me (WW/BS): 48
4 kiddos in mid 20's
The conditions we face do not define us. They remind us of who we are and who we want to be.
I ask about you wanting to heal because what if that meant that eventually you no longer get to play the "you did this to me" card every time you start hurting?
ETA: Not saying that this is where you are now, or will even be in a year from now, but at some point in the future that needs to happen.
[This message edited by tired girl at 9:56 AM, July 22nd (Tuesday)]
Some BS are now happy with a (better) spouse who does more chores and showers them with attention. You aren't going to be satisfied with that. I wouldn't be either. You want to see him do the internal introspective work. That is what will make you feel safe because you understand the importance of it. His fears which block him from doing that work cause fear and worry for you. Makes sense.
Both my husband and I had a habit of keeping busy and used whatever interest/obsession we had as a way to escape intimacy. We still have to watch this, because it's an easy trap to fall into. After dday we made bucket lists to do fun things together. It was important for us to do this and build new memories and a connection. I remember I was also angry/frustrated with him because he would have focused exclusively on that and helping out more around the house, had I let him. I loved having fun but I also wanted to see the work being done so I could feel safe.
There needed to be a balance. It couldn't be all work or all fun. We still talk about achieving/maintaining that balance and shifting in one direction or the other when needed. Being aware of it helps a lot. It can be easy to watch a movies or TV together and yet not really be connected. My husband will often check in with me and ask how I'm doing and my go-to response is fine. He wants to know how I'm doing emotionally and he has to push me, because unless I keep checking in with myself or practicing identifying my emotions through Retrouvaille work, it's very easy for me to disconnect from my feelings, let alone express them. So I can't say I'm 'safe' either unless I continually work on it. I'm really stubborn too but I got a lot out of Retrouvaille. Do not get hung up on the forgiveness aspect of it Rachel. Take what you need and leave the rest. Period.
I think there is the added complication of your MH status. It's not that you compare affairs, it's that you compare yourself to him as a remorseful WS. You know the importance of this work because you've done it yourself. I think you have an internal yardstick that you pull out that other BS wouldn't necessarily have. I'm not saying that as a judgement. I think it just adds another layer to this for you. It would not be easy. ….of course I could be complete off base here and ignore if I'm mistaken.
Even our friends where the hubby had an affair 7 years ago - they read a devotional every morning. We started that but he didn't like it. I would have to push it again.
We did something similar. We stumbled upon a personality test (Enneagram) which was astonishingly accurate and signed up for daily emails. These emails relate to your personality; your positive attributes to strive towards and cultivate, your negative attributes which you need to work on and your core fears to acknowledge and be aware of. It talks about the spectrum from healthy to unhealthy.
For example, here are some recent we got:
For my husband:
Unhealthy aspects include -- being explorative, opportunistic and can betray and sabotage people.
Average aspects include -- being image conscious, out of touch with feelings and narcissistic
Healthy aspects include -- being assured, energetic, and inner directed.
Unhealthy aspects include -- being intolerant, punitive and obsessive about imperfection and the wrong-doing of others.
Average aspects include -- being rigid, emotionally constricted and pedantic (as displayed in this long post)
Healthy aspects include -- being conscientious, self-disciplined and highly principled.
Yeah, we were a great combo to try to reconcile following an affair. We started sharing these and discussing them with each other early on and still do. They are good little reminders too to see where you are on the journey to healing and being 'healthy'.
Maybe that would be more 'real' and interesting than devotionals.
But if that means forgiveness I can't do it yet.
After their respective weekends, they had begun to seriously consider forgiveness. After finishing their post sessions, they fully forgave. RV is about forgiveness - more importantly, the CHOICE to forgive. By the end of our RV weekend, forgiveness had definitely arrived for some of the couples. That could be you two, rachel. You just have to be humble, not just about your contribution to the state of the marriage pre-A, but your contribution to the state of your marriage post-A. Nothing happens in a vacuum.
at you compare yourself to him as a remorseful WS.
Yep, exactly..., had he expressed the difficulty of living here with two APs I would have pulled up stakes and said "let's go." Because that isn't being done for me I question his commitment to me. That is it right there..,
And when people ask me if I feel safe well, he doesn't really share his journey with me, he hasn't changed much because he wasn't a douche pre-A. So this has been so hard for me to gauge.
TG- I say this probably once every few weeks . Believe me, I don't say it every time I feel hurt. And it's getting better. But the last two days have been awful. Acceptance - Well I thought I was getting close but I don't know now. This would be SO much easier if I didn't run smack dab into triggers all the time.., OW1s BFF is here at the beauty shop this am. I'm just like really? So if I had acceptance would I not care about things like this??
I will print off the Retrovaille stuff, show him and tell him I want to go. From what you say how far people come during the sessions, it makes me wonder what goes on,,,
DixieD- thank you!!'
I just wanted to jump in and give you my impression of my RV experience. We did it a few months after Dday, so we were there at a different point in our R process. I didn't feel it was pushing me toward forgiveness at all... It gave us new tools for communication and started our process of reconnecting. For him, he said it made him remember all the reasons he loved me in the first place. We didn't finish all the post-weekend sessions and didn't keep up with the practice of daily sharing -- I think that would help us still.
I can identify with a lot of what you wrote ... I too see that he is making effort to change in many ways, but he is "emotionally challenged" (he admits this) and has not done some of the work that *I* need him to do to heal me. I'm not sure where that leaves me either. Our M is good and much better, more deliberate in how we love each other. But that piece is still missing. I'm pretty sure that *time* will not fix that and don't know if I can *convince* him of what he needs to do.
Oh, and yeah, we're BOTH very stubborn. I always joke that our kids inherited a double dose of stubborn in their genes. Still working on that so that we can R.
I wish you the very best....
if he would show some humility about the state of our marriage after his affairs instead of blaming me then I would be a lot further along. I know it.
I get that. I really do. I do believe that you have probably communicated this to him - the key is - how did you communicate this to him? Was it loving? Did he feel safe? While he may feel safe in his surroundings, he may not feel safe when communicating with you because he's scared of your reactions. This is all guessing on my part. All I know is that you have complete control over how you feel, what you say, and how you say it.
I think I've said it in so many words... it would be something I would say at MC I think. I can have a sit down with him sometime and say this. When I have said things like this early on he has replied that he wasn't ready to hear it (we went to a marriage retreat 3 weeks after dday#1 and later he said he wasn't ready, I think I'm the only person here who had their spouse read How to Help Your spouse heal from your affair and he promptly had another one!), was not done being angry with me, and said things to me in frustration, which goes along with TG's question: what if he continues to see his affair the same way. Here's the thing: that thought pattern permeates a lot of his choices. He lets himself off the hook, so to speak. so its understandable why he doesn't want to move. Why should he have to suffer for something that wouldn't have happened had I not did what I did. He said to me once, in frustration, "if you wanted to move (away from the triggers of his affairs) you should have had your affair 10 years earlier." - meaning earlier in his career life. It makes me feel like I'm still being punished. That is just one example....
[This message edited by rachelc at 2:27 PM, July 22nd (Tuesday)]
I would really have to work beyond my "you fucking douche" thought I have when driving through the town for me to be the first to reach and grab his hand. I guess that's where I'm at right now.
How will YOU move past this? Is there anything YOU can do that does totally and completely depend on your H doing something first?
He didn't say anything, I'm sure it didn't occur to him that I was triggering, he can't read my mind, so I did. I said it still hurts. I will never forget. I threw in a PA comment that I could have very easily left out. He said he was sorry. We moved on from there...
I suppose I could do all sorts of internal gymnastics and say to myself without mentioning it to him, it was a long time ago, nothing is happening anymore, he's right here with me, he's such a great dishwasher loader, lover and mover of furniture. Look how well he has provided for us. I could do all that. Is that what you mean?
no, I'm still very very angry. I'm sorry. I guess I'm failing at this.
I hadn't planned on telling him. What would be the point? There were two chairs in the Beauty shop and a friend I just met got in the other one when OWBFF left. I was so glad to see her and talk to her. But I do feel it's too close for comfort. This is my home. None of these people pose a threat. I can take care of myself if I have to. But I just don't want to be reminded of what happened all the live long day. I want some peace.... I will have to work out for myself how to get that...
yes, Rebreather, God yes. If he did it first. But I would have to tell him to do that. I can, I suppose.It could be a little signal for us.
Then yes, see if you can do that. Tell him what you need for reassurance. It's likely he freezes because he thinks "reassurance" means you need to jump through some kind of hoop, when all you need is acknowledgement and a squeeze of the hand. And tell him you trigger, every time. Not every other time or every third time. But every time, and that if he is proactive, it will calm your fears greatly. That way you can get what you need, w/out taking that little swipe at him.