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After the affair, what does "I love you" mean?

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flayed posted 5/27/2014 11:54 AM

We are almost 7 months out. I am really struggling lately. During the 2 year LTA he told me he loved me and wanted to be with me forever many times per day. He says it still but I don't get any warm fuzzies from those words.

MedicsWife posted 5/27/2014 12:02 PM

My WH has always signed cards and flowers with a certain set of words. Now, a little voice in my head whispers "yeah right" when I see them.

trynhard posted 5/27/2014 12:16 PM

It is your feelings.

Of course it is because of his unattractive past behaviors.

Only him behaving attractive toward you will those feeling come back. Does he?

And it takes a long time. Months or years of near stellar behaviors. If not, then you will stay in that mode of feelings...

I think you can look at all this is a couple ways.. do things You can control.. yourself.. or try to do things to control your H. But I will say, you cannot control others.

Love is patient, Love is kind.. always hopes, always perseveres... So if you can just hold these thoughts.. as you be wise to see his behaviors.. perhaps come at this from a loving perspective.. in time.. good feelings will come.

If he is not behaving in the most loving way to you.. then you will never get to good feelings.

trynhard posted 5/27/2014 12:19 PM

"I love you" is only one small part of love..

Words of affirmation..

But love is also..

love of touch, love of gifts, love of service, love of quality time.. and each one of those things means hundreds of things. Only you can decided if YOU want to love... by choice.

Feelings are something you can get when someone loves you.. or sometimes you get when you love someone..

So the words.. "I love you" should be viewed as just so minor in the overall picture of love..

[This message edited by trynhard at 12:20 PM, May 27th (Tuesday)]

Jrazz posted 5/27/2014 12:26 PM

I could not have put it any better than trynhard did.

It takes a while for the words ILY not to feel like a slap in the face, but it is totally possible to appreciate them again.


theroadahead posted 5/27/2014 12:42 PM

At first the words didn't mean much. After all, they're just words. In fact I probably rolled my eyes every time my WH said I love you. I needed to see love in action. Being remorseful, doing the right things, doing what I needed him to do. Only then did those words have meaning again.

bionicgal posted 5/27/2014 12:47 PM

Hmm. I know my husband didn't act loving towards me during the affair. His actions were selfish, cruel, and horrifying. I know he told the OW he loved her, and he thought he did. (That part hurts more.) But, honestly, I never doubted that he loved me. He was a kind of sick person for a while, and perhaps it helps that the minute it all came to light, he dropped the AP immediately, and went transparent. He read, he went to counseling, he looked for his "why," and he has held my hand through all the hurt he caused.

I have stopped thinking in terms of him not loving me enough during to the affair to not have had it, because the affair truly, truly wasn't about me, or our relationship. Or love. It had so little to do with love. More to do with hurt, insecurity, emotional immaturity, hopelessness and built up resentment. I see this with a lot more clarity at nearly a year out.

And now, he makes me feel loved, far better than he did before. And you know, I am getting better too. So, it can be better. More love.

[This message edited by bionicgal at 12:50 PM, May 27th (Tuesday)]

flayed posted 5/27/2014 16:15 PM

I have told my WH that when he says "I love you" and "I want to be with you forever" don't mean much to me right now. I said they have meaning for him because he knows his heart and mind, but I cannot see inside him and know what is real or not so those words hurt more than help sometimes.

He asks me what he can do to help me heal. He is often at a loss. Trouble is that I can't pinpoint it either, it just feels like he is not doing enough. The question I put to him this afternoon was:

If I had been stabbed in the heart by a stranger, what would you do? How would you behave? What would you do to help me recover?

flayed posted 5/27/2014 16:52 PM

Thank you all for your responses.

Trynhard - he does try to do loving things for me (helping with the kids, buying me things, spending more time with me). He is transparent, we are in MC, he has found his "why", is NC with AP etc. He does, however, still get sucked into selfish behavior patterns sometimes and that sets me back and terrifies me.

He has to sort out his selfish tendencies of his own volition, but how when he doesn't usually recognize them? I don't want the job of pointing it out to him.

Bionicgal - thank you for the sick person analogy. He probably was that or else he lost his mind during that 2 year span I understand that his A had nothing to do with me or our relationship intellectually but my heart is slow to catch on. Logically I can see that it had to do with insecurity, low self esteem, emotional immaturity and a good dose of selfishness. I am just not in a good space emotionally these days. Bad dreams don't help either.

Rebreather posted 5/27/2014 17:01 PM

Many times people say those words because the need to hear them back, as reassurance you are still in the game. Even so, there were many times I replied with, "neat" or "that's nice." Took a long time to really feel and trust those warm fuzzies.

There isn't anything here but time and consistent healing actions. If you get that, you'll likely get the fuzzies back. Keep working the process.

MJane posted 5/27/2014 18:17 PM

Flayed I know that sceptical feeling and the sadness of knowing those words don't mean what they used to. Am nine months out and can get so angry when my H says he loves me and expects that to mean something. How can it when he said those very same words so carelessly to someone else who wanted to step into my shoes, who showed up on my doorstep and told me I was the only thing holding them both back from their "true love". I wonder how shallow his concept of love is that it meant turning his back on his family. I am not in a good place because I am in an agree phase - it angers me that he brought this deep pain and sadness into my life and made me feel so vulnerable. It was my birthday some weeks back and he had flowers on the table and told me he loved me - and my thoughts went straight to the year before and the affair when he still managed to have flowers and toasted "to us" while sleeping with another woman....Tryinhard said it so well - actions really are the only thing that will give those words back any meaning. I just wonder if they ever mean the same to me...I was never a wild romantic but I believed in monogamy and I believed in a partner for life who is there through thick and I am not sure - now I judge each day at a time and regularly think of a scenario where I am on my own without H and wonder if that would be the less painful option than relieving the A and feeling second rate.

deena04 posted 5/27/2014 19:49 PM

I really don't know what it means. I have wondered this, too. My take is that after the dust settles, and you're still standing by your spouse, he/she realizes that is real love! That is when the love they thought they had changes into a deep, meaningful committment to do better and be better. That is what it means to me now. Sadly, it can be too late for the BS to give a shit, but it seems to mean this to me when he says it now.

mbbd posted 5/27/2014 20:30 PM

[This message edited by mbbd at 8:36 PM, May 27th (Tuesday)]

mbbd posted 5/27/2014 20:35 PM

I was one of those who wanted to know every little detail. I had asked if he said I love you before hanging up on every phone call like he said to me. He said he did but never meant it.We argued and I told him he was full of shit and just own it so I can work toward acceptance. He wouldn't budge and kept to that it was a fantasy gone haywire and nothing was real. It was real to me and I wanted the pain of the unknown to be gone. There were many issues that didn't make sense to me and I had been stuck in my healing because of it. So, I insisted on a polygraph test. The polygrapher explained to me that he can ask emotion questions in a way that will get a discernible answer. He said " When you said I love you, did you mean it" He said no and the test proved he was telling the truth. I can't express how that changed things for us.
It helped me understand the mindset that my husband was in at the time. I do know that he loves me and that part of us is still sacred.
I'm not saying have your spouse do a polygraph. But do whatever it takes to make you feel safe.
Tell your spouse what you feel.
Life is too short to settle for anything short of happiness.

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