Tallgirl, thanks for the feedback. You are right, I am not healed and I need to talk this out, but I wonder what good talking about my H's inability to talk to me will get me. It took him a long time to admit that he has shame, and I have realized that those feelings trigger anger and resentment in him. If it's too big an ask for him to work through his shame and discomfort to help me with mine, how I can't feel that he is invested in or choosing this relationship? How can I take him seriously when he wants to take the Oops I made a mistake, it's all good now approach? How can I find him worthy of what I am offering?
I'm the middle kid, always on alert to anticipate and avert trouble. This is affecting my recovery a lot, because I have nothing tangible to work with for cause or effect with him. I need to understand what went wrong, and get to the nut of his reasons. He has only given me one, that my parenting style made him feel like an outsider in the family and made his resentments grow. My parenting style was loving, concerned and doting, and I protected our kids from the emotional fallout of his critical, cold side, amidst the cruelty of some of their classmates. I never criticized him in front of the kids, and tried to negotiate through the difficulties.
I was a trained facilitator and tried to manage my way through this with everything I had, for the best outcome for all of us, maybe with me coming in last. I spent a lot of time helping them with their spectrum issues in school, as both children had vocal motor tics, one diagnosed with central auditory processing disorder, dyslexia and Asperger's and they both struggled socially and emotionally. The child my husband was the toughest on struggled academically, although testing off the charts in higher reasoning and every category except reading. H decided the diagnoses were dumb and our kid was just being lazy. The tics for both kids escalated during growth spurts, puberty and stress. Dad was stressful and it was painful to see any stress added to their plates. I can't even remember how many times I would console one or both of them with Daddy loves you very much, he just wants what is best for you. That logic doesn't help an awkward, struggling, acne riddled kid in puberty very much.
It was a long difficult period for me as a parent, and as a wife, and I had my own resentments but rationalized them away. I did my absolute best for them and their futures and thought my H was on board and supportive of my efforts. He was always angry about chores or pressuring them about grades, even though they both managed good grades in school. They both hated school, and for a while I considered home schooling, after my youngest begged me to, but that is not my strong suit and wasn't the right choice for them imo.
Anyway, he has admitted that I did right by them, he was wrong, everything has turned out better than ok for them and they are amazing people. So I am left with the one thing I tried to do right and do better for my family cost me my marriage? I'm not sure I can live with that or let that go. I need him to understand that our parenting disagreements was the excuse he used to cheat when he was actually having a mid life crisis and dealing with some financial problems he created with investments I did not support. He was the boss of the family and the money, even though I supported us for several years during my first pregnancy so he could start his own company. He never worked well with others, and he has been a successful businessman and I don't regret those years. But I look back at all of this with utter confusion and now, growing resentment of my own. My life doesn't make sense anymore now that the data set has been revised. I asked him what I was supposed to do with my resentments and unmet needs now? What about all the fun I missed out on while he played behind my back? Write it off like bad debt?
Maybe what's happening is me pushing back against feeling controlled. He is trying to control how I handle this. He controlled my discovery with gaslighting and lies for almost two years. He has fought me hard over getting support, especially here and has nothing positive to say about this site or the wisdom of those who have been through this and come out the other side. Everything I point out to him is countered with they are not us, they don't know me, I don't care what other people think.... That applies to psychologists and counsellors too. Everyone but him is either irrelevant or wrong. He actually told my IC who was our MC for a short time before the truth came out that he was only there to help me get better and get over this. MC's eye's bugged out at the inability to conceive he had issues too, that this wasn't a wife problem but a couple problem.
I know its not much to work with, trying to rebuild something he won't admit is broken. He blames me for being broken, not himself for breaking me. In the heat of an argument I said I'm trying to recover from what you did to me. He was livid, and yelled WHAT I DID TO YOU??? He does not own that he is responsible for how I am now, he said he didn't think I would take this so badly, or be so hurt. By a nine year affair? Gaslighting, rugsweeping, allowing the MOW to fill me with more lies? Really? I keep having to point out that my response to all this has been textbook, as has his. That made him mad too, I dont say cheater's handbook unless I want a fight.
Ugh I'm venting and whining here because there is no easy solution, only really hard choices. The kind you have had to make. I wonder how did you decide what you had was not worth saving? Was there not enough love to make it worth trying? We have lots of love, but one of us doesn't have compassion or integrity and is telling me now that the healing that is important to me is not important to him. Literally the words out of his mouth, repeated for emphasis. It is not important to me. You are and our future is, but nothing about the past matters. If I point out that translates to I am not important to him, he gets mad at me for putting words in his mouth, he cannot see the connection. My best friend said he doesn't have the skill set to reconcile, so what is your plan? I wish I had one.
How does a person lower their expectations and swallow the bile enough to let this all ride? I've come so close to finding an EMDR specialist but that bristles me, because that's just me trying to adapt around him. I feel like we are in some shitty negotiation where he is only willing to yield so much before he yanks the deal. After watching this parallel with a dozen business negotiations I know that he will draw a line in the sand and let the deal fall apart if he is pushed too far. Fuck em if he doesn't get the deal he wants. I think that is us. He wants me in his life but he also knows he'll survive if I walk away and he's willing to call my bluff. I guess the same applies to me now.
Do I just let go and pursue separation, hoping either he finds his way to maturity in handling this, or I grow enough to be ok without him in my life? Kids are grown, money isn't a problem beyond he will never have a big enough pile and I don't need much of anything. He came from everything and I came from nothing, so maybe that's why core values are so important to me: honesty, integrity, making hard choices and doing the right thing, supporting those we love no matter what.... We've always had a value gap but I thought the key ingredients were there. They were not.
The real question is how much longer do I keep trying. I have finally moved past frequent meltdowns and crying, I'm getting a lot of coping techniques down but I am starting to feel like I have better things to do with my time than manage my reactions to a pile of betrayal and denial and weak effort. I needed to be worth more, cheating ruined that and not doing the work to reconcile with me is sticking a fork in the relationship, ie it's looking done. I thought for a while there I could pretend we were just a casual couple, doing fun things together without the baggage of the marriage but I suck at pretend.
So, I am in the process of untangling us professionally, stepping away from any ownership in the business I don't want to be in any longer, with a partner I just can't trust to be open and honest. First the business, then the legal marriage I guess. It breaks my heart because he told me he would do anything to fix this, he promised to be patient and work through this with me, and yet here I am, stuck in the middle of this mess with the promises reneged.
So tell me Tallgirl, does the benefit of breaking away offset what is hard? Does the sadness just shift to a different level that is more manageable because it has clear borders now? I spend a lot of time reading on the D/S and New Beginnings threads, and am surprised by the thoughts I have now. I am super cautious and over analytical, so whatever I do will be at a glacial pace. I keep hearing the song lyrics If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice.... but limbo is not a good choice, from what I've observed here.
I'm trying to keep an open mind here, while realizing my mind has been blown and I'm still trying to wrangle the wiggly bits back into a functioning pile so I can find my path forward. Thanks for listening. I wish you the best on your journey. I'd love to say things happen for a reason, but that's one of the shitty things MOW threw my way as explanation after everything blew up. Things happen because you can't trust people to have your back when it matters. Or maybe things just happen.
I really hope someday I find my way through, and I'm back here offering support and help to the next 80,000 of us lost souls who wander here.