New to the board - looking for advice

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-24-2009
New to the board - looking for advice
19
Tue, 11-24-2009 - 2:42am
Hi,
I have been dealing with this for a year and a half. I do not know who my husband is any longer. He had an affair for a month and a half and it ended with him confessing and us going to counseling. The counseling did not last long because He did not think that the counselor could do much for us. He says that he understands the process it took for him to get into that mess, he knows how to stay away from it, and he will never do it again. However, this is for him an ended chapter in our lives. As he would put it, what makes him mad is the time we are wasting and the stuff we are missing out in during my blue period. He agrees with our counselor with the idea that if the relationship does not work is usually because the innocent party can't get over it. Even though he is changing his ways and becoming more spiritual and thoughtful, He is very inconsistent. Things like not getting me a present for my birthday, his frustration at my anxiety and depression, not writing me notes or getting me flowers, even after I have told him that those things are important to me, make me think that he does not care as much as he might think he does. He always has been very passive, and if I let him, I can run the house, work, take care of the kids and do it all with him just going to work and reading his newspaper. I have to admit that he is a good father and he really cares for our kids. I am tired of dealing with the aftermath of the affair on my own. It seems that I am the one feeling the pain, therefore, I have to figure out how to dish it out. I am tired of him thinking that I should be glad that he chose to stay and pretend that that shows commitment and love. To top it all off, he thinks that it is Ok for men and women at work to share information about their personal relationships, share sexual jokes, play practical jokes on one another, exchange personal cell phone information, etc. Am I going crazy or is this upside down? His excuse for the affair was that he was not thinking, and that his priorities were not straight. It seems to me that his priorities are still not straight and he is still not thinking. I do care for him, although all respect and admiration went out the window. I would have done anything for this man, but now he seems like a burden to me (he suffers from depression). Divorce does not seem like an option because of the kids, and because I would like to try to work things out before I give up. I do not want to have regrets latter. I do not want to re marry so time is not a problem for me. What do I do while I make sure that my ultimate decision is the right one? We are sleeping in the same bed and acting like we are married while all this is going on (inside my head- his words). Am I being selfish and irrational?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-16-2008
Tue, 11-24-2009 - 11:40am
you have valid concerns
he is not showing true regret and remorse to you
he is still crossing boundaries and doing things that are hurtful to you
sounds like there is a strong chance for him to do it again if he is not already
he needs to be the one working hard to prove he understands what he has done to your heart and soul
he must show you that your marriage is the #1 priority
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-24-2009
Wed, 11-25-2009 - 12:47am
Thank you for taking the time.
I have to admit in retrospect that a lot of what I wrote was venting. Or I might be in denial. You could be a better judge than me on that. I am the first one to admit that our counselor was not the best. She actually seemed to side with him and had that attitude of get over it and move on. I also have to admit that at the time he was working about 16 hours per day and per my request he does not even work over-time anymore. Since the other person works with him, he was willing to change jobs, even though our counselor did not think this was necessary. Since his confession, he started treatment for depression, attends church regularly, meets on a weekly basis with a male older friend at a coffee shop to make sure he stays connected and accountable (this friend I put him into contact with). He went as far as confessing the affair to other close friends of ours who thought the world of him and of our relationship. When he asked my permission to disclose the affair to this couples, he told me that his motives were: so that they knew how easy it is to do the wrong thing and hurt others, so that they would learn from his mistake and to try to prevent that they go through what we are going through, he also wanted them to know him as he really is, and he wanted me to have others that knew so that I could have a support group.
In the last year he has been complimenting me and physically and emotionally closer than he has been in many years. He suggested that whenever I get stressed out, I connect any kind of anxiety to the affair. I had a lot coming at me at work last week plus my period. Since things got taken care of at work, I feel more relaxed and my thoughts are much more positive. Today I told him that I entered this chat rooms and that there is a woman who asked her husband for flowers, cards or presents once per week, and I told him that I wanted the same thing. He agreed without a hesitation. At the time he was tired, frustrated and angry about the way things were going, for a week, He had been putting up with my hopelessness and consistent talk about why I could not keep up with this relationship. I am glad he can tell me how he feels without arguing, and how even-though I can drag myself for weeks and really tell him the negative feelings I have towards him, he does not give up.
I still hate the way people relate at his job. He works closely with mainly guys and one girl (not the one he was involved with) and all of them share information among themselves that I consider inappropriate. I do have to say that the knowledge I have about what goes on at work, I get from him. Even-though I trow a tantrum every time I consider their behavior inappropriate. At my request, he says that he does not play practical jokes anymore. I know that, even if he is not sharing information about himself, knowing too much about the life of someone of the opposite sex, even if the whole office knows about it too, can lead to emotional connections that I perceive as a treat.
Well, I guess Rome was not built in a day. Please tell me if you feel the same way after having a little more information. Sorry if in my venting I miss lead you, that was not my intention. I seem to think in crazy cycles nowadays, but it helps me to see how others perceive my situation from the outside. My husband is a charming guy, not many people can find fault in him once they know him. Since you do not know him, you might be able to help me gauge the weight of his actions without being influenced by his personality. What he does is what matters at the end.
Thanks
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-10-2009
Wed, 11-25-2009 - 9:57pm

Sweething,


I am the strayer in my M. I confessed. We went to counseling. I fell right back in. The main reason is because the strayer has to look at WHY they strayed. I am working on issues with me. They are not my H's fault. He didn't make me have an A. He didn't tell me you are screwed up so go screw someone else. That was my choice! The thing is....does you H know how much you hurt? Has he recognized it? Has he let it seep into his heart to know a glimpse of how horrible you feel?


Sure a good day here or there occurs. But a trigger like a conversation, a photo, a joke could bring a good day crashing down. It is so awesome that you and he can talk about how you feel. He does need to show you that he is willing to do what it takes to help rebuild trust. Not being afraid to let you question, double check. That is normal.


I can tell you as the strayer you think that once you confess it is all over. The secret is out. The weight has been lifted. It is only the beginning because yes the weight of secrecy is gone but now the weight of your spouse's hurt is on you.


Stay strong for yourself...be sure that if something is bothering you...tell him and tell him why and tell him what he could do to stop that bothering feeling. It isn't wrong for you to ask and it isn't right of him to deny it to you. He should be willing to do all he possibly can to help you and in the meanwhile help himself by really digging deep into his own reasons it happened. Then you can work together. I have read that the BS doesn't get over it in 6 months, a year, 5 years...there is no time limit..none at all.


I do see him not wanting to go to counseling as a sign that he may not want to face what he needs to. It is hard when someone asks the hard questions and makes ya think and answer with emotions. That isn't easy.


Take care..sorry you are here.


Hope

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-24-2009
Thu, 11-26-2009 - 12:11am
Thank you for being so honest. I do think that we should go to counseling even if it is just for my peace of mind. He thinks that he figured it all out. I am not so sure. Are you and your H doing better now?
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-10-2009
Fri, 11-27-2009 - 11:28am

I can say yes we are. It is constant conversation to make sure there is nothing else I can do to help him rebuild trust in me. I know if I do all I can then in time the trust will rebuild. There isn't a time limit on it. It is when he feels he can trust me. To get to that point, I have to do all I can to show I am willing and able to do that. The crappy part is the deep conversations because without clearing the air and getting it all out from both sides there is no progress. I can say that conversations like that can be rough. It is painful for the betrayed spouse and embarassing for the straying one. Either way it must happen. The pain must be there and the embarassment as well.


I would love to tell you a simple plan that if you followed it would work. I cannot. Each relationship has its own little quirks and past history. Time is the main factor and two people working at it. It does feel like each day me and H are creating a bond that is amazing. The deep talks about what we want from each other and what we are willing to do is great. Being completely open as hard as it can be is very important.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-24-2009
Sat, 11-28-2009 - 12:09am

Hi hope,
It is encouraging to read your messages. I had a really hard month. I think is more than just stress from work or hormones. Revisiting the past is hard because it is not about the affair anymore, but every single thoughtless comment that was made afterwards. I expected a brand new husband right after the affair was exposed, and the truth is that change takes time and patience. A person who becomes so blinded needs time to see clearly again. He acquired many bad habits- like taking me for-granted- for many years of a mismanaged marriage. I guess I acquired bad habits too. I became too clingy and dependent and due to my concept of marriage, I became way too attached. Now I am having a hard time finding a healthy balance. I am sad because i will never experience that careless trust anymore and, I feel that I will have to create a safety net of friends, activities, and finances that are just mine. A place where, I can retreat for safety- if needed. This is hard to do, because I am so used to sharing absolutely everything with him. Even a day without maximizing every opportunity we have to be together seems as an ill spent day. It is not the same for him, and will not be the same for me as soon as I figure out how to find that part of me that is just me again.

I hate the fact that as soon as I start enjoying a loving moment, next thing I know I feel like running away. I am sad, confused and inconsistent. I am afraid that neither one of us can take this emotional beatings. Most days it does not seem right to endure them. And then my husband and I talk on the phone and I express my pain for his insensitive comments after the affair, and he tells me where he was coming form when he said them and apologizes and tells me how sorry he is for causing so much pain. Suddenly, I feel validated and a little better. Then I read your comments and there is HOPE again.
Thanks
sweething

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-09-2008
Sat, 11-28-2009 - 12:29am
How nice for him that he's getting weary of the mess he's created.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-10-2009
Mon, 11-30-2009 - 12:09pm

You are right! It takes time and patience and for me, a lot of prayer too. (not meaning to be preachie) You have the right mind set though...you have to take care of you, you have to figure out what you want in marriage, what you want in life, what you want for you. In a way he will do the same once he can see clearly.


I can say that it takes time to see clearly. To clear your head of all the emotional crud to have a sincere thought that makes sense. Be patient with yourself. You can do for you what you need to. You can make changes to protect yourself as you need to right now.


The fact that he is acknowledging that he is sorry for what he did to you is huge! Be patient...it will all come out. Don't be afraid to say how you feel and he shouldn't either. A lot of hard conversations are coming but in the end are worth it. You are hurt, mangled, angry, resentful, embarassed and he is embarassed and shameful. One reason why conversations are hard to do. Keep the communications line open and don't be afraid to ask.


I can say when H and I have conversations I get uncomfy but I tell him that is ok. We need to talk about this. It is important. My uncomfiness is to be expected and doesn't matter honestly. I know he has questions and I try to answer them. I try to let him vent when needed.


Keep taking care of you and try not to shut each other out. No closed doors...they all must be wide open and no fear in expressing your feelings and thoughts.


Take care


Hope

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-24-2009
Mon, 11-30-2009 - 11:32pm
I guess I am getting a little more perspective on this. At the end, all that happens in life is an experience through which you get to bless others and grow. I am for sure less conceited and selfish. I always thought I had everything under control because I was all that. I honestly didn't have much compassion for others- I was too busy living my "perfect" life. Now, I can see that I need much help, and best of all, I can be of help. I am not useless, because I am learning how to truly love. Yes my husband is benefiting from this changes, but so are many others. Actually the one benefiting the most is me. THis was my worst fear and now that I am beginning to see, I can see that this will not kill me, unless I allow it to take over. H and I used to say that the most important decisions you make in life are who you marry and what career you choose. I have to admit that my faith is number one, but right after, right now when everything seems out of control, my job gives me an opportunity to bless others and to have a great time. I also have great kids that I have raised pretty much on my own in the last couple of years, and they are a constant reminder that there are many good things in my life. H is just one of them. I need to strengthen my faith, my friendships, my body. H. just does not seem to be ready to meet me where I am at, and that is OK. I do not have to wait for him, I just have to find the will power to let God be God in his life. If he strays again, I have no choice but to leave him. For now, I choose to give him the benefit of the doubt.
He has good intentions, it seems, but he does not always deliver. He thinks that he is waiting for me to get over it, but I am the one waiting for him to give me a reason to believe that he means all the things he promises. Like making it up to me, being one in Christ or taking responsibility for some of the chores at home on a regular basis. I want a better man than the man I had before, because I am planning on being a better woman. He has not given me a reason to want it all back. I do not feel like there are promises or vows holding us together. I am not sure that he is willing to sacrifice enough to make it happen again. Believe me I am not the kind of person who asks for too much, and I appreciate the fact that he lets me vent but not abuse him and is not afraid to disagree.
For now I am going to visit a sick friend tomorrow while he spends time with his accountability partner. I am also thinking about joining a gym. A friend of mine wrote a novel and gave one of his characters my name, I think I am going to start writing too and return the favor. It will be soooo much fun. Please keep praying.
Love,
Sweething
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-10-2009
Tue, 12-01-2009 - 5:03pm

It is good ya'll are talking and trying. It isn't easy for you nor him. The conversations, the thoughts, the scenarios that replay. I cannot imagine how you feel hun. I can say that in a weird way he is just as messed up in the head though. The thoughts aren't clear..they are all jumbled like yours but in a different way. Not trying to say he hasn't done wrong just a different perspective and heck you throw in testosterone and the whole mix gets rattled. LOL


One thing we did that really helped was I made a list of what I want and what I will do. H did the same. It was really funny how it played out. What I wanted he was willing to do and what he wanted I was willing to do. Kinda reminded me how in sync we are. It helped and in the end we were laughing at how we thought we were off base on our thinking. Just kinda grounded us. I carry his list and he has mine. Like a reminder to ourselves.


Sometimes a man's good intentions is a lack of understanding. I have learned that I have to be very specific in what I ask for. He can't read my mind nor I his. He may want to give you the world but doesn't know where to start. Or he may not know what you need. I question my H a lot sometimes because I want to be sure I am doing what he needs for me to show I am rebuilding trust and fixing myself. I have no clue what he may be needing at a particular time so asking is the only way I know. I have read so much on how to rebuild trust but there are certain things a person may need to be shown that. Each is different and may need it to be shown differently. Asking is the easiest way.


I do hope he comes out of the "fog" soon for you which will help in so many ways. It will clear his head so he can think clearly and answer you. The horrible part is there isn't an answer for everything. I hate to say to H I don't know but my head was not functioning normally and I can't remember some things. I know he wants answers and I literally cannot give one. It is frustrating for him and me because I want to answer anything he needs to know.


Ok...rambling on and gotta get some work done.


Take care hun!


Hope

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