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ItsaClimb posted 8/19/2013 03:53 AM

I have a LONG history of being in denial regarding my fWH’s faults and hurtful behaviours towards me… I think what prompts me to do this is a weird sort of self-protection thing… if I don’t acknowledge that people hurt me, well then it doesn’t hurt, does it?!

So I have been trying to be more realistic about the REAL state of our relationship. My fear is that I may err on the other side now… maybe I will become TOO critical, too easily offended. It gets VERY confusing…

Yesterday was my 1 Year Antiversary. On Friday fWH asked me how I was feeling about it. I told him that quite honestly I wasn’t too fazed. The thing is, D-Day was not the day his A ended… his A ended 8.5 years BEFORE D-Day, so I think that takes away some of the painful associations of D-Day. Of course when I think about 18 Aug 2012 there is a lot of hurt there, but it’s not a hugely significant day A-wise. I was kind of looking forward to the antiversary, to being able to say the first year is OVER. fWH and I discussed this for a while on Fri. The thing is, I thought that he would still at least acknowledge the day somehow. I thought he might thank me for going through all this shit in the last year in order to R with him… something along those lines. Just something. Well fWH chose to completely and utterly ignore the significance of the day, never mentioned it. Apparently he forgot about it. I was really, really pissed with him. But then I began to think that perhaps I was being a little unfair – I mean I downplayed the significance of the day when we spoke on Fri.. and the poor man couldn’t smell that I expected him to acknowledge the day. He’s not known for his sensitivity <= understatement of the year!

So that was strike one. Then, yesterday afternoon, while driving with fWH, I raised an issue that had been troubling me on-and-off all weekend. I said: “Do you think that you can ever be truly 100% happy in our marriage after all we have been through with the A? Can you be happy in our marriage, knowing that I will always, on some level, be upset and hurt by the A and you will always carry the guilt of it?” He replied: “Yes I think I can, don’t you think you can be happy?” I replied: “No, I don’t think I will ever be truly happy again.” He kept quiet for a bit and then swiftly changed the subject. He acted like I hadn’t said those words. I was really devastated by that!

To make matters worse it is the SECOND time in less than a week that he has done the exact same thing – completely ignored me when I have raised the issue of my unhappiness.

fWH has huge conflict avoidance issues, we established this early on in R, he discussed it at length with his IC, who also discussed it with me when I had a meeting with her. fWH and I have spoken a LOT about how he has to stop avoiding conflict.

I just don’t understand how he can now, after a full year of R, a year of figuring out the issues that he needs to work on, a year of working on those issues, a year of learning all about these things, talking all the time about this stuff… I don’t get how he can twice in one week completely avoid a subject that has huge significance for me and our future?

I raised both of the above issues with him last night. He apologised profusely. I said that I have given up hope that he will ever change and I feel a complete IDIOT for tolerating his behaviour. He said he already has changed in many ways and that I can’t expect him to change a life-long pattern of behaviour overnight. Now that I am no longer flaming wild I acknowledge that he HAS been trying most of the time, and there have been significant changes in many of his previously unacceptable behaviours.

What REALLY worries me though is that I feel that he is “working from a manual” it’s not HEARTFELT – for example, he will ask me how I am feeling when he knows there is a trigger around – it’s like he is thinking “I read on SI that when x happens I need to do Y, so now that’s what I am doing” The way I see it is that he doesn’t GENUINELY want to know how I am feeling, rather he has learnt that he should ask me how I am feeling in that particular situation. But when something unexpected happens (for example the conversation where I expressed my unhappiness yesterday) he is flummoxed as to how to respond (he hasn’t read on SI what to do in that situation!) so he simply DOESN’T respond!

I feel that if he genuinely cared about my feelings and my happiness he would WANT to talk about it when the subject comes up unexpectedly, not only when I am faced with a trigger and he broaches the subject. And I think it is completely RUDE and unfeeling to keep quiet and not respond when I voice a very real and deeply felt fear of life-long unhappiness!

Now I am confused. Am I being overly-critical? Or, am I finally being honest with myself? Am I seeing the true state of affairs – that as long as I tolerate his bull-shit he will keep on dishing it out? Or do I have unrealistic expectations?

[This message edited by ItsaClimb at 3:56 AM, August 19th (Monday)]

AFrayedKnot posted 8/19/2013 05:37 AM


It is not unrealistic at all to want you H to be open and honest and caring. It OK to be upset when he is not.

Old habits take a while and a lot of work to change. A year of this shit can seem like an eternity. But compared to the 44 years it took to shut down and build those walls, its not really that long.

We hit a few bumps in the road right after 1 year. A few occasions of lies if omission. To the the point of me packing a bag and leaving.

With the help of the people here, I realized two things. That change is not like a light switch. To try to see progress not perfection, it takes time. And second that her reactions are based in her fear not in any sort of malicious intent to hurt me.

I can totally relate to the working from a manual thing. At first it was all compliance. She was doing the work for me and saving us. It didnt feel real to me. At some point there was a shift where she started doing the work for herself. To be a better person. At that point I was like, wow she is really doing this.

It is a process. They say 2-5 years. I think that is not only for the BS but the WS as well. Hang in there.

blakesteele posted 8/19/2013 05:46 AM


My antiversary is right around the corner.

I know you are doing this...but keep in mind for our spouses conflict avoidance and feeling suppression was ingrained in them at a very early age. This is what comes naturally to them, this mode of operation is genuine to them. It is not healthy, they know it, it limits them and made adultery an your posts, your husband knows it.

It WILL be mechanical in nature as they learn a new way of coping. This doesn't mean it is any less real...

I know this because some of what comes natural to ME has changed...and it changed through a very mechanical, none emotional manner. I read books, I put the recipe in action, and I have a new batch of cookies made. KWIM?

I intend to repeat this process in other, long-standing modes of operation that I have that are NOT intimacy inducing and nurturing. As I do this it will be important that my wife accept that it is unnatural for me but that it is real....that it is a priority of mine to change my natural self to a better self.

For the record, I share your same fears....too critical of my wife, never feeling safe in my marriage again, my wife never satisfied in her marriage to me, etc. etc. etc.

I am not making light of these feelings...but they are feelings...subject to change.

I personally am working on control issues. Most of my fears come from lack of control. But I am accepting the fact that I have no control over anyone but myself. And this is a FACT not a FEELING.

I love my wife. This is painful as hell....most pain I have ever felt. I want to quit at times. We share a similar path....this helps me normalize my experience.

Don't read too much into him not doing something special for your antiversary...something that shows he isn't oblivious to the fact it happened. Gently....He did ask how you were feeling about it, you did tell him you weren't that fazed.

I think it highly likely he chose to let a sleeping dog lie...and that is all. I am pretty sure he is acutely aware of its occurrence.

It is easy to assign a mode of operation that you have to someone else....its how we relate. Expectations should be a part of have been hurt. Even if our WS did not set out to hurt us, they made choices at some point that they KNEW it would hurt us. There must be amends done by them for these hurtful actions...and this is a fair expectation.

You are doing well to recognize his strengths and ways that he has changed.

You are strong, I enjoy your posts, they help me. I think this is just a short set back for will make this.

It is one year...gently, it is just one year. Your foundation for R has been poured...the lumber is on its way and this year your new marriage will start to take will be amazed at the home that is going to materialize this year.

I know this through your posts, through others posts who have gone before us, and by the many books I have are on the good path.

Just keep expressing yourself to your husband...if you feel he does not grasp what you desire to convey to him...try it again in a new way. I suspect if you think about it...he grasps much more the first time NOW then he did 10 months ago.

You might not be where you want to be, but thank God you are not where you use to be!

You might not have had a good start, but you can have a great finish!

Both are Joyce Meyers quotes that comfort me. I through them in here in case my words fall short of comforting you.

God be with you itsaclimb.

[This message edited by blakesteele at 5:56 AM, August 19th (Monday)]

brokensmile322 posted 8/19/2013 07:56 AM


I think this whole thing is a process. My WH is conflict avoidant as well. It is a learned behavior so probably a process to unlearn it.

I look at myself and the things I am trying to change. It's hard to stop doing things we have always done. KWIM?

Saying that you think you may never be happy again, is a pretty harsh statement to hear. I know you probably meant it at the time. I have felt that way at times as well.

However, if you truly feel that way all the time, are you working on it? Why stay M if you think you could never be happy again with him?

The truth is the A will always be with us. When we think about it, there will be sadness. Like a scar, we will be reminded of how we got it etc..., but during R, I would hope we will all get to place where it really is a scar- a reminder of something we have lived through.


brainless twit posted 8/19/2013 10:18 AM

With our first A experience, I could have written your post almost word for word. Nothing my XWH did seemed genuine and it was an incredible source of pain and frustration for me.

This time around, I'm able to see that he's trying even though it's definitely not natural or easy for him. I try to tell myself that he's unwinding years and years of dysfunction and it's not my fault that he doesn't know how to respond in some situations. One thing that has helped me is (1) telling him exactly what I'd like him to do and (2) asking him to say something like "I'm not sure how to respond" when he doesn't know what to say. That way I know that he hears me and he isn't just being an insensitive jerk.

So when something comes up, I say to him (usually via email because it's hard for me to do directly): "Today I was upset because of X. I let you know that by telling you Y. When that happens, it would help me most for you to do/say these things." That way he knows for next time. And ever since I asked him to say "I'm not sure how to respond," I've been amazed how often he says it. He has spent so many years avoiding conflict and lying/hiding to smooth over problems, he has no idea how to deal with even the smallest trigger or issue. So I'm having to teach him.

It's still frustrating - ideally he would figure this stuff out on his own and I wouldn't have to point it out all the time. But for now I'd rather hold his hand and see a bit of progress than get nothing whatsoever like I did before.

ItsaClimb posted 8/20/2013 01:49 AM

Thanks so much for your input. It's made me realise that I am probably expecting too much of fWH in this aspect. As you have said, old habits die hard...

There is definitely a part of me that expects perfection from him... after what he did to me I feel I deserve perfection and more from him! In reality I realise that isn't going to happen. This is clearly going to take time. I suppose that as long as he is committed to changing the bad habits and is committed to us and our marriage, I am going to have to be patient... Not my strong suit, unfortunately!

Thanks again. It's amazing how you guys always know just the right words I need to hear!

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