I am separated from exWS for around a month, and currently don't have intentions of going back. So this post is for me, my healing and peace of mind. I am at a stage now where that's all I want now, as I have let go of any expectation he has what it takes to fix what he broke. I am processing everything right now, which for me involves understanding why I feel like I do, and being able to acknowledge it, give myself the empathy and validation I feel I have been denied, and then pack it away.
I moved a couple of hundred miles from WS, and I got my dream house. I have financial troubles now, as coping on my own is hard and was completely unexpected in this juncture in life - but also because my affair trauma meant I lost my job a couple of years ago and couldn't work for a while as I wasn't well enough. It turned my life upside down, but I feel a growing sense of acceptance and hope for healing.
I have been through three years of false R.
The first year of that was repeated DDays and lots of breaking NC with the AP. That all stopped eventually but three years on, I think only 50% of the "this is what I need from you for reconciliation" list was ever done. No tangible work has been done really of any kind by WS.
Yes, he would sit for hours, even weeks listening to me cry and apologising. There was lots of guilt and "I love yous", but no accountability, no real "whys", no counselling, not even really thinking about it so he could offer empathy. He just avoided.
I don't think my WS is a bad person. I believe he loves me. I think he was just not capable of R, so I feel very sad about where we ended up. It's hurt us both, and I don't want to be angry or resentful towards someone I love so much. Whatever he has done, he will always be someone I deeply love and I am genuinely just sorry his decisions led him where we got to.
I am not an angry person.
Despite the affair, my anger did not actually even appear until about 4 months in when he kept breaking NC and not doing the work. Patience and kindness turned into boiled up anger and rage and exploded. Since then, I have been a pretty great spouse I think.
I think I spent my time reading on SI, reading books, watching videos. Trying to do "the work" alone and trying and failing to engage him in it. I think I gave love, kindness and patience and I think - sadly - I put him first.
I kept saying to myself "maybe next week once he has finished this project, it will be the right time", but the right time never came. So there has always been a lot of anger beneath the surface and there have been some explosions of it. 99% of the time I was kind and nice and 1% of the time I would just explode.
No way to live, huh?
The salve of course, to that anger would have been for him to have called a counsellor, done the work, written a timeline for me, apologised in a meaningful way and properly engaged me. During and after every explosion, I told him exactly that. I literally said "if you want to help me and us, do THIS".
He ignored me. Instead he says it made him scared to talk to me. So he didn't and we didn't talk about it at all anymore. I continued to be angry and sad, he blamed me. He didn't outright blame me, but if we had an argument, he would immediately go to "but you hurt me too!!!" and start telling me I wasn't meeting his needs.
So many times he told me that he loved me, but that HE needed calm and stability, and if I could provide it to him - with no fights, then and only then could he feel safe with me and not blamed or criticised or like I was going to shout or get upset that he would have been able to "do the work".
Now, I was offering counselling, so if he felt we didn't have a "safe space" for difficult conversation, that was an option for him. But also I feel gaslit by this, because I know that I am not an angry person and the anger was created by him not doing the work. So what was going on here was both gaslighting and victim / perpetrator reversal.
But in the broader picture - I have absolutely no idea how he felt entitled to or believed on any level, that I could or needed to provide my unfaithful spouse who wasn't engaging with R in any way, with "peace and stability". But the level of entitlement he felt and feels for this is staggering. Almost every request or conversation about meeting my needs would always end up with him saying "but you need to meet mine too and I have told you a hundred times that I need peace and stability! I need it! Meeeeeee".
And that would be it. That would always be what completely snapped me, and this calm, patient, positive, gentle person would turn into a monster. The rage I would feel would sometimes make my chest hurt. I never hit him, but I wanted to! I have never ever ever felt rage through any of this like I did when he would try and turn this around and say I wasn't meeting his needs, needs for HIM to feel calm and stable, when he was not only the one who ripped those things away - but he was also the one who acted as a barrier to the most basic steps to achieve them.
Can anyone empathise with that or explain to me this, more than the lies or deception or betrayal made me so angry? Why was that? Everything else I could seemingly deal with calmly, but not that. And when he said that it changed how I felt about him.
I think because I would look at him and see the same selfish ass who felt entitled to an affair in the first place. The same clueless man child that wasn't able to accept consequences for his choices - even if those consequences had basically destroyed my wellbeing and well - my life if I am honest.
So that was why I left.
As I said, I left a while ago, and has been trying to get me to go back. This week he probably realised I wasn't coming back and he finally invested in some of the R work I needed three years ago. I finally got a timeline, and for him to actually look at it and imagine how I felt and talk to me about it and offer empathy and remorse that sounded like real remorse instead of self flagellation. He was finally digging into his "Whys" and having the tough conversations with himself.
Off the back off that we were able to have a conversation yesterday by phone that was so cathartic for me. Three years late, yes, but I got at least one of the conversations I needed. No self defensiveness. No blame shifting. No minimising. No rug sweeping. I was seen and heard and listened to and got answers which (had I had three years ago) would have saved me so much pain and confusion.
I sent him a nice message that evening thanking him for that.
Then woke up this morning to messages from him which said
"these conversations are only really possible when I don't feel frightened and feel like you are listening. So often I have felt dismissed, criticised and blamed. When what I actually needed - in order to give you the answers you need - is for you to listen and to accept and to maybe understand :(But you said I didn't deserve any of that and that only your thoughts feelings and needs mattered".
Then tried to kind of blame me for a "meltdown" I had had about two years ago when OW had showed up in town.
I instantly felt rage. Because honestly, everything in that message is a lie. Pretty much nothing but his thoughts, feelings and needs have ever mattered (which is the whole problem and why I feel so angry to begin with) and he's implying that I need to behave myself and meet his needs in order to somehow deserve the work of R.
Then I guess he is blaming me for having a meltdown / trigger over OW being in town, when he's a person who took a YEAR to stop breaking NC.
I just sat there and felt disgust, rage, almost hate for him.
And I love this person, and I want to leave peacefully with love. So I'd really like to know and discuss why that particular behavior above all others turned out to be the dealbreaker for me? Why has it caused me so much rage?
I had to take the day off work today because it made me so angry my pulse was off the scale and my chest hurt :(