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Neznayou posted 7/25/2014 12:10 PM

My BH has asked that I initiate conversations about the affair. However, I'm not sure what else to say about it. I do apologize for my actions and thank him for the effort he's putting in. Our conversations (about the affair) usually involve him venting, me agreeing, and then a question and answer session. I'm slowly beginning to realize that even on a "good" day the affair is on his mind (as it is mine) so I shouldn't hesitate to mention it or share my thoughts for fear of "ruining" a relatively good day.

Has talking about it helped you?

How do you avoid having the same conversation over and over? Or is that part of what helps?

Is there ever a bad time to talk about it?

Didact posted 7/25/2014 12:50 PM

No stop sign, so BH speaking here

It means a lot when WW brings it up without my prompting. Knowing that you think about it as well, will help heal. It is on his mind all the time, every day.

StartingFreshNow posted 7/25/2014 12:53 PM

To the BH - what kinds of things do you appreciate being brought up? I'm at a loss as to what I'd say. I highly doubt BH wants to hear that I was thinking of AP during the day....

Aubrie posted 7/25/2014 14:02 PM

Talking about the A is different from reminiscing.

I talk to QS about the behaviors, "why" those behaviors, and what I'm doing to change them. My lightbulb moments, my "aha", the revelations. I share, and we discuss the twisted paths all the way thru life. The habits I picked up from childhood. The way abuse shifted my normal to warped. The way I used my twisted thoughts to rationalize my actions.

Some days are deep. Some are surfacey. Some days, its nothing. But we're further out and he's ok with that.

Just open yourself up. Be vulnerable. Show your broken. Show your healing. Let him witness that. Let him be part of it.

TheIrishGirl posted 7/25/2014 14:52 PM

My WH hasn't really started conversations about it, but he did go out & buy one of the books. He will go get it to start reading a chapter while I put the baby down. That means a lot to me. As he makes notes in the book, or if I read that chapter before he did he'll just read sentences that resonated, or start a discussion about something in the book.

Maybe that would be easier since it shows you're thinking about it, but without ever giving the indication you're thinking of AP?

hopeful325 posted 7/25/2014 15:25 PM

I too wish my WH would initiate these conversations, though I don't really know what I want him to say lol. I think your BS will feel better just knowing that you haven't forgotten what he's going through. It meant a lot to me the few times mine acknowledged the fact. If your BS seems down, ask if he needs to talk :)

WalkinOnEggshelz posted 7/25/2014 15:46 PM

I understand the feeling if not wanting to spoil a "good day" but as much as your A is on your mind, does not even compare to how much it is on his.

Depending on where you are at, the conversations will shift from details of the A to behaviors, like Aubrie mentioned. I can't count how many of our conversations have been initiated by a post here on SI. I will read something and begin discussing it or vice versa. There have been other times when I have been doing something like unpacking Christmas decorations or organizing the house and I will look around and realize just what I would be missing. It can hit me like a ton of bricks sometimes. I always make sure to share those thoughts with my BH. When we have conversations and I see how the old WOES would respond, sometimes I will point that out so that we can talk about the growth that has happened over these years. Not just on mine, but both our parts.

Not knowing what your thought process was during your A makes silence from you very scary. The more you talk about the things you are feeling or thinking, the more he will be able to trust in you and feel better about the page you are on. It also will give him the opportunity to be involved in some of those arguments we waywards have had in our heads all by ourselves.

The more you practice talking about it, the easier it will become. HT and I have talked about it over making dinner, out on dates, we can even talk about behaviors around the kids these days. Nothing specific, just behaviors in general. It doesn't ruin a good day, but gives a sense "yes, we agree!" I don't think there is anything to lose by talking to your spouse about how your behavior hurt the person you love most and how you feel about it.

somethingremorse posted 7/25/2014 16:09 PM

When we have conversations and I see how the old WOES would respond, sometimes I will point that out so that we can talk about the growth that has happened over these years. Not just on mine, but both our parts.

This is one of the things my BW needed from me. At first I had to write them down and think about how to present it. It isn't easy to say things like "when you leave the dishwasher full and I have to empty it before I go to work, I used to think you were horrible, but now I realize it is just that sometimes you don't think of that, just like I don't think of other things that probably bug you."

Right after DDay, that is a scary thing to say and to hear. After all, BW never realized how resentful (or whatever negative emotion) I was.

After I did that that for a while, it is comforting for BW that I realize what used to go through my mind, and how I have replaced it.

I don't bring up he A specifically. But I do take lots of opportunities to compare the old me with the new. Maybe that is a good place to start.

numb&dumb posted 7/25/2014 16:13 PM

Yes bring it up. I would bet my last dollar is that he looks at you and has no understanding of what your are going through either. It kills him to see you, presumably, being "ok." If you share at least it helps him to understand the remorse, the changes and how it makes you feel to see him in pain knowing you caused it. It will help you too.

Start off my saying something like, " I can see you are hurting and I want to be able to help you through this. I think about it all the time too and it will help both of us if we can discuss my A without the fear not talking about it creates." Something along those lines that empathizes, shows your concern for his well being and knowing that you created a mess for him, but you are there to help clean it up.

Really there is No right or wrong way to start as long as it isn't calm. (except take note of other people being able to hear, especially little ones).

Conversations are going to be repetitive, but I have to say that it is one way of processing what has happened. It might suck for you to have to relive it, but it really does help him in the long run. My W thought of it as transferring the burden back to the person who owns it. I have to say when she told me that it made me much more focused and willing to talk. Be patient, be kind and don't eye roll, ever. (Eye rolling almost ended my marriage on several occasions). Body language is very important.

Establish one ground rule though. There will be tears. If one of you starts the uncontrollable sobs just agree you will hold the other person to let them get it "out."

His brain need to roll it around in his head, over and over and over again before it loses it sting and thinking about it doesn't mentally cripple him anymore. This is oft mentioned working "through" and healing.

Best of luck. Failing a few times is normal and effort counts for most of it. So really the true failure comes from not trying at all.

Best of luck for you and your H.

LA44 posted 7/25/2014 16:25 PM

Hey Neznayou, we had this very convo last night. It was suggested to me by other BS' that I ask my H what it is like for him when we return to my parents house (they know) which is also the city of A'ville. So I did. And he described his feelings to me. I asked him why did he not bring this up when we were there and he said that if he felt like I was already having a bad day he didn't want to make it worse. And if I was having a great day, he wouldn't want to ruin that. He also sees wants to focus on the good of the Now.

I explained that holding back - not expressing himself - was part of what got him into the A in the first place.

I could only tell him that I want him to bring those things up. I said that I understand that this is painful for him too. It could be a simple statement like, "When I speak to your parents I feel terrible that I betrayed them too."

At least I wouldn't be walking around thinking he shoved the A far far away and that I am the only one with intrusive thoughts.

Has talking about it helped you?

We both agreed that as hard as speaking about it is, we always came out from it better.

Is there ever a bad time to talk about it?

IMO - yes. Sure. When his aunt died and I had a thought, I sure as hell wasn't going to bring it up on the drive home! You can always start by saying, "I would like to talk to you about something I learned about myself since the A. Is this is a good time for you?"

FixYou71 posted 7/26/2014 03:08 AM

There are lots of ways you can start a discussion.
Here are a few...
1. Bring up something that resonated with you when reading an A related book (I.e How to Help Your Spouse Heal from an Affair). It may be, for examlple, something that has to do with the WS' s actions or thought process or a realization you had about your BS's pain or viewpoint that was a revelation to you. Discuss your thoughts with your BS
2. Ask your BS how their day was; if they had any triggers or are struggling with any specific aspect of the A that day. I.e. 'How are you coping today? Any particular thoughts or mind movies you're struggling with today?' ' How did you sleep last night?
3. Maybe you saw some boundaries being crossed at work. Use them as a starting point to discuss your views on how your boundaries were then and now.
4. Discuss an SI post that resonated with you or ask your BS if any posts have resonated with them lately.
5. It could be as 'You know, while I was driving home from work today, Started thinking about xyz and how deluded my thought process was or how horribly I betrayed you or how thankful I am that you gave me a chance to earn back a place by your side when I know you have to endure a lot of pain to go through this process with me as we work on R'
6. Offer up a Q&A session. 'Have you got anything nagging at you that you want to ask about? Fire away.'

The goal of conversations relating to the A are
A. To show your BS you're thinking about it too
B. To show your BS you're concerned about their feelings and the pain they're going through; that you want to know and understand the nuances of their pain and ultimately that you 'Get it'. (Super important for a BS to feel that)
C. To show your BS that you are not just thinking but are actively working; processing what you've done, finding answers to the whys and learning how to be a better spouse and a better help to your BS in their healing process.
D. To answer questions or clarify for your BS.

Softcentre posted 7/26/2014 06:01 AM

Please talk about it. My STBXH refused to bring it up, refused to admit he thought about the OW and the A. It just made me feel:

- He was lying/not being honest and I needed that honesty to have any chance of trying to rebuild trust between us...and I feared that lack of honesty meant that he was hiding something,either about the A or that it had gone underground
- I needed to talk about it, but was scared of being the one who brought it up all the time: surely it meant he wasn't trying to heal the M if he never wanted to talk about it, but only waited for me to bring it up?
- I worried that he was trying to protect the OW and his memories of her by not talking about it.
- His refusal to bring it up made me think he just wanted me to shut up and rugsweep. I knew I couldn't live like that. I needed him to cherish me and help me heal,even if it hurt him to do it.
- Conflict avoidance was part (of many) of his deeper issues, I wanted him to bring up the A because I knew it was difficult for him, but it would show he was making an effort to change and to put me/our M before his own discomfort. I needed to see that I was now his priority


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Lostcat posted 7/26/2014 07:49 AM

This is a great topic with some good advice. BH and I have had a couple of really good days. The kids are at the grandparents while we pack up the house to move so we have been hanging out together, with friends, packing, having sex :-) it's been great.

I want to say something to BH but I'm always scared it will ruin the day and he'll go back into it. Maybe I should just tell him how happy and grateful I am that he has give me the chance to spend this fun time with him. If you are a BS is that enough to show I haven't forgotten about the A?

Didact posted 7/26/2014 09:35 AM

I would start by telling him that you want to bring it up. Just knowing that you care enough to say that will open the conversation in a good way.

He thinks about it constantly, it is helpful beyond measure to know that the person he is closest to shares that problem is some small way, relatively speaking.

Over time, you will even be able to share those fleeting positive feelings about the A, or have him help as he can dealing with the destruction of shame.

I can't see a lot of downside, provided the A is dead and the conversations are gentle and with empathy.

Neznayou posted 7/26/2014 13:02 PM

What I'm hearing you all say is that I shouldn't hesitate to mention the affair, but for some it takes some practice to develop the awareness of how to start and then continue to create habit. I find it especially helpful to hear of others with similar hesitations (like conflict avoidance). No one said it creates additional problems. No one said it ruined a good day.

Thank you for the input.

Trying2LoveAgain posted 7/26/2014 17:59 PM

BS here...As a BS I have the same wish..that my fwh would be the one to initiate conversations about the A sometimes. And he has, but very rarely. He says it makes him so uncomfortable. ..duh! And...despite the fact that I've told him differently many times, all he can see is that he thinks talking about it only brings me more pain! The pain is there anyway & talking usually helps...I think it's HIM that talking makes it worse for. But sorry...it's not about HIM anymore!
As for avoiding the same conversations over & over...suck it up & deal with it. ..it's the BS way of processing it all...plus remember, your BS is under EXTREME STRESS! Their whole world has just shattered!Ours memories aren't as sharp & it takes much time for things to register. One thing I did start doing after a few months was to write things down we had talked about...I think it's helped! Kinda the same as Journaling in a way....

ThatGuyNoMore posted 7/26/2014 23:29 PM

Thank you for raising this question, Neznayou. My BW tells me I'm not doing enough of the work, that she has to initiate too much. I think I'm going to add FixYou's suggestions to my Road Map of things I can do for my BW to help her heal. Softcentre provides good insight for me into what must be going on in my BW's head. Good advice!

DrJekyll posted 7/27/2014 05:52 AM

WOW lots of great advice here.

I was not in lurv with any AP. So for us it is different. We talk a lot about feelings. What happened in my case is: my father is an alcoholic, my mother is NPD. I was CoD. So fast forward to my 30s and I became the Alcoholic Narcissist. So for us I bring up the correlations between what my parents did to me, and how that transitioned to my doing that to my BS. As she became enmeshed and CoD. So my perspective to my BS is crucial as I have experienced both the aggressor and the victim.

Everyone's experiences are unique. But I think that regardless of the scenario you need to:
1. travel into the Hell that your BS is in.
2. share their pain, as the load of it is unbearable for 1 person. If you leave it on them they will break.
3. change your perception of a "Good day" I have seen over and over here on SI and have done this myself. The "Good days" are so few and far between that we do not want to ruin them. But my perception of a "Good day" now is any day that my BS is willing to stay and fight. regardless of how the day unfolds.
4. be honest and open with all of your feelings. hiding our feelings is what got us into this torturous HELL to start with.
5. show the difference. change your actions. As you find your "whys" share them with your BS. No body knows you better than your BS. They are feeling lost and like they do not know who you even are at this point. So as you share your "Whys" they will be able to identify and recognize some of the familiarity with the person that they knew for all those years.

ETA:
"How do you avoid having the same conversation over and over?"
You don't. Plain and simple. This is a trauma and your BS is going to revisit the same conversation for reassurance or to make sure you are giving the same answer, or because they are trying to process so much that details have slipped by the wayside. Get used to it, get comfortable with it. It is part of the process.

from my BS "Not knowing what your thought process was during your A makes silence from you very scary." she totally agrees with this statement. As for so long the BS never had a choice or voice in your head. When you openly share your feelings and discuss them. As a BS you are then given a voice in the decisions or thought process. Also don't be afraid to show them your ugly. If you voice it, they can see your transitions and healing process and share in that with you.

[This message edited by DrJekyll at 6:06 AM, July 27th (Sunday)]

Neznayou posted 7/27/2014 13:02 PM

Dr. Jekyl, I like your definition of a"good day". It is very unselfish. In the almost 24 months since DDay, my husbandhasslept on the couch only 2 times. He didn't move out; I didn't move out. Under your definition, we've had an impressive number of good days.

Best of luck to all.

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