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breakingpoint posted 11/24/2013 08:56 AM

D-Day was about 6 months ago, and I feel more lost than ever. BH and I are separated as we decide whether to R or D. For me the hardest questions to answer are those that were present pre-A.

My needs for affection had not been met for several years. I had talked to my husband about this countless times. He would try to change, but his efforts were inauthentic...not done out of a desire to do them, but checking off an item off a list. Approached like returning a work email. He always felt like I was critical of him, and not appreciative of the good that he brought to the relationship like being a good dad and provider. He felt put off by my advances and attempts for "closeness". I became a drain on him, rather than a bright spot in his day.

That horrible dynamic was created by both of us. Not blaming him. I never meant to be critical or unappreciative, but clearly I did not approach fixing these issues in a way that he felt loved.

To clarify, the needs that I wanted met, were talking about the little things in our day, hugs, cuddling, a smile when he walked in the door, and a general attitude that he liked me. He concedes that my wants were not irrational, but for some reason could not meet them.

A lot of WS say , "I love you, but I am not in love with you." In our case, I have always felt that this is how HE felt about ME. He admits that there are times sprinkled throughout the marriage that he felt "in love" but the majority of the time he felt distant and resented me. He felt that I was critical and needy. He didn't share his feelings, and over time got angry that his feelings were swept under the rug. He admits he was part of the problem on this.

Now at this juncture, he has admitted that he needs my full commitment and honest security in the relationship. I had been "behaving" in regards to the OM, and thought that this was security. But I have realized that this is wrong. Because I have not resolved this for myself, I have only been following the rules of what I have should be doing. I do not feel that I can offer honest security until I work through the emotional aspects of the A. And I need to choose to do this for myself, not as if my Daddy is enforcing a curfew.

I want my marriage to work. I love this man very much, as he is a wonderful person. But I also know that he may not be able or want to be affectionate and "close". He is very introverted, and now add the wounds I have inflicted, extremely he should be. Is there a way for me not to need this from him? Can I alter my needs and expectations to be happy in a relationship with these flaws?

If I need the affection and intimacy, I feel like it is so selfish that my family would live differently based on that. But I don't want to promise my BH some level of peace with this, if it is not possible for me.

How in the world do I clean up this big freaking mess? How do I know what I really need?

BaxtersBFF posted 11/24/2013 09:17 AM

Does he agree that he has some problems regarding the pre-A issues in the M?

As an aside, being introverted doesn't mean he can't show affection.

Also, you changing only yourself will likely lead to failure. You can't give up who you are. Marriage is 50-50. It takes two. You have to meet in the middle. pick your cliche. They all apply. Infidelity kind of skews things, but the underlying basics should still be there.

Have you guys looked into IMAGO therapy? My BW and I did an IMAGO weekend retreat which gave us some great communication tools which then laid the groundwork for us to communicate about things. And those things were mostly the pre-A issues in the M. Like you, I had a BS who contributed to the pre-A issues. I was very lucky in that, but the hardest thing was to realize I was equally responsible.

Again though...don't give up who you are. You will come to resent things later on if you do.

breakingpoint posted 11/24/2013 09:29 AM

I would really like to go to IMAGO, but I don't know if my BH is ready. I will do some research and lay the option on the table for whenever he is ready.

Yes my H agrees that it was bad pre-A and is unwilling to reenter into the relationship if the way things were is how things will be. I believe his exact quote about it was "The difference between you and me is that I would have sat there unhappy for forever, never admitting how unhappy I was, and just coasting weren't willing to do that."

BaxtersBFF posted 11/24/2013 09:34 AM

I think there is a chance you guys can do this. You probably have a lot of reassurances you will need to give in order to help your BH along the way, but it is worth it in the end.

Do you guys have kids?

breakingpoint posted 11/24/2013 10:01 AM

Yes they are 3 and 5. So far we have done a great job at agreeing on scheduling time with them, co-parenting, and spending family time together for them. We are extremely lucky that we can do that.

How do I give him reassurance when I am not sure myself? If there is any chance that we can learn to be more compatible, than I choose my marriage, hands down. But right now, I can not ask him to try to be more affectionate because of what I have done.

So, if we weren't "connecting" pre-A, we are struggling to connect through all of this mess, how do I know if there is hope for better in the future? And how do I honestly recommit if there is no indication that what was broken before can change?

Trying33 posted 11/24/2013 11:09 AM

So, if we weren't "connecting" pre-A, we are struggling to connect through all of this mess, how do I know if there is hope for better in the future? And how do I honestly recommit if there is no indication that what was broken before can change?

I can totally relate to this. What I would say is maybe the signs that things can change are so subtle that they are maybe going un-noticed? This was the case for me. there were signs all along that we both had the potential to change, I just didn't see them/chose to ignore them.

I had gotten into my head that the fact I cheated was indication enough that my marriage could never work. It was very black and white. Cheating = broken marriage forever. My H wanted R after I confessed (he has denial issues but that's a different story) but in my head, he had trouble connecting with me prior to the A, after this news and what I had done to him there was no chance of either of us having a good marriage. Our dynamics sound very familiar to yours. My kids are also similar ages to yours.

Look out for the small signs. Any attempts. One massive turning point was when I stopped thinking my marriage was ALL bad. It wasn't..there have been good times too.

I think, above all, it's having faith that you both have what it takes to make this work even if the connection is not there. It takes time. I am still very far from feeling any connection but I am hopeful that in time we can get it back again.

How in the world do I clean up this big freaking mess? How do I know what I really need?

My IC has been super helpful in answering these same questions. For me, it all stems from identity issues. Have you explored anything in IC yet?

breakingpoint posted 11/24/2013 12:02 PM

Thanks for all of your kind words and good advice. I do need to pay attention to the small things. I do notice them, but maybe I need to give them more weight. He started my car the other day. He smiled at a story I was telling last week.

Trying33- I am in IC but I have only been able to go once every few weeks, and it hasn't been enough. I am going to have to find a way to go weekly for a while.

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