My BH and I are two and a half years out from D-Day. I thought things were going really well lately, but this morning something odd happened. My husband looked at the bed and commented that it seemed to be pushed over "funny," that it looked like it had been moved so that there was barely room to walk between the bed and the dresser (mind you, we live in a small apartment, and there really is barely room to walk between the bed and the dresser). To me, the bed looked like it was in the same position and not out of place at all. Now, I am not the most graceful person and do have a tendency to walk into walls/doors/furniture without even realizing it. Perhaps I did that and inadvertently moved the bed, but if I did I don't recall it. I just said that it looked like it was in the same place to me.
He acted a bit funny for the rest of the morning, before he left for work. I asked him if something was wrong, and he said he was just "stressed." In my mind, I'm wondering if he's thinking I had my ex-AP (or someone else?!) over in our bed. So then I try to overcompensate, asking him again if something was wrong. He said, again, that he was just stressed but I can tell he's off. I didn't want to keep asking, and I didn't want to directly say, "Hey, if you're thinking I was fucking someone here during lunch, that is NOT the case." He is the sort who never wanted details, who doesn't like to talk about the affair. He is trying to heal and move on in his own way, and I try to respect that.
But I also hate feeling like I am being put on the defensive (even at this late point) for something I did not do and will never do again. I suppose I deserve it, but I don't like it. I don't know whether to mention something later, like, "Hey, I must've just walked into the bed and moved it," or let it go and hope he realizes it wasn't what he thought it was, and move on. I have gone out of my way to be accountable, to send text and photos when I'm out--never occurred to me that I might have to start doing that during the day (I occasionally work from home). Any suggestions on how to help him through this/reassure him would be greatly appreciated...
[This message edited by AchillesHealed at 10:39 AM, July 31st (Thursday)]
I have spent a lot of time comforting him. I truly feel that at this point it's his issue to work out.
If I know I'm being 100% transparent, honest, authentic, then there's nothing else I can do.
If you're not as far out, maybe some comforting words can help. Something like, 'I'm not sure what you're thinking right now but I want to assure you that I am being completely honest and transparent in my life now and there is nothing else for you to know', or something like that.
"That's the thing about pain, it demands to be felt."
The other thing is, even if I say something like that to him, he might not even believe me. Edited to add: Should I text him, or maybe try to talk to him tonight about it? I'm guessing the latter... but still, I don't know if it's the right thing to do.
[This message edited by AchillesHealed at 7:54 AM, July 31st (Thursday)]
I'm a BH. It's called hypervigilance. I don't know your back story, but after DDay the betrayed spouse can have a tendency to fixate on missed clues, the red flags that we ignored during the affair. After DDay (for most) everything is now looked at in the affair lens - to see if it's a red flag that we should pay attention to. Does that make sense?
AuthenticNow gave you good advice. Has your BH been to IC?
We're still doing MC. One of the things I've mentioned is that I know my FWH would be thrilled if I never brought it up again. He doesn't deny it.
Honestly, on the rare occasions that he makes the first mention, I'm thrilled. It shows that he's sensitive to what I'm dealing with. I suggest you make the first move and ask your BH if the bed being moved made him think that something was going on. You can then reassure him that it's not the case and his mind can stop racing.
The last time something like this happened, he insinuated I was cheating with an old colleague (not my ex-AP). When I insisted we were just out at a late dinner and that I would show him the receipt (with time stamp) as proof, he did not want to see the receipt. I showed it to him anyway--it is not fair to accuse me and then refuse to let me address the accusations. But this time, there was really no accusation, just a feeling. And I don't want to blow up this dresser thing bigger in his mind if he's really on his way to forgetting about it. Then again, I don't want to fail to address it if it really is bothering him.
[This message edited by AchillesHealed at 8:04 AM, July 31st (Thursday)]
I am contemplating texting him about it, but I'll wait to do it in person. It's just really, really hard to bring it up, since he never does.
I would have loved to have gone to MC with him to address these sorts of things.
PS: if I do bring it up and tell him the bed thing was all in his mind, what's to say he's going to believe me? Or is he going to think that my bringing it up suggests guilt?
[This message edited by AchillesHealed at 8:09 AM, July 31st (Thursday)]
It's actually a lot like where I was after a miscarriage- you're never not thinking about it, and even if it's not forefront in your mind, it's not like you forgot that it happened. Someone mentioning that baby doesn't make me sad, it's actually somewhat comforting that 'you' are thinking about it, and my pain/grief.
If he's the "don't talk about it" type, I would still say something, but probably allude to the underlying issue rather than be blunt about it. I like what AuthenticNow suggested saying.
I can imagine the inner turmoil both of you live with. It's no wonder that you're left with trying to figure out what he's thinking. In the meantime, whatever his thoughts are escalate because there's no release from them.
You can't spend the rest of your life walking on eggshells and he shouldn't be ignoring the dead elephant in the middle of them. It's not healthy for either of you.
Are you in IC? If he sees you benefitting from counseling, perhaps he'll have a change of heart. It has helped enormously in getting us to be able to communicate.
Just a quick question. The bed moving seems odd in and of itself, was/is there something else setting off his alarms? Honestly, I'd be blunt and just ask.
Living in Limbo, I was in IC for a long time, addressing my issues, including childhood sexual abuse. He knows it was very helpful for me, and yet has never expressed interest it in for himself. He works a lot, which is part of the problem--it is not convenient for him.
5454, thanks for your input. Maybe he does see it as his burden at this point, but still, he does not deserve to have that burden, and if I can help lift it I would like to do so. There was nothing else setting off alarms (at least not that I'm aware of)--things were perfectly normal until the bed comment. But he does know I walk into furniture all of the time, and the bruise is clearly there, so hopefully that will put his mind at rest?
Still, I wish he had commented on it. Maybe he will when he sees the damn bruise.
Otherwise, you risk sounding like you are looking for excuses. But also realize that he may be feeling uncertain or insecure in general for any host of reasons. Or, it could just be a brain-fire thing. We can't really control them, sadly. The number of times of day I (and most BSes) think about the AP or the affair from seemingly unrelated stimuli is mind boggling. And while it lessens over time, sometimes the random ones are whoppers because you've gotten so used to not feeling them.
I edit, therefore I am.
I guess I'll leave it alone for now and let him go on with his work day, and then maybe say something else in person. I try to reassure him all the time about how committed I am without directly mentioning the affair. It's so, SO frustrating and upsetting when this happens. I just feel powerless to do anything about it.
The way I found to initially get my WH to talk was through texting. It allowed him a chance to read and digest what I was saying without feeling put on the spot for an answer. I even emailed a couple of letters to him about my thoughts and feelings of our marriage. I know most people feel this is the wrong way to handle talking. However I found that I could text him for information about the A and he would answer back. Sometimes it took several tries to get a real response. Sometimes I would refer to advice given on SI, etc. He slowly started opening up a little with face to face talking about our situation and what our common goal was for the relationship.
Your BH has to be living in his own kind of mind prison. If you truly love him, are truly remorseful for the A, then he really needs to know that. The vulnerability the BS feels tells us to keep our guard up at all times and be prepared for the worse. We don't want to be blindsided again.
I would suggest maybe a soft start by texting something about how you feel that shows your remorse. Some of the hopes for your future together. Maybe how you see his pain and want to know how you can help him. I cannot even begin to express how important it is that you constantly let him know you love HIM!! Do small things like ask to meet up for lunch once or twice a week if it is possible. He needs to know and feel that he is the center of your world. It really is in the small things everyday. Do little things that let him know you are thinking of him only.
The other thing I wondered from your post was about the mattress. If you had your AP at your place and that mattress was used....you need to replace as soon as possible. Otherwise that will always be a trigger for him. If it was not than please disregard.
[This message edited by MissWhoKnew at 9:13 AM, July 31st, 2014 (Thursday)]
Honestly, I tell him all the time that I love him and that I know how lucky I am--basically I make any declaration of love/commitment I can make without directly mentioning the affair. I check in with him throughout the day. I try to make date nights for us. I'm physically affectionate all the time. I don't know what else I can do, short of directly mentioning the affair.
I sent the text about the bed/bruise, trying to open the door, and didn't get a response. If you were me, how would you take that?
It must be hurtful to you that he is suspiscioius.
At the same time, I think this will always be something that will be in the back of his mind.
Can you live with that?
It is well known that infidelity can cause PTSD, in the faithful spouse.
As others have mentioned, one symptom of PTSD is hypervigiliance and being easily triggered.
I read in a book that triggers from PTSD never go away.
Even worse, the intensity of the trigger, once triggered remains as powerful as the first time.
What changes over time, is the duration of the anxiety caused by the trigger. Over time, the duration of the anxiety decreases, but not the intensity.
I don't want to live with it--I want to make it go away--but I suppose that is beyond my power.
The question remains of whether or not to say anything explicit to him, or to just continue with my usual reassurances and declarations of love, etc. I guess I'll follow his lead. It's so hard to know what would be best for him to hear.