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Boundaries and Reconciliation

MIgander posted 6/10/2020 14:03 PM

Question for those trying to pick up the pieces and rebuild the relationship. I'm feeling anxious about things and need to sift out my reasoning- I need to find out if I'm making decisions based on entitlement or out of legitimate self preservation. Please help me clean up my head .

What do you do when your own poor boundaries- with husband in marriage and AP in affair- were one of the direct causes of the breakdown?

I had poor boundaries in the marriage because it was easier for me to not stand up for myself (enable) since disagreement was terrifying to me- I was afraid of his rejection if I stated a real need and remained firm in it. Then I would use that boundary being ignored (I would bring it up and not enforce it) as an excuse to either get mad or complain (and play victim). This lead to me resenting my hubby and then feeling entitled to an affair. Now that I'm moving away from the enabling behavior that I used to permit me to have an affair, I'm anxious over my choices. Now that I'm examining my "whys" and what allowed me to justify an affair, I'm finding it difficult to place appropriate boundaries within my marriage without my spouse feeling like I'm being selfish or "not playing as a team."

The boundaries currently center around finances and the level of anxiety I had from the horrible state they were in- he has more resources than I in that department, and belittled me frequently when I brought my anxiety to him over utility shut offs and foreclosure notices. While I am giving my all into the financial well being of the marriage (I make 6 figures), I have begun to set aside a small allowance for my own use. Really it's for my own reassurance that I won't be without gas money or money for food or money to pay our utilities if they get shut off again. It keeps my anxiety at bay to have a small pool of cash I can rely upon in extremity.

I am not pursuing this as a form of entitlement, it really is to keep me free of the anxiety and depression (from feeling helpless about the finances), and also free of the resentment I had allowed to build in our early marriage over these issues. I'm doing this to preserve my sanity and for the benefit of our relationship.

Unfortunately, he sees it as me drawing a hard line and not accommodating him and pulling away, when I'm really trying to make sure I am calm enough and feel safe enough to give myself to him. We have had numerous discussions about this where I have made it clear this is about me eliminating my anxiety and resentment towards him, not about me not caring for him. He reacts as though I am not all in for the marriage and is hurting through this all because of the affair I chose to have.

He wants me to "do whatever it takes" when that looks like me having no say in finances (and he's shown irresponsibility there, and I've definitely ENABLED IT). My reality sense is that I am contributing my all (within my limitations for mental health) and that any further going into debt on my part (to pay him back for further output from family money to keep foreclosure at bay) will create resentment from me and endanger myself should we end up divorcing. I do not have the resources he has and I am keeping very little ($50 every 2 weeks) for my self. If I continue to enable this behavior I will continue to resent him and continue to be anxious and continue to not be the woman that I know I need to be for the sake of my recovery and the sake of us having a R at all.

In the past too, I have cashed out my retirement savings with each job move in order to finance real estate projects, so no savings there. I've also given over inheritance monies of my own to pay bills, so have no money there. I am in credit card debt up to my limits since I use them for things like groceries, kids dr visits and the occasional present I want to surprise hubby with. In all, I have one 401k with which to pay him back, while he has considerable family money on his side to keep us afloat in these times.

What do boundaries look like for those in R? Especially when it comes to remedying the background issues within the marriage? How is it best for a WS to handle the changes they need to make for their own integrity (I don't want to be back in that desperate place I allowed myself to fall into that lead me to accept and encourage advances of AP), sanity or just plain well being? What do you do in general when you're a people pleaser at heart and terrified of rejection from stating real needs? I am posting this here as I am quite anxious over standing my ground about my personal allowance and other financial issues as I know how hurt my spouse is and how this would continue to hurt him. I know what I am doing is right for me, even though my husband is struggling. It is just hard for me to watch him struggle with it without doing something to appease his discomfort.

fooled13years posted 6/10/2020 15:18 PM

Having the necessities, in mho, is not an entitlement.

Have the two of you looked at a money management course?

There are several available on line should that be an option.

leavingorbit posted 6/10/2020 15:29 PM

Iím interested to see what advice you get. I have none personally but definitely lending some solidarity. Weíre experiencing something similar and itís so hard to figure out. Itís tough, Iím sorry.


hikingout posted 6/10/2020 15:39 PM

What do you do in general when you're a people pleaser at heart and terrified of rejection from stating real needs?

Wow Migunder, it's so interesting that you wrote this today. I have been contemplating a post, which is a bit different in circumstances to ask probably similar questions.

I had poor boundaries in the marriage because it was easier for me to not stand up for myself (enable) since disagreement was terrifying to me- I was afraid of his rejection if I stated a real need and remained firm in it.

Boundary issues? YES, what you are saying here is me! I still have them, and I try and be mindful of them like you are talking about. We also do real estate stuff, and my husband had always liked all his hobbies and toys over the years (still does, his current obsession is motorcycles, we have owned and traded 3 this year alone). But, We are not in straits, we actually are doing well now...Early in the marriage we were in a similar boat in terms of his business going under and getting underwater with everything. I remember cooking all the meals on a grill because I couldn't afford to put the gas back on. So, back at that time (and gosh that was decades ago), part of our road to recovery was that we each got a small amount of personal money per month. You could choose to save it up and buy something bigger, or you could use it to go to lunch sometimes with friends or co-workers. Is there a way that you could get him to agree to both of you getting a similar amount? What is it he is objecting to?

I will say that I do not have the problem it sounds like you might have - and that is the cooperation part. If I felt I needed X, H would find a way to compromise. I have never made big demands in our marriage, but I would categorize him as generous in that regard.

So, as I am reading this, I am thinking - in my marriage it's clear that I was the one with the issues that had to be worked on. While H has put forth effort in rebuilding a relationship with me, it's not as if for me to start putting in boundaries causes him an issue. But, it could be there are things your husband needs to work on in order to build a healthier marriage with you as well. It sounds as if there are some control issues there, hard to say...but when you tell me that you are asking for $50 per pay day for necessities and you make a 6 figure salary and he is reacting this way, that just doesn't seem reasonable to me, regardless of circumstances past or present.

Getting back to this:

while he has considerable family money on his side to keep us afloat in these times.

Why are their utility shut offs and foreclosure notifications? If he has considerable family money, why doesn't he cure them? Does he work? You make 6 figures and he has considerable family money, that to me means there is not a money issue but a management issue. Who controls that? Can you get an intermediary to go over it with you and make a new plan that you both can be excited about? I know when my husband's business went down, we did go bankrupt and start over at that time. We have since moved on and both have good careers and have made good investments. We chose to learn from them instead of blame each other. But, if one of us or both of us didn't learn from that time, I can only imagine the friction it would cause...the baggage you would have moving forward.

Let's look at this statement next:

My reality sense is that I am contributing my all (within my limitations for mental health) and that any further going into debt on my part (to pay him back for further output from family money to keep foreclosure at bay) will create resentment from me and endanger myself should we end up divorcing.

This is valid on numerous fronts.

The not speaking up and holding our boundaries means we are not doing the work that put us in a place where we started holding it as entitlement to cheat. I understand this deeply. For some of us the spouse sees it as a positive, but I am sure that some spouses would see it as a negative.

For the issue that I was thinking of asking opinions about, it's probably silly when I compare it to this story. I have some things I want for us to work on together but I find myself holding my tongue about it. It's probably the first big issue that I would be needing to bring up, but the elephant in the room (BUT YOU CHEATED) is one that I put there. When I am holding back something like this, it's as if I don't feel entitled to have such a request "as silly as this one" and that I should just "suck it up and work on it on my own". I think the difference between you and I (and I am sorry that I am comparing the situations but your situation gave me so much clarity) is that in my situation I think it's ME putting the elephant in the room. I don't think my husband for one moment would even care if I brought it up and would be interested in communicating about it. I don't think he will really be thinking "Well you had an affair, how dare you make this request!" (I will have to now for sure - he will be reading this!) In your situation it sounds like your husband is in a place where he would rather shut it down, invalidate it, etc. But, I think you guys are earlier out and in conjunction with whatever roller coaster he is riding, he may just be feeling contrary or momentarily angry? Very hard to tell from what you wrote.

So, I guess my question is, has it always been that way, or is this new since the affair? I know it's not new for you, but his response - is that new?

The reason I ask is some problems are created from the affair, some things are a pre-existing thing. And, I know that sometimes our work on ourselves can be directly counterproductive to the rebuilding at certain points of the recovery.

That being said, I don't think what you are asking for is unreasonable, and I do think you have to learn to work through that anxiety of holding your boundaries. I still get that anxiety, it's very difficult to overcome that pattern. It has to be practiced. I would normally say choose your battles, but I do think this battle is worth choosing.

Buck posted 6/10/2020 16:10 PM

MI, I'm in the same boat figuring out boundaries post cheating in my M too. Not so much finances, although I do the small amount into another account every paycheck too. I started that after my WW had an A. It gave me peace of mind to know I had a bit of money in case she decided to drain the joint account and run off. I totally understand needing that safety net. I'm having trouble with the constant need for reassurance, feeling like I'm a second class citizen, and my input or say on certain topics simply doesn't matter because I was unfaithful. It's tricky too because we are MH's. Anyway, I'm curious to see what other's post about this topic.

Is your money issue temporary because of a layoff or long term? Money stresses freakin' suck.

MIgander posted 6/10/2020 20:10 PM

To answer your questions, money issues have always been there from the get - go. We both work and both make equal pay (roughly). I just don't have a trust fund to back me up on risky financial decisions. Pattern usually develops, H wants X, even if it is a financial stretch to get, I say yes, and internally think I have to sacrifice Y because it makes him so happy to have X. I see him enjoying X and miss not doing Y, and so resent him. I start complaining that I don't have Y, or ask for Y and am told we don't have money for Y. I don't hold my ground saying, "well Y is important to me too, so we are saving for Y until Y is possible for us." If I go and buy myself something expensive (over $100), like a purse, he tells me off for not being a team and being frivolous with our money. Yet there's a lot of items for his expensive hobbies and interests. There was a point when we were one income (I was SAHM w/ babies) where he would tell me my purchases at Meijer (food- like chocolate for me, cleaning products and makeup) were frivolous and wasteful.

Usually because we've bought about as much house as we can afford on our budget without going bankrupt. This has lead to us being house-poor. Several decisions over home purchasing (first one when I was SAHM with our baby boy), were done without my initial consent. I didn't stand my ground (caved to him and his dad) and ended up in a house I did not like (for many reasons- not just the finances) in a neighborhood we couldn't afford because I was told by his dad and hubby that it was a "great investment." Really it was, the home increased greatly in value and we sold it for enough to put on a down payment for our home we built and are currently in.

What hubby doesn't factor in are the lies we told his parents (about affordability and our finances being "tight, but not that bad") so they would help us with loans (some of which they forgave) and help us cosign and finance the new house. I felt I had to lie to my father in law to his face that "things were fine" when I was making calls to our mortgage holder on a monthly basis to forestall foreclosure proceedings and then the county to keep our house from being put up on tax auction. Hubby told me to lie to his dad and that he would handle the discussions with him. He would lie and minimize to his dad so he could keep getting money from his parents. Dad in law's not stupid, because he was getting phone calls and notices too, but he enabled just like me so hubby wouldn't feel the pain of being told no.

And let's not go into what we owe the IRS... and have owed them and still owe them...

How did I deal with this stress? Not well. I yelled, I complained incessantly, I blamed husband and eventually justified my cheating. All on me. Looking back I wish I had done things VERY differently.

The stress was so bad, and was compounded by my post partum depression from both our children. And his decision to get a vasectomy (again backed up by his dad). I told him no, that we're Catholic and it's against our faith. He told me he's doing it anyway because I was not a good mother (I wasn't - I was too depressed and prideful to get help- that's on me). We couldn't afford more kids and I couldn't stand not being touched by him, so vasectomy it was.

Hubby claims he did everything I asked for- we went on vacations I wanted, which we both enjoyed? One of which was with his parents to Disney where we used money from our construction loan to finance it- my kids were 5 and 7 and had never been on a plane before and where we live, people go to Disney/beach/Europe/where ever on an annual basis. I put myself under unreasonable pressure to provide them with a flashy child hood so they could be normal like all their other private school friends. Looking back, the kids don't need fancy vacations- just a stable family that loves them.

Hubby also bought couches, which, when we shopped for them, I said "let's save up and pull the trigger on them when we have the cash" and he bought them to surprise me. Since I had been complaining about the 10 year old leather couch with the broken base that sank to the floor whenever our friends went to sit down. But again, this was to make our house a home, so we both benefited? And when I told him let's save up, did he respect that? I shouldn't have complained so much- I should have just saved up for it myself and told him, "too bad, I want a couch."

I wanted landscaping for our house, since he has the funds to do it, he has done it. We had no lawn and I was humiliated at the sub board meeting (there's only 3 houses on a 7 lot court, so we all know each other personally) when I got taken to task for decreasing everyone's home values with our lack of lawn and landscaping. The CFO who makes millions a year took me to task for not planning this in advance. She had a point... The landscaping's awesome, but he wants me to pay half of what he has put in so it's fair (even though the house benefits and we both benefit?). I told him I have no money for that, that with the current finances and me getting some of my salary held back from my company (thank you coronavirus), I wouldn't be able to repay him. Even when I have my full salary back, I won't be able to repay him for the funds he's used to cover our bills lately.

Instead of holding firm on my needs for stability, I would complain. and bitch. and whine. and resent. and eventually justify an affair.

Now, after discussing with hubby today the situation with finances (and me not dipping into my $50 allowance to repay him on landscaping supplies), hubby says we are not in reconciliation. That there's too much anger. That my attitude is wrong. That, even though I tell him he is the best thing to happen in my life (which he is- I mean it, he's saved my life by getting me into therapy and has dragged me out of my FOO, for which I am and will be forever grateful) he doesn't feel it since I continue to disagree on this point.

Which is SOOOOO HARD! And crazy making. I'm trying to shore up resentments which I nurtured in the affair and stop them from forming again and he says we're not in R because I haven't reconciled with him and there's still so much anger.

He's right, there is a lot of anger. Anger to cover hurt and vulnerability. Anger that I have in my heart because in my FOO, my wants/needs were belittled and I was made to feel guilty for having them and shown by my mother and father's behavior that disagreeing with them would be either a betrayal (mom) or make me stupid and not worthy of respect (dad). So I brought that into my marriage and put myself down as either not loyal (his "we're not on the same team") or stupid or not worthy of respect (his "YOUR frivolous spending"). I allowed these behaviors out of him and did nothing to stand up for myself and say, "since you go X, I am going to save for Y." And he expected a parade every time he buys me things that are, well, basic ya know? Like a couch that doesn't sag after 10 years? How about some sheets/towels/rug/date night out? How about we stop getting foreclosure notices? How about not having his car impounded and me have to go to the bank and be bullied by the branch manager for not being on time? How about me not getting bullied by the sub board over landscaping? How about me not having to have the CU mortgage payment have to be done by manual override every month because we're LATE AGAIN.

How do I let go of the anger, stand my ground and still convince husband that I'm doing the work to R with him, even if he is feeling miserable right now in the marriage and is close to telling me it's time to D????

I love him so much, he really is such a good person, but I'm trying to grow in this area. He feels SO taken advantage of- he's put so much of his family's money into a house I wanted (he was happy at the old house- I WASNT and it would have taken a TON of work on it, more $$$ than it was worth, to make it a home for me). Now he's left with a wife who cheated on him, a home that is becoming a home (he's done so much to make me feel listened to) and a wife who is drawing boundaries when he just desperately needs to hear from me, "honey, I don't care what it is, I'll do what ever it takes to make this right to you." When that includes something like a loan for plastic surgery, another expensive watch, a loan to pay back what can't be paid back ($ from trust to cover our bills). He just told me how used he feels and how hurt he is and I can't honestly say to him anymore that I'll do whatever it takes, when whatever it took in the old days increased my anxiety and was unsafe for our family and neglectful to me.

What do I really do? I can't go back to the "whatever you want $$ wise is fine and I won't expect anything for me, but I'll resent you for not giving it to me anyway since I had 'given' it to you for me to buy your affection".

Oh yeah, that was the thing I resented most- after the post-partum depression and his not touching me for a year and a half, I would "buy his love" by agreeing to things financially so he would feel the rush of acquisition and share his "happiness" with me in the form of affection and gratitude. That's the only way I knew to get gratitude and affection from him. Sick.

So really, how much of this is me not going back to my old coping mechanisms of "whatever you want, I'll buy your affection at great cost to me" vs my new method of, "I love you so much, but doing X is going to cause great resentment in me, which you don't deserve, so I am not going to do X, even thought you greatly desire the sense of control X gives you at a time when you feel so out of control." And how much of it is me being a stubborn, cold woman who is not R material?

hikingout posted 6/10/2020 22:46 PM

There is a lot here that I identify with...some very similar patterns we had in our early marriage. in the interest of time I will make a suggestion.

The biggest problem is the two of you are running amuck financially with no plan. You canít be in a team working towards something if there is no vision of what that looks like and some steps on how to get there. You need to sit down and divide a plan, and if you can do so with an intermediary party that might be helpful. If the goals are always a moving target, you will never be in the same page. Sit down and really go over numbers and make some agreements together that will allow you to get more financially stable.

Can you sell the house for one thing? If you are house poor, then maybe lower your standards of living. Often times people overcompensate their self worth with possessions. They feel like they can show others they are better or worthy. Time to really look at the picture of what will instead bring you peace. The two of you together have created this issue, try and pull yourselves onto the same team to create a different future together.

Create some written down goals. In those goals try and agree that adults need to have discretionary money so build an amount for each of you. Make a threshold amount that the other must consult the other on should they want to spend it. And then look at other assets that you can sell. Forgive him. You participated in being passive so let that anger and resentment go.

Create some dreams about where you are heading. Kind of a reward. H and I want to retire early and do some traveling. We have agreed to plans that will enable us to do that. A shared vision of our future allows us to make financial decisions and boundaries that align with that. Then neither of us have to police the other, we simply calmly discuss how that item or decision fits into our vision - whether it will delay it or make it happen sooner. Then itís easy because we are not at cross purposes.

Can you return to MC or have you had MC? I know thatís an expense you may not have money for right now.

When he seems stressed about you not being on the same team, take some
Tome to empathize with that first before reacting. I would probably tell him that you know that you caused that by making the decision to cheat. Apologize. Ask him questions if you need to. Then move on to ď I want for this financial picture to get better and it will be nice To work on that as a team. We need to sit down as a team and try and agree on a way through. It will be nice to not have that hanging over our heads so we can enjoy ourselves again. Ask questions of where he would like to be financially in 1 year, 5 years 10 years, see if you can find commonality with some of his dream and introduce him to some of yours.

Somehow you have to work the dynamic towards its you and him against the problem and not the problem versus you and the problem versus him and then you versus him. I hope that made sense, itís a weird sentence.

There is a lot to forgive between the two of you. But You have to remember you need to triage the most recent trauma which was the cheating. You are right to want to make boundaries to protect you sanity, but try and fully flush things out so you guys can get in the same page. Once you have that plan, then your boundaries are in it as will be his. At this point the answer is probably more selling some things off rather than getting more debt to try and bail out. You may also need to consider bankruptcy. I know that is devastating but it can sometimes clean up your credit faster because you may find yourself late on payments for years to come.

I think maybe you are focused on one small part of the plan because of your anxiety and I still think what you are asking for is reasonable) but the art of compromise is creating win-win scenarios. When you aim for that he may react differently.

What you are going through is blurry complex. It really would help if you had some sort of intermediary-both for the financial planning as well as to triage the marriage and communication.

[This message edited by hikingout at 10:53 PM, June 10th (Wednesday)]

prissy4lyfe posted 6/11/2020 00:37 AM

I don't think you guys are in R. More like you guys are still in recovery.
Looking back in your posts.... it almost feels like you weaponize your boundaries.

That your boundaries are not really being put in place for healthy reasons but a way to assert control. Honestly, the level of resentment that you have for your husband is evident to me. You are still angry about the financial issues, his comparing you to other women and his vasectomy.

If it's important to you...then I agree with hikingout. It's about making a plan TOGETHER. Its about having lots and lots of conversation about where you can make compromises, meet both your needs. It isn't "this makes me feel safe so I don't resent you". That's weaponizing your boundary and making it his responsibility to make you feel safe.

What would the conversation be if you say...
I love our life. One thing I have been upset with about myself is not being able to manage money for myself. I need to build this skills so that we both can ensure that we are team financially. I think I can do that my saving $50 a pay check. But I'm open to hearing your suggestions. For my own personal growth this is a skill I will build but I want your help figuring out ways it can be done so that we are comfortable.

[This message edited by prissy4lyfe at 12:38 AM, June 11th (Thursday)]

MIgander posted 6/11/2020 08:26 AM

Hi Prissy, thanks for bringing up "weaponized boundaries". I went for a run this morning and really thought about what you said. You're right- I have a problem with control (so does hubby- we're a great match there! ). My mom had that with my dad too- the house poor situation growing up and his affairs and, and, and. I was raised to know not to trust any man because they would ultimately let you down- don't put yourself in a position of vulnerability because they would exploit it. On a certain level, she's right- it's always good to have a plan B for provision for your family. She was a SAHM until I was in middle school (when my dad had a raging affair with a mutual friend- I mean, us kids were talking about being sisters together if our parents got married! This was started when we were elementary school ). Where she was wrong in her bitterness is in the other's intentions. While my father knew the way he was carrying on was hurtful to my mother and intentionally kept at it despite her hurt, when my husband broke trust with me and hurt me, it was for what was in his mind a "greater good."

His greater good was preserving my mental and physical health by having a vasectomy- I had horrible post-partum with BOTH my kids and no touching wasn't working for us. He broke my trust that we would enter into a fully Catholic marriage and remain in one that was faithful to the precepts of the church. He broke my trust ultimately to try and help me. True the withdrawal was a self protective and emotionally abusive (neglect) maneuver, which broke my trust in him as a loving, caring partner. At the same time, I was hurting him with my anger and my rage and temper tantrums. What else was he going to do?

His other greater goods were investing our money in our realestate so we could grow our assets. What he broke my trust in him was that he knew how to manage finances and that he would keep us in the black. We would have discussions about cash flow vs investment portfolio vs investment vs home. I needed adequate cash flow to maintain our home in a comfortable manner, whereas he wanted to grow our investment portfolio by taking on an investment property (our HOUSE!). I've learned and he's learned since that a house is not an investment- that it's to be a home first, and it needs to be a secure one in order for there to be peace.

We had a REALLY good discussion this morning. He's really on edge because of all my anger. All he wanted was my trust and love. He acknowledged for the first time that he broke my trust in him to manage our finances and provide a safe home for us. I've been crying in relief since then and I am no longer so angry with him anymore. We both agreed to apologize to his dad about lying to him- I shared that I wanted to restore my integrity not just with him, but with his family too. Now is not the right time, but he is open to us both apologizing to his father for the lies we've told over the years.

I've been living in a lie for so many years that it was a huge burden and made me feel like a hypocrite in so many areas of my life- my work (I've been in QC and program development work for automotive for many years- credibility in my position is PARAMOUNT), my personal life (w/ dad in law) and with my friendships in our school and community (everything's NOT fine and we really couldn't afford our kids school).

I still have a long way to go in removing the anger I've had over all this. His admission today has gone so far in doing that.

HO: I agree- getting financial help from a 3rd party was an original condition of mine to stay in the marriage immediately after DDay. Problem was, my head was up my ass so badly that I couldn't understand that my role was to comfort my spouse, end the affair and be completely remorseful. I'm working on the remorse, and it's coming along. My husband doesn't understand how I can say on the one hand he's the best thing that's ever happened to me and on the other have so much anger toward him.

His acknowledgement of the broken trust in our marriage from his end has really ended that. I am hopeful now that there's something we can work together on with this. That there may be an us to be had after all. I think the broken trust was the hardest thing for him to admit to since it was done in what he felt were my best interests. Even the best intentioned of us can break trust and hurt us, all without meaning to. That he sees that and shared that with me (he was surprised it was the first time I heard it from him) give me peace about it and hope.

Maybe now we can start talking about shared goals again? He's still REALLY hurting, hopefully I can do some things over the weekend to help him feel loved and cared for and help rebuild the good will we've been lacking the past week or so.

hikingout posted 6/11/2020 09:31 AM

Couple of thoughts from your response:

I think when you have been a person with less boundaries your entire adult life, practicing enforcing them can be awkward.

It feels like almost you have to stay focused on it, as if you are proving to yourself you are working on it. There is a dedication there, but a lack of understanding delivery or execution. I think that's where the weaponizing thing comes from. And you have now even identified that you learned that pattern in your foo. There is good healing of that little girl that can be done with a therapist.

I don't believe that your resentment is over because he apologized. I think you are feeling a momentary relief. Are you in IC? What does your counselor do to help you with the forgiveness?

From my standpoint, and this may not be true for you, when I fully took in the accountability I had in never expressing, never saying no, it was difficult to be a "victim" of anything. You have some outlier situations in the vasectomy and maybe a couple of things done without permission, but it sounds like for the most part you have been complicit the entire time. It's a pattern of passive aggressiveness.

I see relationships in which one will say "Hey I would like to go and do such and such", the other will say "okay. When the spouse returns, the one that says okay is mad as hell. There were all these unexpressed expectations surrounding "you didn't call every day", "Well I texted", "That's not the same thing". Or worse "you didn't want to be with me so you went". That's a very simple example - but you really have to work on unexpressed expectation. Sometimes it's fine to not express it but you have to let it go if that's your choice.

I also think that you really need to understand that the trauma of the infidelity is really not comparable, and it's the prevalent topic. Be careful not to make your problems more important then his. That's a weird stance to hold as you are learning to protect your boundaries, but sometimes love and relationships require that we put the other person above us.

I think it's a great step he has acknowledged he understands where your anger comes from because it tells me I misjudged him from your first post. It's difficult as a woman who earns her own living to hear that someone's husband won't let her keep a small portion of money for their own needs so there might have been a bit of a knee jerk reaction on my part there. But, what is even more telling is I was going off of YOUR description, YOUR narrative. I do not think I had my own narratives straightened out a year after my affair. BUT - use this as an opportunity to evaluate the ways you still may be villainizing him. We all do it in order to justify our actions during the affair, and that doesn't just burn off overnight. When you have a negative thought about him, look for things that are factual proof of that thought as well as things that are factually disproving that thought.

A man who has been cheated on a year ago, who can come to you with empathy about things that happened years and years ago - that is a man who probably doesn't deserve your anger. Give the grace you would want to receive.

And, definitely follow through on the financial planning and creating a win-win situation. My husband and I have been on both sides of that fence, and the one where you have a sense of a shared vision that you are building together is the best version of our relationship. I read someone here the other day that says reconciliation is having a vision of the best version of a relationship - so this is where to start - using lots of empathy, consideration, patience. If you can't get a shared vision it will be difficult to put your marriage back together - you will stay on different pages and fighting for your own separate causes.

[This message edited by hikingout at 9:33 AM, June 11th (Thursday)]

hikingout posted 6/11/2020 09:43 AM

oh, and on the investment stuff - I get it. My husband's entrepreneur spirit has sometimes held me back from having the home the way I want it, and with risk comes both losses and rewards. I can understand the abrasions these cause when the resources are always competing with each other and you can always seem to be on the losing end of it.

I like that you are thinking of the ways he is coming at the greater good. My experience has been the sacrifices I was asked to make paid off for us. Was it hard sometimes? Yes. But, hindsight is 20/20. I didn't need the things I wanted, most of them were really to feel specific emotional things like "I made it!". Having the satisfaction of really looking at a room and thinking it was beautiful. Impressing others. I dissected that, and it came from being a young girl growing up in a trailer. I felt that defined me growing up so these nicer homes now defined me as better. This was a really bad way to think, and took a while to dispel.

Anyway, dedication to our portfolio paid off in financial freedom. And, now that I could go out and do that, I don't even want to. Those rooms I dreamed of that never happened back then, well that would have come and gone, and just be more money spent. Now that I could do mostly anything I want - I don't choose that. I want smaller, simpler, easier.

I guess what I am saying is really evaluate the long term and what will help the most. You both have instant gratification that needs put into check or you are always going to be sitting in the problems you have now. Take it from likely an older broad - what ends up being important is freedom. When you find you can do what you want you would be surprised to learn what that turns out to be.

Carissima posted 6/11/2020 16:05 PM

Ok no stop sign so here goes.

I'm going to be frank here, you say you earn a 6 figure salary and that your husband had more financial resources than you. You are clearly living above your means, whether in an attempt to impress someone I don't know. What I do know is that on the income you start you have you should be able to afford a nice affordable home so my first step would be to get rid of that overly expensive house. Get something you can actually afford without bankrupting yourself.
I must admit I've never been a fan of mixing finances completely. We set up a joint account, worked out how much was needed to cover expenses and then proportioned it on how much we earned ie whoever earned more at the time paid more. The rest of our income was ours.
I know you're trying to make up for affair but it really doesn't sit right with me that you're earning that amount of money, approx $8333 per month before tax, handing it allover and you're not even permitted to keep $50. Sorry, but no, that wouldn't be me.

Edited for correct figures, had typed one too many zeros...

[This message edited by Carissima at 5:19 PM, June 11th (Thursday)]

MIgander posted 6/12/2020 09:30 AM

Thanks HO for the perspective on healing the infidelity trauma first, fixing other marital problems later. I'm working on my narrative of my marriage as you say, and trying to add my contribution to it so it is more honest. It's a bit of a novel, but thanks everyone for putting up with it- I'm trying to fix my perspective and take responsibility for my role in it.

My typical pattern of seeing myself as helpless victim is irresponsible and inaccurate and I want to see more clearly my part in the troubles brought on by both our behavior. Let me also state up front, that of all the options to address these issues with, I CHOSE AN AFFAIR. NONE of this justifies WHAT I CHOSE TO DO.

Part of my anger problem though was that husband would not acknowledge or validate my fears and anxiety from the precarious financial situation we were in over the years. He'd tell me that it's not a big deal to have these foreclosure notices, it's not a big deal to have utilities shut off, that we'd figure it all out and to trust God and him and it would be fine. The only problem with that, was it was NOT fine and NOT fine to ME. And I was one half of the marriage partnership and my concerns were belittled. I went back to work because I couldn't handle the stress of it- needed to make more and more money so we could stop getting those notices and I could maybe buy some clothes without holes in them and have more than 5 pairs of shoes. And not feel anxiety over signing my kids up for swim lessons and the money for that too...

He belittled my concerns instead of saying, "I'm sorry the stress has been getting to you, I'm sorry I've broken your trust in me to keep you and our family home a safe place, I'm sorry that getting the mail for you induces panic attacks at all the late notices and foreclosure notices. I'm sorry that my wants for flashy objects (watches, car, hunting gear) are more important to me than your mental sanity." Instead he told me to keep trusting him when all the proof in the mailbox said otherwise. That's not trust worthy behavior and that's gaslighting.

What finally broke me and made me wake up and realize the marriage was not just magically going to get better is when his sports car got repossessed and he blamed everyone else (bank, dealership) for the mess up. I just broke. Here was direct evidence that he f'ed up the finances and he just expected me to blame everyone else along with him for the mess. He also played it off like it's no big deal. I also co-signed on the loan (after telling him why I was against an expensive impractical-2 door coupe when we have kids). I had just gotten a job with a raise and the raise went to finance a car that we bought from another car company than the one I work for and that would benefit only him and not us and the kids.

I signed because I just wanted to feel the affection and glow that I was able to bask in when he felt the rush of acquisition. He calls it gratitude. I call it a sick co-dependency of mine that I would do anything (really it was financial prostitution) to feel his affection and approval for me.

I went in to work early morning in the morning after discovering the car was gone (I had 10 hour shifts at the time) and thought the car had been stolen. Was so shaken up by it, I shared it with my co-workers. By the end of the day, to my great shame I learned it wasn't stolen, that it was re-poed.

We told his family it was stolen and the police found it. We still lie to his dad about that too. Another thing I want to apologize to dad-in-law for.

At that point I felt like I was only worthy to him when I was financing his need for material object validation. I felt like a prostitute and I felt he was a hypocrite and I hated him and myself for participating in the whole charade. I felt shame at the embarrassment I opened myself up to at work by sharing our personal business. At that time too, he (after cutting me out of his spiritual and emotional life after the post-partum a good 8 years ago) began giving his emotional and spiritual intimacy to another woman in our PRAYER GROUP. He also started comparing me to her physically, as a mother, as a wife (he wanted me to care for him the way she cared for her husband) and spiritually. He never got physical with her, but there was definitely an EA going on. Reading "Not just friends," any time there is more intimacy with an opposite sex person you're attracted to than the spouse, that's an EA.

When that dropped, that he was comparing me to her, I was done.

Instead of divorce, I chose an affair. I'm a passive-aggressive coward, and after years of passive aggression, I chose the coward's way out of an affair.

Suicide by cop, really. I knew cheating was the only way he'd divorce me so I wouldn't have to.

Looking back, it wasn't just plain disagreement, it was him deliberately neglecting the needs of his wife for a safe home and secure living. I never stood up to it in an effective, healthy way and allowed it to happen. I'm culpable in all this because I never told him, "We are getting our affairs in order or I am getting a divorce." I thought a good Catholic wife needed to trust her husband more and trust God more. I blamed myself- I thought the problem was with me and if I just was a better wife, or had better faith, then I wouldn't be so anxious.

OH, and I COMPLAINED and COMPLAINED to my friends. I bitched and moaned about my unhappiness to everyone I was close to. I got close male friends who would validate me and would take my side. That's stopped. He didn't deserve me airing his dirty laundry to my sisters and close friends.

I have stopped my close friendships with male friends (non-sexually attracted to them) because he was bothered, and looking back after reading "not just friends" it was unhealthy.

Looking back, I did take my anxiety and fear to him, but he would belittle and demean it saying that I worry too much and should just have faith in God. My reality sense was screaming, "NO THIS IS NOT HEALTHY- 2 people making 6 figures a year should NOT have to deal with this!" I would take it in unproductive ways by yelling or complaining constantly about all the things that were wrong. I had no satisfaction, joy or happiness in my life and blamed HIM when I could have asserted myself and either dragged him to a financial planner or walked away. Or just not co-signed.

He lacked a wife with gratitude and peace in her heart and was extremely lonely in our marriage too. Looks like I'm a bit dismissive and he's avoidant. I also have passive-aggressive behaviors and my own form of conflict avoidance. FUN.

Thing is, when I was ready to divorce after vasectomy and going back to work full time to stave off foreclosure, I wanted him to come to marriage counseling with me. He lasted 2 sessions with that counselor. As soon as the counselor diagnosed my post-partum, he split. The problem was clearly with me and he wasn't the problem, so why should he go to counseling for it. It was all my fault. I was left alone to deal with it by my self and deserted by him.

It was a tangled mess mentally, since I was depressed hormonally (post-partum, the gift that keeps on giving ) and couldn't sort which of the problems were the crazy on my end and his genuine f-up of the finances on the other.

We always seemed able to stave off foreclosure and catch back up. Looking back, the way we were able to do that was by me getting better and better paying work and us putting all my 401k's and inheritance money into keeping us afloat.

He also always found a way to fund hunting trips, house renovation projects (basement) and his hobbies.

I'm in IC right now to sort that out. I'm being more assertive (hubby hates that word- associates it with my mother and her screaming rages that I duplicated in our marriage ). Yesterday we had a good conversation where he proposed doing something financially that was too risky for me, and I calmly stated I wasn't comfortable with that and why and he was able to listen and respect my views.

There is an ability for me to be a better, grateful and more peaceful companion to him. It's coming at the rate where my trust is built from his listening and taking care of things to make the home safe and home like. It's not fair to him that he has to do work for me to do work. I want to be the one who FORE-gives (give first- that's what it means to forgive?), but not at the expense of my sense of what reality is.

Reality is, we likely need to sell the house, we need financial planning help and we need to get MC.

Reality also is, I need to get rid of my anger, forgive the past, and not repeat my mistakes and poor choices in the marriage to make myself worthy of R in his eyes.

MrCleanSlate posted 6/12/2020 09:53 AM


Running my own business these last 15 years I've had some ups and downs financially, and after D-Day I did run up some unpaid taxes and remittances to CRA (Our version of IRS). I did that because I wanted to make up to my BW and didn't refuse any expenses. Needless to say I then had to come clean on finances 2 years after d-day and we personally pumped in about $25k to cover some outstanding taxes. But we did it together. I learned that part of my 'Whys' was learning how to say no to people, that trying to please is not always good.

Aside from all the A stuff you also have M stuff to deal with - and finances are a huge one. I hear a lot of animosity in your posts about your BH financial expenses. I also get a feeling that he is being selfish on that front.

Selfish tendencies can lead to various things - affairs, or lots of purses or sports cars.

Its good that you are standing up and finding your voice - that may go a long way to helping you sort out your own Whys.

MIgander posted 6/12/2020 10:13 AM


You're right- people pleasing was my problem. I needed validation from my husband and did desperate things financially to get it. Then allowed myself to resent him for the things I allowed in our marriage.

The animosity is going away more and more as I am able to be heard on the finances.

He does complain that for me it's always, "money money money." Sigh. I have no safety net- no trust fund, no wealthy parents (dad died when I was in college and mom basically said not to expect any $$ from her when she dies- she's going to spend it all- plus she's generally narcissistic and unreliable even to help watch her grandkids! ). So, for me, financial chaos and things like losing a job carry heavy consequences. No one is going to bail me out for my choices. He has had me bail him out and his parents bail him out and I went along with it because, who doesn't like a new fancy house .

MrCleanSlate posted 6/12/2020 10:25 AM


has your H considered IC for his own issues? It just seems that he is trying to live up to some standard.

You know, last few years my wife and I have really come into a comfort zone with our lives and finances. We don't feel the need to impress. Yes we will spend money on quality goods but will also go to the dollar store. The real change was finally being able to talk about things.

Keep the dialogue going. Find your voice, but do it in a constructive way.

Buck posted 6/12/2020 11:52 AM

MIgander, I just wanted to say I appreciate the guts it took to write all of this out for all to see. You've been brutally honest about topics that can be somewhat embarrassing and that says a lot about you.

I also wanted to say you might try checking with your bank about financial planning services. My bank offered a retirement planning service that was free. I think they also had another more basic course. We did the retirement one a few years ago and it was pretty thorough and they gave us some good advice that was backed up with data. It might be helpful for your H to see the numbers from an expert.

This0is0Fine posted 6/12/2020 12:06 PM

Something is really wrong with your budget. Six figures, but foreclosed on and utilities shut off. Where is the emergency fund? That shouldn't happen. $25/week should be nearly insignificant at six figures. It's 1% of your income.

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