My reason for being here today is my BS has graciously told me some things that make me think she is ready to attempt R. I would like to get some opinions on what to expect and what to do to further help her. Our situation is a little different I guess in that I am the one on SI, not her and she has taken a more distanced approach to dealing with this. She rarely ever talks to me about it anymore but when she does she says she is trying and she does care about me and wants to be happy.
The reason I say I think we are finally getting to the point of actively trying to R is we did talk this weekend and she stated that she was no longer trying to punish me and she was no longer angry. She says she just doesn't know how to feel any different or how to move forward. She said she wanted to be happy with me.
She is in IC, as am I, but she has been hesitant to go to MC. After she told me these things I decided to try and ask her to reconsider. She hasn't indicated if she will or not.
How much do I try to nudge her in this direction? I think it is exactly what we need because we both struggle with expressing our feelings and being able to talk about this. I think we need that time and place to feel comfortable and able to talk freely with someone who can guide us along the way.
Anyway, any advice is appreciated. If there's anything your WS did that was good during this time I would like to know about it and also if there were things that they did wrong that I could try to avoid I would like to know. Thanks
Welcome! I read the wayward side all the time -- after all, I am married to one. We started MC pretty fast out of the gate, and you'll get varying opinions on that one. But, for me, I knew we needed help, and our MC has been a lifesaver.
Have you asked your wife what her reluctance to MC is? Is she afraid of opening up, or somehow getting blamed for the affair? My guess is she is afraid that if she commits to working on the marriage, then she is somehow taking responsibility for what happened. It may help her for you to say that you know how important it is to work on you and your issues that landed you in affair-land. But, that you want support to help make your marriage better and stronger. It is usually true that we BSes have issues to work on too, and that can be hard to swallow when you've been victimized in this way.
My WS also read books (Not Just Friends, How to Help Your Spouse Heal from Your Affair, and Sexual Detours.) He spent time thinking about his "why" and wrote me a long letter about where he was at when the affair started. The more I can see him for who he is by him being vulnerable and 100% honest, and not some monster that did this to me, the better things are.
Keep putting in the work and effort, and hopefully she'll see that you are earnest. . . good luck. I am sure you'll get lots of good advice here.
I edit, therefore I am.
I would also work on why you had the affair. That is something you can do while she figures out her own feelings and pain. My WH is in IC - but I sometimes wish he would make a more conscious effort to work on his own issues daily. Why did he need all the female attention etc etc. But unless she asks it is really for your own benefit.
The books suggested are really good. The MC is good if and only if the counselor is good. Things can go badly in therapy - so make sure to get some personal recommendations of good MC's.
My fWH and I have had mixed success with MC. I have found that the biggest breakthroughs we have had have come from conversations we have had outside of MC and books we have read together. So if your wife decides against MC, don't feel that all is lost. There is lots that you can work on together privately.
We read the book "Getting past the affair" together, and found that quite helpful and practical. Perhaps have a look at that and see if it is something you might be interested in?
bionicgal, my wife says what's done is done and she doesn't see how MC can change any of that. I told her she was right that nothing can undo the past but MC can help us with the future.
I haven't read Not Just Friends yet but I plan to. I have read How to Help Your Spouse Heal though and I have been practicing what I learned for the past 4 months since reading it. I am trying to relay to her the fact that I am working on myself and not just damage control. I think she is starting to realize that I understand that I needed to change some of my behaviors and truly become a better person.
KatyDo, your advice is kind of the consensus of months of being on this site. Because she rarely talks to me about it all I can do is live what I am telling her. Actions speak louder than words. Telling her I will be here when she is ready and not being angry when she isn't ready yet, working my butt off around the house, being the best dad I can be, working harder at work, being open, honest and transparent about even the smallest details of every day life. And like you said, doing all this on a consistent basis.
ItsaClimb, thanks for reminding me that even if she doesn't go to MC all is not lost. I tend to get down when we aren't moving forward or if we take a step in the wrong direction.
I am working really hard to not let her reaction or lack thereof get to me. It is something I struggle with. I want to get to a place where I just do the right thing, work on myself and leave the rest to her because I know I cannot heal her myself and I know that no matter what happens I need to do this work and change who I became. It is hard though because I love her so much and I want to make this right. I want to make her happy again and I struggle with the roller coaster of emotions that come with all of this.
Thanks again for the replies.
You say you're treating this as an A. How does your W see it?
Have you talked with her about her anger? Has she expressed grief or fear?
Have you asked your W what you can do to help her? Have you asked about her IC goals, and if so has she shared them?
If she's not open to MC, is she open to a joint IC session?
What are your goals for IC?
[This message edited by sisoon at 9:45 AM, February 4th (Tuesday)]
Some on here have said that MC, while often valuable, can easily be secondary to IC. If you are both working on improving yourselves, I would think some of that would naturally contribute to a better M. Is there someone at church, or in your lives, who could be a mentor in place of official MC? Where you could make that "space" to talk about things? I think Sisoon's idea of a joint IC session would also be a good idea to see if a little bit of good could come from MC.
Not wanting to punish you anymore is a HUGE step (at least it was for me). My fWH has owned his behavior from minute one of DDay#2 (Dday#1 was same issue) and things definitely feel different this time, mostly because of how I am handling it. I am not rugsweeping, I did not just let things go, I started changing myself, and I truly held him accountable. He changed jobs (was too idle before), eliminated nearly all computer use, and is making a concerted effort every. single. day. to make me feel the #1 priority in his life.
Sounds like you're doing a lot of reading and talking and thinking, which is all wonderful. Has your W read any of your posts on SI? Or have you printed out anything you think would be helpful for her that you've found on here? I wish you the best of everything in your R, and I plan on going to read some of your posts on the Wayward side. I'm sure I'll get something out of them.
To make a very long story of what we talked about short, I heard things like:
-this has made me cold
-I am content
-I can't change how I feel
-I'm not sure I want to change how I feel
-I can be friends with you
-I love you in the sense that I'm sorry you are miserable and I feel sorry for you but that's it
-I can't say I want to be in love with you again
-I don't think we want the same things
I was devastated. I felt crushed.
What little she has given me up to this point was received by me as her trying to move forward but I think it is only her trying to get past the anger and just be content. She acknowledged that I was doing everything right and doing all that I could do but she just kept saying she couldn't change how she felt and she wasn't sure she ever would or even wanted to.
I thought we were working towards a common goal but now I see that may have been all in my head.
I am hurting so much this morning. I don't know what to do now. I told her as much as I loved her that I couldn't live like this forever. I can't be content to live like this even if she can and she agreed. I begged her to give MC a shot and just try. I don't know, all my thoughts about where we are at and where we were going have been shattered. Just at a loss today.