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He's remorseful and it means nothing to me

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ItsaClimb posted 8/5/2013 07:38 AM

Things were going really great for fWH and me for about 5 minutes there... and then I had the weekend from hell.

One of the most difficult issues for me has been the fact that fWH had no guilt, no remorse and no shame during the A or for the 8.5 years after the A, prior to him admitting to it.

He admits he knew it was wrong, but apparently he didn't feel sorry for what he had done, he didn't think about it.

I gather it's to do with compartmentalisation, so I have worked to get my head around the concept, I just don't get it. I don't understand HOW this man had no guilt about doing what he did. The A lasted 10 months, 4 months of which he was sleeping in OW's bed 2 nights a week! HOW did he not feel guilty about that. He would phone me from her house while she readied herself for bed.....HOW did he not feel guilt, shame??

What gets me most is that in the 6 years before D-Day we were SO happy, our marriage was awesome, HOW did he not feel guilty then? How did he not look at me and our lovely, happy marriage and feel a complete jerk for what he had done?

NOW he feels remorse, I'm sure that should make me feel better, but it doesn't, well not much anyway. All I really feel is resentful because I have had to DRAG that remorse out of him.

Why did I have to FORCE him to confront what he did? The feeling I have is kind of like that feeling when your child has misbehaved and you have to tell the child to say sorry – you don’t get a great feeling of satisfaction when you get the apology – it would have been far more meaningful if the apology came without prompting. KWIM?

fWH totally rug-swept the A for the 8.5 years before he finally told me the truth. WHY was he not sorry then? Why was he not deeply remorseful then? It then took about 9 more months of him wanting to rug-sweep some more, of him becoming agitated every time we spoke about the A, of defensiveness, of arrogance, of sugar-coating, of evading the “tough stuff”, before finally the penny dropped for him. I had to force him to read “How to Help your Spouse Heal”, I had to nag him to come on SI, I had to shout, scream and perform to make him see the severity of what he did and how deeply wounded I was… It has been beyond exhausting, I have aged about 10 years in the last year!

So NOW he gets it, he really does, I can see that. NOW he is genuinely remorseful, I can’t deny that, his actions have proven it in the last couple of months.

But I am left feeling that I had to drag the remorse out of him, so how meaningful is it to me? It’s a bit of a “too little, too late” feeling.

And in the back of my head is this little voice that will not shut-up asking HOW the heck I can reconcile with someone who did all that stuff and couldn't be bothered to even feel sorry...

painpaingoaway posted 8/5/2013 07:47 AM

Well, I honestly believe that most of them truly are NOT sorry until they are caught. They finally realize what they are about to lose, and then they are sorry. It sucks, but I think very common.

keptmypromise posted 8/5/2013 08:18 AM

I am with paingoingaway on this. I really don't think a majority of Waywards are sorry until they are caught and see the pain they caused. In fact I think the taboo of the whole affair is the driving force (excitement) behind the whole thing. The taboo becomes heroin, a drug they can't stop. Of course he knew it was wronge, of course he knew he was hurting you, but because of his narcissism, he was willing to risk it all. I feel fortunate that I "Just don't get it...I don't want to be like them, or think like them.

sisoon posted 8/5/2013 10:57 AM

...and I certainly went through a period of asking the same questions you do.

For me, the way out was to give myself permission to do what I wanted to do WRT D/R. Both choices are moral. I could thrive with her or without her, and I could take my own sweet time in making my choice.

IMO, the only thing that counts for your D/R choice is: which way do you want to go? And you get to set your own schedule for making your choice.

hopefullromantic posted 8/5/2013 11:10 AM

I think part of the reason he has been so unremorseful is because the A ended so long before he told you and the marriage continued just fine (in his head) anyway. In other words, he probably thinks the A didn't impact the marriage, only the confession did.

sinsof thefather posted 8/5/2013 14:11 PM

I think part of the reason he has been so unremorseful is because the A ended so long before he told you and the marriage continued just fine (in his head) anyway. In other words, he probably thinks the A didn't impact the marriage, only the confession did.

I agree with this and I think it's taken him all of these 9 months to finally realise that it wasn't the confession - but the affair, the selfishness, and the lying for 8 years that have really done the damage. It's not your knowledge but his own actions that caused the damage and it took him 9 months to see/accept that.

Also, if I remember correctly and haven't got you mixed up with someone else, didn't he and the OW carry on working in the same place, and still have 'some' kind of working contact with each other for all those years too? If that is correct (?) - then there was absolutely no consequences for him at all before you knew for sure - not at home, or at work.

When he was in the affair he wasn't thinking about anyone but himself - that's why he could lie to you on the phone so easily. I've no doubt he lied to the OW about what he was saying to you at the time as well. He was being as blinkered and selfish as all people in affairs usually are.

He didn't want to think about how any of this affected anyone but himself when he was having the affair, or at any time in all those 8 years since - and since [he wasn't badly affected by it, he could just ignore it and put it to the back of his mind. The longer it went on the easier I would imagine that got.

There just weren't any consequences for it. You didn't know about the A, so you hadn't been hurt (in his mind) and because you didn't know, he didn't have to implement a complete NC that might cause questions to be asked at work - so neither he nor the OW were adversely affected at work by it either.

Because of that, I think as time went by it was possible for him to start to believe that what he did was less and less damaging than it really was. Everyone just carried on the same - for all those years. Your marriage actually got better - and work was still comfortable.

He wasn't shamed at home or at work, and as time went on - and the OW and the A meant less and less to him, I think his guilt may have got less and less too. So when he finally did confess the A, he thought it would/should matter less to you too, because it mattered less to him. It was all over so long ago. (In his mind)

I think you had to force remorse out of him, because he was still only seeing this through his own eyes. He had had 8 long years to get used to it mattering less and less (to him).

The sheer depth of your hurt was probably a shock to him, and it's taken him this long since D-Day to realise and finally accept just how much damage he has done to you. To accept that there are going to be consequences that are REAL and long lasting to the both of you.

He is finally having to face and witness how much he has hurt you - that's why it's hitting him so hard and why he's finally got remorse imo. He's actually started to think about you after all this time. Before it was all him imo.

And in the back of my head is this little voice that will not shut-up asking HOW the heck I can reconcile with someone who did all that stuff and couldn't be bothered to even feel sorry...

Well, this may end up being too little too late for you - but I don't think he was someone anywhere near ready to R until he got to where he is now.

I hope things have improved a little for you today ((ItsaClimb))

Reality posted 8/5/2013 14:50 PM

I think pain is spot on with that post.

I totally get the disconnect you're feeling, ItsaClimb, about having to rectify the lack of remorse before with now. With my WH, for three days after DD#2, he STILL contacted the APs, asking them what they thought of my demands. He stood by the idea that everyone has "friends" and that me asking him to go NC was controlling and reactionary. There he was, sleeping on the floor of a spare bedroom at my parents' house, the whole family pissed at him, and he still clung to the fog that he was "right" and everyone else had antiquated morality. He really thought he should be able to have both worlds.

It was only after he could start seeing tangible loss - the loss of home, of me, of the kids, of the good opinion of the rest of the family - that he rethought what was so "right" about his stance.

Like I mentioned before, despite feeling queasy about "eye for an eye" business, unless the WH/WW know painful consequence, the high they get off the other behavior really has no equal opposing force. Not to be trite (too late!) but, er NO PAIN, NO GAIN.

ItsaClimb, your WH feels remorse NOW because he has that opposing force. Before, he was like my WH was - no real conflict between what seem to be mutually concurrent worlds.

Keep giving it to him. He knows how to feel comfortable compartmentalizing both. No more walls. Time to see the truth of it all.

ItsaClimb posted 8/6/2013 02:22 AM

Thanks so much for the responses, as usual the insightful folk on SI have given me lots to think about.

This process is just so exhausting because there are always so many facets to this thing. Just when I feel I get a handle on something, another element of it suddenly rears its head... and off we go again! It is so complex!

Just wanted to say, sinsofthefather, I think you kind of nailed it - yup, him and OW still work together and as you say, until recently there were no repercussions either at home or at work... now BOTH those areas have become a nightmare for him!

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