What happens when a WS has done all they can? When they've done everything they can to help their BS, but there's no more they can do? What happens if the BS has rugswept to a degree, or can't/won't heal themselves? If they can't/won't look at their own deficiencies or they project their issues onto their WS? Does the couple limp along? Does someone pull the plug? Do they find a place of peaceful co-existence?
I know the drill folks. Work on you for you. That's Wayward101. But when you're further along in healing and you find yourself in one of the above situations, what then?
Now the new problem is how to keep moving forward without the pain of our BH or BW , holding us back or sending us back down, and how do you move forward as acouple when the other person can't heal.
I have a BH who won't talk to anyone else except me. Which makes it very difficult. Cause on one hand I am the person who hurt him, and yet before when there was a problem he came to me to fix it! Now its heard as "get over it!"
The only answer I have for myself, is as long as I don't slide backwards, and continue building my own self esteem and continue to be loving caring and supporting and not start to become resentful or withdrawing I will keep working and moving forward.
The guilt and shame wrecked my life before.I cannot let it again.
Sorry if this offends anyone, I have finally begun to understand the importance of loving oneself. Its like a plane going to crash, you need to put the oxygen mask on first to save anyone.
Sorry for the t/j this has been a big issue for me lately.
Now the new problem is how to keep moving forward without the pain of our BH or BW , holding us back or sending us back down,
A WS owns it. Period. They messed up, they do their best to fix it. Where I'm coming from, and I know it's not a popular belief, is two flawed human beings join. Let's face it, we're all human. Everyone has issues. Even "normal" people. One cheats. One doesn't. The cheater works to fix the damage. But can only do so much because the betrayed has their own set of issues.
So what I'm saying is, if the issues on the forefront are not A issues, but BS issues, yet they're thrown on the WS, or the WS is expected to fix it, (which can't happen) how do you work thru that?
Disclaimer - I'm fully aware that alot of BS issues are tied into A issues and it's one huge, freaking issue.
It's the whole three things have to heal bit. WS, BS, the marriage thing. That's what I'm trying to get at.
Clear as mud?
Is he content to let things remain as they are? Does he know you want more?
Could it be you guys are just in a rut?
My BH is not very proactive either. I've had to take charge of our R. From what I've seen you have too. It seems right anyway to me...
My BH has been willing to do things with me if I ask for them/plan them most of the time. Things I never thought he would do, like: IC/MC, retrouvaille, read books together, go to an SI gtg... He isn't willing or ready all the time but some of the time works great.
OK this is weird but I feel like sharing the nursing process. It works for me in a lot of situations. The M is the patient.
Assess- What is the state of the M?
-What is good?
-What needs improvement?
Diagnose- look at the needs improvement, and weaknesses.
-What would you like your marriage to look like?
Plan- what can you both do separately and together?
-look at the resources.
-read books together, taking notes, and then discussing?
-small changes can make a big difference
Implement- execute your plan
-don't give up if it doesn't go right all the time just keep at it.
-you don't have to do it all at once. Baby steps.
Evaluate- reassess regularly.
-Are you making progress?
- do you need a new plan or to change it up a little?
-rinse, repeat the process...
I hope I didn't overstep. I'm being motivated by a few posts like this one today to get busy on working our plan again so I'm really talking to me more than you I think.
Aubrie, you have to decide what you want for your life and your M. Are you willing to peacefully coexist? Are you willing to D if QS is unwilling to do the work? Make sure you at least communicate what you need and what you would like to do to get there. Sometimes Knight just can't do anything but exist for a while and I have to be patient. But I at least let him know that "I would like to do x,y,z to help our M be better for both of us if you aren't ready now we can talk about it again next Sunday."
Does the couple limp along? Does someone pull the plug? Do they find a place of peaceful co-existence?
The answer could be yes or no to any of those questions. I guess it's up to the individual how much work they want to do and how much pain and disappointment they are willing to do in the process. IMO a couple should work like hell to heal each other for as long as possible, and not pull the plug until the situation becomes intolerable and hopelessly unworkable.
So what I'm saying is, if the issues on the forefront are not A issues, but BS issues, yet they're thrown on the WS, or the WS is expected to fix it, (which can't happen) how do you work thru that?
I'm working on not letting this happen. It causes friction but I say, "hold on a minute there sweetie! I'm not owning that one. That's all you." I'm always very tactful, gentle, and diplomatic about it though.
I have actually come to him and said, "Honey, when x,y,z happens I feel abc, can we talk about this?" If he isn't up for it right then I ask him to mull it over and we can talk later. He has made changes in things that really surprised me. One that I NEVER thought I would see any change in is how he deals with FOO. Very passive aggressive, manipulative MIL. I said, "I'm going to speak my mind and live my truth, I will do my best to not cause a rift but I'm not playing the game anymore. It your family and I know it's super hard but you will have to chose to be healthy or to continue this pattern." I let him deal with it how he wanted. He has put up some boundaries and is holding strong. It's early yet. We are due for some major push back and fall out. We will see how we both do.
We fight sometimes. We talk about it. We go on.
What happens when a WS has done all they can? When they've done everything they can to help their BS, but there's no more they can do?
I don't buy that doing "everything" you can do equates to there is "no more" you can do. I've observed you on these boards over a couple of years. As much as you can tell from observing posting behavior, you absolutely seem to be someone that works very hard to heal your spouse, yourself and your marriage. I don't question that premise. BUT - I don't know that there is a timetable on healing and the "more" that CAN be done is to keep working to rebuild the relationship.
You're not sharing a great deal here, so it isn't easy to tell what the issues are that you are referencing. It certainly can be that at some point the marriage isn't what either of you want or deserve and you decide to move on. That happens with and without infidelity. It is sad and/or unfortunate, but a reality.
I'm saying if you still see the possibility of a truly rewarding marriage and it is what you want, there is "more" to do. Keep working.
Where I'm coming from, and I know it's not a popular belief, is two flawed human beings join. Let's face it, we're all human. Everyone has issues. Even "normal" people. One cheats. One doesn't. The cheater works to fix the damage. But can only do so much because the betrayed has their own set of issues.
I'm a big believer in what you're sharing above. I was flawed as a BS. I had the benefit of my wife actually leaving and divorcing me to kickstart my determination to work on my own healing and growth. I'm not advocating that as the path to trod. I am suggesting that I empathize with the thought that in ANY good marriage both parties deserve partners that work on themselves on the marriage.
How much do you share with your BS about what you'd like to see in your growth and HIS that would make for a better relationship?
I absolutely believe that open, honest, loving and caring communication about what we are thinking, feeling and needing is essential to marital growth. Do you have those loving, caring but hard conversations with your husband?
Rooting for you.
[This message edited by WarpSpeed at 6:06 PM, February 5th (Wednesday)]
But "there not a problem, we just have to fix me"
So how to deal with it Just came to me. I did, maybe. :-)
I am not yet. I don't believe he is even close to having a discussion like that. Tried and it was a big mistake. It will have to be a bit yet.
My problem is how to communicate to him to his understanding, so it also get jammed up when we do work on BH issues. To close to DDAy though.
How to work through it..
THis happened the other night when talking to my BH (he is still away at work going 5 weeks with (6 of them at home the rest away) ( I might still be off Aubrie , Sorry if I am )and he was a little off when I was talking to him distance. I could hear it in his voice. So I asked him strait out How he was doing. And he said his anxiety was high. So I asked him what started it. He said he didn't know,then said when I called you, I said ok I understand. Makes sense. Then in the next minute he says no it started this afternoon. In the shack . Everyone thought it was visiting day and I'd had enough. To amny people small space. So we talked a little more. About space. Then I remember he been to town. He HATES the city. Allways , allways gets mad, worked up, frustrated, anxiety, Pre A. And of course now any emotion seems to be on surface for him . Its "new" and doesn't understand it.
Well we put it all together. The past reaction to going to the city, to the feeling in the morning to the people in the shack to havening to talk to us in the evening, to just needing some "me" time and the anxiety from the city caused it all. NOT my A, but his own past anxiety issues.
But it has been 1 year. that it has been my fault totally and I believed it was too. till we started to process it. My cheating enhanced it, but he had this issue BEFORE, its his, not mine.
Sorry for the long story. Baby steps? I am probably off track again,
"Knowing is half the battle"
Expecting progress not perfection
I think for many people, the answer is yes. I subscribe to your "two flawed" beings theory. I think more often than not, something was amiss in the M prior to the A that increased the likelihood that an A would happen. The A is still entirely the fault of the cheating spouse, but the state of the marriage leading up to the A...that rests on both partners' shoulders.
If that is the case, then I think it's reasonable for a WS to hope for/expect their BS addressed the issue(s) more readily. I'm pretty sure I've read that whether the marriage survives or not is strongly predicted by whether or not the BS will accept responsibility for pre-A marriage issues.
If it's a new, post-A issue, then I'd be in favor of more time and leniency for the BS. As mentioned above, the timeline is 2-5 years for healing.
That said, I believe BOTH partners need to be putting the work in, because good, healthy marriages require work. Otherwise, you are auto-piloting...which is something that leads to affairs in the first place.
Intentional marriage--that sounds like it's your goal. If it's not your partner's, you need to communicate the importance to him. If he's not onboard, then you need to decide if you are willing to accept less.
Totally cheering for you two. It sucks when it's so difficult, even when you are doing all the work.
[This message edited by SpotlessMind at 8:20 PM, February 5th (Wednesday)]
[This message edited by grains at 11:45 PM, February 5th (Wednesday)]
To the first, it's just (you knew this was coming) time. If we say that it takes 2-5 years, that would mean the median is around 3.5 years, right?
If it's the second one....mmmm....it's a little murkier, in my opinion. Since we don't know what the specific issue was/is, even more so. In my experience, us menz tend to be 'fixers', and we've also *kind of* been told all our lives that women know more about relationships than we do...so a great many times I believe that when our wives identify a 'problem' in the relationship, we want to fix it, even if just by paying lip service to the idea of doing so.
Here's the issue, though: For many of us guys, we were, or are, fine with that particular aspect of the marriage. We were fine with it in the first place, but we committed to fixing it because it seemed like that's what you wanted, and we thought making you happy was our job.
However, one of the things that happens after an affair is that our WW's credibility as a narrator is shot to hell meaning that we think of all those 'pre-affair issues' and start to wonder why we should do anything about them at all, because we were fine with things as they were, KWIM?
I'm not even just talking about about stuff that happened during the affair/crazy period....I can tell you from my personal experience that after the affair I started to question my wife's perspective on every single aspect of the relationship from the jump...because (IMO) if her perspective was skewed enough to allow her to have an affair, why should I trust that same perspective when it comes to identifying healthy vs. unhealthy in any situation?
I'm not saying your husband is going through any or all of this, it's just my thoughts on what could be going on in his head from my experiences. As guys, I think that in relationships we tend to 'go along to get along' because many times it's easier that way, and maybe QS is doing that verbally, but doesn't really think he needs to fix anything?
Again, just some thoughts. If you feel like he's withdrawing from the marriage and/or you....maybe that's his way of healing? WAL posted something a long time back that isn't 100% pertinent to this discussion, but some of his thoughts here are conclusions that I think many of us BH start to come to on our own re: healing ourselves. http://www.survivinginfidelity.com/forums.asp?tid158510&hl&ap841
Hope things get better.
That being said, we're at the 3 year mark here and we're still having to weed through which are MY issues to own, and what is collateral damage from the A. The most productive looks at this happen when I don't blame Crazz or the A for my dysfunction, and he in turn assumes an apologetic demeanor just in case we ARE dealing with a case of affair fallout. The key to working through it is to communicate through it. Honesty, compassion, humility, and being as forthcoming as possible are what keeps things moving forward even during a backslide.
I don't think there's such a thing as "I've done all I can." There's only the limit to which we are willing/able to put energy into the partner and the relationship. If you feel that QS isn't meeting you with the work to make it through this, it's your prerogative to make a change. You can only tell him exactly how you feel, and ask him to respond with his true feelings.
I know this sounds really backsy forthsy. As a BS, I still know that I have much to own with my own healing. Crazz chooses to have patience and work with me through my issues and I appreciate what that means at 3 years out. I think he regards it as reciprocation for the fact that I'm trying to stick with R as he struggles with behaviors that make me feel like pulling the plug somedays myself.
I think it's gonna take a lot more time and work, Aubrie. You just gotta be really honest with yourself about if you have it in you, and what it's going to take.
For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning. - T.S. Eliot
But when you're further along in healing and you find yourself in one of the above situations, what then?
There are two kinds of people in the world.
Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.
when you're further along in healing and you find yourself in one of the above situations
The further along you get into the "healing" process the more you realize how far you still have to go. It's a bit like 'the more you know, the more you realize you don't know".
Dropping the WS/BS label for a moment.
When I start feeling like I'm on some kind of growth/healing plateau, and light years ahead of my H I usually discover that it's me that is stuck in some kind of growth rut. I'm so focused on where I believe he isn't, that I am failing to watch where I am headed. How can I encourage the growth of my partner if I'm focused on my perceived lack of his?
The use of the absolutes, "all and everything" would be an indicator that its time for a growth check up. Following those absolutes with "I CAN'T do anymore" might be more of an "I'm not WILLING" I can't is a passive statement. I am not willing is an active statement that accepts ownership.
Before I ruffle feathers, think of this. Individuals grow and different rates within the whole of the relationship. Especially in times of conflict or stress. We sometimes find ourselves having to wait for our partner to catch up, and sometimes it's us that needs to catch up. Yet we can't control our partner. We can only encourage them, and if they don't accept our encouragement in our time the way we want, we get frustrated, or detach. As the perceived gap between the partners widens, the whole of the relationship is weakened.
That's where it becomes a question of willingness. Am I willing to be patient, while they process their own need for growth. Am I willing to be patient for as long as it takes, or am I not? That's a much more active and ownership taking stance than "I can't"
Deciding to exercise patience is not a passive act. Its very deliberate. The intentional reciprocity of patience within a relationship is necessary to withstand growth gaps between the two individuals. (barring abuse of course)
"Finding oneself" (very passive) in these situations indicates a need to reestablish focus, and take an honest self assessment. We find ourselves in situations, when we aren't deliberate and intentional in our decision making. We are always making decisions, even if it is done passively.
The absolutes and the passive language, resemble outcomes from passive decision making.
You learn to be patient.
[This message edited by refuz2bavictim at 4:25 AM, February 6th (Thursday)]
I can become the most Martha Stewart, June Cleaver, Stepford wife, Jenna Jameson, Jillian Michaels woman on earth. But ultimately it won't ever be "enough" or really matter, if he has his own issues. Ya know, kinda like he was never "enough" for me for all those years. Nobody was ever enough. Being "enough" comes from within one's own being.
R is not a destination. I get it. I'm not looking for a banner to burst thru, on the waters edge of an exotic ocean, with beach chairs and mai-tais standing by. It's a constant journey ending only when one or the other is in a casket and put 6 feet below the ground. Or cremated. Which seems fitting. A twisted way of finally burning the whore at the stake.
Sorry. Dark humor today.
Ok patience. Got it. Doable. Next question.
How do you let down all your walls, all your guard, all your defense, all your fears, all your everything, knowing your BS has holes in their boat, knowing they can't/won't fix it, and still keep total intimacy and openness? Just doesn't seem possible. And if it is, someone will ultimately get hurt. But hey, and eye for an eye.
Guess it all boils down to the risk that one takes when getting into a relationship, yes? The risk of things turning out horrifically and painfully, or beautiful and almost fairytalesque. (Think I totally just made that word up)
knowing they can't/won't fix it,
How do you know this? How do you know that this is a certainty and the only outcome? Why do you believe that?
I don't think those wonderful things (intimacy openness etc) can coexist...in a place where one partner has decided for the other what they can't or won't do. Does that make sense? How can you encourage or influence him if you are certain that it can't be done?
As a BS I often fall into the trap of thinking with certainty that my FWH will or won't do something. I decide for him. Which is really overstepping on my part. I make up my mind that this is so, because I have the proof of history. I often use the A as that history of proof. Fortunately and quite often that happens just before I am proven wrong.
Ya know, kinda like he was never "enough" for me for all those years. Nobody was ever enough. Being "enough" comes from within one's own being.
Think about how long and what it took for you to learn that very important lesson. I can't believe I spent 40 some odd years on this planet to finally learn something so simple. I learned from the BS experience. Other folks learn it in other ways.
How do you let down all your walls, all your guard, all your defense, all your fears, all your everything
By learning that we may not know what we think we *know*. There is no way on Earth, you would be able to accomplish that task above while holding the firm belief that he can't or won't work on his own growth at some point in the partnership.
It would be ok if you don't want to stick around for him to learn that lesson. It's ok if you don't want to wait for him to catch up. But don't decide for him that he can't or won't learn it. That's where patience may come into play on your end. Instead of making the decision for him, about what he will or won't do, you leave room for his growth in your own mind and make decisions about what YOU will or won't do only for yourself.
Aubrie - Does the couple limp along? Does someone pull the plug? Do they find a place of peaceful co-existence?
The reality of the world is that most married couples find themselves here at one time or another, without or without adultery in the equation. It would be the rare couple indeed that finds themselves growing in lockstep with each other, totally in tune and singing from the same hymn book, never mind the same page, for every day of every year of a marriage. While the A complicates matters to a certain degree, the fundamental questions remain the same.
Am I happy? Should I stay? How much time and effort do I need to put into my marriage before I decide to call it quits? What happens now and what does a future look like without him?
The decision to come, stay or leave is never a easy one but sometimes, it needs to be made. You may be aware that my twin brother, also a WS, had filed for D a few weeks ago. And yes, while we are disappointed in that decision, at another one, we are happy that at least a decision was made one way or the other. While seeing a marriage collapse maybe painful, watching a marriage turn into a quagmire of anger, hate, resentment, disappointment and regrets maybe even worse.
Sal1995 - The answer could be yes or no to any of those questions. I guess it's up to the individual how much work they want to do and how much pain and disappointment they are willing to do in the process. IMO a couple should work like hell to heal each other for as long as possible, and not pull the plug until the situation becomes intolerable and hopelessly unworkable.
Sal said it very well in this reply. It comes down to your indicial judgement. The decision to quit is rarely a joint decision. For me, the phrase of ďa couple should workĒ is the most telling. In any relationship, if both couples are fighting for the marriage, you should almost by definition, be 100% successful. The question of divorce invariably arises when one member is fighting and the other isnít. Hell, in some marriages, the other spouse sometimes seems totally oblivious to the whole angst issue of their partner and is seemingly happy and content with the state of affairs as is.
refuz2bavictim - Deciding to exercise patience is not a passive act. Itís very deliberate. The intentional reciprocity of patience within a relationship is necessary to withstand growth gaps between the two individuals. (barring abuse of course)Ö. "Finding oneself" (very passive) in these situations indicates a need to re-establish focus, and take an honest self-assessment. We find ourselves in situations, when we aren't deliberate and intentional in our decision making. We are always making decisions, even if it is done passively.
I found this reply to be very insightful. The question which seems to stem from this is how do determine the length of time it will take to bridge the growth gap and are you willing to put forth your time and effort for this indeterminate period of time.
Quite often, when discussing the issue of divorce, a question is posed asking, what if your spouse came down with some horrible crippling disease? Would you throw them on the trash heap just because they weren't the perfect mate anymore? I think that question is disingenuous to say the least. It puts the duration of a marriage ahead of the quality of marriage and IMHO, thatís not appropriate. Each of us gets to make the decisions in our lives including the one to start or finish our marriages. Obviously, we hope that the decision is not flippant and easy but neither should raise the bar to divorce to some impossible level.
IMHO, those people in the divorce/separation forum may have plenty to say on the matter of making the hard decision to divorce and move onward. While quite a few there may have made their decisions immediately after the A was discovered and the hurt was front and center, I think that there are also a community where that decision was made after a whole lot of painstaking thinking.
refuz2bavictim - make decisions about what YOU will or won't do only for yourself.
Like all of the big decisions of our lives, it would be best if we did this one right. Make a conscious decision and not a emotional choice. So, ask yourself the 8 questions and ultimately, make a decision. Iím not saying that marriage demands or needs mad passionate love each and every day, after all, we are only human, but if you donít have a sense of joy and happiness when you walk into your house to your spouse, then perhaps, a decision needs to be made.
Unless it's mad, passionate, extraordinary love, itís a waste of your time. There are too many mediocre things in life; love shouldn't be one of them - Anon
I watched my brotherís marriage fall apart, piece by piece, because he was afraid to make this decision. Afraid to stay and afraid to leave. Indecisiveness cost him and his wife, years of anguish, unhappiness and did nothing to promote healing for either of them. It just prolonged the misery for both of them.
Sometimes, happiness does mean letting go. Sometimes it means fighting for it tooth and nail. But not making a decision results in none of these outcomes. You get to make this choice and whatever you do decide, I am sure that it will work out.
Wisdom from Gamine - Make a decision and discipline yourself not to waver. Don't be someone who stands for nothing. Stand for what you decide and back it with the full force of your character and conviction. DECIDE. CHOOSE. COMMIT. PERIOD.
So based on previous actions, previous patterns, and current ones as well, then yes. Can't/won't. Or doesn't/hasn't/isn't. Take your pick. They're all the same thing. I'm not saying it's in infallibly, positively, 1000000% totally sure that he can't/won't. I believe every person has the potential within them. The question remains whether they act upon it. That is the whole point. If they do, yay. If not, then what? At the present moment, we are in the "Nothing's happening. Avoiding." phase.
You ask the question how long it took me to see the light. 8 1/2 years. So is that the gauge I would use for him? And yes in this conversation we're talking infidelity. But it can be anything really. Drug addiction. A motorcycle obsession. Sniffing gas. Buying coins and stamps. Financial infidelity. Pick your poison. If a WS has a 15 year LTA, does the WS then wait another 15 years for the BS to catch up? Do you see what I'm trying to say? Look, I'm not trying to be a witch. Healing takes time. Everyone's got their own pace. Totally get that. But is that fair to both parties? To be miserable for not just 15 years, but for 30. Just to find out at the end of it all that it isn't going to work out, or someone's not healing, or whatever? Is that when you just chalk it up to a risk and say, "Welp. Live and learn" and move on?
There is no way on Earth, you would be able to accomplish that task above while holding the firm belief that he can't or won't work on his own growth at some point in the partnership
But don't decide for him that he can't or won't learn it
Instead of making the decision for him, about what he will or won't do, you leave room for his growth in your own mind and make decisions about what YOU will or won't do only for yourself.
If a person is to look at their own growth, their own decisions, only for themselves, especially in a situation like this, then where exactly is the wall-dropping, intimacy building happening?
I feel there's this whole ball of fucked up, drop your walls but protect yourself, be intimate but not gullible, be open but don't be stupid going on. In getting healthy, you protect yourself from unhealthy people and safeguard yourself. So....what if that someone is your spouse? How do you do all that crap, but leave down your walls when it comes to the person closest to you? The person that could potentially inflict the most damage? I simply cannot find the middle of the freaking road anywhere.
Dumb example. Without going into detail, end-of-the-week and weekend from hell. I'm scared, I'm hurt, I don't know what to do. Peeling back all the layers, him and his issues which he then projected onto me. And he acknowledged that's what happened. But then, nothing. It's buried again.
I made a pact with myself to do something fun and corny for Valentine's Day. Got everything ready and was waiting for Feb 1st. When it rolled around and our lives were up in the air, I struggled with what to do. Do I throw all my stuff away? Do I go ahead and do it? I chose to continue. Every morning when I get up, I put hearts on the bathroom mirror with a reason why I love him. Feb. 1 there was one, Feb. 2, there was two, and so on and so forth.
To say I feel incredible fear while putting up those Valentines, is a gross understatement. All the reasons that I love him. And the fear of his issues. It's crazy making. I want to help him, I want to heal him. I want to take it all away. But some things I cannot do. It is impossible. So I'm putting up hearts on why I love him, consumed with fear, and totally unsure of our future.
Maybe I'm crazy. I just don't know anymore.
Sorry HUFI. Cross-posted with you. Gotta catch up now.
Another thing. I think maybe some people think I'm ready to just ditch the guy if he doesn't change immediately and move on. That's totally not the case. I'm asking questions to learn. To try to understand how all this works. If you think I'm in my room in between posting packing suitcases, relax. I'm not going anywhere.
[This message edited by Aubrie at 10:56 AM, February 6th (Thursday)]
So I'm putting up hearts on why I love him, consumed with fear, and totally unsure of our future.
I homeschool. Terrifies me. I'm doubting my ability as the kids progress. The thought of high school makes me want to slit my wrists. A dear friend told me to stop thinking so long term. Take it a year at a time. If it works to homeschool this year, good. If next year is too daunting, make a decision then.
Maybe applying that logic to this situation would help.