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

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 MIgander (original poster member #71285) posted at 9:49 PM on Friday, January 7th, 2022

Thanks for the responses everyone.

The advice with the "responding truthfully, but including the BH in my responses" is spot on. I'm working harder to think about my feelings (and be honest about them) and follow up on how I feel about its impact on my BH. It's helping him a lot too.

It's funny you guys should mention that each one of us is responsible for our own happiness. This is EXACTLY what our MC said to both of us during our session this week. He alluded to having shared that with BH as part of his own work too. I can see some of the effects of this advice on BH (it's not the first time him and our MC have discussed it). BH is working through the stages of grief over not having others take care of him the way his parents have when he was a kid. Maybe that's something we all have to get used to as an adult? I too thought that since we're married, that he should just KNOW from being with me everyday what was going on with me without me constantly having to tell him stuff like, what I want, what I think, etc.

I think that's what my BH is struggling through too right now- the idea that I can't MAKE him happy any more than anyone else can and that he's got to be the one to take on provision for his own happiness. I am definitely wanting to be at his side and helping him make that happen (now more than before for sure), but I can't take the lead/responsibility. He's made really great progress in this over the past 2 years. He's developed a more stable group of friends both at work and in our social circle (not involving female coworkers, hah), activities he enjoys with them and being assertive in his wants and needs.

In his struggles with this though, he's still working through frustration and anger over me not MAKING him happy. We've had days (like today and even yesterday) where we're happy TOGETHER. Still, he hasn't reached acceptance of this and it's hard to watch him struggle with it on his bad days.

Maybe that's the whole lesson we're both working through- being happy TOGETHER, not MAKING each other happy.

Thanks again everyone for the help and insight.

WW Dday July 2019

posts: 656   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8708410
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CaptainRogers ( member #57127) posted at 3:06 PM on Saturday, January 8th, 2022

Maybe that's the whole lesson we're both working through- being happy TOGETHER, not MAKING each other happy.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Still, it sounds a lot easier than it is. That's where being responsible for our own happiness comes in. Good providence on this journey!

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 8708504
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 MIgander (original poster member #71285) posted at 6:19 PM on Monday, January 10th, 2022

Thanks Capn!

The being happy TOGETHER is a really tricky thing to implement.

A bit of a novel, but if you bear with me, this goes back to another thread in General about glasses and how we filter each other.

BH wants to take a trip to either city 1 or city 2. We're looking at hotels and costs of both. City 1 is farther away (more gas), has a bit more expensive hotel, but has lower overall costs (taxes, meals, etc). City 2 has more affordable lodging, less distance to drive, but has more expensive food/taxes/parking than the other. Really the costs are a wash. Knowing he was leaning more toward city 2 (wants to check out watch stores), I worked hard to find several hotels that are nice, but less expensive than the one in city 1. I also came across some cool places to stay with the kids. I sent him the places to stay with the kids (via text- browsing on my phone) and then saved the other hotels for us to go over later. I didn't communicate that I had other hotels saved to look at later.

BH has been hurt before by me "steam rolling" him. He starts off with an idea, and then I quickly and enthusiastically take it up. when I do, I come up with a lot of options, ideas for implementation, etc. Thing is, I go so fast with the brainstorming, he often gets overwhelmed and can't keep up. He prefers a more measured pace where it can be a back and forth. In my enthusiasm (and ADHD), I often move too fast and use more "me" and "we" in my hurry. I'm working on changing my language to more of a "we" and "you" based conversation. It's difficult to break habits of hurrying ideas and throwing multiple ideas at a time at my husband.

My frustration came in a conversation I had with him last night. I had wanted to discuss hotel options for city 2 all day. He was cold and indifferent to me in church (shook hands instead of a kiss during "peace be with you" and wouldn't hold hands or touch me sitting next to him). He'd been putting me off and avoiding me. Even after I had been making efforts to put him first (more sex each day for the past 4 days, spending time and comforting/looking after him). I saw him on Instagram on the couch ignoring me and decided to push myself upon him as I was eager to discuss the trip. And frustrated at his avoidance all day.

Some background to the circumstances of the conversation:
-I had promised to work on the basement with him that day, in the morning. I worked out and then we were leaving for our errands, so it didn't happen THEN. He brought up his disappointment with the lack of follow through. I apologized, acknowledged his disappointment and promised to help him that afternoon instead. He responded that "he didn't trust me since I typically don't follow through."- fair enough. I did help him put up drywall, measuring it and moving it in place that afternoon. BH was disappointed that I didn't help him when I said I would- a broken plan. HOWEVER, he didn't take into account the fact that I made an effort to make it up to him later that day. I also apologized for the broken plan, knowing how important that was to him. I didn't want him to feel unimportant or blown off.
-BH had already been distancing himself from me, despite my active attempts to cheer him up, include him in things, give him comfort and in general keep a positive attitude in the face of his depression. All this after a few "good" days.
-BH wants another watch, a $7.5k watch to be specific. We are re-financing the house and have a few other expenses we need to catch up on first once that's pushed through. This watch is sold at a few stores in city 2 and he'd like to visit the shops and make arrangements for his dream watch (a $28k model- wayyy down the road).
-The trip was to be a celebration of refinancing and get some time out with just each other overnight (per our MC's assignment back in November).
-I am sensitive to planning vacations as time together doing something new is something I truly value. BH has made many empty promises over the years to take vacations just the two of us or as a family. He's worked hard over the last year to change that, but I still have baggage with that.
-BH has also claimed in the past week "I would rather have a watch than a vacation" adding "with you" at the end of it. He has often in years past gone hunting to far away destinations with friends while I have stayed home with kids, lonely, stressed and feeling uncared for. I could have put my foot down, but he was the breadwinner, made it clear that I was always unhappy and a drain on him emotionally and that he needed that time away to recharge himself in order to even stay married.

So, this conversation, a trip wrapped around his desire to shop for a watch, was already emotionally loaded.

I brought up all the different hotels, he voiced that he was confused with the multiple ideas and wasn't feeling listened to. I felt frustrated because all I was trying to do was listen to his desires for a trip to city 2 that would be less expensive than city 1. City 2 is where I could make appointments to the watch stores he wanted to see. Before I made appointments, I wanted travel arrangements finalized so I wouldn't have the bother of cancelling them. Again, I didn't communicate this at the beginning of the conversation. BH began feeling overwhelmed, pushed around and not listened to. He kept saying, "if you listened to me, you'd already know what I want!"

What he wanted at that moment was to go to a certain hotel we'd stayed in before. That was in direct conflict with a prior conversation that he said, "If you can find a less expensive hotel option in city 2, we can go there." The hotel he wanted to stay in was the same price as the city 1 hotel, so I looked for an equivalent kind of hotel in city 2 at a lower price. I was becoming frustrated by his mixed messages and by his insistence that I "wasn't listening to him" when I was doing all in my power to listen to him and fulfil his wishes. Overcoming my own hurt to do so.

He then went on to say that I'm always quick to jump on my interests (travelling) and not on doing anything for his interests (watches). Which was absolutely unfair as I was going to schedule the watch store appointments AFTER I got the hotel lined up. I got angry and told him he is not appreciating the efforts I am making, not seeing how hard I'm trying and not being clear in his requirements. I then talked over him in his laundry list of things I was doing wrong in the past 2 days he's been distant and cold. I explained to him about making the appointments at the watch stores after the hotel, apologized for confusing him with the other hotels he's not interested in. Then I explained that I was given mixed messages when he wanted a less expensive trip to city 2 than to city 1. He said I was steam rolling him again (which at that point I was- I had had enough), what did I want from him, "a thanks honey, you're doing everything ok?" (Which, when he says it with an eye roll and a sigh is absolutely BS coming out of his mouth). He then said, "I'd rather not go on the trip with you now at all!" Which is, sigh, what ends up happening. A trip and time together just the 2 of us bonding together dangled, and then, denied.

In the end, he didn't feel listened to as I didn't frame the conversation properly. I don't feel respected or appreciated. Again, I'm left feeling demeaned, disrespected and again, that whole "I'd rather have a watch than spend time on a trip with you" thing hanging around.

Our communication still stinks and needs work. There's progress, but then we have these arguments just about every week. Usually after a few good days. I'm starting to see that it's not me that's distancing myself from him. It's him distancing himself from me. He gets disappointed in me over a modified plan (doing drywall in the basement). I did my best to make up for not helping him in the morning by helping in the afternoon, but I didn't point that out to him at the time. He didn't let it go. He let some other things fester (I got a carwash without asking- just did it) and now it feels like he's looking for a reason to argue with me.

It's like, the harder I try to be closer to him and more intimate emotionally with him, the harder he pushes back.

I started the conversation out without the proper framing ("Hey, I'd like to talk about the trip, are you game for it? I found some lower cost hotels that are still really nice and I want your input. It would be really nice to get the hotel lined up soon so I can make appointments at the watch store for you."). Instead I jumped right into it. I didn't take into account that he was likely tired and worn out from the day. And also the fact that I had texted him stuff that didn't have to do with his interests that morning and got the car wash later that afternoon without consulting him.

Here's where the lenses come in:

The lack of grace involved in our interactions from his side. I tried to get the conversation back on track a few times during it. I wanted to clarify the mistakes in my framing. All I wanted to hear from him was, "Thanks for all the work you put into this. Really though, I would just like to do xyz at this hotel instead of checking out the new one you found. Thanks for the thought you put into it."

Instead, I got an argument, belittled ("You always steam roll me, you always take an idea you like and run with it. You never show interest in my things. If you had only listened to me you would know xyz") and really unfairly misinterpreted.

I was careful to watch my own misgivings about him wanting a watch more than me (I told myself that he wanted to go WITH me to look at these watches, not by himself). I was careful to remind myself that we're different and that he feels the need for the watch as a concrete sign of my love and sacrifice for him. I have been very careful NOT to be sour about him wanting the watch more than my company and reminding myself constantly that this is the way he is wired and not a rejection of myself and my company.

I still feel rejected. I still feel like the watch is more important to him than I am. I feel punished by him with him wanting this watch (THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS) as an atonement for my failures in the relationship. I feel like it's never going to be enough (I got him a $5k watch just last year). Like if I get him everything he needs/wants, there's always going to be another hoop for me to jump through for him to feel loved by me. That I'm always going to have to do extravagant things to prove my love to him, to validate his importance to me.

I cancelled a business trip I needed to go on for him. I did it willingly, cheerfully and came to him with it and proposed it as a sacrifice for him. So he could feel more important than my job. I am working on this trip to get him a watch, despite my own pain in feeling like 2nd rate compared to a cold piece of metal he can wear on his wrist.

I AM WORKING SO HARD TO NOT FEEL REJECTED. TO NOT FEEL BROKEN DOWN BY HIS REJECTIONS. TO VALIDATE MYSELF THAT I AM DOING MY BEST AND THAT I AM WORTH BEING IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH JUST FOR BEING WHO I AM AND FOR MY OWN SAKE. Not for what I can buy/get/do/prove to anyone else. I AM WORKING SO HARD TO VALIDATE MY SELF AND NOT NEED IT FROM EVEN MY OWN HUSBAND.

I'm just so mad, sad and hurt at a deep level. This has been going on for years. BH justifies his extravagance because of my behaviors. He inflicts more pain on me and then, when I lash out, uses that as an excuse to be selfish and inflict more pain in his selfishness. Then he can blame me some more and justify some more. Justify his spiritual and emotional A with my friend. Justify his near bankrupting of our family. Justifying his cruel behavior in baiting and switching time and bonding and intimacy with me. Justifying his emotional shut out. Justifying his contributions to our situation.

I'm owning my shit- I'm working VERY hard on not lashing out. I still have work to do on that and I failed last night. I still have work to do on enabling him and speaking up for my needs. I've come a long way with that. This trip was supposed to be 2 birds with one stone. The watch was going to be bought with our bonus money and not incur more debt on our budget. I have sacrificed a purse and nice bday party to make up for my traffic ticket. I AM DOING MY WORK AND I AM MAKING IMPROVEMENTS.

It's been going on for years and on days like this, where I'm hurting and angry from the hurt built up over the years, I give up hope of making the relationship work.

I worked so hard to have him feel important, loved and cared for. I failed on a few occasions. I'm just not sure that me scrambling so hard to show/prove/sacrifice for him are even worth it any more if HE DOESN'T WANT TO SEE IT AND CHANGE HIS OWN LENSES. When am I ever going to be allowed to be enough?

WW Dday July 2019

posts: 656   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 6:58 PM on Monday, January 10th, 2022

I still feel rejected. I still feel like the watch is more important to him than I am. I feel punished by him with him wanting this watch (THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS) as an atonement for my failures in the relationship. I feel like it's never going to be enough (I got him a $5k watch just last year). Like if I get him everything he needs/wants, there's always going to be another hoop for me to jump through for him to feel loved by me. That I'm always going to have to do extravagant things to prove my love to him, to validate his importance to me.

I think you're absolutely right about that. The guy appears to be 100% comfortable being a passive-agressive TIME BOMB. He's got you walking on eggshells and then any time you do question him about why he's acting like that, he goes off, turning it back on you with ridiculous statements about how you didn't approach him right. shocked

I'm just so mad, sad and hurt at a deep level. This has been going on for years. BH justifies his extravagance because of my behaviors. He inflicts more pain on me and then, when I lash out, uses that as an excuse to be selfish and inflict more pain in his selfishness. Then he can blame me some more and justify some more. Justify his spiritual and emotional A with my friend. Justify his near bankrupting of our family. Justifying his cruel behavior in baiting and switching time and bonding and intimacy with me. Justifying his emotional shut out. Justifying his contributions to our situation.

This is your truth, and yet you seem to go from recognition of this truth straight to placating him over and over and over again. I think at a certain point, you need to ask yourself if what you're getting out of this marriage is worth the constant emotional beat-downs. What is he doing on his end to make this better???


ETA: I hope that buying him a new watch is something you'll take off the table. We can't BUY love. I wouldn't spend another dime on ANYTHING until I was certain I didn't need that money for a divorce.

[This message edited by ChamomileTea at 7:02 PM, Monday, January 10th]

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 8708884
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 MIgander (original poster member #71285) posted at 8:46 PM on Monday, January 10th, 2022

Hi CT,

Thanks for the response.

This is your truth, and yet you seem to go from recognition of this truth straight to placating him over and over and over again.

That's the problem with sorting out this whole mess. I have MY truths. I've used my truths to justify an affair. I'm an unreliable narrator to say the LEAST.

I'm trying to sort out things I've gaslighted my self on and things BH has gaslighted me on.

Things that are my responsibility:
-Forgiving BH for his passive-aggressive-avoidance
-Stop enabling his behavior (no more expensive watches- last one wasn't enough...)
-Be more attuned to my filters (rejection and abandonment are huge triggers for me)
-Find more ways to validate (not GASLIGHT) myself. Internally focus on I statements ("I feel this when he does that," not "He is such a *negative thing*, so I have to do this to defend/fulfill myself.")
-Be more accountable for my contributions to situations, and allow BH to be accountable for his

Things that are NOT my responsibility:
-MAKING him feel special and important
-Fulfilling his every want for expensive luxury items (and really he thinks the mechanical aspects of the watches are cool)
-MAKING him respond to me in a graceful manner when I do mess up
-Unreasonably accommodating and allowing controlling responses to my behavior
-Taking on an unfair amount of the burden of making this thing work.

BH has brought up divorce recently. When he does (this isn't the first or the last), he says that if we do he'll still be there for me and take care of me. I know he would like to think that about himself, however, if we do divorce, he's not going to be a part of my life except for the kids. I can't help that it's his own martyr syndrome though, "I do so much for my family, no one does anything for me. I'm not appreciated and no one else does as much as I do. These other people (usually SIL or BIL) get so much praise and attention without giving back (usually to my MIL and FIL). And yet, MIL/FIL do all these things for them without them doing anything in return." I think him promising to help me after we divorce (if we divorce) is more of the same. A way to justify to himself how much better than everyone else he is and how he's the martyr and unappreciated.

If we do divorce, I'm not letting him help me with anything but the kids. I'm a grown ass woman and can manage my own business.

One thing I do want to clarify:

turning it back on you with ridiculous statements about how you didn't approach him right


He did not say I didn't approach it right. I came to that conclusion myself as I could have done a better job being sensitive to his feelings and energy level. I wanted to have the conversation, he didn't. I wanted to talk right then, he didn't. I wanted to show him the hotels I found, he didn't want me to find them by myself.

He wanted more of a back and forth discussion of this, where we could have made decisions together. Only thing is, his "glasses" only wanted to see more of my selfishness/steam rolling. He didn't want to see that I was trying to listen to him with my actions. Instead of a discussion of hotels, he really wanted to have a discussion about his hurt feelings from the past few days.

Thing is, it's HIS RESPONSIBILITY to come to me with his emotions. I can ask him about it (and I did at several points in the day- I could tell something was up). I can't make him talk about it though. And if I'm approaching to discuss a specific topic, it's his responsibility to stop me politely and change the subject to what is bothering him ("I really don't want to discuss this right now, let's save it for a later time. I'm feeling XYZ about ABC. Can we talk about that instead?").

The whole thing reeked of expectations of mind reading and me having to have some ESP to pick up on his feelings. He's avoidant in discussing his emotions with me (too much risk of rejection, I get volatile in my reactions- but I'm actually getting A TON better). Often times I feel hijacked in our conversations together.

As for:

What is he doing on his end to make this better???


He's in IC right now, he's doing MC with me. We're starting to use the tools our MC has provided (formal dialogue prompts to get through difficult discussions and gratitude scripts). He's starting to at least admit that it's not my responsibility to MAKE him happy. He's having a tough time accepting that and taking responsibility for that. He's angry many of the times that he has to be the one to schedule/ drive/ push the things he wants to do (hence me trying to set up this trip for him). The fact though that he's even making time for his own friends and interests, is good. He still expresses his dissatisfaction that I don't do more of the date planning, and that when I do, I tend to plan things I'm more interested in than him. That I should remember all the restaurants and bars he wants to try and make sure it happens w/ sitters and reservations.

He's also made it a point to keep us on budget. He's also making it a point to do things for me like build a few garden beds, he's bought me a necklace and gets me clothes sometimes. We did go on trips this summer and one this fall. All of which I organized (which I enjoy!) and he picked the locations. The trip I really wanted to go on, I ended up cancelling as he didn't want to do it and I booked it myself with our family of friends. He gave up his sports car and got a practical pickup truck for the family (it's new, but he hates driving it).

He's been looking at rings for himself and me. He wants me to get him one, surprise him with it and ask to marry him over again. He's not ready for it now, but hopes I can do it in the future. He wants me to make the proposal as/more special than the one he did for me. He's open to getting recommitted, once I've done the work of making him feel special.

It's frustrating though because he moves the bar so often and pushes me away so hard when we begin to make progress. It's like he has this script in his head that he's so special and works so hard and does so much for our family that he's a martyr. He has been stepping up on the dishes, does his own laundry (because I don't fold right and have shrunk a sweater of his), helps with the kids' HW, corrals the kids and reminds them of things like chores and HW. He helps manage the money (with more or less success), is building a basement (primarily for his enjoyment, but we will enjoy it too as a family), cleans the garage, mows the lawn and helps his parents with heavy objects.

He's been making more of an effort to say nice things to me about how I look or cleaning the house or caring for the kids. He's been making more of an effort to be open to hanging out and asking me for my company. He says he likes my company and wants more of it- that he gets frustrated when I don't hang out with him more. He's been more open about his need for sex and has been more positive about the kind of sex we're having.

He does have trouble keeping positive about me when he's upset (we all do, hah!). At those times he'll say, "What do you want me to be? Like your mom's husband Jeff? He just sucks it up and says only great things about her and tells her she's great all the time." I cried after the last time I saw Jeff at Christmas. He was telling me how proud he was of my mother and all the hard advocacy work she's doing for to preserve the natural habitat where they live. It was a good 15min discussion. I can't remember or even think of BH ever speaking that positively of me for that long. Ever. To me or to anyone. I just don't know that he's capable of it. Except for our "friend" D... who he compared me to.

(ANOTHER CHANCE FOR ME TO FORGIVE AND MOVE ON, HE SEES NOW THAT IT WAS WRONG TO COMPARE ME TO OTHER WOMEN.) These are the thoughts I have to shout in my mind. I'm really not sure if it's gaslighting myself or if it's me talking myself out of my crazy.

I think at a certain point, you need to ask yourself if what you're getting out of this marriage is worth the constant emotional beat-downs.

And that's what I've been asking myself off and on throughout our marriage. Especially on days like today. It's another white knuckle day where I'm not letting go of the outcome and desperately trying to please him so he'll stay. I'm scared to divorce- of what will happen to me and the kids.

I am getting positive things out of this marriage. Just not the level of security (he revealed more things about a relationship at work- I'll post that in MH ICR thread), positivity, warmth and generosity that I am wanting in my life long companion.

WW Dday July 2019

posts: 656   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
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BraveSirRobin ( Guide #69242) posted at 3:39 AM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

MIgander, I meant to post this thread for you earlier, but I don't think I got back to it. (Apologies if I did and it's a duplicate!) I had the same questions as you about how to start trusting my inner voice after using it so much to justify the unjustifiable.

https://www.survivinginfidelity.com/topics/652945/the-tipping-point/

WW/BW

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 MIgander (original poster member #71285) posted at 5:21 PM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

Hi BSR,

Thanks for forwarding the thread.

I think I'm at the point where I've been working on my shit more than BH likely has. I've also been looking back at our relationship and seeing that it wasn't just me with shit for boundaries.

It's no longer me looking for excuses for my affair, but rather doing an inventory of my BH's character and trying to understand the person I actually married, vs. the self-gaslighted version I created in my head.

I've been carrying the narrative that I'm an inferior person with too many problems who only brought difficulty, trouble and baggage into our marriage. Only now, I'm seeing that I am a person who has experienced difficulty, had troubles and is now beginning to drop the baggage I used to carry. I did bring baggage with past abuse, a dysfunctional narcissistic unsupportive family and a TON of insecurities and mental health problems.

However, I do bring a strong work ethic, a fighter mentality, intelligence, strong desire to build people up and develop their talents, high energy, curiosity and enthusiasm. I'm a high earner, creative, in good shape and attractive and neat in my person. I'm physically healthy, mostly upbeat, eager to help and interested in helping others in their own struggles. I'm a good cook and a great hostess and love feeding people and welcoming them into my home. I am rebuilding my values of honesty in relational situations, eager to continue with self improvement and actively working on improving my communication and empathy skills. I know how to stretch a buck, hate debt with a passion, and am working hard on my enabling and people pleasing. I've re-established safe boundaries with the opposite sex, stopped complaining of my marital issues to others, have a strong faith in God and am grateful every day for the opportunity to improve myself and heal from the shitty start on life I had. I'm grateful for the opportunity too to improve my marriage and help my spouse heal as best I can. I'm an empathetic parent, patient with the kids (for the most part... haha), discipline by building up rather than tearing down. I have a sense of adventure and fun.

I really lost sight of all that I have to offer in our M, largely due to BH's negativity and comparisons to other women. I bought into his gaslighting about our marital problems, his coldness, indifference and financial abuse due to my own self esteem problems. I enabled him in his bad coping skills by blaming myself, resenting him (and giving him more fodder for his own justifications), neglecting my own needs and looking for validation in all the wrong places. I overlooked his shit boundaries with other women, his own unhealthy interest and pining ("If only you were more like her. You should see her body now she's a body builder. I missed out on your high school friend Gina when she was "skinny Gina"- too bad she was dating someone else!"). I tolerated his justifications for his shit behaviors because I had so much poor behavior on my own end.

The more I wake up to these things, the more angry I get. Then my old self-gaslighting, self shaming and rationalizations and excusing jumps in to trap me in my old way of thinking. These are the inner demons I am battling. The thoughts I'm working to "take captive" and the ground I am battling on. Instead of fighting my BH and blaming him for my thoughts, I'm learning to battle as St. Paul tells us to- battle in the mind, fight with the internal demons that entrap me in my own unkindness to myself and self justification of my own acting out.

I think some of this "waking up" was occurring before my affair. I saw my husband giving the emotional intimacy, positivity, warmth and spiritual closeness to another woman. Before that, I had given up on having that with him and assumed he was incapable of it. Seeing him with his other woman like that was a slap in my face. It screamed that he was capable, but he was CHOOSING not to share that with me. However, because I was so negative about myself, I internalized that I must not be worthy of that kind of love and attention. Until my AP started showing me that attention. Which was another "wake up" for me. I WAS worthy of that kind of attention and care- AP was showing it to me, so there MUST be something wrong with BH that he can't see it too. Then, in my anger, hurt and rage, I made another assumption about my BH: that he KNOWS he's hurting me (and he did- lie to himself all he wants, he was a shit husband) and he is doing it intentionally because he despises me. Then I said FUCK YOU I'm out and instead of divorcing him, I chose an affair.

That was my brokenness. That I chose an affair over divorce. I let my fears and insecurities rule me- seeking validation from AP and being too chicken to stand on my own and D my husband. A healthy person wouldn't have needed an AP to wake them up to the fact that they are worthy of love and care. A healthy person wouldn't have allowed the abusive behavior from their spouse to continue for years. A healthy person wouldn't have put up with themselves justifying their own shitty abusive behavior because of their spouse's shitty behavior.

I'm becoming that healthier person now. I'm realizing where I went wrong, where I continue to struggle, what I need to improve in my relationship and communication with my BH. My BH is coming in late to the game. He's shown a willingness to change, to make improvements. We are communicating better than we had before. What's hard right now is his attitude toward the process. A lot of the improvements he's making in terms of his own assertiveness (doing for himself and his own happiness that he can do for himself) come with the price tag of resentment. It's showing me that he hasn't come to the acceptance that he is responsible for his own choices, his own happiness, his own hurtful behavior. He's making external progress. Let's hope he can "fake it until he makes it" going forward.

Basically, I'm learning to make myself more accountable to myself- not just for the negative, but for the positive too. In turn, I am becoming less tolerant of BH's past BS and looking closely at him to see if HE is the person I want to have as MY life partner. I'm seeing small amounts of progress, but his own accountability for the past shit and his current issues relating to avoidance and other women is lacking. He hasn't built up the capability for saying, "I am sorry I chose XYZ behavior. I did it knowing you feel ABC about it. I'm sorry I hurt you and am working toward changing this behavior."

OH! And one other thing. We were talking about positive vs negative communication. It made me think back to all the greeting cards he would buy but never give to me. I love greeting cards- the sentimental ones with flowers and whatnot. I'm a sucker for them. He would buy them, then tell me about them. Then I would do something to disappoint/hurt him. Then he would leave the card in a prominent place until the occasion (Mother's Day, anniversary, birthday, Valentines Day, whatever) had passed by- months later. Usually I would read them and then feel like they were a lie as he clearly didn't really mean to give them to me. I mean, if you buy a card for someone, you give it to them. Otherwise, why buy it?

I would tell him of my hurt over this. He would then say things like, "Well you pissed me off, so I didn't feel like giving it to you anymore. If you didn't piss me off, I would give you greeting cards." It's logical on the surface, but manipulative in practice. To me, it says, "If you behave in XYZ way, I will give you the affection I know you crave." Basically, he was purposefully holding the normal positive affection that a person would give their spouse HOSTAGE. It was MANIPULATION. I would gaslight myself saying, "well, I did hurt him, so I must not really deserve his affection." Which is BULL SHIT. And then BH would wonder why I wasn't doing things for him, why I was so upset with him all the time. It's like, really, would it kill you to show the affection you apparently felt when you bought the card buy just giving me the damn card anyway? Gee, and then maybe I'd have enough emotional energy to be affectionate, forgiving, loving and helpful back. My emotional energy wouldn't be so DAMN DRAINED BY HIS HURTFUL MANIPULATIONS.

How much fucking energy does it take to sign the card, seal it and hand it over when you buy it? It's like, holding on to it, he's waiting for me to fuck up, hurt him and then have a reason to tell me how I didn't deserve the affection he felt when he bought the card.

Sigh. Much more work to be done in forgiving him. He has much more work to do to fix himself and be a spouse I want to spend the rest of my life with.

Just as I do for him. That's the kicker- I'm realizing now in a healthy way that I deserve a spouse that is worthy of me too.

WW Dday July 2019

posts: 656   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8709072
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 8:08 PM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

I'm realizing now in a healthy way that I deserve a spouse that is worthy of me too.

Good for you! There are very few things that piss me off more than dealing with passive-aggressive people. I hate the games and the self-righteous snark, as if being conflict-avoidant could be something to be self-righteous about. There's something sneaky and vicious about that behavior, like the perpetrator of it gets some kind of secret thrill out of it. I hate the pouting and the gaslighting when you call them on it. And I'll be honest with you, I put up with that shit for YEARS before my fWH went off the deep end. I don't put up with it anymore, I can tell you that. And life is BETTER when you're not playing this stupid cat and mouse game of "I'm-pissy-but-you-don't-get-to-know-what-it's-really-about".

I get what you're saying about not being able to trust your judgment yet when it comes to your self-talk. That makes it hard. And passive-aggessive behavior is tough to call out too. The perpetrator of it always has a ready excuse for why they were acting that way which invariably leads to an unpleasant "he said/she said". Maybe this is something you can address in therapy, but IME, passive-aggressive people don't change their ways until you're willing to be done with them rather than tolerate any more of it.

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 8709110
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EllieKMAS ( member #68900) posted at 11:09 PM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

MIgander, FWIW I think you are really doing a good job at digging in to your stuff. It seems to me like you are really looking at how your behaviors (both good and bad) have had an effect on those around you. That miles further than my xwh was ever willing to go and I truly commend you for your efforts.

I know it's so hard to do this from both sides, but I think it's important to really separate your affair from your marriage issues. I said this on a thread in general to a BS earlier, but I think it's just as relevant for WS's too. You had an affair, and you know now just how far beyond the pale that is and you know that your marriage is not your 'why' for that. You really seem to be working on you and your reactions and your words and genuinely trying to see things from others' perspectives and that is all good stuff. But I will say this. The fact that you had an affair does NOT give him a right to punish you for it forever and make everything a tit-for-tat.

As a BS, I can tell you that the hardest part of it for me when I was attempting R was not tying every single action my xwh did back to 'but he cheated on me'. That was part of MY journey and MY work, as it is for most BS's. You do not have to martyr yourself to his emotions because you had an affair. He is responsible for his own self and all the watches in the world won't make him feel better if he isn't willing to do his work. Though your affair may have shook loose a lot of things for him (which I am sure it did), you can only do so much to help him with his recovery. If he isn't willing to accept his own accountability and work on his own healing, then not much you can do will ultimately help him.

You are worthy of love and affection. You are worthy of a partner that is willing to work with you to build a better M from this. You are worthy of being treated with respect and honesty. You are worthy of being forgiven.

"No, it's you mothafucka, here's a list of reasons why." – Iliza Schlesinger

"The love that you lost isn't worth what it cost and in time you'll be glad that it's gone." – Linkin Park

posts: 3445   ·   registered: Nov. 22nd, 2018   ·   location: CO
id 8709171
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CaptainRogers ( member #57127) posted at 2:51 AM on Wednesday, January 12th, 2022

I worked so hard to have him feel important, loved and cared for. I failed on a few occasions. I'm just not sure that me scrambling so hard to show/prove/sacrifice for him are even worth it any more if HE DOESN'T WANT TO SEE IT AND CHANGE HIS OWN LENSES. When am I ever going to be allowed to be enough?

This is the EXACT reason I wrote the post about the glasses and how we see one another. It can be immensely frustrating to do the same thing over and over and over, only to have it either overlooked or discarded entirely. At some point, I think we all (BS, WS, MH) just want to shout "why do I even try!?!" It's like Charlie Brown just shouting "Good Grief!" when he's fed up. You just can't help but feel like giving up.

That's where OUR glasses come in. As much as we would love grace poured out over us, we need to pour that grace back on them as well.

In reading through the "you" statements that your husband seems to have used, I'm struck by just how important it is to use "I" statements. My wife has (and sometimes still does) steamrolled me for years. From taking over things to just saying "this is the way it's going to be", that is how she has actually avoided conflict over the years. Rather than addressing it by saying "you're steamrolling me" (which is an accusatory & inflammatory statement), I've learned to say "I'm feeling steamrolled here." That gives her the opportunity to either reflect and say "I'm sorry for steamrolling you" or to say "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to present it that way" and then rephrase or use questioning to soften whatever it is we are talking about. Again, there are some self-advocate things that can be done to get put of that cycle. Often when we receive the "you" statements, we become defensive because it feels like an attack. But, if we can put those grace glasses on, we can disarm the "you" attack by simply saying "I'm sorry it came out that way. What I meant to say/ask/etc. was..." and we can often correct the path of that conversation.

All that to say, you guys have a lot of room for growth. I see a heart in you that wants to get there, but you are also tired and feeling beaten down. Give grace to yourself as well. Allow yourself time to rest & recuperate. This is a long, hard fight for the relationship and you WILL feel like giving up often.

Feeling like giving up is OK. It's normal. And that's where the ultimate battle rages. You have to ask yourself whether you are willing to continue fighting FOR your marriage. If you are, and it WILL seem like a full, 12-round championship fight, you have to be sure to rest enough between the rounds in order to keep fighting.

My encouragement to you comes from the immortal words of Jim Valvano: Don't give up. Don't ever give up.

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 8709201
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 MIgander (original poster member #71285) posted at 3:46 AM on Wednesday, January 12th, 2022

Thanks everyone for the encouragement.

Captain, I have been feeling like giving up off and on for several years. It is exhausting. For both of us. Lately, I'm trying to hang on to the changes we're making. "Room for growth" is going to be my tagline for this year laugh .

It's funny you mentioned your wife steam rolling you and your efforts to stop the "you..." and turn it into "I feel..." BH is working on that too. We had a long discussion tonight and he actually stopped himself saying "you always steamroll me" to "I'm feeling steamrolled again." From that point, I had the space to take a breath, collect myself and apologize. We were then able to continue the conversation.

There were a lot of pauses, breathing and collecting going on... on both ends.

Ellie, this hit me from your post:

He is responsible for his own self and all the watches in the world won't make him feel better if he isn't willing to do his work. Though your affair may have shook loose a lot of things for him (which I am sure it did), you can only do so much to help him with his recovery. If he isn't willing to accept his own accountability and work on his own healing, then not much you can do will ultimately help him.


This is exactly what we were talking about tonight- the gifts he's been able to give me and the gifts I've been unable to give to him. How he feels beaten down for wanting the things he wants to the point that when he gets them, the joy is sucked out of having them.

He sees himself as giving freely of himself by giving me (insert here a necklace, a move into a different house, a family trip). However, he often comes back after the fact with his complaints of, "I gave you this and you're not giving me that" or "you had no problem with me buying you this, but there's always a reason for you not to give XYZ to me." These comments after the fact take any enjoyment I had in receiving the present as it now is tainted with guilt. In addition to that, because of our unbalanced financial arrangement (he has a family trust fund which I have no access to), money which is almost always tight is made to magically appear for these gifts for me (or for himself...). It's like I have no idea what's going on in the finances in the mystery trust fund that enable him to suggest a trip and buy me a necklace when we're behind on bills. I'm so beat down from the uncertainty and stress of not paying bills on time that when he offers me an escape, I jump at it. Which is not healthy of me in the long run. I need to say, "well, that trip would be nice. How about we plan it after we catch up on bills?"

As for getting him the cross necklace he wants now in a spontaneous manner, I lack confidence that I can splurge on a $500 piece of jewelry for him. When I go to use the joint funds that I have access to for things like the car wash I got this week, it's questioned and criticized. How much more am I going to get criticized by him if I went off and bought him a cross necklace he's been wanting? How am I going to "sacrifice" out of our budget to save up for it when we're getting shut off notices from the gas company again?

I pointed these things out to him, "these expectations are putting me in an impossible position, between pleasing you in a way that is your apology language and managing our finances responsibly." He seemed to understand. Then said, "well you can sell some of your jewelry to make this happen." shocked I didn't respond to that. I suppose I could, but it would have been better for me to come up with it on my own. I don't want to sell jewelry that my sister, mom and aunts have given to me. I can do that this time, get maybe $500 for it all (it's nice, but not terribly fancy stuff). I really don't see the point- the money is going to be used for his want. He'll enjoy it for a while, but then there will be another hole in his life he'll try to fill with another luxury item.

At the end of the discussion, we were able to come to he heart of what his "hole" is. It's not the watch/jewelry/whatever that he wants. What he wants is for us to work together towards his goals (be it a finished basement, $$ watch, whatever), so he can feel like we are a team. He wants us to be a team. I want that too. I can be a team player and on board for things that really are a team goal, like maintaining our finances. It's the ideas that he has about being a team that bother me. The goals are typically set around him. When they are set around my wishes, it's a burden and something he's doing to martyr himself for me. Like what I want is taking away from what he wants. And it's usually served up with a side of guilt when he's feeling unfulfilled or upset. Setting our goals around buying him another expensive watch, when he already has so many, feels like a goal that serves only him and not myself or our children. My goals are usually centered around things everyone can enjoy and bond over- a trip somewhere new, going to dinner together (couple or family), having friends over, activities for the kids to enjoy (like learning a sport or skill). I don't know, aside from the purse I want for my bday, I really don't know how much I want that is JUST for me that is a burden to our budget.

I'm sorting this out to check in with myself that my desires and wishes aren't entirely self centered or unrealistic. I do keep wanting more trips and more outings and more memories. I am not satisfied with only one vacation together or only one dinner out together, etc. I'm not satisfied with only having a few good memories and opportunities for us to relax and come together away from our daily grind. I can't help but see this as different from his dissatisfaction with not having another watch, even if it was given perfectly freely and as a shared effort. The fact that I'm just as happy going out to a dive bar for burgers as I am going to a 4* restaurant and that I'd love to go camping as much as I would love an all inclusive resort, I can honestly say that I have a healthy sense of the reality of our situation and can tailor my expectations accordingly.

I'm afraid that's the work my BH has to do for himself. That he has to figure out how to tailor his expectations to the reality of our situation. Not that I'm asking him to put up with bullshit from me, but that he needs to learn to either accept what is realistic materially available. This lack of flexibility has extended to his expectations surrounding my organizational skills, stress tolerance and the genuine gifts/abilities I can or cannot offer to him in our relationship.

I'm learning to question what I can and cannot tolerate. What behaviors I can extend grace to and what I won't put up with. Trying to learn what I can honestly accept in my life and what I won't put up with. This means that he is being scrutinized and I am finding things that I need his help with in our marriage (freezing me out, unrealistic expectations). He doesn't have to like it, any more than I have to like what his requirements are for a successful marriage. We just have to learn to accept and work toward healing together. Or apart.

WW Dday July 2019

posts: 656   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8709207
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CaptainRogers ( member #57127) posted at 6:58 PM on Wednesday, January 12th, 2022

What he wants is for us to work together towards his goals (be it a finished basement, $$ watch, whatever), so he can feel like we are a team. He wants us to be a team. I want that too. I can be a team player and on board for things that really are a team goal...

As a professional who deals with things like this often, this is where there needs to be some professional guidance. I can't tell you how many times I've had to tell one spouse or the other that the "goal" being presented isn't a "we" goal...it's a "me" goal. I see it all the time in the financial world. Then we talk through what the "we" goal is that would be similar to the "me" goal that was presented. Without a shared vision, the financial goal isn't getting the buy-in from both of you and the teamwork towards it won't happen.

Same is true with any other vision that requires teamwork in order to find success. Perhaps the teamwork concept is something that needs to be discussed with a counselor of some sort (whether that's an MC, pastor, mentor couple, etc.).

If he hears it from the "outside", it may have more of a potential for sticking.

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 8709315
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EllieKMAS ( member #68900) posted at 7:56 PM on Wednesday, January 12th, 2022

because of our unbalanced financial arrangement (he has a family trust fund which I have no access to), money which is almost always tight is made to magically appear for these gifts for me (or for himself...). It's like I have no idea what's going on in the finances in the mystery trust fund that enable him to suggest a trip and buy me a necklace when we're behind on bills.

This jumped out at me. I was the breadwinner in my M and my xwh had a whole bunch of lofty ideas about what 'we' should do too - and he meant really 'what he wanted to do that I was to pay for'.

My question on that is this. You two are married. Why is worrying about the finances/paying the bills on time ALL on you? Especially when your H clearly has a trust fund with enough in it to pay for a $7500 watch?? Granted I am single now and my financial sitch is way better, but for me that would be grounds for a D right there. That's just not okay IMHO.

I pointed these things out to him, "these expectations are putting me in an impossible position, between pleasing you in a way that is your apology language and managing our finances responsibly." He seemed to understand. Then said, "well you can sell some of your jewelry to make this happen."

This is the thing - and it was a good catch on your part. To me this reads that 1. you buying him lavish gifts is supposedly going to make up for the A (spoiler: it will not), and 2. that subconsciously he is doing this precisely SO you will never meet his expectations, so then he can say "see? see how you are?" Mind you, I don't think that's necessarily evil or intentional - I think it's a really farked up response on his part to his pain and a lack of emotional intelligence. But either way, that is still part of his own healing work that he needs to do. And as much as I think your intentions are pure-hearted in doing these things for him, I also see you enabling that monster by so doing.

I'm learning to question what I can and cannot tolerate. What behaviors I can extend grace to and what I won't put up with. Trying to learn what I can honestly accept in my life and what I won't put up with. This means that he is being scrutinized and I am finding things that I need his help with in our marriage (freezing me out, unrealistic expectations). He doesn't have to like it, any more than I have to like what his requirements are for a successful marriage. We just have to learn to accept and work toward healing together. Or apart.

You know, this was a really hard exercise for me to do as a BS. I can only imagine it is even more challenging as a WS. But you are allowed to have your must-haves too, and your list of the things you want from your M. IMO so long as those things are realistic and clearly communicated, then it's totally fine for both parties to have that. And as we tell BS's all the time - you can't R alone. And you can't. He needs to be willing to take the reins on his own healing and his stuff just as much as you've taken your reins.

Hang in there - none of this is easy!

"No, it's you mothafucka, here's a list of reasons why." – Iliza Schlesinger

"The love that you lost isn't worth what it cost and in time you'll be glad that it's gone." – Linkin Park

posts: 3445   ·   registered: Nov. 22nd, 2018   ·   location: CO
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 MIgander (original poster member #71285) posted at 5:23 PM on Thursday, January 13th, 2022

Thanks Capn and Ellie for sticking with me here on your thread, your input is really helping me.

Without a shared vision, the financial goal isn't getting the buy-in from both of you and the teamwork towards it won't happen.

We talked about that just this morning. I admitted that I often "went along to get along" but secretly didn't agree. Then I would (not so secretly) refuse play my part of the plan. We discussed the ways we view money and gifts and WE goals vs. ME goals. The conversation is too tricky to be had and work out the details, but we were able to establish a purpose for future discussions with MC about it. That was helpful in and of itself. We're going to do focused work on understanding, empathizing and accommodating each other's philosophy on the use of our resources. Until we get to the heart of that and work out the larger hurts surrounding finances, we're not going to make permanent improvements in money management. That alone is a relief- that he wants to work on it as much as I do. Typically we both avoid the subject.

Also, Chamomile, I reread your comments and this stuck out to me:

There's something sneaky and vicious about that behavior, like the perpetrator of it gets some kind of secret thrill out of it. I hate the pouting and the gaslighting when you call them on it. And I'll be honest with you, I put up with that shit for YEARS...


I was making assumptions about my husband getting something thrilling about it when he would repeatedly hurt me. We were in MC yesterday and discussing the manipulation and abuse. For so many years, BH wouldn't acknowledge and own the pain his actions were causing me. I would get so frustrated because I was doing my best (by yelling and screaming barf ) to get it through his thick head that I was in pain. He would write me off as crazy and bitchy and unsafe. Eventually, I made the assumption that since he HAD to KNOW what his actions were doing to me, that he HAD to BE INTENTIONAL about doing them. Doing them TO PURPOSELY hurt me.

It was then that I labeled him as "abuser" and "manipulator"- it became an integral part of how I viewed him. Another lens.

In session, BH was able to open up about the ways my labels would hurt and degrade him. For a while before my A and after it, I was watching him carefully to see if he was a narcissist. I learned up about narcissism, the behaviors involved, and was doing my own covert evaluation of him. For a while, it looked like he was narcissistic. Then, as I was able to gain more insight into his behaviors and see how he was becoming capable of empathy, it became clearer that he wasn't a narcissist. Narcissists CAN'T or REFUSE to change. BH is just someone who, as Ellie pointed out, has "a lack of emotional intelligence." I can empathize with that as my parents were pretty narcissistic and BH's FOO doesn't do feelings- they suppress, gaslight and deny them. He didn't have a chance to learn from them how to be open, honest and healthy in coping with them.

Anyway, the abuse was abuse and the manipulations are manipulations. Turns out he was doing them as our MC pointed out as maladaptive coping strategies. Or, as I see it- unhealthy lashing out. BH struggles with empathy as he isn't even sure (until recent IC work and it's still ongoing) what HE was feeling himself. He was disconnected from his own self and therefore couldn't connect to others. Especially when the other was his wife who was always upset with him.

For so long, I wouldn't let him in because I saw him as an abuser and manipulator. You don't let those kind of people into your heart, right? Meanwhile, I was instead pursuing "friendships" of my own at work (as he was pursuing his...) to get my emotional intimacy needs met. I assumed BH was an asshole since he acted like one. At the time, yeah, he was. I gave up on him ever changing because he wasn't. He was satisfied remaining the way he was because he could justify it by my behavior being so hurtful to him. Quite lazy and not very introspective. I used that to justify my own laziness- if he couldn't be bothered doing work on HIM why should I? Introspection hasn't really been as much a problem for me.

Anyway, during session we dove into how the forced vasectomy DESTROYED ME. I was PPD and in a very vulnerable position being a SAHM with precarious finances- I relied on him for everything. During the 1.5yrs between my daughter being conceived and me caving in to his demand for vasectomy, I was denied all forms of emotional and physical intimacy. Even though I was CRYING OUT for them, he still slept on the floor, refused to kiss me deeply on the lips, refused to do more than hug or hold hands. Even that was something I had to press for. IT DESTROYED ME. I was rejected on all levels.

MC was able to connect that to my affair- my affair DESTROYED my BH. BH had refused to see the depth of pain and damage his actions over the years had affected me. It was my subconscious acting out to MAKE him see what he was doing to me by doing it back to him. That is a painful insight that I have to work on. BH isn't comfortable with it either. He's not sure he wants to be married to someone capable of lashing out in that devastating a manner. I don't disagree with him. I don't want to be the person capable of doing that.

Either way, it was when BH made the connection to just how damaging his vasectomy was that I saw him begin to realize the enormity of what he did. It's the beginning of empathy in him and encouraging to me. Also, being able to see my own harmful subconscious processes at work has given me more humility in dealing with my BH and his own unintentional manipulations.

WW Dday July 2019

posts: 656   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8709555
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 MIgander (original poster member #71285) posted at 3:21 PM on Friday, January 14th, 2022

This thread is becoming more like a journal... I just hope it's helpful to anybody out there.

BH and I discussed manipulations we've both done in our marriage. BH pointed out how manipulated he felt after I wrote D papers. He felt manipulated into IC. And he was. But I wasn't doing it with false motives. If he didn't do IC I was fully prepared to D him. So, my intent wasn't to manipulate and cause him pain as the core intent. It was to be absolutely clear with the circumstances in which I could continue the marriage. Yeah, I was inflicting pain which made it a shit move, but I didn't know how else to get through to him- it was something I had been requesting for years. The A and the fallout from it with his desolation and pain had exacerbated his hurtful behaviors. I could not remain in the marriage unless something drastically changed.

So, since I was being very truthful about what I wanted and needed, I'm not sure it was manipulation? If he didn't go into IC, I wouldn't have stayed.

We talked about our deeper needs in the relationship and how we're not meeting them. He has a deeper need for companionship. I have a deeper need to know our relationship is important and that I am important to him. Basically, I felt that since he refused MC/IC over the years, that our relationship wasn't important. He is exhausted by counseling and we had a few bad fits in our journey which made matters worse. I put him in an untenable place in his mind with my need for us to pay off debt and still take time out for vacations together. The solutions I offered though, like camping, were turned down and he went on hunting trips to Alberta anyway... I digress. He didn't know how to satisfy me. He was exhausted from our unhealthy dynamics and didn't have the emotional energy to do counseling. I wanted counseling because I could see I was draining him and he was miserable, just as I was. I wanted to be coached on how to relate to one another because our relationship is important to me and I knew we would both benefit from it.

So, my need to feel the relationship was important via making concerted efforts on BOTH our parts to change, and his need to feel the relationship is important through quality time just weren't being met. I don't want to hang out with someone who doesn't like me, doesn't value me in the relationship. He doesn't want to bother fixing something with someone who isn't meeting his needs. Vicious cycle.

Anyway, with all the struggles I'm having with not trusting his kindness- he was being affectionate and loving Wednesday night- I couldn't sleep last night. The kindness is inconsistent and usually comes out after he feels a real risk of me leaving. Like we discussed Tuesday- if he wants to annul the marriage and then legally divorce and see if we would choose each other again, I'm out. I'm not coming back. I'm not being with someone who would go through that method of "seeing if we would choose each other again." He would be the type of person that I would NOT choose. I'm not sure what to think about someone who would even think that would be an effective way of getting the validation and security he wants.

Our MC suggested we try looking at renewing our vows. BH said, yeah, we could look at that, and seemed open to doing that instead. duh

Anyway, we're both examining if we want to be with each other and why. BH says it's so hard because he stayed in the marriage so long for security and stability. Now with my A, that's been taken away. He says he wants to get that security back with me.

That's the only reason he came up with for why he stayed married to me. As a wife who has been invalidated, belittled and demeaned for so many years, it's not enough. I need someone who can rattle off at least 5 things about ME and my PERSONAL qualities that make ME as an INDIVIDUAL an appealing mate. Otherwise, he could go find security with anyone who's not me. Everyone else in the world didn't cheat on him. So yeah, I get that he's questioning why he's with me. I devastated him with my affair and killed any trust he had in me. Still, if we are going to renew vows with each other, I've realized that I'm going to need more in a partner than just, "you provided me with security." I'm a woman. Not a security blanket.

The reverse is true for me. Why am I with HIM? I can rattle off several reasons- he's funny and sweet (when he's feeling good/secure/listened to), he's pretty sexy and we're compatible in bed, he's a reliable father and provider, he's a hard worker, he's got many interests and has many good ideas for enjoying ourselves and having fun, he's a dedicated person to his family.

I'm trying to refocus on the good. I hope he can too.

It's also difficult for me to trust those closest to me- I was abused by my sister, neglected and belittled by my dad, used as an emotional security blanket by my mom. Those closest to me growing up caused so much damage that I don't give the benefit of the doubt to those closest to me. I didn't survive growing up in my family by trusting those who hurt me deeply.

BH has hurt me deeply. Just as I've hurt him deeply. Trust. Sigh.

WW Dday July 2019

posts: 656   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8709823
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EllieKMAS ( member #68900) posted at 5:58 PM on Friday, January 14th, 2022

So, since I was being very truthful about what I wanted and needed, I'm not sure it was manipulation? If he didn't go into IC, I wouldn't have stayed.

IIRC, going for counseling was one of your requirements/boundaries for R. Am I correct in that?

If I AM correct - then no it wasn't 'manipulation'. Boundaries are not manipulative if they are truly boundaries you are setting for YOU. They can be a manipulation if they are being set solely for trying to generate a behavior in the other person. In which case it is not a 'boundary'.

And just a note - YOUR boundaries can be set wherever YOU want them to be. If the other party feels 'manipulated' that is on them to own. Just my 0.02.

"No, it's you mothafucka, here's a list of reasons why." – Iliza Schlesinger

"The love that you lost isn't worth what it cost and in time you'll be glad that it's gone." – Linkin Park

posts: 3445   ·   registered: Nov. 22nd, 2018   ·   location: CO
id 8709892
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emergent8 ( member #58189) posted at 7:23 PM on Friday, January 14th, 2022

If I AM correct - then no it wasn't 'manipulation'. Boundaries are not manipulative if they are truly boundaries you are setting for YOU. They can be a manipulation if they are being set solely for trying to generate a behavior in the other person. In which case it is not a 'boundary'.

I would agree with this.

Like we discussed Tuesday- if he wants to annul the marriage and then legally divorce and see if we would choose each other again, I'm out. I'm not coming back. I'm not being with someone who would go through that method of "seeing if we would choose each other again." He would be the type of person that I would NOT choose. I'm not sure what to think about someone who would even think that would be an effective way of getting the validation and security he wants.

This causes me some pause. MIgander - forgive me, I don't think I know your story. Are you and your H Madhatters? Was his A the most recent? I know you are posting on Wayward, but you have a lot of grievances and requirements of your spouse at the moment for a Wayward trying to R. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely think that fixing underlying issues in the M are important to the R process but I'm just trying to get a sense of what the dynamic is here. As a BS, I truly cannot imagine trying to muster up the energy to try to R with someone who was unwilling to say that they would choose me to marry.

Just my observation but control seems to be an overarching theme of some of your most recent posts.

Me: BS, Him: WS. Mid-late 30s.
Together 15 years, married 6 (11 m at D-Day).
D-Day: Feb 2017 (8 m PA with married COW).
5 years (and two toddlers) into R. Happy.

posts: 912   ·   registered: Apr. 7th, 2017
id 8709903
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 MIgander (original poster member #71285) posted at 9:20 PM on Friday, January 14th, 2022

Hi emergent,

My affair was the most recent of the 2- PA with coworker. BH had a few years long EA with a close friend. Both of us have issues with control and both of us have issues with boundaries with the opposite sex.

With the whole "choosing each other again" thing, it wasn't the idea of "examining who we are now and whether we would be good partners going forward" that bothered me. It was what my BH proposed to do that- 1. seeking annulment, 2. If annulment a likely prospect, legally divorce 3. Continue to live together as brother amd sister until we can discern whether to remarry.

I know myself well enough now to know that if BH wanted to go through with a legal D, that I would know very clearly that he would not be someone I could partner with. If that sounds hypocritical of me after my A, maybe it is. It would be doing him a disservice though if I pretended otherwise. Just as BH gets to decide if my A was indeed a complete deal breaker, which he can at any moment now or in the future, I too can make similar decisions for myself.

Discernment and living as brother and sister until we know is completely acceptable to me. If that would help BH heal and more clearly discern, even a trial S would be acceptable. What isn't acceptable is foisting a legal D on me, the kids and all the stress and turmoil that entails without being DEAD sure you mean it (as I meant it when it was "You get into IC or I am out"). It is too much pain and suffering to inflict on me and the family if it's only to be "undone" by a remarriage. Nope. Not gonna happen.

Our MC suggested looking into renewing our vows instead of blowing everything up and throwing the baby out with the bath water. BH seemed open to it and hasn't mentioned discrenment via D since, but he has a history of turtling up amd shutting me out. He stops externally expressing his thoughts and seems to go along to get along until his resentment pops out somewhere else. So, I really dont know at this point whether his mind really has changed or if he has clammed up about it.

Either way, I am working out whether my BH was clueless in his suggested methods of working towards R, whether he genuinely wants a divorce deep down, or whether he truly does want to reconcile.

So far, his actions show him leaning toward reconciliation, but like any BS, he wavers back amd forth depending on the day.

WW Dday July 2019

posts: 656   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8709920
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emergent8 ( member #58189) posted at 11:02 PM on Friday, January 14th, 2022

Sorry, I'm still having trouble following. Let me see if I have this clear...

With the whole "choosing each other again" thing, it wasn't the idea of "examining who we are now and whether we would be good partners going forward" that bothered me. It was what my BH proposed to do that- 1. seeking annulment, 2. If annulment a likely prospect, legally divorce 3. Continue to live together as brother and sister until we can discern whether to remarry.

So let me get this straight. You guys are trying to R or at least trying to figure out if R is a possibility for you. His rationale for divorcing was kind of like a reset? To see if you would choose one another again? The whole, "our old marriage is over, lets build a new marriage together?" And your problem was NOT with the rationale behind it, or the idea of choosing one another again, but that it was too onerous to you and your family to go through the (not inconsiderable) hassle of a legal divorce? Is that right?

If so, why not say that? See if there is a way to accomplish his objective that maybe wouldn't be as costly/harmful. Why tell him that you would not choose him again if he decided to do that? That just seems like an incredibly hurtful/harmful/destructive thing to say. Showing up to a thumb war with a gun, if you will. Look, I wasn't there and I have no idea how this conversation went (and I mean this with no disrespect) but no wonder he shut down. I would have too.

I'm sure I'm missing something. Sorry, I'm just trying to understand.

Me: BS, Him: WS. Mid-late 30s.
Together 15 years, married 6 (11 m at D-Day).
D-Day: Feb 2017 (8 m PA with married COW).
5 years (and two toddlers) into R. Happy.

posts: 912   ·   registered: Apr. 7th, 2017
id 8709939
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Babette2008 ( member #69126) posted at 12:52 PM on Saturday, January 15th, 2022

Although this is an infidelity site, reading this thread it's hard not to be struck by the thread of financial stress in your marriage. You are not operating as a team financially. The extra baggage of the family trust that only seems to be available to buy gifts I'm sure doesn't help.

I hear over and over again in this thread that you don't hear from your spouse that he genuinely likes and respects you. His actions to you also don't show genuine care, liking and respect. And this is behavior that preceeded your affair. How long are you willing to wait in the hopes that he will change?


As ellekmas said

I know it's so hard to do this from both sides, but I think it's important to really separate your affair from your marriage issues. I said this on a thread in general to a BS earlier, but I think it's just as relevant for WS's too. You had an affair, and you know now just how far beyond the pale that is and you know that your marriage is not your 'why' for that. You really seem to be working on you and your reactions and your words and genuinely trying to see things from others' perspectives and that is all good stuff. But I will say this. The fact that you had an affair does NOT give him a right to punish you for it forever and make everything a tit-for-tat.

posts: 242   ·   registered: Dec. 14th, 2018
id 8709993
Topic is Sleeping.
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