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User Topic: A safe environment for WS to open up and talk
ShockedErica11
Member
Member # 37550
Helpless  Posted: 10:25 AM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

I read somewhere a long time ago that when trying to discuss the A with a WS, the BS has to create a “safe” environment for the WS to be able to discuss it. I realize that I have an overbearing personality, a touch forceful and straight to point. Blunt, when I talk to people (I’ve repeatedly told people that I hate small talk if I know there’s more serious matters that need to be discussed).

Alright, so, one of the items on my list of things that I gave WH to make me feel “safe”, “like he wants to be here” in this relationship was to talk about the A. You can say I’ve been a “nag” in regards to this because he just won’t open up and talk about it himself. He doesn’t share anything about it unless I ask him a direct question; he won’t bring up a topic about it unless I start it; he just won’t talk about it. Probably rugsweeping, but I know if I don’t say anything about it (and trust me, I have done so on numerous occasions (just not said anything) in the hopes that he would breach the subject and speak up), he won’t open up and talk about any aspect of it. I have at least five pages of questions that I still – to this day – have not really gotten discussions on or conversations about; maybe short texting conversations on, but nothing long, drawn out or insightful. Nothing that lets me know that he’s truly thinking about it (or even thinking about my A; I’ve respected his wishes in not bringing it up or really discussing it with him, but IMHO, he used what I did back in 2011 as an excuse and justification to continue his A with OW so I don’t think his tactic is effective, but that’s just my opinion).

So, I guess my question is this: how do I create a safe environment for him to feel like he can talk about it? TBH, I tried this at the very beginning when I first found out, but he TT’d me and after finding aout more and having multiple Ddays, my patience, my empathy and my emotions have taken a hit. Intellectually, when I’m rational, I’m good. I can listen to him, allow him to speak, etc, etc. But when my emotions flare up (sometimes, hours or days later), I am a mess. I try not to show him all the time when I’ve lost control of my emotions, but the anger is still there, and the incredible hurt.

So, what do I do? Is this a problem that I should even be concerning myself with? Is this something that he needs to do regardless of whether I get emotional or not? Is he rugsweeping?

Please help.


Him (31): Taurus517 (17 mon EA/PA); others
Me (27): 3mo EA/PA (kissed once)
One too many D-days
(Full story: see profile)

Posts: 230 | Registered: Nov 2012 | From: Atlanta, GA
Faithful w/Love
Member
Member # 33128
Default  Posted: 10:37 AM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

Personally I tried that but to be honest the more I thought about it, I thought:

Why the fuck am I creating a safe place for him when he didn't keep me safe. Why pussy foot around all this, and get TT.

URRGGHH!


BS(ME)40 WH(HIM)38
DD 20 and DS 15
Separated Aug 2012
Moved back home Oct 31 2013
Separated again June 2014. Heading toward divorce.
False R. Still Lying.

"You never know how strong you are until being strong is all you have left"


Posts: 2791 | Registered: Aug 2011
Deeply Scared
Administrator
Member # 2
Default  Posted: 11:10 AM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

As a WS...it was incredibly difficult to open up when met with "I can't believe you did that!!" type reactions.

It can feel like you're being punished for being honest and if that happens, that last thing a WS is going to do is be vulnerable all over again.

If you're asking your H to open up he needs to be met with patience. I know that seems incredibly unfair given how deeply he's hurt you, but I promise that getting mad or yelling at him won't produce the results you're wanting.


"Don't give up, the beginning is always the hardest." My Mom:)

My tolerance for stupid shit is getting less and less.


Posts: 198283 | Registered: May 2002
WoundedOpus
Member
Member # 39521
Default  Posted: 11:40 AM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

I could have written this post (and Faithful w/Love's as well!)

6 years out I just have ZERO ability to keep myself under control, and trust me, I've tried! For me, it's not so much the truth's themselves that put me over the edge, it's when he (for even the slightest second), turns to any of his crappy defense mechanisms or coping. I rationally realize that he's not yet figured out how to discuss things without adding this crap in there, but in the moment I am anything but rational...and he shuts down COMPLETELY, and then blames me for the whole fiasco.

But dammit, I've stuck around and put up with this for 6 YEARS. No matter how many lies and shit he's thrown at me, I've been more than committed to staying and working this out, and it is DEVASTATING to realize how quickly he gives up. I KNOW it's hard to handle my melt downs and anger and whatever else it is that I'm doing, but seriously, it's about a thousand times more mild than what I'm actually thinking inside. He gets mad when I cut him off, but honestly, I'm WAY past the point of allowing him any room for bull shit. I just want to an HONEST, from beginning to end conversation. I'm not talking about lies, I just need him to be REAL with me.

Ugh, sorry to go on about myself, but man can I relate. The last time we tried to talk I had a panic attack! These feelings, rational or not, fair or not, are real and I just wish he could appreciate that my reaction IS the result of me working on it, it could be a lot worse. I had to get an anxiety prescription just to be able to talk to him (just filled yesterday, so haven't tested the effectiveness). I asked him to go to IC and I'm hoping to start soon as well. Hopefully we'll both get to a better place where we can come together with a third party, and talk this shit out, because right now, neither of us is providing a 'safe' environment!


Me: BW 37
Him: WH 38
(DDay: 2/2008)
13 years, 5 kids...Six years of Limbo

“I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I have just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well." ~ Diane Ackerman


Posts: 178 | Registered: Jun 2013
rachelc
Member
Member # 30314
Default  Posted: 11:54 AM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

how do I create a safe environment for him to feel like he can talk about it

I have a different opinion than most on this...
he's an adult. If I have to create some sort of fluffy situation for him to stab me in the back or heck, even share uncomfortable feelings, I'm not interested.

I had an MC tell me that I'm training him to lie. Oh really? How bout telling the truth because it's the right thing to do? Why do we have to create safety to do that?

Tell the truth, let go of the outcome, that's integrity.

[This message edited by rachelc at 11:57 AM, October 23rd (Wednesday)]


his Dday: 2/10 but TT until 7/11
my Ddays: 1/12, 4/12 broken NC 12/12

me (WW/BS): 48
him: (BS/WH)52
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.


Posts: 5264 | Registered: Dec 2010 | From: Midwest
Kierst13
Member
Member # 39197
Default  Posted: 12:02 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

I agree with Rachel. I wasn't willing to buy my WS a fluffy, glitter farting unicorn to snuggle up with while he came clean (or lied). He is an adult and can take the heat and discomfort he brought into our lives.

Why should I make him comfortable? If it is so uncomfortable to TALK about he should not have DONE it!


Story in my profile
He lied, I gave the gift of R
He became the model remorseful WS...all while lying and seeing her
Am I done? Yes I am!

Posts: 347 | Registered: May 2013
Jrazz
Guide
Member # 31349
Default  Posted: 12:08 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

I'm a huge proponent of creating that safe space for a conflict avoidant spouse to open up.

For us, it meant setting up a predetermined time to talk, so he wouldn't feel defensive or like he was being attacked. During these times it is agreed that I will not react to our talk with anger on any big emotion. It is very business, just an information exchange. Interestingly enough, instead of feeling shortchanged like I didn't get to have my "blowout" or something, I end up having more compassion and objectivity which leads to an even more productive talk.

Yep, big fan of the safe space.


Cherish those who seek the truth but beware of those who find it. - François-Marie Arouet

Posts: 17838 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: California
StrongerOne
Member
Member # 36915
Default  Posted: 12:08 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

I told my H that I would listen and not say anything while he said his piece, and that I would either respond fairly calmly, or, if I could not, we would stop and then I would get back to him when I could handle it. Often that meant I wrote him a letter -- for me, very helpful, because I could think it through thoroughly and word it just how I wanted it to. Also, there was no question of what I had actually said


DDay Feb 2011.
In R.

Posts: 872 | Registered: Sep 2012
RyeBread
Member
Member # 37437
Default  Posted: 12:13 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

I am a BH so I get why others might say "F the guy, he cheated he can deal with the anger". I have those thoughts too.

I also think it is very admirable of you to take a step back and want to do that for you WS. Shows a level of compassion that's hard to muster at a time when you've been betrayed like that.

I think creating a safe environment means not attacking or belittling the person for giving answers you didn't want to hear. So going with that idea I wouldn't ask questions you aren't prepared to hear the answer to. If you ask for details and you lash out in anger then the person on the receiving end starts associating honesty = anger/judgement. Sucks but that's how it is, regardless of who did what to who. It's human nature. Should our WS's be the epitome of humility, compassion, and honesty at this point? Absolutely. Are they really, no. So you have to be honest about who you are really dealing with. A lot of wayward thinking is victim thinking. As a BS you are getting blamed (in their mind) for the A. The more negativity they can associate with you the more it entrenches the fog. And until they are willing to be honest with themselves about their "why's" you have to almost be calculating in how you address the A because of that.

It sucks, it's unfair but it's reality. Maybe that will work for you, maybe it won't. Thats just my perspective on trying to have a heart to heart with someone who is very self focused.


Let him that would move the world first move himself. - Socrates

Posts: 1030 | Registered: Nov 2012 | From: Midwest
Deeply Scared
Administrator
Member # 2
Default  Posted: 12:16 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

I think some of you are mis-understanding what a safe place is.

It's not coddling and stroking his hair...it's about listening without reacting with yelling or belittling your WS.

There is a time for anger, God knows I was on the receiving end of that for over 2 years. But there is also a time to show restraint while asking for the truth.

You have to remember, most WS's are conflict avoiders/people pleasers. If we weren't we never would have gotten ourselves in an affair in the first place. Good coping/communication skills aren't a strong point for most WS's. So screaming and yelling will not get you what you're asking for.


"Don't give up, the beginning is always the hardest." My Mom:)

My tolerance for stupid shit is getting less and less.


Posts: 198283 | Registered: May 2002
MissesJai
Member
Member # 24849
Default  Posted: 12:22 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

it's about listening without reacting with yelling or belittling your WS.
I'll add this - regardless of what side you are on, if the desired outcome is honesty, then restraint is necessary. What incentive would anyone have to tell the truth if they are constantly berated, belittled, and yelled at for doing so? Personally, if I don't feel safe, I don't say shit. Period. Why should I? To be condemned? Hell no.
Good coping/communication skills aren't a strong point for most WS's.
This doesn't apply only to waywards, IMO.


FWW - 41
"Don't think first about the risks of speaking up. Think first about the risks of not speaking up." ~ Kerry Patterson

Posts: 5975 | Registered: Jul 2009 | From: So Cal.....
Jrazz
Guide
Member # 31349
Default  Posted: 12:32 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

You have to remember, most WS's are conflict avoiders/people pleasers. If we weren't we never would have gotten ourselves in an affair in the first place. Good coping/communication skills aren't a strong point for most WS's. So screaming and yelling will not get you what you're asking for.

^^^^THISSSSSSS


ETA: I agree that conflict avoidance can apply to either spouse, MJ. I think the focus is on WS's here just for contextual sake, but I thought the same thing that you did when I gave my first response. The "safe space" is a healthy place for any couple to try and talk things through, IMO.

[This message edited by Jrazz at 12:34 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)]


Cherish those who seek the truth but beware of those who find it. - François-Marie Arouet

Posts: 17838 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: California
cissie
Member
Member # 17637
Default  Posted: 12:33 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

I agree that it does not seem fair to have to make allowances for the WS. There are repentant and unrepentant WSs, so as in everything in life “your case may vary”.

As DS says we feel punished for telling the truth. We forget that we have known this information a long time but to the BS it is all new. Their reactions are absolutely normal. They have been hurt, they don’t know who they are. They have been living a fake life.

I did not realize that all this was a dealbreaker for my BS, and so I wonder what the outcome would have been if I had just asked for a divorce. I would be accused of taking the “easy “way out. But you know, as has been said over and over again by those of us in the Wayward forum, we can’t change the past, we can only change the future.
For us the future is limbo. We are at a stalemate. In my worst moments, when I am really down, I feel as if I have given him so many sticks to beat me with.

Is it better for the BS to know absolutely everything, even if they have no intent to reconcile? Does it help them to get on with their lives with less ambiguity and regret?


Posts: 548 | Registered: Jan 2008
outtamymind
Member
Member # 33607
Default  Posted: 12:37 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

How about writing your questions down on paper and having him write down the answers? Take away the possibility of a confrontation. The conflict avoidant part of us is what makes it difficult for us to communicate. We don't want to deal with the reaction we know we're going to get. So, when asked to my face, I lied and lied again.


Me: FWS 45

Divorced


Posts: 323 | Registered: Oct 2011
OK now
Member
Member # 14459
Default  Posted: 12:41 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

Agree with the last three posts. If reasoned discussion turns into a shouting match then emotion takes center stage, at the expense of getting the truth, and creating a way forward.

Showing restraint during conversations is essential for meaningful reconciliation.


Posts: 1748 | Registered: May 2007 | From: NC
rachelc
Member
Member # 30314
Default  Posted: 12:47 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

I told my husband what I did and I knew it wouldn't be pretty. I was called every name in the book, expected divorce.
Yet it was still the right thing to do...

I get the repeated blows ups and anger and how that would affect recovery... but seriously, don't do that shit if you can't bring it to your spouse...


his Dday: 2/10 but TT until 7/11
my Ddays: 1/12, 4/12 broken NC 12/12

me (WW/BS): 48
him: (BS/WH)52
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.


Posts: 5264 | Registered: Dec 2010 | From: Midwest
Unagie
Member
Member # 37091
Default  Posted: 12:48 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

I've been on both sides of this equation and you know what it was much easier to answer questions when he wasn't calling me every name in the book and belittling me everytime I answered a question. I went the route of confession, he knew something was wrong as I was always sad and nothing could cheer me up. I confessed, everything, he asked questions at first but I brougbt the A up so much that my IC and him asked me to stop. Now his A's he answered nothing, no remorse, nothing. I tried being calm anf patient but god knows I looked like a raging shrew. The day he told me he was in love with another woman for the past 8 years and he realized it while talking to me and he made me feel bad for not comforting him was the worst day ever. I actually held him as he cried about his lost love of this other woman when all i wanted to do was end it...end the pain... Patience is hard and allowing that safe place can be excrutiating but I think if your spouse is remorseful and truly trying it helps immensely.


Heartbroken madhatter trying to rebuild

No longer together

"To be loyal to myself is to allow myself to grow and change, and challenge who I am and what I think."


Posts: 2760 | Registered: Oct 2012
rachelc
Member
Member # 30314
Default  Posted: 12:50 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

Is it better for the BS to know absolutely everything, even if they have no intent to reconcile? Does it help them to get on with their lives with less ambiguity and regret?

I think so, if the BS requests this. They deserve to know the truth about their life. They need to know that what their gut was saying was right. They need to know that moving forward, they can trust THEMSELVES.


his Dday: 2/10 but TT until 7/11
my Ddays: 1/12, 4/12 broken NC 12/12

me (WW/BS): 48
him: (BS/WH)52
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.


Posts: 5264 | Registered: Dec 2010 | From: Midwest
heartache101
Member
Member # 26465
Default  Posted: 12:53 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

I believe you should ask a question and get an honest answer. If your spouse can not be honest with you and open up in my book you dont have a true marriage. Atleast not one I want to be part of. Yes I lie I am not perfect but if my spouse ask me a question and wants the honest answer I expect myself to give him that answer I expect the same.
I dont like games....
I believe your environment should always be safe to talk within a marriage. Does not mean someone isnt going to get mad or yell my god what do they expect! Ok off my soap box....


There are degrees to which you let people back into your life and degrees to which you let them back into your heart-which, of course, are not the same thing

Posts: 3188 | Registered: Dec 2009 | From: Indiana
heartbroken0903
Member
Member # 27879
Default  Posted: 12:57 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

t/j Cissie: my XH had no intention of reconciling and that's a big part of why he didn't want very many details. It meant nothing to the future (in his mind) so why cause himself additional pain & stress. But I do think it's the BS's call to make.

end t/j


Me: XWS, 30s, 5-month EA/PA in '09-'10
Husband: XBS, 40s
No kids

Married 2.5 years
D-day 3/6/10
Divorced 5/14/10

Remarried.


Posts: 2227 | Registered: Mar 2010 | From: the cat's meow
sisoon
Member
Member # 31240
Default  Posted: 1:17 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

A BS can't force the WS to talk, so the WS has some power here.

I think you have make answering Qs a requirement. It's sort of a 'stick' - if you'll kick your WS out unless s/he talks, s/he knows it's a big deal. If the WS doesn't want to S or D, then answers will materialize. Even so, the WS may not talk, even if it's a requirement.

As a madhatter, your WS needs to meet your requirements for R, and you need to meet his, too. Your need to hear from him isn't cancelled out if he doesn't want to hear about your A from you.

I recommend communicating (orally or in writing) with your WS to define and create a 'space' that's safe for both of you. After all, you're the best placed people to define safety. I'd say use an MC or a joint IC session if you want to, if you can't create a safe place as a couple.

My W responded the same way DS did to my questions. When I jumped up and down on some of her choice answers, my W shut up. When I listened non-defensively, she talked. I could express anger (with 'I'm furious about that'). I could show pain (crying as I listened, for example). But if I called her a name, the conversation stopped.

**************************

After dealing with this for almost 3 years, I've concluded that WSes probably will never initiate conversations about the A - and IMO they don't have to.

R is a joint project. It doesn't matter who initiates as long as both partners do the heavy lifting.


fBH (me) - 70 (22 in my head), fWW (plainsong) - 65+, Married 45+, together since 1965
DDay - 12/2010
Recovered, not yet fully R'ed
I share my own experience because it's the only experience I know, not because I'm a good model.

Posts: 10352 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: Chicago area
ShockedErica11
Member
Member # 37550
Default  Posted: 2:03 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

Thank you everyone for all the great and awesome responses.

I had a blow up at WS, and vented, and am just...not having a good day.

But there's definitely a lot in terms of food for thought.

In some ways, I understand what some are saying for conflict avoidant types that having a safe place allows them to express themselves without fear of reprieve.

I just have a lot of hurt feelings so trying to create that safe space, espcially when I attempted to do that during the TT is even harder to achieve because I attempted that and it got me nowhere except being lied to further.

I've attempted writing out the questions (5 pages worth, I think) and I've still gotten nothing. I try different strategies and nothing seems to work. I wanted to revisit the safe space strategy, and know that on my better days, I am capable of doing so, but it's such a struggle right now because he has been so resistant.

It's not just about him bringing it up, there are other factors involved in him bringing it up that I feel would satisfy me. My mother (wow!) actually gave me some good advice this after noon in terms of the men that had cheated on her: it's his willingness to endure the discomfort and go through the fire that makes the difference; it's his willingness to talk about it is what makes the ability for the relationship to get on track more successful.

The more resistant he gets the more hurt I am and the less likely I want to put myself through having to do the "Safe space" tactic all over again because I know what it cost me when I did it the first time. If he is cognizant of that, then maybe it could work, but I need him to put forth some kind of an effort.

Today just sucks, and I was really hoping that I would be able to use different strategies, but I'm wondering if I am even emotionally ready.


Him (31): Taurus517 (17 mon EA/PA); others
Me (27): 3mo EA/PA (kissed once)
One too many D-days
(Full story: see profile)

Posts: 230 | Registered: Nov 2012 | From: Atlanta, GA
Jrazz
Guide
Member # 31349
Default  Posted: 2:10 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

(((ShockedErica11)))


Cherish those who seek the truth but beware of those who find it. - François-Marie Arouet

Posts: 17838 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: California
rachelc
Member
Member # 30314
Default  Posted: 2:11 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

it's his willingness to endure the discomfort and go through the fire that makes the difference;


so true, great advice...

when I suspected my husband's first affair I gently told him that we needed to talk to each other about uncomfortable things. We talked at length, all very calm. He said nothing was going on...
when I found out the truth the next day I lit into him, leading with a right hook.

honey, I so get it. willingness is a first step... good luck!


his Dday: 2/10 but TT until 7/11
my Ddays: 1/12, 4/12 broken NC 12/12

me (WW/BS): 48
him: (BS/WH)52
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.


Posts: 5264 | Registered: Dec 2010 | From: Midwest
ShockedErica11
Member
Member # 37550
Default  Posted: 2:54 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

A BS can't force the WS to talk, so the WS has some power here.

And that might be the rub too: him having power in this relationship. I think this hits on a family of origin issue, in being very powerless against my circumstances. But that's another thread for another day.

I just want us to talk, but communication between us is so hot right now. He just texted and suggested we have mediator to talk through our issues, but I just wonder what's the point?

Okay, I think I'm t/jing my own thread here. Let me not do that.

Are there any strategies that anyone has been able to implement in terms of keeping their emotions under control when talking about the A?

My IC has suggested Mindfulness, and it helps when I have my bouts with nausea and vertigo, but it's been less successful in terms of controlling my flare ups of anger or crying fits.


Him (31): Taurus517 (17 mon EA/PA); others
Me (27): 3mo EA/PA (kissed once)
One too many D-days
(Full story: see profile)

Posts: 230 | Registered: Nov 2012 | From: Atlanta, GA
ShockedErica11
Member
Member # 37550
Default  Posted: 2:55 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

honey, I so get it. willingness is a first step... good luck!

Thank you very much. I especially need it today.


Him (31): Taurus517 (17 mon EA/PA); others
Me (27): 3mo EA/PA (kissed once)
One too many D-days
(Full story: see profile)

Posts: 230 | Registered: Nov 2012 | From: Atlanta, GA
sisoon
Member
Member # 31240
Default  Posted: 3:27 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

You have a lot of power here, too, even if you don't recognize it.

I'm concerned that you seem to reject a mediator out of hand.

In a good MC session, you can both say what you want to say, and the MC can translate for you and make sure you know when your message has gotten through and when it hasn't. A good MC can also help you craft your message. If you blow up, a good MC can help you get back to equilibrium and do things that may keep your H from walking out and vice versa.

And an MC can help you learn to talk with each other.

The MC creates the safe place along with you and your H - and the MC maintains it.

This could be a big win for you.

Or are you really done with your H? If you are, that could be a reason for not wanting to go through some sessions with an MC.

Remember, if the A or your H's post-A behavior is a deal breaker, it's a deal breaker, and you can walk away/kick him out with your head held high.

[This message edited by sisoon at 3:28 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)]


fBH (me) - 70 (22 in my head), fWW (plainsong) - 65+, Married 45+, together since 1965
DDay - 12/2010
Recovered, not yet fully R'ed
I share my own experience because it's the only experience I know, not because I'm a good model.

Posts: 10352 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: Chicago area
ShockedErica11
Member
Member # 37550
Default  Posted: 3:38 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

I'm concerned that you seem to reject a mediator out of hand.

In a good MC session, you can both say what you want to say, and the MC can translate for you and make sure you know when your message has gotten through and when it hasn't. A good MC can also help you craft your message. If you blow up, a good MC can help you get back to equilibrium and do things that may keep your H from walking out and vice versa.

And an MC can help you learn to talk with each other.

The MC creates the safe place along with you and your H - and the MC maintains it.


It's not the MC; we had one when we first started, but eventually had to stop as my emotions were too raw.

We've attempted to get the mediation of friends and family; even some people who have a neutral opinion.

The thing is: I suggested the MC, but WH has a tendency of suggesting the other people because he says he can't "learn anything if he's not talking to people." So I acquiese. The problem, I feel, is that when he is done talking to many of these friends and family members, the resolve he has to not talk about the A is strengthened because many of them will tell him: "Why does she want to know? What are the details going to do for her?"

The few people that have consistently told him to talk to me about the details, he ignores or doesn't go back and have a follow-up conversation with. His reason: he doesn't want to "burden" anyone with his problems. Despite being the one to initially suggest meeting with someone anyway.

It's mostly frustration. The people who tell him to open up and talk to me, he doesn't listen to. The people who tell him he doesn't need to tell me too much, he listens to. Even the MC we had was progressing things too fast and din't take time to sort through what has and has not been done on either of parts in terms of the marriage, and subsequent A.

It's just really raw.

But I did message a counselor; I want to make this work with him, but I keep getting the feeling that he's just not going to budge one way or the other. And if he doesn't, then that may be a deal breaker.


Him (31): Taurus517 (17 mon EA/PA); others
Me (27): 3mo EA/PA (kissed once)
One too many D-days
(Full story: see profile)

Posts: 230 | Registered: Nov 2012 | From: Atlanta, GA
Kierst13
Member
Member # 39197
Default  Posted: 3:56 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

I just have a lot of hurt feelings so trying to create that safe space, espcially when I attempted to do that during the TT is even harder to achieve because I attempted that and it got me nowhere except being lied to further.

I've attempted writing out the questions (5 pages worth, I think) and I've still gotten nothing. I try different strategies and nothing seems to work. I wanted to revisit the safe space strategy, and know that on my better days, I am capable of doing so, but it's such a struggle right now because he has been so resistant.

I hear you and this part hit home for me. It seems the BS has to carry the load and not only eat the shit sandwich, but then pretend like it tastes good so we don't *upset* the WS.

We can give until we are empty only to discover the entire process has been futile due to TT and outright lies.

I understand not verbally attacking and screaming, but the WS has to belly up to the bar and take a bite or two of that shit sandwich they brought into the marriage. If the BS gets to a breaking point the WS has to realize it is them that brought the poison into the marriage and that means at times the BS will not react well to fucked news and MORE TT.

You can't continually abuse somebody and expect them to be calm and *safe* so you can feel okay about giving them more devastation. It doesn't make sense, and BS are already taking on too much.


Story in my profile
He lied, I gave the gift of R
He became the model remorseful WS...all while lying and seeing her
Am I done? Yes I am!

Posts: 347 | Registered: May 2013
cissie
Member
Member # 17637
Default  Posted: 4:05 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

it's his willingness to endure the discomfort and go through the fire that makes the difference;

My BH said he wanted me to write a letter to our kids explaining what I did.
I did.It was hard. I showed it to him, we worked on it together. he told me not to give it to them for which I was extremely relieved.
Later on,he said he did not know how I could have done that.
I thought if it was what he wanted I should do it. How could I refuse?

Sorry did not mean to T/J . This thread has moved on while I was writing. I am very slow.

[This message edited by cissie at 4:08 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)]


Posts: 548 | Registered: Jan 2008
circe
Member
Member # 6687
Default  Posted: 4:11 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

Are there any strategies that anyone has been able to implement in terms of keeping their emotions under control when talking about the A?

Yes. I'm a mad hatter too, so I've been on both sides of the fence and DH and I have, sadly, had to work this out a few times over.

The first thing that worked for us was one, two or three written questions given to the WS to answer, and the WS HAD to answer, this was a requirement of our R. After some adjustment we settled on doing this once per week.

When I was the BS I would write out either one big question, about how he felt about the OW or some lie he told about a work trip - something that if answered properly would require a few pages of answer - or maybe 2 or 3 questions that were straightforward (had he met her sister, did they go to our favorite restaurant) - but a max of 3. He had to answer all of them.

I'd give FWH the questions on a certain day and he'd have until a certain other day to answer them. After that a few days HAD TO PASS before our designated day to talk. If a few days didn't pass between me reading the answers and then us talking about them, I'd lose my shit and FWH would clam up. All of the "But he SHOULD be able to..."s or "But I shouldn't have to......!"s in the world wouldn't change the outcome. I'd get crazed, he'd shut his mouth, the end. So there would be a wait period, and then we'd talk about the answers.

On our talk day it would be more of a follow up. "So you said you felt friendship and not love, does that mean..." etc. Or "When you said you both went to LA, was she on your flight?" or whatever. It was incredibly painful for us both. But my initial reaction had already happened. Oh and we also had a rule that we would never, ever drink any alcohol on the days we asked and answered or had our discussions. We tried to make it as low key as we could. We wanted inhibitions, you might say!

So that process helped. Question, answer, cool down, talk.

MC was crap for us until I was less raw. We went to two sessions and she recommended IC for both of us and then to come back. We could no way have done the homework about communication and expectations when we weren't able to have a conversation without fighting about whether he did or did not meet the OW's mother. It was a waste until we got a bit further along. Actually I think IC did more than MC for us.

However if we were not able to do the paper question and answer thing, we would have benefited from a third party who might have been instructed to just help us talk. I wouldn't reject that suggestion if I were you. Anything that helps you two communicate right now might help you - and as far as I'm concerned, you are the priority right now and even if it takes sacrifice on your part in the short term to get to the much larger benefit (answers!!) then that's what you should try.

(((SE11))))


Posts: 3193 | Registered: Mar 2005
Ostrich80
Member
Member # 34827
Default  Posted: 4:12 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

Although it may not be fair that ws has to feel safe from explosions from bs, I think that it may be necessary to get the answers you want. I'm just trying to put myself in that sich, I would prob keep the big stuff to myself if I thought it was going to cause a blow up. Then again, my ws won't say an effin word so I really don't know shit. Jmo


BS..me
WS..him
Been with him over half my life
4kid
DD1 10-01-09 DD2 02-12-12 discovered it never ended
OW..nothing special. Just your average skank
Status..#$%@????

Posts: 5133 | Registered: Feb 2012 | From: midwest
Deeply Scared
Administrator
Member # 2
Default  Posted: 4:26 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

Kierst...

It seems the BS has to carry the load and not only eat the shit sandwich, but then pretend like it tastes good so we don't *upset* the WS.

Again, this isn't about not upsetting the WS, it's about listening to them when they're opening up and being honest.

The amount of verbal lashing I got from MH, well, there were so many, I wouldn't even attempt to try and count them. He was really pissed off and rightfully so. I never stopped him during his angry outbursts, I let him vent, he needed for me to know how hurt he was. I understood that then and I still understand it now.

What we're talking about are two different things. You're focused on that the BS somehow needs to suck it up and play nice. This isn't about BS's never being able to vent at their WS.

But creating a safe place to talk openly and honestly must be done constructively. You can't expect someone to continue to be truthful when it's met with fits of rage and yelling. It just won't work that way.

I don't know how else to say it, I've tried three times now but nothing seems to be working...lol!!

All I know is as a WS, learning to trust myself with being honest was crucial in our healing and reconciliation.


"Don't give up, the beginning is always the hardest." My Mom:)

My tolerance for stupid shit is getting less and less.


Posts: 198283 | Registered: May 2002
Card
Member
Member # 23667
Default  Posted: 4:32 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

But creating a safe place to talk openly and honestly must be done constructively. You can't expect someone to continue to be truthful when it's met with fits of rage and yelling. It just won't work that way.


Said very well!

My wife made it safe for me too.


WH (me)
BS (her)

D-Days April - Oct. 2007 Recovery started Nov. 2007

"Found Myself", I was right there in my shoes all along!
Search for self called off!

Why Repentance Is Necessary? Because Undeserved Mercy Empowers Entitlement/Sin


Posts: 570 | Registered: Apr 2009
Rebreather
Member
Member # 30817
Default  Posted: 4:33 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

I agree with DS. I think the concepts are two different things.

I call this my "shut up and listen." If I want the man to talk, I can't interrupt him every 10 seconds and bash him. Who could handle that? He says I am verbally intimidating to him. I have to balance my very real need to call bullshit with my ability to out-talk most anyone. So I listen, and I mentally note the areas in which need response. And when he is done, then I talk.

Once I stopped NEEDING to respond to every damn word that wasn't perfectly placed, then I could HEAR what he was saying. I had to shut up and listen in order to understand him. He has every right to talk about his thoughts as I do. And once I could hear him, I could understand him, and we could work together on what needed work.


Me BS
Him WH
2 ddays in '07
Recovering.
"The cure for the pain, is the pain." -Rumi

Posts: 6549 | Registered: Jan 2011
Card
Member
Member # 23667
Default  Posted: 4:45 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

SE,

My wife and I created a safe zone for affair talk.

We set aside several times a week to bring up questions or talk affair..... We agreed to work hard to limit ourselves to only doing affair talk during these times.

There were rules we agreed to ahead of time.

Like;

No interrupting
No yelling or Angry Outbursts
No accusations
No disrespect

I think you get the idea...

Kept it safe!


Some of the other rules;

One Hour of time and then the discussions ended.
We made plans to spend at least an hour afterwards offering each other our undivided attention. Going out, staying in, Whatever we agreed to, but no more affair talk after that hour. It was a time to reconnect.

Again, I think you get the idea.

These greatly helped eliminated the walking on egg shells for us.....

I don't know if this will help you, but I have a great marriage as a result of all the things we've purposed to do to love and protect each other after the affair.

[This message edited by Card at 4:47 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)]


WH (me)
BS (her)

D-Days April - Oct. 2007 Recovery started Nov. 2007

"Found Myself", I was right there in my shoes all along!
Search for self called off!

Why Repentance Is Necessary? Because Undeserved Mercy Empowers Entitlement/Sin


Posts: 570 | Registered: Apr 2009
ladies_first
Member
Member # 24643
Default  Posted: 4:52 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

it's about listening without reacting with yelling or belittling your WS...

But creating a safe place to talk openly and honestly must be done constructively. You can't expect someone to continue to be truthful when it's met with fits of rage and yelling. It just won't work that way.


Worth repeating!

It's like he'll tell me things will be done on my time and not his; that he needs to start moving at my pace,...It’s just this reoccurring theme is that I can ask him to do something and he doesn’t actually do the things I specifically ask for until a day or so later, a week or so later, or a month or so later, and then I’m fuming because he waited so long that he overthought himself into inaction. Then I yell, he argues back and claims he’s going to do as I ask, that I never let him speak, that I’m always demanding things of him, constant defensiveness.

So, after listening to the problem, it's about ownership and BOTH partners agreeing to a solution and then setting a timeline for action.

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." ~Albert Einstein



"We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us." ~J. Campbell
"In the final analysis, it is your own attitude that will make or break you, not what has happened to you." ~D. Galloway

Posts: 2143 | Registered: Jun 2009
Kierst13
Member
Member # 39197
Default  Posted: 5:36 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

Again, this isn't about not upsetting the WS, it's about listening to them when they're opening up and being honest.

What we're talking about are two different things. You're focused on that the BS somehow needs to suck it up and play nice. This isn't about BS's never being able to vent at their WS.

No, we are talking about the same thing, but SE is also saying she has done this before and he continued to lie to her and give TT. She has tried other avenues and at best her WS is resistant and at worst he lies and is not open to her.

She is willing to try the safe environment again, and that is kind of her, but she also should be realistic. She has been down this road and if he lies or gives non-answers, she shouldn't be held to a standard of keeping him safe if he continues wayward behavior. From what I am reading from her, he does not have a good track record.


Story in my profile
He lied, I gave the gift of R
He became the model remorseful WS...all while lying and seeing her
Am I done? Yes I am!

Posts: 347 | Registered: May 2013
rachelc
Member
Member # 30314
Default  Posted: 5:49 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

I'm going to answer this a former wayward. My BS does NOT need to create any environment for me in order to talk. He can wake me up in the middle of the night, have me call in sick so we can discuss this all day or berate me if he needs to vent. This - 3.5 years out. If this is what he needs I'm not going to put myself in a little effing box to protect myself from his outbursts. He gets truth all the time, any time.
I have found that if I respond in a very calm manner and without anger or defenseiveness myself, things de-escalate (is that a word?) very quickly...
most of the time, our BS just need us to listen. with our mouths shut....

[This message edited by rachelc at 5:51 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)]


his Dday: 2/10 but TT until 7/11
my Ddays: 1/12, 4/12 broken NC 12/12

me (WW/BS): 48
him: (BS/WH)52
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.


Posts: 5264 | Registered: Dec 2010 | From: Midwest
Deeply Scared
Administrator
Member # 2
Default  Posted: 6:44 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

No, we are talking about the same thing

Oh good!! I was basing my posts on the title and content of her original post...I'm glad we're on the same page


"Don't give up, the beginning is always the hardest." My Mom:)

My tolerance for stupid shit is getting less and less.


Posts: 198283 | Registered: May 2002
ShockedErica11
Member
Member # 37550
Default  Posted: 7:58 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

[Quote]I have found that if I respond in a very calm manner and without anger or defenseiveness myself, things de-escalate (is that a word?) very quickly...
most of the time, our BS just need us to listen. with our mouths shut....

This is something that I've told him would be effective; this is also something that my older brother told him was effective when we were children, and I would lose my temper sometimes.

I definitely am not a saint; I have a temper, but before all this (even before this relationship) I had ways to diffuse it.

I hear and am rereading everyone's responses in terms of the safe environment and everything. Today did not start off well and my usual is to find a strategy and implement, but then my emotions have caught up to my intellect, and so I got emotional. Not very effective.

Like I said, it just feels like he is resistant to any of my attempts at getting answers from him and this antiversary is especially hard because of all of the other personal things that had happened last year on top of finding out about his A. I want to support him, but I need to feel supported too, and it just feels like we're a hair's trigger from me being angry because I've been pushing for getting answers and he's either given me passive aggressive answers, avoids the things he knows I want to discuss or he gets defensive and deflects and evades.

I'm just at a loss, and I'm exhausted, and I just want answers.


Him (31): Taurus517 (17 mon EA/PA); others
Me (27): 3mo EA/PA (kissed once)
One too many D-days
(Full story: see profile)

Posts: 230 | Registered: Nov 2012 | From: Atlanta, GA
Kierst13
Member
Member # 39197
Default  Posted: 8:47 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)

Like I said, it just feels like he is resistant to any of my attempts at getting answers from him and this antiversary is especially hard because of all of the other personal things that had happened last year on top of finding out about his A. I want to support him, but I need to feel supported too, and it just feels like we're a hair's trigger from me being angry because I've been pushing for getting answers and he's either given me passive aggressive answers, avoids the things he knows I want to discuss or he gets defensive and deflects and evades.

I'm just at a loss, and I'm exhausted, and I just want answers.

I hear you and your frustration. You need to decide what your boundaries are and where your line in the sand is regarding those boundaries. If you are ready and can stick to it, it might be time to tell him he has one last shot to stop the TT, half truths, lies of omissions and bold face lies and come completely clean or you show him the door.

If you are ready I think it is time for your bitch boots to be on. He has been given enough time and chances to get his crap together and give you what you need and deserve.


Story in my profile
He lied, I gave the gift of R
He became the model remorseful WS...all while lying and seeing her
Am I done? Yes I am!

Posts: 347 | Registered: May 2013
Topic Posts: 42