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Feelings of wayward spouses

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tooloyal posted 4/7/2013 10:13 AM

Does anyone else wonder what their WS are REALLY feeling / thinking? My H has always been fairly private when it comes to sharing his feelings, but I often wonder what he must be feeling about himself / me / us now he has had an affair.....
I would like to know how WS begin to feel safe enough to share their feelings with their spouses....sharing is part of trusting your spouse without fear of being judged or frowned upon.....I keep reassuring my H his feelings matter too.....or do WS change the perception they have of themselves to have crossed their own moral boundary and become someone they previously frowned upon? Do they end up (like my H tries to do ) putting all the umcomfortable stuff into little boxes.....

[This message edited by tooloyal at 10:14 AM, April 7th (Sunday)]

Jrazz posted 4/7/2013 10:44 AM

We struggled with this. FWH was quite unaccustomed to talking about his feelings. He didn't speak about his cherished mother for at least a year after she passed.

I found that it was very important to find out how to create a "safe space" for him to feel like sharing. He was very emotionally beaten down as a kid for having his own thoughts and feelings. We try to set time aside where he knows he won't be judged to get out what he's thinking and feeling.

We both want our marriage to work, and what helps us the best is meeting in the middle. If he has things to say that historically would have upset me, I acknowledge that I need to let him say what he needs to and let him know that I accept what he is saying. He in turn takes the leap of faith and unpacks his emotional boxes during the time we have set aside.

It's gotten a lot easier over time - but it's taken a lot of dedication to the project.

Althea posted 4/7/2013 11:10 AM

In our case, that habit of pushing things away into little boxes and the ability to compartmentalize was a big part of what allowed my WH to cheat. He pushed any anger, feelings of insecurity, stress, trauma, etc. away and then acted out instead. For us, working through this has been a BIG part of reconciliation and requires an incredible amount of work on my WH's part. He has to unlearn a lifetime's worth of coping mechanisms that served him well for a long time; but that were killing our marriage.

In our case, it has been a rocky process where he he misfires a fair amount when trying to even get in touch with his emotions. It used to be that on the first pass what I ended up hearing is total BS (attacking me or blaming me for something that didn't have much to do with me at all), and it was difficult. However, I can say that now after a solid 6 months of him working on this, he misses less and less frequently. It is hard work though.

sisoon posted 4/7/2013 14:36 PM

One of my requirements for R was that she share her feelings, since not sharing enabled her to cheat. She turned that around on me, so I have to share my feelings, too.

We define feelings as sad, mad, glad, or scared. We don't have to say why we feel the way we do, which we classify as 'thoughts' (not feelings), but we ask for support or offer each other support a few times a day, at least on good days.

We spend a lot of time together, so we don't use much energy talking about what we did all day....

jost1125 posted 4/8/2013 07:53 AM

This is also something that I am dealing with. FWH has never showed emotions or talked about feelings unless in a drunken stupor. For a few days I periodically mentioned that it is safe to talk to me, that I will not think any less of him, that I never have any other time, that it will help my healing process, it will help him if there's anything bothering him(since I don't even know if he IS bothered by anything because he won't say anything!!), and that it will help to make our relationship stronger and more fulfilling.

Yeah, so after mentioning that a couple days in a row, he finally said "geez, we don't have to have some big in-depth conversation every day". So, either I have made absolutely no progress, or, I'm hoping, that there is something he wants to talk about, but is just scared and it's taking him awhile to be able to get himself to talk about it. I decided I will give it a rest for a couple days, then at an appropriate time I will start a conversation about one of the less painful aspects of what we are dealing with and see if he will open up at all.

Keep us posted if you make any progress, I'm not too confident that I'm going to get anywhere. Good luck to you.

catlover50 posted 4/8/2013 10:58 AM

I thought for years that my fWH just didn't have many deep feelings! He was always "fine". In truth, he had learned how to push them down for the most part. Our MC talked about how people with his issues actually in many cases have not learned how to identify and label feelings, so that makes it harder to communicate about them.

He is getting much better, but feels that his feelings don't count as much as mine do at this time. I am trying to give him as much support as possible around his own healing.

He did not cry after his parents died, but I have since learned that he thinks that his mother looked the other way for years of CSA by her boyfriend. Can you imagine the complicated feelings he would have at her death? There is a lot he has to deal with, and is just finding the tools to do it with.

It's hard to change a lifetime of behavior, even if you really want to.

keptmypromise posted 4/8/2013 11:10 AM

Yes...I wonder also. When the questions go unanswed, and you are left to fill in the blanks yourself, it becomes very frustrating. I believe different people are on different levels in their abilities to communicate. For me...I am a question and answer guy. My WW is a sweep and bury type, so naturally I am left wondering often what is on her mind...and I have to admit, where there is a communication gap, there will always be suspicion. So it is best to try to open all lines of communication if possible.

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