His eyes don't laugh along with his mouth anymore. He doesn't tease me the way he used to. He's more polite. Like he's formal with me.
I’ve been here. I know exactly what you’re talking about. If I may, I’d like to drop in and crawl into your husband’s head and give you some perspective from a BS and Guy’s point of view.
I’m going to cut right to it and tell you what would have worked for me if my WW was truly remorseful:
-Touch. Don’t underestimate the power of touch. Nothing broke me out of a funk faster than an unsolicited act of affection. I’m not talking about sex. When you see him get like this, go up and hold him like you’re never going to let him go. Then tell him, you’re never going to let him go.
-Reaffirm, periodically, that you’re going to fight for him with everything you got. Declarations of your resolve and determination alone are just words but, they do help in the interim while waiting for the actions to catch up and validate. It’s going to take years of actions before healing takes place, trust returns, and he feels like he’s part of something truly special.
That’s really the gist of it. We BS’s no longer feel like we’re part of something exclusive and truly special.
You’ve chosen to stay with your husband. So I’m going to assume that you do, indeed, feel like your relationship is truly special, exclusively special, and exclusive of all others.
He needs to learn this. If you’re lovingly patient and consistent in your actions and resolve, he will eventually realize this as you progressively live down, by degrees, your past actions to the absolute contrary.
-When you have sex, make love. You had sex with the AP, you make love to your husband. Make sure your love making is deeply, deeply intimate. Special. A level of intimacy and sincerity reserved only for your beloved. I’m not talking about passion. I’m talking about very deeply loving.
-Tell him what you’ve just told us, your description I quoted above, lovingly and empathetically accurate. He will appreciate your observations, that you notice, and that you deeply miss what you both had and...that you will wait till the end of time, lovingly patient, endlessly hopeful, for that man to return someday.
To anyone else this would all be exhausting. A chore. An unrealistic ideal. But to someone who’s truly remorseful, remorseful because they’re truly in love with their BS, it’s a labor of love and compassion. You have to love and nurture this man like you would your own child on life support. You’re love and devotion is currently in question. No one ever questions the love of a Mother.
It’s hard because it seems like you’re not getting anything in return. You have no idea if your efforts will ever bare fruit but, does the Mother who’s child is on life support concern herself with these issues? No, she selflessly waits at bedside, pushes the doctors to continue their efforts, helps the nurses, watches the monitors, every day, until the very end.
My ExWW chose to cut her loses. Did not want to sacrifice her fleeting midlife time and effort with no guarantee of success. She chose to pull the plug on a man she thought she irreparably damaged.
She was wrong. I was not irreparably damaged. I could have been saved. I was basically buried alive.