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wh thinks whatever he does will never be enough..

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LiedtoLucy posted 5/19/2014 15:38 PM

After my previous thread, FWH finds gps in truck, several of you got me thinking about his reaction.

I thought about it for several days and asked him las night before he left for work why his reaction wasn't that he was happy I was tracking since everything he said about where he was during that time was true. He should have felt some sense of accomplishment that he had proven something to me.

I went on to explain that his reaction made me feel like he was still hiding behind his justification of the affair or that he was dealing with his own shame and that both of these would inhibit R since true remorse isn't possible until he lets himself "know" the truth.

He said he regrets the A and wanted to know why I think he isn't regretful enough. I explained that remorse is different, that in remorse he would take action to show me how much I mean to him. Prove he made a huge mistake and would do whatever it takes to help me understand and help me heal.

So far, I don't think he is remorseful. He tells me he loves me all the time and I do believe him. But anything emotionally beyond that he gets the blank stare. He can't talk to me about how he feels about what he did. He can't tell me why he loves me, just that he does. He doesn't understand what I need from him. He gets frustrated that I am trying to point out that whatever he does, it will never be enough. But that is not it. It is as if we are going through an emotionless R where he doesn't think about what would have happened if he had lost me. Yet he says he thought we were "good" until I brought this up.

I asked him to think back to when we got married. It was just he and I. We made the decision to marry because we loved each other. no one else.. I asked him what happened to the love that was there? He said he has only recently seen glimpses of that love and they were few and far between.

I don't know what to make of this. Also, has anyone read "Surprised By Love" by Jay and Julie Ferraro. This book is so us. We both avoided conflict by not expressing our needs and built up a huge wall of resentment, which is how he justified his A.

We had a huge fight this a.m. that caused me to miss an hour of work. I am so lost right now because I can't be in an emotionally detached marriage. What do I do?

BtraydWife posted 5/19/2014 15:56 PM

The "nothibg will ever be enough" line is used regularly by those who don't wish to make much of an effort. He's telling you he doesn't plan to do the things you need him to do.

Is he in counseling? He sounds like he should be a once a week therapy kind of guy until he starts getting a clue.

I'm so sorry you are dealing with this. On top of the As this just seems to back up the thought that your feelings and needs don't matter. I was in this same space for a while and had to drag every little thing from him. It puts you in a parental position that he can defy. He reaaly needs to learn that you are fighting for the relationship and that you aren't fighting him. My WH was fighting the wrong fight for a while too. I hope your WH is able to get past himself soon while you still want a relationship with him.

Don't accept anything that is unacceptable from him. Never change your basic needs for love,respect, and security in your relationship so you can keep him. Being lonely together is worse than being alone.

LiedtoLucy posted 5/19/2014 18:34 PM


He is in IC and goes every two weeks. He just started and has been 3 times. I assume they haven't made it that deep into my H's issues. I do know that hey have discussed the A because our MC is also my IC and she is the one who referred H to the IC he is seeing.

What was it that finally made your H "get it?" At this point I am at a total loss as for what to do. I honestly feel like giving up. He contradicts himself a lot when talking about our relationship. For instance, said he thought things were going good for us right now until I brought this up. Then he said he only gets glimpses every now and then of the love we used to have. How could he possibly think that is " good?"

I think I can posted 5/19/2014 20:05 PM

It's not that nothing will be enough. The truth is that you are changed. The affair will always have happened. Can he live with that? I do think it took my WH at least 18 months to realize this and accept it.

BtraydWife posted 5/19/2014 21:20 PM

I wish I could tell you the one thing that did it so this struggle won't be so long for you. In many ways mine still doesn't get it. Just today we talked about his passive aggressiveness that a year ago he denied he could ever be that. It's been a long struggle unfortunately.

Are you reading books together? That's one way I was able to get some understanding through to him. 5 Love Languages, How Can I forgive You, Helping your spouse Heal from your Affair are all good ones. Right now my WH is reading the Brene Brown books on shame.

Part of what kept him from being able to have empathy for what he did to our relationship and to me personally was the pain was too much and too overwhelming. It was overwhelming because of the shame. He's getting better but we still struggle.

He's going to need to have a therapist that pushes him and challenges him to dig deep, but even that will take time.

I had several times where WH said he felt so close to me and I was like WTF? We are like a million miles apart? The truth was that he was so uncomfortable with his own emotions that he felt more comfortable keeping me at a distance. He's really had to work hard to uncover and identify his emotions.

His therapist gave him a list of negative emotions that is broken up into "degrees" like frustrated, annoyed, and raging-only the list is long. He had the most trouble identifying the negative emotions he was feeling. He keeps a feeling journal and uses the list to get just the right word for his feelings. He is getting better at identifying his feelings and being ok with having them.

The other things he has learned is that he never allowed himself to get "close" to much or feel real joy-like at the birth of our kids. If he doesn't allow himself to feel the extremes (including joy) then an extreme negative feeling won't hurt as much.

It's all so deep seated and takes many layers to peel back. If you would have asked him if he had issues at the beginning of all of this he would have been adamant he didn't. Except there were some things he couldn't deny-and examining those allowed a door in to the other stuff.

He is happier and learning to be assertive. He was very much a doormat and held lots of resentment about it. I'm so the opposite. I could probably learn to cool my chops some.

I'm sorry I don't have set answers. WS are all different and that light bulb moment probably is different for each too.

homewrecked2011 posted 5/19/2014 21:30 PM

IMHO it will take your husband a while in counseling,,, at least 6 months to really come to reality of his life.

3 weeks and he's just starting. It's ok, it's a start. DO NOT STOP GOING! This was the mistake I made,,, XWH showed up to a counseling session for the kids, she invited us back. We went like 3 times, but I couldn't see progress. I didn't realize she was slowly starting to bring him into reality. I secretly was filing for divorce on him because my atty was pushing for it...

I really think if we had kept going, she would have gotten thru to him.

Counseling is WWWAAAAYYYY cheaper than divorce, hopefully in a few months you two will be moving toward a deeper matter what, you have 3 kids you'll have to work with your ws for many years to come, so every bit of help you get is a plus for you....and it's always good to have an unbiased set of eyes on the situation...

much hope for you...

[This message edited by homewrecked2011 at 9:32 PM, May 19th (Monday)]

kansas1968 posted 5/19/2014 22:28 PM

"So far, I don't think he is remorseful. He tells me he loves me all the time and I do believe him. But anything emotionally beyond that he gets the blank stare. He can't talk to me about how he feels about what he did. He can't tell me why he loves me, just that he does. He doesn't understand what I need from him. He gets frustrated that I am trying to point out that whatever he does, it will never be enough. But that is not it. It is as if we are going through an emotionless R where he doesn't think about what would have happened if he had lost me. Yet he says he thought we were "good" until I brought this up."


Don't give up. I could have written this paragraph. My husband just could not express himself in ways that I needed. When I would tell him what I needed to hear, he would look at me like I was speaking a foreign language. Maybe I was. We got the book "The Five Love Languages" and we do indeed speak a different language when it comes to feelings.
I would ask him to write me a Valentine's Day card and he would write wonderful things, but he just couldn't say them. If I said them, he would agree with me, but it just isn't the same. He is very loving in actions, so I am just learning to go with the flow and accept that he does care about me, does feel horrible about what happened, does think how awful it would have been if we had split...and that seems to be working.

I am finally getting my self-esteem back and really do feel loved.

sinsof thefather posted 5/20/2014 01:48 AM

I agree with everyone else that he needs to keep going to counselling. He definitely hasn't 'got it' yet. The 'whatever he does will never be enough' attitude is him still putting blame outward and specifically on to you and him not taking responsibility for himself. It will 'never be enough' for you. You will never let it go, you will never forgive him. Remorse (as you clearly already know) is how can I help her with the enormity of what I have done to her - accepting blame on himself.

When he said to you that 'even in the beginning he never felt love for you like he did with her' (or words to that effect - I can't remember exactly what they were) that was because (imo) he 'allowed' himself the feelings with her because he had nothing holding them back (resentment) and he opened himself up to the feelings. With you he's still protecting himself by holding any love feelings down with justification and resentment piled on top of them. Holding down and tempering his memories of the early love you had between you at the start, and also acting as a brake on his feelings for you now. He won't let that brake off and see his own blame in how your marriage didn't turn out as either of you had hoped in the beginning or that he was the only one who dealt with that by choosing to have an affair.

So actually, I think the words he said are true but when said in relation to him and not you. Whatever he does will never be enough for a true 'R' until he lets go of his feelings of justification, anger and resentment towards you. Until he stops expecting you to be the bad guy, and works on himself and his internal walls. This is why he felt anger at you 'keeping secrets' and tracking him, underneath it all he still thinks you're the bad guy and he's a bit of a victim. Your victim.

I think he only sees 'glimpses' of love because he is still holding resentment (and blame) towards you and that is preventing the acknowledgement of the love he did feel for you coming through. The memory of the love he had for you before is being distorted by resentment and blame which is why he claims he 'never really felt it'.

If he lets go of the resentment and really lets that love come back through, remembers that early love, then he is going to have to take responsibility for his own actions in the marriage and the affair, and then feel enormous pain and guilt at what he's done to you.

So it's still easier taking the easier route and blaming you (at least somewhat) and his lack of feelings for you for the affair - and the R too if that fails (because enough was never going to be enough for you) - and it helps to justify it all by saying that he never felt 'such love for you' as he thought he did OW in the first place - so's still not really all his fault.

I certainly don't think he's a lost cause yet, afterall he's moved along enough to at least start counselling, whereas in the beginning he didn't think he'd need it at all. But I do think he's still only a work in progress right now nowhere near really 'getting it' yet. Whether he will eventually 'get it' or not is up to him and how good his counsellor is - whether you will wait to see if that happens is up to you. Lucy, nothing about this is easy.

Skye posted 5/20/2014 06:27 AM

Is he capable of doing what would be enough for you? I came to realize that the issues my husband, the cheater, had that allowed to him cheat are the same type of issues that won't allow him to do what I needed and would consider enough.

I'm not sure how old your husband is, but that saying, "you can't teach an old dog new tricks," seems to apply to my situation. My husband was in therapy 12-13 years after his affair and he couldn't learn to be what I needed after the affair. So when he said, "whatever I do will never be enough," he was correct.

But, perhaps your husband doing his best will be enough for you some day.

[This message edited by Skye at 6:32 AM, May 20th (Tuesday)]

Mac4 posted 5/20/2014 06:35 AM

I wasn't getting the response or actions from my WW that I needed and discussed it on another thread. Many recomended the book "How to Help Your Spouse Heal From an Affair: A Compact Manual for the Unfaithful". It is a very short read. I previewed it myself and expresses many of the things I was thinking better than I could express them myself.

So I have given it to my wife to read. Just gave it to her a few weeks ago, so I can't say if it helped yet. But others found that it was helpful, might be worth checking out.

FeelingMN posted 5/20/2014 10:39 AM

You WH may not have responded to your question the way you would have liked him to. My FWW said/says the same things from time to time as well so I can relate to how it feels. Please don't lose sight of the one huge fact that is staring you right in the face. He's been tested, unknowingly, with a GPS device for the last 6 months and hasn't failed once. I don't want it to seem like I'm sticking up for your WH but if you're anything like me you have an easier time recognizing they mess up than when they do or say something right. He's passed every gps test you've given him for the last 6 months, that should be huge. You might consider telling him what that means to you. Acknowledging positive W behavior will help you in the long run.

LiedtoLucy posted 5/21/2014 08:19 AM

Sins of F-

Once again, I think you are right. H can't let go and be wrong about all of the things that he used to justify his A. Even though some of the things he uses are things that he never brought attention to in our marriage. Example, after our first DS was born, I was depressed. When H and I were dating, I was 23 and he was 25, we broke up for a while and he moved of state for a temp job. During that time, I found out I was pregnant. H was seeing his old girlfriend, the one before me. I had heard they were engaged. I chose to have an abortion because I didn't have a good job or a family that would support me being a single mom at 23. I immediately regretted that decision. Hated myself for it. I pushed it back in my mind and did not think about it until 6 years later when our son was born.

All I could think about was that I had chosen to end the life of that baby before it ever had a chance. I loved my newborn son so much and knew that I would have loved the one that I aborted just as much. I killed my baby's sibling. I hated myself for it. Every time I looked at my son I thought of the other child. I didn't want anyone to touch me because of my self-loathing. I didn't have sex with my H for a long time after the birth of our son. And after that it was sporadic and it took me a long time to find love for myself again.

He said at he start of his affair that he felt like I didn't want sex to be a part of our marriage anymore. We discussed it. It got better..until the middle of pregnancy with my 2nd DS. But the reason at that time were pregnancy related. So instead of talking to me about it, he decided that he would have an A. convinced himself that I didn't want him sexually. When truly I believe he knew it would be better after the baby was born. But he had this girl OW flirting with him and making it clear that she wanted him. So he went for it. why not? Liedtolucy is not interested in a sex life with me. He still maintains that thought was why the A started and refuses to budge. Even though, I tried and tried to have a se. life with him the last two years of the A. He had made homsf unavailable to me at that time. He doesn't go back and look at that fact. I really did want him. he was too caught up on the A.

Feeling MN I did tell him that I was proud of him for passing the GPS test. He just didn't seem proud of himself, more like. "I told you I was being honest, and you didn't believe me." Like it's been one year and you still need to know my every move when I have done nothing to make you not believe me. Justification is a monster destroying our R.

BtraydWife posted 5/21/2014 12:24 PM

He seriously needs to get over himself. His shame is preventing him from having any empathy for you and that dooms R. He needs to realize that he's not calling the shots here. It sounds like he has never been contrite, that his ego hasn't allowed it. This needs to change.

Razor posted 5/21/2014 14:18 PM

*will never be enough*

Enough for what? Enough to achieve what goal?

If the goal is complete healing and everything as it was before. Then YES. Whatever he does will never be enough.

If the goal is to R and restore trust. Then again. YES. Nothing he does will be enough.

I think this is a dangerous mindset. Its akin to a WS asking *when are you going to get over it?*

Somethings you just never get over. Instead you learn to live with them. Rape. Loss of a child. Infidelity. I dont believe these things can be gotten over. All any of us can do is learn to live with them.

IMO if a WS has remorse then I think they will work on restoring trust and intimacy FOREVER. A remorseful WS will accept this and gladly work at these things. Just as we BS must work FOREVER toward trusting our WS enough to be emotionally intimate with them. It goes both ways. And there is no *OK were done now* in this from either side.

This *it will never be enough* is dangerous because it reeks of rug sweeping. A person that says this simply does not want to do the work. They had their fun and now they want to duck responsibility for their actions.

Continuing to work at the M and trust and intimacy is actually a positive thing. The *it will never be enough* is IMO a statement of giving up. Of not wanting to do the work. And as a BS this makes me feel like the WS is saying that I am not worth the effort.

rachelc posted 5/21/2014 14:22 PM

word, Razor... just word.

especially the part about "when are you going to get over it."

if my husband said this to me, as the wayward I would immediately think that I obviuosly wasn't doing enough.

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