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Not liking what I'm learning about WH

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sohurtbyhim posted 8/27/2013 12:30 PM

As some of you know, I have been trying to R with my WH for over 2 years now. I have no doubt that he has been faithful to me for the last 2 years and I don't think he's looked at porn during that time.

He says he is trying to learn the deeper reasons into why he allowed himself to choose to cheat. Unfortunately I think he is emotionally stunted in some way. The 29 years we spent together were just "times spent together". There was no bonding during the good times to conpensate in some way for the bad times. He never thought of anything I did as endearing to draw me closer to his heart. Nothing. I know guys don't consciously think like that, but when I ask him what he loves about me, he says I'm a good cook and a good mother. (Our kids are adults and out of the home)

I've never heard, "I love it when you do xyz, or "when I see or hear or think of xyz, I think of you." Naturally I don't expect him to be as sensitive or emotional as I am, but I do wish that he would have bonded with me in some way over the past 35 years.

Last month he told me that when we first got married, he thought that it was his job to be the "breadwinner" and I was supposed to "satisfy his every whim". I was so shocked when he said that. Granted, he was a month shy of 19 when we got married, but still.....if that's what he truly thought, then I never stood a chance of making him happy. The other night I asked him about this and he denied saying it. His denial wasn't to be mean, it wasn't gas lighting or anything else....I truly don't think he remembers.

I also learned that it bothered him that I didn't go to the bars with him after his softball games. It didn't matter that I took our boys to watch his games, didn't complain when he went to the bars, and took our children home to get them ready for bed...or that I didn't like bars. He said that he resented the fact that I planned every vacation for him and the kids, but rarely for just him and I. Maybe I should hindsight, I would, but in my mind, we were a family and since we both were working and vacation time was a premium, I thought we should do things as a family. On the weekends, life got in the way most of the time....ballgames, swim meets, get the picture. Anyway, I asked him why he didn't plan something if he wanted it to be just us and he said he didn't "know how". Besides, I had always asked him what he wanted to do on vacation or where he wanted to go and his answer was always, "I don't care, whatever you want." He even says that all of our vacations were great and he had a lot of fun.

I've learned he was jealous of our kids. They took time away from him. He would even get annoyed when they came home from college and I made their favorite meals for them.

Perhaps the worst thing that I've learned about him though is his view on sex. He truly felt as if oral sex was not cheating. His viewing of porn led him to want "adventurous" sex. His excuse for continuing in the affair was because of the "excitement of having sex in his office."

If this was a person I was dating, I would run run far away from him as fast as I could. However since we have been married for over 30 years and have a history and he is the father of my children, I can't run. I'm hoping that the man he is showing me now is the man that I always thought he was. What scares me though is how much of a cameleon he is or maybe was....he knows/knew how to do and say the right things while thinking and acting totally different.

Has anyone else tried R and learned that the person they are married to may not have and perhaps never had the morals and values that you thought they did? Or that you wanted them to? While reconciling, were you ever afraid to believe that the person they are presenting to you now is who they really are, inspite of who they were previously?

crazyblindsided posted 8/27/2013 13:16 PM

Has anyone else tried R and learned that the person they are married to may not have and perhaps never had the morals and values that you thought they did? Or that you wanted them to? While reconciling, were you ever afraid to believe that the person they are presenting to you now is who they really are, inspite of who they were previously?


In fact had I known about my WH's personality disorder or had a peek into who he has become I never would have M him. I really hope this is not who my WH is. I see him changing his behaviors, but sometimes the old behaviors come back. Only difference this time is I recognize them.

(((sohurtbyhim))) I think it is so hard when you realize the person you have spent a majority of your life with has let you down

If you do want to try R maybe try and look at in terms of WHO he can become(if he puts the work in). I am hoping for the same

Thinkingtoomuch posted 8/27/2013 13:29 PM


From an outsider's view, it sounds like your WS just mixed it up and wouldn't have been satisfied with anything you did. And then still wanted more. You're already doing everything for the family and he wished you had done differently--you plan the vacation, that he wished you had planned differently?

I bet if you had gone to the bars after the game with him he would have found something wrong with that... Just sayin.

And dear Lord. Didn't like you making your kids favorite meals when they were home from college?

All sounds like a lose-lose thing.

And his view on sex that you didn't know after all your years together.

I too am amazed at the way of thinking we didn't see or realize. I do now. And now I realize it exists among all adults, not just M. We just never know til put to the burner. I'm going to protect myself from now on. And I really don't like it, but I must. I'm questioning everything now.

I have found all this and feel the same about xwf too. Hopefully I wasn't too nosy here. I just felt your pain.


[This message edited by Thinkingtoomuch at 1:31 PM, August 27th (Tuesday)]

Reyna13 posted 8/27/2013 13:56 PM

Yes I feel the same. The only difference is you have 30+ years invested and I have half that time. His original excuse for the A was I acted as if I didn't have time for him because I was busy with the kids.

I was a very hands on mom, enjoyed my children and he wanted me all to himself. Maybe that was why the OW was so appealing, she doesn't cook and was willing to walk away from her kids.

sodamnlost posted 8/27/2013 14:04 PM


What scares me though is how much of a cameleon he is or maybe was....he knows/knew how to do and say the right things while thinking and acting totally different.

YES!!!! THIS is my world now. I am realizing I have no idea who the man I have shared my life with is. No clue. He told me what I wanted to hear.

sohurtbyhim posted 8/27/2013 14:07 PM

Crazyblindsided and Thinking Too Much,

Thank you both for caring.

Had I known how different WH and I really were, I never would have married him either. I can't believe how wrong I was about our marriage. In fact, the year before the A began, I thought we were getting closer. We were doing more and more things together, which is what I thought he wanted and I was enjoying every moment of my life and he appeared to be too. I thought we were well on our way to a loving and happy "retirement" life together.

He said we "never did anything together" and that is so untrue. When I pointed out all we did together...even to the point of me going with him to the gas station when he gassed up the vehicles he backed off that and changed it to "we never did what he wanted to together", and that's when I asked him why he didn't plan anything if he wanted to do something. I got the "I didn't know how answer".

There's always an excuse. Personally, I think he was happy with most of his our life together. Yes, I know now that our sex life wasn't as "adventurous" as he wanted and even if I did know, it probably wouldn't have been anyway. I just couldn't do some of the things he would have wanted me to and he wouldn't want me to know how he knew of those things.

I loved the man I thought he was so deeply....the man he pretended to be....I feel like such a fool because my life with him was such a lie. And it's not just the time the A was going on....I wonder if he was cheating prior to this time. If he didn't think oral sex was cheating could that mean that he did it with a clear conscience before that? I've asked him and he says no, but he doesn't even remember much about the A, so why would he remember something that he didn't think would be a "big deal? Outside of my kids, I really feel as if my marriage was such a huge mistake.

I got very ill last year and am now on oxygen 24/7. I am hoping to recover, but none of the doctors are sure of a full recovery. The really sad part is is that they say there is no reason for what happened to have happened, and that they are now thinking that extreme stress compromised my immune system. I know how lucky I am to be alive and feel so guilty when I get depressed over the A.

Anyway, I truly thank you again for caring. It means the world to me.

sohurtbyhim posted 8/27/2013 14:17 PM

Hi Reyna,

I completely understand. My WH's OW was divorced with 4 kids. Her husband had custody of them so she was free to do whatever she wanted with her time. I remember WH saying the first time he went to her house, she had her kids there so he didn't go in, but she went for a "ride" with him. What kind of mother would leave her children to go joyriding with a married woman? Her kids were old enough to be left alone so there wasn't any physical neglect, but my thinking is: Why would she want to leave her children alone especially when she didn't see them that often to be with someone she had no business being with? What kind of person would do this?

I remember asking my husband about this and he said he never thought about it and that he wouldn't have cared anyway.

Like you, I was a very hands on mom. I believed my husband was a hands on father. I really thought we were on the same page. He really was 2 people and for the first 29 years, maybe he was able to suppress his inner demon somewhat, but when opportunity knocked, he opened the door widely and stepped right through it.

Hugs to you, Reyna.

TLhurting posted 8/27/2013 14:32 PM

He said we "never did anything together" and that is so untrue. When I pointed out all we did together...even to the point of me going with him to the gas station when he gassed up the vehicles he backed off that and changed it to "we never did what he wanted to together", and that's when I asked him why he didn't plan anything if he wanted to do something. I got the "I didn't know how answer".

My situation was very different than yours (4 year marriage, year long affair), but I got the same answers and rewriting during and after the affair. We never did anything he wanted, I never wanted to visit his family, etc.

When I pointed out that I went to events he wanted to go to and tried to be interested (I went to a wrestling event! [sorry if you like wrestling])over the years he would find other ways to make me not good enough. It was always me.

But it wasn't.

I'm convinced it's just pure selfishness. I think a lot of people hide their true selves their whole lives and are really just big babies.

We didn't R. I have no solution, just that I realized he wasn't the man I thought he was. She's welcome to him.

[This message edited by TLhurting at 2:36 PM, August 27th (Tuesday)]

Jospehine85 posted 8/27/2013 14:38 PM

A lot of this is rewriting sohurtbyhim.

He probably was jealous of his own kids to some extent, yet given a choice at the time, intellectually he would have and DID put the kids first.

Sounds like he thinks now he always wished for the single, party life while living in a family.

Really, that's the only way he can continue to justify his poor behavior in his mind.

You can't be a single, party-going guy AND be part of a family at the same time.

crazyblindsided posted 8/27/2013 14:42 PM

sohurtbyhim and Reyna these MOW's are such great mothers aren't they?

Can we add my WH's MOW to the list. She actually didn't mind spending all her time with my WH and not her daughter (who was 5 at the time) and had a family member doing the bulk of her parenting. She also spent whatever money she made for herself (and possibly her daughter) and got a boob job.

Ostrich80 posted 8/27/2013 14:55 PM

I have never read a post that was so close to my story. Scary. When I was trying to R, I would try to get some type of feedback, anything? I asked him to tell me 3 things he loved about me. He was squirming and rolling his eyes. I said my God, I've been with you over half my life and you can't think of something. Uhhhmm your a good cook wow that was his answer, next, your a good mom. Crap why not just call me aunt bee from Andy Griffith.
I finally realized I didn't have a partner in M, I was serving a purpose to make his life warm and cozy. He's not attracted to me...he's attracted to porn girls with their feet behind their ears. I would rather be alone.

ShockedErica11 posted 8/27/2013 15:02 PM

Your WH sounds like my WH, only I'm beginning to truly understand my WH and his last session with his IC really helped.

My WH is a little emotionally stunted, but he's earnest in trying become a better person; sometimes, it feels like I'm dealing with a child, and that gets annoying, but here's what's happening in our road to R:

Underneath ALL of the BS, he is actually the person I wanted to marry and be with. He often let me plan things and got resentful because of it, but really he didn't know how to articulate that he REALLY, REALLY wanted to help or that he REALLY, REALLY wanted to do it but he REALLY didn't know how. Take for instance our daughter: he REALLY wanted to help in terms of changing her diaper, in bathing her, feeding her, etc, but he honestly didn't know how and because I'd had experience in terms of raising my little brother, he left it to my "capable" hands. Now, however,, since we had a talk about what happened to him as a child, examined what the A did for him in terms of what he wanted but couldn't articulate, I now "make" him wash our daughter's hair even if he protests it a bit. I'll tell him what to do, stand back and let him do it, and once I see he's doing within the parameters of my instructions, I walk off and let him do it. Now, he washes her hair when it's his turn at putting her to bed and he washes her hair within the parameters that I set, but he now does it with his own flare too.

My WH often tells me: "It's whatever you want to do." But I don't let him get away with that because he has a problem with taking responsibility. Well, I "make" choose places we're going to eat, where we're going to hang out, what we're going to do. It gives him a much needed sense of control over his environment (something he didn't have due to some pretty horrific things in his FOO issues that he didn't even realize WERE a trauma).

And yes, there are things that he does that I REALLY don't care to do, but I'll do them anyway just because he likes them, but then again, I've been that way for majority of our relationship (doing things that he liked, hanging out with people that he wanted to and generally just being very accomodating), so now that I'm really pursuing my goals in terms of owning a business and fashion design, he's taking an avid interest and wants to "help" out (something he didn't get the chance to do a lot of as a child).

It takes A LOT of patience, but I've seen glimpses of the man that I knew I was going to marry and I sincerely want to get to R (as long as he keeps up the changes that he's making; if not, he's getting chucked).

It's like dealing with his inner child, but in the context of a grown man. It seems to me like you're starting to deal with your WH's inner child and that may take a lot of patience on your end in order to deal with that aspect of his personality, but he's also going to have to become VERY aware of himself, his behaviors and the fact that he may have a stunted inner child that even HE is going to have to have a conversation with.

Then again, the last few days have been good days so I may be on a positive kick more so than anything.

[This message edited by ShockedErica11 at 3:13 PM, August 27th (Tuesday)]

yousaid4ever posted 8/27/2013 15:10 PM

Our stories parallel each other in so many ways. Just had 39th antiversary.

Through IC and some MC, I've had to accept that my WH is a very very broken man who is probably not going to want or be capable of the change that is needed to heal our marriage. The damage happened in his FOO and I wasn't even aware of it when we married. He had honed the art of being two different people very well.

So now my question is to stay or to go. I'm taking a year to work on healing myself, that's all I have control over. I'm doing a 'live-in' 180 and preparing financially to be independent.

Because, a year from now, damnit, if I'm not on a beach in Hawaii renewing our vows on our 40th, I'm done. DONE, DONE, Done!!!! He's had 39 fucking years to decide if he chooses me and it's now or never. I'm hoping for the best and preparing (most likely) for the worse.

((((Big Hugs))) I understand and feel your pain.

sohurtbyhim posted 8/28/2013 07:20 AM

A lot of this is rewriting sohurtbyhim
Sorry about the's hard to be precise and concise when you're hurting so badly. Thanks for your other comments.


I realized he wasn't the man I thought he was

This is one of the hardest things I've had to accept. I know no one is perfect, but it's so hard to realize that you have been so wrong about someone you thought you knew so well. I feel as if I not only don't trust him, but I cannot trust myself and my ability to know people anymore.

((((Ostrich))))WH and I went to a "Healing from Affairs" seminar and they asked each couple to say one thing that they loved about their spouse. Other spouses were saying how much they love their spouse for forgiving them, the way they make them laugh, etc., When mine said, she's a good cook, even the leader of the seminar looked at me strangely. You're right, I too felt like Aunt Bee.

((((Yousaid4ever))))Thank you for your comments. I hope that things work out for you the way that you want them too. It's all so hard.

womaninflux posted 8/28/2013 09:21 AM

SH -

Here is what I see from your posts and what parallels I am drawing to my own experience. My SAWH's emotional expression (lack thereof) sounds similar to your H's.

The walls have been built up so high that from what I understand they are incapable of emotional intimacy with the primary partner.

What are his Family of Origin issues? I would imagine since you have been in the R process for 2 years you have explored this. Any enlightenment with that? My H's family was not a good role model for him. His parents lived separate lives from a very young age. I think he was probably 8 or 10 when his parents stopped sleeping in the same bedroom. They are still married but you can see the tension between them. I think it is the highway to Bitterville and I am not going to live like that.

My H also says I'm a good cook and parent. That has been the only thing he praises. It's very true we don't know each other anymore. I remember feeling when we were well into our courtship that H was someone who really "got me." So I feel like that did exist at some point. Not to blame kids for our troubles, but as much as they create a bond in a marriage, they also create fractures in the relationship between the parents. And when you pile on life (stressful job, home renovations, extended family responsibilities, etc.) it can cause the walls to build up - for both people. I know this is the case for me.

It also sounds like you had a very child-centered marriage. In your case it sounds like your H uses this as blame shifting, which is not good. I hope you are not blaming yourself for the A. My H used my weight as a reason why our marriage was bad and he had an A. Finally, our MC told me to tell him that I will no longer allow him to mention this and that he is the reason why he had an affair - it was his choice to look outside of our marriage to solve his problems.

I can relate to the child-focused issue as I am the partner who feels like H did not put focus on us as a couple and ME as his wife. He only saw me as the head housekeeper, cook and nanny to his kids. I was his roommate. We never went anywhere on our own together but we did before we were married and before we had kids. This took its toll on us - that is part of the reason why I am here on SI. Everything I have read about affairs says a child centered marriage is frequently part of the issue. Our MC seems to agree. It's not so much the existence of the KIDS, it's how the parents relate to one another (or their reference point for relating to each other) after they have the kids. This often comes at a point where the "honeymoon phase" of the relationship is over. The party manners have come off and reality of marriage - the good and the bad - has set in. Some people choose to only see the negative aspects.

I definitely think - and our MC has mentioned this - that my H is emotionally stunted at the age where he experienced trauma (witnessed a trauma to a family member). Maybe this is the case with your H? My H also has attachment issues. Career wise he experienced a great deal of success before his SA and the A that accompanied it revved up, but in most cases you don't have to be emotionally 100% to succeed at a career. My D lawyer I have consulted with assures me there are a lot of VERY successful people who are running around with SA or having an A.

Maybe also part of what you are feeling is that you don't want to be vulnerable again? I know I am experiencing this.

One suggestion I have is to seek out some sort of physical activity where you can work together as a team or learn together. I think this is a communication method men can relate kind of have to go down to their level sometimes. Ropes courses, tennis lessons, yoga, frisbee...I don't know...think of something you might like to do and find a way to implement it regularly. You may have hit a lull in your R process and it might be time to think outside of the box. You can talk and talk and talk about your feelings but at some point, you have to put that into action.

And also - I need to remind myself of this - while it is important to learn from the past, we can't change the past. It comes down to a choice: We can sit around and assign blame to each other or we can only work towards making the present and future better. For now I am trying to do the latter.

Good luck to you. Please don't lose hope.

cantbelieve posted 8/28/2013 10:06 AM

I too, wonder if I could go back, would I marry my H again. I'm not sure. When I fell in love, I saw a man that was caring, responsible, calm stable, smart, generally, a good person. We had fun together, we laughed, life was good.

3 kids enter into the picture and responsibilities change. He worked hard to provide and I worked hard to help the kids succeed in school, activities, and be responsible.

My H used to have fun just doing things. Over the years, I have learned that he is really an introvert. He doesn't enjoy socializing and really hates work functions that require "social talk". I thrive on being with friends and going out.

His A started because we grew apart and weren't having sex. He worked long hours, or so I thought, and would come home and fall asleep by 7:30 and I volunteered and would hang out with friends, so I could have adult conversation and our kids would play.

He doesn't know how to show affection, or really emotion. To him, everything is black or white. I wear my emotions on my sleeve.

After his A, I told him that I needed to feel loved. A loving gesture, here and there. He honestly doesn't know how.

I have always felt that he has never really needed me. If something happened to me, life goes on. I truly don't know what I provide for him.

I look at my sister and her husband (and believe me, they have been through everything) but they laugh, joke, play and really have fun together. I don't and if I could do over, that's what I'd go for.

Because of my H's work ethic, we are set financially, and that used to be important to me, but I'd rather be poor and have fun then rich and miserable.

Now that our kids are grown, my H wants to travel and do things, which we are, but we just don't have that spark anymore. I keep telling myself, after 28 years of marriage, that it shouldn't be about a "spark".

HardenMyHeart posted 8/28/2013 10:21 AM

Has anyone else tried R and learned that the person they are married to may not have and perhaps never had the morals and values that you thought they did? Or that
you wanted them to?

Of course. I doubt any of us would have married our current spouse if we knew they were going to cheat on us in the future. What has helped me during R was learning to accept that nothing stays the same and things/people change through the years.

While reconciling, were you ever afraid to believe that the person they are presenting to you now is who they really are, inspite of who they were previously?

Most of the time I spent during R was understanding what made my wife tick. I learned how to listen and understand why she makes the choices she does. I believe far too many BS's try to turn their WS into something they are not. It's like we have a script for the WS to follow, and when the WS does not follow our script, we suffer. This is what you are doing now.

You need to learn to build on your WS's strengths and accept their weaknesses as who they are. You need to have true emotional intimacy in the relationship, so your WS feels comfortable discussing "anything" with you.

Happiness comes from within. Other than his wedding vows, don't place any expectations on your WH to make you happy. Learn to do this for yourself. Love is about supporting and fostering the spiritual growth of another. Learn to do this for your husband.

So sorry for what you are going through.

[This message edited by HardenMyHeart at 10:23 AM, August 28th (Wednesday)]

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