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Is there any hope? Can a WS really change?

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gottabeabiggirl posted 7/16/2014 12:57 PM

I posted yesterday for the first time. I hope I am not over stepping by posting again today.

Last night was the worst night yet. My give a shit meter about how upset my husband is he betrayed me and all his moping around has reached the red zone. I told him absolutely no more him playing the victim and trying to justify to me why he carried on with one of my best friends for 1.5 years and how he “didn't mean to develop feelings” and thought it was “harmless”. I made it clear two nights ago he gets his shit together or thats it, I am gone. Done with him making me feel like the bad guy for being upset.

We had our session yesterday with our counselor and are trying to focus on the positives of why we are a good match and still together. It went great, he was more participant than ever before, I could tell he was really trying after our conversation the night before, the most he's tried so far in the last 3 months. Well then I was a jerk without meaning to be and mentioned to the counselor a frustration when she asked, it was that he refuses to accept what he did was “cheating” and to me that is exactly what happened. I spent all day feeling bad about saying that after him trying to hard, I really shouldnt have and I know that. But I did and its because its true, I am so frustrated he can't understand how bad it was. I know we cant heal and I cant trust him until he stops making excuses.

After the session he cried on the way to his job, drove very erratically and kind of scared me. I, out of courtesy for him, said as long as he understands the extent of the betrayal I will stop calling it that word. He thanked me but then told me to get out of his car and go very abruptly and harshly as he wanted to cry alone. I was kind of shocked he was reacting so intensely to it.

He gets home after work and I ask how he is doing, if he is feeling better. He just looks at me and says, “Well we have an understanding right?” very condescendingly meaning you better never call it cheating again. I just let that go and said, yes we have an understanding you are to be less sensitive to how bad you are feeling and more sensitive how bad this is for me and walked away.

All night he was nice with his words and touches but he kept glaring at me and giving me these hateful, hard looks. I blew up after a few hours of this and told him that was it, I can't do this anymore, stop playing the victim because I called what you did cheating. Boo hoo that that words hurts you. I just laughed at him when said, well your words really hurt and I can't take you hurting me like this. WHAT ABOUT WHAT YOU DID TO ME? My words hurt you? Fuck that. It WAS cheating, there is no way around it. It was emotional cheating for our entire engagement, after our wedding, and then you let it get the better of you in person with her while I wasnt around and started professing your feelings to her, told me you would have left me had she been willing. CHEATING for fucks sake.

Anyway I had to bring up all the messages he sent her explicitly saying not to tell me, that I would NOT be ok with him talking to her like that, all the things he said about her and how he liked her. Him laying in bed next to me as I was healing from my car wreck telling her how his feelings were so strong for her, hoping he hadnt pushed her away by being so forward in person. All the times he did this with other women even though no feelings were developed with them. I had to voice all that pain and devastation in a last ditch effort to really make him see, I had to stop being nice and taking into account his feelings, had to lay it all out.

I just cried and cried all night and I am so miserable. This morning was the first morning since all of this he hasnt woken up upset with me for making his life “hard” by being upset about it. He didnt even have the hard eyes hes had for months, just love and sorrow and tenderness.

Is it even possible he can actually change? Does anyone really think its a possibility for him to realize how bad he messed up? I've never let it all go like last night, never really dug into him about how horrible it was and he seems different so far today. Is there any hope or am I just a fool?

Has it taken any of your WS a few months to fully understand how bad it was what they did?

[This message edited by gottabeabiggirl at 1:17 PM, July 16th (Wednesday)]

Summerluv123 posted 7/16/2014 13:08 PM

If you think your WH would read a small book, I would recommend he read "How to help your spouse heal from your Affair". It was great at helping my WH see my point of view. He hates to read, really. But he read it for my sake and I am so glad he did. He did a major turn around after that. It really make him see the gravity of how this affects me and our kids. Big eye opener for him.

Edited: just to add that I hope he can change. He is really starting to put in the work and wants to find out why he thinks the way he does so he can change it.

[This message edited by Summerluv123 at 1:10 PM, July 16th (Wednesday)]

gottabeabiggirl posted 7/16/2014 13:10 PM

Great suggestion! I will talk with him tonight and see if he is open to that. Hes been trying to read books to help him get through this but I dont think he has picked up anything to help him understand my point of view, just to deal with his guilt.

Thank you so much for the reply! I am glad your WS was able to do a turn around after reading that. Best of luck to you and thanks again for helping a stranger

confused615 posted 7/16/2014 13:30 PM

He is knee deep in self pity. It's more wayward behaviour. The cheating was ALL about him..and now the aftermath is ALL about him too.


Because it is working for him.

You said, " I was a jerk without meaning to be and mentioned to the counselor a frustration when she asked, it was that he refuses to accept what he did was “cheating” and to me that is exactly what happened. I spent all day feeling bad about saying that after him trying to hard, I really shouldnt have and I know that. But I did and its because its true.

Why are you calling yourself a jerk? Because he "tried" during ONE MC session..THREE months after dday?? he gives you a few crumbs and you feel bad for being sad that he cheated on you?


And...he gets all butthurt because you call his behavior what it is? That's not going to fare well for your marriage. He must own what he did..take full responsibility for it..and face it..and then work on changing it.

Until he admits this was an affair, there can be no R.

He is mad at you?? He is punishing you because you are hurt that he was lusting after your friend? That he crossed line after line with your friend? He is angry with you??

He has some nerve! calling yourself a jerk for speaking the truth..and agreeing you won't call it cheating because it upsets are helping him completely minimize his actions..and the pain you atre in..and the damage he has caused.

Bitch boots. NOW. He is not remorseful..remorse is all about you..and him being willing to do anything to become a safe person for you. No..he has regrets..but this is not remorse. You need to 180 him. Stand up for yourself. Don't allow him to minimize or rugsweep.

Oh..and please..please post as often as you need to/want to. There is no such thing as posting too much. You are in a tremendous amount of pain with a wayward husband who is being emotionally abusive towards you. We are here for you.

Im so very sorry.

In short...yes they can change..I've seen it here on SI..and with my own husband. But nothing..and I mean nothing..will change until he faces what he has done.

Does he know about SI?

[This message edited by confused615 at 1:30 PM, July 16th (Wednesday)]

DixieD posted 7/16/2014 15:43 PM

Yes a WS can change, but only if they want to or feel they need to.

I had to voice all that pain and devastation in a last ditch effort to really make him see, I had to stop being nice and taking into account his feelings, had to lay it all out.

GOOD!!! He should see the pain and devastation he caused. It's up to him now if he's able to accept that and absorb it or if he can't and will continue to deny, deflect and bully you into burying it like it didn't happen. Time will tell.

Giving you 'hard eyes' DARE he!

Either way Gottabe you needed to express it and get all that poison out. I wouldn't feel bad about that. Don't settle.

I don't suppose he's been open to reading Not Just Friends if he's been so adamant to not accept what he did was cheating?

Post here as often as you feel like it. ((((gottabe))))

gottabeabiggirl posted 7/17/2014 12:28 PM

You all have been so wonderful to me!

I have made a pact with myself to never doubt my feelings on this. I am NOT being unfair to him. I am NOT making his life hard. I will NOT censor my pain for his sake anymore. I will be as compassionate to him as I can as long as I do not compromise on any of those. He no longer gets that luxury and I never should have allowed it.

Thank you for pointing out how much I was furthering his lack of remorse by agreeing to not even use a word he dislikes. How damn ridiculous.

I have a few books for him to read based on the suggestions here and I will not take any resistance from him in reading them. He is an avid reader and is reading plenty on how to alleviate his own guilt so reading these few books for my sake is absolutely necessary right now.

Oh and

Bitch boots
. I love that

ILINIA posted 7/17/2014 12:56 PM

Yes, have him read that book and the Not Just Friends as well.

My WH bristled and challenged certain terms I used early on like he was "broken", he pursued "a girlfriend", that he was "pathetic" , and so on.

He was still battling with what he did and how enormous it was, basically, only part of the fog had lifted. He didn't really see what he did as that wrong yet. I believe your WH is in the same spot. Once they really get it, they will start using those words as well.

Stay tough as the others said!

Hatemyhusband posted 7/17/2014 19:34 PM

I'm not following this. Did he have sex with another woman and is not considering it cheating? Or did he have an EA and isn't considering it that?

Please tell me he isn't doubting sex as cheating?
Although I fully think an EA is cheating, as is lying and hiding things, I'd be VERY upset if he's questioning ur use of cheating when sex occurrd.

gottabeabiggirl posted 7/17/2014 19:54 PM


He had an emotional affair with one of my best friends for a 1.5 years or more, where he told her never to let on he was communicating with her.

Then in April when we had a trip planned to see her everytime I would leave the room or not be around them, he would tell her how unhappy he was with me and how beautiful she was and how he worshiped her and had feelings for her beyond a crush. We were with her for days and apparently it was every time I left even if just for a few minutes to go pee.

He told me when I initially confronted him he would have left me to be with her had she be interested. But she wasn't, she called and told me soon as we got home from the trip.

To me there was emotional cheating for sure and then he attempted to make it more. He claims since she didn't reciprocate and nothing physical happened between them it wasn't cheating. To me the intent was there just his partner wasn't willing.

He sees no part of any of it as cheating, claims it was all a mistake and he didn't mean for himself to say anything to her it just kept coming out and he couldn't stop himself. Another reason he claims it can't be cheating, he simply "didn't mean for it to happen".

The kicker is during their emotional stuff while we were engaged I kept expressing to him how I had to know he wasn't doing anything behind my back like he had a few years prior (I found messages to women asking to meet up with him behind my back). I told him I couldn't marry him if he lied to me and carried on with someone like that.

Well the same few weeks we were having those conversations he was messaging her, trying to fly her into town without me knowing on his dime. While telling me he would never do anything like that again.

So no she wasn't interested in sleeping with him and wouldn't let him fly her in but he tried and he tried to get a response from her for days while they were alone.

I know it wasn't penis in vagina sex but its pretty damn clear, he even admitted it, had she been willing he was more than interested.

What else can it be called other than emotional cheating and an attempt to make it more than emotional?

[This message edited by gottabeabiggirl at 7:55 PM, July 17th (Thursday)]

catlover50 posted 7/17/2014 20:50 PM


Of course it's cheating. I was all set to divorce my H for lying to me about calls and texts to a former employee, which he said were primarily professional. I even told my parents and kids. And he never professed feelings for her or thought about leaving me.

Unfortunately I didn't have SI at the time and believed his lies about it not being a PA and gave him a second chance. Then for 18 months, until the truth came out, I accepted what he gave in terms of self-work. Even failed to put my foot down when he developed a new "friendship", because he felt "controlled" and as if I was choosing his friends. I had gotten so used to giving in to protect his feelings and ego, as we discussed earlier in my post.

Fortunately the second friend stayed platonic, but when the shit hit the fan there was a lot to deal with.

And yes he has changed tremendously, which is why I'm still here, but this time I vow not to settle for half measures. I will no longer protect his feelings at the expense of my own.

Be strong or I fear you will regret it eventually.

HFSSC posted 7/17/2014 21:46 PM

When we got our first computer and were on AOL, I found out that JM was visiting chat rooms that were solely for the purpose of "cybersex". That was a brand new concept and I admit that I did some of that myself. It didn't seem real... all anonymous, screen names, just "talking dirty" with keyboards. And then I found emails and pictures that had been exchanged with one woman in particular, and shit got real then. I was furious. It was just after Christmas and I literally ripped all of or Christmas lights to shreds and threw them at him. We talked after that and agreed there would be no more cyber by either of us. To be fair and fully upfront here, during that same time, I exchanged phone numbers and pics with a MOM and was eventually confronted by his BW. It makes me sick when I recall how cruel I was to her.

A few years later, days after I had a miscarriage, JM confessed a ONS to me. He was distraught and miserable. I took the blame on myself because I had gained so much weight with my previous pregnancy (our baby was only 8 months old at the time) and had not been paying attention like I should. He was drinking with buddies at the lake and ran into some woman he had known in high school. They had sex in the water in full view of people. seriously...who does that? He was disgusted with himself and guaranteed me that it would never happen again. I said, "It was never supposed to happen the first time! How can you guarantee it won't happen again?" And he was mortally offended that I wouldn't just take his word for it.

So I backed off. Swept it all.under the rug and took some more pills, some more tequila to just make it go away.

In 2007, he came to me and said he had been contacted through Classmates by a girl he had dated and treated very badly. He said that her parents had been really good to him and wanted to know if I minded him contacting her and her parents to apologize for treating them so bad. I'd been around AA and other 12 step programs enough to appreciate the benefit of making amends, so I said Okay.

Next thing I knew, they were messaging every day, she called him "Baby" and I told him multiple times that I was uncomfortable with the situation. He promised multiple times to go NC but never did. I found out much later that he was actually dating this girl, very seriously, when we met. He was supposed to take her to her prom (he was only 22 when we met) but just stopped calling her after he and I met.

When I was sent to treatment for 28 days in 2008, I told him that my biggest fear was that he would call her while I was gone and start something up. He assured me, "guaranteed" me that I had nothing to worry about. Well, a week after I got home, I discovered an e-card he had sent to her that said, "I miss you...every minute, every hour, every day"

While I was 300 miles from home in rehab, that's the card my H sent to his ex-gf instead of his wife. I also got phone records that showed his dutiful 5 minutes call to me (I was allowed 1 15 minute call a day) followed by 2 hour conversation with ex-gf. Over and over. So I flipped out. Demanded MC and that he go NC with ex-gf for real. He blew off the 1st MC appontment and told me after the second one he felt the MC was on my side. I ended up continuing in IC with that counselor. I told him that I knew I could not end my M and stay sober at the same time, and so was going to forgive him and move forward. And I told him I would never go through this again. That if I ever had the slightest suspicion of an OW, we were through.

I'm telling you all this for a reason. I thought I had made my position very clear, that I considered what he had done as cheating and that he was on his very last chance.

However, HE never internalized any of it. He felt that he had been wrongly accused and had not done anything wrong. And he sat and waited for me to start drinking again, blow everything up so he could be the hero again. The long-suffering good guy husband who had to work so hard to pay the bills because his drug addict, sorry ass wife kept messing everything up. Except that's not what happened. I stayed sober and started expecting decent behavior from him. I went to church and wanted him there. I didn't enjoy going to parties, etc.

And along came OW who needed a KISA. All he wanted was to be her friend. And help her. Her husband abused her, their house burned down, blah blah blah. They got closer and closer but had not been physical when I discovered the email to her that he had written on our anniversary. And I confronted him and asked him to leave. When he moved into his apartment, he felt even more wrongly accused. That I had overreacted in 2008 and was overreacting again. He couldn't believe I was kicking him out for just trying to help a friend. And it was less than a week (whole he insisted he loved only me and would do anything to prove it to me" before he was banging OW in that apartment.

If your H can not/will not admit to himself as well as you that he cheated and betrayed you, he will most likely do it again. Or worse. He cannot fix what he refuses to see or admit.

But, the rest of our story is amazing. Because he finally did get it. And he is 100% a new man. He has changed from the inside out and from the ground up to his crown.

I will add my endorsement of Not Just Friends to the others who have posted. That book truly helped JM to see himself.


FixYou71 posted 7/17/2014 23:45 PM

I'm gonna mother you now. Sorry if you hate it.

(This is my stern/concerned voice)...
Don't you EVER let him deny your pain again. Don't ever think you're a 'jerk' for exposing him to the hurt he's caused. You are the betrayed, not the betrayer. He NEEDS to see every ounce of how crushed you are. It is necessary for his process toward healing. You will not be helping anyone by denying him that view. You can't protect him from his consequences. It is pertinent that he sees them up close and personal. And PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON'T LET HIM KEEP YOU FROM CALLING IT WHAT IT IS. Your husband CHEATED on you. He is devaluing your relationship and your feelings and yes, even his feelings for you by saying what he did by sharing his emotions so intensely with another woman wasn't cheating. It was an EMOTIONAL AFFAIR!!! (I know you already know that.)

The suggestion for him to read How to Help Your Spouse Heal From an Affair is a great one. Many have said it was the book that caused their WS to finally see what they had done.
Equally important is the other book suggested...Not Just Friends. Your H clearly has horrible boundaries with this woman and this book speaks directly to that. Opening his mind to how he crossed so many boundaries that appear clear to everyone else (who would never cheat or allow themselves to be closer than they should in case of temptation). Now, even the best book can only help a reader who is open to its message. Just know that it is possible he will not respond the way you hope. HTHYSHAAA is great for a remorseful spouse who just doesn't see the depth of the damage they've caused their spouse (the pain and the thoughts /mind movies that come after infidelity).
Now, in my irritated voice ...He knew full well what he was doing. He knows it was cheating. He knew it then. He is gaslighting you to get his way, to get the eyes off him and onto you so that the focus will not be on his horrendous behavior. Gaslighting is super common for UNREMORSEFUL spouses. Read up on gaslighting ...
so you can recognize it when it happens. It is happening now.
I still believe he is not remorseful. I think he regrets getting caught and the damage it has caused his life but not remorseful. His behavior does not line up with remorse. His words and actions toward you relating to him cheating do not line up. WSs who are regretful can still cry and act very hurt. That hurt is for themselves. Its based in fear not on sorrow for the pain they caused. He won't even acknowledge he cheated. How can he be remorseful? I know that's not what you want to hear but I don't think I'm the only one who will see it this way.
I would be very interested to hear what your MC's response was when he got angry about you saying he wouldn't acknowledge he cheated.

Please don't apologize for posting. That is SIs whole purpose. You need to hear from those who have gone before. You need the support and sometimes just to be heard.

I hope you take this response in the tone it was intended. I don't want you to feel I'm beating you up. All is said out of concern and care for your well being.


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