Another huge fight

My husband and I just had another huge fight.  He had agreed to talk or read with me once a week.  That was the best progress in a long time!  I decided that we should read together an ebook that I learned about from a fellow blogger – Robin at http://nowimastatistic.wordpress.com/  It’s called “How to Help Your Spouse Heal from an Affair.”  I skimmed a couple pages and thought it looked good so I thought it would be a good way to start a conversation with him.  I need for him to validate my feelings and the book gets right into that at the very beginning.

We read a few pages and came to this:

“Another challenge for strayers is their lack of understanding the depth of the injuries they have inflicted on their spouses. They frequently struggle finding empathy for their offended partners for three main reasons: • the ego boost from feeling wanted by the lover • the unfair contrast between the affair partner and the wounded spouse • the tendency to be emotionally self-consumed.”

He said this was not him at all.  Not one of them.  I said, “But didn’t you say that a big part of it for you was the good feelings you got because she wanted you.  I would say that’s an ego boost.  And you’ve talked about how selfish it was.”

He said that there was no ego boost.  And he was not selfish, although the affair was a selfish act.  And he said he never compared me to her.  That last one is right there in the emails in black and white.

Then he said that I didn’t understand the paragraph.  I raised my eyebrow at him.  “I don’t understand what I’m reading?”

He said that he did not struggle with empathy and he did not have those problems.  I said that that may be so, and the author did say frequently, not always, but the fact that he doesn’t feel that’s true doesn’t mean I don’t understand the paragraph.

Then he started raging.  He said he couldn’t handle this.  He said he wasn’t going to do anymore anything concerning the past.  And he stomped off.  I stomped off to the bedroom and lay in bed for an hour.

Then I went back into the living room where he was lying down on the couch in the dark.  I nudged him roughly.  He opened his eyes but would not look at me. “Do you want to make this marriage work?” I asked.  He would not respond.  The entire thing ended up being a monologue.

“After what you did to me, you don’t get to say that you don’t want to read something about recovery with me.  You don’t get to call the shots.  I call the shots.  If you don’t like it, well that’s too damn bad.  If our marriage is going to survive, we will have to work on both our needs, not just yours.  Otherwise, we will end up as Number four in the book – detain and torture until the marriage slowly dies.”

I waited for some moments for a reaction.  He would not, so I continued.

“If we are going to make this work, you are going to have to help me in the ways that I need… that I need.  If that’s uncomfortable for you, well, that’s a consequence for your betrayal.”

More waiting.  No response.

“The doctor kept saying that you chose me.  Well, I chose you, too.  I chose to stay with you even though I was humiliated and hurt beyond belief.  I could have made you miserable.  You think you are miserable now?  That’s nothing compared to what I could have done to you.  But I chose to stay and love you and work through it all.  That means doing hard and agonizing work to resolve the past before we can move forward.  You either have to work with me or we need to end it.”

And I went into the dining room to my computer, and here I am writing my blog.   He went to bed.

It really does feel like detain and torture sometimes.  And I was just drafting a post this evening about how we still manage to have fun together…

I know that I am in the Punishment Box, as our counselor calls it, but I am sick and tired of pussyfooting around him, hiding all my pain and making like everything is fine.  He is loving and caring and helpful as long as I never bring up his affair or dare to look sad.  Everything is on his terms so he gets to forget and move on, while I’m still stuck back here and in pain.  So I’m supposed to suffer in silence from now on, never addressing my pain and misery?  I’m having second thoughts about that.  And third… and fourth, too.

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14 thoughts on “Another huge fight

  1. Robin says:

    I really object to the “punishment box” concept that your counselor has introduced into the dialogue. You have never said anything in a post or an email that indicates a desire to punish.You are dealing with a deep festering wound, and your husband seems fine with that as long as he can’t see it. He is just not thinking about the long term consequences.

    As a historian, it makes me think of Henry VIII – not because he is the poster boy for egregious infidelity, but because he lived for years with an actual festering wound. It affected his health and personality, his ability to engage in his favorite activities, totally grossed out those who had to see it, and contributed to those health conditions that eventually killed him.

    Deep wounds rarely heal on their own – and certainly not if they are constantly reinjured because the wounded is forced to pretend she is not hurt….how is this not emotional abuse?

    • Not Over It says:

      Hey Robin,

      I’m glad you said that. I was wondering if it was standard procedure to introduce the concept of the Punishment Box and the Relationship Box.

      My little monologue left a mark on my husband. He is as sweet as sugar right now. We have not talked – mostly due to an extremely busy few days – but he has been doing little extras. I think he needed to really get it into his head that I would really kick him out if he didn’t make some changes.

      We’ll see what happens next…

  2. I had these nights too many times, especially when I was pregnant. The hurt was too still too intense and just too much and I couldn’t help bringing things up or asking him endless questions about all the events that had happened. Thankfully, I had the baby and now he seemed to be the reason that I don’t dwell on the why, the what ifs and the how could yous… However, during our last huge argument, I did say I’ll try to not bring things up ever again… Try…

    All I can say is that I now have something positive and beautiful in my life and that has helped tremendously. Now, I’m not sayin to go get knocked up =) But do try to find something positive and wonderful in your life. Although the pain is still there, and I was just reminded of them today while watching the new Twilight movie (with my little sister), they have been pushed to the back burner. I’m wishing and praying that you heal from all of this soon… I know what you’re going through…

    • Not Over It says:

      Hey Fighter,

      Thank you so much. I know you understand and that means a lot. I am actually feeling much stronger right now. My little monologue, as I now call it, had an effect on both my husband and me. He’s all sweet and I’ve turned into a bull dog. Ha! We’ve hardly seen each other due to conflicting schedules, but the next few days will be interesting.

      I’m so glad things are better for you, and that you are able to enjoy your little one. Nothing like a baby to put things in perspective.

      Thank you for keeping in touch. I love hearing about how you’re doing.

  3. Pippi says:

    Notoverit — I could have written this post and the last. Our husbands sound very similar. They don’t get it. It’s unbelievable that they cause this much pain and just expect us to move on. That is not possible. We have to heal ourselves, I guess. And, once healed, we may have to say goodbye to them . . . or we may even want to.

    • Not Over It says:

      Hey Pippi,

      Yes, I’ve read some of your comments on EAJ and I see that our struggles are similar. Thank you for posting. We all need to support each other.

      While I don’t think my husband will ever really know how to communicate well with me, I think he may be rethinking things now that he has really gotten the message that I will kick him out if things don’t change.

      A month ago, I would have said that he would just leave on his own if I didn’t do as he wanted. But then I reached the point where I didn’t care. I still love him, but I refuse to live like that anymore. And I think I got that across to him the other night.

      We’ll see…

      • Robin says:

        You reached that point a year sooner than I did – but I really believe that actual repair of the marriage takes it. My husband didn’t really invest in us thoroughly or in working on himself until he understood that I was ready to move out of the relationship. But they won’t believe it until we really mean it – that even though we love them completely, we will not stay in an unhealthy situation. No threats, no manipulation, no desperation, no pleading – just calm conviction that we really don’t have any options…but, at least for me, coming back from that place has been hard – hard to trust that he will stick with it, hard to let go of the fear of more hurt, fear that there is more that i don’t know that will rise up and smack me….

      • Not Over It says:

        Hey Robin,

        Yes, exactly… so hard to trust… I am in a dark place right now as I write this. Good news and bad news came from our last counseling session. The bad news has me twisted in knots. Trust will take a long, long time.

  4. Lynne says:

    Not Over It-

    I’m truly curious as to why you stay with your H, particularly when you get a lack of response or interest, as in your post above. I don’t mean to be harsh (and God knows I’ve been dealing with my H’s own EA situation for the last year), but it seems that his reactions to you are his answer—in other words, no matter what you say, read or discuss with him, his lack of reponse/commitment to your healing is not a high priority!

    If someone won’t help you heal from the deep pain THEY HAVE CAUSED, and that is exactly what you need from him, what do you really have that keeps you there.

    While its been a tough road for me, and my H hasn’t always understood what I needed from him, he has been a big participant in counseling and discussions–as he should be!

    I do wish you all the best.

    • Not Over It says:

      Lynne,

      As I said to Suzie, I think I have used this blog to vent about my husband, and that has made everyone think he is a monster. He isn’t. I will post about that soon.

      You never really know someone else’s situation unless you live it. And there are some things people can live with that others cannot.

      I’m glad you are doing well with your situation. Good luck to you.

    • Robin says:

      Lynne,

      I think it depends sometimes on the amount of damage the cheating spouse has caused to himself – to his image of himself, to his sense of honor and personal integrity. My husband attempted to comfort me when I was really upset, but withdrew afterward – sometimes for days – would become upset and insist that I was never going to forgive him, and if I was really angry, he would fall apart. He was so devastated by his own behavior that the only way he could cope was to pack it all up and pretend it hadn’t happened, If he had to answer questions or comfort me, it made him face the truth and he couldn’t cope.

      It took him almost two years and the realization that I really was done with erratic behavior – incredible passion and romance as well as withdrawal and emotional distance before he really invested in counseling and healing – for both of us. Every situation is different!.

      • Not Over It says:

        Well said, Robin.

        As you and I have talked about in the past, our husbands react to things in very similar ways. I think my husband may be coming to that realization about what needs to be done now. I hope so anyway. Things have been very good since my little monologue and we are making progress. Of course, there are always those forward steps, followed by backward steps again, but I am hopeful now that we can move in the right direction. I will post about that soon.

  5. Suzie says:

    How far along are you in your affair recovery? Do you feel like you are obsessing about the affair and discussions? Sounds like you are going to a marriage counselor..so what does he/she say regarding your discussions regarding the affair and your husbands feelings?

    I am asking this because I was at 2 years recovery and wanting to discuss the “feelings” I was having of pain and self esteem. I was asking him about the comparison between me and the OW. I knew she was younger, prettier and he was so into her. Well, we finally contacted a therapist and they suggested we separate for 90 days to work on ourselves and together. This was just his opportunity to move out and has now said that he decided that marriage counseling is not the direction he wants to go, but he is going to work on his self. He can’t take the interrogations anymore and the “angry” hurt discussions. He calls abusive. He has filed for divorce and he hasn’t spoken to me since. I did read that the cowards run and the hero’s stand, but my husband is a recoverying alcoholic and his resentments run deep. He never wanted to read the book “how to help you spouse heal” by Linda MacDonald and didn’t want to pay for marriage counseling but found he had enough money to pay for his individual therapy to move forward in the decision to divorce.

    • Not Over It says:

      Wow, Suzie. I’m sorry to hear that. It seems your husband has up his mind. I hope you are being kind to yourself. It took me a while to learn to work on me. I get it now.

      We are at 13 months out from D-day. It has been the longest year of my life. The holidays were horrible last year. I am determined not to allow his stupidity do that to me again this year. We are hosting a big Thanksgiving party, followed by Christmas decorating in every room.

      Perhaps I was using this blog as a means of venting because people are getting the impression that my husband is a monster. No, he is not. I did obsess about the affair for a while. I thought about little else. I do not anymore. But it remains unresolved for me. There is a difference. And as long as it is unresolved, I will not allow it to be swept under the rug. I meant what I said in this post.

      Our therapist has been a great disappointment thus far. I don’t feel we’ve taken anything apart to really look at it. But my husband loves him. So I am willing to continue a time or two more before deciding on whether to find someone else or not. I’m going to take charge and lead the discussion. We’ll see what happens.

      Take care. Let me know how you are doing. I feel that we bloggers are here to give support as well as receive it.

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