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How do I convey my thoughts and feelings to my WS?

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36yearsgone posted 11/20/2020 13:27 PM

I am planning a sit down with my FWS this weekend to, hopefully, have a deep discussion about what went down and how it affected me.

I don't want to put her on the spot, but I do want her to fully understand what she put me through and the damage her infidelity caused.

For those of you who have had this type of discussion, whether as a BS or WS, was it successful? What is the best way to proceed?

Is there a template for this? I don't want to go over her entire affair. I just want her to develop some understanding. Any advice is appreciated.

WalkingHome posted 11/20/2020 13:45 PM

You are looking for something that isn't there- Empathy.

She doesn't get it because she isn't like you. She lacks foundational attributes like empathy, integrity, love, respect, and their applied versions like kindness, boundaries, and listening.

When you choose to stay with someone that lacks these things, you have to accept that no amount of talking will change it. She is who she is and you CHOSE to be where you are right now. The only path is to accept her for who she is and tolerate the things that come from her being exactly who she has proven to be.

36yearsgone posted 11/20/2020 13:46 PM


You may be exactly right; but I still want to give both of us this opportunity to see if we can talk things through.

Thumos posted 11/20/2020 13:50 PM

You are looking for something that isn't there- Empathy.

Exactly right. Havenít you already explained this to her In two dozen different ways?

You think she doesnít know?

Man, you are looking for the magic combination of words that will unlock for her a sudden ďahaĒ epiphany. It isnít going to happen.


Evertrying posted 11/20/2020 14:02 PM

Anytime I had those conversations I found that being calm and respectful got me a lot further than being accusatory and angry. (this of course was well after dday and the initial shock wore off)

I am about to have another one of those conversations this weekend and plan on having the same approach. My husband is very remorseful and ashamed about what he did, so I don't want to attack him when all I want is some clarification on something I feel I didn't get closure on.

I guess my best advice is don't make her feel like she is being ambushed. My husband says he hates that especially when he already feels like a scumbag. Not only that but it causes a defense response and you won't get what your looking for. The more they feel attacked, the more defensive they get and you will get pissed because they are defending themselves.

Evertrying posted 11/20/2020 14:03 PM

You may be exactly right; but I still want to give both of us this opportunity to see if we can talk things through.

This is the perfect attitude going into the conversation.

Butforthegrace posted 11/20/2020 14:05 PM

You can only provide understanding to somebody who desires to understand. Otherwise, you're speaking in Greek to a native English speaker.

Save your breath.

Brusselsprouts posted 11/20/2020 14:21 PM

I wrote an email about how I was feeling, how the A affected me, the triggers, how I felt about AP and boundaries to move towards R. And also why NC was a must towards R.

But every situation is different. I was stuck in limbo before I wrote the email. My WH learned that AP was still with her partner when she was with WH at the same time and WH got proof of that via what I had found from APís SM. WH got out of the affair fog and we could move from that.

In saying this, the distrust for WH is still there, the lies that have been fed to me for a year still affects me. IC and MC has to come in place for us to address this and move forwards.
At the same time, Iím also having my ducks lined up should we end in D.

36yearsgone posted 11/20/2020 15:13 PM

You can only provide understanding to somebody who desires to understand. Otherwise, you're speaking in Greek to a native English speaker.

Save your breath.

I can see how some people would take that approach; but, I need to get some things off my chest and she is the one I need to listen. If I stay silent that is more limbo-like than trying to communicate honestly.

Westway posted 11/20/2020 16:34 PM

If you do this go in with the expectation she is going to get pissed off or clam up. You need a contingency.

36yearsgone posted 11/20/2020 16:39 PM

If you do this go in with the expectation she is going to get pissed off or clam up. You need a contingency.

I am going to go into the discussion as unthreatening and unimposing as possible, If she listens and talks, great. If she doesn't, then the only thing lost is a few minutes of my time. But I think I can get her to do both,

crazyblindsided posted 11/20/2020 17:00 PM

I hope it goes better for you than it has for me. I have tried this many times and every time we had the discussion he had to bring up where I went wrong. That I was at fault too. My xWS has no empathy.

redfish posted 11/20/2020 17:05 PM

Treat this like a business meeting. Ask her what time is good to talk and for how long. Be prepared with a written plan otherwise it may go in all different directions. Think about any advice you have been given that works for you and bring that to the table.
I like to write down notes in a personal password protected document whenever someone here on SI posts something that resonates to my situation.
EDIT TO ADD. This has helped me remember good advice when I get into situations like the one you plan.

[This message edited by redfish at 5:08 PM, November 20th (Friday)]

HoldingTogether posted 11/20/2020 18:51 PM

In my experience this isnít the kind of thing that you can convey in a one off discussion. Or even in several. Life isnít a movie where a grand sweeping monologue over a heartstring tugging soundtrack suddenly causes the scales to fall from the offending partyís eyes.

This is the kind of thing takes a million smaller discussions, happening everyday, for a looooong time. Itís observations being shared and discussed daily, as they arise. Itís long complicated analogies and metaphors. Itís tense tearful discussions laying side by side in bed, both of you staring at the ceiling because itís just to goddamn hard to be vulnerable enough to talk about some things while looking your partner in the eyes.

For us, we had to marinate in it. For fucking years. It was our number one topic of conversation, our primary focus and pretty much the defining feature of our lives for literally years.

It was fucking hard, and I donít know that I would recommend it for most people. And frankly, I donít think many WSí have the fucking constitution for it. Donít have the strength, the will and the level of introspection necessary for it . I also think most BSí donít have the patience for it, nor fucking should they. Itís monumentally fucking unfair that the injured party should have to put in any fucking work at all.

And yet... I think thatís pretty much what it takes. Itís unfair as fuck but there it is. Itís been my experience that the only fair most of us can count on in life is the one with cotton candy and carnival rides.

Still, I think it was worth it for us, but we both really wanted it to work. Both of us. I have no doubt that you want it 36. But can you honestly say that you think she does?

Maybe thatís the conversation you really need to be having.


BreakingBad posted 11/20/2020 20:53 PM

For me to convey to my WS how the betrayal felt and what it meant in the earlier days, I tried to establish three things:

1) A re-confirmation that we were both still wanting to move toward reconciliation.

2) A confirmation from him that he was willing to help in my healing.

3) An explanation of why expressing how it felt and what it had done was part of the necessary healing process for me, if we were going to try to reconcile: For me to begin to trust that the betrayal, lies, and secrets wouldn't happen again, I needed to believe that he really understood the full impact of what they had done.

I openly acknowledged that this would be a difficult and painful conversation for both of us. I acknowledged that I understood it would be hard for him to hear and see my pain. But it would be hard for me to be vulnerable in sharing the pain with the person who caused it. I had to trust that he would support my sharing of painful information and that he wanted to help me heal.

But like others have said, I tried to be calm and honest, yet not accusatory.

Still, sometimes it went sideways and sometimes it went well. When it went well, I thanked him for listening and supporting me and reiterated how helpful it was to my healing.

Like Holding Together acknowledges, it is SOOOO NOT fucking fair that we have to do some of the work and walk through these conversations so carefully...but it does take the effort of both people to heal.

I will offer one unsolicited piece of advice that it took me a while to learn: The WS really needs to initiate a lot of the work in the healing process (although they may need some concrete direction and suggestions about what that looks like). I did WAY too much of the work and initiating for too long, and those efforts served to further undermine my trust in my spouse. We are doing better in this balance now, and it has really helped me.

I wish you the best in your conversation and healing!

Thissucks5678 posted 11/20/2020 21:38 PM

Holding Together nailed it. I remember roughly two years after dday, my WH couldnít understand how my daughter being sneaky and hiding vaping from me behind my back could be a trigger to his affair. He could not make the connection when I completely lost my shit over it and was triggered, etc.

It is such a long, tedious process and it is not easy. My WH tried and still tries really hard. We have had 100s of conversations about the mental scars that Iím left with and the battles I still fight. Part of that is not being raised to have empathy for others, if he had empathy he couldnít have done what he did - he is getting better every day at that.

I hope your wife gets there, but she has to want to. There is no magical speech or words of wisdom to get her there. In my case, it took years of marriage counseling. We still donít have a perfect marriage, but I am happy with him and our progress since dday. Maybe if you sat your wife down with the book How to Help your Spouse heal from your Affair now, she could realize all of the damage she has done. Thatís my best advice to you. Itís a fantastic book.

Butforthegrace posted 11/20/2020 22:45 PM

I need to get some things off my chest and she is the one I need to listen. If I stay silent that is more limbo-like than trying to communicate honestly.

If you keep doing what you're doing, you'll keep getting what you're getting.

Unhinged posted 11/20/2020 23:06 PM

HoldingTogether is quite right about conveying one's thoughts and faelings to a WS. This doesn't happen with just one conversation. It takes lots of these conversations, often repeatedly, over lots of time. My FWW and I went through a similar journey and it's still tough (a constant work in progress).

Do you think your WW is trying to understand? Does she listen? I mean really STFU and listen?

You could sit her down and give her "the talk of the century" and it wouldn't even make a dent if she wasn't listening.

I'd imagine, too, that your thoughts and feelings change often enough. Whatever it is you want to say this weekend might change a bit in a few weeks or months. Then you have to have another conversation, and another, and another.

Is she capable of doing that? Are you?

WarriorPrincess posted 11/20/2020 23:08 PM

I started making headway by explaining "when you did XXX, I felt ZZZ." Of course there is way more to it than that, but if you wanted a place to begin, there is one option.

Like everyone said, you will probably have to go through it hundreds of times.

Pay attention to how she receives what you are telling her. Does she accept it, empathize with it, get inappropriately defensive, or does she start playing mind games and trying to turn it around on you? That will tell you a lot about how worthwhile it will be to have more of these conversations.

EllieKMAS posted 11/21/2020 01:53 AM

What is your purpose? I'm not asking this snarkily.

What is it that you're wanting to hear that will help you heal? What happens if you don't hear it?

Fact is you can say all the words but if you're dealing with someone who isn't capable of the kind of understanding you need to have, all those words are meaningless.

I tried with my xwh. I tried calm and I tried angry. I tried logic and I tried emotion. He was never going to 'get it' because he is a deeply flawed person and no amount of words on my part was ever gonna make him understand. Once I got there in my head, I was really able to put my feet on the path to healing myself. Because I stopped letting his lack of empathy and understanding affect my ability to move forward.

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