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Reconciliation :
Conflicted feelings when WS cries

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 Tacit (original poster member #78985) posted at 3:49 PM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

DDay was just a little over a year ago. WW and I have been in R since October. During this time I have seen her crying a handful of times, particularly if the topic of our son who has cut her out gets brought up. She has said in MC that her biggest fear right now and one of the reasons for her crying is that she worries I'll come home one day and decide on D after all.

When I see her crying, for a microsecond, my first instinct is to go and comfort her like I used to. Part of me also thinks "Now you know a fraction of what I felt after DDay". Then my brain kicks in and I remind myself that these are the consequences of her own choices. Now, I just ask "what are you going to do?" and she usually replies with "be a better person" or something along those lines.

So now I'm left with the want to go and comfort her, this vindictive feeling and just apathy. I'm just not sure what to do as the BS.

Me: BH(48)

Her: WW(48)

Married for 23 years, 22 on DDay

Kids: Daughter(21) Son(19)

DDay: Eighth of June, 2021

posts: 68   ·   registered: Jun. 22nd, 2021   ·   location: São Paulo, Brazil
id 8740321
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Tanner ( member #72235) posted at 5:29 PM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

I’ve read here many times how the BS sometimes feels sorry for the WS. I didn’t understand it until I started to believe her remorse. My W was truly heartbroken over the realization she put her family at risk, she has always been family first.

One of the rules in our R is communication, when she would cry I would ask her to talk to me about it. I would not let her say "I’m a horrible person", no tell me what you are truly feeling. It really helped our communication and she felt comfortable opening up about it. In our R it has built some trust back.

You don’t have to kiss her ass, but if you believe her to be genuine, take it as an opportunity to talk about what’s going on with her, she needs to heal just like you.

Dday Sept 7 2019 doing well in R
BH M 31 years

posts: 1652   ·   registered: Dec. 5th, 2019   ·   location: Texas DFW
id 8740344
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 6:35 PM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

I think it really depends on what you think is really going on. If you think she's manipulating you, that's not very remorseful, is it? That would beg the question of why are you reconciling with an remorseful WS? If her emotions are sincere though, why wouldn't you comfort? Oftentimes, comforting leads to better emotional intimacy. Better attunement leads to more fulfilling companionship and even an increase in romance and sexual interest.

Back in the early days of R, I realized that I couldn't be standoffish or punitive if I wanted a meaningful reconciliation. I remember in one particular instance, and I've shared this one before, but I had gone grocery shopping and I noticed that my WH's favorite brand of ice cream was on sale. I reached for the freezer door, and then stopped. The fact of the matter is that my WH was no longer deserving of considerate little gestures. He had betrayed me in every possible way, so why would I do nice things for him? Wouldn't he consider that as a reward? Wouldn't he think I was stupid and undervaluing myself? But it boils down to this.. did I believe that he was sincere in his remorse? Did I believe that he was a good candidate for R? Did I even want R? And it turns out that I did, on all counts. So, I decided right there and then that when I caught myself withholding or punishing or otherwise in doubt, that I would behave naturally by acting in all things as I felt inclined by my own character to do. At the worst, I'd be proved wrong and so what? I can take it. I've survived already more than I thought I could.

My advice would be to be true to YOU. What is your nature? What do you believe about your WW and about your marriage? If you're a hugger, and you think she's sincere, and you still want R to work, what are you afraid will happen if you give in to your hugging nature? Face it and deal with it because THAT is the thing which is most likely causing the discomfort. Not unlike a splinter under the skin, things like that will bug you until you resolve them.

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: 5767   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8740360
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 Tacit (original poster member #78985) posted at 6:37 PM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

You don’t have to kiss her ass, but if you believe her to be genuine, take it as an opportunity to talk about what’s going on with her, she needs to heal just like you.

I hear you, but... I have a hard time with that. I mean, she caused this whole thing by having her affair in the first place. I get the feeling that I am being unjustly vindicative, but it's not my job to help her pick up the pieces after she messed everything up, right?

Me: BH(48)

Her: WW(48)

Married for 23 years, 22 on DDay

Kids: Daughter(21) Son(19)

DDay: Eighth of June, 2021

posts: 68   ·   registered: Jun. 22nd, 2021   ·   location: São Paulo, Brazil
id 8740362
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Dude67 ( member #75700) posted at 6:46 PM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

Tacit. It’s difficult to answer your question due to lack of context. The context lacking I believe is some detail on how R is going, the work your WW has done to fix herself and help repair your relationship, and the work you’ve done to help heal yourself from the trauma of her A.

posts: 486   ·   registered: Oct. 21st, 2020
id 8740363
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LIYA13 ( member #62026) posted at 7:40 PM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

You cant change who you are as a person. If you are a loving giving person than continue to be that person. Yes you may feel bitter inside but that bitterness will fade over time. If you have truly decided to reconcile and you have decided to give her another chance then be the loving person you are. It will help you heal as well.

There were times during reconciling with my WH that I wanted to punish him. He has serious back issues and I used to think to myself why should I help him get out of bed and help him with his day to day activities. I believed he deserved everything he got. But as I saw him suffer I realised Im not that person to watch another in pain. I cant do that as a human being. I know that I am a good person and I will not let myself become someone im not. I helped him heal and in doing so I think he realised that life without me isnt life at all. Hes been amazing since. Cant fault anything about him other than the A ofcourse. But like others have said, a BS also needs to heal.

So if youve given the gift of R dont make her feel any less deserving of it. Dont punish her just because you've decided to make this work. Youve given her a chance so work together to make a better future. You never know you might be happier than youve ever been.

posts: 157   ·   registered: Dec. 29th, 2017   ·   location: United Kingdom
id 8740371
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Tanner ( member #72235) posted at 7:52 PM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

but it's not my job to help her pick up the pieces after she messed everything up, right?

If you feel she is being genuine and you want to move forward in R, there is going to have to be some working together, you can’t put the M back together without working together. With that said, if there are unresolved issues, like manipulation, continuing to lie, then you aren’t there. I had to believe what I was seeing before I was ready to help her heal. You have to do R together and it took a year for me let her in.

[This message edited by Tanner at 7:54 PM, Wednesday, June 15th]

Dday Sept 7 2019 doing well in R
BH M 31 years

posts: 1652   ·   registered: Dec. 5th, 2019   ·   location: Texas DFW
id 8740374
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Oldwounds ( member #54486) posted at 8:08 PM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

The heavy lifting for the relationship rebuild is on the shoulders of the WS. At least that’s how it worked here, and I appreciated her efforts.

My wife said as much, "I broke it, I have to be the one to fix it."

But as others have mentioned, one person can’t rebuild a relationship on her own.

At some point, it becomes about the relationship you are aiming for.

I don’t want a lopsided M where my wife is feeling like a lesser person and partner. I eventually had to decide to let her back in, to let my walls down.

You don’t owe her R. You don’t owe her a final chance.

However, if offering R, then maybe figure out what kind of relationship you want now, today.

Married 34+ years, together 40+ years
Two awesome adult sons.
Dday 6/16 4-year LTA Survived
Restoration takes time.
"Circumstances don't make the man, they only reveal him to himself." ― Epictetus

posts: 4371   ·   registered: Aug. 4th, 2016   ·   location: PNW. The adventure continues.
id 8740377
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numb&dumb ( member #28542) posted at 9:31 PM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

In R I think it is important to be mindful that our WS need our support. I don't see the harm in letting her cry on your shoulder when she needs to let it out in a safe environment.

I think asking her to talk about it with you is a good approach. It is not like you have to agree with everything she says either.

Simple I statements, "I understand why you feel that way, I see you are hurting is there anything you want to talk about."

"I understand how your point, but to me, it seems that...."

You get the idea. Our WS need positive re-enforcement and encouragement too.

Obviously context matters. If it doesn't feel right don't do it. I think your instincts are better in this area than you give yourself credit for too. smile

Dday 8/31/11. EA/PA. Lied to for 3 years.

Bring it, life. I am ready for you.

posts: 5034   ·   registered: May. 17th, 2010
id 8740389
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Hippo16 ( member #52440) posted at 5:29 AM on Thursday, June 16th, 2022

When I see her crying, for a microsecond, my first instinct is to go and comfort her like I used to. Part of me also thinks "Now you know a fraction of what I felt after DDay". Then my brain kicks in and I remind myself that these are the consequences of her own choices.

It is a good thing that you want to comfort. And follow up with "what are you crying about" and get at the particulars. Then talk through each others thoughts and be prepared to re-assess your own thinking and accept that she will do the same - hopefully.

Hopefully in that she forever realizes the boundaries and vows she violated and never does so again. Well, "we can hope can't we?"

Vindictiveness - human nature - you got served the famous Merde Panini - so "What's good for one is good for another." - yes? no? Well, in infidelity the choice is a no. But to see a bit of Karma take it's toll, briefly enjoy the feeling then hate that is what your life is due to her actions. The vindictive feeling will soon dissipate into, at the least, disappointment at what your life has become.

If you stay, you have to learn to live with less than 100% trust and also the memory of what has transpired. If you cannot see your way to that goal, just pull the plug and be done with it. A poster here is a good example of finally tossing in the towel. Nothing wrong with trying but if you don't see a way to reconcile where you have to go to stay together, just split and get onto the path on which you can find peace with yourself.

As part of the Big R, both must lower their wall and tell each other what is eating at them. Then when the matter is face up on the table, then a rational conversaion can begin to resolve the difference. Otherwise, just split.

"Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life. What will you do with it?'

Not Just Friends

posts: 650   ·   registered: Mar. 26th, 2016   ·   location: OBX
id 8740418
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 Tacit (original poster member #78985) posted at 2:09 PM on Thursday, June 16th, 2022

Tacit. It’s difficult to answer your question due to lack of context. The context lacking I believe is some detail on how R is going, the work your WW has done to fix herself and help repair your relationship, and the work you’ve done to help heal yourself from the trauma of her A.

In the weeks following DDay, my wife left the house and went to live with her parents. That lasted about two months while I went to IC with a therapist who specializes in infidelity trauma and while I collected my thoughts. When she came back to the house, we spent a few months living as roommates before I finally decided on R. We are now going to MC with my IC and she herself is going to IC with another therapist that also specialized in infidelity trauma.

She has since gone NC with her AP and resigned from her job since they were coworkers. She has also read Not Just Friends and How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair.

I want to say that the absolutely worst feelings of those first few months are behind me, but of course I still get triggered if something reminds me of her A or if I'm just having a bad day. When that happens, she gives me the space that I need and makes me some tea, which she knows helps me calm down.

If her emotions are sincere though, why wouldn't you comfort?

If you feel she is being genuine and you want to move forward in R, there is going to have to be some working together, you can’t put the M back together without working together.

It's hard to believe that she is not being sincere, given how one of the main reasons she cries is because our son has himself gone NC with her. I don't believe that this is an attempt to manipulate me.

Back in the early days of R, I realized that I couldn't be standoffish or punitive if I wanted a meaningful reconciliation. I remember in one particular instance, and I've shared this one before, but I had gone grocery shopping and I noticed that my WH's favorite brand of ice cream was on sale. I reached for the freezer door, and then stopped. The fact of the matter is that my WH was no longer deserving of considerate little gestures. He had betrayed me in every possible way, so why would I do nice things for him? Wouldn't he consider that as a reward? Wouldn't he think I was stupid and undervaluing myself? But it boils down to this.. did I believe that he was sincere in his remorse? Did I believe that he was a good candidate for R? Did I even want R? And it turns out that I did, on all counts. So, I decided right there and then that when I caught myself withholding or punishing or otherwise in doubt, that I would behave naturally by acting in all things as I felt inclined by my own character to do. At the worst, I'd be proved wrong and so what? I can take it. I've survived already more than I thought I could.

I appreciate you sharing this. You're right about being standoffish, believing her sincerity and about wanting R.

So if youve given the gift of R dont make her feel any less deserving of it. Dont punish her just because you've decided to make this work. Youve given her a chance so work together to make a better future. You never know you might be happier than youve ever been.


In R I think it is important to be mindful that our WS need our support.

That's what I have been struggling with the most, I think. She betrayed me in the worst way possible. She stabbed me in the back and left me bleeding on the ground. Why should I support her? But then, if I truly feel that she is undeserving, then why am I even offering R? The truth is, I don't believe that. I have seen how much she is hurting and how much she has worked since she came back to the house.

I don’t want a lopsided M where my wife is feeling like a lesser person and partner. I eventually had to decide to let her back in, to let my walls down.

As part of the Big R, both must lower their wall and tell each other what is eating at them. Then when the matter is face up on the table, then a rational conversaion can begin to resolve the difference.

That's the most difficult part, letting my walls down after being betrayed. I already had difficulty with that before the A. Now, it's damn near impossible. But I know that's something I have to work on. Otherwise, what's the point of all of this?

Thank you all for your responses. You gave me a lot to think about.

Me: BH(48)

Her: WW(48)

Married for 23 years, 22 on DDay

Kids: Daughter(21) Son(19)

DDay: Eighth of June, 2021

posts: 68   ·   registered: Jun. 22nd, 2021   ·   location: São Paulo, Brazil
id 8740442
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Tanner ( member #72235) posted at 4:09 PM on Thursday, June 16th, 2022

It's hard to believe that she is not being sincere, given how one of the main reasons she cries is because our son has himself gone NC with her. I don't believe that this is an attempt to manipulate me.

At a year I was still in the anger phase, I have never been abusive, verbally or physically, but I was sarcastic jerk. My W was also afraid I would walk through the door and ask for D. My W was walking on eggshells, she made a mistake buying groceries and fell apart emotionally. I knew something had to change, this was not a M it was a dictatorship.

I came to a point that the anger no longer served a purpose, I had to let it go. Easier said than done. A trigger would come and set off my anger.

It came time to level my W up in the M. It was time to build trust and let her be confident that I’m not yearning for D.

I hope and pray that as you extend grace and heal, your Son will follow your lead.

Dday Sept 7 2019 doing well in R
BH M 31 years

posts: 1652   ·   registered: Dec. 5th, 2019   ·   location: Texas DFW
id 8740454
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Oldwounds ( member #54486) posted at 5:06 PM on Thursday, June 16th, 2022

Tacit -

That's the most difficult part, letting my walls down after being betrayed. I already had difficulty with that before the A. Now, it's damn near impossible.

It is by far and away the toughest thing to do, is allow yourself vulnerability with someone who ripped your beating heart out of your chest.

That’s a lot of pain, and our instinct is, protect ourselves so that we never feel that pain again.

It took me two years to TRY and let my walls down. It took time.

Not everyone who attempts R ever, ever gets back to vulnerable. It’s fucking uphill both ways and a risk not all of us are willing to take.

I finally rolled the dice, and it turned out for the better, but no one will blame you if you can’t get there.

But I know that's something I have to work on. Otherwise, what's the point of all of this?

There it is.

You have to figure out what you want. Life is way, way too short to hang out and be miserable or in a miserable relationship.

Once I knew what I wanted, it was much easier to let the walls down, to give this thing a real chance.

Married 34+ years, together 40+ years
Two awesome adult sons.
Dday 6/16 4-year LTA Survived
Restoration takes time.
"Circumstances don't make the man, they only reveal him to himself." ― Epictetus

posts: 4371   ·   registered: Aug. 4th, 2016   ·   location: PNW. The adventure continues.
id 8740462
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SnowToArmPits ( member #50943) posted at 2:37 PM on Saturday, June 18th, 2022

I'm just not sure what to do as the BS.


Welcome to the crappy ride on the Betrayed Spouse express.

I think it's only right that she is in distress about the turmoil she has brought to your marriage, the pain she's given to you and her daughter, and now the separation from her son.

I don't think you want to be overly sympathetic to her about this. As you said in your OP on this thread, consequences.

There is an alternative for her than this at times painful reconciliation with you... divorce.

Stay strong, good luck.

posts: 472   ·   registered: Dec. 25th, 2015   ·   location: Canada
id 8740821
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 4:27 PM on Saturday, June 18th, 2022

First, accept the mixed thoughts and feelings. Your 2 responses are all within the range of normality; it would be more telling if you had only one response.

My reco is first to calm yourself, second to ask if she wants any help, thrid to decide whether or not to give her what she has asked for, and fourth to carry out your decision.

My W joined SI because I didn't want to supply to support she wanted, and I suggested she might get that support from fellow WSes. IOW, you do not have to give her what she asks for.

We all have feelings. Some are expressed with tears. That's just human.

It's possible your W uses tears to manipulate you; I don't think she does, from what you've said, but it's possible. Your decision to let her cry without taking action is the best way to respond to that type of crying, IMO.

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: 27435   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8740831
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Notmine ( member #57221) posted at 2:58 PM on Monday, June 20th, 2022

You are a year out. I was still a miserable, emotional wreck at this point. R was on the table, but so was D. I was not comfortable about making any promises. It is ok if you are still not sure. It is ok if the affair is a dealbreaker and it is ok if you decide to R. This is your decision. Your spouse made her decisions about the marriage without consulting you, so you have the right to your own decisions.

I feel like healing takes the time it takes for each of us. It is an individual journey. If you cannot offer her comfort right now, it is ok. I would advise, however, that you are honest about it. If you want R, you need to keep the lines of communication open in order to facilitate honesty and relationship health as the relationship continues. Let her know that it is hard for you to offer comfort to her due to her actions, but you have compassion for her pain. TBH that underscores the kind and generous person you are. She is lucky to have you. You are not obligated to hold her or comfort her when she is mourning her own actions with regards to perpetrating trauma upon you. That is her inside job. If you have a good MC, this is something to discuss.


I am almost seven years out and am still not inclined to offer comfort when my spouse feels the negative emotional effects of his affair/behavior. That is his to deal with. I am able to offer the compassion I am able to offer. He has worked very hard to find integrity, so I remind him of the progress he has made in transforming himself, but I am not going to hold him and tell him it is ok. It's not.

When you're going through hell, for God's sake, DON'T STOP!

posts: 709   ·   registered: Feb. 1st, 2017   ·   location: DC
id 8741044
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numb&dumb ( member #28542) posted at 3:46 PM on Friday, June 24th, 2022

That's what I have been struggling with the most, I think. She betrayed me in the worst way possible. She stabbed me in the back and left me bleeding on the ground. Why should I ...

One you would have done this prior to her A right? (support her when she is sad) If we conceed that our Ww had an A because they were broken and while it hurt us worse that anything else in our lives it was never really about us.

I get in trouble saying this sometimes, but we are colateral damage to a bomb that our WS set off in the middle of our shared life with them.

At the end of the day we have to live our values and do what we think is right. As are seen as an acceptable choice when our WS stop living in alignment with those values. They trade things like honor, integrity and our respect to play act with some random loser trading those things for a human mirror that reflects back the person they want to see. Seems crazy, right? To anyone wglho lives their values the logic of a WS choosing an A versus the many other options available will never make sense. Trust me it drove me mad trying to do so.

At the end of the day we make choices aligned with our values and that allows us to live with them. If you can look in the mirror and be happy them you are good. To see what it looks like when you don't do that. . .watch your W.

The anguish you see your wife going through right now is her reconciling the person she was prior to the A, to the person she allowed herself to become during the A and then trying to be the person she wants to be in the future.

You made a choice to R. No one is saying that you can't change your mind. I think as a BS you sometimes have to make that decision daily. Forever is a long time and I don't plan on living that long.

You are only a yearish out from Dday keep going to IC. Keep making choices that align with your values and you will do just fine. It won't seem like it some days, but stay true to yourself.

I am a ways out, but every once and awhile my wife looks at me with the sad look and I know what she is thinking before she says anything.

On some days I am just in not in the mood to help her feel better so I make it clear that she needs to find another time. As a result my W has learned to self soothe better and I think that is a good thing for anyone to learn.

If I am in a mood to hear her out then I find if I can look through the anger towards the hurt and let that out the anger fades pretty fast.

FWIW your W needs to take these things to her IC. Her concerns regarding her son going NC is a direct result of her choices and she has to make amends their too. If she wants you to do sonething I would decline and let her and him resolve it. Your role would be to support both taking neither side (We both know who is in the wrong here).

[This message edited by numb&dumb at 3:48 PM, Friday, June 24th]

Dday 8/31/11. EA/PA. Lied to for 3 years.

Bring it, life. I am ready for you.

posts: 5034   ·   registered: May. 17th, 2010
id 8741766
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