What will it take for me to commit?

I wrote to my online coach about those last two triggers and how they had thrown me way backwards in my recovery.  He helped me through some of the painful feelings.  I am better than when I wrote about being dashed against the rocks. Not great yet, but better than that day.

Then my coach talked about my fear of commitment to my husband.  He said, “I don’t think you have to accept your husband as a betrayer.  But you and he must find some way to move forward with you believing that he has changed.”

So I must come to believe that he has changed.  But in a marriage counseling session last month, I told our marriage counselor, Dr. K,  this:  “Even if you think we do not need to deal with this affair anymore, I think we do need to deal with how my husband handles emotions and stress and how he sets his boundaries with women.”

What did I mean?  I meant that I do not believe that he has changed.  He has not participated in counseling to the extent that I can see a change.  He has read excerpts but the not the whole of many books on the subject.  He is better about being sensitive to my pain, but he is inconsistent.  And this all means that the red flags in my head are still at full staff.  I am still on alert.  It tells me that it is still dangerous and I still need to be on guard.  As all of us betrayed spouses know, it’s a matter of trust.  As long as I am on guard, I cannot promise him “always and forever.”  That was in fact a promise he made to her.

Well, actually we all know it is not as simple as that.  That issue of trust and fidelity is probably first and foremost for me.  But there is also the issue of whether or not he truly is in love with me.  I have talked about that before.  I am in love with him still.  But I am not convinced that he loves me as anything more than the matriarch of his household.  That’s not enough.

And for me right now, with that last trigger of finding his contact list from 2009, I am reminded that I am just so hurt that he gave his heart and soul away to another woman.  He became part of her life and her family’s life.  She replaced me in much of his life.  He promised to love her and cherish her for the rest of his life.  He made plans with her to leave their spouses and start a life together.  He said he regretted ever marrying me.  How do I move beyond that?  I do not believe it was just an addiction talking.

I am willing to stay at his side and work to find the right path for each of us and for our marriage.  Whether we make it or not remains to be seen.  He knows it is not unreasonable to say this.  He betrayed me and cut me to the core.  He will have to be patient in working towards healing.  There is no timeline.  My coach and our marriage counselor both say I am doing very well for someone in my shoes.  That is ok for both of us now.  It took him a while to see that, but he sees it now.  I guess that’s a change, and a good one, too.  I am willing to keep trying.

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6 thoughts on “What will it take for me to commit?

  1. DJ…the unfortunate and sad part of trust is that the only way to trust … is to trust. It may be fine. It may backfire as it did in my case. But I had to trust. That did not take the hurt away nor did it make all of our problems go away…but I had to trust.
    This allowed me to move forward and want to be with my wife.
    This let me see her in the same light as the day i married her.
    Was it right? Well it was right for me to do this at the time.
    Where we erred i believe is not to ave gone to counseling right away…and tried to heal on our own. We did a great job for a while…

    Even though it hurts more now because I felt trust was betrayed again….I feel it was the right thing to do.

    The trust works many ways too. As you must trust yourself…
    Trust yourself that you know you want to work….and are willing to do the work…and will do the work…
    Trust yourself that you can forgive
    Trust yourself that you can remember the history, and let it wash over you. It may still sting…
    Trust the process to know that when it does sting, in time you will be able to take your husband’s hand and allow him to comfort you.
    Trust your freedom …to know that all you can control is yourself and that if it ends up not working, you did all you can do.
    Trust that you will be ok in any event.
    Trust that you have support and people that care about you….and trust your ability to “cope” when their intentions are good, but their actions may not be the best for you in the moment.

    Breathe in, and know that you are breathiing in.
    Breathe out, and know that you are breathing out.

    peace to you

    • Not Over It says:

      Thank you, LFBA. I thought about your comment, and Foolish Woman’s as well, today at a family celebration. I watched my husband interact with my family and with our children’s friends, and was reminded of how much we share together. It gives me desire to make it work.

      On the other hand, he did not consider our history or how much we share together when he chose to risk it all for another woman. And it’s not that he did this just once and made a mistake. He made this choice every single day for the six years that they were together. It was not just a simple mistake. It was a major life decision that was a betrayal of everything we have together.

      I am torn. But I am breathing in and feeling the life force move through me. And I am breathing out and feeling the stress leave my body. I will be fine.

      Thank you again, LFBA. My best wishes to you.

  2. Foolish Woman says:

    I think one of the biggest problems in dealing with all this is that we just want to be done with the pain and hurt. Naturally, we get impatient with ourselves and with the situation. And there’s the agony of loving the person who’s done us the greatest, most unimaginable hurt.

    The best analogy I can draw is that of an earthquake.
    One sees that the landscape has been changed forever. Things that one valued have been broken, destroyed or obliterated. Nothing looks or feels the same. We mourn our losses, some of which are irretrievable, but we have to move on and make the best of it. We still have lives which must be lived. In time, we get used to it; we adapt and repair. Best of all, we come to realise that it’s possible to be happy again.

    As LFBA says – trust that you will be ok in any event.
    The day that particular penny dropped was a watershed for me.

    You’ll get there.
    Be kind to yourself – and keep breathing.

    .

  3. Not Over It says:

    Thank you, FW. Yes, an earthquake is a good analogy. Our life together was shaken to the core and our marriage lies in ruins at our feet. There is no turning back to the way it was, or picking up a few pieces and patching it up. It must be rebuilt from the foundation up.

    Happy again- that seems so far away.

    Thank you for reminding me that I will get there. I lean on your experience and compassion to get me through.

    Thank you again, my friend.

  4. aaroncrj says:

    Hi DJ:

    Once again, I feel your pain and share many of the same thoughts. Though unlike you, we’re only 6 months out of D-day, but she still doesn’t “get it.” She wants to look forward and put the past behind us. Of course she does. I was hopeful when she suggested we start marriage counseling to start after the holidays. To date she appears to be waiting for me to arrange it (An all too common theme in our marriage: she has a need or desire and I am supposed to fix it. If I don’t or if my efforts fall short then I am accused of not caring about her needs.) Sorry to sound so bitter, but this is a revelation that has come to me in the aftermath of the EA and my attempts to understand how/why it happened.

    She also seems to deflect some of the more painful aspects of the EA. The other day during one of our frequent morning chats I told my wife that I am still bothered by the fact that she expressed such sexual desire for the OM and that in at least one message (now almost six years old) told him that she’s “never had these feelings for any man,” which, I assume, included me. I told her that such thoughts are difficult for me to manage and they frequently come to me when she and I are being intimate. Her response was that she didn’t understand my “frame of reference,” that she didn’t recall saying such things or having such intense feelings. Instead of printing the messages with those words I told her when she had said as much. She did not seem to remember those messages at all–and I believe her reaction was genuine. I realize that it has been a long time, but would have expected her to be able to recall saying things like that, if not saying those exact words.

    Is she merely trying to avert my implied accusation or could she honestly have been in such a fog that she doesn’t remember much of what she said to the OM? She didn’t have much to say to me after that and there wasn’t time for me to press the point then. It has been about four days since I brought it up and she still hasn’t said a word about it. I haven’t either, in part, because I want to give her a chance to come forward without my having to press her for a response.

    As I think I’ve told you before, complicating our situation (and my commitment decision) is our youngest child, still in jr. high. Our splitting up would be devastating to her. As an adopted child she will face enough identity challenges without also coming from a broken home. I struggle with the feeling that we owe it to her to try to make it work.

    I do believe my wife is sincere in her love for me and in her desire to make the marriage work. She is most definitely out of any fog she was in and the EA itself had appeared to be largely over months before D-day. I just don’t know if that desire and love will be enough and I am very afraid to commit to our future together until I am more confident that things will change permanently.

    So, I find myself caught emotionally between wanting to stay and trust her and wanting to leave. Like you, I don’t want to be her second or third choice. She says I am not, but how do I believe her? We are getting closer to being empty-nesters and maybe then we will be able to focus on the relationship without the stressors of children at home. Yet, four years is an awfully long time and I don’t know if I can stay long enough to get there. Not to mention that we’re not getting any younger and in four years the sheer inertia of the relationship will be that much stronger, even if we haven’t really grown together as a couple.

    A new wrinkle: within the past two weeks I have been approached about an appealing career opportunity in another part of the country. It could be a great professional opportunity for me (I think I’ve written that at the same time I’ve been dealing with her EA I have also been dealing with a really dysfunctional job situation, due to a new boss). Relocating my family, including her career, would be stressful and I wouldn’t want to disrupt all of our lives further then find that our marriage won’t make it. It could be the perfect chance to move on without her. But then how do I move away from my daughter?

    Sorry to add my woes to yours. I would save it all for my counselor, but I came to the conclusion that she was more of an apologist for my wife and was actually encouraging me to sweep the EA under the rug and I have decided to find a new one. Until I find a new counselor my outlets for discussing my feelings and thoughts are pretty limited.

    “Lucky” for you and all of the other commenters, huh?!?

  5. Not Over It says:

    Hi Aaron,

    Sorry it’s taken a while for me to answer. The kids have been home for the past few days, and I’ve made the most of every moment.

    I wouldn’t worry so much about her inertia concerning counseling. My husband said it made him feel so ashamed to sit in counseling. He said he felt like the word “Cheater” was written across his forehead. He wanted to disappear into the walls when we talked with Dr. K about what he had done. He would avoid thinking about it, and then I would be mad that he was avoiding it, and we would go around in circles. In this area, you might want to continue to be the initiator for a while. Counseling will help this and the other areas where she expects you to fix everything, too, if you bring it up as a concern.

    As far as memory of the affair goes, she may have buried some of the memories and forgotten some things, since the affair was so long. And since the EA was pretty much over well before D-day, l would think that she had already been trying to forget. That was the case with my husband. But when confronted with the facts about major things said or done, my husband was able to remember. Dates and timelines and details were difficult for him, but not major things. She is probably trying to shelter you and herself, too, from another hurtful statement. It took about seven months for me to get the story from my husband, and as late as last month, I was still discovering lies and half-truths. Each one feels like D-day all over again. And then the healing process has to start all over again.

    A job opportunity! That’s great! The one I would worry about is your daughter. She would need to be a very confident young woman to handle being uprooted at this time in her life. She would also be devastated if her dad left her. When I read about LFBA’s son, I cry. That’s a tough call.

    As far as being able to start fresh, maybe your wife would do well with a fresh start with you. My husband bought me a new house when he decided to stay with me. His fresh start. Would moving help her to start fresh?

    In my situation, it backfired. When I found the emails, I found that he had shared with her all the details of the houses we looked at and followed her advice. I am not thrilled to be living in the house she told him to buy. And each room of the house is filled with memories of D-day and the weeks afterward – the bitter tears, the fights, the agony – all part of this beautiful house.

    I’m not a wise old sage like LFBA, but I hope I said something that rings true for you.

    DJ

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