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Please help me to understand him

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FightingBack posted 7/16/2013 11:46 AM

H and I discussed the A last night. It had been awhile in spite of me telling him how unhappy I felt that we were not talking about it.

He said that he never knows how to bring it up. Anyway, during our conversation he said that although he doesn't want to minimize the damage his A has had on me and our marriage, he never really considered it as very important.

Yes, it went on for a long time, but that is just because he didn't know how to end it.

All the while, being so busy with work, sports, family stuff etc. he never had time to really think about what he was doing or how it might effect "us".

His married employee made everything so easy. She was not demanding of anything more from him than dinners together, hotel stays, the occasional overnight stay together, talking, drinking and sex at the office. She wanted it to be kept a secret also as she claimed she didn't want to leave her husband and child.

H figured that no one would know so therefore would not be hurt. He never once thought that his other relationship could be hurting our marriage. maneuver once considered any fallout.

He did say that on the rare occasions when he felt that maybe what he was doing was wrong, he quickly put it out of his mind. (compartmentalized)

He was unaware that I was feeling lonely and unfulfilled in spite of the fact that he withdrew emotionally and physically from me.

He thought that we were "good" even though he would be cold and mean at times, and lost all interest in having see with me or doing anything with me apart from family things.

He still says there was no emotional attachment to the OW even though their relationship lasted longer than our (exclusive) marriage. He just never wanted to take the steps to change anything.

OK so maybe I sound like I do understand his reasonings, but how the hell can I ever accept that?

I don't believe that he intentionally wanted to hurt me, but he didn't try to protect me either in spite of the fact that "he loved me".

And although he sounds sincere, I just CAN'T believe that in 15 years, he never gave what he was doing more than a cumulative few minutes of consideration.

I am STILL wrestling with this EVERYDAY.

Please help me.

sisoon posted 7/16/2013 12:46 PM

What help do you need?

What's keeping you from accepting your H's A? Is your H missing something in remorse? Are you afraid that accepting your H's A will set you up for more pain? Is the A a deal breaker for you? Is pride keeping you from acceptance? These are just some possible reasons...what's yours?

I urge you to focus on figuring out what you want and go for the attainable, while giving up the unattainable. (Like, I still wish my W had never cheated....)

If it means anything, I think compartmentalization is very powerful, so I think it's possible that he didn't want to think about what he was doing, so he just put it out f his mind. Remember Scarlett O'Hara - she said she'd think about things 'tomorrow', but IMO she didn't.


FightingBack posted 7/16/2013 13:25 PM

Thank you Sisoon. A very famous line you quoted. Apparently it is famous because it is a "male" coping tactic, yet is used by a woman in this case.

What do I need? I need my H to realize the magnitude of his betrayal.

I need for him to be in the same mindset as I am, in that when we have a quiet time to talk, he acknowledges that I am still trying to process his A and to use that time to connect with me on an emotional level, not to talk about how the grass is growing or what we are going to eat for dinner.

That I want So much to just love each other and not have so many unanswered questions that plague me every day, and which prevent me from loving him without hesitation.

To be able to sit across a dinner table with him and see him smile without imagining him smiling at her.

To hear him talk about work, the office, without an image of what they did in that office.

I want him to experience, even for a moment, the fear that I felt when I thought our marriage was over. He has never felt that dread, that loss, because I have always been here, even now, trying to make things right again.

I want him to offer a better reason for this betrayal besides, "I took you for granted, I was selfish, I was blind".

I want him to care enough to want to find a better reason why he could lie to me for years and let me pine for an emotionally absent husband.

I want him to be as shocked at his actions as I am.

I want the timeline that I asked for 17 months ago.

I want him to remember what I need and have asked him for, so that I don't have to refresh his memory when he asks "but don't you feel that I've been trying?"

I thought that all of these things were attainable, but maybe he just isn't able to give me these things.

[This message edited by FightingBack at 1:28 PM, July 16th (Tuesday)]

catlover50 posted 7/16/2013 14:00 PM

Could you show him this post? It seems pretty clear to me.

Of course, they can never really understand what we feel, but the way you write it is powerful.

I'm so sorry for your pain. These LTAs, and especially one that long, take a long time to process, IMHO.

I will add that my H also compartmentalized and never thought about what he was risking. He told me if he truly had he would have ended it immediately. She, and "it", were never worth it for a second.

sisoon posted 7/16/2013 14:53 PM

Yeah, FightingBack. You seem pretty clear to me, and I don't think you're asking for anything that I don't want. I also think your H would benefit from giving you everything you're asking for - it's win-win, IMO.

But part of attainability is your H's commitment to meet your requirement. He's not delivering now? What risks will you take to get what you want?

(I'm sorry for putting you on the spot. To be clear, you paint an outline of a wonderful relationship, and I hope your H steps up.)

FightingBack posted 7/16/2013 15:45 PM

Catlover, yes I could show him this post, as I have done in the past, but they get filed away and rarely discussed.

It isn't really necessary anyway, because I tell him these things.

Which is partly in answer to is sisoon's question about how much am I willing to risk.

I risk opening up my heart and soul to him every time we talk. I make myself vulnerable to be hurt again.

I risk living the next 15 years always hoping that today will be the day when we get everything out, so that there are no more questions and no more secrets.

For 15 years my life was not what I thought it was. Believe me, had I been respected enough to know the truth and make my own choices, I would have been out.

I don't want to make the same mistake of settling for less than I think I deserve, but I am willing to risk being patient a bit longer.

So, I risk exposing myself to further hurt, finding out that he is just not capable of caring enough, a repeat performance, and possible happiness without him.

I will risk all this, but I feel I have met him more than half way. And yes, I have told him this too. He just forgets.

Teach8 posted 7/16/2013 16:00 PM

Affairs are pain no matter how you slice it. But a lta I think does something to our vision of the past. I always feel like my life has been stolen. Like there are years that aren't true at all. Have you discussed this at length? My wh and I do all the does help me...because then he understands the magnitude. And it is absolutely necessary that your wh brings it up too...for me it is the only way I feel like he understands the magnitude of the pain and destruction he has caused. If he doesn't bring it up then I start to stew in my own pain and feel alone again. And for me, if I have to bring it up, I don't get the same amount of reassurance. Hell...if you could screw someone else for that many better be willing to be understanding about this need for the same amount of time. At this point, him bringing it up is the only thing that helps me. I hope that your wh can give you what you need.

FightingBack posted 7/16/2013 16:15 PM

Yes Teach, that is exactly it. But he just finds it so difficult to bring it up.

When it is me that does, I feel like I should try instead to be fun and light hearted. But I just can't.

I struggle mainly with trying to understand how he describes his state of mind during the. affair.

Now he says he sees clearly, uncluttered. Would you believe that he was just too busy and caught up in "a web,woven by the OW" to realize what he was doing or is this BS? (and I don't mean Betrayed Spouse)

[This message edited by FightingBack at 5:00 PM, July 16th (Tuesday)]

Teach8 posted 7/16/2013 18:01 PM

I do think they are too caught up...but in their own selfishness...not necessarily the ow. I don't know when your dday was but I'm over a year out and I've just begun to make my wh understand how important his bringing things up is to me. He was always saying he didn't want to ruin good moment we were having...or just not being able to understand how his doing that could help me. I finally made him understand that in order to help me heal he needed to share my pain more. I needed him to understand that even if I was smiling and laughing with my kids I was still hurting. And if he didn't bring things up then the message he was sending me was that he just didn't care. He wasn't really on this roller coaster with me. I'm not riding it alone...if he leaves me to ride alone...then I will just get off. This took many conversations certainly hasn't happened over night and we are still trying to figure it out. Somehow you need to make him unerstand that in oreder for you to heal he has to be proactive in the process...not a bystander just trying to do clean up after a meltdown.

HardenMyHeart posted 7/17/2013 11:00 AM

I thought that all of these things were attainable, but maybe he just isn't able to give me these things.

After reading your list, I believe the only item that is firmly attainable from your WH is the timeline. The other items will probably require a better understanding on the psychology of affairs and/or a shift in your perspective about the relationship and the affair.

One way to do this is through IC. Another way is through reading books and following SI.

For understanding the psychology of affairs, I recommend the following books:
Not "Just Friends" by Shirley Glass
Private Lies: Infidelity and the Betrayal of Intimacy by Frank Pittman

For understanding where your relationship started to go wrong, I recommend the following:
Uncoupling: Turning Points in Intimate Relationships by Diane Vaughan

For improving your relationship going forward, I recommend the following:
The Five Love Languages by Chapman
The Secrets of Happily Married Women by Scott Haltzman

For changing your perspective on life, happiness and love, I recommend the following:
The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck
The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl (first half of the book)

These were the books that helped me find an answer to the questions you are asking. It may seem like a lot, but changing your reactions to emotional suffering requires a deep understanding of what is going on. You will not get these answers from your WH. Even if he tells you everything you want to hear, you will still doubt him and suffer as a result of the affair.

So sorry for what you are going through. I hope you are able to find the answers you seek.

[This message edited by HardenMyHeart at 11:01 AM, July 17th (Wednesday)]

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