How to learn to love again

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-10-2009
How to learn to love again
9
Wed, 04-08-2009 - 5:50pm

If your spouse is doing everything he should to repair the damage, how do you learn to love again? I don't want to stay angry, I want to move past the anger. If I talk to my friend, she tells me how he'll never change and why would I let someone treat me like this? Of course I didn't even know! It's not so black and white. he's been faithful and a good H for 21 yrs. She tells me how damaged he is and makes my H sound like a lost cause. That he's only doing what he needs to,to take care of himself- not for me. She doesn't really know him, so how much should I believe what she says?

I'm keeping my eyes open to see if he continues to repair the damage he's done.

Avatar for cirrus1993
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-12-2003
Wed, 04-08-2009 - 10:31pm
Everyone around me had nothing but all those negatives to say. The best kind of friend would just listen and know that its your situation and you have to live with whatever decisions you make, not them. Take those people with a grain of salt. Anyone can fall, its how you pick yourself up that counts!
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-10-2009
Thu, 04-09-2009 - 8:19am
So true!!! Otherwise to stay angry ,only leads to bitterness- not a fresh start in a marriage.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 04-09-2009 - 9:59am

You can't know right now if you will love him again, but you can find out. On these boards, I have seen Ms come back to be amazing Ms for both partners that I thought were dead and buried while others that seemed to have the best chance eventually die. Only time will tell and it is up to you to choose whether or not to put in that time to find out.

I think you can love him again, but it takes time and a lot of effort on his part. I think you still love him, you just don't love who he has become, if that makes sense. The love is still there, otherwise you wouldn't have let him come back, but he has killed that "in love" feeling. Give it time and it just might reappear.

Your friend is probably right about him doing it for himself. I don't believe in altruism. I think that everything we do is ultimately for ourselves. So, he probably is doing this for himself, but that doesn't mean he is doing it for the wrong reasons. I bet he does love you and it is that love that keeps him there. He wants to be with you and knows that his recent behavior is unacceptable, and is changing to what is acceptable. I bet he feels better about himself when he is the kind of man you could continue to be M to, and that probably motivates him more than anything. His self-concept is the driving factor here. It would be soooo rooomantic if it were all about his undying love for you, but this isn't the movies, and I would hope we are all past the adolescent concept of what real love it. This is real life and if he isn't changing more for himself than anyone else, it won't stick.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-10-2009
Thu, 04-09-2009 - 1:01pm

Yes, it's true,he is doing it for himself. He's even said that he wants to be a better man and also a better H. He told me even if our M doesn't work out,(he wants it to work out-he means if I decide to leave) he wants to be a better mate to whomever he ends up with.My friend made it seem like it's a bad thing, as if he's selfish and not concerned about me, that he's doing it for himself, but I see your point of view. It IS good that he's doing it for himself!

I think I am letting him show me how much he cares before I allow myself to feel love for him again. I can't access those feelings right now b/c I don't want to be vulnerable.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-08-2008
Thu, 04-09-2009 - 6:19pm

Lizzie,
First I am sorry you have to be on this board in the first place. It is sad for all on here.
Second, I would encourage you to listen to YOURSELF, listen to your own mind and heart. Seems like your friend has too much influence on you and keeping you down in an unforgiving place. I do not know your story, but I can relate to a long marriage ( 31 years for us) and how you had NO IDEA....
Yes, what he DID is damaging.....not certain if HE is damaged.
For me, there is a difference between Love and something very , very special to me, which is INTEGRITY. It is a word I have used in my relationship my H for more years than we were married. For me, INTEGRITY is very powerful and my H had so much of that. I was ALWAYS so proud of him for how he led his life. When he finally confessed ( kept his 4 month receiving BJ's a secret for 5 years), I was, like all of us, so devastated and heartbroken. The list goes on and on, and I do not want o go into MY issues.......I wanted to help you with yours. So, while I never stopped "loving" my H , even after all this, I did lose that special INTEGRITY feeling I held high for him, and I told him so. That crushed him, but , oh well, he deserves to lose it. What he did was a total lack of RESPECT and INTEGRITY, so he no longer deserves it. I am saying this so that you can think of love vs respect and integrity....Can you have one without the other? Hard to say, perhaps a play on words. I do love my husband and have started to respect MOST of him again ( it has taken over a year of rebuilding). But he now knows he has to continuously earn that RESPECT and INTEGRITY back, and that will keep my love for him growing every day......just wondering if it can do the same for you. So, if your H is working hard at your marriage, maybe you can eventually learn to respect him and bring that love back to the surface again.
I don't think anyone's rebuilding is "perfect"....there is no such thing. Marriages are not perfect either. We are human, we have to forgive IF WE ARE WILLING AND WANT TO MOVE ON! Forgiving someone and "letting go" of the hurt, WHEN YOU ARE READY, dissolves the resentment that is stored within you. Do not forgive too quickly. Allow yourself the time, work through this WITH HIM. He has to cooperate as well. When you can honestly forgive, you will set yourself free, you will be able to "love" again, and hopefully respect and integrity will come back and you can talk to your H and be fulfilled, and not your friend who seems to be holding you down.

Hope this helps.

S
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-10-2009
Thu, 04-09-2009 - 7:48pm

Thank you ,that does help. My H is finally trying to restore his integrity. He wants to earn back my respect for him. I did tell him I lost all respect for him, and that hurt him. He asked me if I can ever forgive him and I said I could if he became trustworthy again.

His 2nd affair was a relapse (as is quite common, I'm told by his therapist) so it was very upsetting. But it seems that he had to hit bottom in order to get to the point of really wanting to rebuild.He is learning about himself and I can see that he will be a better person in the end. As I begin to see this transformation, I can feel my feelings for him starting to return, but I'm trying to keep myself from being too vulnerable too soon.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-08-2008
Thu, 04-09-2009 - 8:01pm
Lizzie,
I wish you all the luck and love that you deserve. I admire you for going through this a second time...
Your husband is very fortunate to have you!
Peace.
S
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-09-2008
Fri, 04-10-2009 - 1:15am
I think sometimes our close friends say what they think we WANT to hear and sometimes say what they think we NEED to hear, I think she was clearly behind door #2.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-10-2009
Fri, 04-10-2009 - 8:08am

My therapist was very helpful w/this. She told me to tell my friend that I need her support now. I don't want to stay angry b/c it keeps me from moving forward. I just need her to listen. She said there are 2 ways to look at dealing w/this. Either you can just end the marriage and be done or you can fight for your marriage b/c you took a vow and you're committed to do everything you can to fix the marriage. This is obviously the path I'm taking. I felt so much better after talking this out w/her. She gave me the reassurance I needed to know that I'm asserting myself correctly with my H to get what I need from him , and that he's doing everything he can to repair the damage as well.

If you don't have a good therapist you really should find one. It can make all the difference in your level of anxiety . When you referred to chickening out, I think you meant as far as seeing a therapist. I could not have survived w/out my therapist. She has been amazing!