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Fights more than two years out from D-day?

OneInTheSame posted 3/12/2018 03:38 AM

Last week we had another doozy. It had been months and months since the last one, and we are 2 1/2 years post d-day.

It all started because I wanted her to know it felt like she hadn't been paying attention in the manner she told me about so proudly when we first met almost 20 years ago, that close attention so you know your partner's preferneces. The incident(s) were minor, nit-picky things, but since I refuse to let things go on and on since the affair, I brought it up. She had asked me if I wanted something on my plate at dinner that I have told her repeatedly that I don't. All I wanted to do was let her know how much it hurt to feel like she wasn't paying attention through the years when I have told her that preference over and over again. A simple "I am sorry. I should remember that, since you have told me before" would have sufficed. But she had to turn it around and insist she did it "to be polite, in case this time was different -- in case I had changed my mind." No, to me it was laziness and not thinking to ask that same question again . . .

Arg-g-g-g-h!

It turned into 5 hours of fighting and silence, fighting and silence, and then a sleepless night.

And why are these nit-picky things bothering me? Because during her affair she began to slide on so many things I had come to know and depend on her for. And since then it seems that her desire to pay attention isn't there like it used to be. And that is triggering, because it feels like that almost intangible feeling that there is something "off" in the universe we often feel when our spouses are immersed in their affairs. She is so black and white that the idea a feeling like that can be a terrible trigger for me is almost impossible for her to grasp. And those are some of my worst triggers. I told her that it takes away some of my security, my feeling secure in her, when it seems she is not paying attention like that, even to the little things . . .

I feel I am at the stage where I should not have to just bite my tongue, but should be able to bring up little things like this, and she should be able to respond in a way that makes me feel more secure. When the response is so defensive, it just set me back.

Is this a common part of the roller-coaster ride after so much time has gone by?

sassylee posted 3/12/2018 12:00 PM

Sometimes, life goes on. Arguments about things you describe happen in all marriages - even in those unaffected by infidelity.

When my husband and I were in early R, we rarely fought. We were so uber focussed on being good partners... speaking the others love language. It's almost like we were in competition to be the more loving spouse (with my husband winning most often because - well, I had been faithful.) This went on for years. We would have little disagreements but they were fair and maturely handled.

Lately, we've been arguing more. I am tired because I haven't been sleeping well and I'm not feeling fulfilled in my work place. As I wrestle with these issues, I find my patience is dwindling for being fair and understanding. I find myself being more snappy with my H...which of course hurts him and results in him being shorter with me. It's not a good dynamic, and one that existed in our marriage pre-A. I don't want to go down that road again.

So, your fight. You describe it as nitpicky things. Her asking...that would be an improvement from just putting it on your plate -yes? She remembered you typically didn't want it on your plate so that says something. Was this incident the cumulative event that pushed you over the edge? We're there other ways she's been inattentive to your preferences and this was the proverbial straw?

Is it possible YOU are reading something in this "nitpicky" thing that isn't there? It's not so much as the message she is sending by doing this but the message you are telling yourself? Meaning, was this really a fight about the food on your plate? Or was this a fight about the affair?

Also, the 5 hour fight. Is this the real crux of the matter? Do you both fight fair? Did the topic of the fight stay on the plate issue or did it grow into something bigger? Sometimes when we are far out from dday and the healing is well on its way, and we think "affair" talk should be done and over with, we might insert other reasons to have conflict. Was any of that in play here?

This might be a good time for marriage counselling. To
Learn new ways of communicating and disagreeing that are effective and won't damage the relationship.

This response is all over the place and I'm tempted to delete lol, but I'm going to leave it as is and maybe something in this mishmash of thought will help. In an attempt to sum up and bring clarity to my answer I'll say this. Marriage will sometimes involve conflict and it's important to state your needs. How we do it can be constructive or damaging. Don't sweat the small stuff but focus on the underlying issue that's concerning you. Understand that the message you are receiving from your mate might not be the one they wish to send - so be sure to communicate and talk about it before things grow larger than we can tackle. And marriage is a challenge....even years out from dday - conflicts are normal. How we handle the conflicts is what is key.


[This message edited by sassylee at 12:01 PM, March 12th (Monday)]

psychmom posted 3/12/2018 17:08 PM

The expectations for what a good M looks like and feels like change after dday. Many BS expect much more from our WS than we did before we learned of their epic fail. We intuitively know they need to bring their AGame from now on..Anything less feels like failure or a return to how they were when they decided to take the cheating path.

Eta....yes, you should be able to ask AND expect honesty and patience from your WS. This is where my H struggled at 3 years out. He wants to be "past" this. No, that is MY choice to make, and if he doesnt like it, thats his problem, not mine.

[This message edited by psychmom at 5:10 PM, March 12th (Monday)]

OneInTheSame posted 3/12/2018 18:22 PM

Psychmom, your response helped because you shared that even three years out your H was struggling. To know I am not alone helps. Thanks.

OneInTheSame posted 3/12/2018 19:19 PM

Was this incident the cumulative event that pushed you over the edge? We're there other ways she's been inattentive to your preferences and this was the proverbial straw?

sassylee, yes there have been other little things that have served as triggers and reminders that things were different before the affair. You know how you feel that something is missing long before you can figure out what it is? That is how it was during the affair . . . little things almost under the radar . . . kind of small "disturbances in the force" if you will. One would think that during the early months following d-day, and pointing out the areas she had begun to slide, stop doing the things she always prided herself for taking care of, that she would pick up again, and I would see it. One might also expect she would NOT want to do things that triggered me or reminded me of her affair.

Instead, it seems she thinks I have raised the bar beyond what she had established prior to her cheating. In this last fight she even asked if I expect more of her. I reminded her that I had warned her many times that I did, in fact, expect her to not take the low road and the easy way. (In her relationship with her ex, the AP, fights were followed with purchases, little gifts that seemed to satisfy her ex, but did not address the behavior, so it was like a game. I think her ex basically taught her that fights can be smoothed over if the right "gift' showed up. I do not subscribe to this relationship model and never have!)

was this really a fight about the food on your plate? Or was this a fight about the affair?

Oh, it was about the affair . . . and she knows it. I was not unclear that I have been noticing changes since d-day, and told her I have tried to be patient, and I often suppress the triggers when they happen, hoping to see change without having to prompt it all the time. I told her if I could tell her about a trigger without it turning into a long, drawn out fight, it would be helpful. I also told her I was tired of waiting for her to make good on her new promises, to listen, be supportive, work on empathy, and that suppressing saying anything was taking a toll on me. I angrily told her I would be pointing out EVERY TIME this happens in the future, but you and I know I can't do this either. It would kill me, the stress would.

It is about the affair because I have shared with her many times that her return to her ex during a time when I was working very hard to be open and generous about her need for friends and getting away from the care-giving that my chronic illness has leveled on her -- was a slap in the face. She knew I struggled with feeling inadequate when we first met, simply because I was newly "out" and inexperienced in lesbian relationships. She often spoke of being excited about the time when we had been together long enough to "finish each other's sentences" and know each other deeply and intimately. Knowing each others likes and dislikes. Like she and her ex had.

So, maybe pre-d-day I was not nearly as sensitive about her NOT remembering things like this, but having my world ripped apart exposed the fact that I had come to expect and rely on and enjoy this kind of knowledge, and I did not expect her to act like I was a stranger . . . because, I suppose, that is how this kind of obtuse action makes me feel.

Do you both fight fair? Did the topic of the fight stay on the plate issue or did it grow into something bigger?

Before the affair we didn't have huge fights. They never grew or engulfed everything nearby to become huge issues. But since d-day she has become adept at shifting topics away from whatever it is that I am needing to discuss. I still see that kind of defensive deflection, and I call her out on it. It was I who said that her forgetting this issue was a trigger of bad feelings from the affair, and she deflected by trying to make it something nice that she did, to try to accommodate the remote (very remote) possibility I had changed my mind. It would be like your spouse buying you the exact kind of flowers you don't care for, and never have liked, and then saying "I thought you might like to try something new." It was crap, and I didn't accept it this time.

I have recently mentioned that I think we need to find a marriage counselor at this stage, as our communication is suffering because of how we process the world so differently. I can say something and ask if she understands, and when she tells me what she heard . . . OMG! It is not what I have said at all! This is new, and it wasn't a problem before d-day. I think it is part of her trying to rug sweep. She thinks we should have moved past questions by now, even though I warned her during her incessant TT early on that it was just adding to the problems we would have later. I saw this coming, but didn't know it would look exactly like this. Even sadder . . . she is not positive about getting back into marriage counseling; she doesn't think it will help. I told her i think we need a third party to listen to what we are trying to say to each other, to help with ouer communication. Apparently I am asking her to stretch her brain too much. She thought time would heal all. Right now I am struggling with my health, and sitting in a counselors office for even an hour would be difficult. But I do not intend to let this idea go, and I told her as much.

Don't sweat the small stuff but focus on the underlying issue that's concerning you. Understand that the message you are receiving from your mate might not be the one they wish to send - so be sure to communicate and talk about it before things grow larger than we can tackle.

This is what I am trying to do. I can say "Can we avoid yellow and she will want to get down to all of the specific yellows, like make a list, so she can be sure. She makes it harder for herself because she thinks it has to be so black and white. Do you get what I am saying? During our fights, for instance, she will declare "I will never do "x" ever again." So in her mind she adds that specific "x" to her long, long, LONG list of things not to do, instead of understanding that all she must consider is that things like "x" need extra thought. Capiche?

You thought your response was long and rambling! My English professor in college, bless her heart (RIP) would be shaking her head and telling me to edit this down!

sassylee posted 3/13/2018 10:49 AM

I too expected our new post affair marriage to be better than before. Fortunately for H - he stepped up.

Repairing the marriage to a level where we as BS's feel it's worth the pain and trauma - that takes effort. it does sound like your WW wants to rugsweep. She just wants everything to go back to the way it was - she's an avoider....probably why she had an A to begin with. It's unfortunate she's resisting MC - does she not see that the life of the marriage depends on fixing these issues?

Have you two read through the 5 Love Languages?

I'm trying to think of the fight you two had...put myself in your shoes...if she had simply said "Your right. I know you don't like xyz - I shouldn't have even asked. I'm sorry. I'll do better." Would that have been good? Is it more the defensiveness and mild gaslighting she pulled that escalated the event than the actual deed itself?

LoveTKO posted 3/13/2018 11:06 AM

I understand where you are coming from. When my FWH does something I've asked him repeatedly not to because it bothers me, I feel disrespected. When he asks me not to do something that bothers him, I don't do it. I think it comes down to selfishness which seems to be a character trait of most waywards.

I agree with psychmom

We intuitively know they need to bring their AGame from now on..Anything less feels like failure or a return to how they were when they decided to take the cheating path.

If we are choosing the difficult path of R, the least they can do is be thoughtful and attentive. When they are not, at least with me, it's a trigger. You're not alone!!

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