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How do I help my BS through the pain ive caused?

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ImprovingMe posted 4/16/2013 20:02 PM

Let me start by apologizing that this post is so long, but it is the whole story, i appreciate anyone taking the time to read it. :)

We are both 26, we have been together for 13 years… we aren’t legally married, for financial reasons, but we were planning to get married and start a family within the next year.

8 years ago, he cheated on me, we were engaged. We eventually got back together but we made all the typical mistakes, for example, there was so much trickle truth, that the last “new” detail I got was about a month ago.

A few years ago it got really bad, other stresses in our life, mixed with his guilt and my resentment were a toxic combination. We started fighting a lot, the fights got worse and I got really depressed.

Our worst fights would end in me calling him names, crying, and even threatening to leave. the fights were intense, but 20minutes later we would be fine, happy, talking/laughing so i didnt see how big of a deal it actually was.

The fighting effected our sex life, I didn’t understand why he wasnt interested, the rejection hurt so much that I stopped trying.

This is when everything fell apart, we both stopped going to school, We started playing a lot of online games, pretty much anything we could do to escape our reality. We neglected our friends along with almost all aspects of our lives outside of each other. talking to people online and it was a sense of “acceptance” that I had been craving, it wasn’t real, but it was easy.

There was one person I met online about 2 years ago, my bf also talked to him since we played the same games. He was just a friend, we had a lot in common and ended up talking a lot, it was innocent, until it wasn’t. my bf never seemed to have a problem with it, sometimes he even seemed relieved that he didn’t have to listen to me talk, and he could do his own thing.

It was about 10 months ago when we exchanged phone numbers and it became an emotional affair. Most of the conversations were sexual, but there was some I love yous exchanged, I never loved him but I loved the feeling of being wanted. 3 months ago my bf caught me having phone sex with this person, I was embarrassed and scared but he reassured me that it would be ok. At that point, the emotional affair part ended, I still talked to that person but it was much different. About a week later he told me that he had checked my phone for the first time, and read through every text, took pictures of them etc…

we had a deep conversation, and things after that got so much better, we were more affectionate and loving, discussing our future and working on finding him a job he would enjoy, and it was the best our relationship has been in years.

A few weeks later he was acting different again, it was the day before valentines day, and our 13th anniversary. he told me he wasn’t sure if he wanted to be with me anymore. The next day was awkward and we didn’t celebrate at all. The next night he went out and for the first time ever he didn’t come home.

The week after he left, he got accepted for a great job, in his field of choice, that we worked on getting him for months, making this the best and worst time of his life.

He was gone for about 5 weeks, during this time he visited almost every day, he needed space and buried himself in his work. 3 weeks ago he moved back home, its extremely hard on him and nothing I seem to do helps much.

Since starting his new job, I see so many great qualities emerging, he is more confident, assertive and he has seen changes in me also. We are in a state on limbo, not trying to fix it, but still living together, although I have been sleeping on the couch since he came home by his request, so far he is still not sure. Part of him wants to be with me and fix this, because with all of our issues finally out in the open, we have a real chance to be happier and stronger than ever. Part of him feels like his first love is now tainted and he is worried that because of that, it would only be partial happiness.

He prefers to not talk about it, so we mostly stick to small talk, we have good times where we are laughing and smiling, but it seems like when he notices it, he shuts it down immediately. The times we do talk about the situation, it seems good at the time, but it brings up even more feelings for him the the days following are even harder on him.

I love him with all of my heart, and he says he loves me too, he just hates me at the same time, and that hurts him so much, this is first time he has ever felt unsure about us. I am so ashamed of myself for hurting him so much, seeing his pain every day is the hardest thing ive ever had to do, somehow it hurts more than when he cheated on me, and up until now I was convinced that was the worst feeling ever.

Its been 2 months and I feel like its getting worse, I want to spend the rest of my life making this up to him and making him as happy as he makes me, but I fear that he is getting over me, fighting against the small part of him that wants to stay, and winning.

About a week after he “came home” I realized that as much as it hurts to not be with him, it hurts even more to see him so sad, so drained. Lately its been effecting his work, and hes spending as much time away as he can. He tells me hes not happy when hes away, it just hurts a little bit less.

Ive been reading a lot of posts on this site, and others and following advice that could apply to my situation, these are the things ive done.

I went NC the night he left, but he didn’t seem to care much, except once when he expressed sympathy for the OM

There was never any trickle truth, or anything else, he saw the texts, as soon as he said that, I could almost hear the glass shatter and any illusion was gone. I immediately took responsibility, told him how sorry I am, how much I love him and tried my best answer any of his questions.

I now understand why I did this, how it got to this point and I have begun to address my issues so I can make sure nothing like this ever happens again. i explain it to him along the way, and he comments on changes that he notices.

He refuses to put any keyloggers on my computer, or spyware on my phone. He says he doesn’t want to have to spy on me, I have offered to downgrade my phone to one with limited options, and even get rid of the internet entirely.

I gave him a copy of the book no more mr nice guy, I read the first few chapters and I could see a lot of him in the book. By the time I gave it to him, he had already been doing a lot of the first steps. I recently gave him a copy of surviving an affair, and a book on forgiveness,

We did the quiz for the languages of love, he got words of affirmation and I got physical touch, which makes perfect sense. I got that book, along with his needs/her needs, but haven’t given them to him yet.

I tell him everyday how much I love him, how sorry I am, how much I regret it, and that he is the man of my dreams, the only man I want to spend my life with.

Ive been trying to watch out for triggers but honestly just being in our apartment is a trigger for him.

For the first 5 weeks or so, all I wanted was for him to come home and let me show him how much better I can be, and make up for anything bad I have ever done or said. During this time, I saw him almost everyday, briefly and he seemed fine. he now says that he wasn’t, he just faked it.

Since he came home, when he is here all I can see is his pain, and it breaks my heart, I absolutely hate myself for the pain I have caused him, I wish I could take all his pain away because he really doesn’t deserve it.

The hardest thing I have ever done was offer to leave, it took me days to work up to courage to offer, afraid of the answer but if it would have helped him feel better, I would have. thankfully he said no.

he says he is trying to decide if he can give me another chance, he says he doesn’t know if he has it in him to put 100% into our relationship, and I don’t expect him to right now, it’s a huge risk and I understand his hesitance. He is used to being the one holding this relationship together and he doesn’t know how to let me do it.

I would do whatever it takes for another chance, but even more then that I want to help him begin to heal from this pain, so he can be happy.

Any advice on how I can help him through this horrible thing I have done, is greatly appreciated.

thank you for reading such a long post!

Deeply Scared posted 4/16/2013 20:49 PM


I see so many positive things in your post even tho it's hard for you to see it all now, please know that you have taken some great steps forward.

The title of your thread is very do you help your BS?

Through patience and love and understanding. By being open and honest no matter how embarrassing it may be at the time.

I would also suggest reading You can download it for $10.00 (I think) and it's an excellent read for all WS's.

It's good to have you here

Kc121010 posted 4/17/2013 15:34 PM

I am a BS. It's been almost a year. One thing I can tell you that is / would be SO important to me is the willingness to do whatever it takes to make me feel better. Just the simple fact that you are HERE and you're asking what you can do is so much more than most WS's. I'm so proud of you for that! I wish I could say the same for my WS. But he just wishes it would go away and has become defensive when I get a trigger and want to talk about it. Don't ever be defensive. Always say you're sorry. Encourage him to talk. Most men don't like to talk. They don't know how. He very likely needs you to tell him ALL THE TIME how much you love him. Tell him the reasons why you love him. Tell him the things about you desire and respect. That is one thing I crave, for my husband to give me the "why's" he love me because it reaffirms his feelings for me in a tangible way. Feelings of inadequacy are huge for us, and it's important for you to find ways to get through to him how special he is. We don't want to, but we compare ourselves to the OP. Do thoughtful things for him, especially things you never did before. My H was never a gift giver and I didn't really care, but after I found out, he bought me a couple special little things (nothing expensive) and it made me feel good that he went out of his way to do something he wouldn't ordinarily do. It made me feel special.

I hope those things help you. I know it helped you to write your story in the hopes of explaining yourself. It's funny, I've been a serial cheater my whole life in every relationship. I finally found the man of my dreams and changed my ways because I was able to see things about myself I'd never seen before. And then here I ended up being the one cheated on. I understand a cheater, and it has helped me forgive my H. Not everyone has that perspective so it's harder to "get". Everyone wants to feel special. Make him feel special. Good luck!

atsenaotie posted 4/19/2013 11:20 AM

Hi ImprovingMe,

Any advice on how I can help him through this horrible thing I have done, is greatly appreciated.

I hope that you come back to follow-up.

A couple of things come to mind after I read your post.

After NC and transparency, the best thing FWW was able to do to facilitate my healing was to identify, own, and work on her issues that led to her thinking that affirmation, connection, and sex with OM was not just OK, but her entitlement. I read about the books you have bought and read for your BS, but what about your stuff? I have the wrong perspective to recommend books for the WS, but I see that DS made a recommendation for you. I also know that IC helped FWW identify, own, and work on her issues. As I saw the change in her, not talk but actual behavior changes, I felt safer to let down my protective walls and work on reconnecting.

I also know that we were not able to work on pre-A M issues until after FWW was well on her way to resolving her issues and I had processed much of my anger from betrayals.

Ultimately, healing is something that your BS will need to figure out and do for himself. For me, improving communication (in life, not just with FWW), being more authentic, and focusing more on me and less on FWW and my M were big parts of my healing. IC helped me a lot to in working through my stuff.

ImprovingMe posted 4/19/2013 22:51 PM

DS: thank you for the encouraging words, I realize I have taken some positive steps, but honestly it doesn’t seem like nearly enough. He mentions the improvement he sees but is generally neutral about it.

I feel like I am working hard on improving myself, and ive come a long way in the last 2 months but I dont feel like it is helping him with his pain and struggles at all.

Sometimes I just feel so useless when I cant comfort him.

he really doesn’t want to talk about any of it, so its incredibly hard to be open and honest, but I keep trying, at this point I couldn’t be more embarrassed or ashamed of actions anyways, I have nothing to lose by being completely open with him, when/if he is ready.

I will check out the link you posted, thank you!

ImprovingMe posted 4/19/2013 22:56 PM

Kc: Thanks for this, your prespective as a BS sheds some light on how he might be thinking/feeling at this moment. Its been 8 years since his affair so when I look back its difficult to pin-point the things he did to help me through it, we didn’t handle it effectively and mostly it was just time that dulled the pain. This is what I am trying to prevent with him. I want to be proactive and help him through this, rather than just waiting for him to heal.

I tell him every day that I am willing to do whatever it takes to make up for the pain I caused, he just says that even he doesn’t know what it will take. Im sorry to hear that your WS isn’t as helpful as he could be, even though I am making an effort I still feel as though im not helpful either. I don’t want to feel like the problem just goes away, I want to feel like we conquered it!

Sometimes I worry that him not talking about it is a way of rug-sweeping it, I wish he would tell me about his triggers, so I could comfort him but also because I want to know which kinds of things to avoid or watch out for, it seems at this point just being in our apartment is a trigger for him. He insists that he is just as unhappy when he is away.

Ive started writing him love letters like I used to, I tell him why I love him, I talk about his great qualities, the reasons I fell in love with him, and the reason im still in love with him. Since all of this happened I appreciate him so much more, I cant believe I ever took him for granted.
The problem is, because I had an online EA, it was my words that I gave to another man, so the sweet things I say to my BS now, are bittersweet. Reading the part of your post about doing something I don’t usually do, inspired me and yesterday I did! It seemed to lighten up his mood a little bit and we ended up holding hands while watching a movie, it doesn’t sound like much but it is, compared that the last 2 months.

Writing my story definitely helped me, different perspectives/opinions help me a lot also because it makes me see the situation in different ways. I know what you mean by changing your ways for him, I was definitely on “the wrong path” when we started dating and in a way, I feel like he saved me, he is such an amazing person.

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