As some of you know, my husband lied and minimized for 5 years after DDay, then he put me through 1 year of trickle-truth. During those years there were generally two points of contention between us. One was the truth about the betrayal – something that I got in the end, but in a very damaging way (ofc it’s possible he’s still lying about some things). In this post I want to focus on the second one.
The second one was about one specific need that I had. I needed him to feel for me what he felt for the OW, only 10 times more. I needed him to pursue me / to court me / to date me. I made my wish / need clear to him many times after DDay. Perhaps this sounds silly but let me explain. I apologize for the length – this is very painful for me to write, and at the moment I don’t have the strength to think about the reader. I am truly humbled by the kindness of anyone who will read this, thank you for your time.
I learned about how he felt for the OW only during the 2022 – the year of TT. However, that was only a confirmation of what my gut was telling me since DDay. I’m not blind – in the weeks after DDay I read their messages, I read their work emails (unfortunately, I didn’t see their work chats, and ofc I didn’t know what they were talking about in person), I knew about some of his behavior when it comes to her (I learned more during the year of TT), and I know a thing or two about how people act when they have feelings for someone. He labeled it as "a crush", but from his description + all evidence / indicators + the duration of the betrayal, I’d say it is closer to what we mean when we say someone is "in love". We can label it "infatuation", "new relationship energy", "limerence", "being in love" – the label doesn’t really matter. You know that feeling when you like someone, when you find yourself thinking about them a lot, when you are drawn to them, when you want to spend more time with them, when you are excited about spending time with them, doing things with them, talking with them, when stuff reminds you of them, when you enjoy their company, when you want them to like you, when you want them to see you as a potential mate, when you are attracted to them even though you are aware of their physical "flaws" (or you choose to ignore them)… That’s how he felt.
He was careful not to reveal how he feels directly. After all, he was in a long-term relationship with me + he didn’t know whether she feels the same way. However, he was pursuing her indirectly (flirting, compliments, gifts, asking out for coffee or drinks, doing stuff for her, providing emotional support, and so on). There was one direct attempt that I know about, when he got very drunk, but either she’s very stupid and didn’t get it, or she was uncomfortable and decided to ignore it. Here's the thing – she was not interested in him that way. We spent hours analyzing her behavior and words, and we came to the conclusion he overblew it. He built up a fantasy in his head and saw something where there was nothing. At best, she was enjoying attention without any intention. The way she acted with him was how she normally acts with people, and my husband (boyfriend at that time) thought he’s special and it means she’s into him. Nevertheless, the way he felt about her was very real to him. By his own admission – if she was interested, if she had made any direct moves, he would have an affair with her. He still claims he wouldn’t leave me for her, he wouldn’t leave me to start a relationship with her. However, having in mind how he felt about me – resentment, negative sentiment override, falling out of love with me (stuff that was fueled by the betrayal) – I have reasons to believe he was monkey branching.
Anyway, DDay happened, and in the following months he shut that down and decided to commit to me. He went about it the wrong way (lying and minimizing instead of being remorseful), but that’s another topic. Like I said, this post is about my need for him to feel for me the way that he felt for her, only 10 times more. I wanted him to pursue me and to feel and demonstrate the same level of excitement. I needed that for at least 3 reasons:
1. I felt that was missing in our relationship during the betrayal. I felt his distance. I felt neglected, I was well aware his affection towards me has diminished. I asked him about it, he’d usually say nothing is wrong with us, it’s just the life, and I believed him. When I found out the real reason, naturally I wanted that back.
2. Being "in love" is very important to me. I am well aware of the "chemicals in the brain" story, and how that doesn’t last long. However, I felt like that for my husband years and years after we became a couple. I felt like that for him during the betrayal, and after. Hell, I was well aware of what he did to me, and yet I felt freaking butterflies getting ready for a date with him. Either there’s something wrong with my body chemistry, or maybe just maybe the story is not so accurate. You see, I believe that after the initial chemical thing, being "in love" becomes a choice. You choose to be "in love" with someone by cherishing that person, by focusing on the positives, by being grateful. In a way, you allow yourself to get hyped about that person, you make sure to often think about some nice memories, maybe daydream a little, try new things, create new memories, and so on. It’s what they call "keeping the spark alive". Yes, I was extremely hurt by the betrayal, but I chose to put that aside for a night, and to just be excited about having a date with the sexiest man alive. Being excited about your partner is important to me. I know that marriage is much more than that, but for me, as long as you "keep the fire burning", everything else comes naturally, and easily.
3. Probably the most important reason – I wanted to reclaim what I lost, and she got. I felt that is an important part of my healing, and healing of our relationship in general. A) My dear SI members, there is absolutely nothing that woman did or had, that I didn’t do or have million times more and better. He gave her his affection for free, he was getting nothing out of it. This became especially apparent after DDay, when it became clear that everything he thought he was getting was fake – it was in his head only. On the other hand, I gave him so much of the real stuff and somehow, that wasn’t enough for him to feel that way towards me. I needed that changed – I needed him to appreciate me and my efforts, and to respond in an appropriate manner. B) I was terrified he stayed with me for the wrong reasons, that he settled, that he stayed because she didn’t want him, that I’m a second choice. I needed more than words to believe he stayed for the right reasons. I needed to see he’s excited about me in the same way, but 10 times more.
During these 6 years he did a poor job demonstrating that excitement about me. I didn’t feel pursued. We did have some dates, but way too little of them. They often felt forced, he wasn’t relaxed with me the way he was with her. There was flirting and compliments, but way too little, and they didn’t really seem genuine. He had troubles initiating things, making plans, put in some effort. He’d always claim this has nothing to do with the way he feels about me, and he gave me a bunch of excuses. In the beginning it was just weird, we just need some time and practice. Then the thing was that we fight and talk about the betrayal too much. Then it was the pandemics, and we can’t go anywhere on a date. Then he has performance anxiety and fear of failure which block him from relaxing. Then it was the guilt he feels about the betrayal. Then it was he's just not good at showing emotions, that doesn't mean he doesn't have them. Then it was not knowing how to "win me" because he feels he didn’t do much to get me in the first place (he claims he tried, but nothing works). And so on.
Then the other day he finally told me the truth – he’s not pursuing me, taking me out on dates and all, because he doesn’t feel that way about me. That is, he doesn’t feel excited about me, or the time spent with me. So, there’s no motivation. The last time he felt like that was with the OW. He claims he lost those feelings for me even before he met her, but I have strong reasons to believe that’s the result of him rewriting our relationship history. And he didn’t regain those feelings during these 6 years after DDay.
Just to be clear – he claims he absolutely loves me, and he is 100% committed to me. He even claims he cares more about me and my happiness, than about himself and his happiness. He doesn’t want to divorce me. I guess he’s just not "in love", if by "being in love" you mean what I described in the beginning of this post. You know, the way he felt for the OW.
How do I feel about all of this? Well, the short answer is:
1. Someone please kill me now.
2. I’m still alive? Well, I’m heartbroken beyond words. This is truly like a new DDay. I can’t sleep, I can’t eat. I want to crawl into a hole and just die.
3. I’m pissed at him for deceiving me for years in yet another way.
I asked him to move out. I think he’s not taking me seriously. He thinks we should try to work it out, we should put in more effort, and maybe the excitement will come back. We?!! Maybe?!! My dear SI members, I know there’s nothing I can do about this, as the problem is not me. I’m a great gal, and I offer a lot – mentally and physically. I can just refuse to be treated like this. He claims the real problem is the baggage we have (the betrayal), that’s what’s preventing him from feeling that way about me. Well, the baggage will always be here. Perhaps I’m wrong, but if I, the betrayed one, can exert control over the baggage, and not let it control me, so can he. I guess the Force is stronger with me. Or he’s just not that into me.
He delivered the "revelation" in a nonchalant zero-empathy way. As if it’s not a big deal, I should just accept it, pretend it didn’t happen, and maybe one day he will be excited about me again. I told him my only wish and hope is that he will "fall in love" with someone in the future, as I find the idea that the OW might be the last woman he felt like that about absolutely insulting.
Anyway, I apologize again for the long post, I wanted to get as much of it as I can out of my system, as I now need to pick myself up again. As some of you know, I got a serious medical diagnosis just 2 months ago, I’ve been through hell due to that, so the timing is just awesome! *sarcasm* I’m gonna take some time off from SI, I need all my energy focused on me. I also feel I’d be very biased in my replies to others, and I’d just tell everyone to divorce, it’s not worth it. Thank you all for everything that you do here, I learned a lot!
Btw. if you allow just a little bit more of self-pity, as I need to get that out of my system as well. Also, this is something I still haven’t processed properly. I have already written a little about it here, it’s a long story that deserves a post of its own (I actually have it written down, just didn’t have the strength to post it). Due to the betrayal and false reconciliation, we don’t have kids. Nevertheless, as long as we were together, there was hope we will sort through this crap and have a baby. Yes, I’m close to 40, but you all know that today that doesn’t mean it’s too late. There was hope. When I picked my username here, I was guided by that hope. Hannah is the name I’d give to my baby daughter. And now it’s becoming very real she will always stay just a dream. The end.