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Does a wayward spouse have a right...

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Flnightmare posted 2/12/2020 10:51 AM

To be defensive, annoyed, or short when discussing their wayward behaviors? Basically—- having an attitude about it.

This came up at my ic session, and I am wondering your thoughts and perspective.

I am not sure I agree with the IC’s comments.

tikismom posted 2/12/2020 10:53 AM

They can react how they want to & that will show you if they are remorseful or not. I think being defensive would come naturally to them, it's on them to break away from the defensiveness in order to grow.

ShatteredSakura posted 2/12/2020 11:00 AM

The thing I think defenders will say is the BS may go too far and never forgive, and force them to live on their knees for the rest of their life.

My WW sometimes brought this up. But she had the defensive attitude, refused NC, and also kept her affair going. If she didn't want to be reminded or face her actions all the time, she should've stopped those actions.

For other waywards who have stopped but still have that attitude...they are still acting like petulant children. The proverbial teen who is rolling their eyes at their mom and acting disrespectful.

So no, I don't think they have the right. They have a right to not be grilled or reminded about these actions after they face and own up to them, and atone...you know, years from now. But before then it shows they are unremorseful and want to rugsweep.

[This message edited by ShatteredSakura at 11:01 AM, February 12th (Wednesday)]

DebraVation posted 2/12/2020 11:02 AM

Yes, they have the right to behave however they like. But they don't have the right to expect you to sit there and take it.

crazyblindsided posted 2/12/2020 11:13 AM

Agree the wayward has the right to act how they want but may come with consequences they were not expecting.

My STBX has continually been defensive just cannot get his head out of his arse which is why we are separating. He even gets defensive about how hard he has worked on the M.

The1stWife posted 2/12/2020 11:20 AM

They can have all the “rights” in the world. They can act or respond however the cheater chooses to act or respond.

Doesn’t mean you are required to sit and listen. Or accept the answer or behavior.

Early in our reconciliation my H kept saying “we were disconnected”. Finally one night I heard that one too may times and exploded. I told him he had no right to tell me how I felt about anything and I was never disconnected. He was. His choice. He stopped communicating (and I brought up relevant examples). He stopped sharing his thoughts or feelings.

He never used that as a “reason” again. He knew I was right.

When my H tried to blame me for his affair I pushed back on that too. His affair was NEVER my fault.

Had he continued with that thought we would be divorced already. I was never goi g to tolerate that behavior and he quickly learned that too.

I would hear him blame me anxiety would say “I never told you to cheat on me. That was your decision”. And sometimes I left the room. I shut that conversation down immediately.

He got the message.

Loukas posted 2/12/2020 11:22 AM

Of course they have a right to it. I mean we are talking about their feelings here, no one person can deny another their feelings. However, are they cognizant of their feelings? Can they communicate them in a healthy way that a relationship requires?

There is an argument to be made that a wayward needs to swallow their reactions early after Dday. An argument I definitely agree with. But eventually, if the WS and the BS are going to have any chance at reconciliation, there will require a time when empathy and understanding is offered by both parties.

Justsomelady posted 2/12/2020 12:44 PM

It may be a primary emotion but waywards have to shut it down to an extent (outside of IC and journal) and triage YOU before we can be more open about that sort of thing w you I feel.

thatbpguy posted 2/12/2020 13:01 PM

There are too many variable in this question. A waywards primary goal is to be genuinely remorseful and heal their BS. That said, a betrayed just can't brow beat their spouse into the ground relentlessly. That's not going to help matters either. But waywards have to understand they have caused a serious psychological injury this will probably cause a betrayed to lash out now and then and accept that much as well as answer questions repeatedly.

This may sound odd, but to some extent it takes two to R.

deephurt posted 2/12/2020 14:16 PM

It most definitely 100% takes two r.

Everyone has the right to feel however they feel however, a wayward being defensive is not a remorseful wayward and not a good candidate for r. It does take time for them to get their heads out of their asses but the longer it goes on the more they show their true colors.

MrCleanSlate posted 2/12/2020 14:26 PM

Wayward here - hope you don't mind my $0.02


Go to the Wayward Forum and the first pinned post Things that every WS needs to know Print it out and give it your WS.


I recall being in IC at about 6 months after D-Day and complaining that it felt like my BW was stuck and going over the same ground on the A. I wanted to move forward with R. Boy did I get an earful about processing grief and PTSD and how BS are dealing with the same and often worse. I learnt a lesson in stopping and taking my BW feelings into consideration. I had to learn that! Opened my eyes. I wish I had the above list handed to me at some point early on.....

[This message edited by MrCleanSlate at 2:27 PM, February 12th (Wednesday)]

Newlifeisgreat posted 2/12/2020 14:47 PM

If they do and they’re not remorseful and they don’t understand what a truly done to you in the marriage. Just one more example of when you need to pull the trigger and file.

cocoplus5nuts posted 2/12/2020 15:00 PM

They have the right to all of those behaviors. That doesn't mean you have to take it.

I flat out told my H he didn't get to do that shit with me.

fooled13years posted 2/12/2020 15:06 PM

Flnightmare,

Does a wayward spouse have a right to be defensive, annoyed, or short when discussing their wayward behaviors

Absolutely, or at least they think they do. A WS think they have a right to act any way they choose...as evidenced in the way they chose to betray their loyal spouse.

Acting they way that he had a right to is how he found himself in this situation.

My advise to him would be to stop acting the way he wants to and start acting like a husband who will do anything to save the marriage he destroyed.

emergent8 posted 2/12/2020 15:16 PM

I think a WS has a 'right' to react/respond however they wish.

I agree with the others that say that a BS has an equal right to put a boundary up and refuse to communicate with someone who is behaving in this manner.

WS defensiveness is incredibly destructive and counterproductive to R. I can certainly attest to that. It was one of the first things we worked on in MC. I will admit that I wasn't perfect at it either and to be honest, my own defensiveness was *just* as destructive to our ability to communicate and hear one another. That said, it's generally not something a person can learn to turn off overnight - particularly when emotions are running high.

Once each of us were able to recognize when (and why) we were responding defensively and figure out what types of communications were more (and less) likely to to elicit a defensive response from the other, we were (both) better able to avoid it and that improved communication markedly. That, in turn, made R easier and if I'm honest, improved a lot of other issues in our relationship as well.

PS. I am obviously sensitive to the seeming injustice of suggesting a BS may *also* have to work on their own defensiveness especially post-D-Day but this absolutely worked for me.

cptprkchp posted 2/12/2020 16:19 PM

I am a wayward and the short answer is - no. Not if they want R. They have indulged enough bad behavior for a lifetime - time to put on their big boy/girl britches and own their shit.

I saw Mr. Clean Slate’s suggestion of having your wayward read “What every wayward needs to know” and agree 100%. You did not do this - you did not bring this on yourself. This was done TO you and if you are willing to offer the gift of R then your wayward better buck up because you are now in the driver’s seat. Oh, they don’t like it? Well, my standard answer is they should have thought about that BEFORE they went and messed around.

I wish you the very best!!

stolenyears posted 2/12/2020 17:34 PM

I am not sure I agree with the IC’s comments.

What was your IC's comment on this?

All of the responses fall in line...your wayward can do whatever they want, but you don't have to take it. In fact, if my wife had responded with defensiveness, she would have been kicked to the curb with no shot for R. You can just take that defensiveness and GTFO. She didn't respond that way, but she had the 'right' to, and I still have the 'right' to go my own way.

For me, however, we took a short bootcamp thing right after d-day with a site that we found, and out of that I had committed to be considerate and respectful, even through the hard conversations. They would suck and the easy tendency would be to lash out and for her to get defensive, but I think the environment that was created allowed us to get it all out on the table and subdued any defensiveness she might have had...

Flnightmare posted 2/12/2020 18:31 PM

Ic feels that some level of defensiveness is to be expected and that I should take it as a sign as my failure to communicate rationally.

Yeah, not sure I like this counselor at all.

I get that I own some part in creating some of the defensive moments, but for goodness sakes buck up and face it bud.

cocoplus5nuts posted 2/12/2020 19:17 PM

Ic feels that some level of defensiveness is to be expected and that I should take it as a sign as my failure to communicate rationally.

Nope, nope, nope!

Maybe it's to be expected from someone who isn't fully remorseful, but then he isn't ready for R. It's not a reflection on you at all.

It may be a primary emotion

What's a primary emotion? Defensiveness is not an emotion. It's a reaction to fear. Anger is a secondary emotion. The primary emotion is almost always fear. Annoyance goes along with anger. Not a primary emotion.

EllieKMAS posted 2/12/2020 19:57 PM

Ic feels that some level of defensiveness is to be expected and that I should take it as a sign as my failure to communicate rationally.
Fuckin. WHAT.

OK, so yeah IC, tell you what. Let me stab you in the eye with this razor blade a couple times then blow salt into your eye and then kick you in the dick and have you rationally communicate to me what I did to you. That is not how trauma works.

Just my kneejerk, but this IC sounds like a clueless asshat.

I hear what you're saying about the defensiveness tho. And yes, I think some leeway is necessary. SOME. I thought that with mine remembering times I had fucked up and had to fess up and face the music... The issue with mine was that our talks would go like this: Me sad, he asks what's wrong, I would bring up something about A, he immediately would get defensive and start pointing out about how I did something one time. Nooooope.

If yours is being defensive and either A) shutting down or B) blameshifting (or some combo of both) then I would say definitely not in the right mentality for R just yet. If they are being defensive but still willing to talk about it, that still leaves something to work with.

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