I am new to the site. This is my first posting. My significant other had joined the site and informed of her joining and has encouraged me to post several times. I've struggled with posting on here because firstly I am worried of what people will say about me, and it is also very difficult for me to talk openly about my feelings with pretty much anybody.
I want to recover with my partner and she wants to recover also. So far the process has been very up and down for both of us and we are still working on communicating with each other. I have a few questions that hopefully some of you may be able to help me with.
First, I can often tell when she is thinking about the A. I can see the expression on her face just drop. We may be having a great day and something small will trigger the thoughts.
What is the best way to help your partner during these situations and show that I am sincere in my regret and sincere in trying to recover?
When I see her down and depressed, I will ask her occasionally if she wants to talk, or I will tell her that I am sorry, or sometimes Iíll just pull her close and kiss her. Many times she will tell me that nothing is wrong or she doesnít want to talk. Do I need to address the situation on as come as is basis? Or just ask her what she needs and if she tells me nothing ÖI just drop it?
I know that these thoughts will come for a long time, but I donít want to be repetitive in my response to her feelings or insincere.
Also, I feel the need to be strong and put my feelings aside and focus on hers. I feel like this is necessary for recovery since Ive caused her so much pain and I was so selfish in the past. However sometimes I seem to get depressed with the situation. I imagine this is the case with most couples recovering. But how do you put your feelings aside, focus on the positive, and focus on your partner? I also want to be open and honest with her about how I am feeling, but I donít want her to think Iím focusing on my own emotions. So I donít know how to share my emotions with her sometimes. I even feel like I shouldnít have negative emotions. That I should be forever and constantly grateful for another chance, and that I should constantly be cheerful and trying to be optimistic in the situation.
I want to act genuine, I want to help her, and not hide anything. Any tips or advice would be welcome.
If you have any questions for me please let me know.
Welcome to SI.
It sounds like you are doing the right thing when your BW gets like that. The reassurance, asking if she needs to talk, will help her. I remember a point where my BH would just say he's okay even when I knew he wasn't. At some point I did say to him, 'If you tell me nothing's wrong you aren't communicating your true feelings. Let's try to be open with each other so we can talk about this'. Eventually he did start to open up.
Sometimes he just needed to be left alone, it's a tough call sometimes. Just keep being sincere and truthful and you can't go wrong.
Yes, as much pain as our BS is in, we have pain too. We get depressed and down. As long as you don't get into the 'woe is me' mindset, allow yourself the feelings. Feel them and then let them go.
Also, I feel the need to be strong and put my feelings aside and focus on hers.
Be careful here. I get that in the moment your instinct is to put your feelings aside. It sometimes seems easier to help someone else by giving them all of your focus. But, keep in mind that you have a great deal to work on internally before you can be of any real help. It seems selfish, and it probably is, but if you want to break patterns you have to look inside. Imagine yourself through the eyes of your BS. Become what she wants to see.
But how do you put your feelings aside, focus on the positive, and focus on your partner?
Don't even try to put your feelings aside. You hurt your BS: how do you feel about that? Sad, angry? You're allowed, and encouraged, to "feel" and identify those feelings. You will never heal if you try to suppress them.
I donít want her to think Iím focusing on my own emotions.
First: you can't control what she thinks, so let go of that. Second: why not? Would you both agree that "failing to focus on your emotions" may be what got you into trouble in the first place?
This was actually something we had addressed briefly in MC. It's something I've always struggled with, even in previous relationships. I've always kinda bottled things up that bother me, or I don't know how to deal with them in a healthy way. It's something that I have been working on, but it has been hard...harder now given the situation.
I'll share something my IC taught me, which has really helped. When something is bothering you, do a "FLASH" test. Are you feeling:
Step one is: identify how you're feeling. Step two is: what triggered that feeling? This is the tough part, because you have to take ownership of the feeling, instead of blaming it on an external force. You feel X *when* the other person says Y. Not *because* they said it, and they didn't *make you* feel it.
I recommend this book to everyone, because it has helped BH and I communicate in a completely new and authentic way. Nonviolent Communication by Rosenberg. It's basically a training manual for developing empathy. Something I never dreamed I could learn.