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I was abusive. He cheated.

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isthisforever posted 4/7/2014 08:30 AM

I will try to simplify this:
-H and I were married for 9 years.
-I was emotionally and physically abusive.
-I didn't fulfill his emotional needs
-H left to 'think' on weekends for one month
-H moved out
-I began counselling for my issues
-H confessed to cheating
-The affair is over
-H says he can never be married to me again, wants to be friends (he gave up on her a week ago, she was done a while ago)
-We had an awful sex life
-Slowly starting to spend time together (as a family, we have children)
-H is emotionless now
-H comes around to spend time a little, then distances himself.
-Some days, H will call daughter, other days, nothing. Some of those days, he and I talk for 20 minutes on the phone.

I am willing to do all that I can to create a NEW marriage, a safe one.

Any suggestions on how to guide him in opening up to the idea of having me as a wife again (only, in a new way)? (through love, and time)

Right now, he also doesn't see any good in our history, which I assume is a mixture of the fog, and the hurt that I caused.

The A and the abuse both came up last time we saw each other (neither of us wanted to talk about it, it just happened). I said I want to reconcile, and hope he makes that decision one day, too. I made it clear that we both need individual healing, as well. He messaged me later to cancel plans with me for Friday. I said I understand, and he un-cancelled them.

I would love to build a new marriage with H, but don't know what the next step is. I am working on myself, and he sees the changes, but he says that he wants me to change, so that I can be a good wife to somebody in the future.

Any suggestions on how to help him to open up emotionally? He knows how to shut down, and does it willingly. He even told me that he did that.

(He feels no remorse, or any other emotion. He knows what he did was unacceptable. We both know what I did to hurt him. He now knows that he did his part in the destruction of our marriage, as well, and admits it)

norabird posted 4/7/2014 08:57 AM

I am sorry for your situation. It sounds as if you both might be able to come back together if he decides he is willing to give this another chance; but I'm not sure what you can do to bring him to that point other than to show consistency.

Even though your situation is a bit different from most, I think you would still really benefit from the 180--from focusing on you. You are getting therapy and working on yourself, which is great; unfortunately, I don't know whether it will be enough for your husband to rethink his current desire for distance. Since you can't control that (and since it also could be that the A is still happening), work on building up your own happiness, your own self-sufficiency, your own mental health. That way, you know that you are moving in a good direction no matter what happens with your H.

Good luck honey.

isthisforever posted 4/7/2014 09:19 AM

I am basically doing the 180 AND Plan A, as well as taking care of myself and my own happiness.

Do people open up to their abusive spouses changing? He wanted me to get help for years, but it took me hitting rock bottom (him leaving. The A didn't hurt as much, because by the time I found out about it, I understood that I did create an atmosphere that led him on that path). Once I hit rock bottom, I desired to change. I needed inner healing, it was killing me.

painfulpast posted 4/7/2014 09:25 AM

If you told him you want to reconcile, and you have plans on Friday, then I'm going to recommend you re-read the 180. It doesn't sound like you're doing that.

Also, you can't 'make' him open up to the idea of reconciling.

Please, focus on you. Keep up with the counseling and being the best you that you can be.

isthisforever posted 4/7/2014 09:51 AM

You're right, I wasn't 180-ing (I thought it was something different than what it is).

Since there is a history of abuse and neglect, wouldn't the 180 push him further? I don't see how he can learn to trust me, if he can't really see that I am trust-worthy, I suppose.

norabird posted 4/7/2014 09:59 AM

The 180, in my mind, is about acceptance--accepting that you only have control over you.

No matter what happens, that is a powerful thing to remember. Focusing on him, on what he's thinking and how he might react and how to win him back, will not do you any favors. You cannot do better than to respect his need for distance and place all of your attention on your own healing and growth.

isthisforever posted 4/7/2014 10:09 AM

Thank you for the advice.

I had given him distance, and he eventually called wanting to have 'family time'. He was the one who ended the distance. Now, he seems to want to spend time as a family, but then a day or so later, he shies away from it.

I was all for giving him space, distance, anything (when I did that was when he confessed). Then, when I continued to give space, is when he suggested family time.

stronger08 posted 4/7/2014 10:57 AM

I suggest you use your time and energy by addressing your own issues and demons. The PA and MA that you have owned up to are very serious. It does not give him a pass to cheat, but you need to work on those ASAP. The hardest part is admitting that you have an issue. That's over with and you really need to follow through with getting that under control. With that said, I honestly believe there is nothing you can do to make him want to R. That's up to him and only him. But if your willing to start changing yourself, it very well may cause him to rethink his position. Like we say here all the time, actions are what gauge a persons a sincerity. If you start walking the walk it may or may not help him with his thoughts on the matter. But eventually those issues will only continue to haunt you unless you change them. Work on yourself first, the M is secondary right now.

isthisforever posted 4/7/2014 11:20 AM

Thank you.

and yes, I am working on the issues.

It will be a long process, but at this point, I am able to think more rationally, calm myself, process emotions, and control my anger. Working on my issues is hard, but it's worth it to not be the person that I was.

Thank you for the encouragement.

norabird posted 4/7/2014 14:56 PM

Just taking these first steps is so brave. It may be a long and bumpy road, but you're walking it--that takes strength.

isthisforever posted 4/7/2014 15:01 PM

I just wish I did it years ago..

It took hitting rock bottom for me to do it.

...and I let it destroy my marriage, the man I love, my family, and our dreams (we had a lot of them, as a couple)

Knowing it's most likely the end of my marriage hurts more than the healing of being an abusive person. Healing from being that way is easier than this.

standinghere posted 4/7/2014 16:49 PM

Mid posted

[This message edited by standinghere at 4:54 PM, April 7th (Monday)]

standinghere posted 4/7/2014 16:52 PM

I did create an atmosphere that led him on that path

No, you didn't.

You were abusive, but that doesn't lead to cheating. He could have dealt with this in another way, but chose to cheat.

He has his issues, you have yours, you work on you, he works on him, and together you can work on the relationship.

Get counseling together to help for the children's sake, even if you don't remain married.

isthisforever posted 4/7/2014 16:57 PM

I am actually very forgiving of the cheating.

I am more upset that he left, and THAT was what my abuse drove him to do (my abuse did not lead to cheating, that was his own fault)

i am going to Individual counselling (church, as well as psych), he is unwilling to go for individual counselling.
I am very willing to go for counselling together, but he isn't. Maybe, in time, he will. He just gave up on OW one week ago, so maybe that is still affecting his reactions, too.

Do you guys think it's a bad idea to spend time with him "as friends" (he knows that I want reconciliation, and he also knows that if there is an OW in the picture, I cannot be friends) right now, as I work on things? To build trust, I suppose?

[This message edited by isthisforever at 5:10 PM, April 7th (Monday)]

Imissmyhusb posted 4/7/2014 22:03 PM

My situation is similar in that H feels emotionally abandoned/abused/neglected. He has not admitted to his A but has said that he is not sure if he can remain in this M.
I also hurt more from that statement than the A so i totally get you. I hit my bottom when he said he didnt think he could be happy married to me...boy that hurt.

I wish there was a way to make H want to stay but its on him to decide. In the meantime i am workg on me, lining up my ducks and preparing to be S or D at some point. It kind of feels like i dont belv things will work out by doing this and possibly saboaging everythg. I hope it does though, and i can toss all this prep aside.

And i hope yours does too. ((((Isthisforever))))

isthisforever posted 4/7/2014 22:11 PM

I'm really sorry you're going through this, as well. How long ago did H leave?

absolut posted 4/8/2014 00:06 AM

I think if you truly understand that you were abusive and you are truly remoreful, you will just let him go.

Spend 4 or 5 years alone and then start over with someone new. Spend time in counseling.

nolight posted 4/8/2014 02:12 AM

I'm inclined to agree with absolut. How long have you been seeking help for your violence and was your decision to deal with your behaviour due to his leaving?

In this instance his affair is a secondary matter, domestic violence is terrible regardless of the sex of the perpetrator or victim.

My sister was in a horrendously abusive relationship and every time she left he would seek help. She'd go back and soon it would start again, this went on for years. My ex H was emotionally and physically abusive too, I never left I just stayed while my self esteem was destroyed until he met someone else.

If you really want to deal with your issues you need space, it has to be from you and not because he walked out. I for one applaud him for leaving although I do not believe an affair was the correct way to deal with it.

I am almost tempted to apologise for the harshness of my post but as anyone who has dealt with domestic violence knows treating the perpetrator as a victim and refusing to name the violence for what it is will not help you in the long run.

[This message edited by nolight at 2:13 AM, April 8th (Tuesday)]

homewrecked2011 posted 4/8/2014 02:34 AM

I lived with an abusive spouse in my first marriage. When he found AA (while drinking was when he became abusive) and counseling, it took me about 6 months to finally believe he was going to continue on this course.

I have to tell you, though, I eventually divorced him. He stopped drinking and then stopped living -- he didn't want to do anything at all. Just watch tv.

So please keep your eyes on yourself, continue counseling, and in about 6 months you may see him begin to believe in you again. However,,,,, even if you see him turn your way, do not begin a relationship with him unless he, too, gets counseling.

Do everything it takes to take care of you. You've had a lifetime of learning your coping skills and it will take a lot of work and determination to learn a new way to live, but you can do this!

jb3199 posted 4/8/2014 04:27 AM

You are currently on the right path. You have not only recognized your personal issues, but are addressing them head-on.

The hard part for you to accept at this point, is that the marriage is truly secondary at this point. Both you and your WH have deep personal issues that need to be continually worked on, so as to make yourselves better people, future spouses, and parents. The key is for you to let go of the outcome, because no matter what...divorce or reconciliation...your personal growth needs to continue.

Many marriage fail without infidelity being a factor. Whether the abuse was the primary reason, or just one of many in a potentially toxic marriage, the bottom line is that at this point, he does not want to reconcile. There is nothing you can do to MAKE him recommit. But your best chance of making him WANT to recommit, is to make the marriage as attractive and healthy as possible. It looks like you are already heading in that direction, so I believe the best advice is to continue on this path.

No matter what the outcome of your marriage, you will be a healthier person.

And just to add, from a personal view:

On my last D-day, I was hell-bent on divorce. My WW was an active alcoholic, and after my last discoveries, I dumped her off at a crisis center. I then focused on dissolving the marriage.

When my WW was released 5 days later, I told her that no matter what efforts she put into the marriage, that I was done. And that she better get healthy for herself and her children. And you know what? She never asked or begged for me to stay. She accepted that she had no control over me, and went to work feverishly on herself.

Three years later, and she continues to do so....every single day.

I am proud of her efforts. And while we are nearly reconciled(I keep the divorce tagline as a reminder), I look back at how I was drawn back into our marriage---not because she asked me to stay, but because I saw the transformation in front of my very eyes. She hasn't put in her hard work for me(although I hope that I was a positive reason)---she did this for herself. Just as you need to do for yourself.

Maybe your WH will see this, and maybe he won't. But as long as you put in the effort for the right reasons, you can't go wrong.

Good luck.

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