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Wayward Side :
What does this mean? I am so confused

Topic is Sleeping.
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 MIgander (original poster member #71285) posted at 4:13 AM on Sunday, January 2nd, 2022

So, I'm confused. BH asked me as we are going to bed how I was feeling. (Shitty- the last week of our break was spent cancelling plans and the entire family being flattened by COVID.) I shared honestly about how I was down since we didn't see anyone and I didn't have enough energy to do anything I really wanted to do around the house.

The conversation went downhill from there where it was discussed that I should have done more of this or that and I wouldn't feel that way and THEN that he was feeling low. BH went on to how difficult it is living with a perpetually depressed person and how if it's not one thing, it's another and it's exhausting.

At this point, I'm thinking "What?? I just said I was bummed about missing out because of COVID..."

I asked him what I could do about it, he said, "I need space, I need to be with other people who make me happy. I just need time apart." To which I said, "I will give you space, I'll sleep downstairs tonight."

There followed complaints about it always being about me and how I need to get him out of his hole and how exhausting it is to be around me and how he needs joy in his life. How he's been with me through fallout with another acquaintance's affair (I told her to tell her BH and my best friend didn't agree and my best friend and I aren't talking) and how he just needs me to pull him out of his hole now. How awful I am to be around because I'm depressed and how draining it is. How I always have to make everything about ME.

All because HE asked ME about MY feelings and I answered him succinctly and honestly.

I'm very confused at this point because, 1. the conversation started off about me and 2. I was being honest and 3. I now feel manipulated/punished for sharing openly (being told how difficult it is to live with a depressed person, how I always make things about me (implying selfish- probably accurate) and how he doesn't want to be around me).

Thing is, if it's not going to be about me (conversation), then why ask me about me? If he doesn't want to hear about me talking about me (and yeah, I get sick of me...), WHY ASK?

I'm also confused as this is obviously NOT the conversation BH wanted to have. I THINK he meant me to ask more the following:

Him: how are you feeling?
Me: bummed about our covid and break being over without doing much that I wanted to do.
(What I would like him to say): That does stink, it's been a bummer week.
THEN ME: What about you?
Him: really depressed about our break being sick. It's adding on to all the other stuff I'm dealing with being around you when you're depressed and I'm really in the hole now.
Me: what could we do when we're feeling better to get out of the slump?

Or even just him starting off with how he feels? The way the conversation went, I just feel ambushed and manipulated into a fight. It's obvious he was hurting, needed some cheering up and wanted to talk about how difficult it is dealing with me when I'm in a depressed mood. Why can't he lead with that? I would love to hear him and comfort him. It's so DANG HARD to do that when it's this DARVO shit- ask me about me, and then turn the whole thing around about how I suck because I'm feeling down?? That he needs to distance himself from me because I'm being honest about being down and then how selfish I am because I pause this tirade to say, "Woah, this was supposed to be about me- you asked me how I felt and I shared honestly."

I get that he's had my entire affair thrown in his face, he's had to go through hell and back. Can he just be honest to me though when HE's the one in need of comfort? This is not the first time this has happened. This is a pattern that has existed and been exacerbated by my affair. And yeah, being vulnerable with the bitch who ripped your heart out is VERY difficult to say the least.

Should I even answer honestly anymore when I'm feeling down about something very rational- being sick and tired of being sick and tired? I'm trying to be very honest, and answer honestly and not just blow it off.

Or should I just say, I'm ok, what's going on with you? You seem like you need to talk.

Thanks for listening to me vent. Just hurt and tired and sick and just tired and sick of the hurtful games. Feeling manipulated, frustrated and really all I want to do right now is cry and hold him so he can cry. Instead I'm crying because I'm frustrated that I don't get the opportunity to comfort him when he needs it. He's hurt me and the minute I react to being hurt, I am rejected.

Happy fucking new year.

WW Dday July 2019

posts: 656   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8706978
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DaddyDom ( member #56960) posted at 4:45 PM on Sunday, January 2nd, 2022

It can be so confusing, can't it? I remember having these exact same types of conversations with my wife and even in MC sometimes, and me having the same thoughts and feelings as you are. The idea of, "Why ask me how I feel about something if you're just going to get pissed and tell my answer was all about me? You asked me about me, didn't you? WTF?" And yes, from a purely grammatical point of view, that's entirely true. You were asked a question and you gave an honest answer, which is what you should have done. So what went wrong?

Now, this is just my own two cents, so take that for what it is, just an opinion from someone who isn't there and involved in your life. I think that what our betrayed spouses are looking for in those moments is simply to see if "they are in there somewhere". They are testing the waters to see if the thoughts and feelings of their wayward spouses include them in any way, shape or form. They also want to gauge how their WS's are thinking and feeling about themselves. It IS a loaded question to some degree, that's true, but it's also an honest one.

To better explain this, let me give an example. One day, while going about your normal business, you get mugged. The mugger beats you badly and takes your valuables, but just as he's leaving the cops show up. They throw you both in the same ambulance, as you need severe medical care from the beating he gave you, and he broke his hand and cut himself while beating you. In the ambulance, you ask the mugger how he feels after the incident. He says to you, "Thanks for asking. I feel crappy. Lost my job recently, I've been feeling sick, my wife is being a real pain and keeps riding me about the bills, the car broke down and now I have to deal with a broken hand and raft of legal charges for mugging you. I feel pretty shitty, that's how I feel." And that's an honest response from him, right? But let me ask you, when you asked how he was feeling, were you really looking to know about his personal life problems and his current sense of aggravation? Or did you want to know how he feels about who he is, what he allowed himself to do and how it affected you?

Consider this response instead. "I feel awful. I mean, things for me have been really rough lately, my job, my wife, my health, everything seems to be crashing down around me. But I can't believe I let it get to this. I can't believe I actually decided to mug someone, to hurt someone else, just because I'm hurting. It didn't solve anything for me and only hurt you. I can't believe I put you in the hospital. You had nothing to do with my troubles. This is not how I pictured who I am and it's not who I want to be. I didn't know what else to do, and in my panic and stress, I made the really bad decision to mug someone, because I thought that would make me feel better. I'm sorry I did that to you. It didn't help. It made everything else even worse for me, and now I've dumped that part of my life on to you as well."

Do you see the difference here? In both cases, the mugger answered honestly. But one answer was all about him, his hurt, his needs, his pain, but YOU weren't in there at all. And that feels kinda shitty even when it's just a mugger, not a spouse. The other answer showed that he has thoughts beyond what's "happening to him" currently. He also shows that he has regrets and remorse and disappointment in himself for what he did and how it affected you.

Infidelity is a nasty business. When we cheat, our spouses get the VERY clear message of, "You do not matter to me, at all, period. Nothing and no one matters to me, except for me. I am incapable of considering your feelings or anyone else's, and don't care that I hurt you. I matter. You don't."

That's a very tough pill to swallow, and once your spouse has accepted it as a painful reality, well, "you can't unring that bell". That is who they see you as, perpetually, daily. And every single time we fail to show remorse, empathy and regret, it just reinforces that point of view. If your spouse is to ever see you in a different light, you are going to have to give them some reason to do so. Lots of reasons actually.

Could your husband have worded things a little better? Could he have shared his innermost thoughts and fears too, and made it clear that he was hurting before asking you about it? Sure, he could of. But why should he? I mean, going back to the mugger scenario, was it your responsibility to be vulnerable and open with your mugger and to gently nudge him to a more empathetic and remorseful point of view? Or did you simply want to gauge where he was at on his own? It isn't the victim's job to be vulnerable with the person who most betrayed that vulnerability in the first place. He has his walls up and with good reason. Him asking you how you feeling was him pulling the walls down just enough to see what's going on. His question was meant to gauge how safe it is for him to put the walls down more. He didn't get what he was looking for, and so the walls went right back up.

I know you said this yourself, but it's important to remember. He is suffering too. He is depressed too. He is dealing with Covid and politics and work and health and everything else in life too, just like you are. He's tired and overwhelmed and has lost all sense of joy too. It's not that you are doing anything wrong by being depressed and overwhelmed, but the fact is, it leaves him in the position of needing to care about YOUR depression on top of his, and you CAUSED his depression in the first place. He needs some support. He needs some empathy. He needs to feel like someone is willing to pick him up and carry him for a while, instead of the other way around. And because infidelity is fucked up, the person he needs those things from the most, is the one who hurt him. And that too, throws a wrench into the works for him. He wants to be there for you, because he loves you and because he loves himself. But he also likely hates himself for loving you or wanting anything from you. He can't win. So how do you respond when you can't win, and then the person who hurt you can't be there for you either? You get upset. And you want to leave.

My only advice for you is this. When anyone else in the world asks how you are feeling, feel free to make it all about you. But when your betrayed spouse asks, answer the question "within the context of the relationship", and also within the context how it affects how you see yourself. Don't just state how you feel, but also the outcomes and ramifications of how you feel. If asked how Covid is making you feel, you might say, "I feel awful, my nose is stuffed up, my throat is sore, and I'm tired." or you can say, "I feel really shitty, but what's pissing me off the most is that I can't even get my work done, can't help out around the house, can't spend time with the family..." The second answer gives some insight into who you are and what you are thinking, and that's what our spouses are usually looking for.

I hope any part of this helps.

Me: WS
BS: ISurvivedSoFar
D-Day Nov '16
Status: Reconciling
"I am floored by the amount of grace and love she has shown me in choosing to stay and fight for our marriage. I took everything from her, and yet she chose to forgive me."

posts: 1269   ·   registered: Jan. 18th, 2017
id 8707014
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Babette2008 ( member #69126) posted at 5:04 PM on Sunday, January 2nd, 2022

Yes that does sound like a conversation that went sideways. I'm sure neither of you left it feeling better or supported. It sounds like it was a shitty night. And if that is a typical communication pattern you are right to be frustrated.

I will admit that reading what you wrote it's hard for an outside person to evaluate what's going on. The gist of what he told you is that being around you, as you are now, drains him and he wants a change. Besides going to another room to cry, what are you going to do you do with that information?

I think that you need another conversation when you both aren't tired.

Fwiw neither of you should expect the other person to make you happy or "pull you out of the hole". I think that it's possible to make other people unhappy, but happiness comes from within.

posts: 242   ·   registered: Dec. 14th, 2018
id 8707018
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 5:19 PM on Sunday, January 2nd, 2022

BS, no Stop sign....

Two thoughts from a former IC:

1) When asked how you feel, answer with feeling words.
2) Say it so a 4 year old would understand. Feelings? Limit yourself to glad, mad, sad, scared, ashamed, and maybe something like wanting.

And a 3rd thought from myself: I think DaddyDom is really onto something, so thiking about your H and showing you're doing that is likely to be very helpful.

Also, if you keep it simple, then it's easy to remember to ask your H about his feelings and start a conversation.

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 27113   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8707021
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 5:20 PM on Sunday, January 2nd, 2022

Can he just be honest to me though when HE's the one in need of comfort?

It's very difficult for a BS to be vulnerable with their WS.

Especially when..

implying selfish-

A WS should be working on NOT being selfish anymore.

The conversation, IMO, doesn't really need to be overly anyalyzed. It sounds like he is riding the emotional roller coaster you put him on.

Patience and empathy are needed.

Should the conversation have gone differently? Sure. But sometimes a BS has trouble with their emotions. It sounds like he had a shitty week, which typically triggers a BS, and he needed to get some of the bad feelings out. It doesn't sound like he was mean to you. The holidays are hard. More so when you are still reeling from being cheated on.

[This message edited by HellFire at 5:24 PM, Sunday, January 2nd]

posts: 4334   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8707022
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Babette2008 ( member #69126) posted at 5:23 PM on Sunday, January 2nd, 2022

I just read what daddy Dom wrote and agree with most of it. As a BS I definitely want to be careful about piling on when a WS is hurting. And being a BS isn't a "get out of jail free card" for shitty communication skills. The biggest positive change to my post-affair marriage is that our communication skills improved alot and I needed to work on mine alot too.

But yes, at one point my WS was going on and on about his anxiety and I was finally like - of course you are anxious, you've been living a lie for 9 years and have hurt alot of people. If you weren't suffering from anxiety there would be something wrong with you. I can't feel bad for you about this. You need to fix it.

Likewise your BS might feel the same way about your depression.

posts: 242   ·   registered: Dec. 14th, 2018
id 8707023
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This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 7:33 PM on Sunday, January 2nd, 2022

I think you are overthinking his opening question and his need to have a de-stressing conversation which despite the name can be exhausting themselves. Sounds like he holds in his negative feelings until he pops. If he has more frequent open conversations about negative feelings they would probably get less out of hand.

Perhaps scheduling the stress reducing conversations such as is advised by Gottman might help.

Love is not a measure of capacity for pain you are willing to endure for your partner.

posts: 1909   ·   registered: Dec. 11th, 2019
id 8707033
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Humbled123 ( member #62947) posted at 8:44 PM on Sunday, January 2nd, 2022

100% what daddydom said. I slept in the basement for a year and a half. Being around her just angered me and brought on my ptsd at night. I just recently have gone back to the master bedroom. He's hurting ALL the time. He thinks about it DAILY. do you ever ask him how he's doing? And im not talking covid, how he's trying find his self esteem again? Be prepared because he may flood you with things youd rather forget about.

posts: 219   ·   registered: Mar. 5th, 2018
id 8707041
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Nanatwo ( member #45274) posted at 9:47 PM on Sunday, January 2nd, 2022

I know it can be confusing for a WS. You are asked a question and you give what you believe is an honest answer - yet your BS feels let down by your response and becomes angry. I did the same thing with my FWH. I remember one time I asked him if our R attempt was a little too late to save the marriage. He responded that he didn't believe that - I felt it was all about his feelings and he did not even consider that I might have been referring to my belief that is was too late for R.

There was a part of me that knew I should just let him know what I was feeling - but I wanted to know where I fit in in his thinking.

I know WS are not mind readers - but one thing a W needs to remember is what a gigantic blow to the ego this is for a BS. We need to know that we matter - that the W is thinking about us and what we need - because they sure as hell didn't do that when they were conducting the A.

Yes, the WS has feelings - but honestly - it took me a long time to have any empathy for his feelings. One time when we were having the same conversation for the umpteenth time I could tell he was getting frustrated. He said he wasn't frustrated with me but with himself for putting us in this situation. I just thought - so your frustrated with yourself - you should be pissed as hell with yourself.

What helped me the most was when a simple question would escalate in to a full blown argument and I'm sure he was feeling that I was attacking him - he would just hold me - tell me how sorry he was for the A - admit that he may not always say or do the right thing - but he was here for me and would do whatever it took to help me thru the pain and devastation he had caused.

A WS will never understand the BS need to just talk and talk and talk about their feelings until they feel they are going insane.

For what it's worth - when asked a question of course you answer it - but also include your BS and how he is feeling. A WS will never understand the depth of our need to be validated - to know that even an attempt at R puts us in an extremely vulnerable position - and how even a simple question can be our way of trying to ascertain if the WS is making any progress towards the remorse and empathy that is so necessary if R is to be successful.

Time heals what reason cannot. Seneca

First the truth. Then, maybe, reconciliation. Louise Penny

posts: 595   ·   registered: Oct. 18th, 2014   ·   location: Indiana
id 8707047
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 12:43 AM on Monday, January 3rd, 2022

I think Daddydom is giving you great advice. That said, I couldn't live like that. I need honesty at this point in my life and I can't stand playing the Miss Cleo game where I have to psychically guess what the hell is going on. BS's aren't perfect people though and sometimes they're going to be emotionally all over the place. Your choice if you want to be patient with stuff like this, but for what it's worth.. I don't think you're wrong. If someone asks how you are, particularly if that someone is in your bed, you ought to be able to answer honestly without it causing a fight.

BW: 2004(online EAs),
2014 (multiple PAs)
Married 38 years;
in R with fWH for 7

No one can make you into a liar but you.

posts: 5431   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8707066
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BraveSirRobin ( Guide #69242) posted at 1:07 AM on Monday, January 3rd, 2022

I hope it's ok to quote from your other threads.

The last 2 years Christmas has been terribly difficult for him and he was asking if they would be our last as a family. He's not saying that now, but it could be because our MC assigned us work to not mention "divorce, suicide, insanity" during the holidays- that we had to actually focus on working on the marriage and not running from it.

Infidelity is often grounded in conflict avoidance and swallowed resentment. We tell people all the time that they had other options than to cheat, and first in that list is open communication. Your MC's assignment may not have been the best idea. I'm sure she meant to focus on the positive, but the edict against expressing negative thoughts may have left him constantly ruminating. He may have been so resentful of being told that he can't talk about his struggle that he set you up to fail in discussing your feelings. There probably was no right answer.

I'm afraid that if [Christmas is] not just right, that he will be unhappy and the blame will fall on me. In the back of my mind I'm still aware that he's thinking of divorce. Three days after our MC session's assignment to not "escape the marriage", he was talking about divorcing me. Then, this past week, he was talking about how he wanted to rearrange his family's trust (which he had been depositing his paycheck into and which we borrowed from to help build our house) in case we divorce. Basically, I hear, "I'm thinking about divorcing you MIgander, but since I'm not allowed to TALK about it to you, I'll just keep it in the back of my head and keep thinking/planning/justifying it. I don't trust him to not decide to up and divorce me if this Christmas sucks and it's MY FAULT that it does. It's just that, while I'm working on the marriage, is he only pretending to? Who can blame him?"

I mean... is he even pretending to? He sounds more like he's trying to convince you, the MC, and possibly himself that he means what he says about being done with the marriage.

I have this belief ingrained in me that if things go wrong, if people mistreat me, if something negative happens in a relationship, it's because I'm to blame. Thanks mom and dad.


This is why I'm uncomfortable with advice for you to find better ways of hiding and stuffing down your feelings. You didn't say anything wrong. There's nothing selfish about telling your husband that you're sad to lose your holiday plans to COVID, especially when asked. You expressed honest emotions in a healthy way, without blaming him for them, and were shamed by him for doing so. Two years out from D-Day, I don't think this is excusable, especially from a madhatter who has his own amends to make.

Which brings me to my other observation, which you can take with a hefty grain of salt.

If your husband's response to "I'm sad about our plans being cancelled and our family being sick" is to tell you, "You always drag me down, I need space, I need to be with other people who make me happy, I just need time apart"... You know what that reminds me of? Honestly? It sounds like the cheater's handbook. It sounds like vilifying the spouse in order to justify a new attachment. Maybe he just needs to stiffen his resolve to divorce. But that line about people who make him happy sounds suspicious to me, coming from a man who has already had one emotional affair.

WW/BW

posts: 2650   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8707068
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Humbled123 ( member #62947) posted at 3:55 AM on Monday, January 3rd, 2022

I agree with bravesirrobin when I read the " space" stuff my radar went through the roof.

posts: 219   ·   registered: Mar. 5th, 2018
id 8707082
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 MIgander (original poster member #71285) posted at 3:07 PM on Monday, January 3rd, 2022

Thanks everyone for the responses. Especially DaddyDom, I've been incorporating more "we" and "us" into my responses w/ BH and it seems to be helping.

He has been stuffing lately. Not necessarily because of just what our MC said. Our MC (a man, actually- only way I could think of BH being open to being real with a counselor), has encouraged openness, but not "escaping" the marriage through divorce discussions. He wants us to confront what's going on openly and honestly and not avoid it by escaping into divorce fantasies/discussions. He's given us a lot of assignments and dialogue prompts to help us work through difficult discussions, which is helpful. BH doesn't really like doing these things or think they're useful. I've had to reassure him many times that him telling me the negative is really helpful. It is, when done in a healthy manner. It's good for me to know where his head is. It keeps my head off the swivel it used to constantly be on from guessing what's going on.

His FOO is EXTREMELY avoidant on anything negative. Which has the effect of sucking the joy out of anything. Repressed feelings abound and my MIL gets really upset if everyone isn't putting on a happy face all the time at family functions. When SIL is real about her struggles with trying to balance work, kids and family life, MIL gets on her for being so negative.

Thus, BH is avoidant in his own ways. He has randomly (or not so randomly) asked what I felt about an open marriage. I think he struggles with his own avoidant/wayward patterns of behavior too. Only, he's still so hurt from my flagrantly out of line behavior that he's not ready to really address his. His needs for space are triggering to me. That's why this conversation turned into one big trigger for both of us.

He's complained about him stopping the comparisons between me and other women, but still participates in them. Saying how he has these conversations with women at work that he wishes we could have (about clothes and concerts). There's several instances of him deleting texts that have me on edge. I caught him in it once when he was drunk and admitted to it because he knew it would make me mad. He says he hasn't done it since, but there's all these allusions to other conversations with these women that I don't see on his phone. He's secretive with his phone too. He did give me the pass code and put my thumb print on it though. He just keeps it on him and closes it whenever I come up on him. He does talk a lot with his guy friends though, so there's that. Still, the one gal he primarily talks to just got engaged and he said he wouldn't try anything with her especially now since she's engaged. Sigh. I think he's more WH in his head than he even realizes.
ETA: we talked about this situation and he confirmed that it was more of a topical friendship by nature- they would talk about clothes, music and work stuff. He said she probably isn't even aware that he's married.
The subject never came up, she didn't ask and he doesn't wear his ring (hasn't worn it regularly since my son was born). He doesn't bring up his marriage as he doesn't want to think about it at work.

As far as sharing negative thoughts, he's been sharing that on a fairly regular basis. It's either weekly or daily that he's come to me about his doubts and looking for reassurance that this marriage is going to work. He's been open with how much he's hurting. He does seem to not see the good that is going on and the improvements being made. We're communicating better than we have for years, which is good. It's just when he has bad days, he looks at other people and how happy they are (and at instagram girls) and thinks about our life. He's only seeing the negative right now, doesn't seem to think MC or his IC is really helping, even though, objectively, they are. So yeah, pretty wayward when combined with the other hiding and talking w/ other women thing. That and even in the very beginning of our dating, he was really into this other girl, L and ditched me in Boston with his other female friends (one of which was sick drunk- I ended up playing nurse to her). He wasn't answering calls and texts for 2 hours while in a bar with her. I found them there and confronted him. He blew me off and I ended up slapping him. He ended up going back to the other girl's apartment, but said nothing happened. Hmm... yeah, anyway...

ETA: BH and I had a discussion about L and why that situation is so triggering for me. Turns out I was right to be jealous/ uneasy about her. He would go to her to discuss problems with us (instead of talking with me?) and said that they shared so many things in common in how they viewed things. This is exactly the same line he used about his EA with my friend D. It is an avoidance pattern. Find someone you really do like, bitch about the relationship you don't like, then voila, emotional connection without the risk of being rejected. Same avoidant shit I pulled with him with my friends when I would bitch about him. No wonder we are both triggered by these "friendships." We are so similar is sometimes makes me sick.

We've been re-financing things and working together to make a more sound financial future, which is reassuring.

He's still clearly on the fence and looking for large gift purchases as a way of assuring himself of my commitment to making things work. He's looking for my company and participation/initiation in making things fun again, so that's good.

I think he's just on the fence and waffling right now. He says he wants 2022 to be the year he makes the decision to divorce or stay. I think that pressure being put on himself is what's bringing this out more now. He's definitely got his work cut out for him, but I don't think he's in a place where he's ready to do it.

I'm willing to be patient. I know that the guy I married is in there somewhere...?

[This message edited by MIgander at 9:28 PM, Tuesday, January 4th]

WW Dday July 2019

posts: 656   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8707129
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 4:46 PM on Monday, January 3rd, 2022

Do you have observable requirements for R? I mean: have you documented observable behaviors that tell you both that you're on or off track? For example, one of mine was for my W to find good dates for us on a weekly basis - we both could see very easily if she was meeting that requirement or not.

BTW, my W had a few requirements; R takes 2.

*****

The following may or may not apply to you and your H:

My W committed to R on d-day. I committed 90 days later. For a couple of years, at least, neither of us fully believed the other's commitment. Both of us feared that the other would leave. Maybe your H is going through that sort of uncertainty.

We voiced our fears in IC and MC. In IC, I think my W looked at evidence. In MC, I got reassurance, as did my W.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 4:47 PM, Monday, January 3rd]

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 27113   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8707146
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 MIgander (original poster member #71285) posted at 6:21 PM on Monday, January 3rd, 2022

Do you have observable requirements for R? I mean: have you documented observable behaviors that tell you both that you're on or off track?

Not really, so far MC is mostly focused on communication. Maybe we can get to more concrete activities once the communication stabilizes.

There's just a huge overwhelming sense of hurt, frustration and loneliness on his side that's going to take a lot of work for me to overcome. There's also a lot of shame, worthlessness and hopelessness in me that I'm working against.

BH did tell me today what I suspected from the time I developed PPD after my son (now 11) was born: that he loves me in a dedicated "you're a child of God and I am committed to my commitment in the marriage" kind of way, but not in the way a man loves a particular woman. Just makes me so sad to hear that because it confirms what I knew subconsciously all from that time on. Makes me sad too because of the ways I pushed him away by always arguing, always being negative.

Just don't know what to think about our M, looking back, it seems like a waste of time (apart from the kids). He's still a very kind and caring person. It's for me to fix the need for validation and feeling "special" in my own self. I am trying to come to terms with whether or not it's healthy to want to be loved in an exclusive and special way or whether that really is just a BS fantasy only heard about in country songs.

WW Dday July 2019

posts: 656   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8707151
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gmc94 ( Guide #62810) posted at 8:01 PM on Monday, January 3rd, 2022

Seems to be a lot of solid advice on this thread... and yet what's screaming in my brain is:

you have to be willing to lose the M... let go of the outcome....

I'm not in R and have never committed to it, so add whatever size grains of salt you like. Just sounds like a lot of white knuckling about fear of losing the M, rather than a focus on healing.

M >25yrs/grown kids
DD1 1994 ONS prostitute
DD2 2018 exGF1 10+yrEA & 10yrPA... + exGF2 EA forever & "made out" 2017
9/18 WH hung himself- died but revived

It's rude to say "I love you" with a mouthful of lies

posts: 3790   ·   registered: Feb. 22nd, 2018
id 8707168
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 MIgander (original poster member #71285) posted at 6:14 PM on Tuesday, January 4th, 2022

Hi GMC,

Yeah, I guess I'm white knuckling and not willing to let go of the marriage. We're trying to figure out if us being so different as people can ever result in us feeling joy in our marriage together. I wear him down with my unpredictability/impulsiveness (my speeding ticket recently was another cherry on top). He needs stability, control and predictability. Mainly he needs to feel in control (and this was even before my affair). While he needs to be the one in control, he also needs a partner he can rely on and he can be sure will follow his lead and back him up.

I have my own issues regarding control and being heard in disagreements and planning things. BH feels steam rolled often when I go into brainstorming mode and say, "I would like this, and that would work really well, and we should try this..." I'm working harder at reigning in my enthusiasm for ideas and incorporating more consulting language like, "What if we did this, would that be something you'd like? Or what about that? How do you feel about that? What are your thoughts?"

It's difficult for me to want to take his opinion in for various reasons. FOO being one of them. Dad belittled mom and would do things on his own all the time without consulting her or taking her preferences into consideration. BH also wants things his way and often when we disagree, he gets what he wants. It's easier for me to just let him have his way- because really, I'm a difficult person to be with. Whether that's finances or childrearing or discipline or even what I would like to buy clothes wise. He's been working hard at it lately and been much more considerate and I've been working hard to be clear in my wishes, but I still feel like an inferior person in his eyes.

Really I am, I just resent that I know I'm inferior and he knows it too. Respect has always been hard to come by between us.

BH clarified his comment to me yesterday about not loving me like a man loves a particular woman. It's more that he hasn't had joy in my company or our marriage since the kids were born (11yrs ago). I've lived in a joyless marriage for 11 years. He's lived with a partner he can't respect or be vulnerable around for 11yrs. What the hell are we doing?

Having a hard day. Had to pay speeding ticket at court (got it reduced to non-moving violation, no points, yay for my insurance. Sigh). The money that paid it is coming out of a new purse I'd like for my birthday. Since my current purse straps are falling apart (I think I'm going to have to electrical tape them), I wanted a new one. I get nice purses every 4-5 years that I use daily, so I like to buy quality leather purses. More of a Coach price point- reasonable, but good enough quality I can beat the hell out of them for a few years and not need to keep buying one every year.

Anyway, it's typical for me to go without new coats (haven't had a new one that wasn't a freebie from work in about 9 years) or purses or even in some cases, new tires because I get speeding tickets or have car repairs from fender benders over the years. Add that to the medical bills I run up between mental health problems and physical therapy needed to correct things from bearing children, I have a lot of extra expenses BH doesn't have. So, that naturally needs to come out of somewhere. And yeah, nice bday or Christmas presents are one of the areas it gets taken away from. Maybe I'll still be able to get new running shoes.

If this sounds like a pity party, it is. I'll get over it. Just tired, frustrated and depressed today.

I got to go on a trip to Boston and Chicago this year, so that's definitely something. And I got to build a few garden beds, so not all is lost. Just frustrated that as an adult I have to get permission from my husband to buy/do things I want to do and then have them brought up again when BH is feeling like his needs aren't being met "I got you this and I did that for you, when is it my turn??" Also have it thrown in my face when I screw up again ala traffic ticket or unexpected medical expense, "Where is this coming from? You have done so much and I have done so much to make you happy. I've bought you xyz! You screwed up and now it is going to cut into my hobbies! When is it going to be my turn?? I make so many sacrifices for this family. You need to make sacrifices too."

And I do, but I don't feel like it's right to throw them in people's faces. If you do a sacrifice, it should be private. Now I'm working on pointing out things I'm giving up to BH so he sees the sacrifices I am making for family and him to atone for my failures. It still feels like defensiveness and whining to me though. I have complained in the past about things like clothes (which I'm getting more of now, so that's better) and hobbies and travel I wanted to pursue. Guess it was in the form of a complaint and not a "sacrifice statement." IE: "we haven't been on a trip in years. I haven't bought new (not resale shop) clothes in 2 years! You get to build an entire basement and all I want is a veggie garden!" ETA: When I do complain, though, he responds with, "You're never happy! It's never enough! I give so much for this family and it's never enough!" So, I need to practice my language. Guess that's just our differences as people?

It sucks because on depressed days like today, he comes and comforts me and all I see is that I'm taking more from him that I can't repay. I can't ever be on level with him. The affair definitely blew a hole in any way that I could ever make everything I've put him through over the years. All the anger, defensiveness and just him having to deal with my mental health disorders and abuse from my family. What the hell? Why did I marry him? Why did I do this to him?

I'm not even sure I want to have more friendships with new people or, if we do divorce, whether I want to be in a relationship again. Wherever I go, there I am, and all my failings and problems too. I've worked so hard and I keep working so hard and all I ever seem to do is keep screwing up. I can't get ahead or be where I need to be to be deserving of BH. Especially now after the affair. My sisters don't want me around, I've cut off my narc mom for my own sake, my friends haven't really wanted to be around me (and I haven't reached out- don't want to bring people down). It's just an isolated mess and I really don't have the energy to try and put myself out there for new relationships, let alone maintaining the ones I have.

Really need to start IC again. Hopefully the new gal I reached out to will work out. Just hate myself and wish I could just go away and let the people I care about live free of me so they can be happier in their lives.

[This message edited by MIgander at 9:37 PM, Tuesday, January 4th]

WW Dday July 2019

posts: 656   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8707377
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Babette2008 ( member #69126) posted at 3:34 AM on Friday, January 7th, 2022

Being treated with respect by your spouse is, I think, a basic requirement of a functional marriage. Sometimes it takes some work to regain your partners respect after an affair. But If you are married to someone who doesn’t respect you, has never respected you, and will never respect you, then my advice is you deserve better than that.

posts: 242   ·   registered: Dec. 14th, 2018
id 8708111
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maise ( member #69516) posted at 12:57 PM on Friday, January 7th, 2022

I think that what our betrayed spouses are looking for in those moments is simply to see if "they are in there somewhere". They are testing the waters to see if the thoughts and feelings of their wayward spouses include them in any way, shape or form.

What daddydom said was what was true for me. It’s confusing I’m sure on the WS end, I can see how that could happen…but the feelings of hurt for me as the BS were always there and I remember just wanting to have my WS *see* me and care. Those moments where I may have asked her a question about her - I would be shocked/angry/hurt if she didn’t bring up how she effected me within her response. It’s like for her it went away and for me it was always there - how could she not care? How could she dismiss what I’m going through? How is she so ok about this part of things? What she did was massive - how is she just going on about her days as though everything is fine in this realm and as if I’m not still deeply hurt? It was a consistent moment of, "wow. You really don’t care. You haven’t thought about this or been working through this in your mind or throughout your day at all…you only think of it if I bring it up. Otherwise it’s swiftly rugswept and things just continue like nothing." Felt very dismissive. Hurtful. And I would lash out as a result.

BW (SSM) D-Day: 6/9/2018 Status: Divorcing

posts: 866   ·   registered: Jan. 22nd, 2019   ·   location: Houston
id 8708181
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CaptainRogers ( member #57127) posted at 2:56 PM on Friday, January 7th, 2022

A couple of thoughts here:

As the BH with a spouse who has a myriad of health issues that totally zap her energy (that she was able to "overcome" when it came to being with her AP...but I digress...) and major anxiety/depression issues she has had from decades before that were exacerbated because of two hospital stints by our youngest daughter in her first 3 years, I understand how exhausting it can be for your husband. He is most assuredly thinking "what about me?"

With that in mind, however, HE is the one responsible for HIS HAPPINESS. This is not a burden for you to bear. Yes, there are things that can be done relational to help him on that journey, but you shouldn't have to be the driver of it.

Because of her anxiety, my wife is afraid to tell me anything. But I've learned to read her words very carefully. "I'm fine" really does mean that she's fine. "I'm OK" actually means that there is an issue that needs addressed. If she's "fine" then we go about in a pleasant conversation. If she's "OK" then I ask what is bothering her and how I can help. I've learned to decipher her code.

As the BH, it has frustrated me when my wife has answered an honest question honestly. Sounds crazy, right? Isn't that what we SHOULD be doing?

But as DaddyDom pointed out, it isn't that the honest answer was given that becomes frustrating. It is that WE aren't part of that answer. It took me a while to understand that about myself. I was looking to see if my wife was thinking about my place in her answer. Eventually, I came to understand that her answer is HER answer about HERSELF. Theoretically, I shouldn't expect to be included in it if the question was about HER. But it is the hurt, the fear, the anxiety from the A that leads us to want to know that we are in those thoughts.

Does that mean that you should drop all your feelings & emotions to pick up his mess 24/7? By no means. He needs to learn positive self-soothing things that allow him to express emotions, be able to soothe himself, and also allow you to express yourself. In doing that, you will both be able to care for one another better.

It took me quite a while with a couple of good ICs to work through all of that. I have to take care of me before I can take care of Mrs. Cap. And the same thing is true for her. And even if she can't take care of me in a specific situation...I have the skillset to be able to do that.

Sounds like he needs a bit more work on developing the self-soothing pieces.

BS: 42 on D-day
WW: 43 on D-day
Together since '89; still working on what tomorrow will bring.
D-Day v1.0: Jan '17; EA
D-day v2.0: Mar '18; no, it was physical

posts: 3233   ·   registered: Jan. 27th, 2017   ·   location: The Rockies
id 8708219
Topic is Sleeping.
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