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I'm feeling ..... nothing

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WhatsRight posted 8/10/2014 19:38 PM

After 7 years post infidelity, 3 unsuccessful attempts at counseling, doing all the work to try to save our marriage, and now starting IMAGO therapy - something really odd is happening....

I am feeling nothing. In the counseling sessions, I am expressing my thoughts and feelings and so is my husband for once. But, I seem to have lost my passion for trying to "fix things". My husband even said last week that he was afraid that what we were doing now in this therapy would be too little too late that he was afraid I had given up on the marriage.

I do not know whether this is true. Last week there was an inference about me needing to be vulnerable and I cried. I guess that is "feeling" something, right? When the counselor asked me about it I just told him there was not enough time to go into it because it was at the end of the session. He said that he wanted to hear all about it.

I literally have no idea if my being upset at the thought of opening up myself and being vulnerable again was due to the fact that I still care? Or if it was due to the fact that I just cannot imagine ever letting anyone "in" again.

One of the things we are supposed to be doing is to do something special every day to let our spouse know that we "love" them. We have not used those words in quite a long time. My husband has texted "I love you" several times this week. I cannot bring myself to do it.

This is so bizarre coming from me. If you are not familiar with my situation, it has been seven years since my husband was unfaithful. I have begged, cried, screamed, etc. to get him to reconnect with me. I have told him many times that I feared that by the time he decided to reconnect with me, I would not be emotionally available. I guess that is what he was referring to last week when he said he thought I may have given up on our marriage.

Has anyone else had a similar experience? If so, was it a wall that you had put up for protection? Or had your love truly completely died?

What is wrong with me? I am getting what I have wanted with all my heart for so long but I feel emotionally numb.


WhatsRight posted 8/10/2014 20:31 PM

Unashamedly bumping my own post. I need some insight!

OakStreet posted 8/10/2014 20:37 PM

So sorry, WhatsRight - I don't have any advice, just wanted you to know you've been heard.

I am 10 months out, and after going through false R, my heart is numb as well and I can't say "I love you" back to my WH.

My adult children found out about the A this week and there is so much tension and emotions flying around.

Things are so difficult.

I literally have no idea if my being upset at the thought of opening up myself and being vulnerable again was due to the fact that I still care? Or if it was due to the fact that I just cannot imagine ever letting anyone "in" again.

I expect others will come soon with more insight.


kiki1 posted 8/10/2014 20:44 PM

(((Whats right)))

I dont know how much help I can be but I think I understand.

I have things now I've always wanted. I've paid a high price though and sometimes that makes me feel empty inside.

Sometimes I feel as if I'm settling for so much less than what I hoped for.

I try to stay focused on the good. Pay attention to the changes we've made. Accept what has happened. Most times it helps.


stunnedin12 posted 8/10/2014 20:59 PM

I hear you. After multiple breaks in contacting chickie, wh has finally pulled his head out of his arse. However, after that last known contact, I have felt n.o.t.h.i.n.g. toward him. Not a blooming thing. I am cordial to him, but eh - I see him trying (really trying) and still eh ....

However, (and I couldn't gather from your post), I DO feel towards others. I still experience joy, sorrow, happiness, anger, etc. with other people so I am not thinking depression. Do you experience joy, etc. with others?

I can't tell you if you're protecting yourself or if the feelings are just gone as I'm still trying to figure that out for myself.

cantgetup posted 8/10/2014 21:12 PM

I wonder, often, if my attempts at detachment had unintended consequences. Ya know? Like I became too detached from WS. Like I let the detachment go too far. I have a remorseful WS, so it's even more confusing, so I can understand how your situation makes you feel.

purplejacket4 posted 8/10/2014 21:56 PM

Feeling absolutely nothing is a protective mechanism our mind does when we've had too much. Generally given enough time this eases up. I think in the past some term this the plain of lethal flatness.

gonnabe2016 posted 8/10/2014 22:19 PM

WR, anything that is overworked is going to eventually *give out*. You have had to be on *your own* to deal with everything for so long that it is totally understandable (to me anyway) that you can't just say "no harm, no foul" and have life return to puppy dogs and butterflies.

The good news is that your WH is finally attending MC with you. The bad news is that he seems to want a cookie for it.

IIRC, he is physically disabled (in a wheelchair) and you guys have had some serious issues with one of your kids in the past year or so, right?

My husband even said last week that he was afraid that what we were doing now in this therapy would be too little too late that he was afraid I had given up on the marriage.

I do not know whether this is true

FWIW, my perception is that you have never given up on your marriage. My armchair opinion is that you are extremely disappointed in your WH and you may harbor some resentment for having to *shoulder* so much on your own while he was unavailable to you. But I distinctly remember challenging you on your choices. You were staunchly *pro-family*, and had NO problem letting me know that. Every choice you have made has been made with consideration of what will work for you.

he was afraid that what we were doing now in this therapy would be too little too late that he was afraid I had given up on the marriage.
It's good that your WH is expressing himself, but this comes across as kinda whiny/pity party to me. I think that I would inform him that if you had given up on the marriage, he would be sitting across from a D lawyer and not an MC if that were the case.

Perhaps instead of listening to your MC tell you that you need to be vulnerable.....the first agenda item should be for you and your WH to determine what you each feel that your marriage should look like at this point in time. There is so much water under the bridge and you have dealt with so much....that I think that it is really unrealistic (at this point) for you to be expected to be the pro-forma wife or for your marriage to be in anything resembling a *newlywed* stage, kwim?

tl502 posted 8/10/2014 22:35 PM

After finding out that the 18 months of r that my h and I were working on was false, my feelings for my h died. That day, they were just gone. They didn't die like that on dd, they didn't die while he was in the initial fog for 3 weeks, but they absolutely disappeared instantaneously after finding out that he could put me through so much and still keep lying.
Another 18 months have passed and we are approaching our 3 year antiversary. I have watched him commit to nc, he has done everything that I have asked him to do. He has worked on himself to become a better person as well as a better husband. I now know I put up an impenetrable wall that day. I was not about to let myself get hurt anymore. I don't know if my love really died that day, but I absolutely refused to feel it. This past May, I opened my heart a tiny bit to my now remorseful h. As time passes with him doing the things that I need him to do, the right things for us, I feel the ice that I encased my heart in melting a little bit at a time.
I think as I feel more and more safe, the feelings that I once felt for my h are coming back. It seems like I can't help it. I am aware that it is a risk trusting someone that trampled all over you to have access to your heart, but I can't seem to help myself.
I know how you feel about saying I love you. I've said it one time in 3 year where it just came out. The other few times I've said it have been a conscious effort on my part.

Neverwudaguessed posted 8/10/2014 22:39 PM

I don't know your story, but I am wondering if his past behavior was so scary and difficult emotionally that it triggered in you the response to fiercely fight for your marriage, but now after all this time, he has finally begun to do the work, so maybe this has stopped the need in you to fight for the marriage; maybe you never really had the chance to decide what you really want because you were automatically reacting to his attitude and choices?

maybe the others are right, that you are numb in order to keep from being hurt again or because the feelings are too overwhelming to let yourself be that vulnerable to him, or maybe you had the natural reaction to his lack of desire to fight by doing the opposite. Either way, the dreaded time and counseling will help all of this become more clear. In the meantime, remember, you have been through a lot. Take time to focus on yourself. Do things for yourself and enjoy your family. This must be so disconcerting after 7 years of fighting for your marriage. Maybe your brain really is just finding a way to give you a much needed break.

badmedicine posted 8/10/2014 22:43 PM

I have felt this, too, and only 1 year out. I think it is a product of having to detach to protect ourselves and also of having unreciprocated feelings for so long. My WH treated me terribly during our marriage; didn't engage, didn't communicate, didn't reach out. He wasn't complimentary, affectionate, or even conversant. It was a nightmare. After 3 years of trying hard, I kind of ran out of steam. Once the pain of infidelity hit I had to fortify my defenses. Now the thought of letting him in again is terrifying. I agree with gonnabe...maybe talk to MC and change the focus. Mine tried to get me to open up when we were trying to R and I just sat there and stared at her like she was insane. For me I would have needed months of effort from my WH (which he ultimately couldn't provide) before I moved more than an inch. Just getting in the car to go to MC each week was a struggle. You should be easy on yourself, don't let WH or MC or YOU apply any blame. It's been a looong time for you and it is going to take some doing on his part to make this R work. Hang in there.

Ostrich80 posted 8/10/2014 23:51 PM

My first DD was almost 5 yrs ago and I feel next to nothing. I too tried to get ws to connect on some level with me for years. All I got was a blank stare and an "I don't know what you want, I don't understand what you mean" bullshit!! Two years ago I said you have one more chance to get onboard or I'm done trying. Again, nothing. I told him I would not invest emotionally one more second to a one sided marriage. I made myself stop caring. I forced myself to look at all if the text records and made myself numb. It's probably not healthy but necessary for my own self preservation. This past month he has tried being affectionate but his touch makes me jump back. I feel nothing now. It's too late

sarahstar posted 8/11/2014 00:04 AM

I am in the same situation. My WH and I decided to reconcile and everything was going well. Then recently during our reconciliation time, he almost met with someone else but fortuneately came home instead. But since that day, I have felt numb towards him. I know I still love him, but I am wondering if its just normal to switch off feelings to prevent getting hurt again? So I can't really answer your questions but can let you know that others feel the same. It is definitely a strange feeling.

Scubachick posted 8/11/2014 00:55 AM

I've been in therapy a long time and I find that anytime my IC says something and I start crying like that it usually means he's touched on an unprocessed fear or repressed feeling. For example, I was explaining something to him and I will admit I was pretty detatched and emotionless and he replied "that must be incredibly lonely for you" and for some unknown reason (at the time) I just bursted into tears. My reaction surprised me because I never considered myself lonely but the reality is I was lonely. Very lonely but it's something I didn't allow myself to feel. I was ashamed of it and afraid of what it meant.
Maybe being vulnerable is something you fear. The risk of being let down or hurt again is more than you can bare. You become numb and detatched because it's saferthat way.

WhatsRight posted 8/11/2014 08:56 AM

Thank you so much for all of these responses. Y'all are a very wise group

A little more background......In the past 6 to 8 years, my husband and I have lost 13 close family members, including parents, brothers, sisters, etc. His infidelity was during the start of that time period. Our adopted children have some issues related to drug and alcohol abuse during the time there birthmothers were carrying them. Recently, one of our sons spent the entire summer at a wilderness rehab program for behavior and addiction issues. I am spending much of my time caring for the last remaining aging parent that we have. I say these things not to focus on the negative, or to come across as someone who has it so tough because if you are reading this, you know what tough is! It is as a point of reference.

OakStreet... I am so sorry that your children are finding out about things that you did not plan for them to know. Recently, my child with addiction issues in order to hurt me blurted out that he knew that his dad had cheated on me and that he could not believe I stayed. . I know it is heart wrenching.

kiki1... I can really relate to the feeling of settling. This goes against my grain, however, my "need" to do what is right fir my entire family has prevented me from pursuing divorce.

gonnabe2016... You crack me up! Yes, I had to laugh when you said that my husband is finally going to marriage counseling, but it sounds like he wants a cookie for it! But, I have to say that he seems sincere.

The reason that I have not said, "if I had given up on the marriage, I would not be here", is because he has said that to me during the years since his infidelity. "I'm still here, aren't I?" I feel what you're saying, but I did not want to sound as insensitive as he has through the years.

Also, changing the focus of the counseling is a great idea however, because we are doing a specific type of therapy, it is not as easy to redirect. But I will certainly discuss this with our marriage counselor.

It is not like me to shut down or build up walls. I am definitely a person who wants to confront issues, deal with them, heal from them, and move forward. I also can see that sometimes I have shut myself off for so long that I might have feelings I just cannot let them out. For the sake of fear and self protection. I am not telling you all anything you don't understand first hand I know but I have had so much difficulty since learning of my husband's infidelity. Even now, seven years later, sometimes I will have to just scream as I'm driving down the road. I don't know if that is caring for him and the marriage, or just having to release some of the pain.

The way that it came up in our counseling session was this: we are communicating and then mirroring what each other says. When it was my turn to communicate a thought or feeling, I said I thought my husband did not believe that the same rules apply to him as everyone else. After this was discussed for a while, the counselor was talking about how he wanted us to practice using small ways every day to show love. In one way or another, I expressed to him this exercise was difficult for me. He was very empathetic, but said that if we were to reconnect at some point, I would need to allow myself to be vulnerable. That is true, of course, because in order to connect, we must be open which requires a certain measure of vulnerability. When he told me that, I begin to almost unconsciously shake my head from side to side - as if to say, "No, I can't do that.". That is when I started to cry. He asked me what that was all about. I told him that it was too long to get into because it was at the end of our session. I'm guessing he will be visiting that again tomorrow and I am dreading it so badly. He is not aware of the infidelity at this point and I want reconnecting and communication to be the focus of our therapy not revenge. I guess I was actually somehow hoping that the infidelity would not even come up. That if we could learn to talk to each other again that we could pull out of this hole on our own. But I guess it is inevitable that we talk about it with him.

I must admit that, at this point, I am not so much shooting for "Our marriage is better than ever", etc. At this point, I would appreciate just being kind and cooperative as we cohabitate. I am really ashamed of, and concerned about this because I believe this is how my husband has operated for many years and I have wanted to connect on a deeper level so badly. I just don't know if that desire is gone temporarily or permanently.

Thanks again for the insights.

doggiediva posted 8/11/2014 09:33 AM

Yes, what you are going thru resonates with me..

Prior to infidelity, my WH was as uncommunicative as they come unless or until he needed me to do something..He would watch TV 24 -7 when he was at home and I would have to detonate some dynamite or go fart in his face to get his attention..

And then he would gripe and speak to me in an irritated tone of voice..His default communication method was to demand or yell..

I was the main and only stable breadwinner in the marriage..Things around the house fell to our feet before he fixed anything..You get the picture..

This marriage of ours wasn't such a good existence for me..In spite of the good times we did have, I was having thoughts of leaving our marriage and this was before I found out about any infidelity..

My WH remains un remorseful, has made no effort to change... He thinks I am crazy, not somebody to be respected ..After all in his mind his infidelity was caused by my not meeting his needs...Poor needy baby, lol..

I plan to file for D, like you it has been a long road for me..

At the end of the day it is all about measurable actions, more than feelings...

Things you want your WH to do daily to make the marriage feel good/better to you are very specific , right?

If the marriage hasn't been one of daily kindnesses and having each other's back, then your WH needs to shut his mouth and replace his words with actions in order to reach out and reconnect with you..

Even then you may realize that you are just too well done to want to stay...

[This message edited by doggiediva at 9:36 AM, August 11th (Monday)]

WhatsRight posted 8/11/2014 10:47 AM

I understand your point. Actually, my husband is not saying anything to me about my difficulty in doing these daily loving exercises. Only the counselor has told me that I need to work at it. I think my husband realizes that I have done my part.

A part of this therapy is that at the beginning of each session we tell each other three appreciations that we have for them. My husband always mentions how much he appreciates how I have "hung in there" for so many years, and have continued to try to help our relationship.

But, you are right I need to continue to look at the behaviors. For now, he is hanging in there and doing everything he is asked to do it is me that is having difficulty with it. And I am pretty much beating up myself about that.

I know that I have every right to be resentful and tired. However, if we have both decided that we want to try this therapy and try to make it work I should be "all in".

I just don't know how to get there.

doggiediva posted 8/11/2014 16:17 PM

What has he done to make you feel inclined to be all in..Has he asked you what exactly you needed..Or has he just done stuff superficially so that he is socially accepted as a WS who is trying to make your marriage work..There is a difference you know..

Not.the.Big.Easy posted 8/11/2014 16:25 PM

I too have felt (or rather didn't feel) the same as you with my ex.

Look up the lyrics to "Numb" by Disturbed. He took something away from you, he needs to give it back.

Melian40 posted 8/12/2014 03:29 AM

I'm only one year out of DD and what I have so far gathered is this:
When people get hurt they build defenses to protect themselves, but they can't build these walls in a few days. It takes time. During these months after DD if your WS is trully remorseful and quickly starts true R these walls are not ready yet, so he/she can find a way back in your heart, before you kick him/her out of it for good.
My WH TTed, didn't go NC and still lies about A.
But my walls are almost ready now.

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