Welcome to relationship purgatory!
I had a hard time figuring out what to write today, not because I did not have any ideas but because I had too many. I am not sure yet how this post is going to go but I do know that I feel like we are stuck.
This week has been very busy so we have had virtually no time alone or even anytime to see each other. I know that adds to our feeling but there is also a lot of other things that also add to it. Some are my insecurities and her insecurities, it could be my lack of understanding on what being emotionally open and vulnerable means. Maybe it is the ever present feeling that she will decide I am not worth it in the end or worse yet she decides she is not what I want and I cannot convince her of that. All of these things are playing into what has gone on this week.
I talked in my last post how she did not think she could be what I wanted and that I can never get the same high with her as I got with the other woman. She also said she did not know if she could open up to me again because she is afraid of being hurt again. These were big things for her and she thought that it might be best if I don’t stay so that I can be happy.
I know this shocked me and I keep replaying the conversation over and over and my view on it. Too me, she is asking me to leave because she does not think she can get past the trust and faith in me that I destroyed. I felt like I am a constant reminder of her failures and so I will hurt her every time we are together. Ultimately, she cannot be happy with me. This was all my take on the conversation. We did not have much time on Monday to go into great detail so it was kind of left it out there.
Tuesday we were both still a little off and especially me. So we found a little time to get together and talk about it again. I tried to be expressive about how I felt without filtering them. I told her that I understood why she felt like that and I am grateful she told me how she felt. I told her I was not feeling good about us because if she has not been able to open up to me, what have these last 6 months been about. Has she been just letting me see what she thinks I want to see? Has she been faking it. I told her all this and she said that I misunderstood what she said.
So she tried to explain it again. She explained that there are all these things that I did with the OW that she does not want to do and probably won’t do. If these are things that I really want to do then she could never be what I want. She also said that she is holding back because she does not know if she can put herself out there again.
To me and maybe my little brain, it all sounded that same. She cannot open herself emotionally to me and she does not think that she can be what I want. This is where I told her that I don’t even know what I want because I don’t even know who I am. How can she say that if I don’t even know it? I don’t need or want exactly what I had and did with the OW but there are some activities I did enjoy and would have enjoyed without even meeting her. But now because she is attached to them they are now off limits. I told her I was not worried about that and the high I got from her is possible to achieve because it was not the sex that I was really there for it was the attention. When my wife does a good job paying attention to me then I feel better feelings than I ever got with the OW. I also know that I needed to do the same for her. I was as bad or worse in the last year in giving her any type of attention. So I am not thinking this is a one sided problem.
Well this carries over to yesterday. I have now not had any more than 3 hours of sleep a night for about 6 out of the last 7 days and it is finally catching up with me. So we try and have the conversation again because I still don’t get it. She can’t love me, that’s what I hear whenever she says it. All of the conversations come down to her not being about to open up and she is not what I want which I equate as a passive way of saying she does not want to be with me and cannot love me anymore. It may seem stupid but that is all that made sense to me. Finally, as we were talking she said that it is no different than what I said to her months ago. That I did not think I could ever open back up to her ever again.
Okay, that hit home. I know what she means, I think. At this point, it does not seem possible to open back up to me and she may never open back up to me as fully as she used to be. She will always hold back some to protect herself. This I got. I am in the same boat. I know after years of not feeling valued and rejected it is really hard to open yourself completely back up to that possibility.
I know people have commented on here that I still have to put in the effort to make her feel wanted and I understand that, but I have never figured how to do that in my current state. It would make things so much worse if I tried and was rejected. Even now it is hard because I am not top on the list most of the time. I know that at times other things will take priority and I am okay with that but as long as that is the exception not the rule. I hope I have the same standard for how I treat her. I want to give her attention and she has acknowledged that she has seen me making an effort, but that is also why it is so hard for her. I am working hard and she does not feel like she can.
I know a lot of you are saying I am the one who cheated and I need to do the work. The burden is on me, well, I will tell you that it does not work like that. I recognize that I have a lot of repairing to do associated to the affair and I will take those issues on by myself if necessary, but it is the relationship issues that were present before the affair that we both have to work on. The hard part is there is so much overlap. I don’t even know where to go, what to do, what to say. In therapy today they said I need to show my reactions and explain how I am feeling. I said that I cannot do that. Not because I don’t want to, no, because I do not understand how I feel most of the time. I don’t know what the jumble of feelings that are inside of me mean. I have no idea and they want me to tell them immediately. It is not possible. So now I am stuck a little bit. They said saying I don’t know is an okay answer but how many times can I say that before she gets frustrated. I don’t carry my emotions on my sleeve. I pack them in a safe, tucked inside a locked trunk, tied up with chains and locks. So it takes a while to find them. It also means sometimes I misinterpret what she meant, which then means I have the wrong response because the information is interpreted wrong.
So right now we are stuck. She cannot open up to me, I cannot open up to her and I cannot display the emotional responses that she wants. So we sit here in relationship purgatory, waiting. For what? I wish I knew.
You ought to be thankful a hole heaping lot, for the places and people you’re lucky you’re not! – Dr. Seuss
I don’t know what you mean by “open up”. You can’t possibly expect her to trust you until you prove yourself for a long long time. It took me at least 3 years to have any kind of trust in him. Second, yes this is all on you, she’s doing everything you can ask by simply being there. I think you should be more grateful for that. You could be without contact with her. She hasn’t done that to you though it probably sometimes feels she would be better off if she did. Finally, screw “problems before the affair”. Really. Yeah my husband used that line too for about 6 months until he got it: you wiped those out. You really did. If you really truly want to mend this thing you’ve done you don’t get to complain about problems before. Those were your excuses to cheat and you wiped them out by cheating. No marriage is perfect, we all have issues before. You don’t see a person injured in a car accident and say “oh they have this huge gaping wound but I really need to deal with their pre-existing skin condition first”. If you can heal this gaping affair wound, even substantially, the other things will either fix themselves in that process or you’ll realize they aren’t such a big thing after all. It’s really a cheater tantrum “hey I have grievances too”. Well you can keep your grievances or you can keep your marriage but unless your wife is a doormat I can’t see you keeping both. We may pander to you a bit in the beginning because frankly we are used to it, and we may want to buy time. But it will get old fast. If you want your wife you have to get it into your head that there is zero degree of symmetry, that you never get to say “me too”.
LikeLiked by 3 people
Wow. That didn’t take long for you to jump all over this one. I am not sure you have read my blog from the beginning so I will try and clarify some things for you as I do believe you are way off base.
1: I am not asking her to instantly trust me again as I have mentioned in many previous posts. In fact I have asked her to check up whenever she is feeling insecure about what I am doing. What I was talking about is her ability to open up her heart and fully love me. Will that also happen instantly? Nope and I do know that, but it is different than her never being able to open her heart up at all, which is what I thought at first.
2: If you think I am not grateful she has chosen to stay then again you may not have read any of my previous posts. But if you think EITHER of us wants someone who is just present but not participating in the relationship then you are sorely mistaken. That may be how your relationship works but not mine and not a lot of other people’s from the other comments I have been getting throughout the time I started this blog.
3: Obviously you missed the part in that section that said I was responsible for the affair and all of its repercussions and I would work to rebuild the damage the affair caused. That part is all on me and throughout all my other posts you should have picked that up as I have never once blamed her for the affair. The affair was a conscious choice and so must the decision and actions to repair the damage. However, if you think any marriage is sitting in bliss when an affair occurs then you may not read much about affairs and also how to keep them from happening again. We both recognize there were issues in our marriage long before the affair ever occurred. Those issues require both parties to actively work on repairing them. If you don’t you are are not changing what was missing from your marriage before. We are a couple and as such we have decided to not live in a cave and pretend there were not problems. We, as a couple, are facing those problems together even though we have no clue how to do that, hence the therapist. If you think that you as a spouse get a free ride in the marriage because your spouse cheated on you then you might as well not be in a relationship because a relationship requires more than one person participating.
Also I have NEVER used our prior marriages issues as a excuse and I never will. That has also been very consistent throughout my posts. I know who cheated and who made the decision and who has to work to fix it. If you think otherwise feel free to read back in old posts.
According your proposal you are stating that if, I, by myself, fix the wound caused by the affair without her participation then it will fix the other underlying causes. I think this is a very reactionary approach. If you get a tumor that causes pain and all you do is treat the pain, in no way will it fix the original problem. Is it possible to manage the pain by itself, yes, but it will only continue to get worse unless you fix the connected issue.
As for thinking my wife is a doormat because she wants to take an active role in rebuilding OUR marriage then I think you should reassess your own marriage because if she did not then I would be the doormat and in neither situation will a marriage be happy and healthy in the end.
As for your symmetry comment, honestly, I really think you are out in left field.
Now after commenting on all your judgements I will say that I am very welcome to opposing points of view as many other people have posted them. However, I will not take judgemental comments, especially directed at my wife. Either be respectful like any normal, well adjusted person should be when commenting. Otherwise I will just continue to delete your posts.
LikeLiked by 3 people
I see syphilis has made a visit to your blog…
Hopefully my reply was not too far off base.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Ugh, she’s many things. She repeats herself in cycles. Because she’s inhuman. We all have different nicknames for her here.
Honestly, I very rarely agree with Nephila… the approach I see is usually of the Amputate The Hand to Get Rid of the Splinter and it turns me off, even as a Betrayed Spouse.
But she is 100% ON THE MONEY with this one.
The issues from before are irrelevant right now. (No – STOP that mental comeback on the tip of your mind! – they really are!) You both existed with the issues from before for a long time. They are NOTHING compared to what you’ve done. That’s.how.bad.it.REALLY.is.
It really, really is. PLEASE let this drill a hole into your brain, with all the “reallys.” You set off a nuke at the heart of your marriage. YOU did. It doesn’t matter what caused you to WANT to do it; you did do it.
The affair is a make it or break it issue. To make another analogy, it’s like trying to line ponds to avoid chemical waste seeping into the soil when the mother lode tank has exploded and EVERYTHING is covered. No point lining the waste pond anymore, is there? That would be effing stupid.
LikeLiked by 1 person
And by “this one,” I mean only the very first comment she made here (to which you objected.) The rest is a crapshoot; who knows what else she’ll say and I don’t want people thinking I meant she’s right on with those comments. ::sigh::.
Very well said!
And u 3 that agreed with her crap? I am very disappointed. You can be betrayed without becoming the bitter and nasty person she has. Shame on u for liking the comment of someone that harasses me daily! I have been nothing but kind, loving n supportive to each of you.
LikeLiked by 1 person
She harasses everyone daily… and that is far too kind a word for it.
Still, maybe she also enjoys falafel, or the same shade of blue, and loves her dog. That doesn’t mean those things are suddenly “disappointing,” just because she likes them too. Crazy. This isn’t the 5th grade girls’ bathroom. This is real life. And sometimes, people we think are shitty human beings in every aspect we can see *do actually* have a point. *Sometimes.* I don’t like it… but the truth is the truth, whether I want it to be or not. And she was dead on with that first comment.
That woman has never been dead on in her life lol. Dead drunk or stoned? That I believe. By acknowledging and liking ANY of her comments, you validate her and perpetuate this kind of hate and sickness. So syphilis harasses everyone? And what that makes it okay? Lol Bullshit! Does she harass you insistonhonesty?
I work in an area that studies childhood and its effect on adults. One saying is “catch kids being good”. The premise is that we often ignore every day normal behavior and only react when something negative happens. So it is with our spouses. We ignore the fact that these peoplle have chosen us and have chosen to commit for life. Instead we look at the very human things that get on our nerves. Well, how about walking past your wife and then just a simple pat on the shoulder. How about if she brings you coffee before you ask. One thing….give up alcohol. It is a depressant. Anyway, just tell her she looks pretty, or give her a simple hug. Just do something. It might take her a while to reciprocate. She doesn’t trust you right now. You have to just keep going. Be the Energizer Bunny. Keep going. At some point she will enjoy your catching her being good or shut you down and end the marriage. I do have one “out there” suggestion. Both of you agree that you will not respond if the other says something sad or negative. You will not twitch an eyelash. You will only respond when the other says or does something positive. You both have developed a terrible habit of thinking in a sadness voice. You need to practice joy.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks, I agree. We actually have came up with a similar thought. We try and tell each other things we liked the other person did that day for us. It is just a change of perspective as you mentioned.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Sorry. I meant to tell you that their is no difference between positive and negative reinforcement except the outcomes. If you only respond to positive remarks and behaviors positively you get what you want and need, if you respond to negative remarks and behaviors negatively you get what you expect but don’t need.
Nephila, this is not our blog sooooo here goes. I believe your heart is in the right place for trying to get cheaters to see the error of their ways but…..he does. You are not doing anything to get your point across. You just get people frustrated with no positive outcome. If you are a troll then find something else to do. He gets it! He really does!
LikeLiked by 4 people
My husband and I are guilty of negative mental filtering. For a long time we’ve only seen the bad. Its addictive. While it may seem like everything sucks, there usually is at least one good thing. Search for it. Communicate it. Keep a gratitude journal or something that forces you to look for something good in each day. Even if it isn’t in your marriage. I was grateful for sunshine today. Doesn’t have to be earth shattering. It just helps to put your mind in a more positive place. Its so easy to get sucked into the darkness of despair and pain.
My interpretation of your wife saying she will never be enough is her low self esteem and worth. She isn’t saying she doesn’t want you. She’s saying you don’t want her. And she’ll never measure up. She needs some reassurance through words and actions. She’s comparing herself to your OW. She’s comparing your relationship with your OW. Its really difficult for the BS to grasp that our spouses cheating really didn’t have to do with us. Yes, there were problems in the marriage. But not everyone that has a troubled marriage cheats. I was in the same marriage as my husband and I stayed faithful. She needs time and confidence to come to that realization. One thing my therapist had me do was keep a journal of what I bring to the table. What makes me a good person, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, colleague, etc. It forced me to really sit down and think about myself and what I have to offer. Your wife may benefit from a similar exercise.
In much the same way that you are afraid to open yourself up to her – she’s terrified. She’s felt the most tremendous pain anyone can feel. Probably expect the death of a child. I was in an abusive relationship when I was 15. I’d rather have him back in my life beating me than feel the pain of my husband’s affair. She needs to see you putting yourself out there and being vulnerable again. I know that’s tough. My husband is afraid of the same thing as his main issue is rejection too. But you have to keep your end goal in mind. Its going to be uncomfortable. Messy. Painful. But what do you really have to lose at this point?
LikeLiked by 6 people
I’ve been following you for a little bit now and I think you’ve made leaps and bounds towards personal reconciliation. (Something I think I’m still a having a hard time doing) Blogging has helped me understand why this all happened and to sum it up in one sentence, I cheated because I was in love with a woman who didn’t know how to love me back.
I realized when I wrote my first post that I left myself open to an attack just like this girl has to you, if taken out of context or without personal knowledge of how you conduct yourself in the real world. So I want you to know, that I know how it feels o feel unwanted or undesired.. It put me in a bad place. We all make mistakes and the mot important thing is that you care enough to try and resolve them and take caare not to make them again.
LikeLiked by 2 people
Thanks. It is a difficult place to be in when you feel unwanted.
All of our situations have similarities and differences so what works for some doesn’t always work for others. With that said hubby and I had a horrible marriage for 26 years. We loved each other but there was not passion or respect on either part. I couldn’t respect a man who lied like drinking water and he didn’t respect that I didn’t climb all over him with adoration and affection. Both of us came into the marriage dysfunctional messed up people. Both of us came in with junk. What changed after the affair is we both quit looking at the past and decided to start fresh. I don’t ever want to go back to the marriage we had. i’d rather jump off a cliff. My husband for the first 8 months could only see his pain but he tried to see mine. I not only chose to forgive him for his affair I chose to forgive him for the bad marriage. The day I verbalized this to him changed our whole coarse. Today we are both different people and loving each other the way we both want to be loved forgetting the past and moving toward the prize so to say. We never refer to the past now and we don’t live in it. We communicate and it took both of us to be transparent and vulnerable and willing to make mistakes but committed to work through it. We are three years past full discovery and only use the past to help other couples forge ahead. I will never credit the affair for this but we took a bad situation and are now making something good of it. The biggest change for my hubby was not seeing me a s a nagging wife who asked too many questions but as a betrayed spouse. He came to see that all betrayed spouses act the same way in the beginning and when he understood the difference, he became the healer I needed him to be and guess what I became the wife he needed me to be. It all takes time. Dont throw your hands up just keep doing the work!
LikeLiked by 5 people
I know this will sound ridiculously simplistic, but as far as giving each other what is needed, can’t you just say so? I mean, I think you both have to start very small and accept the small gestures. Over time, it will lead to the bigger stuff you want from each other.
For example, “I want a hug”…and so you hug. “I want to hear from you today since we are spending it apart”…and so you send a text or an image. “I want your full attention for 10 minutes”…and so you put your electronics away, and do nothing but listen to your spouse. Even if you have to ask for the same thing every single day, look each other in the eye, say what you need, and then get what you need.
I suppose it sounds a bit silly, but the issues you and your wife have are immense, and to tackle it all at once will ultimately fail. It’s too much, it’s too overwhelming. You need to take everything back to baby steps…small, hesitant, sometimes faltering, but before you know it, you are running, jumping, climbing.
Just my thoughts of course, but I think you and your wife need to reestablish some sense of safety with each other before you can take on your deeper issues. And that safety will come from and build from, having your most basic relationship needs met.
LikeLiked by 2 people
It is not silly. we are doing it a little right now. We still have our 15 sec of greeting when one of us returns from somewhere (work, store, …). When we forget we do remind each other, hey I need my 15 sec. Some days I have asked specifically for a hug because I was feeling a little down. She is asking for little things as well. We are trying to get one thing down before we move on to the next and yes we are starting small.
LikeLiked by 1 person
It sounds simple and like common sense, but so many of us fail to do it. I think it comes from fear of vulnerability (at least in my situation). But, none of us are mind readers. So if everyone would just say what they think, feel, want – this whole marriage business would be ALOT easier and I think ALOT of problems (misunderstanding, arguments, even affairs) could be avoided. Its a work in progress in my marriage as I would say its been the number one source of all of our issues. It all stems from not communicating effectively. Great advice.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Pingback: **Blog of the Week** | The Whole Truth
I view marriage as a living, breathing entity that requires regular care. And while we can all certainly agree we make (and have made) mistakes, it isn’t always issues in the marriage that precipitate the affair. After two years of counseling (Indiv. and mc) I have a better understanding of our “story”. Initially I wanted it to somehow be my fault. That would make it within my control and “fixable”. Both counselors called our situation the “perfect storm”. My husband grew up in an alcoholic, abusive home. He never learned how to set good boundaries and had no higher level coping skills. When the economy tanked, his business nearly failed. This created enormous financial issues. On top of this, we lost two parents. We also moved, had two new babies who seemed to never sleep, two teenagers with their own ordinary but busy schedules, we moved and the list goes on. Like many men, his identity was largely tied to his work success which had been big. nothing I said to reassure him things would turn around meant much. I was his wife, of course I would say that, etc. But a work friend (at a client) of several years admitted that she saw an opening and went for it. In her words she “pursued him aggressively”. She said all the right things, made him feel better about himself, and was heavily involved in the same work projects he was (at the time she was actually his manager). She’s done this before, we would find out later. So for him it was not about escaping the marriage, but escaping his bruised ego. And perhaps escaping the financial pressures of the business. In the affair he didn’t have to have any responsibility. He told me when they were together it was confusing because he wished it was me. He wished that he and I were back in our younger years, carefree and not tied down with a business and a mortgage and ailing parents etc.
I am sharing this to show that not all marriages are cold, loveless, sexless and boring prior to the affair. Did we get some things wrong along the way? Certainly. But those mistakes didn’t contribute to an affair, because if they did I could have cheated as well. Through good counseling he is learning to deal with stress and depression instead of ever taking the easy way out into an affair.
LikeLiked by 1 person
grace….what you said mirrors parts of our marriage. Our marriage was good – we were best friends, lovers, had a great sex life…all before the affairs. I agree with what you said 100%. It comes down to a broken way of handling real life…and in some cases a broken person.
Rebuilding a marriage after an affair takes a MASSIVE amount of work & time on both parts. After a year and a half of MANY doubts I can finally see light at the end of the tunnel.
My spouse and I stumbled over here coming from a different web page and
thought I should check things out. I like what I see so
i am just following you. Look forward to looking into your web page again.
Well feel free to ask any questions you would like. I try my best to be as brutally honest as possible. Even though it is painful most of the time.
Hi I hope you and your wife are doing better with communicating your wants. It is important especially if you have not had it before.
We do a little better. She is better at it with me, but I can not figure out how to do it. I don’t know if it is me not feeling like I deserve it, or if it is my own punishment. I just can’t do it. So I just swallow it down.