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How Do You Show Remorse...

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grains posted 1/3/2014 00:21 AM

My BS feels that she has to give up because she has not seen enough actions from me that show remorse. This has happened many times since DDay three years ago. I remember posting several times asking about this and getting good advice from here. I have not been able to make it into actions. Did I not understand what was suggested? Do I not want to really reconcile? Did I feel pressured into asking for advice? I do feel pressure to ask because I do not want to loose my wife. My BS told me that she needs to take care of herself and cannot be with me if I do not show any remorse. Maybe I need the impending reality of her leaving me to make me feel the urgency. I know that I should always be the first to bring up the affair and apologize for the suffering it caused her. I know that it helps to have specific details in this apology. I also know I should do it often. I told her that I would do it everyday and she can tell me if she does not want to talk about it. Would it be too much for me to tell her everyday?

[This message edited by grains at 2:25 AM, January 3rd (Friday)]

inshockandhurt posted 1/3/2014 01:53 AM

Hi grains, kudos for asking this question, just the fact that you are asking gets you a few points. As for direct actions, what are you doing? Make a point of thinking hard about what specific actions you are undertaking to show your BW that you really want R. Do you read articles or books about how to work through this? Do you take an active role in helping her deal with her triggers? Are you in counseling and diligent about working through your issues? Are you sharing your progress with your BW? You might also ask your wife if she can communicate to you any specific behaviors she would like to see from you, and if she tells you, remember to do them as much as possible. Sometimes, you might think you are showing a desire to save the marriage, and maybe you are, but sometimes the BS may not see the actions. This happens a lot with me and my H; he takes action but I am looking for something else, and I miss what he has done. That is why it is helpful to know specifically what she needs from you, that way you are speaking the same language, so to speak. And if there are specific actions you are doing, make sure to bring them up in conversation. For example; if you read an article about infidelity, share it with your wife, let her know you are trying to do the work, it's all about communication. Anyway, I hope this stuff helps. Good luck.

SlowUptake posted 1/3/2014 01:53 AM

I would like to ask for advice specially from a BS on what are the ways a WS can show remorse and what actions show the urgent need to make amends.

Have you asked your BS this.

My BS and I have a deal. She tells me specifically what she wants.
If I fail to provide it, that's on me. And I cop the consequences.
If I do provide it but she's just not feeling it, that's on her. And I recieve a 'get outta jail free card'.

Just something to ponder.

grains posted 1/3/2014 02:34 AM

Thank you for your responses. I edited my post to give it more context. You both said to ask for specifics and that is very helpful. We agreed on 3 things that I will do - read a chapter a day from HOW TO HELP YOUR SPOUSE HEAL FROM YOUR AFFAIR - keep posting on SI (I am grateful for both your help in this) - email her my thoughts on our relationship each day, just like a journal. It's a start. I will keep it going.

[This message edited by grains at 2:57 AM, January 3rd (Friday)]

inshockandhurt posted 1/3/2014 02:51 AM

Hi again grains, I am glad my suggestions helped, I have one more; have you read the book, How Can I Forgive You by Janis Abrahams Spring? It is a great book and there is a section on how to make an apology, it may help you. I don't think apologizing everyday would be too much as long as they are sincere and specific and they are accompanied by actions as well. Just remember to communicate, you may have made tons of progress and may feel a heavy load of remorse but if you bottle it up and don't let your BW see it then how will she know? My husband does this, he is very closed up because of his FOO issues, and now that I know what they could mean (what they meant before and during his affair) I worry about them. I have asked him to tell me what he is thinking and he is trying, though it is hard for him. Maybe you could try that too? Just randomly share your thoughts, especially any about the affair. I like your idea of a journal to your wife.

SlowUptake posted 1/3/2014 04:08 AM

Would it be too much for me to tell her everyday?

You may get sick of me saying this. Ask her not us.

Prayingforhope posted 1/3/2014 04:22 AM

I'm a long ways from R but what I already know is you can never be proactive enough. Thinking about HER needs, HER pain, HER workload, HER fears...think about all of it all the time and the answers come to you.

This may sound really stupid, but I bought dog food yesterday. I have never bought dog food in my life but I wake up every day and I think "how can I help my BS" and guess what popped in my mind - dog food.

She buys bags that are 10 kilos each (heavy), I had no idea, and all this time she is lugging these things around with NO HELP AT ALL.

When the fog lifts and the shame sets in, it's amazing how many ways there are to help your wife...

Senraba02 posted 1/3/2014 19:43 PM

Yes. Everyday after 3 years is too much. But the part that bothers me is that you aren't showing her remorse. Everyone shows it in different ways, and her way may not be your way. With that said, even your way, there's still nothing? Because you don't feel the impending doom or urgency? That, to me, screams that you might not be truly remorseful. If she wants to talk about the A she should let you know that she wants to and then set aside an hour in the evening. One hour. And only when she needs to talk about it. It gives her control and lets her know that time is designated for this purpose only. That way you both have the rest of the day(s) to talk about other thing. Anything but the affair. As a man, I imagine you don't quite understand the magnitude of the "small things" the notes, the sweet gestures, the small things that mean so much.
You say you don't want to loose your wife. So what are you doing to stop that from happening?

scared&stronger posted 1/3/2014 20:02 PM

Maybe I need the impending reality of her leaving me to make me feel the urgency.

I would just say that if this is how you need her to leave to feel really don't get it. That is what I would and do think.

grains posted 1/3/2014 22:29 PM

Last night she told me she wants us to divorce. She has asked for this several times the past three years. Each time she would ask that, I would ask her to give me another chance. I know that if I did what was necessary then she would decide to stay with me. She has given me a chance each time and I have not met her needs each time. Last night she made it clear that was so. Today we are still able to talk. To put things into context I must tell everyone that we are currently living apart because of our jobs. She has to be in another state for her job. We both agreed that we will see if it works. We see each other at least every three weeks and we call each other 3 or 4 or more times each day. This is difficult. It can give me the time to really focus on her and also work on my personal issues that led me to the infidelity. It could also give me the false sense of security that everything is fine which is what has happened.
We both agreed that I will do three things each day for at least 90 days (three months) - the SI post, the book chapter readings and my email to her of my reflections on healing and reconciliation.
Yes , I admit that I really don't get it when I say that I need her to leave in order to feel the urgency. Thank you for pointing that out. It is like saying that I will only know the value of life when I am dead or when I am dying. I have just condemned myself to a life of misery and waste by thinking that.
I am now also only learning the values of the "small things", the notes, the gestures. I have done some of that and need to do more of. It is also a good idea to ask her to if she wants to set aside a time each day to talk about the affair. I need to keep asking her about her feelings and actively reading her emotions and listening to her. I have been very poor in this area. A point was also made about speaking the same language. This is one of the hardest things to do for me. I often feel good about my thoughts and I am not able to express it in a way that is acceptable to my BS. I learn by trial and error and by asking what was inappropriate about what I said.
I have come across HOW CAN I FORGIVE YOU. Maybe that will be the 2nd book I will read. I understand the dogfood story. I will look for those opportunities.

wario posted 1/4/2014 01:43 AM

I'm in a similar situation where I'm 6 years from D-Day and my BS does not see any remorse. I do feel sorry, I tell her I'm sorry, but she does not believe me.

Perhaps your BS does not trust what you are saying, since as a WS you proved yourself untrustworthy. For my BS, I think (still trying to figure this out and get to remorse) it lies in my actions and also the non-verbal communication between us.

In Janis Springs "After the Affair" she has a section on rebuilding trust. She speaks of "low-cost" and "high cost" actions for regaining trust. these actions show your BS you are sorry and are willing to do something about it. It is different for every case and your BS may not be willing to help you figure this out. Why should she, since she doesn't trust you. It depends on the BS SlowUptake mentions that he acts directly and his BS will tell him, that's good, but that's not my case. It took me 6 years and finally figured it out in marriage counselling.

For my BS she is extremely sensitive to non-verbal cues. I had a lot of resentment and anger and she could tell. The message that she got was, you must not be remorseful since I sense so much anger in you, these apologies must not be genuine. Therefore, she would not be able to trust me unless I worked out my anger and resentment issues at IC.

What I'm trying to say is that in some cases, Remorse can only be achieved after a lot of specific work that your BS can see.

Best of luck


sinsof thefather posted 1/4/2014 04:26 AM

Grains I have followed your posts from the beginning and if I remember correctly you were at one time previously using a calendar and time frame to do three things daily to show your wife that you loved her and were thinking of her - what happened to that? Did you finish that previous time frame but then go back to zero things daily to show her you loved her and were thinking of her? Did you cut the effort down to one thing/time a day? Were the things you did then things that were actually going to be achievable on a permanent daily basis? Do you get the 'big' gestures but not see the smaller things that can show someone you love them?

I agree that the biggest thing you can do to save your marriage is communicate with your wife - openly and honestly about everything - even if you fear the result of the talks. At this point you can't allow fear to determine your actions (if you are). I think the (literal) distance between you and the fact that your profile states that there is an OC from your affair already make your R challenging - certainly not unachievable, but challenging - so why do you think it is that you let yourself fall into complacency about your R?

grains, I'm almost afraid to post this because you have never (apart from in your profile) mentioned the OC aspect, and I appreciate that this is an extremely private matter, but because it is in your profile yet seems to be nowhere else - I have to ask do you and your wife talk about how you are each dealing with this? If not, do you think it's that you are afraid to open yourself up to the enormity of emotionally dealing with it between you? (I am not asking you to answer those questions here, I'm just throwing the question out for you to explore privately - if you haven't already) ...because the fact that you never mention it makes me wonder if you and your wife try to rugsweep this and haven't really dealt with it between you. Do you and your wife talk to each other with total and complete openness about that specific aspect of your affair? (and any continued personal contact you may have with the OW personally regarding this)- once again, I am not asking for you to answer here but to think about it if you aren't actually doing so, because you, your wife, and R, may all have needs about this that you are not addressing if you are not openly dealing with it between you. I truly do believe that honest and open communication between you and your wife (not us) about this is essential for the longterm success of your R. Once again though, please forgive me for bringing it up if you are already dealing with this.

The distance between you is another complicating factor - how long must this last? Is this distance temporary or going to be permanent unless one of you change or transfer jobs? Would either of you be willing to do that if it's possible? Do you ever talk about that between you? ...and finally, are you in professional personal counseling?

Grains, my best advice to you is to talk, talk, talk, to your wife honestly and openly about both of your needs and then follow through on your actions. Open yourself up, not only to her, but to yourself too (best done with a good counselor). Maybe you can't keep up with the following through of actions because you still have some walls up inside of yourself that you are trying to ignore and areas inside of yourself that you haven't truly explored.

ETA: Also grains, the fact that you and your wife were at such different places regarding where you thought your R was at, speaks of a lack of communication in general between you - no matter that you talk four times a day, it's what you are not saying that seems to be more important to set straight than the volume of your communication.

[This message edited by sinsof thefather at 4:42 AM, January 4th (Saturday)]

grains posted 1/4/2014 19:58 PM

Thank you for your insights.
Yes, I know fully well that it is specific actions that my BS is looking for that would convince her that I have remorse. It is surely different for each wayward. I know that I have to be aware of this each day. The other night we were talking and I realized something she did that really helped me and I was affirming it and got excited and decided to just focus on my joy of discovery in our conversation. She wanted to affirm it too and wanted to give her thoughts but I cut her off. She became upset. I understand that I really need to be present and listen to her and not be too concerned with what I want to say when we are in conversation. I would also like you to thank you for your 100 day post. This is what got me and my BS to decide that I should do the 3 things a day for 60 days for my BS.

@sinof thefather
I did the 60 days of doing 3 things each day for my BS maybe about a year ago. It was a good thing and the idea was to develop a way of including that in my daily life. My BS pointed out that the things I did were not unachievable on a daily basis - hugging, warm, and tender emails, talking with empathy and concern. I certainly did not follow through after the 60 days. I reflect back on why and I think I treated it more as an experiment than developing an attitude and a way of behaving that will carry forward in my life. I will try it again with that in mind- developing an attitude, since yesterday, I will do 3 things each day with the focus on empathy for my BS and gaining remorse. One activity is posting on SI actively and it certainly helps in communicating with her and with myself.
The distance and temporary physical separation is difficult. My BS has just mentioned how inadequately I have approached the subject with her and that I need to understand that soon it will determine whether she will divorce with me. I know that it can be a positive factor in that it should motivate me to work harder towards reconciliation. It is so true that you will know the value of someone when they are not there. I am lucky that she still talks to me even when we are away from each other. Thank you for the insights. Please keep asking the questions. I will ask them too.

[This message edited by grains at 9:46 PM, January 4th (Saturday)]

grains posted 1/6/2014 23:19 PM

@sinsof the father
You certainly asked questions that my BS and I are now talking about. Thank you.

sinsof thefather posted 1/7/2014 08:49 AM

grains, I'm glad you and your wife are talking. Sometimes the hardest things to talk about are those that need talking about the most....and Thank you for having the grace and kindness to not shoot the messenger.

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