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Did I handle this okay?

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bookjunkie posted 1/21/2014 11:31 AM

My H was triggered twice by me yesterday. First time was in the morning, right as I was leaving for work. I looked at my cell phone (he said strangely) but didn't read them and just put the phone in my pocket. He told me later that it made him feel like I was trying to hide something from him. He did not however ask to see the phone. I told him that he could have said right then "Hand me your phone" and I would have gladly done it. H only told me this after the second trigger.

So the second trigger was asking him if he minded if I went to dinner with our college age daughter. I had talked to him about taking her to dinner once a month, just her and I, so we can continue to be close. H and I both feel like our little girl has grown up so fast and we really miss her being around and feel slighted when she doesn't find time to spend with the family.

So DD texted me to ask if I would take her to dinner and I texted H to see if he minded. He said he didn't mind but when I left work and I called him, it was totally different. H said that it seemed weird that I would act like my phone had messages that I wouldn't want him to see and then ask to come home late. He said he didn't want to call DD to verify that I was going to dinner with her because he wanted to trust me. I told him the way to build trust WAS to call and verify. And verify every time he needed to. That to build trust he would have to see that I am being honest about my whereabouts. I told him I would call DD and cancel but he said no, he would call her to verify.

H said to go to dinner and he would see me later. Should I have gone home and cancelled dinner? He seemed better somewhat when I got home. But he doesn't very often look at my phone and even though I have given him all of my logins and passwords, I'm not aware that he checks any of it. I gave him my phone last night and he seems reluctant but then did look thru it.

Is this normal that a BS wouldn't want to verify and check?

remorsefulww posted 1/21/2014 11:58 AM

At first my bs checked every night when he got home( messages, facebook, contacts, web history, bookmarks, emails), but now not so much. It was like he was expecting to see something and was relieved when there was nothing there.
Opening to full transparency, talking things through, answering any and all questions honestly, not getting mad that hes asking, has helped tremendously( I'm not saying that your not doing these things already) Verifying when and where im going also has helped.
Imo, and also from my bs point of veiw is that he is/was afraid to verify because of the "what if?" He didn't want to see anything and get hurt again.

Brandon808 posted 1/21/2014 12:13 PM

Is this normal that a BS wouldn't want to verify and check?
Yes. This is very normal imo. Trust but verify is correct but difficult to practice. Every time you take that step to look you (the BS) have that moment where you wonder "Is there something there?" You also have that moment where you ask yourself "Why am I putting myself through this? Am I going to have to do this the rest of my life?"

It's one thing to get that twinge. It changes things in your mind to actually take the step to look. Your BH expressed that concern to you. I think that was good but please be very careful. If you truly want R and he is struggling with actually validating things then I would advise you to be more proactive and practice reassuring, gentle patience. Many a BS have ceased R just out of frustration with the fact that they even have to check at all when their WS seems the least bit put out by it. I'm not saying you're reacting that way. I'm just saying that you need to be careful. You didn't mention if he's expressing any anger or frustration or if he's lashing out in any way. I would assume by that he isn't or isn't doing much of that. However, silence can be an R-killer too. Feeling emotionally safe enough to ask those questions and express those fears is very important.

cdnmommy posted 1/21/2014 12:16 PM

I am going to say this and it may sound harsh, but I don't mean it that way. I just want to give you a bit of a different perspective.

Your BS doesn't *want* to do any of this.

We don't want to trigger. We don't want to feel like we need to call and check up, and we certainly don't want to have to make the call. We don't want to distrust you. Unfortunately we have been put in a position where we have to.

To put it differently, it's not that your BS doesn't want to check up on you. It's that he doesn't want to HAVE to check up on you. While it is very important for you to offer transparency, the very fact that he needs to do these things is hard for him, and he will probably feel very ambivalent about it.

All that being said, I think you handled it the right way. He is going to trigger sometimes no matter what you do. You can't prevent it from happening so all you can do is your best to support him. Going out to dinner with your DD is different than, say, going out for dinner with your co-workers or friends, when the appropriate thing may very well be to cancel if he is uncomfortable. One thing you could consider is rather than expecting him to call your DD, to have the two of you call him from dinner to say hi. That provides him with confirmation of your whereabouts, shows that you are being proactive about keeping him informed, and hopefully also reinforces that you do not mind keeping him informed. I know for me, any time my FWH did something to help build trust where I didn't have to check up on him, it helped me a lot. I absolutely hated following up on him. It made me feel like there was something wrong with me for not trusting him, despite that being an appropriate response to what he put me through. He tried to help by saying things like "I have nothing to hide, and you can check anything at any time. Here is my phone. Here is my email." However, nothing helped as much as when I got a picture of him at a restaurant with his best friend (a staunch friend of the marriage) or at coffee with his sister. He didn't have to tell them anything, either. He just would say, "Cdnmommy says hi. Let me send her a photo of us."

I know this is tough going, but keep at it. :)

WarpSpeed posted 1/21/2014 12:41 PM

I definitely went through an extended phase of logging into her e-mail and looking for stuff, and exporting phone and text records into an excel spreadsheet and analyzing them like the Dead Sea Scrolls.

But, when we would have a conversation about something and she would say "Do you want me to cancel my FB account" after I'd noticed that the OM's sister had friended her, I would always say no.

I didn't want her to have to do that. But at the same time I didn't want to be put in the position of paying attention to who was on a friends list either.

Just keep being transparent and keep trying to help him heal.

You might try leaving the phone laying about if your habit is to typically have it on your person. That might serve to proactively demonstrate that you have nothing to hide and that your transparency is more important than having the phone conveniently with you rather than across the room or in the kitchen.

turtle72 posted 1/21/2014 12:58 PM

You handled it fine, but could do better.

Being able to check and verify when I want to is great, but I find it helpful if he anticipates that I will trigger from him looking at his phone or a change a schedule and is proactive in heading that off.

Every ding of spam mail or him looking at his phone makes my stomach ache. I feel better if he tells me "my mom is texting about dinner Sunday" or "Capital One wants me to finance a car through them." I may check myself - and at this early date I do.

As far as dinner with your DD, I think you could have upfront told him that you planned to take a pic of you and DD together at dinner. That would let him know you are where you say you are and takes the onus to check off of him. The offer to take the picture may have prevented him from trying to connect the dots of looking at your phone weird and last minute plans in the first place.

Trusting but verifying can be exhausting. Help him out there by being proactive about it and you carry some of that load.

bookjunkie posted 1/21/2014 16:07 PM

Thanks for all the responses. I never even thought about taking a pic to send H but will definitely do that in the future. Most of the time I am proactive about heading off any triggers (where I'm at and who I'm with). I call from work before I leave so he can see I'm still here and can anticipate when I should be home. I call him when he's working and I'm not just to let him know when and where I run errands and always take the kids with me. I haven't been much of anywhere on my own but I don't mind at all. He tells me that I do a fine job of making him feel informed and safe (most of the time).

H hasn't been very forthcoming about when he does trigger and we talked about this recently. I want to know, so I can help him through it even if it's just to talk about it after the fact. I had been afraid that he was rugsweeping. Honestly, sometimes I still think he does.

cdnmommy posted 1/21/2014 17:36 PM

I just read your other thread, and I feel I need to amend what I said above.

You broke NC last week. Your BH doesn't "know" but I can guarantee that he knows something is up. Your behaviour is almost certainly different, and he is probably withdrawing.

When FWH broke NC I knew there was a problem. He lied about it, but it was obvious in his behaviour that he was feeling guilty. I hoped it was that he was finally realizing the enormity of his actions, but in fact it was new guilt.

It seems to me that if you have so recently broken NC and you still have not shared that with your BH, it is probably not in his best interest to open up to you at this time. Being vulnerable is hard for a BS, and please forgive my bluntness, but you are asking him to be vulnerable to you when you are not willing to give him the same.

Food for thought: I knew my FWH was serious about R when he started to tell me the things that he knew put him at risk.

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