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An update on N and I

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Lifeitself posted 4/20/2020 11:30 AM

Thatís even better.
1. He gave you a valentines card
2. Heís showing you he cares for you
3. Heís socialising with you.

This is more than in house separation. But what I didnít get is, why is he freaked out by the kitchen boxes?

LifeDestroyer posted 4/20/2020 11:44 AM

Just seeing all of the boxes made it all real and very stressful for him.

HellFire posted 4/20/2020 11:53 AM

The boxes are a trigger. We betrayed spouses have several odd triggers that make no sense to us. All we know is, they trigger us.

The boxes are symbolic.

That said...some of us are reading your update, with a huge smile, and happy tears.

It's me. I'm some of us.

Now the real work begins. This is a mutual attempt at reconciliation, with both parties having all the information. It won't be easy. It will be painful. Respect the process. Don't rush.

He will still have moments where he wants to be alone. Let him. It's normal. Don't catastrophize.

Bigheart2018 posted 4/20/2020 12:43 PM

Dear LD,

Iíve followed your story (you and your husband) from the beginning, and I agree with Hellfireís assessment, it's going to be difficult but you can make it. Iím also sitting here full of smiles. Iím hoping for the best for you and your family. Your family has touched my heart from the very beginning. Please keep your eyes on the prize (your family)!!!!

Best,
Bigheart

LifeDestroyer posted 4/20/2020 14:17 PM

I've told him that I will give him the space and time he needs. If he needs to retreat to his room or me to mine, then that's what will happen.

We are taking things very slow between us. Right now it's just about him trying to see if he can be around with me and not always feel the pain. Before I moved in, we had spent some nights together. He said it hurt for me to leave and hurt for me to stay.

leavingorbit posted 4/21/2020 14:27 PM

I see my IC online every week. She has actually brought up the boundaries question the last two sessions. He and I haven't discussed anything, at all.
What boundaries would you have set in place once he moved back in?

This post got long and maybe confusing, sorry in advance.

I talked about this with my husband today and he said that the thing he thinks we both couldíve worked on was reinforcing our boundaries. We had the right idea on some level I think, we just both sucked at holding our lines. I know I struggled with guilt and shame, ďI destroyed him, what right do I have to say anything about what helps me communicate effectively? Or about what I feel?Ē We tried to implement things like nonviolent communication, announcing breaks, owning our own feelings, ďI feel,Ē etc. We did MC. We definitely benefited from the communication aspect.

We got stuck in drama triangles a lot. We struggled with defensiveness. We grappled with naming and owning feelings instead of just exploding or retreating into resentment. Trying to ďfixĒ each otherís feelings. Same old habits except we were both getting stronger in expressing ourselves and being okay with who we are.

We each made some boundaries:

I will not stay in a marriage that doesnít include active ownership and healing (IC and MC, individual work, anger management for both of us).

I will not stay in a marriage where there is not transparency and communication (keeping each other updated, running things by each other, collaborating, compromise, speaking LL).

I will not stay in a marriage without active recovery (12 step work, sponsorship).

Things like that. I donít know, LD. Reading your story is tough sometimes because it reminds me of us - Iím a lot like your husband. I was seriously fucked up, personally, and I wish I had done more to fix myself. Iím sure Iím projecting quite a bit. I do know I used my discovery of my husbandís behavior to justify a bunch of toxic crap. I blamed him for my emotions and the pedestal I had him on before. I blamed him for a lot. My identity was completely tied up in him and our relationship which was unhealthy AF, which was the real issue. All his behavior did was bring all of my issues into the crisis zone, as if they
werenít before. He had blamed me before discovery. All my behavior did was bring all his issues to the fore. Perpetual victims. Pain breeds entitlement. And then after the blame party settled down, the real bullseye came out: that we both blamed ourselves. Then came the, ďweíll just focus completely on each other positively and everything will be fineĒ phase.

But I think we both finally have figured out that our pain is our responsibility. We can ask for help as we work through it and own it. And we can leave if we donít get what we want.

It may take time for your husband to hear that. He may never. I feel like heís got a lot of demons and pain and youíre the lightning rod. I hope it changes or Iím wrong because yes, eventually, if he doesnít put in work, I believe you will need to draw boundaries. His actions were unhealthy before you cheated. Heís not working recovery, unless thatís changed.

I donít know. Iím really happy youíre home. Iím just so thrilled you get to see and interact with your daughter more now. I donít mean to encourage borrowing trouble either, with so much going on and a bunch of changes. Iím sure itís a major adjustment for your husband and he probably wonít know what way to jump for quite awhile. Iím sorry for the pain youíve all experienced. I donít agree with the advice encouraging madhatters to just go all Stepford, like that somehow resolves existing boundary issues. Or that setting boundaries in marriages is somehow lacking in empathy/compassion. Enabling was the real beast, IME.

You have been through a lot and so has he. I hope that space is made for both sides, because your voice matters too and I hope you know that.

KingRat posted 4/21/2020 15:24 PM

Wow. I thought leavingorbit's post was spot on and so insightful. Honestly, I had the same concerns she shared. The biggest takeaway for me is:

My identity was completely tied up in him and our relationship which was unhealthy AF, which was the real issue

We often see codependent behavior keeping a couple from making any progress. The enmeshment makes it difficult to enforce boundaries because there really is no distinction on where one person ends and the other begins. As such, it is hard to identify responsibilities. Without clear lines, the individual duties are delegated to the relationship. The relationship becomes the scapegoat for individual failures. And so it goes...The drama triangle continues. Round and round, circling the same ground.

You need to ensure you break the cycle. The foundation of your R should be identifying individual responsibility and enforcing individual boundaries. Communication is key. Please take the time to have this difficult conversation and both agree to make a concerted effort to build your new relationship as healthy individuals.

leavingorbit posted 4/22/2020 05:02 AM

Yes, thank you, KingRat!

You need to ensure you break the cycle. The foundation of your R should be identifying individual responsibility and enforcing individual boundaries. Communication is key. Please take the time to have this difficult conversation and both agree to make a concerted effort to build your new relationship as healthy individuals.

Exactly.

LifeDestroyer posted 4/22/2020 17:18 PM

The past four days have been pretty silent. He isn't really talking to me. He comes home from work and goes straight to bed for a nap.

Just now I sat down on his bed and asked how his mind has been. He asked what I meant. I said as far as me moving back in. He said he hates it. I asked "do you hate what your mind is thinking or me moving back in or all of the above?" He said all. He told me that he had never lived alone before and started to like it. He doesn't like having to share his space or time or himself (which he always said even before the affair). He gave examples of the fridge and medicine cabinet, how there are things in there that he didn't put there. I said I could move the medicines into my bathroom, but the food are things that he eats too. Those two were small examples he said. I asked if he thinks that's something he can get used to (me being there and sharing space). He said yes but doesn't know if he wants it to be with me. I asked him to please tell me if I'm doing something that is bothering him or if he just wants me to leave him alone. He was about to take a nap, so I left the room.

The other day, he said "all that matters is that (dd) is happy." She's over the moon excited that we are all living in the house together again. I told him that for now that's ok, but that's not all that matters.

I know this will be a long and rocky road, and I'm ready to crawl down it, I'm just not sure he is.

oldtruck posted 4/22/2020 18:33 PM

pointless to ask all of those questions. his mind is all over the
place.

your job is to talk by example, actions speak louder than words.
be the wife, housewife, mother that he and your family needs.

Lifeitself posted 4/23/2020 07:03 AM

Agreed with oldtruck. You are challenging him with your questions which is a bit too early. You mentioned he was helping you with the housework. What have you been doing to show him you care?

Lifeitself posted 4/23/2020 07:03 AM

Oops

[This message edited by Lifeitself at 7:34 AM, April 23rd (Thursday)]

Lifeitself posted 4/23/2020 07:04 AM

Duplicate

[This message edited by Lifeitself at 7:04 AM, April 23rd (Thursday)]

leavingorbit posted 4/23/2020 09:39 AM

Emotionally, how are YOU doing, LD? Are you reading? Taking time for self care? Howís your internal work going?

LifeDestroyer posted 4/23/2020 09:51 AM

I've been unpacking, trying to organize and purge. I repainted our dresser set and put it back in the room last night. Next, I want to pai t the standing mirror. I moved my stuff around in the garage so he can park his car again in there. Hail season is upon us. So one of our cars has to sit outside because his shop is full now.

I haven't been reading anything unfortunately. In ten minutes I have my video session with my IC.

emergent8 posted 4/23/2020 11:48 AM

It sounds like he's depressed. I'm worried about him. Is he still going to IC?

LifeDestroyer posted 4/23/2020 11:49 AM

He's definitely depressed, and no he isn't seeing anyone or talking to anyone. I'm not sure he's even talking to his sister anymore.

KingRat posted 4/23/2020 14:54 PM

I talked about this with my husband today and he said that the thing he thinks we both couldíve worked on was reinforcing our boundaries. We had the right idea on some level I think, we just both sucked at holding our lines. I know I struggled with guilt and shame, ďI destroyed him, what right do I have to say anything about what helps me communicate effectively? Or about what I feel?Ē We tried to implement things like nonviolent communication, announcing breaks, owning our own feelings, ďI feel,Ē etc. We did MC. We definitely benefited from the communication aspect.
We got stuck in drama triangles a lot. We struggled with defensiveness. We grappled with naming and owning feelings instead of just exploding or retreating into resentment. Trying to ďfixĒ each otherís feelings. Same old habits except we were both getting stronger in expressing ourselves and being okay with who we are.
We each made some boundaries:
I will not stay in a marriage that doesnít include active ownership and healing (IC and MC, individual work, anger management for both of us).
I will not stay in a marriage where there is not transparency and communication (keeping each other updated, running things by each other, collaborating, compromise, speaking LL).
I will not stay in a marriage without active recovery (12 step work, sponsorship).
Things like that. I donít know, LD. Reading your story is tough sometimes because it reminds me of us - Iím a lot like your husband. I was seriously fucked up, personally, and I wish I had done more to fix myself. Iím sure Iím projecting quite a bit. I do know I used my discovery of my husbandís behavior to justify a bunch of toxic crap. I blamed him for my emotions and the pedestal I had him on before. I blamed him for a lot. My identity was completely tied up in him and our relationship which was unhealthy AF, which was the real issue. All his behavior did was bring all of my issues into the crisis zone, as if they
werenít before. He had blamed me before discovery. All my behavior did was bring all his issues to the fore. Perpetual victims. Pain breeds entitlement. And then after the blame party settled down, the real bullseye came out: that we both blamed ourselves. Then came the, ďweíll just focus completely on each other positively and everything will be fineĒ phase.
But I think we both finally have figured out that our pain is our responsibility. We can ask for help as we work through it and own it. And we can leave if we donít get what we want.
It may take time for your husband to hear that. He may never. I feel like heís got a lot of demons and pain and youíre the lightning rod. I hope it changes or Iím wrong because yes, eventually, if he doesnít put in work, I believe you will need to draw boundaries. His actions were unhealthy before you cheated. Heís not working recovery, unless thatís changed.
I donít know. Iím really happy youíre home. Iím just so thrilled you get to see and interact with your daughter more now. I donít mean to encourage borrowing trouble either, with so much going on and a bunch of changes. Iím sure itís a major adjustment for your husband and he probably wonít know what way to jump for quite awhile. Iím sorry for the pain youíve all experienced. I donít agree with the advice encouraging madhatters to just go all Stepford, like that somehow resolves existing boundary issues. Or that setting boundaries in marriages is somehow lacking in empathy/compassion. Enabling was the real beast, IME.
You have been through a lot and so has he. I hope that space is made for both sides, because your voice matters too and I hope you know that.

I copied this in light of the most recent update as I think this deserves emphasis.

I will be honest with you, I fear that this lack of structure, guidance, and flat-out desire to rebuild your relationship is very concerning. Without deliberate attempts to create boundaries and actively work on building a new relationship, these situations often result in couples experiencing limbo, or codependent hell. Neither party is receiving any value, and in fact, the relationship is actually a source stress and anxiety. However, due to individual issues of emotional enmeshment and an unhealthy attachment style, the individuals cannot quit the relationship in order to save themselves thereby sentencing themselves to a life of misery. And as leavingorbit stated, one party puts his/her individual issues and shortcomings on the other party, which creates a positive feedback loop that plays itself out over and over in the Drama Triangle.

The most concerning statement is this:

I asked if he thinks that's something he can get used to (me being there and sharing space). He said yes but doesn't know if he wants it to be with me.

Normally, you hear, "I hope I can but I am not sure I will be able to." There is a desire but uncertainty as to ability. Here, it is the opposite: I probably can but not sure if I even want to. That is alarming because without a desire, it is never going to be mutually fulfilling relationship.

He may move out in a week or 6 months or who knows. It is extremely awkward for the both of us, but our daughter is beyond excited. She followed me around everywhere last night. I had to keep telling her that I'm not going anywhere and that she doesn't have to follow me or look for me

Respectfully, I think this approach does your daughter and both of you a disservice. IMHO, I feel your fear of being apart allowed you to make decisions that neither you were capable of following through with at the time the decision to move back in was made. Now, you are in a tough spot because the external pressure of your child's joy is going make it even harder to make decisions that is best for your mental health and well being.

I don't mean to be critical, but I fear that there is a avoidance responsibility that is the foundation of reconciliation. R is not penance. It is active process that involves both parties working toward a mutual goal. The work is different, but the goal is the same. I'm not trying to beat you up, but I don't see that here. I think you desperately need to communicate and make some hard decisions. I wish you well on your journey and hope each person becomes happier and healthy even if it means that you both discover you cannot do it together.

Pippin posted 5/1/2020 19:05 PM

LD, isn't this a shadow of the dynamic with your mother? She insisted that you make her feel better, you made tremendous effort to win her love, you never succeeded? I know these patterns are more than just comfortable - they look to you like the way the world actually works. Like that's what a relationship is. It's not good for you, not good for him, and it's setting your daughter up for problems throughout her life. I hope you can get out from under your history and live a better life.

LifeDestroyer posted 5/1/2020 20:39 PM

I know this is not how the world works. I know this is not what a marriage or love is supposed to be like. I also know that I led us here, and I want nothing more than to help us out of here, hopefully together.

He's not happy at all. In fact, he's miserable. He's ashamed of himself for not being strong to make a decision. He's ashamed of himself that a part of him wants to be with me. He can't accept that I had an affair.

I want him to choose to stay, not just for our daughter and the material things, but also for an us. All I can do is wait for him to make his choice. If he chooses to stay, I truly hope he will allow himself to feel some resemblance of happiness.

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