Forum Archives

Return to Forum List

WS Levels of Providing Comfort During Reconciliation

You are not logged in. Login here or register.

djla2929 posted 8/11/2014 02:52 AM

All- I couldn't sleep and had a few late night thoughts. After reading "What the WS/BS Must Do to Reconcile" in the healing library I got to asking myself "To what degree should my WW go to help comfort me when I need it, when I trigger, etc?"

A brief example, I'm tossing and turning...trying to deal with my normal bedtime, negative thought battles. I toss and turn for a while, then hop out of bed, turn on the laptop and start looking for the end of the internet (and to check out the latest on SI of course:) She's obviously awake when I get out of bed. I think it would be a nice gesture if the wife simply asked if everything was alright, if there's anything wrong, if there's anything she can do to help, and at the very least try to get me to come back to bed.

In general, I believe my WW is doing what she thinks is appropriate and to a large degree she is...but it's almost as if I want her to do more. If I've had specific requests I have asked it of her and she's been receptive. But again, I feel like I shouldn't have to ask and that she makes every possible effort (in all situations), to go out of her way to help. Am I out of line to expect that level of comfort/(re)commitment during reconciliation? I feel way too needy and I don't want to over burden her. I'm not in her shoes, but if I were the WS, I believe I'd jump at ANY opportunity to help ease the pain that I caused. I know I'm probably preaching to the choir, but I'm interested to hear your thoughts.

Not.the.Big.Easy posted 8/11/2014 05:10 AM

Ask her to. She probably feels guilty because she 'knows' she's the reason your tossing and turning. If she doesn't know that you'd like that to feel wanted, loved, needed, then it may never happen.

She may also feel that if she constantly dotes on you that you'll feel overwhelmed and angry. I know with my ex it could be like "honey, I need you to reach out more" and when she did "growl, snarl, snarl". Of course that could happen to you, and she should know that it might.

Anyhow, I hope everything works out for you and you feel better about this soon.

Neznayou posted 8/11/2014 06:07 AM

I am a WW. Part of what I'm trying to overcome (and this may or may not be true for your WW) is a deep-seated aversion to conflict. (Please note I said *part*.) Even now, two years out, I still feel myself pull away a little. I'm teaching myself to lean into it. Pulling back from my BH is the last thing he needs. I couldn't identify my own emotions or respond well to anyone else's especially if I thought I was the cause (in this case, it is, but not always). If it wasn't "happy", I didn't know what to do, so I hid. I would pretend to be asleep because I wasn't (am still not?) emotionally mature enough to help him with the pain I caused.

DrJekyll posted 8/11/2014 07:55 AM

as a WS, whenever I am awake and my BS gets out of bed. I GET MY ASS OUT OF BED. You WW may not understand how to get down into HELL with you. That is what my BS is looking for. So it means the world to her when I get up.

you say your WW is doing what she thinks is appropriate. IMO doing what she thinks is right, is what got her into this mess in the first place. The reality is she is doing what she feels comfortable with.

I'm not in her shoes, but if I were the WS, I believe I'd jump at ANY opportunity to help ease the pain that I caused.

This is exactly correct. How far are you from DDay?

sisoon posted 8/11/2014 11:07 AM

Gently, your inability to sleep is really your problem. Your W can't get inside your head and make the pain go away. She can't read your mind, either.

The best thing you can do for yourself and for her is to ask her to do something, even if it's just to sit up with you or listen to you say, 'I'd like you to do something for me, but I haven't figured out what that is yet.'

Stay off the web - when you can't sleep, stay with yourself to figure out what you want. (Easier said than done, of course.)

I hated it when my W tried to read my mind after d-day - she had no understanding of what I was going through, and thrashing around to find something to do, just didn't help. YMMV.

[This message edited by sisoon at 11:09 AM, August 11th (Monday)]

Lark posted 8/11/2014 11:26 AM

I think it's fine to want the WS to do more - that you want/need that means you need more comfort and that's totally normal being a BS. We're in a shitty position that's horribly unfair and not by our choice.

Many adults though -a nd not just WS, but all adults - do not necessarily know how to offer comfort. Especially depending on their FOO and coping mechanisms and how they handle issues outside of an affair. So I think communication is key. Expecting a WS to understand what you need, and then resenting because they aren't doing it, is not going to help anybody. Opening up those vulnerabilities and putting expectations and needs plainly out on the table can be a huge aspect of learning to communicate and grow together. Turning towards each other rather than testing or expecting of the other without verbalizing it.

So if you wake up and you need your WS, say "I am having a hard time sleeping, can you sit with me?"

I've had many nights now where I'll lay in bed and the mind movies will start or my thoughts will start cycling. I turn and wake my husband up and tell him I (a) need to talk about it or (b) (often right now) would like for him to talk with me so that I can redirect my thoughts or even sometimes (c) I am having rough thoughts at would like his comfort.

djla2929 posted 8/11/2014 13:06 PM

Sisoon/Lark- sound advice! Much appreciated.

[This message edited by djla2929 at 1:06 PM, August 11th (Monday)]

strengthandhope posted 8/11/2014 19:34 PM

I am struggling with this right now. I was triggered last Saturday when we went to a club with some friends. My WH is a really good looking man, and the ladies at this particular place are forward and out to party. When my husband would walk me to the rest room and wait outside for me, each time he was in a conversation with a woman when I would come out. We agreed after DD that conversations with strange women is crossing a boundary.

Yes, I was there, no he didn't try to be sneaky and the women left after I joined him and he made it known he was married....but. it still triggered me and made me feel uncomfortable. When I brought it up affer we got home, instead of trying to understand my feelings and make me feel better, he defended what happened and played it off like I was overreacting. Then he passed out while I was brushing my teeth after we were teasing each other all
Night and talked about being intimate. So I felt rejected as well as triggered.

When I brought it up the next day, I got similar rresponses to my concerns. I even told him my feelings were hurt that he just passed out on me. I haven't been able to shake the sadness. He has been supportive and remorseful through this process...but I feel this is a roadblock that I need his help getting over. I plan to have another conversation tonight and eloquently present my position and what I need from him.

It is frustrating, and I agree with what a previous poster said about the WS and how if they were the WS, they would do anything to help right the wrongs that have been caused.

TrampledRose posted 8/11/2014 20:56 PM

My WH keeps acting like he just wants to ignore it and have me instantly "better" and trusting again... He gets almost mad when I am struggling. Avoiding the broken problem they created seems to be a common reaction. Keep us posted!

UndecidedinMA posted 8/11/2014 21:10 PM

I have learned through this process to - ASK & TELL!

Tell him what need. Sometimes they just don't think like we do - blue is blue to us but it might be white to them. We have a whole different set of emotions. Some of the good advice I got from MC was - FWSO can't read my mind and sometimes he just doesn't put 2 & 2 together in the same way. Better to speak up than sit & stew.

Ask for what you need. Again the whole kinda bs(not betrayed spouse the other bs) of Men are from Mars does apply. A BS even one who is so trying & doing everything possible can miss a signal.

Now if you ask & tell once and it keeps happening then I think WS is just not listening, a huge problem.

RidingHealingRd posted 8/11/2014 21:36 PM

When I was unable to fall asleep due to all of those horrendous thoughts I never hesitated to kick my sleeping WS and say, "If I can't sleep neither will you"

I would then spend the rest of the night drilling him with 100s of questions, many had been asked 100x before. He would stay up for as long as it took, often times staying up all night. WH would then exiting the bed, shower, and head out to work with as little as 2 hours sleep. He did what he was required to do = everything!

It is quite possible that your WW is unwilling to say anything because the topic is so emotional and painful. However, this is no excuse for silence.

Why not let you WW know that it bothers you when she witnesses you tossing/turning and exiting the bed, and fails to say anything?

My Wh told me that he would spend the rest of his life making it up to me, making my life happy again. I am holding him to this promise... every single day.

strengthandhope posted 8/27/2014 19:29 PM

I ended up reiterating how that night made me feel when we had some alone time. I told him that rather than being defensive, just showing some understanding that my feelings were hurt is all I needed. He understood a little better after I brought it up a few days later. The point was not me blaming him and him needing to defend what happened, it was trying to have empathy when I am having a hard time. We are good now. I am glad I didnt just let it go and we had a good conversation.

Catwoman posted 8/27/2014 19:39 PM

Thie "I shouldn't have to ask" attitude is toxic to any relationship.

You should ask for what you need. If you need her to pick up on what might be to her very subtle signals, you need to talk to her about it. The expectation that your partner can read your mind and intuit what you need leads to unfulfilled needs, which leads to resentment. Resentment is poison to a relationship.

Some people need more guidance than others.

If the response isn't what you need to a directly communicated need, then you need to work it out in MC.

I dare say that many seeds of resentment are sown by this attitude and some bloom to full blown anger because of something the angry person is unwilling to communicate.

Don't derail your reconciliation with this. Reconciliation is learning new and more productive ways to communicate. This is one of them.


Bostonborn posted 8/27/2014 21:31 PM

I understand where you're coming from, I feel this way too. I too say "I shouldn't have to ask" but mostly because I've already asked and explained what I need several times. I think that at a certain point THEY should be the ones asking. For me, asking again makes me feel pathetic. I don't know the answer to your question, I just wanted to let you know that you are not the only one struggling with these feelings.

peoplepleaser posted 8/27/2014 22:40 PM

There are so many insightful and great responses on here to this issue. And all of them are probably valid in the context of the relationship in which they occurred.

I agree wholeheartedly that you cannot assume your WS knows your needs. Yes, I like to think if it were me I would be up and available every time. I'll never know. What I do know is that I require less sleep than others to function. I know that my WS requires much more sleep than I do. I know that if she spent every night I couldn't sleep attending to my needs she would lose her ability to think clearly and be there for me. Often she tries, though, especially if I ask. However, I end up feeling rejected because she just can't stay awake and that's a horrible position to put her in. When I'm angry I think (and sometimes even say) that she should. She was able to stay up late and sext with another woman to mess this all up, so she should be willing to do that to fix this. But my logical side recognizes that there is a huge difference in attention and exhausting stress between the two if them, as unfair as it feels.

Also, we soooo want to believe that our WS's are so remorseful that they will do anything and everything above and beyond what we ask to help us heal. However, remorse doesn't play out the sane in everyone. I can't imagine the nausea of knowing what I was capable of doing to hurt the one I love. The need to avoid the pain and/or conflict that results from responding all the time and trying to focus on being compassionate and sharing in a way that minimizes rather than presents triggers. Or even the feelings of worthlessness that accompany the sheer heart brokenness they caused and the way that effects their ability to feel worthy if even providing comfort.

Often times we do ask for what we need and those needs go unmet. It would be so much easier to have our WS's respond to what we need without asking because any more feelings of rejection surrounding this situation are unbearable. There have been times that I feel I've voiced my needs until I'm blue in the face and yet they still go unmet or misunderstood. I like to think it's without intention, but that's so hard to realize or wrap my brain around. How can they truly be remorseful and totally ignore this very important need I have that I've repeated over and over again?

If voicing your need is an issue, then figuring out why is important. Is it because she hasn't in the recent past? Is it because you feel unworthy of having them fulfilled? Is it because you feel that you need more than she's willing or than is necessary? Is it possible that you are aware that anything she does wouldn't help anyway?

That's a trap we unknowingly set for them too. We think we need something from them, and yet when they provide it there is little relief, it triggers more pain, or we unintentionally set up an opportunity to punish them by berating them or asking for more.

Maybe it's ok that you recognize she's tired or should be exhausted from doing all she has been doing. In the end it's important that we all (WSs and BSs) recognize that we are ultimately our own provider of needs in life. A relationship, I'm now realizing, affords is an opportunity to share a life ore fulfilling than we could have on our own, but is not a place to expect our basic needs to be met constantly. Yes, my want for sexual attention should remain in the relationship, but the need it fulfills is being worthy of it. I can meet that need without sexual attention from my partner (or anyone else) by doing things for myself that feed it, such as work out or dress nice. Self soothing is so important in a relationship. It revivers pressure from the other person so that when we are in distress they have an opportunity to offer comfort as a plus rather than an obligation. And it's so nice to know that someone else wants to help rather than feels obligated. It feels more loving. So these times may be the perfect times that we need to explore ways to do that.

I'm not saying that our needs as BSs aren't paramount or appropriately above and beyond while we navigate the healing process in our relationships. Nor am I saying that our WSs shouldn't feel an urge to meet our needs for security, comfort, compassion, understanding, and validation. If they were able to do what they did and then continually refrain from providing that for us as we heal in the relationship we have our answer as far as reconciling. What I'm suggesting is that at some point we need to begin meeting them on our own so that we establish better ways of being as we heal and avoid continuing a pattern of need fulfillment that will eventually become maladaptive to the relationships we want and deserve.

In the end, if this is a need you have that will help you heal in the relationship with her by having her meet it, then you need to discuss it with her. Be prepared to explore ways to meet it on your own if it's too much for her or for the future as you both heal. And be aware that there may come a time when she attempts to fulfill your needs because she feels obligated but is unable to recognize her limits. Attempts to fulfill needs by WSs when they have reached a limit can add more hurt and feelings of betrayal or reflection to an already difficult process of rebuilding trust.

All couples have their unique patterns of relationship issues that contribute to or exacerbate the healing process. I have to constantly remind myself that just because other WSs show more stamina for compassion, remorse and reassurance doesn't necessarily mean that mine is jilting me, holding back, or is not remorseful. Sometimes it means that our situation is different, she is different and I am different. Some patterns in relationships healing from infidelity need to be paid attention to, but others need to be put in context.

I too suffer from lack of sleep. I wish there was a hotline we could call for help with this. I disagree that coming to SI is unhelpful. There have been times that coming here when I couldn't sleep helped me. However, it is a tool to be used with caution. If your need is validation and not feeling alone or crazy, then it's great. If you find that it revs you up or exacerbates your negative emotions, then maybe journaling or distraction is a better way to go.

I hope you find some peace.

strengthandhope posted 9/13/2014 21:26 PM

I am having a rough day. My SAWH and I had an agreement shortly after DD that we would evaluate our R and he would lead the conversation every 90 days. He has not done that. It has been 6 months as of September 1. He has been doing what he needs as far as IC and attending SAA meetings. But avoiding what we have agreed upon is really bothering me.

Last night I told him I was disappointed that he hasn't led the conversation and I feel neglected. He started yelling at me and talking over me when I was trying to calmly communicate with him. We slept apart. Today he hasn't acknowledged what happened last night.

I am extremely sad and feel like I don't matter to him. I am tired of being hurt and ignored. We went through this at the 90 day mark,only I was much more vulnerable and initiated the conversation that ended well enough, but thought I made it clear that he was to lead these things. We don't often talk about my struggle with what he has done. We agreed that we would sort through the hard things every 90 days.

I am so close to starting the 180. I hate having my heart stomped on and used every 90 days.

Level of comfort? Right now is in the negative.

sisoon posted 9/14/2014 13:06 PM


IMO, you've raised a very important issue that's different from the topic of this thread.

It would be much better for you to start your own thread. If you do, you'll get feedback tailored for you.

I'm sorry you're having a rough day. I'm concerned about your H's response to you. Do you have anyone to talk to about this, like an MC or his IC?

(If you call his IC and leave a message, make sure you tell him you want to share some info with him, not get info from him. Otherwise, he'll assume you want to grill him, and he might not call back.)

Return to Forum List

© 2002-2018 ®. All Rights Reserved.     Privacy Policy