Sorry if I am repeating-I read the thread quickly.
I am a BW, 5.5 years out. When I read your post, it felt wayward to me. Because of this...
Ifeel extremely selfish asking him to stay stuck in this shit hole with me. I don't want him to be miserable with me. I want him to be able to look at me and feel happiness. He doesn't think he ever will. How can I honestly sit here and not want better for him? How is that wrong of me
Do you see how many times you reference yourself here?
My WH would say the same things. He would say that everything he was doing would never be enough. That I would never "get over it" and "move on". He was defensive to a fault and imo, set us back months if not years. He defended himself by using my pain against me, so that he wouldn't actually have to see it for what it was.
What I really wanted, was for him to fight for our M. I didn't want to hear "I will let you go if you will be happier without me". To me, that was giving up. I was fighting so hard to save our relationship (I won't say M anymore...but that's a different story) that I was exhausted. I wanted him to put his ego, his hurt, his shame, his guilt, his emotions...all of it...second to MINE.
For a long time, he couldn't - or wouldn't - do this. Oh, he said that he thought of me first. But in reality, his defensiveness and his triggers and his "hurt" were always there...always "as bad" as mine.
When you stated that you told your H about your triggers, I couldn't help but cringe. I am sorry that I don't know your whole story. Honestly, I have no doubt that you love your H with your whole heart and that he loves you. But he doesn't need to hear about your hurt or your triggers right now. That is what IC is for. What he needs right now is for you to shoulder the pain in your relationship. He needs a break from trying to "fight" for the M or for trying to show you that he still loves you. He really doesn't owe that to you at all. But if you want to stay M to him, you owe it to him.
If my WH had listened to me early on...really listened to me about what I needed, I wouldn't be here anymore. 5.5 years. That's a long time. I think about his A daily. It hurts more than I ever could have imagined. Our relationship has turned a corner for the better. But our M will never be the same. That is the sad part.
A Valentine's Day card to you was a nice thought on his part. Ever since Dday, I loathe picking out cards for my WH. It got so bad that this year, on our Anniversary (5 years past dday), I said no way. Not only was I not going to buy a card, but I would not celebrate our Anniversary. Everything about the day made me sick-in particular the part about celebrating a happy M. That weekend was the happiest I have been for a long time-I set a boundary and I kept it.
Did you ask him what it was like for him to pick out a card for you? Did you maybe suggest that it would be nice for him to do? I'm not being judgmental, but these are things I truly don't know if a WS understands.
Kiba put it well. Start fighting for your marriage if you want to stay married to your H. Don't make his pain about you. He needs you to be the bigger person here. That and consistency will slowly, slowly allow him to (maybe) feel safe again.
[This message edited by devastedone at 5:17 PM, February 25th (Tuesday)]