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WH focused on M and me

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RomanticInnocenc posted 6/28/2014 21:11 PM

So almost 6 months out. Both working hard to sort through the rubble of our marriage and to rebuild. WH is certainly trying really hard to be everything that I need and is focusing hard on our marriage. We have slowed down our IC and mc due to money and so a shift has occurred that neither of us has really identified until last night, WH has shifted his focus to mostly healing me and our m. I think a part of me has been lapping it up, something was finally about me, but I hadn't realised that he wasn't working on the A. So lately when I shift into needing to talk about A and get down, angry, upset etc, it's as though wh is being slapped with something he is trying to forget. Don't get me wrong, he answers my questions, he opens up and talk, there's no defensiveness or anger directed at me, but he visibly sinks into self loathing by the end.
So question, what does it look like for WH to be working on him? He is reading, posting on here (but mostly about stuff that happens between us), but he is struggling to accept his behaviour, he owns it, but part of him struggles with accepting that he did this to us. How can he work towards acceptance and therefore work on understanding his faulty coping strategies, identifying his whacked thought processes etc. Any advice would be much appreciated, especially from our awesome veterans!

jjsr posted 6/28/2014 21:57 PM

I know you say you two are slowing down on the MC and IC due to $$$. Right now is there somewhere else you could cut into your budget in order to continue with MC and IC on a regular basis?
He has to deal with what he has done. If he doesn't and it gets rugswept then you will never really be in R. He has to own what he has done and he may need some sort of council in order to get there

RomanticInnocenc posted 6/29/2014 09:47 AM

Thanks for responding jjsr. I wish there was more money, it's not something either of us are comfortable in slowing down. I think WH is even a bit panicked by the idea. However, we've got a 6 month old, on a single wage with not much for savings so it is something that we can't sustain. The only reason we have so far is due to private health insurance and government sessions. Both are now dry!

There will not be rugsweeping as far as I'm concerned, I won't relive this because we didn't confront it head on. I don't think WH wants to rugsweep, he is just finding it hard to accept. But it's a condition of R that he work this crap out and I have zero tolerance for slacking off or shying away from it.

I think what we're both a little unsure of is how to go about him working his stuff out in a healthy way, without losing sight of supporting me and putting effort into our marriage!

As I said he isn't adverse to reading, has already read after the affair, how to help your spouse heal after an affair, the mindful couple and we've just started reading not just friends together. We talk a lot, I ask lots of questions, try and make him look deeper then simple answers and get to a deeper understanding. I just cant/won't be his therapist and it is a habit of mine to slip into that. But then I think, is it so bad to work together on this? I just don't want to be doing the hard work for him.

He has been journalling to me when he is at work as a way to keep me informed of thoughts he has had during the day, but a lot of it is centred on me, my healing, his guilt and determination to fix our marriage and support me in whatever way possible etc.

So any ideas that might help or examples of how you or your WS worked through acceptance and their Whys for their behaviour would be great!

Chinadoll30 posted 6/29/2014 13:02 PM

IMO, dealing with the really heavy and dark area of the psyche that allows a person to betray their spouse requires professional guidance. It is just too dark and scary to examine on your own, most people just can't do it. Have you checked around your area for therapists who use a sliding scale? Or schools that offer therapy while the therapist is still training? Could you get a part time waitressing job to pay for counseling? Affairs are an escape, and so is focusing excessively on the BS. He really needs to look within, and that is scary.

somethingremorse posted 6/30/2014 09:31 AM

WH here --

For me, an (over) simplified way to look at myself is to understand what I was doing and thinking back then. I also try to imagine the kind of person I want to be, and what would be a good partner in my M.

For me, some of the differences between those two people are pretty stark. So I start to decide how to be the better person. For me, some of that is how I react to disappointment. If BW is not in the mood for physical intimacy, do I withdraw and think she is ignoring me? Or do I consider her actions from her perspective?

The first step is to be honest with himself about what he was doing then. How was he compartmentalizing his A, or what was he using to justify it? Did he tell himself that someone else was letting him down or not meeting his needs? Was that coming from his selfishness or his refusal to have perspective?

IMHO, the general, sweeping diagnoses like "I need external validation" are only a small first step. Look at very specific instances where he did something destructive, and ask why that was OK right at that time. He should try to understand what he should do to move towards that healthy person he wants to be.

Again, for me, that comparison of "this is how I acted then" with "this is what is best for me and my BW" is a constant effort that I try to make.

Let me echo the thought that a professional IC is worth the money. But I understand if it is not possible. I just wanted to share my journey so far.

RomanticInnocenc posted 6/30/2014 20:53 PM

Yes, I totally agree, IC is an important facet of getting through this mess. We're not giving it up, it is just not going to be financially possible to do it very often though! I'm from Australia, so it works a bit differently over here, in terms of payments to psychologists. Plus I am fairly rural with limited options. I'd rather a psych who knew what they were doing, but we couldnt see very often, then seeing one just for the sake of seeing one.

Somethingremorse- thank you for posting, I was hoping some from the wayward forum would post. I appreciate your ideas and your willingness to be candid. I think I have been trying to get WH to look at his choices via my questions, I'm kind of a deep thinker, I reflect alot, probably too much, and I no longer accept on the surface answers from him. I'm sure I drive him crazy with my continued 'whys' to make him drill down to true feelings and thought processes. Don't get me wrong, he doesn't show annoyance or anything, but he is obviously uncomfortable about it. So I guess I am needing him to start doing this independently, so that when I start asking questions, at least some of the time, he has actually given it some thought at a deeper level. Then hopefully, he isn't surprised consistently with the complexity of the hurt and betrayal that his actions caused, not just to me, but to his family and most importantly to himself.

RomanticInnocenc posted 6/30/2014 20:57 PM

Wow, just reread my response. Is it just me, or did I just take far too much responsibility for my husbands healing. I don't want to be his psychologist, I want him to come to me to share his understandings, talk about it together, support each other.

Very much something I need to work on.

Where do you draw the line as a BS between supporting WH on his journey because you have decided to R and not being his guide/psychologist/teacher??

wheredoigo posted 7/1/2014 01:01 AM

Hi RomanticInnocenc,

I'm a WW. My BS and I entered true R within a few months of you and your WH. I hope you don't mind if I post. We've been reading your story unfold since Day 1. You remind me so much of my BS when it comes to patience and love for your WH. I completely understand where you are coming from because we were precisely where you are now about several months ago. It's almost the equivalent of reading our own hurdle without ever posting it.

So question, what does it look like for WH to be working on him? He is reading, posting on here (but mostly about stuff that happens between us), but he is struggling to accept his behaviour, he owns it, but part of him struggles with accepting that he did this to us.

I hope you don't mind some perspective from my own experience now that we (and I) have worked a bit through this, and now are seeing a bit clearer on the other side. I apologize in advance for my terrible leftovers analogy in the paragraphs below.

I too was guilty of trying to focus on the M and him in the beginning. I was more worried about "protecting" him from feeling like I was going astray by being transparent, talking, spending more time together, giving up Facebook, etc.

Why? Because I am a people-pleaser. It's one of the many terrible traits of many people with poor boundaries.

What finally helped my transition into change was when my BS(bravely) gave me the go ahead to work on myself so that I could show him that I could balance both working on us and myself at the same time.

We decided to take a bit of a break from MC and let me go with IC for a bit so that I could work on seeing my ingrained terrible coping strategies. His thought was as long as he could see that I was actively working on these issues and facing them, then he felt safe to put the MC on hold for a bit.

To help with your money situation, could your WH can save a month in advance or sell something to finance this? Maybe one session a month for three months for him and see if you get any results? I've also heard of online counseling in AU that is a bit more cost effective and can save you almost half in medical fees.

Once I was in IC, it took a few weeks, bumps and hurdles to learn the new route of how to do it, but I eventually found my way. (I still have my hiccups with balancing every now and then.)

As I began to dig deep, I found that I functioned my entire life by compartmentalizing things. If you see that he may be doing this and are short on cash, challenge him to read up on the nature of compartmentalization and what can cause one to do this and why he does. Ask him to think about when he first started to do compartmentalize and then dig deeper by making a journal (one that he could share later with a counselor) on the different times he can identify that causes him to do this.

Just as someone else stated, he may find that it is somewhat the key to Pandora's box. If he chooses to face it, the digging will help him identify exactly what triggers the poor coping and encourage him to face these things head on.

As a compartmentalizer, it is extremely scary to one day stop (rug)sweeping and suddenly face EVERYTHING you've ever done wrong all at once. You've never really done it before and have no idea how to handle it.

It's like being an addict of collecting leftover food, each day shoving a refrigerator full of leftovers in there for (insert age here) years and then suddenly you have to take all the containers out and clean them one by one.

However, here's the difference. He is (unfortunately for you) is a WW. He made the terrible choice to leave our marriage; you, however, did not. Every time he starts to want to throw that container in the trash can without cleaning it, gently remind him that you didn't have to clean it out with him, but you are granting him a grace that no one else would and giving him the chance to have a clean fridge again. Tell him you can't wait for the day when you finally feel good enough about the fridge being clean so you can finally take out the stinking trash...because lord knows--it stinks!

I'm eternally grateful that my BS was gentle (even though he didn't have to be) and listened carefully through my discovery of the origination of these crappy processes, however, it help me to sort through some of these issues aloud with my counselor so that I had a bit more of a clear mind when I spoke to him about it.

Compartmentalizing can start as early as childhood. For me, it was a way that I could feel like I had some control over the terrible things that happened to me. My father was abusive and controlling. Choosing not to remember these occurrences helped me deal with the situations to make them manageable because I had no access to counseling. I was a child and had no control over these things.

I will also note that the origination of the other awful processes are sometimes developed at the same time due to whatever caused him to compartmentalize. (This would be yet another reason why he should seek IC to work on these issues.)

As for drawing the line, maybe give him the lead on working on these issues (if you are comfortable) and journaling his experience to share with you as a secondary type of sharing? This might help to prevent him from falling back on asking for your direct help and let him do the hard work. Based on his track record since you started in R, I have a feeling once he sees what helps, then he will be more than willing to go the distance for you!

(edited for terrible grammar and spelling! )

[This message edited by wheredoigo at 1:10 AM, July 1st (Tuesday)]

RomanticInnocenc posted 7/6/2014 23:04 PM


I haven't been on here for a few days, I did read your response before my self initiated hiatus and it really resonated with both myself and my wh. In fact I've only really logged back on to say thank you for taking the time and effort to write that post, it has helped me a lot. To be honest, much of your story felt like it was stolen from my own, very much the same behaviours and focuses on showing he is safe and little on how he became unsafe to begin with. Your statement about how hard it was for you to suddenly be faced with everything and not knowing where to start, resonated powerfully with WH!

So just wanted to say thank you, much of what you have suggested has been discussed and we are trying to incorporate it into our relationship!

Oh and I liked your left over analogy! I'm a fan of analogies, helps me wrap my head around things and also to explain myself better!

MegM posted 7/7/2014 01:26 AM

Hi RomanticInnocenc

I am also from Australia, and just wanted to check with you - is your referral to you psychologist for IC via your Dr?

If so I understand you can start a new referral after review for each financial year.

If not - it could be worthwhile talking with you GP about your / your WH's suitability for a mental health review.

You might have already exhausted this - my apologies if that is the case.

I know we found the cost really difficult and had to spread our visits out to get most benefit over the most time.

we did journaling and used Si to supplement our visits.

My husband didn't post so much but I was happy for him to read my threads and the responses - which really helped us to use as a starting point for our discussions.

I too took a lot of responsibility for our 'healing journey' in the first 6 mths. And then one day I couldn't carry anymore. I dropped the load and fell in a heap. He stepped up and really that is when we made some real leaps.

best wishes to you both.


[This message edited by MegM at 3:45 AM, July 8th (Tuesday)]

Dare2Trust posted 7/7/2014 18:36 PM


I've read your posts - and your consistent advice to other posters is to seek ongoing counseling/therapy to help heal their marriage for Reconciliation.
So, you must heed your own sound, good advice.

If you can't afford both MC and IC...I strongly suggest that your WH continue his own Individual Counseling.
I make this suggestion based on both your post and your WH's posts...

It's not your place to try to guide your WH through this healing process - he will require the expertise of a qualified, professional counselor.
As you stated: He does have some faulty coping strategies, whacked thought processes...and he has a "history" of infidelity.
As long as your husband is struggling "TO ACCEPT" his behaviors and what he's done to you, and this marriage -- He has a long, long way to go.

In Short: My opinion -- your WH's focus needs to be on his therapy, your healing and the marriage will heal in the process.

RomanticInnocenc posted 7/10/2014 23:30 PM

Thanks megm - we have exhausted all the sessions from the gp and all of our ones through our health insurance. At least here you can only 10 visits total within 12 months. We are still going to access it and mc, it just won't be as often and that's scary! So thanks for your other ideas, we have been both on SI and he is journalling to me during his work day when he gets down time. So far he has been making it a priority, I just hope it remains that way.

Thanks Dare2trust I agree with you. :-)

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