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Forget why. I want to know what (happened emotionally)

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rbf1234 posted 8/20/2013 13:46 PM

Sorry for the long post.

After many months, I think I have a good grasp of the WHY. (FOO stuff + MLC + etc.).
Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to help me much.

The question I am struggling is WHAT. As in, what happened emotionally. What was going on emotionally/what did he feel about me that made it possible for him to have such profound indifference to my feelings and wellbeing (at best) and with cruelty and malice (at worst)?

We have had the following exchange several times that leaves me frustrated.

"I thought you loved me."

"I did love you."

WTH? Then I feel I need to educate him about what it means to love someone, or worse, I am with someone who has no clue what it means to love someone ... and OMG is that depressing.

Then finally we had this conversation.

"I thought you valued and respected me. I thought you were committed to the marriage. I thought you would never do anything that would risk blowing up the family." (or something like that)

"Yes. Clearly by that standard, I failed."

(Note, it was late at night - he may not have been thinking clearly and might not said they same thing during the day).

So I keep coming back to the question, what happened?

What did he actually feel about me during those years?

I don't know what I need this question answered. But maybe it is as if the sexual acts are beside the point. The negative emotions (including callousness, resentment and blame) feel like the real betrayal. And until he can describe it/admit it, I feel as if I won't know what actually happened in our marriage.

We haven't made much progress on this. He has found this a difficult question to answer. Not sure why. Lack of insight into himself? Scared of hurting me more by saying anything other than assuring me that he always loved me?

He now calls this the "you want me to say I hated you - which isn't true conversation"

I sense he is getting closer to being ready to answer this question, but MC has been away over the past couple weeks, and when we tried do do it ourselves without him, the convo didn't go very well.

Not sure why it didn't go well. Maybe I think I want to understand more about his negative feelings/ indifference, but in fact it will just make me upset?

Does this sound familiar to anyone? Is this an important questions to answer? Or am I just setting myself up for a situation in which I am encouraging him to say blamey resentful, mean things to me.

(Then there is the difficult question: what does he feel for me now? And, what is he actually capable in terms of loving someone.)

Please help. Thanks!

crazyblindsided posted 8/20/2013 14:41 PM

Me too. For some reason I keep thinking if i know this part then I will understand. My WH told me I had neglected him, said that I didn't love him anymore or was attracted to him. He projected this all onto me.I felt none of those things, at the time of his A I thought our M was doing good I thought his job was making him unhappy
My WH rewrote our M and the MOW helped in the process.

Yakamishi posted 8/20/2013 16:08 PM

That is exactly what I'm dealing with

PeaceLove187 posted 8/20/2013 16:30 PM

I have no idea if this will be helpful but I found an online article on loving two people and it clarified some things for me. Basically they studied people who claimed to be in love with two people at the same time and concluded these people were trying to make one "whole love" out of either end of the love spectrum--the passion of new love and the comfort of established love. Somehow these people were able to convince themselves they could have it all--the tingly feelings of new love and the comfortable feel-good of companionate love, but as much as they want passion to last forever it just doesn't work that way. So ultimately all they did was create tons of stress for themselves (and obviously their BS!).

The study doesn't address what made these people think they deserved two lovers, but it does address the different kinds of love expressed for each of their lovers and sort of explains how the WS can claim to love the BS despite all evidence to the contrary. I know my H kept insisting marriage is supposed to generate the tingly feelings of a new love forever and I kept telling him he's holding me to an impossible standard. Apparently these researchers agree.

Here's the link:

84CF posted 8/20/2013 16:55 PM

I dealt with exactly this with my WW too, if it's any consolation. I have no better understanding of it than you do. What you say about feeling like you have to educate your WS concerning what love means, and how depressing it is to think that someone you have been with for so long ultimately never understood, rings so familiar to me.

I've actually been trying to force myself not to worry about the "why" anymore, as I frankly don't think that the reasoning will ever be rational. When I fall off the wagon, however (which is often), I think about two things. 1) as many of the other posts describe, bad feelings about herself led to projection of bad feeling onto me and the marriage, which allowed her to justify her actions to herself, at least on some level. This is still the most difficult part for me to accept, but there was nothing I could do to fill what was missing inside her. 2) I honestly am not sure how deeply she thought about me at all, which means that loving me or not loving me simply never entered into the equation. This is so antithetical to the way I live that it's impossible for me fully to comprehend. But it's what she has said and I think, again, it's simply that our definitions of what love is are, in the end, very different.

RedRose posted 8/20/2013 17:11 PM

I feel like this as well. After false R twice, I don't think he really did love me like he says he did. He knew how devastated I was, that I wasn't sleeping, had high blood pressure for the first time, yet still chose to continue the affair. It has opened my eyes to the kind of person he really is . . . which is really sad.

sailorgirl posted 8/20/2013 20:06 PM

What was going on emotionally/what did he feel about me that made it possible for him to have such profound indifference to my feelings and wellbeing (at best) and with cruelty and malice (at worst)?

For my fWH, it wasn't a question of what he was feeling about me, but what he was feeling about himself.

He acted arrogant, cold and angry at me. But the feelings underneath were fear, self-hatred, and hopelessness. He resented me for being healthy and happy and deserving more than him.

He projected his disdain for himself onto me. He pushed me away because he knew I would abandon him if I found out "who he really was",

Anger is a safer feeling to express than anything he had churning around inside. Fear and panic aren't manly, but anger seems strong. In WH's FOO, any sign of vulnerability brought attack and so it was better to go on the angry offensive.

I don't know whether any of that resonates for you. fWH was actually completely miserable being a cheater, and he lashed out at me a lot. But since d-day, he has never emotionally abused me like that.

What did he actually feel about me during those years?

I'm thinking not much. I was compartmentalized, a punching bag, or a mirror for his feelings. It was all about him. He was reenacting FOO dysfunction and spiraling into self-destruction . . . I was collateral damage. Now that he is healing his brokenness, he is capable of empathy and understanding of other people again.

[This message edited by sailorgirl at 8:08 PM, August 20th (Tuesday)]

84CF posted 8/21/2013 17:24 PM

sailorgirl, your post rings true to me in my situation. Thank you for it.

crazyblindsided posted 8/21/2013 17:52 PM

thank you sailorgirl your post is eye opening.

Gr8Lady posted 8/22/2013 08:32 AM

The answer to me is it has nothing to do with you, or his feelings for you during affair. It is about him and what he wanted to do. This is classically inability to predict the consequences of his actions. It was all about him. Not you.

StillStanding1 posted 8/22/2013 14:20 PM

Thanks, sailorgirl, your post was really helpful to me too!

(((rbf))) I completely empathize. How can WH have "loved" both of us?


[This message edited by StillStanding1 at 2:22 PM, August 22nd (Thursday)]

struggling3 posted 8/22/2013 14:29 PM

GR8lady hit the nail on the head. I don't think the state of our marriage or how they feel about us has diddly squat to do with their actions. It is their ego and selfishness. period

Biskit posted 8/22/2013 18:11 PM

After 25 years and an affair later, here is finally the "why" I was given..."I was emotionally detached from you",. My response, "Really? four kids and 25 years of marriage and out of the blue, you are unattached?!" That was my "throw drink in the face" moment, literally! The crap they tell themselves to make them fill less guilty. Later, I asked again, and he said, "Honestly, I felt unattached to you", newsflash, why didn't I feel that?

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