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Reconciliation :
Update: Clarity & Being OK with What I Don't Yet Know

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 BreakingBad (original poster member #75779) posted at 4:26 PM on Saturday, November 19th, 2022

I don't know how long exactly, but it's been a while since I posted an update. I tend to update little bits of process, or progress (or lack of progress), or thinking as I respond to the posts of others.

So, update:

Several months ago I reached a point of clarity about what I need from my husband to ultimately stay in my marriage. Mostly it centers around him doing his work consistently and authentically. Some of his work needs to be demonstrated to me: conquering avoidance and regularly initiating deeper and potentially difficult conversations with me (and others, like our kids). In his conversations with me, I like to know what he's reading, watching, journaling that challenges his past perceptions or gives him insight into his own thinking or behavior patterns. I don't need to know everything, but I do want to see him working on openness and vulnerability.

This clarity about what I needed to see was good for me. What's been tough is the delivery on his part. It's hard mental and emotional work. It's uncomfortable. But that's why it's growth and that growth is needed...at least for me to stay in the marriage.

Demonstration of the work has been inconsistent. This was a red flag for me.

I spent time soul searching, discussing with my IC and discussing with my H about the inconsistencies. Were my needs/expectations clear? Yes. Were they reasonable? Yes.

Was my husband not willing to do the work?
Was he not capable? (Was this the best he could do?)
My ultimate answer: I don't know and it doesn't matter.

What I do know is that I need these things to want to stay in the marriage. Whether he can't do it or won't do it isn't my issue to resolve. If it doesn't happen, I won't be married.

So, that was Clarity 2.0

And it was also helpful to me. I pulled way back emotionally and, thus, also sexually.

Since then, the work has been much more consistent.

It's helpful to see that more consistent demonstration of initiative and effort.

However...
How do I feel about the fact that it took me pulling WAY back to see that effort? I'm hurt. It would have been great to see that effort because he knew I needed it. Now it's tainted by my perception (understanding?) that it happened because he needed it. He needed to do it to get what he wanted. He did it because it cost him if he didn't to do.
And isn't that still selfish thinking and motivation when what I really need to feel safe in this relationship is empathy and selflessness on his part?
So, I don't know how this "ah-ha" will sway my actions ultimately.

The other part of the inconsistent work conversation with my IC was about timeline: Was I expecting my H to work at my pace instead of his own?
The answer, again, is: I don't have to resolve that. I just have to know what I need.

Our kids are both in HS and both will likely be out of the house in a couple of years. So that's my loose timeline to watch his actions and make decisions for myself.

Right now, I'm still living a version of 180 in some ways because the more consistent effort I've seen hasn't lasted long enough for me to trust that this is a "new normal."

Yet, I live in peace and even joy within my house. Truly. My H and I like each other. We function on the day-to-day comfortably. We love each other too. (Even if we divorced, I believe would love him and wish him well.) I also believe that we both honestly would like to find true joy together again. I don't know if that will happen.

But I am at peace with what I know about what I need, and I'm at peace with what will still be resolved as time moves forward.

"Don't you love it, don't you love it?No, I ain't happy yet.But I'm way less sad."[Credit to group AJR]

Me=BW; fWH=online affairs with 3 APs over 2.5-3 yrsBoth in IC & MCMarried 31 yrs now2 kids-both in HSAttempting R

posts: 291   ·   registered: Oct. 31st, 2020
id 8765963
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Want2BHappyAgain ( member #45088) posted at 4:46 PM on Tuesday, November 22nd, 2022

Thank you for sharing your update smile . You have some very insightful stuff in here!!

My issues with my H were more tangible. He had been selfish...a taker...for all of our M. I was alright with that for the most part because I was always a giver. That is...until he took our monogamous M...and killed it with his selfishness crying . It was a big AHA moment for me when I realized that my accepting him as he was meant I was giving away my core. NOPE. That wasn't going to happen anymore!!

My ultimatums on Dday consisted of ACTIONS from him...to show me that he was willing to be UNselfish...IF he wanted me in his life. I made my instructions clear to him how I wanted those actions to play out. It was awkward at first...because my H had never HAD to do...therefore he didn't know HOW to do...these actions to show me he was unselfish. But he worked at it...and has far surpassed them...and I feel truly BLESSED to have this man as my H smile .

And isn't that still selfish thinking and motivation when what I really need to feel safe in this relationship is empathy and selflessness on his part?

It could be. For ME...I see it a little differently all these years out smile . Dr. Phil has often said that we TEACH people how to TREAT us. I took that literally when I issued the ultimatums laugh . One of my ultimatums was that twice a month...my H had to PLAN a night...just for ME. My H's motivation for doing this ultimatum was most likely selfish in the beginning. But somewhere along the way...he told me that he never thought he could DO these planned nights out for just me. He said that I never seemed to mind that he didn't...so he didn't even TRY. But after he started doing this...he realized how EASY it was to do! Then his thinking turned from HAVING to do these nights to WANTING to do these nights smile .

The thing is...my H didn't HAVE to do this. He knew that if he didn't...I was going to leave. But still...he didn't have to do any of it...yet he did. That was something that kept ME from leaving...seeing his effort. I knew how hard it was for him...but he was still here...trying. That took a lot of courage for him to do smile .

It must be irritating that it had to come to you pulling back before your husband LEARNED that he needed to TREAT you in the way you needed/expected. BUT...it seems that you TAUGHT him you were going to be TREATED a different way then how he did in the past. To ME...that is a GOOD sign that he was willing to learn this instead of going more in the direction that he had been. Your husband made the CHOICE to be MORE consistent instead of keeping doing what he was doing smile .

You are absolutely correct in feeling hurt (((HUGS))). Does it help to look at it in the perspective that your husband DID start being consistent when he saw what he was doing wasn't working for you...when he could have easily just kept being the way he was out of spite? We write a lot about ACTIONS over WORDS on here. MAYBE your husband needed to see the ACTION of you pulling away to understand what he needed to do because your WORDS didn't mean that much to him?

I know my H heard PLENTY from me about his selfishness throughout our M. His solution? He told me that if I would just do as he said...then I would be happy rolleyes . My words meant NOTHING to him...he knew I would never leave him...no matter what. I consistently showed him that through my action of staying in the M. Until I told him our M was over right after he confessed...and then LEFT the room look . My ACTION at that moment taught my H way more than the thousands of WORDS I had used before!

WHY didn't my H see this BEFORE he had his A crying . Whatever the reason...we both knew that WE couldn't keep doing the same thing...or we would keep getting the same result. I see it too often on here...and in our M...that when change doesn't happen...that is when things are hopeless sad . It looks like your husband seems to have learned that lesson to CHANGE...however it came about. That brings HOPE smile .

But I am at peace with what I know about what I need, and I'm at peace with what will still be resolved as time moves forward.

This makes me smile smile . Whatever the case...YOU KNOW what you NEED...and you are at PEACE with your decision...I LOVE IT grin !!!

A "perfect marriage" is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other.

With God ALL things are possible (Matthew 19:26)

I AM happy again...It CAN happen!!!

From respect comes great love...sassylee

posts: 6321   ·   registered: Oct. 2nd, 2014   ·   location: Southeastern United States
id 8766291
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 5:19 PM on Tuesday, November 22nd, 2022

Duplicate. Please respond to the thread in the General forum.

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 27872   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8766297
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Want2BHappyAgain ( member #45088) posted at 2:40 AM on Thursday, November 24th, 2022

I am happy to see this got unblocked smile .

A "perfect marriage" is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other.

With God ALL things are possible (Matthew 19:26)

I AM happy again...It CAN happen!!!

From respect comes great love...sassylee

posts: 6321   ·   registered: Oct. 2nd, 2014   ·   location: Southeastern United States
id 8766537
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