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tryingandfailing posted 7/23/2013 19:45 PM

Long time lurker, first time poster. D-day was in April 2011. My BH moved out yesterday at my request. It has been a long and bumpy road, and while I want R more than anything I felt he wasn't getting the help he needed and after yet another emotional explosion I asked him to leave and find the help he needs or I can't be with him anymore.

Now I feel like a huge POS. I never wanted to give ultimatums and I know that you can't put a timeframe on healing but in the course of 2.5 years I've tried really hard to improve things on my end for what feels like no reason when he just holds all of his emotions in and pretends like nothing is wrong. Then there are these violent and hurtful outbursts that are so damaging and make me feel (among a myriad of emotions) like we've made 0 progress and I'm just wasting both of our time sticking around.

He says he wants to R, and got on the ball with his first IC appointment today <--huge progress already?! We have a 4-y-o and this is a huge adjustment for her since BH was a SAHD.

I really would just love to hear from other WSs that separation CAN be a good thing, and that I don't have to endure being treated like dirt despite being the one to cause this with my A. I understand I deserved to lose his love, trust and respect but if these issues aren't being addressed then I just feel like there's no point to staying together no matter how much we love each other.

longroadhome posted 7/23/2013 20:42 PM

I don't really know enough of your story to help much, but here goes.

You are allowed to decide what's right for you. You can't control him, only yourself. Maybe it will be the motivation he needs, who knows. Or maybe it will blow up in your face. If he's stuffing his emotions, it will boil over at some point. This could turn out badly if that's the case.

It really doesn't matter if this tactic has worked for others. If its what you need then so be it. I get the sense that its not really what you want, though. Is there a gentler way to get him the help he needs?

tryingandfailing posted 7/23/2013 21:01 PM

You're right, background info is lacking, I just didn't want to have a ridiculously long post no one wanted to read so I thought I'd address questions as they come.

Is there a gentler way? Not one I haven't tried. I've asked him to talk to someone since day 1 and he has refused. Around 6 months after d-day he finally agreed to go to MC. We went once, MC said he wanted to see BH alone. He went a couple times, he had a big blowup and decided he wasn't going anymore.

It feels like a record on repeat. He wants to R, things are great, he hits a trigger (usually when drunk), the next day he feels bad and begs me to forgive him and stay, I do. Repeat. His outbursts are violent (typically toward himself -- punching, banging his head on things, etc) and when I get upset he threatens me with suicide. Its really ugly. His support network is practically non-existent and while I don't feel this is "his issue" I do think he could benefit significantly from IC first, then MC to help us. The therapist we saw before felt the same, and while our conversation was brief today it sounds like the new one agrees. I hope he sticks with it.

The other part that is probably really relevant to our situation is that BH is very dependent on me. As mentioned he's a SAHD. He doesn't have many friends and only goes out and does things without me when I beg him to. Most of the time I feel like he's still with me because he feels he has no where to go, that he doesn't know how to start over, and that if he comes to the realization he doesn't need me he would leave. This is my biggest fear. At the same time, I want him to CHOOSE to be with me for the right reasons and not because he feels like he can't leave. I cant live with the idea that he was trapped with me, and not here because I make him happy. I don't want it to come off as if I'm trying to teach him a lesson, but I do help this separation can help him see that he is independent and that he does have a choice. I can only help he chooses the same thing I have. I hope he chooses to be in this with me for the long haul, but also to begin our road to R the right way -- by dealing with it and working through our issues rather than pushing them to the side and trying to move on.

trytoforgive posted 7/23/2013 21:34 PM

My H and I separated 5 times (each one of them after he got drunk and angry). The last time was 2 1/2 years ago for 6 months. We were closer during the separation than we had been in probably the combined 10 years of our previous relationship, so we made a go of it after the 6 mo separation...

My experience has been that making a go of it without him having any kind of IC or even MC, is that I truly would have been better off not "reuniting." It took about one week for it to be business as usual, and my guilt over what we had just put the kids through and, truly, what I had put my H through with my A now, had me kinda voluntarily "stuck" where I am. We're fine. Kids are good. There is no fighting, there is peace, and at times, there is laughter. But he never healed. Actually, that's not a fair statement. He very well may have healed, but our marriage did not heal. All of the begging that I was doing before my A for affection and love and time together and partnership still falls on deaf ears- just like it always did... The difference is that I have stopped asking now.

So I healed me. I have decided to stay here, for now, and the consequences for my choices are that I live in a loveless, sexless, partnership-less marriage, but it's my choice. We are roommates, and for now, that's alright. But that's my decision, too. I am the breadwinner right now- so it's not about money. Maybe I'm just more risk-averse than I have proven to be in the past. I'm not punishing myself anymore because of my horrible choices. But I'm not letting him punish me anymore, either. We talk about kids and finances, and while I realize that I am not living my best MARRIED life, I am living my best life in every other aspect. And I am not looking for the external validation that I so desperately craved... Love? I've got family and friends! Partnership? I have a phenomenal job! Sex? I've got batteries...

Here's my point after that long diatribe... Make sure that if you let him come home you know that while he is working on healing his wounds (as you are helping) you are both also committed to working on a marriage. You blew up his world as he knew it. There is no arguing that. You can only help him in his healing so much. You can only take him so far, and then he has to decide how he is going to react to the shit storm that is now his life... He needs hobbies outside of you. He probably needs a job, in all honesty, but that's for you and your family to decide.

I can honestly look back on the last 13 years of my life and tell you that the #1 mistake I made was my A. #2 was letting him come back home...

Take what you need- leave the rest.

Good luck to you!

tryingandfailing posted 7/23/2013 22:02 PM

This makes me unbelievably sad but thank you for your open and candid response trytoforgive. You sound like an amazingly strong person, and I'm not sure I could make the same decision to stay if I were in your shoes.

trytoforgive posted 7/23/2013 22:37 PM

I'm not sure strength is the driving force... It may be the exact opposite, in fact. But I appreciate the kind words. It is what it is. I know that when I find that I can no longer live in this "arrangement," I won't, but for right now- this is where we are. And honestly, it took about 37 years to be able to look in the mirror and really like what I see. And I do. I know that there is more, but having the opportunity to get healthy and not be dependent on outside sources for happiness has been the best outcome of this whole thing.

My kids get a healthy mom- and I get a healthy me. I have no idea what will happen in the future. Maybe... Someday...

longroadhome posted 7/24/2013 00:14 AM

His outbursts are violent (typically toward himself -- punching, banging his head on things, etc) and when I get upset he threatens me with suicide

This is concerning. Are you safe? Is he? Have you considered forcing him into a short inpatient treatment? As his W you can do that. Suicide threats can't be taken seriously enough. It would at least get him 48-72 hours of observation and intense therapy. I know it sounds extreme but, you know, violent outbursts and suicide threats are extreme too.

t/j. Trytoforgive, your story made me very sad for you and your H. I hope you find a way back to each other, or at least that you each have peace in all of this.

RSEB posted 7/24/2013 08:15 AM

WS Only

[This message edited by SI Staff at 8:53 AM, July 24th (Wednesday)]

tryingandfailing posted 7/24/2013 09:24 AM

longroadhome, it definitely is concerning and not something to sweep under the rug. It was addressed with his IC the short time he went and IC gave me a number I could call ICE but he's never been committed or anything of that nature. He did take anti-depressants for a while and it was awful... really awful. I felt like I lived with a zombie -- no emotion, no energy, no happieness, just a being that went through the motions of getting out of bed and doing the bear minimum to get through the day. After a while he stopped taking them and, admittedly, I was relieved. An angry husband is better than a lifeless one.

Those outbursts aren't all the time. When he has them, I try to be super cautious about my words and actions and not to provoke him. I don't leave him alone until I'm sure he's come down from the anger. Its definitely not solving the issue, but to answer your question, yes I feel safe. Frustrated but not threatened.

[This message edited by tryingandfailing at 9:25 AM, July 24th (Wednesday)]

tryingandfailing posted 7/24/2013 15:19 PM

I had a lot of burning questions about the separation and BH gave me permission to email his therapist. I told her she could either respond by email, I could come in to talk or she could discuss her responses with him and he could share her advice with me after. Below is what I sent and I thought I'd be interested in hearing feedback from this community too -- these first couple days have been hard because I feel like we don't even know what we're trying to achieve.
In the 2.5 years since my affair this is the first time we've ever been separated. It is not a separation to determine *if* we will stay together. We both want this to work and are committed to taking the necessary steps to make that happen. When I asked him to leave our home, I felt we really needed to create some space for us to fix the obsticles in our relationship so we can move forward happier and healthier but now I have so many questions about how to do that. I realize some of these we ultimately need to work out with one another but I'd just appreciate some professional input to make sure we're headed in the right direction.

1. What can we we be doing to make this separation a positive experience rather than a negative one? Do you have suggestions for general goals we should be working toward during this time to help us rebuild trust and respect in our relationship?

2. Contact is really awkward right now because we didn't really set any boundaries or expectations for being apart. How much interaction is OK while still engaging in a healing and useful separation? How do we make the most of the interactions we do have? As the spouse who caused the betrayal, I want to be accessible and responsive to him so he knows I'm still faithful and in this for the long haul. What I don't want is for us to decide we're getting along well enough to be together again and slip back into a comfortable, non-productive routine that doesn't address our issues head on like we've done so many times before.

3. How do we know when the separation should end? An extension of question two -- I want him home, he wants to be home but I think we need an action plan for how we're going to tackle and break this damaging cycle we've been in. How do we know when togetherness, rather than space, is the best way to address these issues?

4. In your opinion, when is a good time for us to begin regular couples therapy? We started once before and the counselor said he preferred to meet with [bh] individually for a while.

I wanted to ask some specific questions for example what is the best way for me to handle the emotional outbursts and/or threats should it happen again but I felt like that was a loaded question that lends itself to a whole therapy session on its own. Really feel like we could just use some direction on how to start making progress so I hope she responds soon :(

uncertainone posted 7/24/2013 15:38 PM

Tryingandfailing, I understand not wanting to reconcile. I'm also keenly aware if a guy posted this he'd be skewered.

If he is a SAHD I assume it's by both you guys agreement. I think kicking him out is pretty shitty. If he is a true danger to himself that absolutely needs to be addressed. You state you're not afraid for yourself though, so not a danger to you or your children, correct? Are these drunk incidents often?

Some people don't want to go to IC and in light of my personal experiences with IC's really don't blame them. I also think someone telling me to go after they just blew up my life would be an unhealthy idea...for them.

I'd think depression would be a pretty normal response. Especially if he does feel trapped. More than one or two posters here admit to feeling trapped by their position. I'd think that coupled with the betrayal would be rather depressing for sure.

As far as him staying with you because he has to, I again think more than a few may start that way, or because of the kids, or whatever, then as time goes on and work is done it can become a healthy partnership and an enjoyable one.

Look, I'm the last person to encourage two people to stay together if it's dangerous. I just can't help but imagine a man coming on this site posting he cheated then kicking his SAHM out because she's having issues coping. I can only imagine the responses and can't say I'd disagree. Guys tend to get rather fucked with the whole divorce/custody deal a large part of the time, in my experience.

Is he a good dad and not a danger to your 4 year old? If so, then to me, he should be home.

I'm sorry if I'm way off base here and not fully grasping the risk. There aren't a lot of details about your situation so just going by what you've posted. You state you're being treated like dirt but don't see much about how.

What work have you done on yourself for the past 2.5 years? How have you progressed at getting to the root cause of your choices?


(((Trytoforgive))). I'm so sorry. Glad you're handling it, but so so sorry you're having to.

tryingandfailing posted 7/24/2013 16:14 PM

Fair enough. I posted here fully aware that many may not agree with my choice and I'm open to hearing both sides. To clarify a few points and address some of your questions:

I DO want to reconcile. This separation is not intended to decide if we will divorce. As far as I'm concerned (and he says he agrees) that is not on the table.

I don't understand how my gender is relevant to the responses I receive. I don't expect special treatment for being a woman.

Your assumption that his work status is by mutual agreement is inaccurate. He was in school when the A occurred. Understandably his grades slipped and eventually he dropped out. Despite many promises to try to find work and help support our family over the last couple years he has not done so. I used to get really upset about it because we were strained. I've gotten a couple promotions and raises since then and were making it work + DD likes to have him home so I just kind of deal with it. For now, I consider it part of the recovery.

He drinks a lot in cycles. It gets heavier and heavier and that's when I know a blow up is coming. He has a blow up, he's sorry, we talk about how to avoid them in the future (including cutting out or cutting back on drinking), he does for a while and then the cycle starts over. I don't know if depression causes the drinking or the drinking causes the depression but its a very clear and obvious pattern. I'd says every 2-3 months this repeats, sometimes more sometimes less.

Re IC, while I respect you opinion, IMO someone who threatens to take their life regularly requires therapy -- together or alone, that is not an issue I'm qualified to help him work through.

It may or may not be relevant but the depression stems from long before the A and has caused issues for us for many years. It's not the cause of the A (I am the cause) but its clearly not something he can work through on his own.

He is a great dad and I would love nothing more than to have him home. At the same time, every time we have these outbursts and I do nothing to stop them I feel like the stupid girl who keeps going back to the abusive relationship. For the first time since the A he seems to be taking the steps to work through the problem rather than burying it. He isn't doing anything away from home he couldn't be doing at home but the problem is this is what it took to get him to do it instead of just saying he was going to. I may have caused this but he says he still wants to be with me, and if that's the case IC and a healthy husband is what I need to be able to stay in this M. I wish asking him to leave weren't the way to get it, but its been 2.5 years, not 2.5 months and we're just spinning our wheels here. I don't have a timeframe, I just want to feel like we are finally learning to communicate and doing *something* rather than hoping for a miracle all the while the resentment and anger builds up for another round.

When I put this in words I feel like I sound angry and detached. I'm not. I'm fully invested and willing to do anything I can to be a part of and help our relationship through this. But I need to feel like I'm not the only one trying.

tryingandfailing posted 7/24/2013 16:24 PM

Also, while leaving is undoubtedly hard for him, I haven't cut him off financially, nor am I keeping him from DD. I found her childcare so he has the flexibility to look for work, attend IC, etc but he is welcome to see her as many days a week as he would like.

I would have offered to leave instead of asking him to but that only raised questions of my whereabouts and whether I had an alternate agenda. This way, he knows where I am, that I'm with DD at night, etc. I can only imagine this would have been much harder on him if I had left instead.

uncertainone posted 7/24/2013 16:27 PM

When I put this in words I feel like I sound angry and detached

No, you sound concerned. I understand that completely.

Like I posted. Not many details so going by your post.

Threatening suicide is very concerning and, yep, drs should be involved.

"Outbursts" are pretty vague. Suicide threats are also. Is it "I just don't want to feel this pain anymore" or is it "I'm going to end it"?

"We have these outbursts" it both of you contributing? Can you pick different communication techniques?

The gender is relevant to me probably because of how I saw some responses. Not stating you're asking for special dispensation.

The drinking sure isn't helping I'm sure.

I did apologize if I had it wrong. Not many details and a pretty extreme reaction, so posted based on that. Especially, as you seemed troubled by the choice a well.

You didn't say what you've done to work on your choice or any details of the affair. Sorry if I missed the post.

I'm sorry you're both hurting.

tired girl posted 7/24/2013 19:29 PM

What work have you done on you and what have the two of you done to discuss triggers and how to deal with them effectively?

My H is three years out and still has triggers, does he do what your H is doing? No, but he did a lot of that in the first year. He also refused IC for two years. I learned how to deal with triggers, I read here on the JFO and recon to get a better idea of what helps. I tried to get my H here on SI so he could discuss how he felt with other men.

What are you doing proactively besides telling him what to do? What are your actions?

trytoforgive posted 7/24/2013 19:47 PM


Not that it makes a huge difference, but where is your BH staying for now?

20WrongsVs1 posted 7/24/2013 19:49 PM

He did take anti-depressants for a while and it was awful...really awful. I felt like I lived with a zombie.

After a while he stopped taking them and, admittedly, I was relieved. An angry husband is better than a lifeless one.

Umm...except that you kicked the angry one out.

The (presumably professionally-prescribed) medication regulating his emotions was awful...for you. You had emotionally stable and that wasn't fun for you, so he started self-medicating with booze and got erratic. That didn't work out so well for you either, did it?

Serious question: if he needs medication, why wouldn't you encourage him to stay on it?

tryingandfailing posted 7/24/2013 20:32 PM

uncertain, outbursts=violent, unprovoked anger directed at me which sometimes occurs in private and sometimes not. This weekend, unfortunately, friends and family were present so now there is that complication to deal with. No I'm not involved other than being the object of his hateful words and actions. Usually it is like a switch -- having fun and laughing one minute to seeing red, screaming and breaking things. I don't care to go into specific examples here but at the start of the outburst this weekend he pulled my shirt off in a crowd of people. I explained it upset me and embarrassed me. Then it happened a second time which he pretended was an accident and then didn't understand why I got upset -- this made him blow up in anger at me because he "didn't think it was a big deal". I'll spare the rest but this was the least hurtful and embarrassing part of the night. Threats are very direct (ie while standing by the river threatening to go jump off the bridge and storming away).

As far as working on me, I have NC with the OP. I have really changed my attitude and actions toward him and have spent a lot of time over the last couple years reassuring him, showing him I love him, being open and honest. He has access to all of my accounts. We, amazingly, are slightly better at communicating than we used to be (a huge downfall on my part that I've had to work really hard at) but we have a long way to go there on both sides of the stick. I do what he asks, but truthfully after the first 6 months or so he didn't really ask much of me anymore, just lashes out when it starts to get to him. When we have a heart to heart about what I need to do to earn his trust and respect, he tells me I'm doing everything right. Sometimes I think it would be easier if he told me a billion things I was doing wrong so at least I'd have something to work on. This is another reason I think we need therapy -- maybe he doesn't know right now what sets him off and what he needs and this can help us uncover some of those details. This is my hope anyway.

tiredgirl, I'm not sure I can really address the triggers question. I know what it looks like when he triggers and I can see there is a clear cycle but the truth is, I don't really know what specifically sets him off. When we've talked about it, he says he just suddenly feels overcome with anger but doesn't know why. I can't really associate it with a specific place/thing/action. This would be a good goal for us to work toward.

t2f, he's at a friends.

20wrongs, true but I would have divorced the lifeless one. Not that I owe you an honest response to your sarcastic remarks but I didn't ask him to go off the meds, he did it himself because he didn't like the way it made him feel or act. He didn't like the dad he had become to DD and all the awful side effects. It was his decision and since I agreed with his assessment I wasn't going to encourage him to stick with it. As someone who has been on depression meds I can speak from experience that they work best when coupled with IC to address the larger emotional issues.

[This message edited by tryingandfailing at 8:35 PM, July 24th (Wednesday)]

longroadhome posted 7/24/2013 20:52 PM

the start of the outburst this weekend he pulled my shirt off in a crowd of people

Whoa. Big problem here. That's not OK at all, no matter what the reason.

tired girl posted 7/24/2013 20:54 PM

So trying,

What have you really changed about you since your A? Other than NC, and reading, what have you changed about your core self? That part of you that made it ok to have an A? Maybe that is what is triggering him, he still sees that same person before him. Nothing has really changed, words are great, you telling him you love him, but actions are better. Changing that part of you, those internal processes that said it was ok to go out and have an A because you were unhappy, or not communicating, or your H was an asshole, or whatever reason you told yourself this was ok. It sounds like you have focused a lot on him and not so much on the person in the mirror.

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