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Keeping the A present??

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4everfaithful83 posted 1/27/2014 16:55 PM

I understand that talking about the A ALL the time is not healthy for R, but sometimes I feel like if I don't keep it present in our relationship, It will be forgotten about by my WBF.

Does this resonate with anyone else?

I feel like if he is reminded often of his mistake, it will keep him feeling guilty, and therefore he will continue to put in the effort. Is this cruel??

Our road to R has been rocky, but over the last 3-4 months I feel like we have finally found a good place.

Not sure if this makes sense to anyone else or not...

canteat posted 1/27/2014 17:40 PM

I felt like this in the very beginning but I soon learned that I had to let it go because it's destructive thinking. I wanted him to hurt as bad as I did and I guess I didn't think he "suffered" enough-or at least I didn't SEE that he did. The thing was he couldn't let me see his pain until we got closer together as a couple and learned to communicate better.

I feel like if he is reminded often of his mistake, it will keep him feeling guilty, and therefore he will continue to put in the effort. Is this cruel??

Not sure if it is cruel or just an ineffective way of moving on. At some point you need to start letting go of the past and concentrate on building a new, better future together. You need to talk about the A to learn and heal but not to punish or keep him in line. You need to be able to trust him and the only way you will be able to do that is for him to prove (through his actions) that he is trustworthy. If he is not willing to do the work trying to "guilt" him into it will only be a big waste of time.

rachelc posted 1/27/2014 18:00 PM

I used to bring up the affair exactly for this purpose- to make sure he knew I was still hurting.
Here I am, almost two years out from dday2 and I have no idea if he's "doing the work." He goes to IC and MC with me.
He has not chosen to talk about IC the last few months....

AML04 posted 1/27/2014 18:01 PM

I was at 8 mos yesterday. We don't talk about it as much because honestly, I get frustrated talking about it specifically and then I end up more upset. A lot of the things I bring up are things he really can't explain because he doesn't understand either. I hear the answers and just cannot comprehend them. At some point I have to accept that I'll never understand but I'm not quite there yet b

What I think would be healthy for us as a couple is to talk about the good things we can do to show each other love and really talk about what makes us happy. We need to figure out how we can both get our needs met so neither if us feels isolated any more.

I wish you the best on this crappy journey none of us ever wanted to go on.

MissesJai posted 1/27/2014 18:06 PM

I feel like if he is reminded often of his mistake, it will keep him feeling guilty, and therefore he will continue to put in the effort. Is this cruel??
I won't go so far as to say it's cruel, but IMO, it's manipulative. By continually reminding of what he did, you are manipulating him into feeling how you think he should feel. You are, in essence, trying to control him. This is far from healthy, mainly for you. I realize your dday is recent, so I understand you feel the need to do this; however, in the long run, it will become a roadblock to true R and your WBF is going to end up resenting you.

Is he not feel remorseful unless you are constantly reminding him that he cheated on you?

4everfaithful83 posted 1/27/2014 18:22 PM

No, it's not that he doesn't show remorse... I guess it's just me feeling like I can't let him forget. I like the extra attention I'm getting, and the extra work he's putting in. I agree it's not healthy to keep it fresh but I feel like he might feel like he doesn't need to put in the work if he feels like I'VE forgotten (not that that's even possible lol)

But I guess that's the main goal? To get back to a healthy relationship were "normal" feels right and extra work doesn't seem mandatory?

MissesJai posted 1/27/2014 18:40 PM

I feel like he might feel like he doesn't need to put in the work if he feels like I'VE forgotten
Do you know this to be true? Have you seen this actually happen?

heartbrokeninaz posted 1/27/2014 20:25 PM

I think there is a fine line. If his actions are proving to be on the positive side I wouldn't keep bringing it up. I got really great advice on this site. Someone told me that you can truly move on and be a better couple together or you can keep bringing it up and punish each other and be a couple that never moves forward and grows together. Pretty sound advice. Sounds like you may be thinking it is a dealbreaker?

4everfaithful83 posted 1/27/2014 20:31 PM

Um...I have amazing days where I realize that I do have a great guy who made a terrible mistake. What he did was so out of character. And I know a lot of people say that and it might sound naive, but he really is a good guy.

Then I have other days where it rips me apart to the core and I do find myself asking "can you really stay?"

Since I'm only 7 months out from DDAY, I think these feelings are normal.

I agree that for growth as a couple, I cannot bring it up JUST to get a positive reaction out of him.

Like I said, sometimes I'm just afraid to let it go...

Lostinthismess posted 1/27/2014 20:42 PM

Your dday is still very recent. You need to still bring it up, you're still processing it. I'm only a few months further out than you and am just now feeling like it doesn't need to be the focus. If he's remorseful, you don't have to bring it up to remind him. It's on his mind all. The. Time. And time and his actions will tell if this is true. I think more important is HOW you are bringing it up. Are you bringing it up because you are hurting over it and need to talk about it/receive comfort? Or do you find him sitting on the couch looking like he's enjoying himself and say, 'hey asshole, you looked relaxed. Did you forget you cheated on me??!!'

heartbrokeninaz posted 1/27/2014 20:55 PM

I am 6 moths out. I just can't keep bringing it up. Not to say we don't talk about it ever, but its more along the lines of figuring out the why. It was a ONS so that might be easier then say a LTA to get facts on. I also have days where I hate him and I have days where I think he is amazing. I just can't bring it up because I think he has or will forget it. I know he won't forget it. His actions speak loads. And no we are not in counseling. We are doing pretty great on our own figuring out new improved communication skills. Night and day. You just have to figure out if you can move on or can't. That doesn't mean don't ever talk about it. It means ask what you need to know and when he answers you go on. I hope you don't think I am being a smarty pants. When I got the advice I did, I looked back and realized she was right. I can't change anything. I can't make it undone. But low and behold I do not think this one thing defines what or who my spouse is. I have to move forward.

Frankie80 posted 1/28/2014 04:24 AM

You've been given some great advice here, all of which I need to hear too!! It definitely resonates with me.
We had a conversation last night about this subject, I feel the same as you that if I stop bringing it up he will think I'm ok and he's off the hook!
I suppose if your H is showing remorse etc. then it depends how you bring it up. Are you angry and trying to punish him or talking calmly about things that bother you and are important to R? It's so hard to find a balance, I really struggle with this particularly when I get a really painful trigger.
My H always says when we have these conversations that he will never forget the pain he has caused but that he won't give up on trying to rebuild my trust and love for him. I just wish he would say that sometimes without being prompted!!
Like some of the others said I do wonder if I'll ever be able to move on from it or the fact that I keep bringing it up means it is actually going to be a deal breaker for me. I hope not because I really want our future together

[This message edited by Frankie80 at 4:27 AM, January 28th (Tuesday)]

2yrsblind posted 1/28/2014 04:56 AM

At some point you will have to let it go in order to move foward.


He will lose his motivation. If he is doing the work yet your still beatting him over the head at some point he will stop trying.

Years ago my therapist asked "if you served your time in prison and they opened the door for you to leave would you stay?" I thought, at the time, WTF? She stays because she loves me and wants to fix her screw up. "Yes, but she doesn't have to stay for the punishment, she is free to go at any time, and once she feels she has served her time she will". Honestly those words meant nothing to me for years. Then I thought, just because you do something wrong it doesn't mean you be punished beyond what's fair and reasonable. At some point self love over rules what love you feel for others (hopefully excluding kids).

Besides its not healthy for you, nor the relationship.

overandone posted 1/28/2014 04:58 AM

Because H's was A LTA there was lots to find out. To begin with I wanted details and couldn't have cared less if it hurt him or not. I felt, and still feel,entitled to answers to any questions that pop up. I think the first year after d-day I needed to know he wasn't trying to forget it all, and yes I wanted him to be hurting too. Now, 21 months later I just need the odd answer. It does help me that he's told me there's never a day goes by when he doesn't feel horror and disgust with himself at what he did. So I don't see the point in rubbing his nose in it, but at the same time I want to talk about it whenever I need to.

karmahappens posted 1/28/2014 09:13 AM

IMO you talk about the A and the issues surrounding it until you are done. You will know when that time comes.

If you are stroking a fire to keep it going then you have some serious questions, IMO, about his true feelings.

If someone does something and feels bad about the pain they have caused they don't forget. It sits in their head, their guilt and shame can haunt them more than any 2x4 you are throwing.

By going through healing after an A the A is a pile of garbage you need to go through, piece by piece. While you are doing that the pieces you have dealt with get put to rest. If you are both doing this together there is no need to remind anyone of the pain, the healing will wash it away with your consistent, continuous actions.

I would suggest you try to deal with your feelings and walk through this with him. Not against him. The only way you will be holding hands at the end of R is if you walk through it and heal together and each other along the way.

rachelc posted 1/28/2014 09:26 AM

great post karma.

The talk we had last night was about me being on the fence. This is not affair talk, per se, but just talk about where I am at.

Recovery can be very lonely. I spoke to him last night for about 10 minutes but I was feeling lonely for about 3 hours.

His actions, when he had his revenge affairs, were talking for him, he had stopped talking about what I did. So, I think that if people do NOT turn towards each other when they need to there is a problem, no matter HOW FAR OUT they are in recovery.

4everfaithful83 posted 1/28/2014 09:50 AM

Thank you all for the posts!!

Recovery is lonely and confusing, I'm not sure what I'd do without you guys!

My WBF and I are both working on R, but it has been a very hard and long process.

In the beginning he was so closed off and didn't want to talk about the A at all. He just wanted to pretend it never happened.

I think he was full of shame and didn't like being reminded of what he did. He finally said to me:

"That wasn't me...I'm ashamed of what I've done...I don't know what I was thinking"

He has a very difficult time talking about his feelings (always has). I think this stems from his parents divorce when he was young and lack of really any parenting. He basically raised himself.

I'm not making excuses for him, just saying that IMHO, recovery will obviously be different for every couple, depending on their circumstances.

We have finally in the last couple months broken through some of the things that in my opinion were holding us back in R. He's finally started to open up and show remorse.

I agree with Karma that to move on I need to let go and work on this WITH him, not against him.

salty_lt2 posted 1/28/2014 10:09 AM

I feel like if he is reminded often of his mistake, it will keep him feeling guilty, and therefore he will continue to put in the effort. Is this cruel??

Yet another to quote the above...

As a WH, I'm torn on this. It's probably not flat-out cruel; cruel is what us waywards do to our BS. As MJ said, it's probably a little manipulative, too, and is not conducive to healing in the long run. I understand where you're coming from, though.

We're 2.5 years out from Dday, and the A still comes up a couple of times a week. The fact that it still comes up isn't the thing that makes me feel forever guilty, even when it's brought up in anger. I completely understand that this is part of the healing process for my BW. The thing that makes me feel guilty, however, is my own realization of what I've done to my family. Therefore, watching my BW heal (and all that comes with it) doesn't really add to this guilt.

I have a mantra taped to my bathroom mirror that I say to myself every-other-daily, and I at least see it every day. It clearly states that "I was unfaithful to my wife...," and therefore I'm the one who is keeping the A and my actions during the A ever-present. I'm pretty convinced this is the thing that will truly help me be a better person now, and in the future. It works for me.

My IC told me that the memory of the A should be a constant stone on my shoulder to help direct better boundaries and actions in the future. However, this "stone" should not be a boulder, or the shame and guilt will really prevent personal growth and can make it even more likely to retreat back to unhealthy coping mechanisms, even ones not directly A-related. I believe that 100%.

If you're scared that your WBF will not continue doing the work if you drop the A talk, you're going to have to figure out why that is. If you're bringing it up to punish, while understandable, might not help your WBF too much- does it help YOU?

4everfaithful83 posted 1/28/2014 12:26 PM

Thanks Salty, I really appreciate your opinion, from the WH side.

I like what you wrote about the stone on the shoulder.

My WBF does not believe in therapy, so we are not in any kind of counseling. I know most would say we are doomed without therapy, but I think we are doing the best we can.

I guess it is hard to actually put into words what I am actually asking.

Since my WBF is putting in the work, but also wants to "pretend it never happened" its a weird place I'm in. Its not that he's not open to talking about the A or anything like that, its just that if I didn't bring it up ever, he definitely would not.

I had a rare moment with him the other day, he came home from work and I was telling him about a recipe I wanted to try and he suddenly interrupted me and said:

"Babe, I'll never cheat on you again, you know that right?"

I started to cry. He never brings up the A or says things like that out of the blue.

If he is having some deep inner turmoil about what he has done, I wouldn't know it since he doesn't talk about those sorts of things. He will tell me if I ask though.

steadfast1973 posted 1/28/2014 12:36 PM

Even i don't want to talk about it anymore... But i still feel like poop. He's remorseful, and he's really trying... But i am at a point where It's still not enough. I don't feel any better. I feel worse. Talking bout the A makes us both feel like shit... But yeah, I am scared if i don't remind him how his actions affected us, he will forget. Now that I have fully decided to commit to R, my fear of failing is back...

Nothing feels good anymore. I don't want to watch any of my favorite shows, my daughter's dollhouse is sitting not even half finished, and none of my hobbies interest me. Facebook annoys me, and movies trigger me. I think... We call this the plain of lethal flatness. For good reason...

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