When JM and I began true R, I told him that NC was non negotiable and any contact would be a deal breaker. Over the next 6 months there were cycles of what I would call his funks. He’d shut down, become irritable, and was just “off.” Then he’d snap out of it.
I knew something was wrong, couldn’t put my finger on it. I finally confronted him about his phone and asked him about contact. He insisted he hadn’t broken NC. I got the records and was just dumbfounded. There was one phone call that lasted almost an hour. Then, every few weeks, a text exchange. Always initiated by him. And they corresponded exactly to the times when he was “off.”
I felt pathetic because although I’d said this was a deal breaker, I didn’t want to enforce it. I’m out day today day life he was doing all the work. He was in IC (we both were) and we were in MC.
So guess what the topic of our next MC session was?
We had an amazing MC and he knocked this one out of the park. JM sat there crying, with his head in his hands. He kept asking what was wrong with him. “I don’t want to lie to HF but I keep lying to her. I don’t want to hurt my wife but it’s all I seem to do.” Dr. Z looked at him and said “There is nothing wrong with you. You are a selfish jerk who does whatever you want at any given time without ever thinking about the consequences. And when it all blows up you throw your hands up and cry.”
Then he dropped this bomb: “You want to stop lying? TELL THE TRUTH! You want to stop hurting your wife? Stop hurting your wife. Stop doing things that are guaranteed to cause her pain.”
<I have to interject some back story here so the next thing makes sense. Our MC was also JM’s IC and they worked through an incident that resulted in PTSD. JM was attacked by a guy who was beating him with a pool stick. JM had just completed Marine Corps boot camp and infantry training and it didn’t work out well for the other guy. Part of JM’s recovery included us going back to the town and exact places that he visited the night of the incident. So Dr Z was very aware of the impact of his next words.>
He said this: “The next time you feel like making a call or sending a text to this woman, pick up a baseball bat and just whack HF across the face with it.” Pause. “Better yet, make it a pool stick.”
Whew! I was honestly surprised JM didn’t start bleeding after that. I almost felt sorry for him. But that was the thing that finally got through to him.
What we figured out. He would start thinking about what he had done. He had lied to OW about me (of course) and that we were separated, headed to divorce. So he had a lot of feelings of guilt/shame about hurting her. He had no idea how to process that shit and he sure couldn’t talk to me about it. So he made that phone call. Told her how sorry he was and all that shit. He felt momentarily better. But then the fear started. What if I found out? What would he do then?? He’d stuff it all down until he started feeling bad about her again. Quick text. “Hope you’re okay.” “I’m sorry” or some such. Each time—momentary relief followed by overwhelming fear.
I can say without any doubt that he has never tried to contact her since. He has consistently worked hard to become a man of integrity and strength. He is respected and admired in our church, and our community.
So… I’m not saying your H is breaking NC. But it definitely seems like there is something he is fighting with/white knuckling. And while a lot of people will tell you that NC should be an absolute, non negotiable deal breaker, my experience was different.