And then in the months immediately following his confession - which he did almost immediately, so points for that - he was emotionally abusive and just downright insensitive. I had to listen to months of him pining away for OW, crying because he wasn't supposed to contact her. Our MC warned me that he could be suicidal though so we had to tiptoe around my issues and focus on him. So now all my stuff is coming out, and I'm not sure I can do this.
I do love him and my kids love him too. We've been together for so long, and we do enjoy doing things together. But I'm not sure I can relax in this relationship knowing what I know, and it's very difficult to connect emotionally with him. It keeps popping up in my head every time I start to feel secure about the M.
How do you all do it?! Or, is anybody else in the same spot? What to do?
Our MC warned me that he could be suicidal though so we had to tiptoe around my issues and focus on him.
well, this is probably one of the issues. If you had to watch your husband go through withdrawal and hear about it, I can understand why forgiveness is difficult. Are you still in MC(hopefully not with this one) or IC? Is he remorseful now?
First, I would like to commiserate; My H pined and cried and mourned the loss of the OW for months. It was hell. I would not have gone through it if we didn't have children. I can say that with confidence, it was horrible. I still get caught up in wondering if I can live with it here and there, but I am happy right now. I am safe right now. I am strong right now. I am ok even if my M ends, right now.
We recently addressed this together, I wrote a huge (10 pages) journal entry that I shared with my H about those first days and the pain that still resides in me. We had never really adressed those early days after dday because we were trying to survive - literally trying to live each day and manage to keep our children alive and healthy. So I wrote out the events of the first 10 days after dday. It was very very hard to do. I took 3 days to come back into myself fully after re-living that horror.
Then I had him read it in front of me. I explained that I didn't even want answers or responses, but that I just wanted him to know (now that he is out of his fog and remorseful) exactly what he did to me - I just wanted to be heard.
He read it, quietly cried, discussed the deep remorse he has for his behaviour, explained some of his rationalizations for that behaviour (that were wrong and awful too), and was so so sorry. For me, the important thing was hearing him acknowledge that he treated me horribly. I know he's said that here and there, but I needed to hear it at this point in time, and know that he was willing to give me what I needed. So it was a very rewarding and connecting experience for us.
So, finally to your concern about forgiveness. What has really helped me in IC is this thought; forgiveness is not saying that the act was ok, it's not diminishing the immorality or pain or injustice of what was done to you. It's acknowledging that it happened, that it is unchangeable, and releasing it from yourself. Forgiveness is for the forgiver, not the forgiven. The forgiven may benefit if they are remorseful, but it is not the objective of forgiveness. In thinking of it this way, I am having a far easier time with forgiveness. I can really see that at this point in R (1 year for me, 2 years for you), I am the one paying for my hovering around the pain of the affair. My H pays too, but I no longer seek to hurt him, I want healing and health for us both.
It's all so sad, so so sad. How easy, and even addictive, to marinate in that sadness. I have learned that I can live through the unliveable. I can survive the unimaginable, so I deserve to live life the way I want to right now. That's my choice. I try to stay in the present as much as humanly possible, feel what I feel when I do, write about it, talk about it, and then move forward. That last little bit, moving forward, is so hard. But it is the most rewarding.
Part of my ability to do this is a building of independence too. I am making sure that I feel safe with or without my H, that we are both here by choice every single day. It hurts my H that this is part of what I need, because it reminds him that he was (and kind of always will be) unreliable. That his choices purposefully left me in this position. The difference now as I creep along with forgiveness, is that I never have the intention of hurting him. I do not try to weirdly protect him like I did in the early days, but he knows where my mind and heart are now - becasue we talk about it.
Lordy how I rambled on. Sorry.
Eachdayisavictory, you have some very good points! Love that you wrote everything out and had him read it. Sounds very healing. Not sure I can remember everything that happened, nor do I want to relive it! But I do think its part of our problem - he doesn't seem to remember and denies doing some of the things I bring up. He's not fully acknowledging my pain.
I totally agree with you - and thanks for the reminder - that forgiveness is for the forgiver!! I just struggle with the decision to stay. Feel like a fool sometimes. Wouldn't want my daughter to live like this!
I wouldn't have stayed if we didn't still have kids at home either. And I have worked hard at this primarily for them.
You have a very healthy formula for dealing with all this - staying in the present as much as possible (I've been doing a lot of meditation, but it does bring a lot of stuff up), and the independence piece is huge. I have started training for a new career and I go away a couple of times a year for courses - and I do not apologize or try to work it around his schedule for convenience. I stayed home while he pursued his career for many many years - he owes me this much. And it is empowering. I will never earn the kind of salary WH makes, but I could survive on my own . . . I think. Haven't really started working yet, but it's coming within the next year.
Thanks for the feedback. I really do appreciate hearing from other people who have been there.
I also feel badly because I was supporting his family at that time, providing live-in care for his mother. So not only was there no support for me, I was being verbally attacked and trying to figure out my best response to that. The question I have begun to ask myself is...what about me?
I'm reading "Not Just Friends" and she says that in the aftermath of the affair, the WS needs to do more, and the BS spouse needs to expect more. Maybe in your case Hoping2survive, he is not doing enough to deserve your forgiveness. Maybe that is what your heart is telling you. That might be the key that makes you say, this relationship is not meeting my needs, and don't give any more of your precious energy toward him, if he is not doing what he needs to do. Maybe that's the framework that you need to approach the situation. Allow him to try to mend fences, and keep your tactful reserve - allow him to earn his way back in to your good graces.
The final thing that I think this post brings out, is that the road to reconciliation is certainly uneven, and it's so dismaying that it is likely those times when you both begin to relax in the marriage, that the wayward beings to revert to those behaviours because he is feeling safe and no longer having to do his work. I'm learning the distinction between a one-time behaviour and a pattern of behaviour (my h has major personality issues). His lack of good boundaries are something he needs to repair daily, and learn how to do even when he is feeling the marriage is "safe." Unfortunately for me, I will need to also expect more from him, even when what I want to do is just believe in the power of goodness to prevail.
WRT forgiveness, I suggest taking a look at the last page or 2 (centered on page 20) of the current version of BS Questions for WSes in ICR. In it some pretty trustworthy fWSes talk about what forgiveness means to them.
For me, the issue has been trust, not forgiveness, but I think it's another aspect of the same concern. Each time I brought it up in MC, our MC just said it was too early to trust my W.
I believe her message really was, IMO, if WS continues to change to be a good partner fast enough for me, that's good enough. Whether I trust her or not could take a loooooong time.
You seem to be saying that you need more now. That's OK. That's great insight. Just ask for what you want - think of how both you and your H will feel if you give him an opportunity to step up, and he steps up. (If he doesn't, well, it's important to know that, too.)