But my real struggle is feeling true remorse for what I have done. I have remorse for what I have done to my children, i just can not honestly say at this point I feel remorse for what I did to BH. I regret my choices because of the person I was, I hate that I have done this to me and my life, but to feel real sadness for what my BH is struggling with is hard for me.
About 6 months ago I just decided to go through the motions of remorse, read up on what it is (vs not) and have been kind of faking it til I make it, but its not where I want to be. I am realizing that my inability to forgive my BH for pre affair issues is such a brick wall in the progression of our healing as a couple. I think I have forgiven the past, and moved on but I havent because if I had, then I am sure I would be able to stop the negative thoughts I have towards him. Especially when we are in the heat of a discussion about the A. I don't say anything to defend my actions, because there are no defenses. BUT, its like I am always saying in my mind, you got what was coming to you....and this needs to stop. I really have to deal with my anger towards him. Sometimes I think that his behavior was a deal breaker for me and that is why I feel stuck.
I am in a support group trying to get to the point of letting go of our past in actions, not just words.
I really want to be able to talk about my A without the internal justification rattling off in my head.
BH sees major changes in me, but they are due to my efforts to get through for him and our children, to keep it all together. To demonstrate that I have changed, that I am going to continue to live the authentic life we have been building together.
Maybe, I am realizing this right now I really want him to give my more than he can right now, in the area of emotional support.
I used to think my A was a deal breaker for him, but I can see now that it is not, and because I believe that people can change, perhaps I need to extend the same grace to him and he is trying to extend to me...
It's sooooo complicated!!!
I think I have forgiven the past, and moved on but I havent because if I had, then I am sure I would be able to stop the negative thoughts I have towards him
Does he know this? Have you shared your feelings with him? PreA stuff can really be an obstacle, but I believe that many issues can be dealt with and put to bed if they are discussed openly and honestly.
My tolerance for stupid shit is getting less and less.
I don't know your full story, but first let me say congrats for getting this far. As a BH, I know it ain't easy. Like DS said, you need to get this stuff out in the open and off your chest. Just like exposing an affair often kills it, bringing your issues into the light may mitigate or even eliminate them.
You mentioned alcoholic behavior on the part of your husband in the past. Alcoholism is a disease. I know. I see it all the time in my work. Realize things he did at that time were manifestations of the disease. Acknowledging this and his healthy changes will help you get past those pre A issues.
I think you're wise enough and fair enough to realize there is nothing he did to deserve what you did to the marriage. If things were that bad you could have divorced. With kids this is tough, but doable.
I read your profile where you praised your H. Focus on that.
Again, I'm proud of the work you've done thus far. Keep it up and keep posting. If you want, give us a recap of the A and the pre A issues so we can help/advise more.
Good luck on the journey.
[This message edited by hatefulnow at 8:01 PM, October 14th (Monday)]
There were a number of things that came up during conversations between my BW and I that I was completely unaware of. Like you, I had that "well you did this" thought go through my head during many of those conversations, then she would tell me some other thing that she had held onto, in the form of a resentment, or a grudge, which I had no idea about. Some of these she held onto for years.
Eventually, we found a style of communication where we could talk about those things without the tit-for-tat defense mechanisms coming into the conversation. Eventually we began to see that we both did things pre-A which weren't healthy for a marriage.
You've been at this long enough now, is there any way you can transition from talking about your A to talking about your entire relationship with your BH?
Sure there were problems in your marriage. Sure your BH could have handled things better than drinking too much.
However he never told you "Hey, atthedoor, I want you to go have an affair." If he never told you that and even if he did..you were the one to choose that path.
To think "You got what was coming to you" is not only vindictive, but also cold in nature.
The thing is, your husband has changed those behaviors,yet you have not really changed your perception of him.
You have to forgive him. If you don't you still will have resentment and true remorse will not be reached when you focus on what was done to you and not what you did.
Has he forgiven you?
Alcohol was his first mistress. So I understand your anger... But his A broke me. Please do not underestimate the devastation an A has. I understand, you probably experienced years of abuse when he was an alcoholic, you probably did feel that he deserved it at the time. But do you really feel he deserves it now? Given who he is now? Getting sober is huge. Give him some credit. Maybe you could even say, you were angry and vengeful and thought he deserved it at the time but that the person he is now doesn't deserve it and then feel remorse for the person he is now being hurt by your A?
DS: I do bring up pre A issues and how I feel about them, but BH carries so much shame and guilt (I understand completely how that feels)that he really struggles in those conversations and they are ended quickly so the focus can be returned back to talking about the A and what I did wrong.
HN, I know that alcoholism is a disease, knowing that did not make it any easier to live with. Many times I feel I should have left, I actually did leave before PA started. PA occurred while BH was begging me to return, he quit cold turkey and that just set me off. My mindset at the time was, "you wait for me to leave to quit, all those nights of begging and pleading with you to stop meant nothing?" and so on. I had that A out of anger, it was rage. BH will not accept that and insists it was because I wanted to be with the AP out of lust. AP was a tool to inflict pain on BH. That was cold and cruel behavior but that is what happened.
FRM, I don't think I have forgiven him, because I am struggling with forgiving myself. And he is struggling to forgive himself as well. I am sure it is devastating for him to live with the fact that he was passed out and missed out on pretty much 13 years of our children's milestone activities. All four of our children were into drama and always got cast as the lead in the play, he missed them all during that time. He tells the kids "I have a disease" as if that makes it all better. It doesn't do anything for them.
See, now I sound bitter again, I need to let the past go, I can say that I am 50% responsible for allowing my children to be raised in a home like that, I should have just left, but I sincerely believed I had the ability to endure the situation, which clearly I did not have the coping skills to do so.
Lady: I loved your point, I believe people can change. Maybe I am the one who hasn't changed at all and BH has and my failure to change is what is keeping us stuck. I do not underestimate the pain my A has caused him and our family. its completely devastating, choosing to reconcile has all but broken me. This site and the members sharing here and my faith in God are what keep me going through each day.
I guess holding on to my pain has given me a defense to shield me from the full weight of my actions. If I let that go I am only stuck with me and what I did. BH tells me no man wants to be married to a woman like you and I understand why he says that. And he is still here and it is because he wants me to see that he is here despite what I have done, and I know its a huge mountain of poo to live with.