I think we're also juggling different advice. One school of thought is to do what you're suggesting: pause the relationship and heal individually. The other line is for the WS to prioritize the M so that the BS can rejoin them in the M and heal together. We have tried both with varying degrees of failure.
The WS does need to prioritize the M so the BS can rejoin them. Yes, that part is true. But to me that's part of reconciliation. You are not to reconcilation, you are in limbo. She needs to regroup, comply with your requirements for reconciliation, meaning she is showing consistency and reliablity. She can't do that until she understands why she did what she did and put away her shame and own it.
You--and virtually everyone else--keep asking me to focus on myself. I'm doing that while also sharing with my WW how I feel. Those discussions have been horrific. I think I'd like to stop them. I think I'd like to stop having sex with her. We'll see what the MC says, but that's where my head is at now.
Agree, very hard balance to make here.
I don't think my wife has ever been remotely empathetic. She's been compassionate, but never empathetic. Her world view is very self-centered, entitled and victimized. It was a frustration before; now it's a potential deal-breaker.
That is as common as temporarily blocking it out, but in my opinion they are really just two branches of the same tree. Some WS are selfish because of the lack, so they want people to accomodate them. Others are too selfless because of the lack and think they have to work to be loved. Once the lack is addressed, there is room for empathy.
I understand what you wrote, I'm telling you that I don't accept that there must be "some acting out"--why must there be? If I haven't made this clear already in these 90+ pages, I'm philosophically and morally opposed to the idea that people don't have their own agency; that she can't help but act like a child. Why?
And I am telling you that when someone is in pain they will act out - both the WS and the BS will. And she has and you have. She doesn't know how to assert herself but she is being told in IC that is part of her issue.
I recognize that you and my WW made similar mistakes, and I hope she finds her way to your way of thinking at some point for her sake, but I reject the idea that her process is some kind of normal I should understand and accept. Her behavior is absurd and my willingness to endure it is waning.
You are misunderstanding, I am telling you not to accept or engage in the behavior. I am telling you to detach from it. You should leave the oppportunity open for reconciliation, but stop actively seeking it. You should be actively seeking higher ground, and so should she.
And I know it seems like I want power, but at my core, I really just want her to stop being an insensitive asshole to me after shitting down my throat with her pathetic affair. But I also accept that the only pure control I have for that is ending the M--and that makes me sad.
I don't think you want power at all. I think you need to find your own power in the situation, and you are giving it to her. I think she is doing the same. I don't think that's the only control you have in the situation either, but you will have to decide that for yourself.
That was very helpful to read.
I think the primary issue has been me constantly telling her how I feel--at the advice of MC. I'd like to stop doing that. And then there's nothing for us to even talk about and I'm fine with that. I have plenty to keep myself busy. I'll listen to her feedback that she wants to share, but unless the MC has some compelling advice, I plan to detach a bit. Ideally, no more talking about how I feel before the Italy trip, so it'll give us a two week break from her treating me poorly. I'd like that.
This is why I think MC is completely a waste of time and money, there is no way to work on this relationship right now. It's in limbo. She is limited right now in what she can do because she has to come to some understanding of her own behaviors instead of reacting constantly. Proactive versus Reactive. AND YOU are in the same exact boat.
On the whole, I don't find my behavior objectionable post-affair. I don't think I'm sending her mixed-signals and I don't think I'm being passive aggressive. Now, that doesn't mean I'm right, it just means I have very little to examine. When I've made mistakes, I've been quick to apologize to her for them. I am *very* critical of myself in most areas of my life, so it would surprise me if a major issue now is my lack of introspection and being self-critical--maybe it's a blind spot I don't see though.
I didn't say it was objectionable. I don't even think you are purposely doing anything, I don't think you are a bad person or husband. You are in a place of deep pain and you don't have as much control over your own agency as you believe you do. Multiple people here have talked to you directly about the ways you give mixed signals, including me who outlined just a few in my last post. What Sunny mentioned too, while I don't take her full perspective by any means, what she is saying is we can read you oscillating continually, that's a mixed message. I do not think anyone has control over that this early out. We are giving you things to think about but you meet it each time with defensiveness. You probably do not have the emotional space for it now, too many fires on the stove. It's the same for your WS, she is continually oscillating. People in pain tend to do that, because everyone is looking for the button to stop it. It's not postive or negative, it's just part of the process.
-Your wifes behavior and lack of empathy is probably not permanent. She is struggling with a lot of big feelings and as they clear there will be more space. Often the lack of this is caused by the loss of equilibrium and amplification of her own pain, which will clear itself in time in most cases. Especially ones where the WS is trying as much as they can.
As noted above, she has always been unempathetic. The question is if she can change.
She can if SHE deeply wants to. Keeping the marriage is only part of a motivation that will work. Right now she doesn't understand herself, there is untangling to do. This is being met especially here with well then she is never going to get it. 4 months out, I was not doing half as well as she is, I can tell you that. But, I can't predict whether she will or won't, neither can you, but I can tell you how she is right now is an indicator of nothing. Self awareness is slow.
That's fair and I have no doubt that was largely what she was trying to convey. In the moment it felt like control: "If you stop dragging me through all these heavy emotional conversations, I'll give you more fun sex." Instinctively, my response to that is to stop having conversations and stop having sex with her. I don't know exactly why that is, but that's my gut feel.
Yes, and you might be right it could be to try and regain control as well. I doubt it. Many people have their libido tied to their emotions, I think that's a common and normal way of being. She is feeling pressure to prove her attraction to you, but in reality she likely has a very low libido right now and that would be for anyone. I went fully into having the female version of erectile dysfunction. Now, I have an organic attraction to my husband and we get busy all the time, again these are all "LIKELY" temporary due to the circumstances. I am not saying there isn't a lot to unwind and fix in the sex dept for you guys, but it sounds like neither of you want to go back to what it was and I take that as a positive.
-You deflect most anything anyone points out about your contributions to the dynamics. It's normal, but you too have to find a way to be less defensive.
Just about anything that is pointed out. I can't rehash your whole post here for you, but it's led to pretty big fights over what I would consider sound advice, including the big one with me. So much of that was defensiveness rather than really taking in what is actually being said, any time anyone mentions anything about changing your behavior you become a bit indignant or at least it comes across that way. I am by far not the first to point it out. Keep in mind, I don't blame you for that. As I already explained, people in pain act out. So, this is not a character flaw as I already said, it's likely more of a temporary situation based on really big overwhelming emotions. For both of you.
I agree with you, but it would still be nice for her not to be an asshole. I don't see why both can't be true. I can bear the weight of my healing, but she doesn't have to line the floor with hot coals on my path to heal.
I agree 100 percent. And, you will have to decide when that is too much. Up until now you have been bent on R, so I am advising you based on that goal. Right now the emotions are high for both of you, and the stakes are even higher. She should absolutely stop being an asshole, but you may have to also stop giving her the emotional pressence (by detaching) because noone thinks you should be a whipping boy.
I don't mind the long posts; I try to provide specific and thoughtful answers, though I suspect many of my answers leave you frustrated. laugh
That's where you are wrong. It's easy for me to see certain things from your post, there are common reactions to affairs that most BS share, and WS share too. (Edited for clarity - I don't mean WS and BS are alike, I mean BS have a grouping of common reactions that you see pretty consistently on this site, and WS share a lot of commonalities on how they got themselves into their situation and the stupid things we do after discovery)
I do think you're right that she is engaging in conversations with me unprepared. I like the idea of her having more alone time at night to reflect on her IC work and the books she's reading. I also would love to see her posting here again to get some of the feedback here directly.
I think that's a positive way to look at it. I think she would have a hard time posting here right now however. I think she is still a bit fragile about what is happening. I too posted and left early for a while, I needed to get more of myself figured out. I came back when I was ready and it did help me to suss out my thoughts. Right now, I think it would be better to wait a bit because she is just going to say stuff in here that is going to fan the flames even more for both of you, and right now I think you guys need to move towards calming the situation down a bit and regrouping rather than anything that would make things worse. I joined this site when the affair first ended, posted a few times, felt worse, and I went to IC for two months on my own before confessing. I came back I think 4 ot 5 months later and began posting in earnest. So, I think leave it up to her what tools she finds helpful as long as she keeps working on it.
[This message edited by hikingout at 12:36 AM, Friday, July 8th]