I've come to realize I hurt him with my words and actions before his affair. I was selfish, unhappy in my career and unsure about our marriage. I have spent countless hours sorting through all this and have apologized for the lack of affection and sex that he craved in our marriage before dday. And I have assured him that that will never happen again as I am a changed person. I am now a compassionate, caring and sexual person. So good to be back!
So then I ask him how he is different from the person he was that could have an affair. I get that he was unhappy in our marriage - we both were. But what allowed him to do something so hurtful to me? He said the only difference in him was that now he is able to communicate his feelings better, that he would now tell me the marriage is over before having an affair. That's it???? No other soul-searching revelations?
What drives a man to sacrifice their core values? He refuses to examine this, accuses me of making him out to be 'damaged goods' (his words, never mine). Why can't he look deep inside, discover where he went wrong and tell me he'll fix it? I won't feel safe in this marriage until he does. And I don't think he deserves all my soul-searching and hard work and compassion.
Am I asking too much? Or is he just avoiding taking a good, hard look at himself because he's afraid of what he'll see?
Me BS 51
Him WS 51
IMHO he is avoiding his issues. What you described was similar to my experience before DDay 2. When I kicked WS out after DDay 2 I got the real story. I was vehemently blamed for my actions in the relationship leading her to the EAs. After a month of separation and both of us in IC, she had some hard truths revealed.
Many people are not happy with their SO, but don't cheat. The A reveals there is something broken in him. I'm not sure I believe that a WS can honestly move forward in a healthy relationship with anyone if they haven't gained some insight into why an A was an option for them in a committed relationship. I'm not sure that trust can be rebuilt without it, either. How do you know it won't happen again if WS isn't open and vulnerable about why it happened? What's being done to keep it from happening again? Without that it seems you are being asked to trust based on his word, which is the same word you took before it happened the first time.
From what you posted, it looks like he is content with you taking the blame, even indirectly, by fixing yourself. My WS used to say that it wouldn't happen again because we would be good to each other. It was a horrible statement that implied that if I wasn't good to her it might happen again. I heard her voice saying that as I read your post. It's not enough that you change and gather insight into your behavior in the relationship. He needs to do that work too.
Keep empowering yourself and reading other posts and the answers you need will reveal themselves. I'm sorry, but it seems he's in a fog and avoiding uncovering painful realizations about himself.
Never - His difficulty communicating in the past was because, he says, he never felt like he had a voice in this marriage. I am not a mean or overbearing person, but I am strong, confident and determined. I was a surgeon (I retired early to take care of our child) and was the stronger person in the marriage. But he loved that about me. As a matter of fact, it has come out this year that he thinks I broke our unspoken marriage contract by no longer working. That was another reason he had an affair - he lost respect for me. Crazy, right? And that little nugget came out of the couple of sessions he had with an IC.
People - I can see we have much in common, unfortunately. I wish I could separate for a little while but the therapist my teenage daughter is seeing has begged me to just keep it together for her sake until she goes off to college. The poor girl is just barely holding it together and a separation would ruin her. I will do anything for my daughter - she is my heart and soul.
I have been described as selfish and not allowing WS to have a voice. I was told I was overbearing. I own aspects if that, but it was the interaction of our behavior in the relationship that got us where we were in the relationship. But it was WS alone that made the decision to stray.
I, too have become more affectionate and am allowing her the space to have a voice. But it is her discoveries about herself that are both improving helping us improve the relationship and rebuilding trust and confidence in her ability to maintain healthy emotional boundaries going forward. SHE made the decision to not use her voice. SHE made the decision to avoid conflict and agree to whatever I said...even when I encouraged her to do things for herself. I won't own all of it. And it was HER that chose to risk everything by hoping to not get caught by making an ugly independent decision instead of risking a conflict in the relationship by being genuine about her thoughts and feelings.
She came to me and revealed her realization of these things. We are still working through it, but without that I couldn't move forward. For us, I think the separation and the 180 have her the time alone to figure out if I was an obligation or a want. With us together she couldn't tease it apart. She spent our whole relationship making it about me without me totally realizing it. I was so oblivious that I didn't even know how bad it was until I discovered the first EA, and didn't know the full story until DDay 2. Because of our similar relationship issues and because it looks like you've been together a long time, I wouldn't be surprised if there are more instances of betrayal in some form, if only getting emotional needs met by others that blurs the lines of an EA, if not directly at least an EA. He's protecting something, if not just his fragile ego or the realization that he needs to be accountable.
For my WS, it seems that revealing the worst or all of what she did and being remorseful is in some way connected to the idea that it will make her pain from how she believes I treated her a non-issue. She didn't want it to be all about me because then her pain becomes negligible and I might stop trying or trample all over her again (her words).
Read up on codependency and the persuer/distancer communication pattern. It helped me tremendously. I think the threads that led me to the information were in the WS forum.
As far as your situation, I'm not sure what to say. I'm not in your shoes and obviously your child's well being is important. I will say that being vulnerable to him right now will most likely bring more pain. I'm still in a balancing act of what to share and how to share it to protect myself from more blame or rejection.
Does he know this isn't working? I mean, does he really know? Does he want R? Is he doing the other work, like NC and transparency?
It sounds like he's trying to stay with the least amount of work possible, and you deserve more than that. Much more.
Reasons your WH didn't speak his mind could have been many (conflict avoidance, complacency, passive aggressive)...
But he is gonna have to dive deeper than that bologna sandwich he is feeding you about not being the strong one in the marriage..Your WH needs to do this work on himself before you lose your respect for him..In my mind respect for somebody, once lost, is extremely difficult to get back..
A marriage to a spouse whom one doesn't respect is hell, because the respect is replaced with resentment..
Changing how you look,act, talk, and approach things may help you to feel newer, younger, more empowered, but this isn't gonna keep your WH from misbehaving...
Your H's actions are all on him to choose..You can't nice him back..
All we can do is work on ourselves to gain strength where we need it, and to build our resources ( family, friends, counseling, physical health )..
You know that old saying "Be prepared for the worst, but hope for the best"...
[This message edited by doggiediva at 4:23 PM, March 3rd (Monday)]
I'm glad your wife has come to some realizations on her own. The only things my WH comes up with all implicate me in some way...
Diva - I hear what you are saying about losing respect. I fear that's where I am headed and you are SO RIGHT that it gets replaced with resentment (so many wise people on SI!). I am losing respect for a person not willing to step up and do the hard work. People make mistakes, I can accept that. But denying that there may be a brokenness within yourself that caused you to make that mistake - that I cannot accept.
He hasnít needed to take more responsibility for the marriage because you have done the majority of the work. Its not your full time job to repair this. He had the affair and at some point needs to step up to the plate. You need to hold him accountable for that.
You are not at fault for him having an affair. He must own that decision free and clear. Whatever issues in the marriage were there before the affair and donít justify that action. You have worked on those issues, he needs to earn you back also otherwise you are just killing time. A false R. He doesnít refuse to examine this, he doesnít have to because you arenít forcing him to. It takes two to reconcile and make it successful. Sounds like one is trying and one is buying time.
Yes, your communication skills contributed to the state of the marriage. But you did not stray. He made the choice to be unfaithful vs. telling you he was unhappy and thinking about looking outside of the marriage.
What about boundaries? Is he good on those?
IMO, the work - for either of you - is never done. That is one of the issues in my marriage. I grew up and my husband stayed the same or matured very little. I kept *hoping* he'd change/grow up/mature as more of his friends married. No such luck.