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I hope a light shines through her dark clouds

ChanceAtLife35 posted 12/18/2019 19:19 PM

We are one week away from Christmas. I canít believe it no matter the chatter or the typical build up stressing myself to figure out what to get my children and loved ones for Christmas. The tree is put up with barely any ornaments and not one gift under the tree. Itís 7 1/2 feet tall but I see no life to it at all. This is my BWís favorite holiday but itís not showing. Yaíll i am literally sick to my stomach about this. Our damn tree would be decorated with beautiful ribbon, stuffers, and ornaments. The tree represents what we lost. I am doing everything to uplift her and encourage her to take the steps needed to sit and process whatís going on. Her heart aches and tears fall because of my foolish and heartbreaking actions. Itís worse than death and cuts repeatedly. I just want her to wake up to good days and let the sun shine on her beautiful face. She needs rest, self care, emotional support. I have moments of ignorance but I keep going, I keep fighting to be there. This is her favorite time of the year. I have ideas to help her but any suggestions are welcomed.

[This message edited by ChanceAtLife35 at 7:20 PM, December 18th (Wednesday)]

EvolvingSoul posted 12/18/2019 20:26 PM

Is this the first Christmas since D-day?

DashboardMadonna posted 12/18/2019 20:54 PM

Hey chance,

Dont know if it helps much, but you can hire people to decorate your tree and you wife might appreciate that. You can find them on Angie's list.

Or maybe have the kids help you do it...I use love doing that, as a kid.

ChanceAtLife35 posted 12/18/2019 23:53 PM

@EvolvingSoul, this is the second Christmas. She is just emotionally drained from being in school and this whole process is of course has taken a major toll. I will be off for two weeks for the holidays so i will get to kids the help me decorate the tree and do all the things that gave her joy during this time of the year. @Dashboard Madonna, that's actually a great idea. I forget there are services to help with these type of things.

[This message edited by ChanceAtLife35 at 12:02 AM, December 19th (Thursday)]

DaddyDom posted 12/19/2019 00:23 AM

For what it is worth, and this is just my opinion, but I would suggest that you go ahead and decorate the tree, and glam it up the way you picture, with ribbons and ornaments and happy, shiny things.

It sounds as if your BS just isn't ready yet to be able to enjoy Christmas the way she used to. That certainly makes sense, it is indeed incredibly sad and heartbreaking, especially knowing that it has always been her favorite time of year. But things are different now, and she needs to figure out how to feel. I'm sure she wants to feel happy as well. She needs to take this at her own pace.

That being said, unless she's told you otherwise, I don't think she expects everyone to feel the same way. The kids, most of all, deserve that shiny tree. Sounds you could use it as well. And unless your infidelity somehow involved Christmas, chances are good that it isn't Christmas itself making her feel out of sorts. In other words, I don't think a pretty tree is going to add to her pain (BS's please correct me if I'm wrong here). Maybe having a shiny tree and presents will help the mood feel less muted?

As for gifts, I don't know your family well, so all I can tell you is to not kill yourself or blow your account trying to find the "Perfect gift". Little things and home-made gifts are usually the best ones. Give the kids a box of brownie mix and promise to help them bake it all together. Give them a pack of paper and a box of crayons and ask them to draw Christmas scenes, santa, the reindeer, the family, everything. Build a gingerbread house together. Get them themed pack of playing cards - we just got a pack of Harry Potter cards two weeks ago. :)

For your spouse, think of something fun and/or comforting perhaps, or something she loves but doesn't do so often. Take her out to a wine bar for a date night. Make her some "personal coupons" for favors she'd appreciate, like a backrub or "I'll do the dishes". Does she have an old friend or relative she hasn't talked to in years? Setup a surprise phone call.

My only real advice is to not try and shove Christmas down her throat if she's not into it. Respect what she needs, and I feel confident she'll tell you what that is. She may not want anything from you, and if so, that's okay, just respect that. Leave Xmas for the kids to enjoy then.

RocketRaccoon posted 12/19/2019 00:27 AM

you can hire people to decorate your tree and you wife might appreciate that.

Uh uh. No way would I do this if I were you. Might as well get professional gift buyers to buy all the Christmas presents while you are at it.

It would be better if you do this:

i will get to kids the help me decorate the tree and do all the things that gave her joy during this time of the year.

You took the easy way out already (with your affairs). Now you will need to hunker down and do the hard work.

Getting outsiders to decorate your tree would be a sign to your BW that you are still being lazy, and in the wayward mindset. Pushing things to others, pushing the responsibility away from yourself.

DashboardMadonna posted 12/19/2019 03:57 AM

Rocket, not necessarily.

I'm a BW and most women understand that men can be a bit creatively challenged. Leaving it bare (no one bothered last year, I figured no one cared...and they didnt) says a lot more....

And yes, of course its nicer if the kids got involved in it, as I also mentioned.

[This message edited by DashboardMadonna at 3:58 AM, December 19th (Thursday)]

RocketRaccoon posted 12/19/2019 04:24 AM

Hi DbM,

Kinda agree.

Lack of creativity happens in both genders (note, not being defensive here, but my wife admits I am the more creative one in my M).

Anyway, what I was trying to get at, is that CAL35 should be the one making superhuman effort to dress up the tree (with the kids) will mean a heckuva lot more to her BW than getting a professional to do it.

If CAL35 lacks creativity, she can look through magazines for inspiration, but she does the actual decoration.

WalkinOnEggshelz posted 12/19/2019 05:50 AM

What type of ornaments does she usually put in the tree? Are they matching baubles? Or are they special ornaments that commemorate times in your life together such as a babyís first Christmas, the year you were married, dated ornaments of special times and places.

The first two years after DDay, decorating our tree was difficult because of the memories it brought up. I recall my husband getting very upset with me the second year because I lacked the insight at the time to understand that looking at some these ornaments brought him pain.

Be proactive if this may be the case with her. Show her sensitivity and be there for her. Show her empathy and give her examples of why you understand she is struggling.

Decorate the tree with the kids. Try to put yourself in her place so that you can give her what she needs.

Zugzwang posted 12/19/2019 08:06 AM

Change your perspective and see the tree in a different way. See it as a symbol of grace and mercy. Not what was lost.

The tree represents what we lost.
Just no. This is wallowing. This is self pity with remorse (I see it), just that this wallowing and filling yourself with despair is a selfish act. Feel it. Refuse to see it that way and see it for what it really is. Hope. Grace. Mercy.

Give her a gift certificate to a day spa.

Pippin posted 12/19/2019 08:25 AM

CAL35, Iíd ask her if itís ok for you to make Christmas more festive, for her and/or for the kids. She might feel like you are forcing merriment. If she agrees, here are some concrete ideas to get you started and maybe they will inspire your own ideas.

For presents, you can get inexpensive comforting things that are medium to large sized to fill up the space under the tree. Pajamas, slippers, bathrobes, fleece blankets (I saw some Xmas ones at target for $11 each), hot water bottles. If each person in the family gets one, thatís a lot of boxes under the tree. And get them for you too, because you need something to open with the kids. For the family - a popcorn popper, waffle maker, soccer or basketball, board games (blokus and Yahtzee for kids your kidsí age). You could do all that in a couple hours shopping at Walmart or target to get some boxes under the tree. They are probably not things on the top of your kidsí list but it will take the burden off her and you can get your kids the one or two special things they really want.

I decorate mostly with lights strung around the main rooms and removable 3M hooks. Itís festive and cozy and nice in the dark. I keep them up through the end of January.

For tree decorations, with your kids, make star stencils in a few different sizes (3Ē across 6Ē across 9Ē across) from thin cardboard. Get stiff paper in coordinating colors (white light blue dark blue OR green and red Or Red and gold). Cut out tons of stars! Use paper clips to hang them, or hole punch with ribbon to hang. Do the front of the tree first then fill in the rest if you have time. Get them up all over the tree, then when you have time pick some to make special. Glitter or collage a few (not all) or have your kids write messages to her on the back of a few. Donít overthink it and donít make it too hard.

Fo you know what you are getting her? You might get a bunch of ďspaĒ gift certificates. Pedicure, back rub, head massage, etc. If she wants attention from you, you can do the treatment. If she wants to get away from you, it can be used at an actual spa. They go either way.

Smell is visceral. If you donít actually cook, simmer cinnamon or other spices to give the home a cozy holiday smell.

Take care CaL35, I see you are working hard and making progress. Where were you at this time last year? You have done a lot. Keep going.

hikingout posted 12/19/2019 08:42 AM

You have already received a lot of good advice. Take it all on if she will allow you to - and knock it out of the park. Show her that you can step it up when she needs it the most.

One thing I am doing this year is something nice for my husband every day in December. This really wasn't Christmas related, but just to offer some encouragement over a more difficult time for him. I think it's helped him more than I thought it would. We will be spending Christmas in the hospital this year, but we are so happy to have a possibility of resolving his issues.

Anyway, this is what you need to think about - a lot of time we settle into the energy of those around us, but we can bring up the vibe by being a well of love for those around us. Raise the energy in the house, give it your all every day. Be her leaning post. Show her that when she has only 20 percent to give, you have the other 80. Or when she has zero, you have the other 100.

I hope she does feel better soon - you are right she deserves joy and self care and all the best. Be part of all the best!

thatbpguy posted 12/19/2019 09:21 AM

I liked DaddyDom's advice.

Go ahead and decorate the tree as you would like to with the kid's help. Just low key it and place a few small gifts. Your BS needs to work into this slowly. Like waking up from a bad dream. I suspect, she will come around a bit. And even moreso next Christmas......

ChanceAtLife35 posted 12/19/2019 20:08 PM

To all of you, my heart if full of gratitude for your well thought out responses, ideas, and insightful advice. First off, i am very domesticated and definitely handy. Even if i could afford it, i would rather decorate the tree with my kids as they too have suffered and deserve a festive Christmas. I am going to decorate the tree the way she would do it. With patience, joy, and grace. Wrapped the ribbon around the tree so evenly, it will look like a candy cane. Stuff it with beautiful ornaments, even the one's that are sentimental to who we are as a family. I did ask her what she wants me to do. She wants to have the tree decorated for the kids as she just doesn't have the energy to do it. Baking cookies and doing arts and crafts are a tradition for us too. We are struggling financially, so no i won't further put us in more debt buying all the fancy stuff. I mentioned i would buy her gifts, so i will get her things she actually needs.

Christmas is really about family time and togetherness for us. Her best friend of over 20 years is coming in to town to spend Christmas with us too, so i will let her have a day out with her while i stay home with the kids. Just let her "be"' and breathe and enjoy herself. I would rather do things for her genuinely and authentically than validate myself. I realize just how much she brought life into her home during these times, so i would love to do the same for her. I am very patient and know getting herself back to a healthy and happy place will take time. I dare not rush or cause any more issues for her. I am actually grateful i am in a place to where doing these things are coming from a healthy place where as before i was too selfish to do it.

DD, Dashboard, Rocket, WalkingOnEggShelz, Zugz, Pippin,HIkingout, ThatBPguy, I appreciate your support and advice. You guys really keep me in line, and on my narrow path to healing and recovery. Sending hugs and positive energy to you all.

ChanceAtLife35 posted 12/19/2019 20:17 PM

I do want to add thank you for calling me on my slips ups such as wallowing and going into self pity

RocketRaccoon posted 12/20/2019 01:07 AM


Wishing you and you family a very Merry Christmas!

Am sure you will rock the decor for the tree!

Your plan for what to do for Christmas sounds rock solid.

Chili posted 12/20/2019 09:58 AM

She wants to have the tree decorated for the kids as she just doesn't have the energy to do it.

I'm so glad you asked her this. I was sort of thinking about what Pippin said:

She might feel like you are forcing merriment.

Or that maybe she saw the tree as a symbol of "oh look - everything's back to normal now. We don't have to work on anything and life is just going on as it always did." It could have been a little salt in the wound if something she used to take such joy in was taken over by you or someone else and she was expected to celebrate it in the same ways.

Christmas is such a triggery time of year - filled with memories and symbolism all over the place. I think you approached this just right and sounds like you aren't pushing her into recreating everything just as it used to be. Nothing wrong with combining some new and old traditions each season...

ChanceAtLife35 posted 12/21/2019 11:57 AM

Thank you Rocket and Chili. I definitely donít want to force anything or act like things are back to normal. I understand itís more than doing these things, itís the internal work too. I have had a some deep advice given to me so acting on it now is key. I wish all of you a Merry Christmas as I know this can be a very triggery time of year.

Onlyjan posted 12/21/2019 22:22 PM

I feel guilty toward my 3 little children, but this is me. I used to love the holidays. Filled the house with Christmas carols and baked and danced around with my husband and just felt full of light. THis will be my third xmas since DDay. My youngest is six, and I hate to admit it but I havenít put an ornament on the tree yet. Nothing. It is up at least. We went and cut one down last weekend but even that experience I felt devoid of joy because I had to be around my spouse. I just canít see him as a good person or someone I want to be around anymore. I have so much hate in my heart toward him. And this is after a 28 year relationship (we were best friends 9 years, together 6 years and married 9 years when he cheated. I donít know. Iím trying so hard for my kids. I really am. I meant to make gingerbread men with them today and decorate them. I still have not gotten around to picking up the ingredients. I havenít bought a turkey. I havenít bought most of the presents yet. I just ugh. And if my UH were to make it like nothing was wrong and was playing happy music and deocararsd the free with the kids without me, that too would hurt, because I would feel left out and like everyone was moving ahead but me. I know that is selfish and I hate to admit it but that is the truth. I also did not send out our Christmas cards this year. I just did not have the energy or emotional wherewithal to do it. Iím sorry if this isnít encouraging. It is just where Iím at and I can relate to your wifeís feelings.

ChanceAtLife35 posted 12/24/2019 11:41 AM

Onlyjan, thank you for opening up to me about this difficult time for you. I hope your day is a little better today and you are able to enjoy some time with your children. I understand that things are not the same, how could they be with what we have done. If you have a close friend or relative perhaps they can help you with the turkey, decorating the tree, and other traditions you normally do this time of the year?

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