Making up to the betrayed spouse

I am following a new blog by a cheating spouse who is trying to make up to his wife.  It’s called Fulfilled Entrepreneur and he writes of the things he is doing to try to make up to her.  It’s endearing to read of his efforts.  He is going above and beyond in many different ways to show her that he loves her and wants to be with her.  She has let him back in the house to be with the kids, but he sleeps in his own apartment.

I’m sure she has feelings that he deserves this, and she deserves the special treatment.  Of course she does, and I was the same.  She probably also feels it is about time he helped out, and also that she would like him to feel what her life was like when he was traipsing around the world with his other woman, and maybe even that he should suffer for his crimes.  It’s all a natural reaction.

If she is anything like me, though, there is more to it than that.  My husband also went out of his way to take care of everything at the beginning.  He still does a lot for me.  Today I appreciate it because I finally know that it is for real.  But for a long time, I felt I couldn’t trust it.  I felt it was a big show so that he wouldn’t have to give up his comfortable life.  He had NEVER done so much for me before, not even before his affair.  I didn’t think it would last.  I thought he would get tired of it and come to think it wasn’t worth the effort and then he would leave.  But while he has a lot of trouble communicating with me, he has continued to do much of the cooking and cleaning, and he does special extras for me whenever he sees the opportunity.

Right now, I am under the weather – caught a cold from one of my students.  So my husband went home on his lunch break and made me a ginger smoothie.  Ginger is very soothing to the throat and good for the health.  He went without lunch to make it and bring it to me at work. He can be such a sweetie – it made me cry to when he surprised me with it.  But Two years ago?  I would have been touched to receive it but not have accepted it as proof of his love.  Proof of his guilt and remorse, maybe, but not of real love.  I didn’t think he was capable of real love.

Kayboo commented on his blog that it is a gift of sorts to allow him the chance to prove himself.  It will just take time, as we’ve all said. If someone stole your identity and ruined you financially, would you ever trust that person to sit in your house unattended?  And yet, that’s basically what cheaters are asking of their spouse.  A betrayed spouse’s sense of self has been destroyed and their entire marriage seems like a lie.

I’m not trying to dissuade cheating spouses, or ex-cheating spouses I should say, from trying to save their marriage.  Just the opposite… I am so glad to see someone like Fulfilled Entrepreneur with determination and openness.  I am rooting for him!  I just don’t want ex-cheaters to think that they can escape the long haul that it is.  It is a process and there is no over-night remedy.  Great patience is required.

I do finally believe that my husband is here to stay and that he isn’t in contact with her.  After two years, that is a relief for both my husband and me.

The big BUT is that he does everything on his own terms.  It is all stuff *he* wants to do and what *he* is comfortable with.  I have learned to appreciate the things he does and probably would not have come so far without those gifts and things, but what I really need is for him to show me he is changing.  To show me I can trust him.  What does that look like?  I would start with reading about affairs and learning about himself.  I would go further by going to counseling, both individual and couples’ counseling.  I would talk things out and share what’s going on in my mind.  It may hurt but I need to hear it.  I need to know what’s going on.  I went for six years as a outsider with my own husband.  I need to be one with him.

Even today, in my marriage, I never hear those things.  I have to guess at what’s going on inside that thick skull.  And so I still struggle…


43 thoughts on “Making up to the betrayed spouse

  1. I also read Fulfilled Entrepreneur and Kayboo, both great blogs. I agree with your thoughts. My husband also does so much more than he has in years, he is much the way he was when we dated and for the first couple years of our marriage. My husband had not done laundry in roughly 10 years and for the first 9 months after D-day I did not do so much as one load. He also mops the floors, cooks, cleans, bathrooms, washes the dogs. I love it, hate the way we got here but it’s about time he started pulling his weight. He had to quit his executive job as one of the conditions of staying married to me, so he had plenty of free time for awhile. Now we renovate homes and rent them out, not as lucrative as his job was but I have him home every night and he still helps out a tremendous amount. It’s been a year and he hasen’t started slacking yet. I hope he’s good for the long haul.

    • Not Over It says:

      Hi BHR – wow, quitting an executive position to save your marriage – now, that’s quite a show of love. It sounds like he’s doing good. My husband and I also renovate and rent out homes, but just as a side business, so we only have a couple at a time. I’ve had some difficulties in dealing with that since my Dday because his OW is a realtor and I discovered that she had been advising him on all our transactions during their affair. I still live in the last house she recommended. For a long while, I hated the house. But it is a beautiful house and I’m the one who gets to live in the house that she fell in love with. So there… ha!

      Hope you’re off to a good week…

      Love & prayers,

      • The house thing is tough, I feel like my house is haunted. My husband told me about his affair in our bedroom. What an idiot! He is doing really well though and I’m thankful for all of his efforts. Yes leaving the job was a biggie, he was promoted to president the day he checked into rehab which made it all that much more difficult.

  2. Hi DJ. You are incredibly generous considering I am the cheating spouse. My efforts are genuine and from the heart and I have the energy to keep this up not just until she allows me to move back into our home but also beyond. I’m just about the write a letter to her describing what I’ve learnt about myself in therapy and why I’ve behaved the why that I did. I’m also giving her all of my passwords for email accounts and my phone. She told me today that she still thinks I’m in touch with the other woman (I am not, I haven’t spoken to her since we broke up in early September). She also doesn’t believe that I truly love her and she thinks I must have feelings for the other woman still (I don’t, I can’t stand what I allowed her to do to my family). This is going to be a long journey and there are no guarantees that she will have me back. But I’m not giving up until she takes her rings off and appoints a divorce lawyer.

    • Not Over It says:

      HI FE – as you can tell from the responses here, most waywards do not do all the things you are doing. All those things will help tremendously. If my husband had offered these things up, instead of my searching them out, I would have felt his sincerity much sooner. As it was, I had to dig it all up myself, and it was several months before I had most of the facts. I also had to give him an ultimatum to get him to be more transparent. He is backing off from that now, and I don’t trust it. Red flags again…

      Hang in there…

  3. SHAPE says:

    The paragraph of yours that starts, “The big BUT,” is so much how I feel. My H, too, does a lot for me helping out, although he really always has helped a lot. But it seems he does have more “passion” in little ways now than he did previously. But I don’t trust, because he has been this way for a year or so, and then when she emailed him at work on his birthday, he couldn’t resist answering her, giving her a personal email to use and unblocking her name so he could respond and hear back from her. Did this while I was visiting my daughter and grandson for 2 weeks, knowing I wouldn’t be checking emails so often. I found out when I got back – was checking that email for a pay pal update and found a message that was returned to him because he had addressed it to her incorrectly (lol). It was devastating to think he would do this when for a year there hadn’t been contact.

    It doesn’t help much that I know he told her they shouldn’t continue emailing (because they had already exchanged some loving words–which he admitted to, and the email I saw that she didn’t get he called her “honey,” and “my love.”) I gag when I think about it. She did answer him that she”agreed they shouldn’t be in touch anymore and wished him a good life.” i do think that is the end of their relationship (and now I have also toldI her husband), but I just can’t trust his “loving ways,when he was doing those things for a year and then couldn’t resist her when she contacted him again.

    It will take the things you talk about, DJ, reading some articles and books without my prodding, be willing to go to counselings, asking me how I am doing rather than waiting for me to bring up questions, being willing to take the initiative to start conversations and be willing to share his thoughts with me without my asking him. Also, he needs to be more sensitive to triggers, dates that he KNOWS will be hard for me. We have a ways to go here, and it is coming upon 2 years Dec. 20–another trigger day coming. His job loss puts some of our issues on the back burner, and I am trying to be sympathetic and understanding about that. He has another menial, minimum wage job, but I know it is not something he is finding too fulfilling just now.

    Thanks for posting, DJ; I hope to check out the blogs that were mentioned.

    • Not Over It says:

      Hi SHAPE – I like how you added in that he needs to bring it up himself and do the work himself, rather than wait for you to initiate everything. That would help so much.

      New contact that said anything beyond “I don’t want to do this anymore” will take you back to Day 1 all over again. But you are smarter and more aware and you’ve had time to think through your decisions, so you will move more quickly than the first time, but… oh, SHAPE, I wish I could make it go away for all of us.

      I’m starting to think that maybe hypnosis might not be a bad idea. Leave the memories but take the pain associated with them away. Hmmm… gotta think about that one…

      Love & prayers,

  4. Liberty says:

    Hi all, If I had seen a post like this yesterday, I might have answered differently than today. Today I was wondering about all the CS do for the BS to make up for their cheating and I just don’t know if any amount of “doing things” is what it takes? My H has always “helped” out, always willing to do anything I have ever asked, so him doing things now is no different than before. I just don’t think that doing the dishes or cooking dinner makes up for anything….it won’t bring back my trust, it won’t change what he did! In fact, sometimes it pisses me off more, knowing that he did all that before and still betrayed me! Today, I am filled with so many what if’s. Today I wonder if he can ever make it up to me.

    Liberty xoxo

    • Not Over It says:

      Hi Liberty – from the cheater’s perspective, I have to say that in many instances they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. If they didn’t do anything to help out, we’d blame them for not wanting to be a part of the marriage. If they do help out, we say it can never be enough. So many of them just stop trying.

      What they fail to realize, like you say, is that doing things is important, but it’s not what will heal us. Healing is all about communication – open, transparent, and honest communication. If they are with us, we need to know why and how and for how long. We need to know what made them do it, and don’t give me that bullshit about unmet needs. Unmet needs are the catalyst, not the cause. Put unmet needs in my life and I just deal with it. Put unmet needs in my husband’s life and an affair happens. Why? What’s the difference? That’s what betrayed spouses want and need to know.

      That’s my opinion anyway.

      Love & prayers,

  5. nmwf1 says:

    I don’t know what it takes to get over any of it. The more he does for me the more it makes me feel guilty for my inability to cope. He is trying hard, and yet a trigger throws all of his efforts out the window. I just cant understand in my heart how it came to this. Why does it take betrayal for them to see. Why couldn’t they be this wonderful before’? I know if someone would be around my husband and I for a few days they would think he is so wonderful. And really he is. But at what cost? I would rather have the old him, the one I knew before he took the fall. He was wonderful to me then to, he didn’t do as much as he does now but I would rather have that husband back. I feel so selfish and guilty about my feelings but betrayal changes everything. If only this (PIT) in my stomach that I have had non stop for the past 15 months would subside, maybe I could begin to see things a little clearer. it is just so hard to appreciate the effort he is making when the pit in my stomach is a constant reminder of why.

    • Paula says:

      Nmwf1. You have said exactly what I also feel. That annoying guilt that I’m, to steal a phrase, DJ, not over it! So frustrating. I had a long look at the whole blog, and at the risk of sounding like a hater, which believe me, I am not, it surprises me that he thinks it’s been long enough,etc. After all a relatively short marriage, 3years of cheating, continuing when repeatedly caught. I am struggling with my love doing this after more than 20 years of me being the main parent and working fulltime, “unpaid” with him during all that time. He ended affair, his choice, before I ever knew

      • Paula says:

        Apologies, had to switch to larger screen! ishappinesspossible, I think it is truly wonderful that you are doing all you can to prove your love, and “help out.” I really hope it is not “too litle, too late.” From my very subjective perspective, I must say, it is very, very hard to see the CS “change” and start beng more caring, a better parent, a better spouse, a better man, when it would have been so easy to make those choices BEFORE ripping your heart to shreds, and doing a little tap dance on the remnants, than try to make amends AFTER the fact. In my case, I know had my partner done this to us in the first 10-12 years together, I would have definitely walked, absolutely no question. Finding out he did after 22 years together made my choices a little more difficult (I had only recently returned to the paid workforce, so was still trying to establish myself after 17 years of unpaid work, all the cooking, cleaning, parenting – I was still doing all of those things, still do, despite working – admittedly now I only work 34 hours per week, at a better pay rate than when I was working twice as long, but I was doing all of that when doing 60-70 hour weeks.) Making my partner sound like a pig here, but he has always worked exceptionally long hours (self-employed farmer.) With two teens, happy teens, still left at home, settled into a school they are happy at, it is much harder to rip them away and start over. The practicalities of a market downturn, that has lasted a very, very long time (not a great time to list a farm, and a couple of houses to try to split the proceeds.) Excuses, excuses, if I need to leave, I will. I would have loved to have the option of kicking him out (I’ve done that three times in the past three and a half years!) but, realistically, he is now the farmer (I WAS, but he made decisions that changed my career path, so I no longer work on the farm) and needs to live here. So, still trying to find a place whereby I feel safe, loved, and completely cherished. I don’t think the doubts (about your own self worth, I don’t feel scared of repeat cheating any longer) will ever leave my psyche, and it is hard to find the happy when this is the constant. Very hard to trust YOURSELF.

      • Not Over It says:

        Hi NM – it’s interesting that you talk about people spending time with you and your husband… that exact thing has happened to us. I joined martial arts after Dday, so the people there only know us through those classes. They think my husband is the most wonderful husband ever! He carries all my stuff, he gets it all ready for class, he brings me water, and he serves me if we go out with the group to eat family style at a Chinese restaurant. He pours my tea and everything. They all think I’m spoiled. Ha – if they only knew.

        Your husband seems fairly open? Is he? How well do you communicate? Is he open to talking about his affair and what it means to you today?

        @Paula – Hey there – your partner is another one that seems open and honest and transparent. Is he? Has it made a difference?

        Love & prayers,

  6. Sometimes the Cheating spouse, in their efforts to assuage guilt will increase their attentiveness to many things. On the flip side, as DJ says…they do it all on their own terms and seem to lack certain empathy (paraphrasing). Most of the time I believe that this lack of empathy is a self defense mechanism on their part. They sometimes have trouble coming to grips with the pain they caused, so the easiest way is to deny that it still exists and lambast the lingering triggers with the attitude of “see how much I’m trying…get over it and stop making me feel guilty” attitude.
    Patience. This is what is required on our part. It seems unjust, but it is sometimes necessary to give them the space for their own recognition.

    • Not Over It says:

      Hi LFBA – good to hear from you, as always, my wise sage. Patience. It seems that both spouses need it to get through this ordeal. I have been telling Fulfilled Entrepreneur that very thing.

      You’re right. My husband indeed cannot handle his guilt, so he tries to avoid it. What he doesn’t see is the cost of doing that is our marriage.

      Personally, I have passed the point of wishing it had never happened. Am I coming close to acceptance? It happened. I’m not happy that it happened and I wish to God I could press rewind and go back 10 years, but since that’s not going to happen, I press on and I don’t really think about the what-ifs… most of the time anyway. It took me all the way up until now to get to this point.

      You’ve seen me go berserk over things my husband has done in the aftermath of his betrayal. No more. He hammers nails into the coffin of our marriage, and then he tries to pull them out. If he’s not careful, the wood will rot away and the whole thing will disintegrate right before his very eyes. If he would just open the coffin and face what’s inside, we would stand a chance.

      Love & prayers,

  7. Teresa says:

    YES!! DJ, You’ve hit it out off the ballpark with this one, lady!! I’ve been saying ALL of this to my H for months! STOP taking the “easy path”, cleaning, laundry, talking to our boys about how badly he screwed up, instead of ME!!
    I can’t accept what he’s doing, because it’s not what I NEED!! I still don’t feel safe with him because of this!
    And he, of course, thinks I’m not appreciating all he’s doing for me, he says he’s changing, I’m looking at him like he grew two heads!!
    Changing how?? He’s the same man who 23mos after Dday is STILL ignoring me when I have a trigger meltdown….last week I slept in the other room for two nights, convinced we were headed for separation, because of his coldness to me after I found out he lied to “protect me” after I found out about a banking error!!
    He KNOWS complete transparency is a MUST, yet, he lied. So what has he learned in 23 mos…not much, obviously!
    I read your post to him this morning, DJ and all the responses….I told him ALL of this could have been written by me, every word!! It’s EXACTLY how I feel!!
    He has agreed to go back to counseling in Jan….he only went 3 times last May and quit, convinced he could do “it” on his own….but that didnt happen!
    What you said LFBA, “see how much I’m trying…get over it and stop making me feel guilty” attitude. YES!! I feel that is my H!!
    As for his guilt, I’m not sure….yes, he says he feels guilty, and hates to see me crying, BUT that’s hard to believe when he doesn’t do the things I ask him to do, read blogs, google info on EA’s, reread portions of the few books he HAS read….and I only feel it’s because I made him read the books, he really wasn’t into it, and that’s why he never implemented what he read!
    I’m sending this to him, and I’ve asked him to read and reread this post, until he FINALLY gets it!
    I don’t WANT to wallow in this pain…I don’t WANT to live with feeling like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop, I don’t WANT to question everything my H says, and Im scared to death that eventually he’s going to get tired of the anger, sarcasm, triggers, etc and just walk out the door!!
    I don’t like who I’ve become, I WANT to appreciate everything he is doing for me!! He’s bought me some really nice gifts in the last year, but I can’t enjoy them 100% since it seems like he’s trying to “buy me” off…sad, isn’t it?
    Babe, if you’re reading this, PLEASE know that I HATE being this unhappy, I love you and want a future with you…I KNOW we can fix this! PLEASE work with me, lets do this and start living the life of happiness that we deserve!
    The last two yrs have been hell, but I want to fix this! I KNOW we can, if we just work together! Stop shutting me out, let me in, lets heal together!! ❤

    • Not Over It says:

      Oh Teresa – I’m crying as I read those last lines to your husband. That’s exactly what I want to say to mine, but he would never in a million years read this blog. I wish he would. He knows the name of my blog, and he has looked at it a couple of times, but he doesn’t want to face it. We just had a fight last night about how much time I spend blogging. It’s not that much, really. I don’t edit myself. I just type as I think it, as you can probably tell from my many typos and errors. We’re here to support each other, not critique our writing ability.

      Love & prayers,

      • Teresa says:

        DJ, did your husband ever go to counseling? Does he even realize that he’s locked into a prison, a prison of his own making? It’s sad to live that way….for him and you!!

      • Teresa says:

        Hey DJ, here it is Dec.31st and he STILL has NOT read this blog!! See want I mean? He says he loves me. He says I’m the most important thing in his world…and I’m very clear on what I need to heal….and he doesn’t do it.
        He’s still doing what is easiest for him…it’s STILL all about him, and that makes me feel that while, yes, he does “love” me, it’s not the kind of love I want or deserve!!
        Btw, tomorrow is the 2 yr Dday anniversary for me!! And I *thought* I would be “over it” by now! And I really do think I if I had kicked him out of the house on Dday, he would have worked harder at healing…..I think, but who knows?
        Two freaking years of my life wasted on this crap….wow!

      • Not Over It says:

        Oh Teresa, I’d like to konk him on the head. My husband, too… I’m getting the same reaction from my husband. I’ve put him a in a little box in my heart and tossed the key into my jewelry box for now… he doesn’t deserve my time right now. This compartmentalizing thing really works sometimes… not always, but most of the time.

        Happy New Year, my dear friend! -DJ

  8. Geraldyn says:

    I will never get over it, ever. One day is harder than the other.

  9. junebug says:

    I see small steps my husband is taking, but I am nowhere near to the point of thinking it is anything but a small smidgen of guilt making him behave this way. I asked him today if he thought before all of this happened that *if* we survived the initial betrayal that it would be this hard to work through. The *** looked me in the eye and said he never considered what would happen when I found out. Seriously? It’s going to take alot more than doing dishes to even begin making amends. He was so checked out that it did not matter to him that he was making a fool of himself, etc. He simply did not care and it is hard to think that he suddenly cares when really the only thing that has changed is that I know he was unfaithful. I’m still me, we still have the same issues, he is still refusing counseling. Today I am ready to call it quits. I need to get through to tomorrow.

    • Not Over It says:

      Teresa is so right, Junebug. Cheaters rarely think they will ever get caught, so they never consider the consequences. And even if he had, my husband would never have imagined it would be like this. Neither did I. I had no idea my own reaction would be so strong. I was cut to the core and I am fundamentally a changed person. In some ways, I actually think I am stronger and wiser and more empathetic. But in other ways, I am weaker and less confident. It was not a change I would ever have wanted.

      Last night, I thought for a long while about the plans I have in mind for the possibility of leaving. Through the past two years, I have worked it all out. I know exactly what I would do and how I would do it. My husband made me so mad I thought back to those plans and re-evaluated them. They’re still good.

      We all fall sometimes, Junebug. I hear that when it reaches the point that you really must follow through with it, you will know. I hope that’s the way of it anyway.

      Love & prayers,

  10. Teresa says:

    Junebug, if it makes you feel any better…My H never have me a thought either…and that’s quite common, from what I’ve read!
    They are so into themselves, so selfish, that they think their secrets will stay secret and they never think past the next “connection” with the COW!!
    I remember the first time I asked my H that question, “Didnt you even think about me, how this would hurt and humiliate me so much, if I found out”? He said “No….I never thought you’d find out”.
    Gee, wasn’t that nice? And keep in mind, this is his SECOND EA….he had the first one 23 mos after we were married, while serving in the military overseas…I buried that one, this one, eh, NO!!

  11. Rodion says:

    DJ, I read this post with interest, especially where you said, “[a] betrayed spouse’s sense of self has been destroyed and their entire marriage seems like a lie.” Speaking as a betrayed spouse (and maybe I’m just unusual?) I don’t feel this way. Not at all. At this point, I feel my sense of self (such as Buddhists get to have one, that is) is stronger than ever; I guess it’s probably better to call it “purpose” rather than “self” or “identity.” I also don’t feel like my whole marriage has been a lie. Instead, I see my wife’s infidelity as a huge wake-up call for me to get busy working on a number of things that led to our marriage deteriorating — with or without her eventual working on her “fixings.”

    I think there are a lot of things that led to me feeling this way, but I started working Mort Fertel’s program as soon as I learned of my wife’s infidelity, and it literally changed my entire outlook on my marriage. I think a betrayed spouse has to display true magnanimity if the marriage is going to work going forward, just as much as the wayward spouse needs to show remorse. But, I think the mistake one can easily make is to expect one to happen before another. That is, I don’t need to expect my wife to show me remorse before I can be magnanimous. (Magnanimity is more or less part of my spiritual path, anyway, so it is a moral obligation.) For me, leading a moral life — which includes standing for my marriage right now — is simply not predicated on the actions of others.

    • Not Over It says:

      Key words there, Rodion – “at this point.” At this point, I am no longer shattered and I know my marriage meant something. You have been at this for a while, too. I think the problem for many betrayed spouses is that their identity is built around their spouses and their marriages. We’re supposed to be one with our spouse, right? An affair shatters that identity. It no longer feels real, at least at the beginning. It needs to be rebuilt on a better foundation.

      Most of the people here find it hard to believe in their marriages at the beginning. It takes time to realize that for most, it was not all a lie. In my case, where the other woman was his first love, it was fuzzy for a long time. She was an interference from the beginning.

      I have heard good things about Mort Fortel. I’m glad it worked for you.

      I do understand and agree that magnanimity should be part of our spiritual lives. I would not otherwise be here. As you say, it is as necessary as remorse for the cheating spouse. Some people just take longer to get there than others. Trust needs to be rebuilt, and that is not the same thing.

      We are here to work through the issues to get there. I’m glad for your perspective on things, and I’m glad you are moving forward so well. So Mort Fortel and Buddhism were the answers for you? And it seems you have found your way. What do you still need to work on that brings you here?

      Maybe, too, it’s different for guys… I’m reaching here… what do you think?

      Grace and peace,

  12. recover3 says:

    It still amazes me at how similar my thoughts and feelings are to others. It gives me comfort and some hope though. It is always good to know that what I am feeling/thinking/saying is similar to others, that I am being ‘normal’. I love reading about those who are further down the road than me because I know there is light at the end and for those who are not as far down the road as me I hope that I can give them hope.
    I don’t know that any of us will ever ‘get over it’ but it does start to hurt a little less. The marriage does start to matter a little more. Sadly, it just all takes time. And that is the hardest part of all.

    • Not Over It says:

      Hi R3 – Me, too. I like being part of a group where there are people at different places in their healing, and where there are different perspectives to look at.

      I hated hearing that it just takes time when I first came here. The pain was so overwhelming that I couldn’t imagine living with it for a long period of time. But it does get better, and here I am right now… not in any pain at all at this moment. It feels wonderful.

      Love & prayers,

  13. nmwf1 says:

    hi DJ, you asked how well my husband and I communicate, well he wants me to heal, that is apparent, but my problem is that he cannot or will not give me answers to what I want to know, When he is uncomfortable about a question, he will just start telling me how much he loves me and how much he regrets hurting me and how much i am his whole world.. Or he tells me he doesn’t know why or I don’t remember. However he is very tortured by my pain, he always cries with me when I have melt downs, he is very remorseful. I say very mean things at times and other times I feel so much pain, We can never ever just talk about it in a normal conversation, I am to blame for that because I let things built up until I am in the explosion stage or melt down stage. Even when I try to start a conversation about it, in a normal fashion, my intentions are good in the beginning but my resentment quickly takes hold and I say things that are hurtful, or my pride is slammed and I feel my self esteem lacking. Some questions are not that hard to answer in my opinion (for instance) The other day during one of my melt downs, I ask him if she had told him that she still had his high school ring. He said he cant remember. For the love of God, she was quick to tell me that she still had his ring. And yet he can’t seem to remember her telling him that she had it. REALLY! are you f**^ing kidding me. Does he really expect me to believe that? That is a simple question, why the hell cant he answer it. That among other questions. He just wants the whole thing to go away. Loving, caring, tentativeness,remorseful, he is all of those things. But I think he thinks if he tells me the truth about certain things that he will hang himself. Or he is afraid of what my reaction will be. maybe he is right, but its not like I don’t already scream and cry at him at times, what the hell is the difference. I just want the truth. He does always acknowledge and validate my feelings, know matter what they are, angry, sad, hurt, but I just don’t understand why he can’t give me answers. Maybe he doesn’t have answers for what he did. Maybe there isn’t really a reason why. But I can’t accept that, I want him to find one.

    • Not Over It says:

      Hi NM – I think the reasons why can be elusive for some people who are not used to sitting in reflection and self-examination. A good counselor can help with that, but good counselors seem to be hard to find.

      I do remember that your husband sounds a lot like mine, except that my husband reacts with anger to questions or reminders of infidelity – like seeing my blog. Your husband is more controlled.

      I don’t remember you mentioning couples’ counseling. Have you tried it? I think that maybe your husband cannot open up to you if he feels you are going to have a meltdown no matter what he says. I’m not saying you need to condone what he did – absolutely not. But maybe he needs space to open up without fearing that someone will get hurt. Again, a counselor can act as a mediator for that.

      What do you think?

      Love & prayers,

      • Liberty says:

        Last night was our 3rd counseling appt. I seriously thought when we started it was going to be easy! Well, its been painful and hard! But it is exactly what we needed. She is helping me so much with understanding how the mind works for the CS. Clinically I get it but tell her I don’t get in emotionally. Last night H answered some difficult questions for him. Its hard for him to reach inside himself and open up. This morning he told me he couldn’t imagine his life without me in it. So, maybe progress? Next week I am going to ask him all the questions that he has previously answered “I don’t know or remember “. Maybe he will remember in front of the counselor! All in all, I think the counseling is the best way to figure this crap out. I think the CS needs to clean out their conscience and open up or we BS will never find comfort or trust with them.

        Anyway that’s my opinion 🙂 Livery xoxo

    • SHAPE says:

      Oh, nm, I could have written every word above. Sometimes my H and I can have a “normal” conversation, but then if I ask him a relatively simple question and he responds, “I don’t remember,” or somethig siilar, I KNOW he is not being truthful, probably because the truth will hurt me. But I would rather be hurt by the truth than by his evading it, if not with another outright lie, then by the “I don’t remember”phrase. I have come to abhor those words, mostly because I think they are just a cop-out, a way of his getting past his shame (or burying it) by not being forthcoming with answers to my questions. Then the normal conversation can take a turn for the worst. Not always, but sometimes.
      Other times I am already so on edge from a trigger or something that it seems like I shouldn’t have to hear from him or see him do, since he knows it will be a trigger, that the conversation starts out as an eruption on my part. He can get very tender and remorseful during these times, but I wish, wish, wish, he would just ask me how I am doing so I don’t always feel like I have to initiate the conversation.
      It is comforting to know others feel the same way.

      • nmwf1 says:

        Hah, Shape, If I am in a rather depressed mood, it usually builds for a couple of days, my husband will since it and start peddling backwards, He won’t ask me what is wrong, (maybe on rare occasions) cause he already knows what is wrong. He usually will talk about mindless stuff hoping to detour my feelings. I really hate it because I AM ALWAYS THE BAD GUY, I get so worked up and then I let loose with my feelings. I have grown tired ad wherry about this pattern, I wish he would just tell me the truth, And I have really grown tired of the answer, I DON’T KNOW. I CAN’T REMEMBER. …. COP OUT is definitely the word for it alright. in my opinion i can’t remember means i don’t want to tell you, Selective memory is more like it. Teresa says her husband doesn’t cry. My husband is a very masculine outdoors type man, So the fact that my meltdowns reduce him to tears, is very heart wrenching for me. I know that he is sincerely in pain along with me. I feel worse for hurting him over and over, So it is a vicious cycle. I can’t win. I feel bad cause he hurt me, I feel bad cause I hurt him. I don’t get it.

  14. Teresa says:

    Nm and shape….the same here! My H doesn’t cry, he’s never done that, but his favorite lines are “I’m so sorry, I’m here, I’m not going anywhere” or “You’re right, I need to work on that, take it to the next level”….WHATEVER that means!! Or “I understand what you’re saying”.
    Now just WHAT he understands is a mystery, since he never really says!
    And taking it to the “next level” have NO idea about that either….but I’ve been hearing it for a year now!
    I told my H its selfishness on his part that he isn’t doing what needs to be done, and isn’t that what got him into the EA in the first place…selfishness? So what has changed…really?
    How am I supposed to feel, safe and secure in his love for me, when he’s still displaying the same selfishness that was there BEFORE the EA?

  15. Not Over It says:

    Hi Teresa – my feelings, too. I don’t know this for certain, but it certainly seems that the ex-cheaters who go to counseling do better. I’m trying to get my husband to go and suggested that to NM above, too. You’ve been to counseling, right? Did your husband go? Was it good?

    How do we convince ex-cheating spouses that they need to be more proactive, as Hiddinsight and Fulfilled Entrepreneur are? Rodion says we need to be magnanimous. Well, I think I do a lot to make him feel secure and loved and valued as my husband. He acknowledges that, too. I extend my hand in love and acceptance. It was hard to trust doing that at the beginning. He reciprocates by doing things that he doesn’t mind doing. He will not take that step in faith to do what needs to be done for our relationship. I extend my hand and he walks alongside me, but he does not put his hand out in return to get us through the murky waters. He is hiding behind his pain rather than facing it and me. I am facing mine head-on. I think this might be turning into another post…

  16. Paula says:

    DJ, you asked above if the transparency helps, yes, it does, and then, as nm and I wrote, you feel great guilt for not “being better” because they are being such “good boys” now. Despite my partner being transparent, and incredibly patient/helpful/loving, I am not “better” – I don’t even know what “better” will be for me anymore. He has been good, but, as a human being, never perfect, I still get the “I don’t remember ” phrase, too. I think sometimes they really don’t remember, but they don’t put any effort into TRYING to remember either, as it feels too awful for them to think about any of it. Mine always says that is the hardest part, that of course you can’t erase it, but he would love to, for both of us to get some peace, and as the BS, I pick and pick and pick (not anywhere near as much as in the past, very, very occasionally these days) but I get a visual, or a trigger, and I ask the questions he doesn’t like to answer, saying that, he always attempts some kind of answer. He still doesn’t know who that man was, it wasn’t the man either of us knew!! But once done, cannot be undone. I related so much to those who said (Teresa, etc) that their spouse didn’t ever think of them. Well, when have any of you ever done something and not thought of the consequences to our lovers???? I can’t think of one occasion, not out shopping (I shouldn’t buy that today, because we really are trying to keep the budget on track, I won’t go for that drink with the girls, because I promised the family I’d cook a fab dinner, etc, etc)hey, I’m no more perfect than the next guy, but I have been in a position, many, many years ago, where I could have very easily cheated, but, even a little drunk, very “turned on” I didn’t, I stopped it progressing, because I couldn’t hurt him, and although I didn’t know the man’s wife, I couldn’t bear the thought of her not knowing this thing about her husband! I did think it through, all the way through, and to know that you never crossed their mind is pretty darn hard to fathom, after all, my partner jumped out of OUR bed (I wasn’t there) and into his OW’s bed in our own holiday home the first time, and there was no EA “build-up,” just wham, bam, thank you maam! How could I not figure in that hour or so he lay deciding (by his own admission) whether he should take the risk or not??? In our second home, with our children slumbering away in a different part of the house – HER in our eldest daughter’s bed, that she had given up for the OW? There is no way he didn’t think of me, NO WAY! So that HAS to be a lie. Urgh, Christmas!!!

  17. Teresa's hub says:

    This is Teresa’s hub, and I’m reading the blog now to help us both heal. I love her to much not to.

    • Not Over It says:

      Yay!!! I know that this means the world to Teresa, and I’m so glad to “meet” you! I don’t want to preach at you, so I’ll just say that Teresa is one special lady and she loves you so very much. It makes me all teary-eyed to hear that you love her, too.

      Just FYI – over 60 percent of my subscribers are ex-cheating spouses. We try to gain perspective from each other. I hope you find something here that rings true for you.

      Love & prayers for you both,

  18. Teresa's hub says:

    Thanks for the iinfo DJ and yes Teresa is one special lady to me.

  19. Teresa says:

    No DJ, preach at him…PLEASE!! LOL!! Thanks babe for reading and responding….please keep reading DJ’s blog, lots of great info here! Love you! 😀

    • Not Over It says:

      LOL – Teresa, you so funny! And the two of you have made my day… my week… my whole year… and after the fights my husband and I have been having, it is so refreshing to see how the two of you are working together. Looking forward to some great conversations with both of you.

      Love & prayers,

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