In other words, once you establish true emotional intimacy in the relationship, you are able to discuss anything. Things like elephants become very small and are no longer feared.
[This message edited by HardenMyHeart at 10:58 AM, August 25th (Sunday)]
If it's just you feeling it, then maybe part of it is him NOT seeing it..make sense?
I used to wait for the elephant to disappear, but, as we all know, they just settle in and make themselves at home and eventually, become an uncomfortable part of the furniture that you become annoyed at having to squeeze around.
What is your elephant?
Is it one that can be acknowledged and led out or does it need to be dissected by the two of you?
You have to understand that elephant, and how it got there, and maintain that understanding. That is not easy.
In my case, because of my own fears, my own residual trauma, it struggle with that.
Some days it is almost gone, some days it is back with a vengeance, but it is nothing like it was 1, 2, or 3 years ago.
It is particularly back when my FWS is angry at me over something, or tells me she is afraid that I don't want her or am going to leave her.
If I'm not tired or am in a particularly good place at the moment, I handle that well.
If I am tired, and I've been terribly overworked lately, that is when I point out to her that she has all this huge pile of evidence to the contrary, and none supporting her fear. But, on the other hand, I do have evidence that she didn't want me, and if she feels this way about me with no evidence, what does that say about how she feels about me with her having had an affair?
In actuality, it says nothing about how she feels about me today, or then for that matter, as it has a lot to do with how she saw herself and her own internal issues. However, keeping that in mind and BELIEVING it is hard...and that is the elephant in my case.
I believe that everyone's elephant(s) is(are) different. It is not the affair that is the elephant, but what we bring with us to the marriage. We bring them with us, but keep them outside in the yard, out of the marriage so to speak, if we are successful in dealing with them. In my case, my elephant was one of not being wanted anymore despite doing the best that I could. My first wife had left me over newfound religious convictions, and despite doing everything "right", I just couldn't follow her into that place, and I lost her because of this. I was definitely afraid of this happening again, and I had children in the second marriage. In my second wife's case, it was one of her not being good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, sexy enough, tall enough, _________ enough, and her hidden use of drugs and alcohol, all of which combined to create the perfect storm after 9 years of marriage.
Either one of us could have had an affair, but I kept my elephant under control and out of the marriage.
[This message edited by standinghere at 9:19 PM, August 25th (Sunday)]
He took my hand and said, "Yes, but it's there to serve as a gentle reminder of why I need to change, and gives me motivation to continue working on that."
Hopefully the elephant in YOUR room will serve the same kind of purpose!
"One is not tempted by that he does not want."
I was tired of him being in my car, in my bedroom, and on my couch. Fortunately, I had someone to help me push him out the door - my wife. We both put our shoulders into it and squeezed him out, locked the door and said, "Stay the hell away."
Of course, he sometimes puts his trunk back in through an open window. It sucks to see him again but my wife has been great at getting the window closed as soon as possible.
Okay - enough with the analogies...
Yes - the elephant is always there. But you know what? Marriages without affairs also have elephants. They are called overdue bills, lack of marital balance, communications issues, health problems.... All of these are "elephants" that place stress on a marriage and interfere with the joy that really should be at the heart of any relationship.
I hate the f'n elephant. It took over 18 months of my life. But I will no longer allow it to bully his way in. I will take pride in myself, I will move forward, I will be a better person, I will enjoy my kids, I will allow my wife to continue to show me that she loves me.
I will not let the elephant rule me.
Tell your spouse about the elephant so he knows exactly what it looks like, how it behaves - even what it smells like. That way he/she can identify it. Then tell your spouse that you want help in pushing it out the door.
Wake up tomorrow and decide to get it out of your house.
YOU make that decision.
Maybe it's because I literally spent the first 6 months in bed on SI, and in therapy, to the point where I thought and talked about nothing else. It may have a lot to do with the fact that I expressed every conceivable related emotion to fWH about his A. It's probably because I dragged every sordid detail about the A out of my fWH. It also has something to do with his complete surrender to recovery around month 7. He has earned a lot, but not all, of my trust back, by truly embracing the process. He is beginning to trust me with his thoughts and feelings, something he has never done all his life because of FOO issues. I see how quickly he is learning now that his is truly open to the process. We are really beginning to heal.
And I've reached the point where I will accept nothing less than progress. His slippery slope is denial, apathy, emotional repression and isolation. He doesn't even have to get to the point of having an A, just the pre-curser behaviours are enough to make me not want to be in this M.
That said, we are a little less than 1 month from our DDay anti-versary. I'm sure many strong emotions will be surfacing soon. We've already started processing some of those. The A may be on my mind daily again soon...
We are in R.
The difficulty comes, I think, when you want not to think of it. Paradoxically, to do that you pretty much have to create a 'do not think about this' list - which you have to keep remembering.
So let the memories and feelings in when they come - that gets 'em in and then out, and eventually you'll be free.
Previously, in the presence of said pesky pachyderm, I would either stuff my feelings, lash out, or act out in some way. I might have said, after kissing WW, "I can't stand to kiss you anymore because off what you did with him. How, could you have done that to me." Now I'm now trying to learn to express my feelings without directly blaming or confronting. So I might say, "When we're kissing and I think about you kissing someone else I feel very sad and uncomfortable." This is more likely to elicit support and comfort and it also allows me to express my feelings and not stuff them away. I'm hoping, over time, that this will starve our humongous house guest.
I'm also trying to remember, that even though she caused the problem by having the A, she can't be held responsible for every thought in my head or feeling in my heart. Those are still mine.
[This message edited by AdamsApple at 1:30 PM, August 26th (Monday)]