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Reconciliation :
Helping WS with shame

Topic is Sleeping.
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 cedarwoods (original poster member #82760) posted at 4:29 PM on Saturday, January 21st, 2023

Hello
My first time posting.
Married 30 years with grown children.
WH and I are reconciling after he had a 1 year physical affair with a business colleague. It’s been six months since the affair ended. He appears to be remorseful. I can see it in his face when he apologizes. He may still miss her but I don’t believe there has been any contact.
The hurdle we keep encountering is his shame. I don’t bring up the affair often because I don’t need to know the details. I know enough. But when I do, he shuts down. He says it’s because he’s ashamed and embarrassed. He doesn’t want to talk about the past and "move on". He’s not open to therapy nor is he reading books on infidelity recovery. He seems to just want to forget it ever happened. What am I dealing with here? Is there anything I can do? I will post this in "questions for waywards" as well.

posts: 142   ·   registered: Jan. 20th, 2023   ·   location: USA
id 8774209
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 5:24 PM on Saturday, January 21st, 2023

A remorseful WS doesn't miss the AP.

A remorseful WS doesn't expect their BS to rugsweep.

A remorseful WS is proactive in healing the damage he has done to you,himself, and the marriage.

A remorseful WS is attentive to their BSs need to talk about it. They're fully transparent. You get full access to all accounts, phone,etc. Passwords included.

You have a ws who is sorry their BS knows,and wants you to stop talking about it.

Is he still working with her? Have you told her husband?

A remorseful ws will,at minimum..

Get tested for stds.

Answer any questions without blame,anger,and defensiveness.

Stop working with their AP.

Read books,go to IC, and dig deep into whatever issues they had that made it ok for them to cheat.

Your job is not to help him. You don't do his work for him. He must do it. Otherwise he's still very much a wayward, and you're dragging him through reconciliation.

[This message edited by HellFire at 5:25 PM, Saturday, January 21st]

I will be everywhere you look,but nowhere to be found. And that will be my revenge.

posts: 6332   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8774212
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RangerS ( member #79516) posted at 5:34 PM on Saturday, January 21st, 2023

I don't think you are in reconciliation. He does not seem the least bit remorseful. He, no doubt, regrets getting caught. He is not doing a single thing that a truly remorseful spouse would willingly be doing. Wanting you to just get over it (rug sweeping) is not reconciling. I don't think there is a lot that you can do to help him with his shame. A good therapist who specializes in infidelity trauma can help him. He gas a very long way to go in order to be a safe partner, and he hasn't even started. It is often said that the one who cares the least has the power in a relationship. He clearly cares the least. If you are not willing to end the marriage and he knows that, your chances of a true reconciliation are extremely small.
You are in the right place. You will get great advice here. It may take a day or two. Weekends can be slow here.

posts: 86   ·   registered: Oct. 25th, 2021
id 8774213
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EllieKMAS ( member #68900) posted at 5:48 PM on Saturday, January 21st, 2023

I am divorced so take what I say with a grain of salt. But during my attempt at R, one thing that I did learn is that other people's feelings are theirs to deal with. I am not responsible for their feelings and the actions that come from those. I am only responsible for my own feelings and actions.

IOW, your wh has to find a way to deal with his own shame. And shame is an appropriate feeling that he should be having. Cheating on one's spouse is a shameful thing to do. But it doesn't sound like he's dealing with it at all. Rugsweeping won't work for him and I can assure you will not work for you either. Not in the long term.

If he's completely unwilling to dig into what made him cheat on the first place, how can he expect to not do it again? It's like an alcoholic that just doesn't drink. Sure that works... until it doesn't. If they aren't getting to the bottom of WHY they drink, they're just white-knuckling until they fall off the wagon again.

I would encourage you to find a good IC for you that specializes in infidelity and trauma to help you sort thru things and to come up with a list of requirements that you need for R. You get to lay the course, your wh needs to be willing to strap in and drive it.

[This message edited by EllieKMAS at 6:57 PM, Saturday, January 21st]

"No, it's you mothafucka, here's a list of reasons why." – Iliza Schlesinger

"The love that you lost isn't worth what it cost and in time you'll be glad that it's gone." – Linkin Park

posts: 3901   ·   registered: Nov. 22nd, 2018   ·   location: Louisiana
id 8774215
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Justsomeguy ( member #65583) posted at 6:01 PM on Saturday, January 21st, 2023

You are most certainly going to get more replies as your WH's actions and words get fed through the bullshit filter that is the aggregate wisdom and experience of this site.

As a newly minted BS, I saw in my WW those qualities I so desperately wanted to be true, that she was a remorseful WW. Thus I unconsciously projected onto her. The reality was that she was regretful and ashamed, but not guilty or remorseful. Although each of these word pairs seem synonymous, they are not. Even now, after 5 years and a D, it is still all about her. In her mind, she is the real victim of her A.

It does not sound like you WH is anywhere near R material yet. Not saying he won't get there maybe, but if he is unwilling to do the real work, you should consider your options.

I'm an oulier in my positions.

Me:55 STBXWW:55 DD#1: false confession of EA Dec. 2016. False R for a year.DD#2: confessed to year long PA Dec. 2 2017 (was about to be outed)Called it off and filed. Denied having an affair in court papers.

Divorced 20

posts: 1696   ·   registered: Jul. 25th, 2018   ·   location: Canada
id 8774216
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leafields ( Guide #63517) posted at 7:20 PM on Saturday, January 21st, 2023

So sorry you're here. Infidelity is the worst pain. Please be sure to check out the Healing Library because there's a lot of great info there. Also, in the Just Found Out (JFO)forum, there are some pinned posts at the top that are helpful. You'll get lots of advice and one thing to keep in mind is to take what you need and leave the rest.

It is important to watch your WH's (wayward husband's) actions and not words. He's the one that cheated, so what is he doing to become a safe partner? His actions show that he's not putting in any effort to change.

Keep posting and ask questions. FWIW, I tried reconciliation (R), but my XWH didn't do the work.

Welcome to SI.

BW M 34years, Dday 1: March 2018, Dday 2: August 2019, D final 2/25/21

posts: 3125   ·   registered: Apr. 21st, 2018   ·   location: Washington State
id 8774222
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 9:16 PM on Saturday, January 21st, 2023

Hello, cedarwoods. Welcome to SI.

As you read through the forums, and especially if you read posts by recovering WS, you will see references to "the whys." Some betrayed spouses are triggered by this term because they believe the whys are nothing but excuses. There is no "why" that will ever make an affair ok. No BS will ever read a WS's thoughts on why they cheated and think, "Oh, I get it. OK, then. I feel better now."

The whys aren't for the BS, though. They're for the WS. Every WS makes a conscious choice to cheat. Some WS invent reasons for doing it; others twist genuine problems in their marriage as a justification for an affair. Still others try to evade introspection by leveraging their guilt, saying "I was weak" or "I never meant for it to happen." Their self-hatred may be genuine, but it isn't what we call "the work." It's just on the surface. The whys are what we find when we tear everything down internally and sift through the rubble to build a new foundation.

Unfortunately, there is no way to make someone do the work. Some wayward spouses decide for themselves that they want to do it, although in my experience, that's pretty rare. Some reach the moment of truth when their BS has one foot out the door. Some never get there. But universally, IMO, we don't effect real change until we drop those shields and face ourselves and our BS with vulnerability.

This is a huge challenge. Most of us were only able to engage in affairs because we have sharply honed conflict avoidance and self-indulgence skills. We don't have any healthy sense of self-worth or belief that we'll be ok on our own. We didn't like ourselves much before we cheated, and being caught in an explosive shit show of our own making does nothing to improve that opinion. So we hide.

I wish I had a magic formula to give you to wake up your WS. Truthfully, based on my experience here, the most successful recipe for an unremorseful WS is usually the BS walking away. The moment I realized my BH was done was my personal wake-up call. It's not a bluffing tactic, though. I knew he meant it. Nor is it guaranteed. Plenty of WS have accepted divorce rather than agreeing to face the personal demons they were trying to soothe with an affair. At least if that happens, though, you can leave in the knowledge that you had nothing to work with. Marriages can't be rebuilt by one spouse.

I hope you'll stay, read, and keep posting. There's no single formula for how to handle life after D-Day. So much is determined by the individual and their specific circumstances. Eventually, you'll find the advice that resonates and narrow your options down to the path that's right for you.

WW/BW

posts: 3598   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8774231
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BluerThanBlue ( member #74855) posted at 12:14 AM on Sunday, January 22nd, 2023

As the betrayed spouse, the onus is not on you to help him feel better about himself for his disgusting behavior.

He should be working his ass off to prove that he’s trustworthy and worthy of the second chance that you’re offering him. If his shame is getting in the way of that, then he needs to overcome it… not shoot you down.

A lot of BSs make the mistake of thinking that if they take the time and focus on making their wayward spouses comfortable opening up, they will eventually get their turn to talk about their feelings and have their pain addressed.

That never happens. More often than not, the more you tip toe around your WS and the longer you tolerate his stonewalling, the less likely he is to put the work into repairing the marriage and take a proactive role in your healing. Months will go by, then years, and eventually you’ll get some variation of "The affair is ancient history. Why aren’t you over it?"

[This message edited by BluerThanBlue at 12:16 AM, Sunday, January 22nd]

BW, 40s

Divorced WH in 2015; now happily remarried

I edit my comments a lot for spelling, grammar, typos, etc.

posts: 1794   ·   registered: Jul. 13th, 2020
id 8774246
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 8:07 PM on Sunday, January 22nd, 2023

I apologize in advance for being so judgmental. I just don't know how to write this post non-judgmentally.

His shame is his problem. That's all that needs to be and can be said about his shame, unless he asks about it.

The thing is: a remorseful WS, a good candidate for R, will push through their shame and give their BS answers that are as true and complete as possible.

A good candidate for R might ask for time to get through the shame or might ask for some other help from you, but a good candidate for R will come clean.

A good candidate for R won't miss the ap but might feel shame toward the ap because they know they damged the ap as well as their BS and themselves.

My reco is to check out this thread: https://survivinginfidelity.com/topics/324250/things-that-every-ws-needs-to-know/

If your WS isn't behaving in ways described in that thread, I suggest asking your H to behave in those ways. If he won't, it's very negative for R, IMO.

You deserve something a lot better than he's giving you.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 8:10 PM, Sunday, January 22nd]

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 29576   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8774315
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Hannah47 ( member #80116) posted at 10:57 PM on Sunday, January 22nd, 2023

Others have already written so many good points about remorse, there is no need for me to repeat that. Read all replies above, again and again, if needed.

Here’s my honest and unfiltered opinion, take it with a grain of salt – you know your situation the best.

He says it’s because he’s ashamed and embarrassed.

I believe this is just an excuse. I find it very hard to believe that the WS whose affair ended only 6 months ago, and who only wants to "forget it ever happened", can truly feel shame and embarrassment. How can he feel that if he didn’t even reflect upon what he was doing? I think at best he knows it was wrong to do that. He shuts down because he’s a coward. He doesn’t want to face his own problems, he wants to avoid the consequences, and he thinks you’ll be able to just rugsweep it and move on.

Gently, are you sure there has been no contact, that is, are you sure the affair ended?

Is there anything I can do?

Yes. Stop enabling his avoidance. It is time to get mad and to demand changes.

Keep on writing, I’m sorry for what you are going through.

Fate whispers to her, "You cannot withstand the storm."
She whispers back, "I am the storm."

posts: 363   ·   registered: Mar. 21st, 2022
id 8774341
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Dandylion ( new member #81112) posted at 8:35 AM on Monday, January 23rd, 2023

I was in your shoes. Married 30+ years and my WH had a few EAs online. When he told me about them, it was because one of the EA threatened to publish their sexting. He was ashamed and embarrassed and didn’t want to talk about it. I could see that he was, but I didn’t get anywhere with my whys. Why did you do that? His answer was I made a mistake. That is not a why answer. I respected his need to rug sweep and he saw it as a sign to start new EAs because I quit digging in. At this point, the saying "The Truth shall set you free." was ringing in my ear. I was not going to rest until he gave me truthful answers. We did this through MC because at home, he was evasive. He went through MC because I threatened that he would lose his family and all that we worked together for if he did not try. The process was hard, but the truth did set us both free. We still have a ways to go in repairing, but rug sweeping just left so much dangling between us.

Dandylion

posts: 15   ·   registered: Oct. 7th, 2022   ·   location: USA
id 8774378
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ChamomileTea ( Moderator #53574) posted at 4:08 PM on Monday, January 23rd, 2023

I don’t bring up the affair often because I don’t need to know the details. I know enough. But when I do, he shuts down. He says it’s because he’s ashamed and embarrassed. He doesn’t want to talk about the past and "move on". He’s not open to therapy nor is he reading books on infidelity recovery. He seems to just want to forget it ever happened. What am I dealing with here?

At the bottom line, your WH is still prioritizing HIS comfort over yours. You gave him thirty years of faithful marriage and he has not only cheated on you, he has refused to take any action to discover why he was able to do that. Where was his integrity? Boundaries? What is in his character which allows him to say a resounding "yes" to perfidy??? Does he have no intellectual curiosity about that?

It's an uncomfortable feeling to have to deal with shame, but it's through that discomfort that progress is made. He can't assure you that he's changed when he has made NO observable changes. He's a proven liar who thinks his word should be good enough. rolleyes That's absurd. If it had been you instead of him who cheated, he wouldn't be the least bit confused about whether or not refusing to address the situation was the wrong move.

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)
Married 40 years; in R with fWH for 8

posts: 6982   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8774400
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 cedarwoods (original poster member #82760) posted at 9:46 PM on Monday, January 23rd, 2023

Thank you so much for your replies. This post infidelity recovery is harder and complicated than I anticipated. Hell, it’s been hard to read some of the truths you pointed out. I will read through healing library, relevant threads on SI, and reflect on all your advice and post an update/questions in the near future. Thank you all.

posts: 142   ·   registered: Jan. 20th, 2023   ·   location: USA
id 8774428
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ChamomileTea ( Moderator #53574) posted at 10:59 PM on Monday, January 23rd, 2023

Don't be discouraged. It's really very typical for cheaters to drag their feet like this. It's all a process, right? It takes time and it takes effort. What you're looking for is change. Have faith in yourself that you'll know it when you see it. Read and post often. It helps to not feel so alone.

((hugs))

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)
Married 40 years; in R with fWH for 8

posts: 6982   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8774436
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emergent8 ( Guide #58189) posted at 3:08 AM on Tuesday, January 24th, 2023

I’m glad you weren’t so discouraged you stopped posting. I know how hard it can be to hear some things when you are hoping for R.

R is hard, full stop. Most of us, do not come to the table fully equipped with the skills, knowledge and tools to get there. Every one of us has made mistakes and we all hope that the people after us are able to do better than we did.

Good luck

Me: BS. Him: WS. Together 16 years.
D-Day: Feb 2017 (8 m PA with married COW).
6+ years (and two kids) into R. Happy.

posts: 1890   ·   registered: Apr. 7th, 2017
id 8774459
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BellaLee ( member #58324) posted at 1:51 AM on Saturday, January 28th, 2023

Hi @cedarwoods how are you doing? I know from my own journey of R that it takes two committed people who are ready to work on the relationship and not rug sweep any issues for there to be a possibility of a successful R. I guess an important question that I would ask you is how do you feel about your H not taking the necessary steps to regain your trust or rebuild the trust. I think a deep reflection on how you feel will help you to decide what you really want to happen and then share that with your H.
Whatever happens, please remember that you are worthy of love that can be trusted. Praying the near future brings healing for your emotions and wisdom on how best to navigate this situation.

posts: 268   ·   registered: Apr. 18th, 2017
id 8775070
Topic is Sleeping.
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