Forum Archives

Return to Forum List

Need help handling fWH's sense of failure

You are not logged in. Login here or register.

Arnold01 posted 9/10/2013 04:43 AM

Things have been going really well for us, until a conversation last night that makes me more and more disheartened the more I think about it.

We had planned in advance to spend time talking about what a great marriage looks like for each of us. I was looking forward to the conversation as I'm eager to build our new marriage post-A. We got off to a good start last night, but fWH quickly shared that my insecurity about his love for me - when expressed in emotional and upset ways - is a huge barrier for him in supporting me. It just causes him to shut down.

He went on to say that he's been trying hard to speak my love language, but that I seem to expect perfection and that I want our marriage to be all better, now. He shared that this makes him feel like it's hopeless - that no matter what he does, he's failing, and that he'll never live up to my expectations. He just wants us to get back to a place where our love and our life together is easy.

My surface reaction was that this isn't easy - it's hard, it takes work, and that he needs to put in the effort. Great marriages look easy but require lots of continued nurturing and investment. I also felt that he didn't respect my needs or convey much willingness to support me. The irony is that he's been feeling really great about the path we're on and how we are rebuilding.

If I put the above aside, however, I suspect that he's feeling a ton of shame for all that has happened, a sense of failure for having the affair and the pain he's cause me, and bewilderment and anxiety about knowing how to help me and help us. He's expressed all of those things at various times, so I am pretty confident that all of these frustrations and emotions he's directing at me are really about his own sense of failure and shame. That's reassuring in a lot of ways - if he didn't feel those negative emotions about what he's done, I'd wonder if he was a decent human being - but I don't know to help him get past this.

Things have been really good for the past few weeks, and overall he's been working on R in all the right ways. So it was hard to hear what sounded like a lot of backsliding last night. Chalk it up to a bad night? What can I do to acknowledge his sense of failure and reassure him, without ignoring my own needs or letting him off the hook in the work he needs to do?

cantaccept posted 9/10/2013 08:58 AM

My h and I go through this all the time. A few good days and then one of us slips backwards. For us, recognizing the pattern helps. We seem to come back together stronger each time. I must say that when we are in that downward slope it feels awful and it is hard to remember that it seems to be part of the process.

My IC/MC always reminds me to keep pushing ahead.

Are you in IC/MC? I feel that if we were not we would never had made it this far.

When was your dday? From your registration it seems very recent. We are almost a year from dday and it is still very much a rollercoaster.

Hopefully others with more experience will chime in soon.


Stay strong.

TxsT posted 9/10/2013 10:01 AM

Arnold....maybe you should give your hubby the book I just bought...the 5 Love Languages....both of you should at least take the free quiz at what your Love Language is. It might be helpful to both of you.

The front loading/back sliding aspect of all of our situations is the toughest part of the process. I used to e a perfectionist as well and wanted to project it onto everyone. My IC has helped me understand where that came from and why I no longer needed the aspect so strongly in my life. I recommend IC too....discuss this with you C....being released from projections grasp has been quite a liberating part of my healing.


LonelySilhouette posted 9/10/2013 11:35 AM

My wh is seeing our therapist alone this week because he is having problems coping with the stress of his failure. It all came to a head last week when he completed the timeline I had asked for, and that the therapist recommended he do for me. Apparently, reliving it and trying to give me the detail I asked for stressed him out to the point that he was vomiting. He really had a meltdown when he was done the timeline, and refused to give it to me (at first) because he couldn't see how it would help me. We found a compromise (he read it to me over the phone rather than giving it to me physically), but like I said, it brought up a lot of turmoil and stress for him.

Anyway, your post didn't mention MC or IC. Is your h attending either? It sounds like he could use some help with coping techniques, too.

Arnold01 posted 9/10/2013 11:49 AM

Thanks for the input and suggestions, and most of all for letting me know I'm not alone.

Yes, we are in MC, which has been helpful. H doesn't like going and doesn't see it as useful compared to the conversations we have on our own. But he doesn't put up much fuss about going to MC. He knows I find it useful so is willing to go to support me. He participates, and I'm sure some of the counseling is sinking in for him, too. I'm thinking that my desire to be a "perfect" BS and to get to a perfect marriage is an obstacle so am considering IC for myself based on all of your input. I would love for H to attend IC, and our MC has suggested it, but he has been clear that he has no interest (or need) for IC. Maybe that will change with time.

We have read the Five Love Languages, which I agree is a great book! We read it a chapter at a time and then discussed. He was really actively trying to speak my love language, which was great, and that makes last night's conversation even more frustrating as I know he's capable of loving me the way I need if he chooses to do it. I suppose I have to give the love I want to receive, and I'll keep speaking his love language and hope he comes around.

And...I'll work hard to remember that our D-Day was not even 3 months ago. So considering where we're at, I should expect the good days and the bad without beating myself or us or him up too much over the bad days.

Return to Forum List

© 2002-2018 ®. All Rights Reserved.