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Fighting for You?

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Herkemeyer posted 8/8/2014 06:19 AM

There is a lot of discussion about the the wayward fighting for the marriage, more importantly, fighting for their spouse if R is to happen.

What does that look like?

Is just doing all the things a normal couple does with the occasional I'm sorry thrown in for spice?

Is it active and observable?

More specifically, WW and FWW how did you show your BH that you were fighting for your marriage?

veronique12 posted 8/8/2014 07:47 AM

This is a good question. I don't think it's just being a normal couple with some declarations of I'm sorry. There is nothing normal about a M post A. The WS needs to show serious commitment to understanding what led him/her to have an A, to learn how to communicate compassionately, to be there for you when you trigger even if you are angry, to show empathy and try to anticipate what may trigger you, to go to IC and MC, to talk about both of your emotional needs and to work to meet them, to be honest and transparent, on and on.

I can say now that my H appears to be doing all of these things (tho he's not perfect and sometimes falls short), and for the most part our R is much better. At first, he didn't really get this and was trying to move forward with business as usual and things were fine when I was feeling good, but when I triggered and got angry he either shut down or got defensive. That was not working for me because I felt he wasn't taking emotional risks for me the way I was by sticking around after his infidelity. Now that he is turning toward me even when I'm in a deep rage, he is showing me that he's willing to help me through my pain even if it's extremely uncomfortable for him to do so. That speaks volumes to me.

Hurtbuthopeful35 posted 8/8/2014 08:14 AM

I see it this way: there is now a deficiency in my "love bank" that he'll need to fill back up before we can even get to "status quo." He can do this through wooing me and showering me with the immense effort and attention that he had directed at his AP in addition to supporting me when I'm emotional/ ask questions.

So, I think you need to see special effort on their part for a long time!

tl502 posted 8/8/2014 08:16 AM

I agree with Veronique. One of the most significant things that my conflict avoiding h can do is to stay with me when I am having a bad time and support me through I. It means so much to me when he holds my hand when he knows I'm having a bad day and his choices are the cause of it.
I think its really meaningful to me when he identifies a weakness in himself and does what it takes to fix it.
It's also really meaningful when he takes the iniative to tell me his thoughts and worries. He held so many of these away from me prior to dd.
He and our m have been a work in progress over the last 3 years.
I think that the most significant sign of fighting for your m is the willingness to take on the heavy load of fixing the mess that he made. A few sorries are just the tip of the iceberg.

wk55hn posted 8/9/2014 03:29 AM

There is a lot of discussion about the the wayward fighting for the marriage, more importantly, fighting for their spouse if R is to happen. What does that look like?

The seeds of your perception as to whether she is fighting for the marriage begin even before the initial discovery. Were you completely unaware and unsuspecting at the time of discovery? In my opinion, this would give your recovery a much better chance than if, for example, you had your suspicions prior to discovery, asked her about those suspicions, and were lied to. The more you were lied to before discovery about your later-confirmed suspicions, the harder it will be to believe her later, with a foundation of lies having already been built up by her.

Fighting for the marriage begins with the initial discovery. For one thing, right off the bat, it makes a huge difference in how you found out. Did she confess? And if so, was it out of wanting to repair the marriage (as opposed to, say, knowing that someone else was going to out her anyway)? If she confessed, it leaves less doubt that she does, in fact, want to save the marriage, as opposed to if you had to find out on your own, it leaves a lot of doubt that maybe she is just trying to reconcile because she has no better option at that time, that other man was not ready to take her on, that she was not financially ready, whatever.

If you did find out without her telling you, which seems to be the case here more often than not, was she immediately remorseful, did she immediately agree to do what was needed, did she immediately give you the whole truth? Did she try to blame you? Did she immediately and sincerely apologize? Someone who values the marriage and wants to stay in it, someone who truly loves you, will be honest and be accountable for their own actions, someone who is just looking out for their own interests may not be willing to immediately commit.

I'm not saying that these things can't be overcome later, but what I'm saying is that the longer it takes to get these things, the more doubt there will be, the less it will seem like she is fighting for the marriage, the more it will seem like she is just doing what she needs to do to preserve the marriage because the crumbs she gave you at first didn't work.

Did she willingly break off contact with other man or did you have to argue and insist and fight to get her to do it, if she did it at all? Did she come clean with all of the facts, or did you have to drag them out of her? It's best if she does it on her own without having to be asked, it's OK if you ask her to and she immediately agrees, it gets progressively worse the longer it takes and the more you have to argue with her about doing it with her resisting. THIS IS THE TIME that she can really show she wants to fight for the marriage. After this time frame, IF YOU ARE THE ONE WHO HAD TO FIGHT TO GET THIS FAR, in my opinion, it will be very difficult for her to show that she does, in fact, want to fight for the marriage. Because these are the main things that are important to you upon finding out about the affair.

To the extent that she continues to lie, minimize, and hide things from you, and you discover them or she finally confesses to them, these are signs of NOT FIGHTING for the marriage. How could you feel otherwise about still being lied to?

Also, to the extent that her story does not make sense, for example, a common story I hear is that it was sex "just one time" or "no sex, only a kiss" when the affair partners were together numerous times, this is not going to make sense, and it is going to feel like a lie (and it probably is a lie).

To the extent that she re-contacts the affair partner, or the affair partner re-contacts her and she doesn't tell you about it, and you find out on your own, it will feel like she is not fighting for the marriage.

To the extent that she tries to "protect" the affair partner, make excuses for the affair partner, continue to portray the affair partner as a "good" and "honorable" and "decent" person, it will feel that she is not fighting for the marriage.

All of this stuff is on a sliding scale. The more of it there is, and the worse she does it, the more you will have trouble believing ever that she is truly fighting for the marriage. The more she does willingly and voluntarily without being asked, or with being asked and not giving resistance, the faster you will heal.

In my opinion, a lot of this has to be done in the initial stages right after discovery. It can be made up for later, but the longer it takes, the more doubt there will be. I give anyone a lot of credit if they hang in and they are not getting these things, but I also question why they are willing to put up with it.

Assuming your wife had secret communications with the other man, did she offer you all passwords and access to all devices? Did she block him on Facebook and on her phone and on her email? Try to let you know where she is, especially at times of day she used for hookups with other man? Did she offer to combine her email account into yours so you could see all messages? Did she do what you needed to re-establish trust? My wife offered to delete Facebook entirely and to get a cell phone with no texting. I have kids and those are avenues of communication that are used for school and activity related communications, so it was not practical for us, but I appreciated that my wife offered and took that as a good sign that she wanted to make me feel safe in the relationship, it showed me that SHE was actually actively thinking of ways to fix things, and it wasn't all just me.

After this initial phase, where all the truth is out, contact has ended, accountability for the affair has been accepted, then it just comes down to doing things that will help you heal.

I am over two years out and consider myself reconciled. Here are some things my wife did, either on her own, or with me asking just once with no resistance: Got rid of anything that I said reminded me of the affair, for example, there were "songs" she and other man had, she owned the CDs and liked this music prior to the affair, used to listen to this stuff all the time prior to the affair but also especially during the affair. Since the affair was discovered and I mentioned how those songs were a trigger to me, she took all of those CDs and threw them in the trash in front of me. If that music comes on the radio in the car, she changes the channel, if I say it's OK I'm over it you can listen to that stuff again, she says no, the thoughts of those songs disgust me now. That's just one example, but whatever my triggers were, if she could, she took some actions to alleviate them, usually unprompted by me.

I used to tell her during the first year or so afterward things like, "I don't trust you" and "Whatever you're doing it's not enough, I've got one foot out the door, you better step it up." She would only reply with something like "I'm sorry I hurt you and I will never forgive myself and I will spend the rest of our marriage making it up to you."

There was another thread on here somewhere about financial restitution for money spent on other man, personally, it's not something that would help me, but if she spent money on other man and is willing to downsize her car or sacrifice something else she normally would spend money on for herself in order to make amends, that is something else to consider as a way of fighting for the marriage.

blakesteele posted 8/9/2014 04:18 AM

Aaahhhh. Fighting for your M. Interesting topic. As a person with CoD tendencies and a part of repeated CoD cycles there was a noticeable lack of fighting in our original M.
Neither if us being authentic, both quite proud and comfortable in playing our respective parts in this non-hostile but grossly unhealthy and unfulfilling way to do M.

The only thing my wife was tempted to fight for was to keep her A alive. Nothing else mattered. She checked out of our M and her other relationships as a regular part of coping with life. She was there physically....willing to help out at times....but was largely an island to herself. Started that pattern as a child growing up in an alcoholic home.

I have compassion for her but am learning that does NOT mean owning her shit or taking on all of her burdens.

I see her learning to authentically invest in her relationship with has been a process. She still sometimes withdraws when I struggle with my pain. Reverts to sarcasm and defensiveness in an effort to goad me back into my CoD role at times. silver lining to this is her involvement and engagement with me is less and less important to me, her control she has over me is waining as I learn to self-control myself (a strong challenge for a CoD with abandonment fears). Silver lining????? I pray it is! I find her choice to withdraw, use sarcasm, and get defensice in the light it always belonged.....a reflection of her not me. This is HUGE for a CoD!!!!!

I a also pray that someday I will be in a healthy M with a committed woman. I pray that is my current wife. I am taking as many steps as I can to make that a reality. Regardless of Gods will for my relationship with my current wife, I know the pain and hard work required now will produce healthy fruits in the future.

Not really helping you much on what a FWW fighting for her M looks like....but felt compelled to nudge you to find and work on YOU. I gotta believe when a WS turns a real corner in their journey away from affair-like life coping skills....the BS will witness what authentic fighting for your M looks like.

Just like fighters have different styles in the ring, WS's will differ in what their "fighting for their M" looks like.

Limbo land is NOT a fight of any sort.

You reckon that is why you posted? Your wife kinda near you but looking around for another a sort of "crap....I got a lot of shit to shovel here....surely I could find another easy way out of the mess I made in the arms of another man" way?

Oh....and it's mist certainly not what other normal couples do. Smile. That's a WS wish come true!!! "Let's just pretend I didn't just atom bomb an entire family and have regular date-nights. We're all good. See?"

The battle has changed.

Keep the faith.

God is with us all.

[This message edited by blakesteele at 4:26 AM, August 9th (Saturday)]

AFrayedKnot posted 8/9/2014 08:46 AM

I don't know if it is anywhere near healthy but I tested her a lot!!!

It took me a long time to realize that my fWS personality was not one to take the lead and carry the weight of R. She is not necessarily a planner. I had to come to accept that as simply a character trait.

She fought for us through compliance. There was never a time that she refused a suggestion that I thought would help us. Some things bordered on bizarre. She may have said "I don't know if that is a good idea" and I would either change my mind or we would try it anyway.

I also tested her by holding nothing back. I told her every graphic thought, feeling, and mind movie that I had. She never said stop. She let me get it out.


She worked on herself to make herself healthy through Books, IC, and Step Work.That is her process though.

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