I know you asked for a BH's response but after reading your post I felt compelled to answer.
I am a BW. I imagine what you wrote is something my H would write to a tee almost.
We too are 3+ years out from DDay and have worked extremely hard to fight for our marriage and make it better than ever. We have come a long way and I am proud of us and my H's ability to open up, be engaged and communicate with me.
It is still hard at times. Not because I don't love my husband. Not because I don't want to be with him. But there are reminders everywhere of affairs. Couples you know, TV shows or movies, magazines glamourizing affairs...it is literally everywhere.
We are currently dealing with issues with our oldest daughter and it has caused me to slip backwards a bit on triggering. I don't know if it is my high level of anxiety that I associate with the A or if it is just that I never dreamed we'd be dealing with this with our daughter JUST LIKE I never dreamed my H would have an affair. Emotions are funny like that, they aren't always logical. Feelings aren't right or wrong, they just are.
When you see a couple you know go through infidelity and/or divorce it is natural to think "wow - that could be us" and that is scary. For me it brings up a boat load of insecurities about am "I good enough" and maybe I am unintentionally causing my husband to think/feel like he did during the affair. I'll be honest, it is a huge trigger and I panic.
The feelings do pass and the triggers are spread out farther and farther apart but they still happen. Remember it takes on average 2-5 years to "heal" from an affair.
I give your husband credit for being honest with you and for calling this counselor. Both positive responses to the situation. He needed to vent, to articulate his concerns and he did. That is a lot better that stuffing them down and pretending he is fine when he isn't.
You are probably feeling odd because you want this to be over. You want to be beyond the A and the aftermath and it sounds like you are for the most part. That is something to celebrate.
When this happens to me, I apologize for connecting dots that aren't there, ask for my H forgiveness and tell him I love him. He in return acknowledges my feelings (validates me) and even though it is hard understands the pain of the A is still real for me.
This actually happened just last night so this is so real and fresh for me. My H stated that he understands why I feel the way I do and apologized again for hurting me. It helped me settle me down and refocus on the positive and be grateful for how far we have come.
It's a journey, a process. It takes time. You have to realize the affair will always be there. Hopefully with time it will be a blip on the screen.
Good luck. Keep talking.
(((many hugs to you both)))
First of all, you're 3 years out and still together, so you should feel good about that.
Gently, but first of all, under the circumstances, how could you not expect him to trigger? Other marriages are falling apart around him and for him, I'm sure he's experiencing the pain again. For a BS, you lose a big part of yourself on Disc-D, and it will never be the same. You need to realize that to continue.
Will a day come he won't be happy with me and our progress. How can I help him get the help he needs to process it when he refuses?
I'm like your husband. The quiet type who wants to fix himself by himself. Right now he has your counsellor's number and used it. I would take him at his word and allow him to continue his journey as he see fits. You can't force anything on him.
As it says around here, a BS is offering a WS a true gift. Treat it as such everyday until the day you die. Make him feel like he's the love of your life everyday. Not just with the usual (making supper, laundry, etc) but with the unusual (surprise getaways, surprise sex, whatever) so he knows you are devoted to him.
I would also suggest that as couples S in the future, it will always cause him to trigger. There is no cure for such a negative event, it just is.
For instance, my FWW lost her father 30 years ago, when she was just 10. To this day, she can't hear the song Amazing Grace without crying (played as casket marched out). She just recently started to go to funerals because of the pain. A's are that substantial. He's probably content most days, but when other S & D pop up, it may always trigger him for a few days.
You should tell him of the thread Men of WW in the I can Relate forum. It's helped me greatly and easier to deal with men. We are emotionally detached you know!
[This message edited by cvs2kkids at 3:30 PM, March 19th (Wednesday)]
She no more will have that power over me. I can make, and will make, my own happiness. We we're a good team at one point, but I am great as an individual!!
Reminders are everywhere. I am divorced, yet the reminders still have an impact on me. I believe it would be deeply difficult if I was still around my exWW every day- remorseful or not- because the scar would throb every once in awhile no matter what.
Now he has direct impact, live horror show, in your face trigger city and he can't process his own situation or offer support from a shared experience position. That scar is not only throbbing once in awhile, I'd imagine it is flat out burning right now.
At the same time, I'd imagine he has a hard time accepting that it still has an impact on him. It is hard enough to be cuckolded in our culture, and added to that is the unspoken cultural expectation that he should be over it by now, or done with the relationship. Then he sees first hand how it impacted him base on what he sees these men experiencing and his personal narrative requires (most likely) a revamp. The horror on his journey from JFO to R is different than he wants to remember. UGH overwhelming.
Processing does take time. It sounds like he is being careful and rational in his assessment of the situation. He also recognizes that seeking an outside voice is important when things get overwhelming. This is all a positive.
You need to be reassuring and supportive as much as you can. Give him a forum for when he wants or is ready to talk. And- I'd advise for the short term- don't edit him if he needs to vent poison regarding infidelity.
He will carry the scar forever. It will always be there. Recognizing this and being available when he needs comfort are your best bets if he refuses consistent IC or this site.
You will get through it. You have come a long way already- it can be done.
[This message edited by quedagh at 7:24 PM, March 19th (Wednesday)]
The eight most feared words used together in the English language: We need to talk. Th
You walking on eggshells is about your insecurities.
From what you say he has been straightforward with you at every step here. He told you he didn't know if he'd get over it, and he shared what he said with his counselor.
The next day he told you he felt better. He told you what he needed.
Hear the positive along with the negative. It's just as much part of the process, and the process is confusing as hell. It's also painful to still be in that process years later, and it can be painful to see that process questioned. At 4 years shit still triggers me, things still hurt, but more often than not I just plain don't want to talk about it. I have been down that road enough to know that it isn't going to help at this point. Same with counselors, same with books. I hang around here a lot but anymore I think I just like the company because nobody throws me out. Anyway.
I can imagine how fucked up the situation he is in must feel to him. It has to hurt like hell. It also has to hurt to know in the middle of all this his wife is wondering about her own fate in a potential future.
Ask him what he means by wanting things to stay the same. I would be projecting to say it probably means he wants to build positive times with you to have something to look at in the night; I know I needed to build good times with my wife in the years after dday because just about everything before that became suspect.
Really look hard at why you are walking on eggshells. If it isn't about your own insecurities then start looking at if very, very closely.