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Broken record

JBWD posted 7/15/2020 18:19 PM

I know this is what I am always on here doing, and I know the short answer. But I feel stuck, and I feel stupid, and I worry Iím sabotaging myself...

Most recent discussion was when I last posted, when BW said that sheís never going to feel the same, and I get that. But I continue to get flooding texts from her- That interval grows longer and longer between, which indicates some progress on her end, maybe.

Those communications are always immediately apologetic. Stating itís not fair to me to hear this, and that she needs to find another outlet, but isnít progressing there. I assure her that thereís nothing fair about her situation and I am fine discussing, but that doesnít occur- It just becomes ďWhatever, Iím fine, whatís done is done.Ē

I know weíre getting divorced. I know her healing is slow to come. I know I am getting better and working hard to be a good father and support her transition.

But I will never turn down trying to work with her.

Why this remains problematic is an increasing sense that this may be something I need to modify. My sponsor was asking me about communication with BW and it really got me thinking about how it affects me- I know itís a real look at this uncertainty and I can, ultimately, cope. But I also know there is a long lens here, and further that I donít want to give up.

Long lead-up to... Am I punishing myself welcoming any opportunity for her to vent? Do I suggest she take it elsewhere? Iím just trying to parse why Iím ok with it- Am I shallowly trying to appear the ďgood dude?Ē I worry itís injuring her too... But I canít dictate how she moves on, AND thereís no way I agree with her thought that itís unfair to me. Iím fine letting it continue. Is that wrong?

MrCleanSlate posted 7/15/2020 18:58 PM


At a guess I would say you both are struggling with the new reality of your situation and you are trying to hang onto something, even a bad something.

When a spouse passes away there is a finality. When you separate or divorce the other person is still there and if there are kids then you will forever be linked with dealing with kids, shared time, life events, etc.

I can see how holding onto something, even so tenuous as your XBW complaining/venting to you can offer some sense of comfort or continuity.

Maybe she is still looking for answers. Maybe you still have hope. Maybe it is a friendship formed over many years that you can't just throw away.

I guess it is only wrong depending on your motivations. You are after all a non-impartial party.

[This message edited by MrCleanSlate at 7:00 PM, July 15th (Wednesday)]

JBWD posted 7/16/2020 16:59 PM

Yeah ďholding onĒ may be the best description MCS.
I have worked hard to not pry, not impose on her. I want to support, she ostensibly wants me to just forget this- Presumably because she canít.

The problem is two-fold
1) I donít want to ever reinforce that any of this is inconvenient to me. Thereís pain that I feel whether I hear it from her or not.
2) I donít think I should dictate where she communicates. I know her goal, is it enabling to continue? Iím not the person to decide whatís good for her.

Like I said, the only negative for me is that I read into this. But is that a deeper negative than Iím seeing or acknowledging?

MrCleanSlate posted 7/17/2020 08:10 AM


I wonder whether a good honest conversation with your xBW may be helpful? You are the best judge of guessing her motivations, but she can tell you precisely if you ask. I still can't get the Vulcan Mind Meld thing to work with my wife.

Maybe it is an honest way of developing a dialogue. It is a slim chance of hope? Is it maybe some closure or developing into a new kind of relationship?

I think you will end up causing yourself more pain by having some connection that is not really reciprocal.

Do you think you can approach her next time you drop off kids and talk about your own feelings?? She is venting to you. Maybe she is hoping you will vent back?

From the way you write I can see you still care about her. Now you need to figure out is there hope or are you holding on to a shadow. you won't do either if you don't communicate though.

dancin-gal posted 7/17/2020 08:51 AM

As a BS .. my thoughts may be way off but please talk to her ..possibly joint counseling to help her heal. She needs honest responses .. she is still looking for why the A happened and you are the one holding the answers .. as you both begin to heal you are ultimately helping your children . You can rebuild a relationship that is based friendship..

JBWD posted 7/17/2020 13:52 PM

Maybe she is hoping you will vent back?

but please talk to her ..possibly joint counseling to help her heal.

These are both things I have offered. She almost exclusively communicates via text, and when I encourage dialogue she quickly shuts down again. I canít really tell her NOT to, these are her choices. I had asked about joint sessions with her IC, she refused but I think she thought the lens was more about R. I know she felt that pressure in MC, I think her IC is oriented more on her healing. She also despises showing emotion in front of the kids so I imagine trying to discuss this around drop-offs would be unwelcome- All priorities Iím trying to sort appropriately.

Now you need to figure out is there hope or are you holding on to a shadow.

Figuring out hope is wasted effort, IMO. I think/feel things could change, but understand that they potentially (Likely? Depends on what day you ask me) wonít. I have a lot of confidence in surviving this but sure as shit would prefer to be surviving this with her. I just donít know if Iím hindering my survival by encouraging this. It falls into the category of things that canít be believed based on the source, but I have attempted to show Iím willing to discuss and support- Paradox being that I only have my words based on how we interact, and I have proven the value of my words in the past.

[This message edited by JBWD at 1:53 PM, July 17th (Friday)]

Carissima posted 7/17/2020 14:49 PM

I'm a BS and I'd suggest a joint counselling session or two. Not for healing but to learn good comunication techniques going forward.
Honestly, this doesn't sound healthy for either of you. If you can't learn healthy communication boundaries then it may be time to go NC except for children and finances. Your BW probably may need the distance to heal herself.
As for you, you may say you've accepted the divorce process but I'm not sure that's true. I wonder if deep down you're hoping your BW's going to vent her way to a change of heart.

HellFire posted 7/17/2020 15:02 PM

Maybe it's very simple. She just wants to vent at the person who caused her pain, and turned her life upside down.

Since she shuts down any offer of a back and forth dialogue,it seems she isn't interested in hearing what you have to say,or hear your apologies.

She just wants to be heard.

JBWD posted 7/17/2020 16:13 PM

I wonder if deep down you're hoping your BW's going to vent her way to a change of heart.

Carissima, I think ďdeep downĒ is exaggerated. I think my wishes are a clear component of this problem- I know that a ďchange of heartĒ is not going to happen. Accepting the D is different than encouraging it- And I am eager to not D. But I am ready when she is.

She just wants to be heard.

Agreed, HF.

But does allowing this to happen injure me? I just donít know if there is anything wrong with it on either end.

HellFire posted 7/17/2020 16:30 PM

does allowing this to happen injure me?

And, on the flip side, does not being heard by the person who traumatized her, injure her?

As a BW, who has a husband who tends to walk away when I talk about what he did,and how it's affected me, I can emphatically say YES.

She's obviously injured. Every time she vents, she is releasing some of the poison.

Maybe being able to hear her,without allowing it to injure you,is something you can work on in IC. Maybe being able to hear her pain,and allow her to vent, are the consequences to your previous actions.

I'm not really familiar with your story. I don't know when dday was,or when the divorce was. If either,or both, were somewhat recent, of course she is hurting.

You also have every right to tell her to find someone else to vent her pain to. You are divorced, and you no longer need to feel you should have to deal with her feelings.

[This message edited by HellFire at 4:32 PM, July 17th (Friday)]

JBWD posted 7/17/2020 18:46 PM

And, on the flip side, does not being heard by the person who traumatized her, injure her?

Absolutely. But Iím trying to hear her. The scenario youíre describing, where your husband walks away, is what Iím trying to understand. Yeah itís the flip side of the coin, and yeah it takes time and she has a lot to process that I donít- But it doesnít make this decipherable for me.

Regarding injury- I donít think this does injure me, thatís why Iím bringing this to discussion. I canít figure if putting boundaries on this encourages her to bottle up even more, or if itís a valid manner of ďtough love.Ē I donít tend to believe in such things, but have never had to work with someone on getting through my habitual lying and betrayal, so donít quite know whatís valid or isnít.

maise posted 7/18/2020 06:46 AM

In my experience going to my WS to be open about my hurt emotions was often damaging for me because my WS didnít know how to handle them. I learned that making myself vulnerable and placing those feelings with someone that frankly wasnít safe enough to handle them yet often left me in a position where I hurt myself more by doing so. I ultimately had to learn to go to me instead. As I did this it helped me get stronger, helped my healing, and helped me feel less hurt by her.

In regards to how this affects a WS...I can only speak from my experience in what I saw. I saw my WS feeling discouraged with herself when she couldnít handle my emotions. I saw her become critical of herself when I would pull away. I saw her holding on to hope that I would be with her again, and I saw her sort of beat herself up for not being able to be there for me. For not knowing how.

I feel like these spaces she would go to were all areas where she could do some exploration of self. Learning about what these blocks were and how she could move past them so that she could also grow and heal.

Iím not sure if any of these apply to you or not.

JBWD posted 7/18/2020 12:12 PM

In my experience going to my WS to be open about my hurt emotions was often damaging for me because my WS didnít know how to handle them.

Maise, I definitely showed this early on post DDay. I donít know what ďhandlingĒ them consists of now, but I work to understand what specifically drives them in time, and thatís about all I can do.

EllieKMAS posted 7/18/2020 12:26 PM

JBWD, not sure of the existing relationship with your BW, but can you have an open discussion with her about what she needs/wants from you when she's venting? Because if she's wanting a response that's way different than if she's just wanting you to see/hear/acknowledge her. If there's healing that can happen for either of you in still talking about things then I think it's worth doing for both your sakes.

FWIW, I do commend you on your supporting her through the D process. Whether or not you stay together, I can say as a fBW that the support and understanding you're showing means a lot, even if she doesn't fully realize that yet.

Thissucks5678 posted 7/18/2020 12:41 PM

One of my good friends is a WS and is now divorced. Her ex vents to her still and unloads a lot of toxic nonsense that has nothing to do with her cheating. They are not getting back together. He was abusive before she cheated.

I have advised her to apologize for her actions and not engage when he is attacking her on everything else. She is trying to navigate coparenting and it is not going well. I try to remind her that his words are coming from a place of pain and not to take them personally. It is hard.

For you, I would offer similar advise. You know where she is coming from. Iím assuming she would not have gotten a divorce and been in this situation had you not cheated, so she is probably frustrated that your actions led her to this situation. If you acknowledge that and apologize and then donít engage further, I think that is acceptable. As long as you donít get defensive or take it personally, I think itís ok. You just have to be strong and know you are working on yourself and that you are a better man today than you were when you cheated.

JBWD posted 7/19/2020 18:42 PM

Thanks for the help checking my thoughts on this.
I will occasionally check in and see if thereís anything I could be doing better- Usually no feedback but Iíll narrow the discussion next time to include this topic.

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