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Not satisfied with WW's effort. Am I being unreasonable?

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PBST2 posted 7/23/2014 23:44 PM

We're less than 3 weeks into our second attempt at R (there was a 12-day false-R before that), and I thought things had been going reasonably well. When it has been just the 2 of us on an overnight getaway, or on date nights, things have been great. I think this is because I let my guard down and I'm able to enjoy her company and push away negative thoughts. When it's back to the daily grind and we're both at work, the hurt returns and I start obsessing over everything that has happened and convincing myself that WW isn't doing enough. I have been keeping most of my frustrations to myself to avoid overwhelming her on a daily basis, but tonight I needed to talk. It did not go well.

I started by telling her that her overall behavior and demeanor sometimes gives me the impression that she thinks we will just be able to "move on and forget about what has happened". I asked her if that was how she hoped things would play out. Her reply was, "well, yeah". I told her that I won't be able to move past the A unless we fully explore what happened, why it happened, and how we can try to prevent it from happening again. I asked her again whether she is willing to read the book "Not Just Friends" and make a true effort to leverage the content as we try to heal. (We've had the book for over 2 weeks and she hasn't picked it up. I'm almost through it!) Her response was that there's not enough time in the day to read it, and she made no commitment to try to find the time.

She started to get very defensive this point. She claimed that she is doing a lot of things to try to help me get through this, including: 1) providing a lot of (non-sexual) affection, 2) asking how I’m doing throughout the day, 3) maintaining communication with me throughout the day, 4) trying to leave work earlier than you normally would, 5) telling me about any communication with OM throughout the working day, and 6) more sexual initiation. I told her that despite all of this, I feel like she completely shuts down when I tell her I'm not doing well, that I need reassurance and some demonstration of empathy. As usual, her reaction was to become exasperated, accuse me of being impossible to please, and withdraw from me physically and emotionally.

To my surprise, she brought up that I had been distant in the marriage before the affair. I asked her to clarify her point, and she said that I am expecting so much support and reassurance from her, but at a time when she needed it from me she didn’t get it. I told her how ridiculous the comparison was, but she seemed to disagree. I told her that everything I have been feeling over the past month and what she is calling unreasonable behavior/expectations are direct results of her actions, and that it is unfair for her to react in such a defensive way. She then accused me of constantly throwing the affair in her face.

After all of this was said, we had a 5 minute period of silence during which I tried to process everything. My conclusion was that I don’t think there’s a point in trying to reconcile under these conditions. She simply is unwilling or unable to provide the support I need and weather the ups and downs like a truly remorseful spouse should be. Is she making an effort? Yes, in some ways it is a very good effort an I am encouraged. However, the demonstrations of empathy have been few and far between, and she is apparently unreceptive to me suggesting that she do anything more.

I told her that "this" wasn’t working, to which she replied: “Are you kidding me?”. I said “no”. No words have been spoken since. I got out of bed to go write down my thoughts as I have no chance of sleeping anytime soon.

Am I being unreasonable here? Should I accept the effort my WW is putting in, and give her more time to come around on showing empathy, really digging into what led her into the A, etc.? Or do I need to restart 180 and hope that leads to an attitude adjustment? FWIW, my gut tells me that it really is over with her and OM. It should also be noted that she's an extremely hard-headed person and throughout our marriage has always had to be the one "in control".

healingroad posted 7/24/2014 00:08 AM

I could have written this. Almost identical situation with same feelings on my part. Same hard-headed WW. My conclusion was that that path led to regrets in future years, buried resentments, and likely a failed M if not more A's. Forget that.

As you can see from my signature, it wasn't enough, we're headed to D. That said, I gave it much more time (seven months in all) but I'm not sure I would do that again. I was just too painful hoping that she'd change and understand. And the TT killed the love I had for her, so there wasn't much left anyway.

So, no, you're not being unreasonable. You could make a different choice but you are well within reasonable bounds.

[This message edited by mhca at 12:09 AM, July 24th (Thursday)]

Badhurt posted 7/24/2014 00:18 AM

I thought the agreement was she would be either quitting the Job or looking for another one. What was the resolution of the private e mail she wanted to maintain. ? What is the story on OM and his wife who you told along with overs in her family?

You have had one FALSE R . She is still with him or around him 8 hours a day. .you will never out this aside until she is away from him. If his wife does not have him on a verifiable short leash and he is not fighting for his marriage this will start again since you decided not to expose it to their HR Department
Get this straight . She cheated and lied to you . It is not your job to be remorsef and the fact that she is getting annoyed is not a good sign.
I hope you have full transparency to every electronic device she touches .
If I were you I would do one of two things
(1) hire a PI
(2) ask for a lie detector test

In my opinion you are in a real danger zone

Gotmegood posted 7/24/2014 00:34 AM

Wow, 3 weeks out??? And second attempt to R??? First of all, you can bet that I empathize with you. Three weeks out I was an absolute mess, a memory of a time I'd prefer never to revisit.
Simple answer: No. No, you are not expecting too much. To be fair, at 3 weeks from DDay I'm not convinced that ANYTHING would have been 'enough' or satisfactory for me. You've noted that your WW has encouraged you with some observable efforts at calming you , and reassuring you, and making you feel loved. I'm sure you've told her you appreciate what you've seen. What would concern me is not so much her measurable efforts being lacking, but her defensive and shitty attitude when you ask for more (read the book), or confide that you are not doing well. The result is that you "keep most of your frustrations to yourself"..... So that SHE won't be overwhelmed??? Does that sound right to you?? Well, it does to her; she can go along and escape culpability. Another thing: no way would I accept her dragging up things you did 'wrong' in the marriage - her reference to your not supplying her with enough "support and reassurance". If she recognizes how crummy that felt to her, why is it okay for her to not give that to YOU now that she has absolutely gutted you with her lies, betrayal, and deceit? Look, I got some of that thinly veiled blame shifting too in the beginning. But it isn't helpful to you and it shouldn't be acceptable to you. I guess that it is sadly par for the course for as little time as you are from DDay. But do not accept it is my advise. I have not read the book you have, but I would suggest ordering How To Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair by McDonald (I think). It's cheap and it's short (for your oh so busy WW) and it is succinct. Since you can't sleep, get on Amazon and order it now and tell WW it is to be read by the weekend. Good luck and I hope you can sleep tonight.

PBST2 posted 7/24/2014 01:03 AM

Thanks so much for the replies. mhca, I'm sorry your WW wouldn't come around. I don't have much confidence that mine will either. I think you're right that if I accept the "status quo" for R, it will lead to resentments and regrets that will ultimately doom the marriage.

Badhurt, she did agree to look for a new job. Once she agreed, I softened my stance and told her that I'd see how it goes. I know she would resent me for making her leave her job, as absurd as it sounds, and same applies to contacting her HR department. (She should have thought about that before she fucked her coworker). Oddly enough, earlier this evening she talked about quitting work altogether to be a SAHM. But she asked me if I'd be willing to sign a legal document stating that I'd pay her rent in the event it didn't work out between us. (Um, isn't that what divorce settlements are for?). She did give me her email password and I believe she is being transparent. The OM's wife knows (she called me), but we haven't discussed anything about how each of us is handling the situation. I don't know the state of OM's marriage. At this point I'm pretty convinced PA is completely over, and I believe EA is over, but she could be lying about that since I can't see her work email. Part of me thinks it would be a relief to catch her again, because it would make my decision very easy.

Gotmegood, I agree that her attitude sucks. Thanks for the reassurance. I will order that book tomorrow, assuming I still have any shred of hope that she's willing to work harder.

I've taken off my wedding ring tonight and I plan to implement 180 starting tomorrow. I sent her a long email explaining my position since she doesn't want her beauty sleep to be interrupted with annoying conversation.

PBST2 posted 7/24/2014 07:17 AM

I slept for about 2.5 hours last night, and now I'm back at work. This morning at home, WW noticed that my wedding ring was sitting on the dresser (I never take it off) and asked me why it's off and if I plan to wear it today. I told her I wasn't planning on wearing it. She accused me of threatening divorce every time we hit a "rough patch" rather than trying to work through it with her. (To provide a bit of background, I consulted a divorce attorney after I discovered my wife was refusing to honor NC and lying to me about just 10 days post D-day. I admitted this to her when I agreed to R.) I told her that I wasn't jumping straight to D at this point, but that I wasn't willing to continue R unless she improved her attitude and start working on the things I mentioned last night. She again suggested that she's doing a lot and that nothing will ever be good enough for me. I reminded her that I'm telling her exactly what else I need (more empathy, more open discussion and development of a better understanding of what happened), and she's choosing to shut down instead of trying harder. She asked what else there is to discuss, and I got very frustrated and told her: "read the damn book and maybe you'll figure it out!". I then walked away.

I approached her again 10 minutes later as I was getting ready to leave for work and asked her if there's anything else she'd like to say to me. I noticed she had the book in front of her on the bathroom counter. She started crying and said she would do what I'm asking (not very enthusiastically I might add), but that she needed me to stop giving up on her and R when I reached low points. She asked me to make a firm commitment to trying to make things work. I told her that I was not willing to commit to keeping the status quo and continuing R, that things need to change. She again agreed, but she was speaking like someone who sounded defeated and completely deflated. She also added that she needs these "discussions" to happen sometime other than right before bed, to which I agreed to do my best.

I put my wedding ring back on and left for work. I'm only feeling slightly better about where things stand.

tfkeel posted 7/24/2014 07:30 AM

Part of me thinks it would be a relief to catch her again, because it would make my decision very easy.

IMO, the following statement should be making your decision easy:

she asked me if I'd be willing to sign a legal document stating that I'd pay her rent in the event it didn't work out between us.

So, all the consequences fall on you. Right?

She doesn't have to do anything, and you're still stuck with paying the tow.

Please, don't let this SAHM business come to pass.
Later, when the divorce comes, you will be raked for support.

You need to go back to your lawyer. You don't have to initiate a divorce if you don't want to, but know where you stand with any "move" you make, and what the eventual outcome of it will be.

[This message edited by tfkeel at 7:34 AM, July 24th (Thursday)]

atsenaotie posted 7/24/2014 07:39 AM

You and your WS may ultimately be able to R successfully, but R is one of the last of the steps necessary to heal the M after the betrayal of an A. As the BS, you must work through your feelings to get to acceptance. At the same time, a sense of safety must be restored in the relationship. Trust and a sense of safety are developed when the WS has learned new behaviors to replace the wayward behaviors, and then demonstrate these new behaviors for a sustained period.

What is your WW doing to identify and fix her issues and to help you to heal? Has your WW figured out why she turned to an OP when she was unhappy in the M rather than turning to you, working on her part of the relationship, or inviting you to MC? Is she in IC to work on her issues? Has she read Not Just Friends by Glass and/or Sexual Detours by Hines and discussed with you how they apply to your M and her A? Do you have full access to her chat, email, and text records? What will the work resolution be, is your WW helping to solve that problem or fighting you on it? What is different now in the M, not words, but actions, to show that she is remorseful and changed?

To move forward in the M and work on R you need to know why you want the M with your WW. I think that just a few weeks or even a few months after dday is too soon to know if R or D is right for you and your M. I would like to suggest a third alternative for you; “not divorcing”. By not divorcing you do not separate or leave the M so long as you continue to feel safe in the relationship, but neither do you commit to staying in the M or working on the relationship long-term. During the period while you are “not divorcing”, you can watch your WW to see if she is truly remorseful, truly learning what her issues are that led to her A, and if she is owning those issues and sustaining change in her perceptions and behavior to fix those issues.

During this non-committal time while you observe, it would probably benefit you to do some IC of your own to help process and work through your emotions and to do some values clarification work on what you want for your future. Find out why you tolerated a less connected, less involved, and less loving W than you deserved. Explore any conflict avoidance or emotional intimacy issues you may have. None of these are to imply any responsibility on your part for the A, but these are areas that FBSs often find fertile for self-improvement.

This time of watching, healing, and not divorcing is also a good time to shore up your reserves. Shore up your social support reserves by renewing and expanding your circle of friends. Shore up you financial reserves by saving cash, reducing debt, and preparing to have the necessary cash flow and reserves necessary if you decide separation or divorce is the right path for you (or to celebrate final R). Shore up your personal self-esteem by engaging in hobbies, activities, or interests that you may have set aside when you M. Exercise and a good diet will also help you prepare physically and mentally for the stress of R or D, whichever you ultimately decide is best.

When you are ready to work with your WW together as co-equals to address issues in the M, that is when you will are ready to work on R. Until then, I recommend that you take your focus off of your WW and your M, and place it on to your healing.


mike7 posted 7/24/2014 07:40 AM

maybe I'm being a pushover but i think you're making headway.

She again agreed, but she was speaking like someone who sounded defeated and completely deflated.

this is a far cry from the defiant WW you started with a few weeks ago.

try to remember this is a marathon. I'm not saying you should sacrifice your demands for the things you need to feel safe. But I think you need to be aware that some WWs take a while to really "get it." If she is maintaining NC and appears to be trying, I'd give it six months if you can stomach it. You will know for sure by then.

Badhurt posted 7/24/2014 08:01 AM

The simple fact of matter is that with good reason there is no way you are going to be able to feel safe with her spending 10 hours a day in the proximity of the OM that you have had 2 DDays with. That is why everyone on your original post said her job had to go. Your insecurity, which is totally justified, is going to spill over and keep you in constant detective mode, which is emotionally and physically draining.
And because you do not feel safe it will cloud your perception of her actions. Unfortunately, workplace affairs are the easiest to get started and the hardest to stop.
I would concentrate on getting her another job. Remember, she put her marriage on the line twice for this guy, and is still around him all day. And it looks like his wife is not helping you at all in being a second set of eyes.
I still think you are going to have to expose this at work if you cannot get her out of that job.

BtraydWife posted 7/24/2014 10:54 AM

Well that's the thing. The status quo isn't R, it's rugsweeping.

Your requirements for R are NEVER too much. Ever. Everyone has different needs but there are some basics. Being fully honest, rebuilding the trust they destroyed, making you feel safe again in the marriage. How you go about those things is personal but nobody Rs without working to obtain those things.

She flat out told you she intends to make zero effort and she wants you to rugsweep. Next move is yours.

I suggest a paper outlining your requirements for her if she is to stay married to you and living with you. Do not present them to her until you are willing to follow through on the consequences of not meeting your requirements. Those should include her moving out and you filing for divorce.

She's not going to get real until you do. And even then she may not step up and commit to R.

I'm so sorry she is treating you this way. This is the evil place where they hold hopeful BSs hostage. It will continue like this until you force her hand. Sending you strength.

BtraydWife posted 7/24/2014 11:00 AM

I forgot to add that I don't buy her agreement. She is not working towards R if you have to badger her at every turn to comply. She is not any where close to holding up her end of the deal. Do not compromise your requirements to meet her lack of commitment. She is not doing her best. Not by a long shot.

Rebreather posted 7/24/2014 11:08 AM

You are not asking for too much. You are not being unreasonable. You are trying to reconcile with an utterly unremorseful wayward. It would be easier to sleep with a cobra.

I urge you to read the posts by Badhurt over and over.

You should not have backed off on the requirement to quit her job - why did you do that? You need to look inside yourself and figure out why you can't stick with a hardline approach. YOU know what you deserve. I always kind of laugh at the "she'll resent me if I make her do x" thoughts. So what? Who cares? Let her resent you. If she becomes remorseful, she won't resent you. If she does resent you, she's not remorseful. I think that clarity would be very helpful. Why are you willing to compromise that? Being soft with a cobra gets you where, exactly? She'll eat you alive, bro.

Stay strong. Stay tough. If she agrees with you on something, even relunctantly, it's better than fighting. She has a hard shell around her that is limiting her ability to grow. She has to bust down that shell. It's likely you may have to help her do it by being a hard ass. Don't back off your requirements any more.

1ost0ne posted 7/24/2014 11:12 AM

nothing will ever be good enough for me.

I have heard that before. It is usually preceded by "Why should I try?"

I haven't read your story, but you seem very early in this horrible journey to try R. I'm sure that there is still a lot of TT, discovery and pain before you can even have a decent day, let alone week to focus on repairing your marriage.

I have made many mistakes of telling her what she needs to be doing to R. If she is remorseful, emphathetic and loving, she will put you first, but it doesn't sound like she's there.

Good luck to you!

craig2001 posted 7/24/2014 11:30 AM

I told her that I won't be able to move past the A unless we fully explore what happened, why it happened, and how we can try to prevent it from happening again.
No, you are not being unreasonable.

And to be blunt, your wife is acting immature and not taking any responsibility for having an affair.

Sure, she thinks she is doing nice things for you by telling you what her and the OM talks about during the day. HELL, that just makes things worse. She should be looking for a new job right now and if economically possible, she needs to quit her job.

When she gets defensive and starts to resent you for this, you tell her in no uncertain terms, that she can only resent herself for the loss of the job.

You did not have the affair, you are not the OM who also caused this. If she feels she needs to resent someone for the loss of her job, she can resent herself and the OM. And that is reality!

You are exactly correct. Her affair needs to be understood and never swept under the rug, or she will have another affair.

Her reasons for having an affair are most likely very superficial and not the real reason.

The reason that understanding the reasons for the affair in the first place are to make sure it never happens again.

So your wife thinks you werent being nice enough to her so she has sex with some other guy.

What happens the next time you get busy at work and she might think you're ignoring her. What happens the next time she has a bad hair day, will she have an affair.

Anything can be used to have an affair if she wants to rationalize wrongs into rights.

She needs to read that book. She says there arent enough hours in the day....she had plenty of hours in the day to have an affair and be with you and make up lies to be able to continue the affair.

Affairs take a lot of time. If she had time for that, then she sure as hell as time to read a book.

No, you are not being unreasonable. She doesn't understand the magnitude of the wrongs she has done and the hurt it has caused you.

sisoon posted 7/24/2014 12:01 PM

atsenaotie may have been too subtle.

R requires 3 healings - you heal yourself, your W heals herself, together you heal your M.

Your healing has to do with 1) processing and releasing the feelings of grief, anger, and fear that come with being betrayed; 2) identifying and negotiating new behaviors/requirements that support R and the key performance indicators that you're both meeting the requirements; 3) monitoring and adjusting behavior to meet the requirements.

Her healing has to do with changing from cheater to good partner.

Healing your M is whatever you 2 decide it's going to be.

What are you doing to heal and to R?

You need to identify and communicate your requirements, and you can't change them willy-nilly if you want R to succeed. At first your W needs to quit her job; now she doesn't. Reading NJF is important to you, but you're fuzzy about it. You have a problem with her 'overall behavior and demeanor'. I can't figure out what you're looking for....

What have you told her exactly about your requirements? Has she agreed to meet them?

Also, you sound pretty contemptuous of your W. That's a relationship-killer. Maybe that's how your grief, anger, and fear are coming out - if so, and if you really want to R, you need to express your feelings in a straight way and leave contempt behind.

I, too, think your best bet - no matter where you end up - is to work on your own healing now. Figure out what R would be, what you want your M to be, whether you can get through the A and accept it, etc., etc., etc.. Figure out if you really want R. Observe your W and see if she's committed to R (but figure out and let her know exactly how you'll evaluate her commitment).

You really ought to consider IC, IMO.

isthismynewlife posted 7/24/2014 12:10 PM

Your experience so far sounds a lot like mine. If she is like my WH she doesn't understand the depth of the damage done yet. It took my H 3-4 weeks to drop out of the fog then another few weeks for it to start to sink in. We are about 8 months out. The "How to Help your Spouse Heal" book was the first step for him - very easy read and very straight to the point. And he then started to grasp the damage done. He then read "After the Affair" and is currently working on "Not Just Friends". I am happy he is reading these books (I read quickly and finished them months ago, he is a slow, methodical reader and is taking a long time) but it was hard for him having to confront the pain that is explained in them so it was a battle to get it done.
The 180 should help (I didn't find out about that or this sight until 5 months in - wish I would have found it sooner!). From what I've experienced and read here, very few waywards figure it out quickly. It truly is a long process. One thing that really helped me was I did get myself into IC within 6 weeks of DDay - that for me was my life saver. It helped me get my anxiety and panic attacks under control and to finally start taking care of myself.
I'm not sure if any of this helps you or even where I am going in my thought process right now. Just wanted to let you know that your experience is not unusual and she can still figure it out and hopefully get on the right path for you. It really does take time for the wayward to truly open their eyes and see exactly what they have done. And then more time for them to figure out how to try and help us heal.

PBST2 posted 7/24/2014 12:16 PM

Thanks everyone for the input. I am absolutely going to require that she read the book and make a true effort to understand what led her to make those horrible decisions. Right now all she can offer up are the relationship vulnerabilities, i.e. how I wasn't meeting her needs, changes in hormone levels due to a recent surgery, and unequal distribution of household tasks and helping with the kids as reasons for the affair. Yet she goes on to say she's not blaming me, just that these are the things that led to her actions... She then says that she was getting things from OM that she wasn't getting from me. Funny how that OM was able to meet her needs by being her buddy 45 hours/week at work, romancing her at bars and restaurants a couple times each week, and going to a hotel room once a week for a fuck session (and I get the sense it was a hell of a lot better for them than it is/was between us). How can I compete with that? I'm part of a monotonous life at home with two young attention-starved little ones and endless daily chores. Hell, often when we go out all we talk about is the kids and planning for the coming days/weeks. I'm getting myself all riled up just thinking about this.

I don't know why exactly I backed down on the requirement that she find a new job. I think I was so exhausted from 3 days of 180 behaviors and being separated from her (she decided to leave), being in constant self-preservation mode, not doing a good enough job taking care of myself, that when she finally came home and agreed to my conditions for R, I had a moment of weakness where I found myself weeping in her arms. I didn't have the fortitude in that moment to follow through on the demand that she find a new job. I was so tired of the standoff that I just wanted it to be over.

I have heard that before. It is usually preceded by "Why should I try?"
Yes, in fact in an email today she said exactly that.

One other thought I'd like to share that has caused a lot of internal conflict for me is the following. Our marriage was in real trouble before the A. There is no question I had been avoiding conflict and emotional intimacy, because I was scared of what would happen if I was truly honest. The problems in our marriage went unaddressed, even though my W complained about it constantly. I'm not sure there was anything she could have done to wake me up. I have told her that filing for D would have been preferable to this, but I'm not even sure how I would have reacted to that. Part of me thinks I would have just accepted it and moved on without much of a fight. But to be shocked awake like I have been by this betrayal has made me a completely different person. I suddenly feel an overwhelming desire to save our marriage and rekindle what brought us together in the first place. I have hope that our marriage can be better than it ever was before if we can weather this storm. I think WW senses this and feels the same. I don't know how to resolve this conflict--that the A might have been the only thing in the world that could have awoken me, at the same being the hardest thing I've had to endure in my life.

seethelight posted 7/24/2014 12:40 PM

I only read your opening post.

As a BS I am on your side. You re not being unreasonable in expecting empathy

Here is something I see that may be causing issues with defensiveness due to the way you are phrasing the description of your hurt feelings.

I told her how ridiculous the comparison was, but she seemed to disagree.

When you make statements like these can you focus more on how you feel and I statements and refrain from using insulting words like ridiculous.

For example exchange the word ridiculous for the word unfair

That makes your complaint more about your feelings rather then seeming like a searing insult to her, IMO.

I know, I know, she likely deserves to be insulted, but it is not going to help communication.

Also, please make her change jobs, if that is where she met OM.

I made similar mistakes trying to be a nice person and not too demanding, after dday.

Still, nothing good can come of her seeing the OM every day at work.

Edited to add: And please do not sign an agreement to pay anything, until you talk with a good divorce attorney,

[This message edited by seethelight at 12:42 PM, July 24th (Thursday)]

healingroad posted 7/24/2014 12:42 PM

I suddenly feel an overwhelming desire to save our marriage and rekindle what brought us together in the first place. I have hope that our marriage can be better than it ever was before if we can weather this storm.

I felt the exact same thing.

I think WW senses this and feels the same.

I thought this was true and my WW said it was, but it didn't translate into what was needed to prove she was all in. For me this was essential, and just feeling like it would be good to repair the M is not nearly enough.

I don't know how to resolve this conflict--that the A might have been the only thing in the world that could have awoken me, at the same being the hardest thing I've had to endure in my life.

Don't go there. You don't know that entering MC and working earnestly wouldn't have worked. You'll probably realize at some point that it would have made R far more likely. So there's no conflict. She did you no favors by having the A, end of story. You're having to endure it is unfair and sucks, plain and simple.

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