couple other books from Dr. Charles Whittfield

What have (Or not) you been doing...

What I have done so far:
I have quit my job & gone NC with ap
Assisted with my time line
Wrote out details of the first and second affair (I did the best I could with the first one)
Wrote a letter to ap and emailed to him (cc'd my BS so he knew I sent it) telling him that I regretted having an affair with him, regretted causing so much pain to my BS, and the potential hurt to his spouse.
Wrote a letter to OMS, and told her about the affair, called her and talked to her, met with her, her friend, and my BS face to face to answer her questions.
Called friends and family who were affected by my affair either directly or indirectly and apologized.
Started IC and Psychiatrist who put me on meds
Read everything BS brought home for me to read from websites he found, did my own independent searching.
Moved out of the house when he asked me to, continued to research, listened to free podcasts & made notes about Affair Recovery, moved back in.
Practicing active listening when BS needs to talk, attempted to implement conflict resolution procedures, I shut down and regressed instead. Being more transparent, open with what I am feeling, then identifying the thoughts that caused those feelings.
Figuring out why I don't trust, why I can't be vulnerable. What stops me?
Did a polygraph as there was doubt that I was telling the truth and being honest.
On SI now for help.

Need2Do posted 12/19/2019 15:54 PM

Zugzwang:

Why do you push it down? What do you feel?

Part of it comes from 'foo' issues, not learning how to express anger, fear, humiliation in healthy ways. I was always told to put on a 'happy face', not deal with it.

I had an experience with anger in high school, where I literally saw red, and it scared me to death. Since then I would not allow myself to experience it. I didn't know what to do with it, so I stuffed it down.

This is my norm...put on a mask and bury...I feel fear, frustration, anger, sadness, loneliness, grief, and sometimes I want to scream, swear, cry, but I am an adult, not a child.

BluesPower posted 12/19/2019 16:39 PM

Well a lot of that sounds good.

Did you pass the polygraph?

Does he know that you screwed his friend while dating?

Why are you having such a hard time with the time line. Did you delete all of the evidence or what.

And tell the truth, have you told him everything.

Are you still defensive?

Need2Do posted 12/19/2019 17:15 PM

BluesPower:

Did you pass the polygraph?

Yes I did, I do have tangible evidence that I am telling him the truth

Does he know that you screwed his friend while dating?

We didn't date, I am his affair partner, and I didn't screw his friend, he was his EXW cousin at the time.

Why are you having such a hard time with the time line. Did you delete all of the evidence or what.

I don't want this to sound like an excuse, but I think it will, the affair happened with a coworker, our 'hook ups' occurred after work hours primarily, there were a couple of exceptions. I wasn't able to give exact dates except for those exceptions. We had my journal that I kept at that time, which assisted some in recounting the time line, even that wasn't dated, because I didn't expect anyone to read it. I attempted to delete some entries in my journal, ones that referenced the ap, but my BS had a copy of the unedited version that I didn't originally know about.
And tell the truth, have you told him everything.

Everything I can think of. He knows more about this affair than most BS's normally do. They are usually subject to omissions by the WW - image management, because of my journal, I feel more damage was done - it was at times far more cruel than if it was spoken person to person

Are you still defensive?

At times, yes, not as much as I did in the beginning.

Sisoon:

I should know what questions he needs answered before he asks them....
Who told you that? How are you going to do that?

As I noted above, I wrote a journal during this period, not to document the affair, but to dump feelings and thoughts that I couldn't carry. There were things in there that should have been said to my BS, so we could have worked them out with out a third person (affair) but I didn't, I recorded fantasies, some of my day to day stuff, my spiral into depression, the thoughts of termination, the worst parts were how I vilified my BS, and the comparisons. When I wrote I was vague, I didn't go into detail and explain fully my thoughts. So some bits were fragments of long forgotten thoughts, and others were actually complete. It shows HOW delusional I was during the affair.
He knows all of my 'ugly' and it out weights any possible good right now.

[This message edited by Need2Do at 5:16 PM, December 19th (Thursday)]

Becca70 posted 12/19/2019 18:00 PM

I'm pretty sure gender tendencies have nothing to do with recovery or R. And I'm pretty sure societal pressures need to be put aside when dealing with the crisis of infidelity.

Respectfully, I couldn’t disagree more.

Men and women are different. This is not controversial.

It’s been well-studied in about a zillion ways. Our cultural expectations of men vs. woman are also important to understand. For instance, in our society, boys are generally socialized to understand that being called sissy and withholding tears is “bad” by the age of five (“The masks we wear”, a documentary that can be found on YouTube and Amazon prime discusses this very well). Boys are shamed into behavior strategies, while girls are met with damage to their reputations (gossip). And so much more.

How can this play into recovery or reconciliation?

Because understanding these dynamics can help you recognize and navigate them effectively. Understanding that men have spikes in cortisol and hyperarousal helped me to understand why he went into a completely weird state during disclosure, and why he gets overwhelmed easily in other situations too. Understanding that the male brain’s ability to compartmentalize is more common (although of course both genders are able to do this). Men biologically are wired differently for sex as well. Again. None of this is controversial or theory. It is known through decades of science and observation.

I am not asserting that one gender is somehow superior to the other, or that things cannot exist on a spectrum. Of course not. But sorry...male and female anatomy & chemistry & brains are profoundly different. So are the ways that we are socialized.

Understanding the ways in which her husband is working through his shame can help. It helped us, when I understood that forcing a conversation wasn’t always the best route to take first. He came to understand the root of the fear that his affair inspired...and now knows how to work his communication with that in mind. It can be very difficult to learn how to do things in ways that are not innate to who you fundamentally are. Now you mention that you freeze too when asked questions, and go into fear-mode. Obviously, this manifests on both sides of the fence. So in your case I might suggest really getting comfortable with your story with yourself first. Take time to write it out, maybe several times. Giving yourself the space to be accurate and complete. Read it again and again, and tell yourself the truth about how it happened. My husband admits that he felt numb and asleep, and fell into a pattern of entitlement that allowed him to cross these lines early. Understanding his family dynamics, a history of being bullied (and then turning into the bully), rejection, etc. help both of us to build compassion for his own story. He is not evil. He made terrible choices with unfortunate drivers behind them. Get to know your own story this way too. Get to know the factors in your life that could have left you feeling empty or numb or entitled.

When we know better, we do better. We are not good or bad people ever, we are only people being constructive or destructive.

Personally, I think most of us could have used a serious marriage/relationship training course prior to ever committing. It should be required IMO. What other life-long contracts do we get ourselves into without understanding the fine print? Don’t get me started on parenting.


Need todo: Something that really helped me as a BS was to write down my questions, and email them to my H so he could take his time and answer each. To this day, I refer back to it sometimes when I am triggering, so that I don’t have put us both through the spin cycle constantly.

Maybe asking presenting this as an option for him might help to take the fear out of it, and could give you a nice amount of time to reflect and also him a good amount of time to absorb.

Are you both watching the affair recovery videos? That helped us (youtube) and now we don’t really need to go there that much anymore. For the most part, there is this up-front amount of work you have to do as a couple...the soul-searching, the self-examination, the planned periods of elbow-grease that you just have to do to go down the safety check-list.

Then, there is the waiting time.
You throw all the ingredients in there, and then there’s simply the amount of time it takes to bake that soufflé, lol. No getting around that, and it can be the harder part for many of us. But consistency + time = restored trust. That’s the formula.

We make time for each other.
We are our first priority. You both have to be all in, not just trudging through the days together.

Believe me, this is a stone that can be carried until death do you part, so laying it down can be helpful.

I know a relationship coach who is starting up a business and is offering sessions for some ridiculously low rate like $25/session for people. If you want, I can PM you her info. She is religious personally, but works with anyone. No pressure, and I have no marketing incentives or anything. But I can tell you that if you do a little digging you can find coaches out there that are fresh off the press and looking for business. They will often offer really low rates to build their business, and I think their strategies are often way better than what typical therapist do (“tell me how you’re feeling...mmm hhhhhmmm....tell me more about that...)

I haven’t worked with a R coach, but I did find a similar kind of coach for a business thingy years ago. It was dirt cheap and really helped me.

At 3 1/2 years, if the two of you haven’t gotten real traction with rebuilding your marriage, I would say that it’s an indication that some important steps have been overlooked.

it’s good that you’re not willing to just hobble through this. You’re asking questions and you’ll find your answers. It appears from your list that you are doing quite a bit! No need to reinvent this wheel because people who have had much worse affairs for longer and with way more people have managed to repair. Your spouse has a responsibility for his own healing that you cannot own. He has to deal with his own trauma, past and present if he’s going to come through this.
I don’t think it’s a bad idea to agree to set aside time to really take the pressure off of the marriage and to explore your individual selves.

You can do this. You are a good person and deserve to be happy! You both do.

And yes, my BS has asked for forgiveness, but I told him that’s not something I am shooting for right now. This was truly traumatizing for me (because in part, of my own history and other things that his affair tapped on). I am doing my best to work through the trauma, and IMO, forgiveness naturally unfolds from that on it’s own. Apologizing is critical, but will not really fix trauma.


RocketRaccoon posted 12/19/2019 19:36 PM

N2D,

Have you tried finding out what your BH's Love Languages are? Am only asking so that you have a starting point on how to re-connect with your BH.

Need2Do posted 12/19/2019 20:48 PM

Becca70:

I know a relationship coach who is starting up a business and is offering sessions for some ridiculously low rate like $25/session for people. If you want, I can PM you her info

I would appreciate that, Please send me the information, I may be able to afford it.
However, I don't know if I would be able to receive the PM yet??? I don't have that many posts. So I don't know what to do?

Chaos

You are right, stating that 'I don't know how' is a copout. I realize I avoid often and I want to change that. As Becca70 suggested, I need to get to know "Me", my Whys and How's...I have started that process by going back to a few recognizable/memorable events in my life and writing about them. I have to go deeper with them, because of how I feel they impacted my life, in a negative way. In there lie the clues as to why I chose to lie, deceive and cheat I think.

Need2Do posted 12/20/2019 06:31 AM

Zugzwang:

What do you feel?

As I tried to fall asleep last night my chest got heavy and the lump in my throat presented again. I took your suggestion and 'sat in it', what it felt like this time was suffocation, shame and despair.

What preceded the feeling: My husband and I were talking about my journal and how I plan to explain it to him, he had asked me 'what I said to myself that gave me permission to have another affair when I knew it was wrong and I knew it was going to hurt him', and 'what was I thinking between between the first and second encounter'. We also worked together on my backstory outline that I had started and will post shortly.

When this feeling comes over me again, I will again try to identity what it is by 'sitting in it', but one question, what do you do then?

Thank you for this suggestion, I wasn't sure at first how to do it.

maise posted 12/20/2019 07:44 AM

I haven’t read through the responses but just had a conversation with my WS about this a few days ago. She is still stuck also. I’ll share with you what I told her and my observations about what she is doing, perhaps it’ll help with the “doing it for you” and not for the outcome part.

When I bring up affair triggers to my wife, she still goes into shame. Every single time I express any sort of hurt or anger she begins to go into wallowing and self-pity and hopelessness about how she “is trying so hard but can’t ever get it right, and is just not good enough.” She feels bad for herself. Every single fucking time. And in that? She abandons me. She lacks the accountability needed to own up to her shit and in turn be there for me. It’s exhausting for me as the BS and I’m shifting into a place where I will no longer be emotionally vulnerable with her bc it’s at the cost of myself. It’s not worth it. Anyway, I gave her an example of what owning your shit and doing it for you looks like. Just one, of many. Obviously you can (and should) apply this to everything with yourself that you are not proud of.

My wife is still running on lists and seeking validation for her own self-worth. For example she says she's practicing honesty, and she may very well be...but it's not because she values honesty for herself, it's because she's been told this is what makes you a better person.

So she goes around and in her mind practices being honest because 'it's what you're supposed to do'...

I told her that doing something for yourself looks different. You wouldn't be practicing honesty because it's what you're told to do, you'd be doing it because YOU value YOURSELF as an honest person. In order to get there you have to sit, process, analyze, and think about how you feel about being a liar, and then how you feel about other liars, and how lying impacts the relationships around you...see the patterns that lying creates in your own life, and in how you view yourself. Ask yourself if being dishonest is something that makes you proud of yourself? If not, why not be someone that makes YOU proud? Have standards of yourself that make you value yourself. If honesty is something that means something and makes you proud of yourself, make that commitment to yourself. Hold yourself accountable when you aren’t honest. Not for others, for what it means to YOU. For how you feel about YOU being honest vs being a liar. THEN you're practicing honesty for the right reasons...for your own value of self. Not for others to value you. Granted in turn others do tend to value your honesty too, but that's not why you do it. And then of course take this method and apply it to everything else in your person. If you find times that you sit with your own actions and feel disappointed or some type of way about how you behave, then think about it, process it again...do it for you. Think about how YOU feel about yourself, and who you want to be to yourself. This is how you build esteem, and a sense of self.

She cried when I told her this. Hopefully she gained from it. Maybe this will help her with her shame...help her start to take accountability for who she is to herself and then others, instead of wallowing in the helplessness and self-pity that is shame. Because honestly this, "I'm trying so hard but can’t ever get it right, and I'm just not good enough.” Reeks of wanting others to validate that you ARE good enough...and at any sign of negative emotions from them - she immediately goes there. She will never be validated this way. It's a manipulation, and ultimately others are allowed to express their emotions without the burden of trying to tip toe around her falling apart at their expression.


forgive me if this reads all over the place, I haven't had my coffee...hopefully the message still got across.

[This message edited by maise at 7:58 AM, December 20th (Friday)]

Becca70 posted 12/20/2019 08:50 AM

Maise,

My wife is still running on lists and seeking validation for her own self-worth. For example she says she's practicing honesty, and she may very well be...but it's not because she values honesty for herself, it's because she's been told this is what makes you a better person.

.............

Have you ever read Mark Manson's "The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck"? If not, it's a fantastic book for both you and your wife to read.

He mentions something really interesting in there that hit home with me.

There is this broad assumption that because what you see in front of you is a grown-up body, that there's a grown up actually living in there.

Yes, when psychologist ran a study to see what level a large group of people were operating at, they discovered that something like 87% of them were stuck in an adolescent mode of thinking.

Adolescence is hallmarked by exactly what you described: they don't do things for the sake of the thing, i.e...an understanding of the fundamental harm an act causes. They do it with bargaining in mind. Will it get me in trouble? Will I get praise for doing that thing? How can I do that thing, and avoid trouble/gain praise? Adolescence tend to be pleasure-driven, quite self-centered-as they haven't fully come into having defined themselves fully. The rely more on outside messaging to determine what "hip" is. Remember the marshmallow experiment they did on kids? It's a famous experiment that tested whether they could delay eating a marshmallow for 4 hours, and if they could, they would get 4 more marshmallows?
They followed up on the kids as adults.
The ones that could delay, fared far better than the ones that couldn't. They had better jobs, better marriages, better overall life satisfaction than the ones who had to have the marshmallow right then and there.

Adults do or don't do a thing because they understand the long-term consequences to themselves and others, and they will delay gratification or suffer short-term denial in order to reap the benefits of a long-term investment. They know themselves.


Think about the results of that study.
Only 13% operating within adult lines.

Wow.

My husband was not a bad person, he was just a teenager stuck in a grown-man's body, and that fooled me. But now, I am looking at the right things.

Check out this article by MM. It hits the nail on the head!

markmanson.net how-to-grow-up


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