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How do I help if I don't want to R?

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troubledway posted 5/18/2017 00:22 AM

I suppose you could call it an exit affair. Or whatever the proper term is. But our marriage had been bad for a long time. Complete with in house separation for the last 2 years. During that time I was with someone else. It was clear between us that we were no longer romantically involved. But, I knew he held out some hope. And I don't deny that I was already talking to OM before the "separation". So, yes. I cheated. I have no excuse for not owning up to that from the beginning.

Now he knows. Knows everything. Many many details. I did not confess, he found out on his own. I was terrified of hurting him then, and I'm feeling the same now. I don't want to stay in this marriage for the rest of my life. But I don't want to hurt him. I want to help him heal, but I also want to eventually divorce. He knows that. And at times he feels the same. But, I still want to help him heal. Get all of those nasty details out of his mind and be able to move on.

I know there is very little I can do to make any of that happen. I know that I can't erase what I've done. But I thought I'd give it a try, asking for advice. What does someone do to help when they don't want to R?

Wool94 posted 5/18/2017 01:03 AM

You may wish to post a stop sign here. That is so that you get help from other wayward spouses and to keep us harsh betrayed spouses out of your thread.

With that being said, why do you think you were talking to your AP before the separation?

Do you not feel that bringing another man into your situation helped cause the separation? I don't see it as a separate issue.

Does your H know he's been in in-house separation for 2 years? My wife pretty much made that claim to her AP as well. I had no idea.

Ichthus posted 5/18/2017 01:28 AM

BS here... I will choose my words carefully as not to upset anyone. But your words would be an insult to me if that happened to me.

Help him do what?? Why do you want to destroy his life then help?? You need to seriously look at yourself and figure out what is in it for you if you try to help him?? You dont want to be the "bad guy"?? You want him to think of you fondly for being so gracious for helping him recover from the bomb you placed right in his lap??

I am not speaking for your BH, you need to ask him this question because if it were me in his place. I would say, if you really care about me, then give me everything I want in a divorce and any assets I want, along with primary custody of any children. And then get out of my life.

Ok I need to stop before i get worked up.... yea, this needs a stop sign.

earthangel posted 5/18/2017 04:30 AM

I think this is my first ever post in Wayward....

I have no advice but several questions....

You've been a member here since August 2013 but this is your first post...

I assume infidelity brought you here back in 2013?

Yours or his?

If you have been lurking and reading you seem to have gone against the collective wisdom of SI in how you have lived in-house separation...

So whether you are a MH or this is an exit or revenge affair your motivation is questionable and I don't really understand why you are posting in Wayward....

What 'help' are you looking for ?

Maybe posting in other forums for advice and support before you chose this path would have been more helpful to both you and your BH !?

[This message edited by earthangel at 4:32 AM, May 18th (Thursday)]

Dual posted 5/18/2017 04:37 AM

Let it go. It sounds like you still want the option of maintaining a relationship with him. It's done. As Ichthus said, make sure he gets his fair share and move on.

Let him heal, he needs to find his feet again, he has to do that himself. It will drag things out if the relationship is in an ambiguous state.

The only thing I'd add is create a timeline of everything - with as much detail as you can remember now. He may not need it now, but if he asks questions later it will be easier for you to remember now.

solus sto posted 5/18/2017 05:02 AM

Gently, he must do his own healing. If R were the goal, then certainly there are supportive things to do to assist healing.

But R is not what you want. If you want to divorce, the best thing to do is to exit the marriage gracefully and kindly—with compassion. Make the divorce as peaceful as possible.

Don't make divorce an "eventual" thing you'll do when it's more comfortable. Divorce changes standard of living, so bite the bullet and make the change now. It won't be easier for either of you later, most likely.

In house separation becomes a special kind of hell after infidelity is revealed. If you can limit its duration, you both would likely benefit. (And kids? I can't express the relief my kids experienced when our brief in-house separation. Kids have a way of making everything their fault—if you tell yourself you're staying for the kids, and I know I don't know if this is your sitch but am just speaking generally, know they'll sense that, and it's a huge burden for their shoulders.)

ChamomileTea posted 5/18/2017 07:05 AM

Why have you stayed for two years when you state pretty clearly that you want a divorce?

redfury posted 5/18/2017 07:10 AM

Leave. Just leave.

'Help him' sounds an awful lot like 'keep him in limbo' or 'refuse to give him closure'. In other words, your help isn't helping. Cut the poor man loose.

psychmom posted 5/18/2017 07:28 AM

Have you considered telling your families and friends about your affair, coming clean with them so as to not shift the blame for the failure of your marriage to anything other than the fact you chose to have an affair? This ownership of responsibility may help your BH find what he needs to move forward in his processing and healing.

barcher144 posted 5/18/2017 07:43 AM

What does someone do to help when they don't want to R?

My answers come from hindsight... regarding how I wish that my first wife had ended our marriage rather than the way that she did.

The first thing to do is to never, ever lie... either directly (by commission) or by omission. It's easier to heal if you don't have to wonder whether or not someone is telling you the truth. When I say this, I specifically mean that you need to tell him the truth about difficult subjects.

You need to tell him that your new guy is better in bed if he asks (if that's true). You need to tell him that you don't love him anymore (if that's true). Whatever.

(rhetorical): Why not get divorced now? That's a pretty clear line in the sand that it is over... this will help him start to heal too.

Never, ever give him any hint that you want the relationship to continue. That means that you never, ever go to him for moral support or sex or cuddling or any of the things that you would normally do with a spouse. Yes, you still care for him and you would love to get some of his moral support, but you should not.

Strongly consider no contact. This will help him heal and move on too.

ForTheKids posted 5/18/2017 08:03 AM

I am a BH so I'll tell you what would of helped me.

First of all don't sugar coat anything. Explain how you feel and promptly get a plan to divorce. Yesterday if possible. The man is hurting so the second he knows what his future life will be that is the second healing begins. This means no more "talking" and everything should be business like from now on. It will be sad for you and him but it will be the new reality.

My WW wanted "to help me heal emotionally" and it was probably the most hurtful thing she could of done. A year and a half later I wish she would of just told me straight up and left. The 4 months of false R, lies, and ultimately the continuation of the affair was excruciating on all fronts.

Catwoman posted 5/18/2017 08:15 AM

I don't want to stay in this marriage for the rest of my life. But I don't want to hurt him. I want to help him heal, but I also want to eventually divorce.

Couple of translations here:

1.) I want to have an omelette for dinner, but I don't want to break any eggs.

2.) I want to feel better about myself and my decisions.

What you want is nigh unto impossible: you want to be able to leave this marriage on your own terms, in your own timetable and feel better about yourself because you "helped him heal."

My now-ex did this. Had an affair, strung me along, let me discover his cheating, claimed the marriage was "over" and left for his OW.

He, too, wanted to leave on his own timetable and when HE was ready. It was cruel. He used me, just like you're using your husband. You want a safety net of sorts, and he serves that purpose.

But our marriage had been bad for a long time.

You bear a large portion of responsibility for this. You had options and you chose not to address the marriage but to go outside of it.

Complete with in house separation for the last 2 years. During that time I was with someone else.

Be truthful--was it an agreed-upon "in house separation" or did you unilaterally claim that it was to be more attractive to your AP? Part of anything you do from now on should be with total honesty. TOTAL honesty. So if you claim in house separation and there was never a discussion about what that meant, what the ground rules were, etc., it didn't exist and you had an affair.

And I don't deny that I was already talking to OM before the "separation". So, yes. I cheated. I have no excuse for not owning up to that from the beginning.

Yep. Affair here.

Now he knows. Knows everything. Many many details. I did not confess, he found out on his own.

Enormously painful--pain you can't really realize because you're busy making excuses for your behavior. Once you strip away excuses, I hope you can let his pain resonate with you and empathize with what you have put him through.

My advice? Get yourself into IC and bare everything. Stop making excuses and own your behavior wholly, including all of those behaviors that have seriously injured your spouse. If you are determined to divorce, I would suggest participating with him in some sort of couples counseling aimed at making this as easy as possible on all of the innocent parties. And it goes without saying that you must commit to total honesty and openness through the process.

Cat

notperfect5 posted 5/18/2017 09:42 AM

Posts: 1 | Registered: Aug 2013
Troubledway,

How is it that you registered on this site in Aug of 2013 and then just now are asking what you can do to help him?

You saw the agony that affairs bring. You saw how doing so would bring hell on earth to him. Yet you chose this for him. Why would you do that? I guess it is because you wanted an exit affair because you didn't love him enough to just tell him, "I'm too selfish to be married with you any more. So, let's divorce and you can move on with a better, more loving person."

Complete with in house separation for the last 2 years. During that time I was with someone else.
My WW was slightly abusive (verbally and emotionally) before the affair to violent and astoundingly abusive during the affair. She raged on me and vented day after day for about a year. The affair (and the other man) drove a wedge between us and distanced us even though I didn't fully know what was going on. She did. The affair greatly distances the married couple because lies come between them. The wayward spouse puts his or her eggs in someone else's basket. There is an immensely unfair comparison between the affair partner, at his best, and the betrayed spouse, at their worst. It is a horrible position for the betrayed spouse to try and improve the marriage -- I would say impossible. You put him there.

Regarding the romantic involvement... There will be times in a marriage where there is not romantic involvement. If you leave him, you will find other romantic involvement, but it to will vanish like vapor, time and time again. You can't run from it because the brokenness is within you. No matter how many mates you marry and divorce, the broken marriage will be there.

So I recommend you divorce him as gently as possible. Get into IC and fix your character flaws, and learn to be a better person. Then, no matter where you go, or who you are with, you will be with a person of integrity and good character. Start with you and dig in to remake a new you. One that doesn't chase romance or fun or happiness, because it is like chasing the wind.

You can do this. You can be a great person and you can get off the "troubled way" and step out into the light and be a new great you. Maybe then you can reach out to your ex-husband and give it a new go.

Good luck troubledway. Build a new you.

[This message edited by notperfect5 at 9:49 AM, May 18th (Thursday)]

Randy1133 posted 5/18/2017 09:42 AM

Don't lead him on or give him any false hope. Make it clear you only want divorce. If you can move out, that would be even better.

findingme1 posted 5/18/2017 10:47 AM

I need you to help me understand why are you still there if you don't want to Reconsile. Either you want to stay or you want to leave. You don't get to have it both ways. Just do your family a favor and let them go. It sounds like your only concern is your feelings anyway.

nutmegkitty posted 5/18/2017 11:38 AM

You have already hurt him. There's no taking that back. The best way you can "help" him is to file for divorce and end your marriage.

Sojourner posted 5/18/2017 13:37 PM

Hi, troubledway, I am a WS and your story sounds very similar to my own, so I will respond from that perspective and also from a few years out, although I am still sorting my life out in many ways.

I think in the mix of responses you received some good advice. BTW, you can put a "stop sign" on this thread if you rather not receive responses from BS's. For me, their input can be valuable, you just need to look past their pain.

In particular, solus sto gave you excellent advice:

If you want to divorce, the best thing to do is to exit the marriage gracefully and kindly—with compassion. Make the divorce as peaceful as possible.

Also this, by notperfect5:
So I recommend you divorce him as gently as possible. Get into IC and fix your character flaws, and learn to be a better person. Then, no matter where you go, or who you are with, you will be with a person of integrity and good character. Start with you and dig in to remake a new you. One that doesn't chase romance or fun or happiness, because it is like chasing the wind.

You can do this. You can be a great person and you can get off the "troubled way" and step out into the light and be a new great you. Maybe then you can reach out to your ex-husband and give it a new go.

A little about my own situation...

I had an "exit affair." I was married 23 years to my high school sweetheart, five kids; three still at home at the time. We fought constantly. Things escalated one night after a friend's birthday celebration and when we came home, we picked up where we left off with a previous disagreement. Fueled by alcohol, the argument ended in a domestic violence incident.

After that low point, my husband started mandatory IC and I started IC. I proposed an in house separation to my husband. This was advice given to me from an online marriage forum I had joined for advice and support. It was supposed to be a sort of a cooling off period while we worked on ourselves. I distanced myself from unhealthy friendships, gave up alcohol, read my bible, and felt much more peace than I had in a long time. But my husband couldn't handle it and started pressuring me again about our marriage.

We eventually moved into MC. My intent was an amicable split, but I was afraid of confrontation and the DV incident didn't help my confidence. Meanwhile, I met my AP on that marriage support forum and the affair was soon discovered by my husband. MC was halted. I continued to communicate and meet up with my AP who lived on the other side of the country, but I tried to be discreet. When pressed, I would say that I didn't want to work on our marriage.

Unfortunately, my husband lost his job in the middle of all of this and neither of us could afford to move out. Now we were both home all day (I was a SAHM and still home schooled our youngest) and the atmosphere was volatile at best. I avoided him as much as possible. He drank heavily and said the most horrible things to me. We were all afraid of him. I truly felt stuck and the affair was my only escape; the only time I felt happiness.

Like you, I thought there was a way that I could get him to see we would be better off a part from one another. I saw a future where our children still had both parents present in their lives, just not living in the same household. I wanted for us to be friends. I also wanted him to feel the joy that I felt when I was with my AP. I know it sounds weird, but I really wanted him to be happy and to meet someone who would compliment him in life.

My husband eventually did meet someone and he moved out and I moved to a smaller and more affordable place. For the first time in a long time, I felt peace. I had my life back. I had never lived alone before - I literally left my parents home to be with my husband, so this was a period of adjustment for me. The time and space away from my husband and the tense atmosphere allowed me to reflect on the things I could have done differently.

The posters I quoted above were correct in saying that you can't heal your husband, at least not in the way that you think. You are trying to control the situation and it just doesn't work that way. You can, however, conduct yourself in an honest and straightforward manner, even as you stand your ground. Admit to your faults. Agree when you are wrong. Ask to be forgiven. Then, step away, because the rest is really up to him.

In the end, you must deal with the fact that you caused his pain and there isn't anything you can do to take it away. His hurt may dull over time, but the scar of your betrayal will remain. If you think like I did, that you're basically a "good person," then this will be a difficult concept for you.

In my own story, life is much less stressful and my relationship with my now STBXH continues to improve. Divorce papers are filed, waiting on the judge. We often speak on friendly terms, and wish each other well. He's actually buying a new house with his girlfriend. My two youngest boys were just with me and my boyfriend on a week long camping trip to Utah and Arizona.

The place we are at now is the life that I believed could happen and I am so very thankful for the way it turned out. It hurts to look back and see where I caused unnecessary pain in the lives of my family and others, but I've learned to stop trying to control the outcome and to embrace the journey forward. I hope you can figure your situation out too and I wish you all the best.

wk55hn posted 5/18/2017 13:59 PM

Was the affair still going on when he caught you?

Is it still going on now?

What was the purpose of the separation? To see if the marriage could be saved?

To me, it looks like you used him as a safety plan, maybe you needed the comfort and security. Almost definitely, the deception was completely to your benefit and his disadvantage. I can't see the continued lying and deception for two years as any other thing than manipulation for your benefit. I am going to assume that he had some really, really bad and maybe even abusive behaviors that would justify being treated that way.

I also don't quite get the caring of wanting him to feel better, given how you lied to him about his life for 2 years. Maybe this is made about assuaging your guilt than him? Or if you saw how hurt he was, you felt bad then? Is he disabled or have other issues that he needs another adult to help care for him? At this point, if you were the causer of his pain, and the goal is to get out, I don't see you as being the person able to help him through this. It almost seems like another manipulation.

Can you explain it more?

Try to put yourself in this situation in his shoes, or imagine being in the short end of this circumstance in your current or next romance/marriage. What would you want the other person to do?

I would not want to be where I am not wanted - especially in a marriage. Me, personally, would just want HONESTY. If my wife wanted out, just tell me straight without any more lies.

wk55hn posted 5/18/2017 14:17 PM

I think the basic question is how to give the bad news? Or at least a part of the question? Maybe the part that he cares about - "is there still hope?"

I think there is a bit if science behind how to give bad news. And I think it is to be gentle yet direct, and completely honest. Let him know what will happen and when. Don't give him any more hope if there isn't any.

Understand the grieving process - the denial, the negotiating, the anger, etc. And that he has to process through that, all you have to do is let him. Be consistent if there is no hope, tell him that consistently in word and action (e.g., he may misunderstand your kindness or gentle touch as having hope as opposed to divorcing him.

Minnesota posted 5/18/2017 14:20 PM

I guess I would just echo Solus and others that are saying that you can't "help him heal." He will need to do that on your own.

I might suggest that your wanting to "help him heal" is more for you than for him. I could be wrong. - I'm not a shrink. - but maybe take a look at that- if HE feels better, you feel better. And honestly, there are better ways of healing yourself than vicariously through him. I wonder if you think that once he gets healed, you will be absolved. And the honest answer to that is, "not really." You have the opportunity to deal with your own stuff and he will have the opportunity to deal with his.

I wish my XW had just been up front with me about what she wanted. If you're trying to be compassionate, then the way to do that is with honesty and dignity and respect and kindness.

Good luck

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