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Constant external validation

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catlover50 posted 8/22/2013 21:07 PM

Although I think I have understood my H's "why's" for some time now I had a minor epiphany today. I realize that his CSA messed up a lot of things, caused many issues, but it was still hard to bend my mind around the years of calls/ texts (mostly during his busy work day) with someone who often annoyed him, the compulsion to return every month or so for mediocre sex with someone he didn't love, respect or really even like, then to add insult to injury, to start calling and texting yet another employee after finally extricating himself from that toxic situation.

I think I've got it--constant external validation. He did not carry a good sense of self worth since childhood and had become accustomed to getting that constant feedback--that ping of a text, or call that told him he had value. (It's been shown that cellphones can actually become addictive themselves). And what shows more that someone values you then if they have sex with you, right? (In twisted world anyway). When my H initially said that he was not getting this kind of attention from me (pre-DDay 2) I was pissed. First, I WORK all day, second, I was home all night and weekend --when he preferred to be on Xbox or watching TV--begging for his attention. More bullshit.

As many of us have lamented, the validation that a spouse gives just doesn't seem to count--we "have" to love them. Now, however, he realizes that my opinion of him is the one that matters, that I'm not going to blow smoke and I truly see him and know him. Now he wants to spend time with me, and we do small texts and calls during the day.

Now he finds that validation with me, which while healthier is not as healthy as carrying it inside himself. I am encouraging him to work on this in IC.

So many of our WSs seem to require this, while we BSs can't imagine even wanting to spend so much time on the phone. Just another aspect of brokenness, IMHO.

blakesteele posted 8/22/2013 21:47 PM

Interesting post....

For much of our marriage I thought I was the one needing this external validation...and I still think I do. But I thought my wife never needed this...until the affair and subsequent counseling.

Not only did I NOT think she needed it, she didn't either...which is why she was at risk...because she got a taste of it and LOVED it.

This, like so much of affairs, is not the silver bullet...there is no main reason that I can see...but it is a part of it.

Right now I see my wife struggling with her views of needs.

I struggle with the inner validation too. I am so thankful I have NOT given into a RA....and it has been tempting.

It sounds like you are in a good spot...not perfect but good. I am happy for you.

God be with you both.

roses303 posted 8/22/2013 22:21 PM

Catlover - I could have written your post. My WH has always been so needy for validation and OW locked into that and it was the same, constant texting, sex once a month etc. I don't really think WH liked OW that much but she gave him what he craved (he says it was being desired, but it was more feeling the center of her attention).

I have admitted to him over the years that I couldn't do it anymore. I couldn't constantly boost his ego. It is tiring and soul sucking after 14 years when you are constantly trying to give someone else validation. So part of what he was looking for in the affair was just that. She didn't have the family and home and kids and school and work to deal with. Her interactions with him were pure ego boosts.

We are working through this issue with our MC and realizing that part of the problem was that I thought I was always trying to buck him and his ego up, but he was taking it as me being critical of him. For some reason the same words from me were taken negatively when from her they were compliments. We are working on our communication so that we don't go back into that pattern and can as you note, take that validation from each other.

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