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Struggles

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Layla1234hubby posted 12/10/2019 08:02 AM

Hello all. I'm trying to do my best to consistently post on here and not during spurts of full blown panic. So, here's my first ever SI post with a level head.

For the last week I have had 'do not control the outcome' in the back of my mind in everything I say or do. I am doing my best to just focus on the things I need to do to become a better person. I'm reading the suggested books, reading on SI (not posting, I do not feel like I am worthy of providing advice to people who may be in a better place than I am in my relationship), went to IC, and have tried to be there for my wife any way I can.

We sat down and talked for an hour about the timeline a couple of nights ago and I was able to answer questions for the first time without being defensive. We had sex on back to back nights (I will say that the first night of sex was just to meet eachother's needs, but for me, it was about being with my wife) and have been civil and have had a smooth couple days with the kids.

Last night after my wife went upstairs to go to bed while I finished watching an episode of something on TV, my wife sent me a text stating that she still wanted to separate after the holidays. I know that this is an emotional roller coaster for her and that I literally just TT'd a week ago, but for some reason this was more of a punch in the gut than I usually would have taken it. There are still aspects that she does not believe because I have lied and omitted the truth for as long as I did.

When there is truly nothing left to give when it comes to the timeline, what can you do to give your spouse that safety she is looking for? Just to continue to stay at it and do what I need to do to become a better person? I don't want it to seem that I am ignoring the fact that she thinks more happened.

Chaos posted 12/10/2019 08:11 AM

Proven behavior over time. That’s what it takes. Proven behavior over time.
Keep in mind that ANY inconsistency, TT, defensiveness, etc. will set you back to less than Ground Zero.

Now that that is out of the way – As a BS I’m going to take issue with you claiming her wanting to separate is a punch in the gut to you. This, L-hubby, is telling me you truly aren’t getting it. Because you are more shocked and hurt by your being “punched in the gut” by her reaction [separation] to repeated gut shots you’ve delivered to her by your infidelity. Because ever action, contact, thought, message, txt, hook up, lie, TT, etc. is a shot in the gut to her with a cannon. You have shot her full of holes and are frustrated at her for bleeding while crying over her wanting to remove herself from your battlefield.

Dig deeper. Right now you are still crying victim to circumstances you created.

hikingout posted 12/10/2019 08:32 AM

I would agree with Chaos in that we can have regret and guilt, that's about how we feel about what we did. Remorse is really having empathy for your spouse and truly trying to keep understanding where she is coming from.

But, I do understand after a few good days that bad day or reality that all is not well is difficult. You are allowed to have feelings about it. Just always remind yourself that your problems are not more important than hers. And, that your problems AND her problems were created by you.

Your wife is utterly convinced you are lying about the affair. If you are - you are in a hard place of if you tell it could be the death knell, and if you don't it could still be the death knell. I would encourage you to see if you are holding anything at all back that is still controlling the outcome. She has a right to all the facts. This puss filled wound can't heal until you really give her all that to work with, you must surrender to that.

If you are not lying, then you keep reading the books, reading here and working on yourself.

Either way, I would strongly encourage you to get into that therapy appt. as soon as possible, and also you really need to dig deeper on your whys. We can not change what we don't acknowledge. Thinking the grass is greener is a symptom not a cause. Work on your whys so you know what it is you need to work on personally.

I know you are having a hard time. I am rooting for you to really buckle down and do this. I am rooting for the happiness of you, and your wife - separately or together. If it's any consolation at all, most any of us who have been in your shoes can tell you that when things go better, the BS often will retreat. They pull back for a lot of reasons, but they don't want you to feel like all is better because you had a good day or two. I do believe that your wife does feel like it's over, because she has been rendered hopeless in the situation. Working on yourself, staying present for her, putting her first, and making sure she does have all the facts - those are things that can maybe start to build hope again. There are no guarantees though, you just need to recognize that you did as much or more damage by lying and that these are as Chaos said, circumstances that you created - not circumstances you are a victim of.

I know that I could sound harsh, but I am telling you the things I think could help you (and her) the most.

[This message edited by hikingout at 8:57 AM, December 10th (Tuesday)]

EvolvingSoul posted 12/10/2019 09:28 AM

Hi there Layla1234hubby,

Bumped a post for you entitled ‘What to do when your spouse is questioning everything’ that may be helpful.

MrCleanSlate posted 12/10/2019 09:32 AM

One week since your last D-Day is hardly time enough for progress. The problem with trickle truth is that everything you say, or don't, is now suspect and your BW is waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I just started to spill my guts after D-Day. The facts came out, but the reasons and the whys took a lot longer to get to. It was the Whys that my BW was most interested in. Those were the reasons she based R on. The Whys were the things I could work on fixing. The acts of the affair became secondary.

It sounds like you are just getting to the point of actually being honest with yourself and your BW - that leaves you a long road still.

Hikingout offered some really good advice.

[This message edited by MrCleanSlate at 9:47 AM, December 10th (Tuesday)]

thatbpguy posted 12/10/2019 09:49 AM

Last night after my wife went upstairs to go to bed while I finished watching an episode of something on TV, my wife sent me a text stating that she still wanted to separate after the holidays. I know that this is an emotional roller coaster for her and that I literally just TT'd a week ago, but for some reason this was more of a punch in the gut than I usually would have taken it. There are still aspects that she does not believe because I have lied and omitted the truth for as long as I did.

Can't say as I blame her. It's the TT that is hurting the situation. You might consider why you have done so and tell her. It may help.

When there is truly nothing left to give when it comes to the timeline, what can you do to give your spouse that safety she is looking for? Just to continue to stay at it and do what I need to do to become a better person? I don't want it to seem that I am ignoring the fact that she thinks more happened.

Look at it from her perspective. You TT'd her and you say that aspect is over, but how does she know? She doesn't. She feels like she lives in a perpetual lie. No safety in that.

As to becoming a better person for you and for her, all you can do is work on it day in and day out. It will either be good enough for her or it won't. I like to think that when a betrayer is truly working on bettering themselves and being a safe partner, it shows in and of itself. There's a quiet confidence to it. Depending on how much damage you have caused, that may be enough. Or not, but the effort will still make you a better person.

Layla1234hubby posted 12/10/2019 10:00 AM

I have started digging into my whys. I watched my dad deteriorate after my mom divorced him right when I graduated high school. He was alone, sad, and completely incapable of taking care of himself. He suffered from early dementia and I was the one to help take care of his bills while my brother was trying to figure out how to handle his addiction. I did not want to end up like my dad, whose only relationship he ever had was with my mom. He passed in October of 17. I shut down and didn't let anyone talk to me about it. My wife tried to be there, but I ignored her. I'm still digging into why I strayed instead of just talking about my issues (affair started 6 months after dad's death), but I'm getting there.

forgettableDad posted 12/10/2019 10:15 AM

You can only be who you are. And work from that. I would say to stop trying to second guess what your wife wants or means. Talk. Open up. Ask.

My wife and I separated (in house) after dday. For months. Then again for another month and a half after trying to co-parent. I think it did us good (was hard though). Helped us see where we want to go from where we are. She was in so much pain and I was such a mess. We kept "missing" each other trying to R.

Be honest.
Be open with your emotions (the love and the pain)
Be a good dad.
And let go of the future and control.

No choice is the end of the world.

nightmare01 posted 12/10/2019 11:11 AM

A BH here.
One of the hardest things for a BS to do is realize that THIS is our reality. Acceptance of what is, is tough.

[metaphor removed due to political guideline]

With TT, it's like we have some of the pieces of our marriage back together, then another bullet hits and we have to do it all over again. It guts us. Omitting or hiding the truth is similar to that. Sure, no more bullets fly, but the pieces we've collected don't fit, and we fixate on putting together and searching for what's missing. It's a life in the purgatory of uncertainty and confusion. Further, if we believe our WS is holding back information, it's easy to believe they are holding on to fond memories of their affair and AP, and they don't want those reminisces tarnished by our tears. Those thoughts will slowly destroy your marriage.

If some part of your story doesn't make sense to your BS, go over that aspect of your story - again and again until it does make sense. Leave nothing out of your story, and answer each question gently, but truthfully while holding nothing back. Seeing your BS's reaction will help build empathy in you, and give your BS the tools she/he needs to heal.

Once we are certain we have all the pieces, and they're place in an order we can understand - the work starts to accept that this happened to us. We weren't perfect spouses, but we didn't deserve this. It's a hard road, and IMO - depending on the type and length of the affair - it can take much longer than the 2 to 5 years so often spoken of here.

As I said at the top of this, I'm not a WS, but I think acceptance is something a WS has to come to as well. You did this. Any illusions you have of being a wonderful and caring person are gone. You cheated, lied, and destroyed your partner's soul. That was you that did that. You are that kind of person. Can you change? Maybe. You can at least alter your habits and coping mechanisms. You can become a better person, and live the rest of your life without hurting your partner again. But you've discovered a weakness within yourself that you'll have to guard.

It's best to let go and stop trying to control the outcome. All you can do is be open and honest, and accept whatever comes.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 3:16 PM, December 10th (Tuesday)]

gmc94 posted 12/10/2019 11:41 AM

everything Nightmare01 says. Every. Single. Thing.

Empathy is so crucial for healing from an A - for BOTH a WS and BS. And your OP in this thread shows it's not yet there for you. As Chaos' commented - your worry about the punch to YOUR gut completely misses the mark of the repeated punches you have given your BS.

Now, I think it's human nature for us to immediately/first think of how anything (pleasurable or not) impacts us. I was on a drive with my cousin recently. He was telling me about his recovery from drugs/alcohol (he was in prison for years, and - literally - a skid row bum). He told me a story of a woman who cut in front of him in a check out line. The cousin got angry and called the woman out. The woman replied that she had just come from her husband's funeral and her daughter was freaking out and needed x. Needless to say, my cousin now understood things differently - he was able to really SEE the woman's face - the streaked makeup and puffy eyes that was clearly a sign of someone who had been crying (which he didn't even notice before - cuz he was so PO'd about someone cutting the line). I see it as the Brene Brown saying "they are doing their best" kind of thing. My cousin said that was a turning point in his life - the first time he recognized how devoid of empathy he really was (he was working the steps when this happened). He marveled at how this simple interaction helped him understand that when we can understand/empathize where the other person is coming from, we (as in humans) can lose our own anger/frustration about what was done TO us, and let it go. Better yet, we can even help. That incident prompted him to apologize to his father, who was incredibly abusive to my cousin.
About 30 min after he shared that story, we had a good laugh about it when someone cut us off during a drive. The knee jerk reaction is still "what a jerk" but within a split second, both of us had made up "stories in our minds" about why that other driver may have done what he did (I said had to pee, he said late for a date). And within a split second, both of us had let go of the offense to our vehicle, and moved on.

So I think it's not that you felt your BS' desire to S as a punch in the gut. That strikes me as natural human instinct (or your lizard brain). It's that you didn't take that moment to switch gears to your BS' feelings. You didn't employ your executive brain to empathy for her. Empathy for why she needs to S. Instead, choosing to stick to your hurt and not the hurt of your BS. I would bet that it's not like she WANTS to separate or get a D. We BSs (or most of us) WANT to have a faithful spouse. We never asked for any of this.

anyhow, just a little story on how someone I know discovered how to find empathy in his life.

[This message edited by gmc94 at 12:02 PM, December 10th, 2019 (Tuesday)]

Pippin posted 12/10/2019 12:20 PM

Hi Laya1234hubby, I'm not going to write about how to care for your BS because others have done that. I'll write about what it looks like from the my WS perspective.

At the same time you are learning about your whys, you also develop or strengthen healthy coping mechanisms, put them into place when you are under stress (especially in low-level stress because then you get practice), and communicate what is happening to your BS, if she wants to know.

Here's what that looks like, a low-level example.

Learning about whys: I know that one of my whys is that I believed my husband did not love me for several years before the affair. I thought there was a part of him that despised me and I believed that he was tolerating me because he thought he had to, as a dutiful husband. This is linked to FOO. My father got angry at something I did and, after saying some remarkably horrible things, stopped speaking to me when I was 13. So I lived with a parent who tolerated but did not like me for several years. (He died suddenly when I was 17 so it never got resolved.) So when my husband is quiet around me, I revert to thinking that's what's going on. It's not even thinking, really, it's a belief.

Develop or strengthen healthy coping mechanisms: This is what you do as daily practices when you are not under stress. I've done tons of different kinds. Being alert to when I'm having an emotional reaction and name it, practice a variety of things to lower cortisol (prayer, self-talk, breathing), ask my husband or friends for the specific things I need to hear, recruit strengths that I already have like facing physical fears to practice facing emotional fears, etc.

Put it into place when I'm under stress: This will sound a bit silly to you but it was incredibly real for me. My husband had a very nasty cold and a sore throat a couple of weeks ago. We talk regularly during the day and most evenings we go out for a walk together. He was unable to talk because of the sore throat and having to talk at work as best he could. I went into a mild state of panic. It took me a bit to figure out what was going on but then I realized that his not talking to me had activated that old problem. In my rational mind, I knew that he was not rejecting me, tolerating me, disliking or hating me. But when I checked myself, I felt like he was and a part of me believed it was happening. So I got all my healthy coping mechanisms together (and let's be honest, a few mild unhealthy ones but they were not hurtful to other people) and spent a lot of the week coaching myself through those difficult feelings and trying to reduce the panic.

Communicating with BS: As soon as I figured it out, I told him (obviously not making it his fault or blaming him) and he knew throughout the week this was going on. He helped as best he could, but it left his mind a few times (because it's a nonsensical interpretation of what was happening). I asked directly for reassurance when I really needed it and let him know how and what I was doing. It was scary to ask for reassurance. Part of me will never quite believe it's going to come and the devil on my shoulder tells me that the old thing is true: he has finally decided the affair made me someone he could not tolerate, he has finally figured out he's too good for me, etc. Asking for reassurance when those thoughts are coming zinging at you a hundred miles an hour is terrifying.

At the end of that episode, he could tell that instead of ignoring my upset feelings, shoving them away and letting them grow, allowing resentment to grow against him for not noticing or caring for my feelings, and self-soothing in ways that are increasingly destructive to myself and others, I can handle the problems that arise.

Times that by lots and lots of episodes and he begins to believe and trust that I have made genuine change.

It won't happen right away. And it's really hard. Those feelings don't go away when I bring in better coping. Those feelings and thoughts that come like arrows really, really suck, and I want to crawl into a cave and die rather than check them out and run the risk that they are true. But the better coping takes the edge off and gives me enough distance from my reactive emotions to deal with in a better way.

I should note that my husband was unbelievably gentle, understanding, supportive, and loving. He didn't rugsweep, deny or minimize his own response, but he very much set it aside when he was helping me, to return to it later. And he accepted whatever I was able to offer him at each step. It was still hard to do everything I described above, but I know it would have been much harder if he hadn't been like that.

[This message edited by Pippin at 4:25 PM, December 10th (Tuesday)]

ThisIsSoLonely posted 12/10/2019 15:15 PM

Keep staying the course on being honest and caring and considerate and keeping in mind the outcome may not be what you want in so much as you stay with your wife - but by staying the course of honesty, the outcome for you in the long run WILL be what you want for your life overall.

That being said, I disagree with Chaos on this point:

This, L-hubby, is telling me you truly aren’t getting it. Because you are more shocked and hurt by your being “punched in the gut” by her reaction [separation] to repeated gut shots you’ve delivered to her by your infidelity.

This tells me nothing about whether you "get it" or not but does tell me you are human. It is NORMAL to feel punched in the gut by this, regardless of your fault or actions in the past. To be remorseful, to show empathy, does not mean that you are not allowed to feel normal human feelings. I think it's crazy of BSs to say that because their WS has done something of this magnitude that they "don't get it" if they feel anything for themselves including anguish or stress or lack of comfort when their BS says something like this. That's simply nonsense IMO - and yeah, I'm being harsh because I think what Chaos said is the biggest pile of hogwash ever, totally counterproductive, and in all honesty, not realistic.

That being said - you can't stop at focusing on the gut punch to you - that would be the mistake - that would be the concerning part - that would be getting lost in the outcome. You've got to look at it on the whole - yes, you delivered this gut punch and a whole bunch more to the marriage - to your spouse and family. So allow yourself to FEEL that and let it keep you motivated to be a better person - not jut for them but for you too. You have to find it in yourself to put one foot in front of the other and keep of a path of truth and honesty, not because of getting to the immediate outcome you desire, but the exact opposite - instead because of the long term changes you want for you.

You have to say to yourself at a time like that:

Yep, I can see why my BS may not want to move forward with me now - too much damage may have been done to her, and I respect that. I understand that she may change her mind 1000 times or she may remain steadfast in her decision to move on without me - but that doesn't matter. I WANT to never have anything like this happen again - ever - and I realize that in order to do the best I can to ensure that my actions and decisions never hurt anyone again, and to become a person who doesn't have to "defend" bad choices/bad actions who doesn't have to worry about "being found out" I want to/need to/have to - for me - keep doing the right thing. Period.

Oh yeah, and I wanted to add - that you owe it to her, and to yourself, to tell her how you feel if you want to move forward. At least that is my perspective - I thought it was insane to tell my WH to keep his issues to himself and to just comfort me - and no, we didn't work out, precisely because he wanted to tell me how he felt (frustrated, upset - whatever) but he got incredibly defensive when I would tell him how I felt. That, IMO, is a large part of why we failed. Because was unable to handle my side of this - at the times I said "I don't know if I can/want to do this with you anymore" (there were many) he would say "fine, I get that - go ahead and move on then" or he would be shitty/nasty with me - when all I wanted to hear was that he wanted me to stay - to give it more of a try, whatever" but that was always an afterthought with him - first he had to tell me how he felt with my reaction to problems he had created - I felt like an afterthought a lot of the time. Talk to your BS - remember to put some of the focus on them - let them know they are important, even if the rebuf you, and even if ultimately they leave anyway. It's fine to say how you feel - in fact this is not the time to keep it bundled up - just don't forget them and their feelings in the process.

[This message edited by ThisIsSoLonely at 3:22 PM, December 10th (Tuesday)]

Pippin posted 12/10/2019 15:32 PM

Regarding this -

It's fine to say how you feel - in fact this is not the time to keep it bundled up - just don't forget them and their feelings in the process.

Below is something I was talking about with another BS, it's a cut and paste from a message which is on this topic. Obviously you'll have to adjust for you and your wife - we were/are in a reconciling/reconciled relationship so he wanted to understand and help me and I wanted to understand and help him. That might not be true if your wife is not sure what she wants or if she is moving toward separation, but in case it helps.

early on when we talked about the affair - We would talk about some aspect, say an interaction I had with the AP, and my husband seemed so logical and rational and helped me understand what the AP was really thinking, what really happened, etc. then a few hours or a day later he would bring it up again, with his own hurt and pain, and I would think “wait! We already talked about this and you are ok with it!? Why bring it up!?” And then I realized that in the first conversation he was totally taking my point of view so I could talk through it without judgment or shame, and then, separately, he wanted me to understand how it made him feel and to be comforted. I don’t think he did it intentionally but it was so helpful (though at first I tried to avoid the second conversation). We don’t do that anymore because I pretty much get his point of view automatically, and can in the moment understand how to help him. But I always go back and check on him a few minutes or an hour later to see if any feelings came up.

KingRat posted 12/10/2019 15:46 PM

When there is truly nothing left to give when it comes to the timeline, what can you do to give your spouse that safety she is looking for?

Put her needs first for once and let her go. You need to demonstrate that you are willing to do whatever it takes even if it is not in your best interest or what you want. If you love someone, you let them go. Trying to control the outcome is only an indication that you love yourself more. Love is demonstrative. You need to love your wife. Let her go. She may comeback; she may not. But you will know that no matter what, you finally did right by her.

Zugzwang posted 12/10/2019 16:53 PM

Are you still disconnected from yourself being the cheater and the TT like your last post? The whole, it wasn't the TT that did you in. It was who you stayed and continued to be for all that time. Just think of it this way, while you TT lie manipulate whatever you want to call it...you continue to cheat your BS out of their life. So, you were in some eyes still a cheater. It has only been a week. The only thing that might work is transparency, honesty, and owning it over a long period of time. Time. Time. Time. If you aren't patient. You just aren't remorseful yet. If you aren't patient, IMO it just points to being selfish. It is about what you want when you want it.

IHatePickingName posted 12/10/2019 17:17 PM

BS here. Everything hikingout said rings true for me when i dealt with TT, but this especially:

If it's any consolation at all, most any of us awho have been in your shoes can tell you that when things go better, the BS often will retreat. They pull back for a lot of reasons, but they don't want you to feel like all is better because you had a good day or two.

I find myself doing this all the time. The reason above is definitely part of it, but another major part for me is after a few good days, remembering it all is like having ice water dumped over my head. It makes me angry that it took *this* to get us to the effort i see now, and it makes me mad he chose cheating instead of trying for this before. I actually feel worse after a few good days than a few ok days.

babbu posted 12/10/2019 19:07 PM

Something I noticed that you have been avoiding answering. Why were you harassing your STBX and giving her grief about being on SI?

Why did you suddenly change within a matter of a little time and want to be here?

DoingThingsWrong posted 12/10/2019 20:23 PM

Hello all - its been quite awhile since I last posted on here. Still working on my skills using the help that is available.

There have been many good recommendations and suggestion posted here to help the OP. I can't speak for anyone on here but there is one thing I want to share as it was really key for me to get to where I am right now.

You need to learn to let go of the outcome. Yes, you have your children to worry about. Yes, you have a marriage that you might get a chance to work on. All of that you need to be able to set aside in order to focus on being a safe person for your BS to be around. Becoming a better person is the goal.

Becoming a better person will make everything going forward easier no matter the outcome. This was something that I had a really hard time learning. I was very focused on what I needed to do based on the outcome that I wanted instead of doing the work to become a better person. To quote my BS, I had my head so far up my ass that she did not believe I would be able to understand the situation and put in the effort to change. I believe that I was only able to get to that point by realizing that I needed let go of what I wanted to happen and just focus on being a better person.

This allowed me to start the process of healing myself as well as my wife. Being there for her. Listening to her. Making a point to do things that SHOWED that she mattered to me and that I cared for her. You need to be able to understand that your actions have told your BP that they DO NOT MATTER to you. You have been so focused on yourself and how things effect you. You can only make REAL change if you can get past that.

Layla1234hubby posted 12/11/2019 08:36 AM

Something I noticed that you have been avoiding answering. Why were you harassing your STBX and giving her grief about being on SI? Why did you suddenly change within a matter of a little time and want to be here?

I'm doing my best not to avoid anything, but I didn't see where anyone had asked? The answer to this is that I have not legitimately tried to put myself in her shoes. I have told her that I have in the past, but it's not something I ever truly did. When she needed someone to talk to who has been in the same situation as her (that I created), I didn't see SI as productive or the right outlet to do so. Did it matter what I thought about her coming on here? Absolutely not. Did I have any right to harass her or to blow up on this forum? No way. As mentioned in this initial post, the only times that I have ever come on to SI is when I'm in a full blown panic and those blowups are a result of that. I'm trying to do my best to take one day at a time and do what I can to show her that I value her. I'm trying to let go of the outcome and on bad days I'm still learning how to cope with the roller coaster ride without losing focus on what I need to do to become better. I think that answers your question?

NotSureAboutIt posted 12/11/2019 18:00 PM

One week after TT is way, way to early to expect your BS to know what they want. Stay positive. Stay open. Answer each and every question honestly every time it is asked. Be patient. My BS divorced me. I stayed focused on her and helping her recover. I watched our DD when she went out. Three years later we remarried. We have been remarried for 26 years. The A seldom comes up. Maybe once a year for a few seconds. Our second marriage gave us a new start. We are happy and still very much in love. Don’t give up. Give it time.

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