It seems that he feels sorry for, in his words, "doing things that upset you." So the sense is he'll feel sorry, after I express that it's more about *hurt* than *anger*, that he upset me... But never about the things themselves. Sees nothing wrong with them. I'm not sure what to make of that.
To me, it almost sounds like what he is sorry for is the consequences of his cheating. A couple of those consequences are you feeling hurt and you being angry. Fear of consequences and sorrow for consequences can prevent a person from cheating again. That, I can personally attest to. I think he might be a happier and healthier person if he were to dig a bit deeper and find the root cause of his waywardness and fix that part of himself. Once you go through that process, the fear of consequences tends to go away, because boundaries become so much clearer, and sorrow for consequences tends to be pushed to the side, with remorse for past behavior and personal flaws becoming more of focal point. I feel like I am probably preaching to the choir when I say these things to you, though, Silver. You've got that stuff down pat.
On the one hand, he told me a long time ago that we shouldn't use the words "mine" and "yours" to describe each other, though that changed later.
What made him change his mind about this?
He likes it when I give him space. I've got a whole host of feelings about things that I wish we had in our relationship, and it hurts knowing that he's capable of enjoying those things... But obviously not with me. But it's just a separate part of his mind, perhaps.
Sounds like there's a bit of compartmentalization going on there. I like my space as well. I'm a very introverted person, and I need time to myself to "recharge", so to speak. I often times use compartmentalization to get inside of my own head space and shut myself off to as much of the outside world as I can. One thing I need to be careful of is compartmentalizing my wife out of my safety and recharge zone. One thing that helps is visualizing what initially drew me to her when I first met her 18 years ago. At that time in my life, any amount of time that I spent with her would recharge my mental batteries. Are there any activities that you and your husband did when you first started dating that you haven't done in awhile? For my wife and I, it was going to movies. We rarely do that anymore, but used to do it all the time when we were first dating. Next week we have a date night planned, where we are going to get a sitter and go out to the movies, like old times.
I wonder how he sees relationships. I wonder what he thinks they're all about. He hates it when I try to talk to him about this kind of stuff. Prefers leaving things unsaid. How do you ask questions or share with someone who prefers things to be unsaid?
Has he told you that he hates it when you try to talk about this stuff, or is this something you've kind of picked up from observing him? Sometimes what we communicate outwardly is opposite of what we feel inwardly. One example would be my wife buying me clothes. I'll tell her things like, "I hate the fact that you feel like you need to dress me." Or, "Just let me pick out my own shit out for once. I like the jeans from Costco, and they're dirt cheap." Inwardly, though, I am really thankful that she has a fashion sense and gets me clothes that look nice and are masculine and affordable at the same time. I'd be a lost cause without her when it comes to that. Not sure if that totally makes sense, or if it applies in your husband's case or not.
Or maybe the problem is that I don't listen to him the right way. I've wondered that sometimes. Or maybe I haven't done enough standing in his shoes so I can understand his values and feel compassion instead of judgmental. I don't feel he listens to me, but that's not something I have control over. Maybe I need to help him open up by learning how to listen to him and value his voice FIRST.
Listening is always a good thing. Trying to figure out different ways of listening is a really great practice, and a really superb idea. I'm a big proponent of communication, and I think the most important part of communication is listening. People speak and communicate in so many different forms and manners. Building up our listening skills to match those forms of communication has to be a good thing. I'm convinced of that.
I think he might be a happier and healthier person if he were to dig a bit deeper and find the root cause of his waywardness and fix that part of himself. Once you go through that process, the fear of consequences tends to go away, because boundaries become so much clearer, and sorrow for consequences tends to be pushed to the side, with remorse for past behavior and personal flaws becoming more of focal point.
I agree. I certainly think he ought to look into the whys. I would imagine it would give him more control over his life if he did, and then the changes would be out of personal values rather than fear of consequences (and yes, I think that's what he's reacting to - the consequences rather than his original choices).
But from his perspective, cheating or skating boundary lines might feel like a benefit to him. What does he get out of it? Maybe a sense of freedom. Maybe he values his freedom because it translates to "escape". He says now that he wants to settle down, that he likes where he is in life. So I think he stays because he likes this lifestyle. That's what he's getting out of being faithful right now. Almost like he considers the other days a different time and different lifestyle and perfectly reasonable ones. Wish I could get into his mind and see and get it.
What made him change his mind about this?
I'm honestly not sure. It seemed like the more connected he felt to 'us', the more he wanted to call me 'his' and let me call him 'my'. Especially since we've gotten married, it's been more solidly about 'mine' and 'yours'. But any time there's an argument, especially about infidelity, he becomes more standoffish, and then that's when the stuff like "I can talk to anyone I want!" and "I guess I still felt single" comes out.
Are there any activities that you and your husband did when you first started dating that you haven't done in awhile?
We would take long walks sometimes. We'd do that when I was pregnant too. Sometimes movies. It's a little triggery for different reasons, but I do miss doing those things together. I wish we would again. I've asked him at times if we could go out, do things. Maybe if I asked him if we could go to Target... He's always down for a long walk to Target.
Has he told you that he hates it when you try to talk about this stuff, or is this something you've kind of picked up from observing him?
Both. He'll say things like "you always have to bring up every little thing I ever did and use it against me!" and he typically leaves the room when I talk to any relationship stuff or anything heavy (infidelity, even in movies, porn, etc), even in a lighthearted tone. Very frustrating. He'll literally leave when I'm in mid-sentence. Maybe he feels overwhelmed. Not sure how to make it less overwhelming. Sometimes he'll come back with a retort, others he'll return and act like the discussion was never brought up. Maybe that's the key. When he comes back with his response, maybe I need to just listen. It *feels* like he's rugsweeping with his responses, but maybe I need to listen more carefully... So painful knowing that he can dismiss what he did with the other girls as "I was just..." I get the impression he really wasn't thinking of our relationship at all, 'we' either didn't exist or existed in a separate box. Definitely compartmentalizing.
People speak and communicate in so many different forms and manners.
They really do. What tools do people use to learn another person's language? I don't know how to read him. Need help. At this point, he has said 'no' to CC.
[This message edited by silverhopes at 1:44 PM, September 27th (Friday)]
What does he get out of it? Maybe a sense of freedom. Maybe he values his freedom because it translates to "escape".
I think the terms "escape" and "coping mechanism" are pretty tightly coupled. There are definitely healthier ways to escape and cope. Has he replaced any of his wayward behavior with healthy outlets?
He says now that he wants to settle down, that he likes where he is in life. So I think he stays because he likes this lifestyle. That's what he's getting out of being faithful right now.
One way to possibly look at his perspective is in the context of "values". It sounds like he has gotten to a point where he likes being settled down into a married lifestyle. Perhaps one of the reasons he is no longer cheating is because he not only likes the lifestyle, but he also values his marriage and family? I don't want to speak for your husband, but that might possibly be how he feels, and maybe isn't getting his point across.
But any time there's an argument, especially about infidelity, he becomes more standoffish, and then that's when the stuff like "I can talk to anyone I want!" and "I guess I still felt single" comes out.
That's rough... my wife had a couple of similar phrases come out when she started looking at OM's facebook page almost a year into R. She said basically that she was a grown up, and she could look at whatever she wanted. After about 2-3 weeks of hard thinking, and some intense IC sessions, I decided that was one of my limits and boundaries. I didn't want pictures of the OM in my house. I didn't want to be married to someone who wasn't having mental detachment and mental NC with the OM. I guess what my long-winded point is, only you can control what you are willing to put up with, and where to draw your boundaries.
We would take long walks sometimes.
Long walks with a loved one is nature's therapy, free of charge. Doesn't hurt to throw Target into the mix! I like to surf the clearance endcaps on the back of the aisles, myself.
He'll say things like "you always have to bring up every little thing I ever did and use it against me!" and he typically leaves the room when I talk to any relationship stuff
This is what I refer to as "checking out". I'm really not sure how to work past this, as I've never really had to deal with it. Are you in IC? If so, maybe your IC could give you some advice. Hopefully someone with some experience in this department will respond to this thread as well.
What tools do people use to learn another person's language? I don't know how to read him. Need help. At this point, he has said 'no' to CC.
I'm not sure what tools can be used. My method is practice, practice, and more practice. If one method of communication isn't working, change it up a bit. In the past, I've resorted to communicating with my wife via email when things were just too painful and raw to talk about firsthand. Another idea that I've heard but never used is the "fishbowl" technique. Get a fishbowl, or other container, and write down topics of conversation on pieces of paper and add them to the fishbowl. Agree to draw one or two out a day and discuss them. Just a couple of ideas. Good luck to you with getting your husband to open up.
Has he replaced any of his wayward behavior with healthy outlets?
Hmm. He plays a lot of video games. He says I'm his favorite person to play video games with, and that's his favorite hobby, so maybe that helps him. He does a bunch of housework - laundry and cooking, and says he likes to. Smokes a lot. In terms of freedom, he goes out every Wednesday to see his friends, just because Wednesdays work for him. I don't know... if his wayward behaviors have their roots in desiring freedom, what helps is that I no longer ask him questions or bother him about his schedule. I used to ask all the time if we could do xyz or what he was doing that day etc, and it bothered him. It was actually a result of a 180 last summer that I stopped asking. He realized that married didn't mean the end of his freedom... That had been a complaint/worry when we were expecting our son and he was still living elsewhere. I think he did more things with other girls during that period than he's admitted to. But anyway, once I stopped nagging him and once he realized I had backed off, he realized he had more freedom than he thought he did. I think that helped him relax.
Perhaps one of the reasons he is no longer cheating is because he not only likes the lifestyle, but he also values his marriage and family?
I think he does. That's where my anger makes things difficult and I need to learn some techniques on dealing with it. I'm angry because he spent so long saying dismissive things, unkind comparisons to other girls, etc that I'm having a hard time just accepting that he DOES love me. I need to figure out how to deal with my anger so I can accept his love. I think he truly does value us. I know he does. He cried recently when a very precious family member of mine passed away. He sees all of us as his family; he saw her and visiting her as a special part of it, because I think she really showed him how accepted he was. A special gift.
only you can control what you are willing to put up with, and where to draw your boundaries.
So true. That was what I wound up doing last summer, and it helped. I realized that it's not always possible to just move out or walk away, for different reasons. And not every "deal breaker" needs to be extreme. The start of better boundaries was in accepting his boundaries and knowing I couldn't control them. I told him I accepted that he still felt single and that, therefore, he was acting single, and that's how I would treat him: as if he were single. I also detached and protected my boundaries. The plan was to keep working on myself until I had the capability to leave. He's made some big changes during that time period. Hopefully most of all for himself.
Long walks with a loved one is nature's therapy, free of charge.
They really are. To my extreme surprise (and possibly because this thread encouraged me to ask), we did go for a long walk today. Not to Target though. And now we've been invited to a free day at a science museum this weekend. This particular museum is a HUGE trigger for me, because during our pregnancy we'd had a date for there and he went with another girl instead. Deeply hurtful. And now he's more enthusiastic about going than I am - for the first time ever! So... maybe this weekend we will overcome another trigger... I hope.
This is what I refer to as "checking out".
Thank you. I couldn't think of a good term, and "checking out" describes it well. I will definitely ask my IC about it, and about some good listening techniques. Had a thought too. Was reading in another forum on SI, and the advice to someone was to thank their WS when he or she tells them something difficult. Maybe each time Mr Silver talks about something "heavy", especially if it's stuff I really want to hear about, I'll thank him for each bit of information, instead of peppering him with questions. Maybe that will encourage him to speak up more in time.
Thank you for your good advice, Losfer!
Come on in!!
Glad you got that walk in! Did you make it to the museum? I hope you are able to work through this particular trigger with Mr. Silver. Good luck.
My worry is that he'll start talking about his time there with her. He has a habit of telling stories about OWs and reminiscing when we're in situations that remind him of them (a few weeks after his "date" with her - he insists it wasn't a date - we went to try to recapture it and the whole time he complained and said "I've already seen everything". I sat there griping "No sh*t, a$$hole, with her instead of me!"). I tried other times to get him to go since, and he's unenthusiastically declined. But for the first time, now he's more excited about going there together than I am, so that's got to be a good sign, right? And he hasn't mentioned the other times yet, so maybe this is a good sign... I'm worried about how to respond if he starts reminiscing, though. I want to *not* shut him down when he talks. But it feels disingenuous to smile at him when he's talking about something that hurts... Maybe I'll just listen quietly. No response except to be an attentive listener.
[This message edited by silverhopes at 1:45 AM, September 29th (Sunday)]
There's another free day this coming weekend for our area of the city (they offer zip code based free days throughout the year, it's kinda neat). I asked him if he wants to go with me, and he unenthusiastically declined again. I wish he would - I've gone other times with our son, but just being there makes me feel like I'm trespassing on "their" special memories there (they went to the rainforest exhibit together, and a large butterfly landed on her. He took a video of her and the butterfly and then brushed the butterfly off her shoulder. Just hearing about it and seeing it in the video felt very boyfriend-like, and it hurt). So maybe we won't be reclaiming it just yet. That's OK, maybe I wasn't ready for it yet. If we can't, I'd really like to at least make some special moments there with our son. When I was a kid, before the museum was remodeled, my Dad and I used to go there every weekend, and it was our special thing.
Or, maybe it's time to find somewhere else. Maybe it's time to let go of that museum until it happens naturally, without being forced.
Going to keep working on the other goals and appreciating him for what he does.
[This message edited by silverhopes at 5:10 PM, September 29th (Sunday)]
Sorry to hear he has a tendency to reminisce about previous OW's. That's just not cool.
I think his enthusiasm could definitely be a good sign. I also agree that you shouldn't attempt to smile when he is saying something that hurts you.
Today is my 13th wedding anniversary with Amerasia. She got a bit sad last night, and started talking about how our anniversaries are no longer the same, and that the whole marriage/relationship was a lie. I tried to explain to her that I'm not perfect either, and that I carried an awful secret of betrayal for so many years. She couldn't seem to get away from the comparison of her A versus mine, though, and she was just really hard on herself. It really hurt me to see her going through that pain.
On a good note, she seems to be in a better mood today. I'm happy that we've made it this far, and are still together after everything we've been through. Looking forward to celebrating with a date night this upcoming Friday.
I'm going to read your reply and get back with you here in a bit.
One thing I have to keep in check is that when she is in a sad mood, I am in a sad mood. When she is in a happy mood, I am in a happy mood. A little bit of codependency there, I think...
Well, even though the line was long and you didn't make it in, it sounds like you made the best of your day. Sounds like a really mellow and fantastic time, actually!
I understand about wanting to claim/reclaim the museum experience. It's so hurtful when they shared experiences with their AP's and those places feel "tainted". We've reclaimed a lot of places, but still have a couple to go. There's a sushi restaurant and a Greek restaurant that we eventually need to go to. The hotels I am just going to forget about, because the thought of even attempting to reclaim that territory makes me want to .
I think the museum is definitely something you should eventually reclaim, though, especially since you had such fond childhood memories there. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with having a lot of that desire for your son's benefit, either. I think that's awesome.
Still working on me, every layer I uncover I process and evaluate and move on. This is exhausting in itself. I plan to post here even though SO and I broke up, perhaps I can give some more insight for others and gain help while I continue my own journey.
"There are times when our reality is nothing but pain, and to escape that pain the mind must leave reality behind." Patrick Rothfuss
I think it'd be great if you kept posting here. You've been through so much, and have put in so much work, I think your advice is extremely valuable. We are definitely here for your continued healing journey as well.
I agree... the work is very exhausting, but it is so worth it. You are worth it.
I can totally relate to what your xSO said. I've said the same thing many times to my H.
Perspective is a funny thing and everyone has their own.
I get accused of minimizing because I wasn't prepared to accept that my EA was anywhere in the same ballpark with his multiple PA's.
Many times I would meet with emotion over my EA with an AYFKM???
But his reality is that what I did hurt. And I have to acknowledge that, whether I agree with his reactions or not.
I think the big aha moment for me was realizing this: my H caused me a tremendous amount of pain. I wanted to die. I wanted the pain to stop. I hated him. I wanted him to hurt.
But...my actions were my own. They weren't in response to being hurt and they weren't a way of evening the score.
They were my choice and if I didn't like the outcome, I shouldn't have made the choices I did.
For that I am definitely sorry.
Mama, you wrote
I get accused of minimizing because I wasn't prepared to accept that my EA was anywhere in the same ballpark with his multiple PA's.
Wow. This is what is going on for me and my H at the moment. Except I am your H. And deep down, there is a part of me that agrees with this. I had 2 affairs, one ONS (with my H bf at very beginning of dating), and various inappropriate kissing/flirting incidents, not to mention my constantly revolving wayward thoughts.
My H had on going contact with an ex gf (30 years ago, first love) that was not a secret from me (although I didn't like it but he assured me it was just friends and I felt hypocritical complaining)which ended up with fb messages between them containing "inappropriate longing" and "what if" type material. And he sent her a song that was very intimate and I thought was ours. Many drunken conversations between them over the years, and she organised to meet with him 7 years ago when he went back to the states to visit (after I confessed one affair) but he decided not to go and meet her in the hotel room, as although he admitted feeling intrigued and a bit scared, knew something would probably happen. And he didn't want to do that. Which is great of course, but with those realisations, is when he should not have continued being in contact with her, knowing there was a bit more to his/her feelings. Fast forward 5 years later and the above mentioned messages were written.
It was only last year that I realised how inappropriate those messages were. And I went at him sporadically for a year about this, and finally he realised how crappy they were and what has really been kept going for our entire marriage. He finally wrote her a final fb message telling her why they could no longer be friends. Even though I knew in my heart all of this, actually reading what he wrote to her, rocked me to the core.
Im still really hurting over it. Probably because my confessions this year have taken over in magnitude from my hurts around this old flame.
I have the message he sent here if anyone wants to read it on a PM. I think I need to be validated for whatever reason, that I have a reason to be really hurt about this. But I feel so fucking undeserving of this hurt. And wonder also if I am clinging onto the hurt as to ameliorate what I have done.
So yeah Mama, your post resonated for me. Its what is happening at present for me and my H.
And TG has said that I am still angry and hurt about this, and she is right. And I think there is much work to be done around this with my H, but hard to do when all my transgressions seem to swamp this.
And although I know at an intellectual level that "betrayal is betrayal", my heart is saying "You don't deserve to be hurt". Or perhaps my pain is coming from "you don't deserve to be heard".
I dunno. Clever peeps on here. What's your thoughts?
You tend to do what HL does, he mirrors as well, that is hard for me.
Is it hard for you that your H is hurt over what you did when you feel that it was not as dramatic as what he did? If so, why?
Why is it hard for you to feel hurt over this? Do you feel you have to justify it?
I can say that with HL's A's being EA's and mine being a PA, it has been hard to not compare. Here is the problem, I always told him throughout our M, it would be easier for me to forgive a ONS than if he got emotionally involved with someone. So what did he do? Got emotionally involved. Why? Because he can't just sleep with someone, not how he is made, he needs that emotional hit. And that is what kills me. That is what hurts the most. He gave away what I wanted.
This is why we can't compare, what hurts us, is not what hurts our partner. Our pain is our pain, and it is ok, and we don't have to justify, and our partners should accept and be ok with it. If they are not then there is work there to do. But we can accept that our pain is ok and justified.
Why? Because he can't just sleep with someone, not how he is made, he needs that emotional hit. And that is what kills me. That is what hurts the most. He gave away what I wanted
You just nailed it. I knew this in my head, but you've written it perfectly. My H sounds like yours in that sleeping with someone is not difficult to turn down, but creating emotional connections, even if based in lala land, is what he was seeking. And of course like you, emotional connection/intimacy is what I've been clawing at him for, for so fucking long. THAT is what kills me about all of this. It was an EA over a very long time, and not all the time, so I became anesthetized to what was really going on. It is so "not cool" to be jealous, and I went along with the justification that it is somehow mature and civilised to stay "friends" with an old gf. But this is also about my H needing to be seen as "the good guy", which comes about through Foo issues with an alcoholic abusive father who made him feel "bad".
And you are right I don't have to justify my hurt. I just am.
Lots of work to do.