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Neznayou posted 8/10/2014 08:36 AM

I can fix only myself.
I fix my shit so that I am emotionally healthier.
Being emotionally healthy makes me a better human and therefore a better partner.
If I'm putting effort into fixing myself, where does my BH come in?
Certainly, he's not going to wait around in the hopes that one day I'll come to him and say, "Look, I did it. I fixed my shit. We can be happy together now."
And, how will he or I know when my shit is actually fixed?

AFrayedKnot posted 8/10/2014 08:54 AM

In my opinion...all of it comes first.

Communication is key!!!

We took our "temperature" every night and weekly. We put the energy where it was needed. Some days were focused on me. Some days were focused on us. On better days she had more opportunity to focus on herself.

Also in my opinion there is no fixed. It is a life long process of improvement for everyone.

steadychevy posted 8/10/2014 08:59 AM

This is a very, very good question. BS here. I don't know the answer. My WW is really working on herself - reading books, scouring SI and other sites, etc. She has years of therapy in front of her (IMO) - FOO, CSA, emotional and physical abandonment, rape followed by a destructive path from age 17 to 18.5 of frequent ONS, gangbangs, girlfriend swapping, sex with a man almost old enough to be her grandfather. Then she met me. I didn't know. She settled down until she was 45, last daughter in university, empty nest, she was a SAHM but returned to workforce and was very successful but she met COWOM there. Years of extreme hurt, shame, hiding and lying to overcome. None of it visible. Beautiful, intelligent, personable, a smile that lights up the room but periods of being down for some reason. It will take years of therapy, IMO.

So she is working on herself and she needs to but we seem to be on the back burner. Can I wait (I am 63) what seems to be years to me to get to we. Still no timeline, no personal history, no identification of needs. She answers questions but so many IDK, IDR.

So, I think you have posed a verry, very important question. I hope it generates a lot of responses. Those responses help so many of us. Thank you for no STOP sign.

authenticnow posted 8/10/2014 09:03 AM

I think they are not mutually exclusive. And it's not a finite period of time.

I also think that there will not be a day that I can say 'my shit is fixed'. We're all works in progress. So, while I am definitely much healthier than I was 7 years ago, I will continue to be mindful of my areas that need work and live in constant awareness of self and my relationships.

You'll know when the 'big work' is happening and when it's working. You'll feel a shift within, you'll start to feel lighter and healthier and happier. You'll know your new patterns are better than the old ones, it will feel real to you.

Neznayou posted 8/10/2014 09:09 AM

AFrayedKnot, what does taking your temperature look like? Our IC/MC (who's advice has been called into question more than once by the SI community) thinks that we are working on ourselves too individually and not working together as much as we ought to be.

SteadyChevy, I hope that someday I (and we) can get to a maintenance dose of introspection, questioning and overall self-work.

BTW, thanks for chiming in, guys. I really appreciate insight provided by other BHs. I think it gives me a peek into my BH.

[This message edited by Neznayou at 9:19 AM, August 10th (Sunday)]

Neznayou posted 8/10/2014 09:17 AM

AuthenticNow, does anyone else see and believe the changes? If not, it seems pointless.

authenticnow posted 8/10/2014 09:21 AM

The only 'anyone else' that mattered to me was myself and BH. When I was genuinely investing in myself and the marriage, I felt it. Once I started to sustain the new patterns, thought processes, commitment consistently, BH started to see it too.

ETA Either way, it really isn't pointless because, bottom line, you're doing it for you.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 9:22 AM, August 10th (Sunday)]

Neznayou posted 8/10/2014 09:36 AM

How does that differ from all the other selfish things I've done?
I had an Affair because I wanted to.
I pushed my Husband out emotionally because I wanted to.
I made unilateral decisions because I wanted to.
Now I want to fix me because I want to be here for him.
It's all about me and what I want.
He has said many times before that I'm going to do what I want to and if it benefits him, great, but he isn't counting on it any more.

AFrayedKnot posted 8/10/2014 10:31 AM

Whoa...Long answer that I will try to simplify

We had Sunday meetings that were very business like. At our first one, together we brainstormed "To Do" ideas for:
Healing Herself (SI, IC, 12 Step Work, Hobbies, ect)
Healing Myself (SI, 12 Step Work, Yoga, Hobbies, ect)
Healing Our Relationship (Praying together, Reading together, Date Nights, Quality Time, ect)

We then took those ideas and broke them up into daily, weekly, and monthly goals. On Sundays we would check our progress toward those goals, set priorities, and add new ideas. We would also discuss finances, childcare, upcoming events, and other general "housekeeping" issues.

The nightly meetings were much more intimate. We had a list of questions that we both answered out loud and wrote down in a journal. The questions evolved over time but were geared to check our "temperature". Our latest list of questions are:
1. What did I do for healing today?
2. What feelings did I have today? and Why?
3a. How did I see you Honor me today?
b. How did you Honor me that I did not see?
c. How could I have Honored you better?
4. What am I grateful for today?

Neznayou posted 8/10/2014 10:47 AM

Thanks, AFrayedKnot. Did you use a guide book of any sort, or did you just make it up as you went along? Did she lead the way in establishing and maintaining these meetings? I'm going to assume that you worked into the schedule a contingency plan for unexpectedly busy nights or illness or some such. Do you still hold the meetings? I'm going to further assume that they change in tone over time, yes? Maybe this would be a good approach for us to use in the absence of sound (or questionable) counseling.

ReconcilingWife posted 8/10/2014 11:44 AM

AFrayedKnot, I love that list. I might borrow it! Neznayou, something structured like that sounds like a good idea for you. A few days ago I read "How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair", and now my WH is reading it. I found it spoke to me (in that the advice it gave to betrayers sounded spot-on most of the time), and now he is finding it very helpful. Have you had a look at any books that could give you the guidance you're not getting from counselling?

It certainly is complicated--the simultaneous healing/fixing individually and fixing the relationship. I suspect that's part of why the experts always stress how HARD reconciliation is.

In my case, I have more or less agreed to wait around and see if he is/can be fixed (recognizing of course that no human being is ever a completed project). He has very serious FOO issues. Our therapists work together and consult about our case. Once he and his therapist have made some progress, she will meet with me (I'm not sure if he will be present for this or not), and give me a prognosis.

I have committed to wait out this process: I won't leave until I have a clear sense from a third party professional of what I might be able to expect from him in the future.

But it's very tricky, because at the same time, I have this enormous and more recent trauma inflicted by him. Traditionally I have been the caretaker in our relationship (which is probably something that helped set the stage for infidelity), so it also demands that he take on an unfamiliar caretaking role while dealing in an intensive way with his own problems.

For my WH, I think part of the motivation to keep going with the therapy even though there are no guarantees that it will fix the marriage is a healthy selfishness. Not only is he completely owning responsibility for the affair, he's also recognizing that he damaged himself in addition to damaging me. He realizes that regardless of what happens to the marriage, he needs to do this work for himself--that even if I leave him, he will be better off for it, and our children will be better off for him having "fixed" himself.

Without this "selfish" angle, I think it would be easier for him to be discouraged. If we were having a bad day, for instance, and he felt utterly hopeless about the marriage, and then went off to therapy, if he were ONLY doing it for the marriage, maybe he wouldn't put as much into it. So a touch of selfishness in this regard--doing it for himself AND for the marriage--is probably a good thing.

Merida posted 8/10/2014 13:22 PM

so many thank yous for no stop sign

dunno how similar but all I can offer is a second-ing YES to AFrayedKnot's "all of it"

Yes the balance and timing of prioritizing per day is tricky. I tried explaining to my WH that I expect 100% but that doesn't translate to "being perfect". So yah, I ask him to be 100% focused on fixing himself and 100% invested on healing it's like the sports comment or sales buy-in = a best effort / all in = totally dedicated meaning for 100% twice over

I've found that when WH works on himself regarding focusing on the family needs, on being a better listener, not getting defensive when I open up and share a hurt (mind you, my responsibility is to focus on stating it as "I feel and My fear etc. not me being judgmental or in his head) the result is a better overall US

So I agreed to be patient. I focus working on being a better ME as he works on digging thru IC and his whys etc.

dunno if the journey gets to a point of "Look, I did it." but I would like to believe the possibility of feeling love may result from working intently on being loving

how will you know?

relational knowledge = same way you know something is funny ... you just understand humor even if you can't explain it to anyone else and that'll be all that matters - it's between the two of you

[This message edited by Merida at 1:23 PM, August 10th (Sunday)]

WalkinOnEggshelz posted 8/10/2014 18:52 PM

Who comes first?

Well, I guess some people are so broken that they have to fix themselves first before anything else. But from experience, I believe it really needs to be all inclusive if the goal is to R.

I agree with AN, in the fact that your shit will never be "fixed". It's will always be a work in progress. So of you wait until you have fixed yourself, your BH will get tired of the wait as that day may be years upon years away. It's unfair to ask him to wait don't you think?

Work on yourself, work on the M, and work on helping your BH heal all at the same time. Why are you struggling so much in regards to helping him heal and working on the M? Have you specifically asked him what he needs/wants from you to help this M survive? Are you becoming a safe partner to him? Are you putting effort into the M as whole and being sensitive to how he feels in regards to your A? Or are you ignoring them because you are too focused on fixing you?

Neznayou posted 8/11/2014 05:56 AM

WOES, Sometimes I feel completely overwhelmed by all the shit that needs fixed - me, him, us. On really bad days I throw in stuff like the kids, my eating habits, working out, learning my new job (and changing my way of thinking about that). There is so much I broke and so much that is broken. It's maybe a little like seeing a house the morning after a storm. Where do you start cleaning it?

DrJekyll posted 8/11/2014 07:29 AM

Sometimes I feel completely overwhelmed by all the shit that needs fixed - me, him, us.

Of course you are going to feel overwhelmed. We all do. I refer to it as my "Everest" Some will say "don't try to eat the elephant in one bite" for me I disagree.

that being said, all 3 tie together. so you are working on you, you go through pain, you share the pain with your BH. Here is what you have just done. worked on your issue, shared your true feelings with your BH encouraging a safe environment, and also worked on communication in the M.

When your BH, shares his pain with you. You validate and take in his feelings. This again works on all three parts. You get the idea here.

Where do you start cleaning it?

At the beginning of course. haha But seriously, the crucial element to work on first is communication. without it, you will never create a safe environment for you or your BS. IMHO

lovemywife4ever posted 8/11/2014 08:03 AM

Maybe fixing yourself has to do with yourself seeing and feeling changes. Then the spouse will see them, too.

floridaredman posted 8/11/2014 08:49 AM

Our IC/MC (who's advice has been called into question more than once by the SI community)

From looking at this story from both you and your BH side, I think that your MC/IC will be the death knell of your marriage. She has no empathy for how much pain you caused your husband and I don't think you really grasp what you did to him.

He's acting out of pain and dealing with it practically on his own. You are stuck asking who comes first, but if you had true remorse you wouldn't have to ask that. You would be too busy fixing yourself while you are making him feel safe all at the same time.

AFrayedKnot posted 8/11/2014 09:29 AM

Did you use a guide book of any sort, or did you just make it up as you went along?

We took ideas from books we read, but mostly made it up as we went along.

Did she lead the way in establishing and maintaining these meetings?

Establishing them was 50/50. She encourages the Sunday meetings more. I push the nightly ones more. So it works out pretty even. Neither are met with resentment.

I'm going to assume that you worked into the schedule a contingency plan for unexpectedly busy nights or illness or some such. Do you still hold the meetings?

I just looked. We have not done them since April. When one of us feel distant or disconnected we start doing them again, because they work. There have been ebbs and flows.
A big reason for a structured inventory is for it to become second nature. Only speaking for myself, because of the time spent answering the questions I am used to naming and describing my feelings, seeing where I was honored, feeling grateful, communicating weekly plans, needs and wants, all in the moment instead of having to wait until the end of the day or week.

I'm going to further assume that they change in tone over time, yes?

Again, ebbs and flows. By writing them down we could see patterns around certain dates, times of the year or life occurrences (TMI, her monthly cycle). We could then acknowledge and prepare for them. But generally the tone improved over time.

wk55hn posted 8/11/2014 10:06 AM

If you put the other man first during the affair, and you don't put your husband first after the affair, in my opinion, the marriage is doomed to fail.

After I confronted my wife about her affair, she made me feel like I came first. One time about a couple of weeks later she told me she was too tired to do something I wanted to do and I told her, "you never were too tired for other man" (I didn't know that to be true, but I had seen a lot of messages between them and she said "no" to him zero times).

I wanted to be the love of my wife's life. If I wasn't going to be that, then I didn't want to stay married. I had seen too many messages between her and other man. I KNEW what she had done for him. If she couldn't put AT LEAST the same effort in for me, then I wouldn't feel that I was the love of her life; I would feel that I was the guy she needed to pay the bills and help raise the kids and keep up appearances, and I had no interest in being that guy. So, initially, after the affair, it was all about me, I had better come first or else I wouldn't be here. Also, prior to the affair, in our marriage of 20 years, I felt I ALWAYS had been the one to sacrifice for her to make her happy. And look at where that got me. I think she took for granted the things I did for her, but not the things she did for me.

Anyway, my opinion is that he has to come first until he feels that he is the love of your life and not the other man.

RMarred posted 8/13/2014 08:55 AM

Excellent question; one (of many) I'm grappling with now. Perhaps I'm wrong in doing so, but I find myself currently trying to balance fixing us AND fixing myself. Perhaps they go hand in hand... or perhaps one detracts from the other. It feels like the right, necessary, and even deserved thing to have to do though, to truly fix the "us" and the "you" as quickly as you can; to show that you want to, to do so without being excessively asked, to heal and repair and keep it that way for a very, very long time, to reinstill trust and faith. If you can.

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