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Assignment from counselor- define 4 things you need

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painandgrief posted 8/8/2013 09:05 AM

My WS and I have decided that we are making the commitment to working on our marriage. No doubt there are many unresolved issues, but as we work through them, we were both tasked with defining what we needed from the relationship moving forward.

It seems like an fairly straightforward assignment, but I've really struggled to define my four.

My primary need right now is for him to put into writing why he loves me, and what I mean to him. He has never been good expressing his emotions (one of the reasons why we are dealing with this nightmare), so I need this email, letter, whatever as a means to keep me focused on why I should fight so hard through all this pain. My pride tells me, if he truly loved me he wouldn't have done it, but we all know that these relationships with others are not about us, it's what they are missing.

Unfortunately, I have too many texts where the lies came so easily - I need something that erases those memories.

My second need has been sex. That's been a source of great connection for us recently and amazing warmth, but also has terrible mind movies for me. I know he performed oral sex on her and her on him and I can never compete with her. She's everything i'm not. - Young, skinny, Asian and probably has perky boobs. My 50 year old version doesn't perk much anymore . I start to feel inferior much of my self esteem is shattered right now. He'd probably say he doesn't think of her but I just struggle with those images.

Need #3 I would have defined as love me, but there are so many caveats to that word now, it's largely meaningless. It shouldn't have to have disclaimers like "don't betray my trust again, don't lie again, etc. " Quite simply love encompasses those things and I feel like spelling out conditions negates the point.

So besides a letter to help me heal and sex to help me connect emotionally with him again, what else?

Have any of you struggled with this? I'd appreciate any suggestions!

1ost0ne posted 8/8/2013 09:31 AM


I've been doing this internally, asking myself what do I want from this person if we were to continue.

1. Remorse. True sorrow for what they did. This is very hard to describe, but one knows the difference between regret and remorse. Regret is about the WS, Remorse is about the BS.
2. Actionable Responsibility. Take the lead to resolve this problem. The BS is a in a mess and can't solve these problems alone.
3. Treat me like we are dating again. Sure, we've been married for 20 years, but apparently not to the same person. Make me fall for the person that they have been hiding from me.
4. Sex. Right now, that one is hard, but it has to be there.

Phoenix9572 posted 8/8/2013 09:50 AM

Great post theme. I've been grappling with this one too. I think I want to bring it up in MC today.

1. Transparency - I need to feel like there's no more secrecy about anything.
2. Compassion - There are days when I'm just a mess about this still and I need some understanding that I am in major emotional pain and that I'm doing the best I can every day.
3. Sex - this one is loaded with issues. Not too many mental movies fortunately but I need to feel that you are present with me in the moment and not imagining that I'm someone else.
4. Reassurance - they just be words but I need to hear you still talk and plan our future together, that you want to make it work between us, etc.

I think those are the biggies for me but I will be interested in what others share.

PricklePatch posted 8/8/2013 11:04 AM

I think this I an great assignment. It will help you define your conditions of recovery.

For me it is

1. Honesty, without honesty there can be no trust building, and no recovery of love. My WH, lied by omission and then when asked direct questions he lied. This is not a sign of love or remorse.

2. I need empathy and him to stop being the victim. There is no reason in the world for anyone to cheat.

3. I need him to be transparent which is defined by me as passwords, accounts shut down, keyloggers, gps if I want, Skype of his location on travel if I want and a polygraph on demand. He lost all my trust on dd 1 and dd 2 sealed the deal.

4. I need to work on myself to stop being so understanding of his family of origin issues. I need to allow myself to be feel and grieve. I have acknowledged my codependency on dd 1 and worked to stop it. But due to money let him go to ic so we could get into mc. NO MORE me first I am going to be selfish.

For today this is what I need. It could change.

gonnabe2016 posted 8/8/2013 11:11 AM

Mine would be:

And I would write out concrete examples of actions/behaviors that would display those traits to me.

tushnurse posted 8/8/2013 11:33 AM

For me it was pretty concrete:

1. Complete honesty, and transparency. No more lies, no more ommisions of truth, complete and total access to everything at anytime anywhere.

2. Reassurance that I was his priority and first choice. This was by words, and actions.

3. Patience with my healing, and this includes empathy, and real remorse on his part.

4. Last but NOT least - Doing the real hard work to figure out the Why's of it all, and fixing those things. This was really the ultimate crux of our healing. If he didn't figure that out, I would have never been able to trust, and feel safe again.

I'm not sure sex would have been on my list. I think when you start getting all of the rest it is a natural progression. Being intimate was not an issue for us for the most part, so I don't know.

(((and strength))))

painandgrief posted 8/8/2013 14:12 PM

Tushnurse, interestingly the assignment was crafted with the thought that if we do all the hard work to understand why this happened, and make it through reconciliation...our marriage will new be red-defined. What would I ultimately need from our new marriage?

This assignment has been so hard because its hard to see beyond all of the trust and betrayal issues. Hearing the words he loves me means something different now. So a primary need to be loved has too many conditions attached to it.

I really loved gonnabe2016's list... Commitment, faithfulness, loyalty and respect.

Isn't it sad how we have to define the basics of what a marriage should be all about? If you love someone, those should go hand in hand and be givens.

These are the days when I am so pessimistic about the future. Defining needs for those things that should be givens. Feeling a level of pain that I thought someone who supposedly loved me was capable of inflicting upon me. Then the idea that there are months and months of this. So sad.

Abbondad posted 8/8/2013 15:46 PM

Maybe not quite what you are working on, but when my STBXWW and I were in false reconciliation, I wrote out this long list. Sort of the ingredients for our "new" relationship.

This thread reminded me that I still had it saved. Alas, it never got a chance to be put into practice, but I hope to someday in my next relationship experience the following:

Loves me deeply
Does not doubt that I love her deeply
Is totally committed to our marriage
Understands and accepts that there will be times of deep conflict in a relationship and is willing to work hard with me to resolve the conflict
Puts my happiness on equal footing with her own
My pain is her pain and will do anything to alleviate that pain for both of us, and vice-versa
Respects me as a person, a husband, a father, and a man
Believes that I respect her as a person, a wife, a mother, and a woman
Respects each other's boundaries
Sees me as an equal partner, not superior or subservient
Forsakes all others for me
Believes that I will always forsake all others for her
Is gentle and patient with me even in times of strife
Is kind to me
Is selfless
Is patient with me
Be able to discuss anything
Knows the difference between privacy and secrets
Is honest with me and trusts that I will be honest with her
No lies (with the exception of "white lies")
Makes me feel safe
Feels safe with me
Trusts me
Will do everything to make me trust her
Feels safe to be vulnerable with me
Makes me feel attractive and desirable
Feels attractive and desirable with me
Is affectionate with me
Understand that passion waxes and wanes cyclically over the course of a relationship
Understands that occasional anger is normal, not to fear it, and is able to wait patiently until it passes--and knows that it will pass
Will listen to me and be able to truly empathize
Tries her best to always understand my feelings and perspective
Admires me
Appreciates what each other does for each other, for oneself, and for the family
Feels most intimate with me
Can be happy even with my flaws
Has faith in my ability to recognize and work to change those deeper flaws in myself that are hurtful to my partner
Is willing to recognize and work to change in herself that which is hurtful to me
Is able to forgive me
Recognizes that which cannot change and is able to live with this
Knows that will forgive her
Is able to let go of past and present transgressions and grievances which impede our happiness and growth as a couple
Is able to tolerate occasional feelings of disconnectedness to me and have faith and patience that these will pass and/or will work hard to get past these feelings
Is willing and able to apologize for actions which hurt me and knows that I will do the same
Knows that I respect her autonomy and need for personal growth and space, or, if not, trust that I will work hard to do this
Recognizes if something is truly important to me and will compromise or sacrifice (within reason) to accommodate that which I desire
Is committed to our children's happiness, well-being, and security
Wants to have fun with me
Be able to find humor in everything, understanding the curative power of this
Enjoys being with me
Have goals and dreams and work to achieve those which we both desire
Is willing to try new and different things that each other enjoys and is OK if the other does not enjoy everything the other does
Will not make significant decisions without discussing with each other

canteat posted 8/8/2013 18:56 PM

We discussed something similar in MC just this week. We were talking about trust issues and if I thought I "knew" who my husband was. I answered with "I thought I did"
As we explored what that meant we came up with the fact that I felt unsure of who he was now. Which him was the real him? Which words that he spoke were the "true" ones? What could I believe and trust in? I explained to him that I had an image of him and traits about him that I thought were "him". His betrayal and lies from the A makes me question all of that. I told him, he presented himself to me as one way (and I took that to be the truth of who he was) but his actions told a different story.

So I would say one of mine would be for him to have integrity. I want him to be the man he portrays himself as. I want him to back this up by his actions. Don't just tell me "you feel you can tell me anything"-actually tell me anything! (part of our M problems is communication) Don't say you want to spend more time with me-actually spend more time with me.


TheAgonyOfIt posted 12/23/2013 11:39 AM


Great stuff in here!

headdesk posted 12/24/2013 11:51 AM

My friend asked me to figure out the things I wanted in my 'new' marriage - to redefine things for moving forward. So I want:

- Meaningful personal growth. Staying stuck is useless and it would have killed our marriage this time. I was done. To me this meant he had to do some IC, but it had to be shown in actions more than words.

- To be honest. This also to me meant being accountable and to not minimize actions.

- To be kind. I was up for what he wanted to show as kindness. I didn't define it - he did. He's shown honest increase in kindness and not because I'm reminding him to be or wrote it down as a condition or anything.

- To show respect. The A was really just a continuation of two major issues in our marriage; lack of respect for my boundaries and a lack of ability to empathize and realize an action or lack of action would be hurtful. I could walk him through it and he would 'get' it, but he couldn't do it on his own.

I don't police him on these. It's up to him to show them and to maintain it. My job is to maintain my boundaries, to be kind but not a doormat, to let him experience his own emotions without soothing him through them, to speak up when something is bothering me rather than keeping silent and building resentment and to love myself and trust that I deserve to be treated a certain way.

cl131716 posted 12/24/2013 14:32 PM

#1 Honesty. I want the truth and nothing but the truth. No gaslighting, no justifying, no minimizing, and no talking in circles. Just be 100% HONEST.
#2 Remorse.

Regret is about the WS, Remorse is about the BS.

I've yet to really see that. So far it has continued to be about him and his pain.
#3 Respect. Something I didn't receive the first three years.
#4 Empathy. The ability to understand my pain without me reminding him or asking him to put himself in my shoes.

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