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How to help my Husband...

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SeekingABetterMe posted 2/17/2020 14:33 PM

My husband needs to be able to express his pain, anger, and whatever else to me. When he does, I never seem to respond in a way that makes him feel supported or cared about. I want to so badly give that to him. I want it to be from my heart, not just words I say, but everything is say comes out wrong and he feels like i am minimizing his feelings or he just doesnt understand at all what I am saying.
He texted saying that he feels like he will never be safe, that it will alsway be there and it will always be a possibility.
How can it be any different?
My response was

I think I would feel that way if I were you too. It will also always be a possibility. The only way to even stand a chance at making you feel safe is to become so far removed from the person I was that did this, that it looks less like a possibility. But even then it still will be. I guess it is not so much about making it not be a possibility becasue that is impossible, as making it so that I am no longer a person that would consider it. That the work and effort I would be putting in everyday to making our life amazing would make it so that kind a choice isnt even on my radar. That I would be like that comedian you told me about. And that you can see that.

I texted back after this and apologized saying that inwant trying to minimize his feeling but was afraid that in may have made him feel that way. Can anyone help me break this down so soon can help give home what he needs?

SeekingABetterMe posted 2/17/2020 15:45 PM

Can the stop sign be removed please?

Zugzwang posted 2/17/2020 16:50 PM

It will also always be a possibility.

You said that to him?

IDK, I never said anything like that. I said, there is no way in Hell I would ever do it again. No matter who I was. A cheating situation is not out of your control no matter who you are. It really is a simple choice of yes or no. Changing who you are is not just about being safe. It is about finding self love and having joy.

Zugzwang posted 2/17/2020 16:56 PM

Reading back through your posts. Have you dealt with your shame? Are you being defensive? Do the conversations still turn back to you having him have to make you feel good and be validated?

wifehad5 posted 2/17/2020 17:04 PM

The Stop Sign has been removed. Betrayed Spouses can now post to this thread.

suddenlyisee posted 2/17/2020 17:29 PM

This is only my opinion:

If you feel that the journey YOU are on ENDS with you being a person who is not going to betray your spouse again, you may need to rethink things.

Your journey needs to START there.

Iím oversimplifying - but unless your journey started with a full disclosure of your shared reality - everything - and a commitment to make the right choices starting that day, and then every day after that, you havenít even stepped off yet.

If you want to help him (and you should) you have to ask yourself a real simple question: does he know everything he needs to know to make a fair, informed decision about having a future with you? If you arenít sure if you have it in you, how can he be?

EvolvingSoul posted 2/17/2020 17:44 PM

Hi there SeekingABetterMe,

Why do you think your cheating will always be a possibility?

SeekingABetterMe posted 2/17/2020 20:07 PM

There is a lot here for me to address and I will. But I want to clarify one thing. I absolutely do not it think that cheating again will be a possibility. I understand that telling myself I wont do it doesnt make me safe, that's white knuckling. But he wont accept me saying it isnt a possibility that I could do it again, he says that it is always a possibility now, it wasn't one that was on his radar before and now that it isn't he can't take it off. Telling him that it isn't a possibility makes him feel like I am minimizing how he feels.

EvolvingSoul posted 2/17/2020 21:26 PM

It's true that the opportunity to cheat will always exist. If you chose to, you could betray him again. I think what he might be saying is that you have demonstrated that you are someone with the capability of that betrayal and unless you figure out how and why you were able to do that, he's not going to feel safe.

So. How is that work coming? Have you been working on your whys and talking to him about the process as it unfolds?

gmc94 posted 2/17/2020 22:09 PM

Maybe start with some empathy and validation of his feelings? Like:

Iím so sorry that my betrayal of you and our M, and the destruction of your trust have made you feel unsafe with your own wife. Iím so sorry my actions have led you to this struggle with safety. I know I have hurt you deeply. And I want to do all that I can to fix the problems within me that led to making such damaging choices and to truly be the safe partner I want to be... and that you always deserved?

When heís angry - Iím so sorry that I made the choice to betray you and hurt you such that you now struggle with feeling so angry at someone you trusted and loved. I am working on myself to become a partner that both of us can be proud of....

Zugzwang posted 2/18/2020 05:48 AM

Have you dealt with your shame? Are you being defensive? Do the conversations still turn back to you having him have to make you feel good and be validated?

SeekingABetterMe posted 2/18/2020 05:55 AM

Zug- I don't 1think I have dealt with my shame, I don't even know where to start. And I feel like everytime I fuck things up more, the more shame I pile on. I know it is important, but I dont know what the hell to do with it all. I spend a lot of time feeling sorry for myself and I know that isn't good. We are recently separated and I spent the first week completely miserable, wasting time.yes I still get defensive and seek him making me feel good. He feels like I haven't accepted responsibility and that all my apologies are meaningless. I really want to change I keep hurting him and inwant to stop.

MrsWalloped posted 2/18/2020 07:38 AM

Telling him that it isn't a possibility makes him feel like I am minimizing how he feels.

I understand what youíre saying, but maybe the message can be something helpful for him. Like if you just leave it at that then I think it reinforces the idea that you might cheat again.

How about ďI already did it so I understand why you think I will always be a possibility, but these are the things Iíve worked on about me that will ensure Iíll never do that again.Ē Or something like that. You acknowledge his feelings but also point out your efforts and reasons why youíve changed. Does that make sense?

Loyal2Afault posted 2/18/2020 07:50 AM

I have never posted in this forum but your question prompted me to do so. As a betrayed spouse I can empathize with your husband. It hurts like hell every single day to know that someone who swore to love, cherish and honor you would betray you in such a completely selfish way. I know the betrayal had nothing to do with me...it was all about him and his selfishness. You can't say I know it could always be a possibility. That would scare the shit out of me and never allow an inkling of healing for either of us. What you should be saying is...I am so angry at myself for who I was when I did this. I want you to know that I am not that person anymore. That I realize that being that person would cost me the loss of you. I want nothing more than to heal our marriage and make it 100% better than it was.

nightmare01 posted 2/18/2020 21:41 PM

I think I would feel that way if I were you too. It will also always be a possibility.

As a BH I feel this statement is honest and spot-on. It's one of the many hard truths that's learned by both WS and BS when an affair occurs.

In a sense, believing that it wasn't a possibility, that you would NEVER do such a thing, lowered your guard and therefore made it possible.

From my side, I couldn't bring myself to believe that my wife would do such a thing. I denied the obvious signs, and her LTA went on much longer that it would have had I been more realistic.

It's a horrible thing, but people cheat. Unless you admit this fact you open yourself to the pain of betraying or betrayal.

thatbpguy posted 2/18/2020 21:50 PM

As a BS, I think we always feel like we can be betrayed again. Things are always easier the second or third time. That's one reason why it's hard to ever feel safe again so we refuse to allow ourselves to be vulnerable again.

My advice is to be open and keep things simple. Words and actions are equally important. Just be there for him and be patient. I believe the more you are true to yourself, the more he will see it and it will eventually heal him.

hikingout posted 2/19/2020 10:35 AM

You have already gotten some very good advice.

I think that sometimes in order to give a better response we have to have a better handle on the subject matter. I am going to share what that means to me, because it's the only example I have.

I felt very much like you do at one point. I felt like any words I was using was useless over actions. For that reason, I didn't sound strong in my convictions either. H ended up asking for a divorce as a result. I was working very hard on myself but I wasn't communicating it or anything else well with him.

I believe you when you say you regret and have a lot of guilt and shame over your behavior. The best way to cure that is to get very curious about why that was a possibility for you. These are reasons that are internal to you. And, if you already have your whys, a good way to burn off is to work on being different as a result.

This means that you have to be self aware and mindful every day of what your thoughts are. I said a lot of mine here, which was helpful to me because people corrected the way I was thinking. But, getting that input can be painful. Another way people do it is by keeping a journal. You need to explore your thoughts as - are they true? are they helpful? How is my behavior effected by it? Analyzing can be a lot of energy and effort. Sometimes I would just meditate and observe what would come up. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle was a great book that helped me see my distorted thinking.

The purpose of this is to change and grow. If you do that, you will be able to express to your husband more certainty and also share how you are changing.

Many of us WW's are conflict avoidant. You may not know what to do but roll over and reiterate what he is saying as to not upset him. I think that has it's place. But, if my husband were to ask me this question today, I would say "I guess there are no certainties in life, but I do not believe I will ever repeat this behavior. It was so damaging to you which was very hard to witness, but it damaged me so much as well. I have worked hard to address(XYZ) and I think that I have a firm feeling of wanting to be vigilant over those things."

Shame is a hard thing to deal with. It has it's place, but if you get stuck there you can't move forward and you can't be the rock your husband needs you to be. It will continue to make it about you and how you feel. He needs to feel like he has the whole space. Brene Brown has some really good books about shame and vulnerability. I felt like Rising Strong helped me to understand that shame is inherently thinking you are bad or not worthy. You have to deal with that aspect of where it comes from and dispel that for yourself. For me, it was there far before the affair and the affair made it worse. If you have the resources to get IC you might explore FOO and where some of your shame originated.

[This message edited by hikingout at 4:10 PM, February 19th (Wednesday)]

SeekingABetterMe posted 2/20/2020 14:18 PM

Trying to stop a pattern of behavior. I often come here in a state of panic, and post something begging for help. People show up and offer what they can, things in my life calm down and I donít return to my post. My BH feels I come here and numb, which I do, but I want to change that and start using this as a space to help me learn. To try and use this space to help me process the things I am learning or to root out dysfunctional thinking before harming my BH with it.
I am currently separated from my BH for about almost 2 weeks. I am staying with my mother and my BH and I are still in contact via text mostly. I desperately want to go home, but more than that now, I want to stop hurting my BH, stop not putting his needs first or not considering them at all. I want to be capable of loving him as much or as more as he loves me. He is an absolutely amazing person and I want to give back to him the good he has given me.
At this point in my life I think learning this will give me a lot of what I have felt lacking. Not loving and being close with practically anyone is not how I want to live. I know that i am talking all about what I want and that is the problem. My husband wants this to end, the torture one way or another. I donít blame him and want the same for him, obviously I am wanting it to end because i have gotten my shit together and stopped failing to love him.
I am also in the Affair Recovery course for Wayard spouses. It is a 17 week course that i have just started. This week the focus is on learning to recognize that you are self-centered, what that looks like, learning to see that you are the problem not you mate, and learning that you are treating your spouse like a barrier to be manipulated in order to get your needs and desires met. You are not considering their needs and desires.
So as an example last night I decided that I would surprise my BH at work, meet him on lunch with food and maybe initiate being intimate with him. I told myself that this was something I knew he would enjoy and that I was doing it for him and that if he rejected me I would be okay with that.
But then morning came and I told him what I was thinking about doing he said that he didnít feel very good about that idea right now. I said okay, how about just lunch and he said no thank you, then I wished him a good day and let it drop.
He did not feel good about the whole exchange which is understandable. When he talked with me about it later he explained that he felt like I dismissed his feelings when I found out he wasnít into it and that by sharing what I was thinking about doing first I was minimizing the risk of reaction by getting his approval without even doing any work. This morning was me being selfish and putting my needs first again.
I thank anyone who can read through this whole convoluted mess to give any advise.
What I am looking for is any advice on how to better understand actually put his needs first. I know there is much more for me to address from my original post as well.

SeekingABetterMe posted 2/20/2020 15:02 PM

Evolvingsoul -
The work has been going but I havenít dedicated myself to it as much as I need to. I have sorted out issues, lots of them, but I feel like I donít know what to do with them. I will list some...
I have been Emotionally Shut down
Starting at a young age I became emotionally shut down and did not process the traumas or allow myself to understand or even feel much
I thought I was better than other people who experienced and expressed emotions - they were just being dramatic
When I would finally blow up - I was treated like a silly child and my emotions were dismissed or I was laughed at
I saw my BPD sister treated the same way - when she acted out (sometimes unreasonably so) she was mocked or ignored
My mother did not discuss emotions nor was she any good at bringing up difficult things
Showing negative emotion was discouraged
You would be mocked or ignored
If you did show it - you showed it passively - slamming cupboard doors or being short, then others would beg you to tell them what was wrong to basically get you to stop being an asshole
I dismissed my BHís complaints as him being dramatic

Some other problems my BH and I have found -

I go to great lengths - illogical extremes even - to avoid things that are hard.

I live my life in the moment from moment to moment with no regard to how it will affect my future or how others might experience my choices.

I manipulate others rather than be authentic, honest, and sincere

This doesnít include a whole lot more, secret contracts for me to convince myself I was loved, perfectionism, convincing myself something is broken in me that is irreparable and thus why bother approach, selfish...
I donít even know if I have it all figured out yet, but what do i even do with all this. I really want out of my own way so that I can love my BH.
I donít honestly know what I am looking for but I just need some place to process some of this stuff out loud, and not just on my BH shoulders.

hikingout posted 2/20/2020 15:16 PM

What I am looking for is any advice on how to better understand actually put his needs first. I know there is much more for me to address from my original post as well.

Hmmm. You are separated. I think that it's going to be difficult to demonstrate this in many ways. I am going to guess he is not going to be super vulnerable with you and share much at this point?

I honestly think you need to think about my last post. In order to act differently, you have to be different. I can understand you are doing anything you can, but it's grasping at straws and that's going to come across to him. What have you read in terms of books? Are you in IC? Have you figured out your whys? Figuring out how to work on ourselves is super hard. But, if you can dig into your whys and really start to look at how to shore those issues up in yourself I think that will be evident to him.

If it were me, I would use this time to work on myself. I would share with him what that is. I think at this point he really needs to know you are working on yourself. Express that you do want to be the type of woman that deserves him. But, you also need to be that person for yourself.

Since he is still talking to you, then you should look for ways he is sharing with you and try to connect with that. Do you think you were trying to protect yourself from rejection by telling him your plan? Do you feel he is right?

You are in a reactive mode and you need to get proactive.

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