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How to help Fws deal with their guilt

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Pudding posted 5/1/2013 13:08 PM

We are reconciling well. My FWH is truly remorseful and has been really patient with me in my raging moments and has grown to understand the strength of my feelings and why I feel how I do about his ONS. It is going well. He is setting far more appropriate boundaries with other women and is open and transparent.

He is just so full of guilt and shame for what he did 6 years ago and I think this is standing in the way of us moving on? the ONS with M coworker resulted in OC. I was only told 3 years ago. OW and OWH are raising OC as their own and no one else knows. Yet OW has insisted that my FWH maintain contact with OC in case they want to tell OC in years to come. She has continued to pursue him and until I discovered 9 months ago, they still went out late night drinking together post work. This has all stopped now.

I have forgiven the ONS, but have found it hard to forgive that he took so long to tell me about the A and the OC, that he continued to socialise with OW and continued to see the OC behind my back.

I have insisted on NC with OW and that if he wishes to see OC it has to be via OWH. ( he has not seen him now for over a year). They have all refused to do a DNA test so I don't even know if the OC is his. I have met the OWH who bizarrely is perfectly happy with this odd arrangement.

We have talked and talked about this. I hate the idea of him maintaining contact with OC and see little point, when he is being brought up in what seems to be a secure family. I have said that if FWH wants to see him , I will put up with it, but I want to know how he feels about him, whether he feels love, etc. it seems that he sees him only because OW wants him to. I don't see how this is a good basis for a relationship with a 5 year old.

He never feels any anger towards OW. I feel that she has treated him badly all along. She has pursued him, manipulated, bullied him. Yet he sees she has done nothing wrong and that the fault was entirely his. He is full of guilt and shame. It's all his fault. She has done nothing wrong. He has not criticised her once for her part in the ONS, not taking precautions, continuing with the pregnancy without telling him until it was too late, refusing to share the parenting with him, then insisting that he maintains contact, continuing to pursue him etc etc.

I accept that he was at fault for ONS. I have forgiven that, but she was also at fault and he doesn't see that. He wants to bear all the guilt and shame. I want him to feel some anger towards her and see how she has manipulated him. His refusal (or inability) to see any fault in her a all makes me feel that he is protecting her.

I have asked him about his feelings towards the OC and he just says guilt and shame. He never says anything about love, pride , affection, interest. I don't feel that this is a good basis on which to maintain contact, but he seems that he ought to keep in touch because he feels guilty.

He is the same about other things. There have been incidents where he has been treated badly a work by his bosses and yet he just accepts it and expresses no anger or resentment. His first wife also treated him badly and had numerous As whilst he worked long hours and cared for both his and her elderly mothers. She divorced him and remarried straightaway. He has never expressed any anger or resentment towards her at all, even though he was still emotionally raw from all this when we first got together.

How do I get him to get over this? I feel this is holding us back from going forward. I have forgiven the ONS. I have forgiven him not telling me for so long as I understand that he thought it was best at the time. All is going well and i am confident we can R successfully.

But until he recognises that OW had a part to play and that the blame is not all his, I feel that he is protecting her and that feels as though he is putting her in front of me. I find this hard to forgive.

I find it hard that he needs to maintain contact with OC just because OW tells him to and because of his guilt. I feel I could cope if he said that he had some love for the OC, but he he has only visited 12 times in 5 years, has never held him and can't describe anything about what they have done together or what he has felt about it. It is almost a like he is punishing himself for his one night of shame. It also feels that he is putting her desire for him to maintain contact with OC above my desire that he does not

I want to get over this and move on together, but if he feels constant guilt and shame, how can we do that?

karmahappens posted 5/1/2013 16:09 PM

Hi :)

You cannot help him through his guilt. He has to work through it on his own.

He wasn't a victim, he was a grown man that made decisions. Very destructive ones.

It will take a long time to work through that guilt.

His feelings for OW make me go hmmmmm. I don't see the need for him to hate or blame her, but protecting her makes me believe he still has unresolved feelings he hasn't worked through.

BaldwinBeauty59 posted 5/1/2013 17:04 PM

Sorry, I don't have any advice about how to help your FWH heal from his guilt as I would be furious if my FWH had an OC and kept it from me for years. I would want him to suffer for it every day of his life because I would be suffering over it. Misery loves company and all that.

I admire your strength and courage, your ability to forgive such a terrible hurt, and your willingness to allow the OC in his life. I am not that big of a woman and I know it. You lady are an angel and your FWH is very blessed to have you in his life. You have a truly kind heart.

They have all refused to do a DNA test so I don't even know if the OC is his. I have met the OWH who bizarrely is perfectly happy with this odd arrangement.

If they say the OC is your FWH's and OW is insisting on him staying in contact, why would they refuse a DNA test???? Something sounds awfully fishy about this setup. The BH's attitude is very strange and telling. Do you know if he has been giving OW money for OC? If so, that might be why she insists he keeps seeing OC, so the money keeps coming in. I have a bad feeling that the OW and her BH are lying to your FWH about the OC being his in order to get a payday. This sounds like a scam to me and they may have found a way to get extra money without having to work too hard for it. Otherwise, it seems the BH would want to beat the living shit out of your FWH instead of inviting him over to visit with the OC. I wonder how many other men they may be telling this same baby daddy story to as well??? It is long past time for a DNA test and he needs to be NC with OW. So very sorry that you are going through this nightmare.

Knowing posted 5/1/2013 17:17 PM

Your WS needs IC to work through this. The ONS is well in the past and what you are coming up against are his issues, his baggage, his whys.

Why does your WS so desperately, and against all common sense, need the OW's approval/ validation? Why does your WS, against all logic, take the OC to be his without proof? None of it even makes sense. Does he have secondary issues, like drug or alcohol problems?

He needs to stop with the guilt and shame and switch into responsibility. He needs to come to a place where your needs are more important than the OWs, where proof of paternity is stronger than guilt & shame. MC could be a safe place to start digging into this mystery.

housenotahome posted 5/1/2013 18:53 PM

At the risk of sounding hippy dippy, I am of the mind, that the only way to conquer any emotion is to face it and embrace it. Its good, he feels guilty. Its normal. What he should do is involve you less so that you don't worry about him so much where that(guilt) is concerned. You have enough to deal with. Or maybe that is just his way of showing you constant remorse which is still a bit self defeating. He may just need to see an IC.

[This message edited by housenotahome at 6:54 PM, May 1st (Wednesday)]

OptimisticWife posted 5/2/2013 10:08 AM

I saw HUGE red flags all over this post! What do you mean your WH only stopped meeting up with OW for late night drinks 9 months ago?!?!

He is putting her wants before your needs! No doubt about it. His guilt is just his way of excusing his selfishness. He should be feeling guilty for his current behavior too not jus what happened 6 years ago.

He needs to go NC with OW, her BH and the OC now and stop hiding contact from you.
With all this deceit and the fact that he still seems to be buried deep in the fog, how can you be sure it was only a one time thing. IMHO it seems like an ongoing EA turned PA.

If your WH or OW want to maintain contact with OC, I would insist that it could only happen on your terms. Your terms being court ordered visitation only if a DNA test has proven your WH to be the father. No DNA, no contact period!

This must be so difficult for you. I'm so sorry that you are in this position. All the best (((Pudding)))

[This message edited by OptimisticWife at 10:09 AM, May 2nd (Thursday)]

atsenaotie posted 5/2/2013 10:35 AM

Hi Pudding,

How do I get him to get over this?

You don't. He has to want to do it and figure out how on his own.

It is also not your job to help him with his well deserved guilt. An IC may be helpful to him with this, or doing reparations for the things he is guilty for.

You have insisted on NC with OW, mother of the OC that apparently no one is sure is actually his OC. What I see is that OC is a convenient way for him to have an excuse to maintain contact and a connection with OW. I would insist on the dna test and make that one of my boundaries for R.

His refusal (or inability) to see any fault in her a all makes me feel that he is protecting her.

I agree.

I want to get over this and move on together, but if he feels constant guilt and shame, how can we do that?

There is no move on together in my opinion. There is BS accepting, healing and moving on, and WS owning, fixing and moving on. When you are both at this point you can look to see if you are on the same path headed the same way. If so, then you can work on the M (R) together.

I feel this is holding us back from going forward.

What do you mean by this? You should be moving forward on your own. It is entirely possible that as you move forward he will stay stuck. You should not allow his wallowing, denial, martyrdom, whatever to anchor you to this time and event.

Incorporate the things you feel he is holding you back from into your boundaries, give them to him, and then work on saving yourself (getting to acceptance and healing) first. You boundaries could include dna test for OC, IC to find why he appears to accept the victim role, understanding why he continued to see OW for drinks after NC, etc.

[This message edited by atsenaotie at 10:36 AM, May 2nd (Thursday)]

5yrsout posted 5/2/2013 15:12 PM


I am chiming in late - and really I don't have anything to add that others haven't already stated... but here goes.

1. Regarding your immediate question - are you absolutely 100% sure that the reason for his behavior is guilt/shame?

I ask because lots of WWs use this line as an excuse to avoid discussing things.

Sadly, others use this ploy when they are still hiding things.

And, finally, I wonder if he is telling you that he feels guilty and ashamed or if you are ascribing these traits to him in an attempt to explain his behavior.

If I am off base - my apologies in advance. For the first six months after my DDay, my WH refused to discuss things and did NOTHING to comfort me. Because I was desperate and still in love with him, I told myself that the guilt was too much for him and he was paralyzed into inaction.


Now that I have been here on SI for two years, I know better... and it is FAR more likely one of the other scenarios I described above (avoidance, still hiding things!)


No offense to you - YOU are not the one telling this tale. But I fear you have believed it because you want to trust your spouse with no basis in REALITY whatsoever.

I have read some very strange f'ed up stories on these boards - but yours makes me scratch my head - on so many aspects.

OC - with no blood test?
OW BS is ok with relationship?
Still seeing her AFTER dday?
Protective of his AP??

Honey, I say this as gently as I can - but you are dealing with quite a bit more than you know/think.

Originally when I read BaldwinBeauty's post - it sounded too far fetched ... but within a few seconds rattling around my brain - it is almost the only thing that WOULD make sense out of this odd situation.

I don't know your story very well, or if you've shared more of your journey along the way, but ARE YOU 100% SATISFIED with his answers/explanation of these things??


And, finally, even if the rest of this wasn't so whacky - YOU DESERVE a husband who cherishes YOU - not someone willing to continue to lie and sneak behind your back for ANY reason. It sounds as though your WS cares more for this person than for your mental well being.

I wish I had the gift of writing that others here possess. There's so much I want to say/convey - and I really hope none of this came over as too harsh or 2x4.

If anything here (in everyone's posts) rings true for you - PLEASE investigate further - or DEMAND full disclosure before even thinking about continuing in this circus.

I wish you peace. You deserve it.

Pudding posted 5/3/2013 06:58 AM

Thank you for all your support.

We are actually further on that my first post suggested. He has behaved badly, particularly in continuing to see her and the OC behind my back. However, I know that that has stopped since July when I discovered they were still meeting up socially. Since then we have had a rough time and have talked and talked. He has switched his office, so he is only occasionally in the same office as her and only has very rare meetings for work purposes and he always tells me about them in advance and afterwards. He has not seen her socially and is in strict NC with her. I have consented to I'm seeing OC if he wants to but it has to be through OWH not OW and funnily enough all contact has stopped. He recognises that he has behaved badly in the past, but he has genuinely changed, genuinely understand my feeling sand is caring for me. It's taken a lot to get here, but I really believe he is remorseful and there is nothing going on now nor will there be with anyone else again.

I hear what you say that it could all be a major cover up, but I don't think it is. I can't understand the OWH- I have met him and it didn't go well. He really regards it all as just a silly mistake. In July, he even picked them up from work and drove them to their worksnight out (where I discovered them later). I don't understand him, but that is not my problem.

My FWH does not contribute financially at all. They didn't want him to. OWH wants to be the provider and his name is on the birth cert. OWH also refuses the DNA.

My only explanation is that OW is very manipulative of both my FWH and her H and manages to get men to do whatever she wants.

I want us to concentrate on our marriage and move forward together. This is difficult when FWH blames himself entirely and does not see that OW should bear some of the blame. Aside from the ONS, which he should not have done, she has treated him very badly ( even if he weren't married to me). She has taken all decisions about the OC and expects my FWH to do exactly what she says. He has done this as he feels guilty that she got pregnant. He feels no anger or resentment with her and beats himself up all the time about how awful he is and useless etc.

It is right that he recognises he has done wrong, but we can't move forward if he just sticks there. I have forgiven him. I want him to do the same and move on. He can't do that whilst he sees it is all his fault and she had nothing to do with it.

I am reading Emotionally Unavailable Men at the moment and am hopeful that will help

m334455 posted 5/3/2013 09:26 AM

Best thing to do is to stop helping your WS in any way. I have found that a LOT of BS's are "helpers" and there is fine line between being helpful and enabling/co-dependence.

He feels guilty? Good. He should. He should probably feel guilty until he's DEAD and then a little longer because he IS guilty. At least he's not so much of a douchebag/sociopath that he doesn't feel guilty, that would be worrisome.

Seriously, instead of worrying about how to help him with his feelings -- expend your efforts on learning how to be happy and care for yourself no matter what the feelings of others may be. That's the best place to expend your efforts, for your own benefit.

m334455 posted 5/3/2013 09:35 AM

Oh, let me sum up Emotionally Unavailable Men for you. Emotionally Unavailable Men are unavailable to you emotionally. This is usually because they were abused as children, their bonding experiences were absent or inconsistent and their brian chemistry was detrimentally and permanently altered. However, some people just come this way as kids, in that they bond less effectively. You can expend a lot of effort and get a so/so result, you can leave them and find an emotionally available man, or you can manipulate and control them. They are easily manipulated once you figure out their "buttons" because their responses to certain given situations are almost pavlovian.

Seriously, I'm not being sarcastic.

Look, Pudding, the book will probably help you very much. You're obviously a deeply caring person. Just, please, put yourself first for now. Trust me.

sri624 posted 5/3/2013 09:53 AM

i am sorry that you are going through all hurts doesnt it?

i just wanted to add something....that whole story about guilt and shame should be watched very, very closely. and i am serious. especially you feeling like you need to "help" him. this is all on him. he should feel guilty...and if he is having a hard time dealing with it...then he needs to get into ic....there is nothing you can do.

and you know what? be skeptical of this guilt and wh was full of guilt and shame...and not really wanting to discuss things.....and talk about the difficult topics in a constructive manner.....he seemed "overwhelmed" with guilt....and i would feel sorry for him...and want to do things to make it easier for him. people also told me that i was "driving him away." everyday, it was about him feeling so much guilt and shame....guilt and shame.

turns out...the entire 9 months we were in false r...he was still cheating. and there was a lot more that he was hiding.

fast forward to know...attempting a true r....i dont want to hear about his guilt and shame...he should be. and all i care about is his actions to back up that remorse..that is it.

you know....i would insist on a dna test. how can you really move on or try to get past this without knowing the will always hang over your needs to be done for everyone involved...including the child. the ow is a liar...she has proven why believe her about something so important that will impact YOUR life?

and really.....and i may be the minority here...but why does he need to have a relationship with this child if the kid is in a stable home? for what? in my opinion, it only hurts the child in the long run. what good will come out of that?

and for your marriage...who needs that traffic? you know? cut that whole situation out of your life...the ow, the oc (even if it is his)....her BH....and close that ugly chapter. if the oc is his...the child support can be automatically taken out of his contact needed. for sake of the child....let the child try to have a normal life without all the chaos.

doesitgetbetter posted 5/3/2013 10:32 AM

Pudding, your WH IS the one at fault. He should be taking responsibility for his actions and not blaming them on the OW. It's been said thousands of times before, if it wasn't her, it would have been someone else. The AP is unimportant. Our WS's chose to betray their vows, and THEY are responsible for their actions. If he were trying to blame this on the OW, then a typical BS would be on here saying "he's not taking any responsibility for this, he's blaming it all on OW" and there would be many a 2x4 flying in his direction.

He IS responsible for this. He SHOULD feel guilty. And he doesn't need to transfer any of that guilt onto another person in order to heal from it. Much like an alcoholic can't blame the bartender for his problem, our WS's can't blame the AP's for their problems either.

In order for him to heal from this guilt, you have let him own it and then work through it.

And FWIW, he's probably feeling guilty for the things he's done all the way up to July (which is such a short time ago) and not just the A he had 6 years ago. So there are about 5 years worth of lies and deception and betrayal that he feels guilty for. I don't think I could get over that amount of guilt in just a few months.

We are 5 1/2 years from DDay, my H had A's for approximately 5 years before DDay. He still hasn't fully forgiven himself. He is much closer, but he stopped lying and betraying me and deceiving me over 5 years ago. Not just last July.

Patience, and ownership.

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