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What are examples of what a WS should be doing?

PearlyBaker posted 11/17/2019 12:37 PM

Can I get some examples of what a WS who is a prime candidate for R should be doing?

I keep having the same argument with my WS for months. I really think in his mind he believes heís doing so much when I believe heís doing the bare minimum. When he asks what he should be doing I donít have a lot to give him and mostly end up giving him examples of how heís handled things since DDay in which he gives excuses or his famous line ďI canít change the pastĒ.

For example:
He has told me that he was trapped in the A because he was scared that she would come to me if he left, yet after DDay he snuck and saw her 10 days in a row to ďend thingsĒ.
His response: she was suicidal. It was so long ago. I canít change the past.
My take: You canít have it both ways. Own up to it. If you were serious about R and saving your family you would have avoided her like the plague or if you were concerned about her safety you would have came to me about it.

He hasnít looked for a new job or got his resume together and still works with AP.
His response: Are you going to keep bringing up the resume? I have no time to look for a job. I have 2 headhunters looking (they came to him first) I work 11+ hours a day and come home and help around the house till 11 at night.
My take: you had time to have a whole other relationship for 2.5 years. You have 20 minutes a day to look for a job. If you wanted to make it happen you would.

After DDay I asked for access to the company calendar or photos of it since his schedule is constantly changing. He agreed and never followed through. I havenít asked since I initially asked around DDay and brought it up last night.
His response: I tell you in the beginning of the week and everyday where Iím going. The calendar is constantly changing. If I tell you anymore it will make me look like Iím hiding something.
My take: Iím supposed to believe someone who lied to me? You could tell me anything. A calendar is at least some sort of proof.

When I ask if he can let me know why the A happened.
His response: It had a lot to do with the fact that I was drinking so much.
My take: I thought you were drinking more and more because you felt guilty that you were having an A? If you do have addiction issues shouldnít you be doing more than just talking with a therapist to make sure you maintain sobriety? You still take pills on occasion. Canít you see how this is a trigger for me?

He lied about seeing a friend to buy pills.
His response: that was months ago and I havenít lied since. I canít change the past.
My take: your first instinct is to lie. Youíve taken away nothing from this.

Can you admit to me you are a serial cheater.
His response: I donít believe I am.
My take: youíve cheated on both your wives.

Iím just getting fed up. I feel like thereís no accountability. I do think he does genuinely want our marriage and family, but I canít understand why he doesnít feel the need to put in the extra effort and go out of his way to prove anything to me. I know Iím worth him proving it to me. As more time passes I just feel thereís no shot at a real R.

Chaos posted 11/17/2019 13:35 PM

PB - I'm going to break this down and haven't had enough coffee so I'll be blunt. Your WH needs a kick in the patoot to knock his brain back up to the head on top of his shoulders.

Your take is correct. He's still eating cake and blaming others for it. I could break it down line by line like you did, but I'd agree with your take and not be kind about what I think of his answers.

What should he be doing - act like a fucking man and not a spoiled little boy that doesn't want to give up the toy he's stolen.

Oldwounds posted 11/17/2019 14:25 PM

Can I get some examples of what a WS who is a prime candidate for R should be doing?

It's always a very bad sign to me if someone has to ask this question.

This means you're not getting ANY help, and that you have a WS with no remorse or is willing to take responsibility for a choice they made.

The first steps after going NC a WS needs to work toward are owning the decision and then try to understand the scope and scale of the damage of that horrible choice and what it has done to you.

Maybe ask him if he's not willing to become a safe partner, why should you stay?

OwningItNow posted 11/17/2019 14:30 PM

I'll say what one of my MCs said, "You have told him, Owning. Over and over. When are you going to stop complaining about people treating you badly and do something about it? Stop thinking he is the only problem and start looking at yourself. You are making your kids miserable by staying in an unhappy marriage because you refuse to call it quits. Your codependency and pity for him are not the glue of a good marriage. He is never going to learn how to treat people if you are going to allow him to act this way. Why are you still there?"

But she was right.

This ends when you say it ends, Pearly. Your only other option is the same as 50% of the members here on any given day:
You have to finally give up and realize that you have no control, no matter the effort you put in, of him "getting it." He's a big boy. He doesn't need all of this explaining, like there are magic words you haven't tried. I'm exhausted just remembering how exhausted I was back then. You know how hard you should have to work for him to get it? Zero. Not at all.

Take your life back.
Stop begging him to make you happy.
Go make yourself happy.

faithfulman posted 11/17/2019 14:59 PM

Telling the unvarnished truth.

When asked and when not asked.

Freely giving information about current and past events,, without minimizing, excuses, or bullshit.

The1stWife posted 11/17/2019 17:35 PM

Take your life back.
Stop begging him to make you happy.
Go make yourself happy.

I agree 💯% with this. Stop focusing on him. He has an excuse and answer for everything.

Nothing will change until YOU change. Have you read up on the 180?

PearlyBaker posted 11/17/2019 18:15 PM

I just reread the 180. I have been trying to change my mindset and not hold onto the negativity. Iíve been trying to put work into myself. Iíve been designing a new collection. Working on my portfolio. Trying to get myself back into a position where I can be financially free of him and feel good about my accomplishments.

I guess I do have some codependency issues though. As much as Iím like a brick wall heís trying to get through Iím not always strong in situations where I can see Iím hurting him. I still think of how things will affect him when making certain plans in my life (and taking time for me) like taking our son away for a week for the holidays. Iíd also like to put some separation between us and have him start sleeping in the playroom, but Iím nervous for the response so I just tend to avoid the conflict. I know this isnít helping anyone out though.

I just really wanted to have an answer when he says what should I be doing when the conversation comes up again. Maybe we just need to stop having the conversation! Let him figure out that what heís doing isnít working and attempt detach myself even more.

[This message edited by PearlyBaker at 6:27 PM, November 17th (Sunday)]

OwningItNow posted 11/17/2019 18:44 PM

Maybe we just need to stop having the conversation! Let him figure out that what heís doing isnít working and attempt detach myself even more.

No longer have the conversation. Exhausting going round and round. Is he gone right now? How often do you two speak?

Sweetie, I had to learn that "managing my relationship" was not my job, and it certainly wasn't my job after the shit show he had dropped on me. But it was hard for me to learn to stop thinking about him, wondering, pursuing, calling, connecting. I started to watch a tv show--nope, not gonna ask him. I started to ask about dinner--nope, just gonna make what I feel like making. I started asking what his plans were--nope, just gonna tell him I'm leaving and that I will be back later. It was hard. I was so totally accountable and communicative that I didn't know how to stop reaching out to him. I got better and better.

He would reach out, he'd get blah from me. He'd ask about watching a movie. "No, thanks." I got lonely, but good! I needed to find my happy place again, the one that exists without a partner. He was sometimes angry at me. "What's your fucking problem?!" I would stare like, "I'm fine. I don't know what you mean." And I'd walk away to take a bath, make cookies, read a book, check on my kids, whatever. It was awkward. It was uncomfortable. It was very quiet. He acted angry.

No reaction from me.

My new normal is to stop worrying all day, every day about his happiness and our future. Mindfulness. Today matters, and I want to appreciate it. With me.

You know what became obvious? I was very, very uncomfortable with his disapproval and anger. It turns out that I didn't need to change him so much as change myself and my inability to tolerate his disapproval or detachment. I worked VERY hard to learn to not ask what his feelings about something would be because I did not have dread or fear. I calmed myself. "He'll eventually be fine. If not, oh well. I've got me, my career, my friends, my family, my hobbies, my kids, my goals. I can find plenty of joy in this life with the people and things that show up for me! He feels however he feels."

It was a learning process, but eventually I really understood and benefitted. Learning to make me happy and keep strong boundaries with those who want to suck my awesome energy continues to pay off in all areas of my life. I have never been healthier and my relationships have never been stronger. You will not regret doing this very important but challenging work. Keep fighting to let go of his feelings and figure out what you enjoy doing with yourself.

[This message edited by OwningItNow at 6:46 PM, November 17th (Sunday)]

EllieKMAS posted 11/17/2019 19:35 PM


Honestly? What a WS in R is is SELF-DIRECTED. He should be looking up all of this on his own not waiting on you to tell him anything. I get it. I stayed on that hellish merry-go-round for 9 months. Sad truth is that there is no magic word or words that will make the dim bulb in his head light up.

So when he asks you what he should be doing, the blunt answer is "Grow the hell up, man up, and figure it the fuck out."

Limbo sucks. And you can hop off that ride at any time. I know it's scary and sad, but IMHO it's way worse to stay mired in a WS's bullshit.

20yrsagoBS posted 11/17/2019 20:05 PM

It is not as simple as not chasing sluts anymore.

A WS who is desiring Reconciliation:

1-Willingly gives up all secrecy
2- Never lies
3- Takes all responsibility for the affair
4- Offers to take a polygraph
5- Gets STD testing
6- Offers atonement for the evil decisions made to engage in the affair
7-Has empathy for the BS
8- Offers some kind of post nuptial settlement of more lying or cheating happens
9- Gets STD testing every 6 months
10- Initiates discussion about the cheating
11- Demonstrates continued improvement in honesty, intimacy, and investment in the marriage

nekonamida posted 11/17/2019 21:20 PM

OIN is spot on. 180 him. Stop having the conversation and if he asks, tell him to figure it out.

The thing is, you've already told him in plain English what you need. He heard you. He gave you excuses and broken promises but his actions were very clear: "NO. Not going to happen. I don't need to do that because you will stay even if I don't." So when you bring it up, he knows all he has to do is give more excuses and act clueless because it works. You're still here. Still posting as if the problem is with something you're doing. If only you can find the right words to give him to be clear as if you spoke jibberish the first time. That needs to stop.

Even if he had no idea, he could Google it. I bet he searches for all sorts of things he wants to know or find. It would take him 15 minutes to find all sorts of good advice on what more he could be doing. But it doesn't matter because his actions have made it clear - he doesn't want to do it. He possibly even has looked around a little bit about what a WS could do and then didn't do it because it's not what he wants to do.

You can work with someone who genuinely is confused but well meaning. You can't do anything with someone who uses confusion as a deception to buy themselves more time to keep lying.

PearlyBaker posted 11/18/2019 10:53 AM

Thanks for all your advice! It really is helpful. Iím going to make a stronger effort to 180 him!

Sick of his of his crap. Iím the victim in all this not him. Heís not going to manipulate this situation. Iím taking over all of the control.

Bobbi_sue posted 11/18/2019 12:01 PM

My thoughts are probably going to be different than most here.

You are looking for some kind of list of what a WS should be doing.

I didn't give my H any list. After D-day#2, I planned to file for a D immediately and had even called a lawyer. But he talked me into giving him a chance to prove he could be a man who deserved me for his wife. It was early December so I decided giving him until after the 1st of the year would be okay. I was curious as to what he'd do but expected him to fail and expected to be filing in early 2007.

But he surpassed my expectations by far and here we are closer than ever as we are about to enter 2020.

For me the key was true remorse, which led him to do many things to show me how sorry he was, and that he truly would be transparent and faithful for the rest of our lives. And he has made good on that!

But I have read many "requirements" on this forum all through the years and I think, wow, most would tell me to dump my H. For example, he'd never join a forum like this, never read books on the topic. He did agree to MC but I certainly was not going to have him set it up. I can't see him doing that unless I hovered over him forcing it, which he would have done, but why would that be easier than doing myself? Anyway, I did it myself but cancelled because it took them 2 months to get us an appointment and by then we were well on our way and it seemed it would be a waste of time and money. He never did any IC or anything like that.

Oh, and the biggy, most of his answers to my questions were "don't know or can't remember." But I know him so well and his memory is horrible. It was a big hurdle for me because I did want to know details such as what they talked about. In the end I had to make a choice though, did I want to accept him as he is, or get a D? Changing him was not an option. I made the decision to forgive, but there has always been the clause there would be NO hesitation if he cheated again, or even established contact with her, I'd divorce him immediately.

As for serial cheater, I would never label someone as that based on they cheated on two wives. (Maybe yours is but I don't know what details you are basing that on based on what you said in your initial post). I guess my definition would be more complicated. My current H cheated on me (wife #3) and his first wife with the SAME woman. As far as I know he never cheated on wife#2.

Now my XH cheated on me more times than he could hope to count, and with ONS, prostitutes and at least 2 EA/PAs, and married the final AP. Yes, I would definitely label him as a serial cheater. Took him about 24 years but he finally also left wife #2 for yet another.

So what I am moving toward is you have to decide what YOU NEED, not what he needs, or even what he needs to do. He is who he is and he "believes he is doing so much" and you believe he is doing the bare minimum. You are probably not going to change him by telling him others agree he is doing the minimum. So my first suggestion is to look at what YOU WANT. The past cannot be undone. Is it forgivable? Many things you wrote would border on unforgivable to me, such as taking 10 days to "say goodbye." What a load of crap. Who cares about the suicidal homewrecker? Oh, yeah he did. And that goes on the list of negatives in my view.

My H showed no signs of caring anything about what happened to OW after D-day and for me that was a plus. I will admit we'd likely not be together now if he'd have still been seeing and pining after her after he begged me for another chance.

But I'm sure you and I have a different set of negative things we can or won't tolerate. Just something to think about as I am not advocating for either R or D. I divorced my first H and have no regrets. I R'd with my current H and have no regrets.

As for the 180, I'm not a huge fan of that for situations like you described. I would only recommend it for those who are feeling desperate to stay married to someone who is actively still cheating, or treating them horribly blaming the BS for everything that happened, for example. You do not sound desperate so I think increased communication would be a better solution than the 180 which would in effect decrease communication.

Good luck whatever you do, going forward.

gmc94 posted 11/18/2019 12:42 PM

Tho I may disagree with some of BobbiSue's post, I do agree that switching the focus from him (and what he is or is not doing) to you.
What are your boundaries? What consequences are there for them (and IMO the consequences can vary with the boundary)
What do you want in your life, completely separate and apart from your WH?

I think the 180 is completely in order. I wasn't good at it, and I'm in awe of the BS who can do 180 w/o having to pay for two separate households. But once we S, it got much better. Being S (or doing the 180) now allows me the mental headspace to get some clarity for myself.

Even if he had no idea, he could Google it. I bet he searches for all sorts of things he wants to know or find.
Just gotta say this totally resonated. Right after dday, I said to my WH: I bet you spent plenty of time googling "how to get my wife to fuck me" , but not once, in a decade of PA, did it ever even occur to you to google "why am I having an A" ? I got that bullshit puppy dog look that most BS know all too well.

If you want a list, there is good info here. How to Help Your Spouse Heal has the basic list for "successful rebuilders". But as quoted above, any person who truly wants to heal, who truly wants to atone and make amends, who truly wants to fight to keep their M, would be googling the shit out of that already (my own WH included). Yes, WS clearly don't have any tools in their toolbox to handle the aftermath of dday. Yet they were smart enough to figure out how to have an A. Smart enough to figure out how to lie to themselves and feel ok about it. Smart enough to lie to & deceive us (in my case for most of our M). They had the time and energy for all of that. To the say they don't have the time or energy to find some f*cking tools for their toolbox to try and repair any of the devastation they have caused is IMHO, just another excuse... and this time its coupled with even more disrespect than that shown by having an A in the first place.

We can surmise from now until doomsday why our (or someone else's) WS doesn't get it. To me, that's just spending more energy on ANOTHER thing we have no control over and doesn't really help us heal (or at least not me). WHY my WH insists on keeping his head up his arse, WHY he can't seem to find the energy to do ONE thing to research infidelity, therapists, his own bullshit, etc. WHY he can't seem to find the courage to be honest. WHY he still can't bring up the A on his own volition. WHY he thinks rugsweeping would be OK. Why he continues to act as if he doesn't know better. There are a million of those current whys (vs whys for the A). Maybe I'm an idiot, but i just cannot seem to understand how worrying about all of that helps ME. Instead, I try and spend my energy figuring out my own WHYs - like WHY am I still married to someone who has repeatedly proven time & time again that he does not value or respect me? WHY do I keep sucking on the damn hopium pipe? WHY do I feel guilty (and angry & resentful) that I will have to be the one to file for D? WHY do I continue to cover for him and keep his completely f*cked up behavior a secret from all of our social circle? My whys can go on forever too. The difference is looking at his whys keep me stuck in his life and his sickness.... looking at MY whys will help me heal, learn and grow.

hikingout posted 11/18/2019 13:34 PM

I am a ws, I hope it's okay for me to respond.

First of all, your husband hasn't reached remorse. That's a problem in itself. A remorseful spouse will figure out a way to address their own problems. It doesn't even sound like he wants to get it. He just wants the ramifications to be over.

When we cheat, we have our same issues for a long time even if we are working our asses off to address them. Until we can demonstrate the desire and desperation to change, you are at risk. That's why I do think the 180 needs to be something that you work on. You need to detach, protect yourself. If he shows up the to the party later, you can decide if you still want him or not. But, until he does that, he's not safe, there is no reason to keep making yourself vulnerable to him. Keep hoping and him not meeting your expectations over and over. Detachment is hard, but striving for it, that's really what you need to do.

Your H for whatever reason still thinks he has an upper hand somehow, and you are handing some of that to him. I know it's hard, you love him, you want to work through it together, but he's not in it so it's still not together.

What should he be doing?

Finding his whys. Those are internal to him, no blaming external.

In IC.

Taking those whys and making new discoveries about himself and things he needs to change. This will become like a to-do list.

Practice the new thoughts and behaviors.

Be 100% supportive of what is needed for him to recover his marriage. That means answering questions, helping you when you trigger, getting a different job (are you sure that he and AP just haven't taken it underground? They still work together and he's making no progress, do not be blind to the idea those two things could very well be interrelated. A limerant relationship requires withdrawal to get over because it's addictive in nature)

It's exactly all the things you said, but the opposite. I am sorry he's not making progress. He is too comfortable and he's still acting out of a place of entitlement.

Remorse is humble, it's honest, it propels work, and it comes from a place of understanding the damage. Right now, he is at regret - MAYBE.

crazyblindsided posted 11/18/2019 14:37 PM

My STBX is a prime example of a WS who did not get it but thought he did. And I am a prime example of what staying too long in limbo looks like.

My STBX thought working on the M was:

Coming home every night (at 10:30 pm)
Doing the dishes
Taking kids to school and pick-up
Working on his momís house
Telling me he has stopped cheating
Telling me where he was
Telling me he was working on it

What he never did which was the most important was introspection and therapy on his own. He doesnít think he needs help he just thinks I couldnít get over it and wonít rugsweep.

[This message edited by crazyblindsided at 2:38 PM, November 18th (Monday)]

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