Me: WW, 38
Him: BS, 38
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (EA and PA)
Status: Attempting R
Anger and Defensiveness
My husband and I are 10 1/2 months from dday. The thing I seem to continue struggling with is how to cope with the difficult feelings that he is experiencing. This is routinely the root cause of most of my issues. He will communicate how he feels and I move into one of two directions: people please or start to get angry and defensive. Every 4-6 weeks I get caught into the same web. We will argue, then we will analyze the argument at home and then in couple's counseling. Ultimately it ends up pushing him away, makes me feel terrible - we become distant and then over a few weeks the tension begins to clear.
I know why the defensiveness and anger comes out - I spent a majority of my old relationship resistent to any type of confrontation. I cowered at it and would hide from it and in turn I felt I couldn't share how I was feeling. There last 10 months I have been no stranger to confrontation. I am not trying to stake ground or feel that I want to win the argument, I just want to be heard. Ultimately this path is not working. As he said yesterday, "we are two just very sad people right now."
I read some posts this morning and meditation was suggested on one of the threads. I have read some of the books recommended by the members: Rising Strong was one of them. Maybe there is the opportunity to re-read the book. As I'm posting this I realize there is probably an opportunity to re-read the book How to Help your Spouse Heal From Your Affair. They mention in that book several times not to get defensive.
5 comments posted: Tuesday, January 31st, 2023
Lost and Confused
My husband is DrStrangeLove. He has been posting on the site since March, when he discovered the affair and has recommended that it might help gain perspective and guidance. I joined the PTA in September 2021 and was part of a committee of 3 people. We planned events for the students and coming off of two years of no events due to COVID, our committee was extremely busy. During that time I developed a relationship with one of the members of the committee. What began as a harmless flirtation quickly developed into a physical affair. In December he kissed me a few times. The first time was at a PTA dinner, where his wife was in attendance. Early January we slept together for the first time. Writing these words still seems unreal and feels like a lifetime ago. To my husband it is still so new. In those moments during the affair I felt I was on a drug. High from the excitement, the secrecy, the passion. When I was pulled back to reality I noticed so many downs. I was keeping this huge secret from my family, living a double life, missing dinners to be with my AP. Conjunctionally I was drinking every night. This wasn't something was new - I had been hiding the drinking from my husband for fear of judgement, but the drinking became worse 3-4 drinks a night and mostly liquor. I would wake up, hungover and feel the exact same way I did the day before - unhappy, clouded head. My relationship with my husband became quite toxic. What might seem like small fights to some I made them a big deal - I felt hugely criticized all times and my tolerance of him became quite short. He couldn't do anything right and the things he was doing wrong or made me upset, I went straight to my mom. Telling her that my husband was incompetent - having the most cruel, humiliating conversations. My mom knew about the affair - but I didn't share all the awful details (unprotected sex, befriending the AP's wife at drinks one night, coming home late to dinner with my family because I would see him after work occasionally). I'd text my AP while I was on the couch with my husband. My AP would work late and ask if I could "sneak" out of the house. Knowing I never could, but one night I tried to sneak out and popped the screen out of my bathroom window. He told me to pop it back in and that he wasn't stopping by. He always kept me at an arms length - seeing that know that I was just sex to him. What I thought was a genuine friendship was purely sex. This was confirmed during the day of the reveal. I called him and told him my husband knew. His last words were "so you're not going to parent night next month, right?" But what did I expect. In those few days following the reveal were unreal. I couldn't stop lying. The first two stories were fabricated - more sanitized versions of the truth. My husband finally threatened divorce and that was it - I cracked. Shared every last detail - every single sex act we did, what abhorrent things I said about my husband. Those first couple of weeks were unbearable. Watching my husband in complete shock, completely devastated that his world crumbled in front of him. He found out about my drinking and the thousands of dollars of debt I was in. I'm 38 years old and in writing this I can't believe my life was in such disarray. I didn't have a marriage, I didn't create a partnership I isolated myself. I closed myself off.
My husband has been asking me for open honest transparency, no more defensiveness, no criticism while he is learning to heal. I'm mostly struggling with the defensiveness. For example, my husband reached out to my AP's wife this past Saturday to see how she was doing and how the kids were coping with the separation. In those moments I felt complete rejection and I lashed out. He hadn't been receptive to me not to my touches, not wanting to talk. He was honestly completely depressed - I know he is grieving. Grieving for someone who is still physically here.
I have felt completely attacked and defensiveness is the only thing I know how to gain control, steak ground. But my couple's therapist has mentioned I have no ground to steak. I need to re-build a marriage and stop victimizing myself and change my method of thinking. You read all of the posts on my husband's thread and so many people say I can't do it. I will not change - I'm too selfish, victimize myself too much, mind like a child. Over the weekend I watched this great youtube video "Are you on the Coaster?" Reframing the power struggle post discovery. I need to realize there is an unequal balance that goes into this. I need to prioritize my marriage before my needs. As I'm sure you're all reading that I need to work on myself a lot during IC.
I have been very lost during this process agreeing to things that I might not necessarily agree to because of the risk of losing my marriage, grasping on to any reality. The truth is I feel like a huge failure and I am very much hoping I can pick up these pieces for the sake of my marriage.
12 comments posted: Monday, June 6th, 2022