I'd like to start with an apology for not responding to all the comments sooner. I've been hiding away from my responsibility, wallowing in self pity again. There is a whole lot of shit going on in my and BS life right now and I chose to focus entirely on this rather than keep focused on my BS and her needs regarding my infidelity. I have focused on trying to help BS through a very low period with her parents being ill, me losing my job and trying to get my head out of my ass and doing "the work". I have neglected any attempts to even begin R and even gave myself credit for being there for BS. I saw doing things around the house or taking her parents to the hospital, cooking, cleaning as things that were going to help us. In the real world, these are things that people do for one another and this is not doing "the work" or focusing my attention on "us"
2. That my WS's multiple affairs over the years despite my own attempts to change and/or help her demonstrated that attempts aimed at controlling through rules wouldn't solve things -- she needed to want to change herself.
I see that more clearly. I know I'm the only one who can do it. I am the only one who can make the choice to do everything I need to do. I know I lack empathy in areas of my life and that I am lacking emotional intelligence. Although I do have empathy for BS. I feel and see the pain my infidelity has caused. I understand the stress and anxiety she is feeling for her parents and I can act on this. I know what needs to be done and I am there for her and them. It seems I cannot break through the shame and do what I need to do regarding infidelity. AM I ALONE IN THIS?
"I want to be treated with love and respect"
Seems simple enough. Achievable by some quite simple activities... Honestly, openness, putting BS first, always thinking about BS in decision making.... As I said in a post recently "Doing the next right thing"
Taking that all into account, I look at your list and see a very wounded BS who is trying to communicate specific ways in which you can avoid things that are hurtful, do things that are helpful and steer away from situations that could become problematic. But I also see the need for you to realize that the core asks are for you to be loving and respectful while understanding that dealing with your own inner challenges that allowed you to have affairs is going to help you become a healthier you that will pay benefits for yourself along with your BS.
This is where I need to work. The inner challenges and becoming that healthier person. I will show this post to IC and focus the sessions onto doing this.
It was your post (and subsequent post from BS) that hit me hard. The comments you made are both very obvious and I've heard them so many times, so I should know better. This was pointed out by BS and I immediately hid from the truth and distanced myself from this post. You ask a lot of pertinent questions. (edit I hope this does not came over as an attack, I keep reading the line "The comments you made are both very obvious and I've heard them so many times" and it seems a bit childish or snappy. It's not what I mean. I mean, you're absolutely right and I know this. I've heard it before and I guess I need to keep hearing it as I'm not doing enough to change)
What is it that is your biggest hindrance?
Clearly I am. I've made multiple promises and do intend to keep them. I struggle with some elements of my past behaviour and rather than focus on these, I latch onto simpler ones. I convince myself that doing certain things for BS will be enough to give me extra time to work on the difficult bits....Then there is always something that gets in the way. When this happens my default position is to switch focus on the latest
crisis or often something totally unimportant in the grand scheme of things (fixing light fittings, putting up a shelf, contact the solicitor for our recent house sale you name it, I've taken on that challenge) and try to fix this. So I can say to myself I've done something useful today and then expect credit from BS. This goes on day after day and eventually BS gets frustrated and the lack of effort and calls me out on it. I get defensive, that realise what she said is correct and shame spiral kicks in and the cycle starts again.
What is THAT? Whatever THAT is, is what you need to fix.
Yes, you're absolutely right. I'm avoiding the really hard stuff by focusing on either then next crisis or sometimes focusing on us having a good day. Hey, we're having a lovely date night or a nice walk with the dogs, why spoil this feeling by thinking/talking about affairs. This needs to change. Having a meal out is awesome, but I need to learn that ALWAYS in the back of BS's mind is "when are we going to talk" has he answered the question on SI and if so when is he going to talk about it? I'm still very selfish and when I'm feeling good I don't want to feel bad.
Is it your anger? If so, maybe anger management classes are in order.
Yes, anger has been a big problem in recent months. Previously I would get angry when called out on a lie. Now anger is coming when shame kicks in, when I am being asked questions about "gaps" in my timeline, when I am told I have done nothing to help BS and I am convinced that all week I've been focused on her (see above). I get angry when I am told that I put all my effort into affairs and nothing into my marriage. I get angry when told to "Just leave and go fuck AP whoever" I know I don't want this. I get angry all the time. I have read a couple of books on domestic abuse and have started group therapy on this. At this time I have only had two "online" sessions, but start the face to face group on Tuesday evening next week. (I will start a post on this separately). A bit shock to me was the minimising I have done over the years and especially in recent years of the abuse I have subjected my BS to. This was another realisation that hit home.
Is it entitlement, and selfishness? If so, you need to be in therapy to work on eliminating those.
Yes, yes, yes. I've lived my entire life feeling entitled. Through the whole of my relationship with BS I have felt entitled to more. More fun, more freedom, more sex, I should be the one who come first. It has been about me. In the past I would have got defensive at this and stated all the nice things I've done for BS and of course there are...Not the point. In having affairs, in living this secret life, I have written off anything that was special between us.....Hey, cue shame spiral. Shame spiral in itself is entirely selfish. So yes, I need to work on this. Even recently when going things around the house, I feel I am entitled to a pat on the back for doing something. I feels so pathetic just writing that. I'm an adult in a marriage. Just do the washing and get on with doing what is actually needed rather than reach out for recognition (which is something I have been guilty of on this forum)
Is it lack of commitment?
I think it kind of has to be. Despite my current feeling of "hell no, I'm committed to fixing this". I think I commit to only parts of "the work".
Do you really love your wife? Do you really want to be married to her?
Yes, I really do. I love my wife more than anything, yet I cannot seem to be able to prove this by doing the right things at the right time. I've said on here and to BS that EVERY day I need to wake up and commit to her and the marriage. It is something BS does every day, despite the pain and anguish I cause. It is the reason I started this post. To show commitment to healing myself and to focus my attention in the right direction. What happened is....I was challenged on this forum and by BS and I ran away...
I don't know. It just seems there is something in you that stops you from following through. You must figure out what that is, and work on that, above all else.
Yeah, You're right. This post has taken me a while to write. I am currently fighting back tears. Which is something I really need to stop doing. Crying is OK, showing emotion is OK. I can just release my emotions. I want to just hold her right now, but I feel that this is benefitting me and not her... Does that make sense?
Bulcy, you have good intentions. Why are you self sabotaging?
I wish I had a simple answer to this. Thinking back on this I always seem to. Something to discuss with counsellor.
Either way, wayward in me initially thought to keep it to myself, as I can avoid him by taking back routes in the building to avoid his lab. New me said, "thats a bullshit coward thing to do. BH is not going to trust you if he finds this out some other way." I decided to build trust and tell the truth, even at the cost of my own convenience. BH was hurt, but he trusts me more now and I treated him with love and respect.
This is something I am trying to work on. Fortunately I am unlikely to cross paths with BSs from the past. I've changed job and some have moved away. I mean more to the point of "bullshit cowardly thing to do". Not to hide things either from BS or even at work. if you fuck up...a) do what you can to fix it and more importantly b) admit to it, showing trust in your partner, openness, honesty and attempting to prove I can and will no longer have any secrets. Fighting that default position of "protecting" myself is hard. It is certainly something I've been doing for well over 40 years.
All that to say, what is keeping you back from doing so? What is keeping you from listening to that new voice in your head telling you to do the right thing for your own growth and by proxy, for the healing of your BS?
Again the simple answer is ME. The voice of reason, of "do the next right thing" is there and hey, sometimes I do. Then the focus goes wayward or I relax into "thinks are ok at the moment" and slip backwards. Only to have this pointed out and rather that accept it and refocus I hide away and sulk. Yes, I come back, but I can't seem to avoid the sulky stage...Selfishness again?
Oh, and timeforhelp, Im not a mod, but I am sure its is bad manners to post on your WH thread.
I will have to defend BS on this one. She mentioned this thread and a) my lack of commitment to it and b) my lack of response to it. On the night she posted this we had an argument on me not doing "the work" and not doing the things in the list above. She was absolutely right in what she was saying. I again got defensive and agressive. She said she was going to post on SI to tell you guys about my lack of effort and I said something along the line of "do what you fucking want to". We do have an agreement that we will not post on one anothers threads. However in this instance I gave BS no choice, she needed something to kick my ass out of the pit I was in and onto the correct path. I have absolutely no problem with the post. It was necessary for me. As talking to me and in fact pleading with me has not work, she needed to do something like this.
Hugs to you, Timeforhelp.
Thank you. I know this was received well.
I've not been active on SI as I was trying to deal with my own mental health from Covid and other issues, but I have kind of lurked of late and I really feel for you and your efforts so here I am posting for the first time in like forever.
Welcome back and thank you for finding the time to message me. I'm sorry to hear of your recent struggles.
Stop the lists. Listen to what your wife is asking for and really try to put yourself present and ready to be a partner. It is really a one day and one step at a time process. Be thankful she loves you enough to still be by your side. And realize that you owe her that much and more if you want this to work.
Yeah, I need to listen to this and act on it. I owe her so much. She is incredibly strong and yet so hurt right now. I am being there for her and helping her through every day. Where I fall down is the "us" work and the "me" work. A huge gap I appreciate.
You won't be there all at once. But maybe, just maybe you take those crumbs and do something with them one step at a time. One thing my wife said after D-Day is that she stayed out of a sense of responsibility to our kids, and that she still loved me. But what made her stay after was seeing my effort to change and improve.
Seeing effort to change and improve. That's what I need to show.
You can do this.
Thank you all for the feedback and as ever pointing out areas I need to focus