These seem to be the stages of my husbands responses to my attempts to either talk about or heal from his infidelity.
This is good, right?
At first he was defensive - after the initial shock wore of of both of us. Then anger when I brought it up - and put HIM through it again. right?
Then, for about 5 years, there was the withdrawal. Just no response. Just leave the room.
Recently, when something is said, by me, (or even not said-just my behavior) that aludes to his infidelity, he says, "I'm sorry".
The other night "The Descendants" was on the TV. At some especially triggering moment in the movie (actually the whole thing, right?) I started to squirm a bit in the bed. It was very late and I thought he was asleep. But, even though I didn't say a word, I hear this humble, soft, "I'm sorry" from the other side of the bed. I was so taken aback, that I didn't even respond - for fear I would ruin the moment. Being the highly intelligent person that I am, I have decided that a "thank you" would have been nice on my part!
Anyway, my fears of that kind of response from him being a 1 time thing were shattered the other day when I was packing for him to go on a trip. (My husband is disabled and I do a few more things for him than perhaps some other spouses do.)
As I was driving him to the place he was leaving from, I said something about going home and sleeping a long time and waking up less stressed. He again said "I'm sorry". I asked "What for?" He said, "For making you feel stressed." (His ONS with the prostitute was when he was on a trip.)
So......I got a little brave and asked him if he wanted to know what was wrong. He surprisingly said "Yes". I told him I was triggering. That it would go away after a while, but it couldn't be helped. I asked if he wanted to know why I was triggering. Again he said "yes". I'm pretty sure he didn't want to talk about it - but he did step up in continuing the conversation.
I told him that I always helped him with getting ready, packing for him, etc. and that now, whenever I pack for him, I think about the fact that I had actually probably groomed him and gotten him ready for the trip when he was unfaithful. I told him that to me that seems like such a cruel truth.
He just said, "I'm sorry."
I'm sure some of you will think that he should be saying more than just that - but I have to say that it is such an improvement over what I have gotten in the past.
After that conversation, we were able to chat about 1 or 2 other topics (lighthearted stuff) before he left. I am trying so hard to provide a more 'safe' environment for him for us to communicate.
When I was giving him a hug before he left, we hugged for a longer time than usual, and then he said "I love you - give me a kiss". (Mind you, we have not touched or kissed in probably 2-3 years with the exception of when there were deaths in the family.) We shared a nice kiss. If was comforting.
Anyway, thanks for reading all this.
Its an improvement, right?"Noone can make you feel inferior without your concent." Eleanor Roosevelt
I will not be vanquished. Rose Kennedy