Need help on next steps
I know there are a lot of wise, experienced people here so I’m hoping you can offer some advice. No stop sign because I need to hear the cold hard truth. I desperately want to repair the damage I’ve done.
This might be long so bear with me.
BS and I have been married for over 35 years. We got married in college when I became pregnant with our first child. We were very young to become newlyweds and parents. BS started back to school a few years later, in addition to working full time, when our child was a few years old. I was working full time as well and felt like a single parent because BS was often not available due to his schedule. Also, I come from an alcoholic/drug addict parent so I have major abandonment issues as well as trouble with impulsivity and regulating my emotions. I started an EA with a mutual friend. It started off as friendly emails but as we talked I realized it was going past friends and I broke it off after a couple of months. There were a couple of phone calls and I went to the person’s house two times. Nothing physical ever happened - no kissing, no touching, no sex. In my mind, as long as there was no physical activity, I wasn’t doing anything wrong. It was incredibly selfish.
BS knew knew I had been to AP house and questioned me about what was going on. I admitted what I was doing but I was not the least bit remorseful. We argued for a couple of weeks and being young and dumb I thought that was the end. We never talked about it again until 2013 when he asked me if I had ever been unfaithful. I said "Well you know about the thing with AP but nothing physical happened." My poor BS lost it. It was like it was all happening for the first time. We finally started to deal with the EA. BS refused counseling so we did the best we could and it was a rough few years. We managed to stay together but things were not good. I did my best to help him heal but he disconnected from me. I have been in counseling off and on for years due to ACOA issues so I went back to IC, read books on affairs and did my best to be there for him, shared how remorseful I (finally) felt, wrote him letters, did special things for him, encouraged him to tell me how he felt. I was not able to provide him with a timeline bc it had been almost 20 years and I truly did not remember. I wasn’t even totally sure what year it happened. He remained disconnected and generally lacking in affection and I felt very sad and lonely. I had trouble expressing this to him bc I felt so guilty for what I had put him though. I felt it was what I deserved.
In 2016, my mother died somewhat suddenly. The pain from her death combined with the disconnection I felt from BS led me to ask for a divorce several times that year. Each time, we’d talk and I’d change my mind. I know this was emotionally abusive and added to his trauma. I eventually realized this, stopped the cycle and slowly we started the process of healing again.
This leads to our current situation. BS continued to remain disconnected. He became somewhat more affectionate but I was unhappy with our marriage. I would tell him how I felt and he would say ‘It’s not happening fast enough for you?’ Meaning he wasn’t recovering on my timeframe. I took that to mean shut up and live with what we had.
After months of contemplation, I asked for a divorce again last month. I was truly prepared to go through with it. BS told me how much he loved me, that he didn’t want to lose me and I changed my mind. He agreed to MC and IC this time. We have had some of the most honest and heartfelt conversations of our marriage in the last four weeks. He is terrified I am going to change my mind again and he’s lost all trust in me. I know I need to earn his trust back. Our MC thinks he never healed from the EA back in the 90s and that is the root of all of our problems. We both agree with her.
I am at a loss as to what to do now. We are both in IC. I’m reading books again, we’re talking, connecting, spending time together. I’m falling into the trap of feeling like a complete sh*thead for what I’ve done. I know I need to focus on how he feels and what he needs right now. I’m doing that as well. I must be doing a good job bc he keeps saying ‘If I could have this version of you forever I’d be so happy’.
BS believes I slept with AP bc I went to his house which I can understand but it worries me that he still thinks I’m lying to him by continuing to deny it.
So please. Any advice, things I missing, 2x4s. I so want to fix this.
39 comments posted: Friday, September 16th, 2022