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Discussion Starter #1
Just wanna hear your thoughts on this one.

I am 10 months after D-day now. Have had my share of emotional ups and downs, and at a low right now.

I think i am now fairly capable of handling the images and thoughts connected to the affair. I really do love my wife and I am sure that she loves me too. Now it's just the trust that is killing me.

I have just been reading the latest book by Mira Kirshenbaum, I Love You, But I Don't Trust You, which is a perfect book for me - highly recommendable.

We have been struggling quite some time with my WW's small lies about little things. These lies reset my trust in her completely, and it's SO frustrating. Anyway; I read this book, and the author suggests that the WS is being asked to tell the infidelity story seen through the BS eyes. This experience should make the WS totally aware of and acknowledge the damage they have done in order to reduce the likelyhood of a future betrayal. I would call it some kind of "forced empathy".

From there it should be possible for BS to rebuild some trust.

My wife has difficulties performing this task. I think that she WANTS to do it. But I am no longer convinced that she actaully have the ability to to it. She can't go deep in emotions, it seems. She would say something like "I know you are hurt..." but she can't continue with the ".... because I... " or "... I am so sorry that I did this and that thing... you must feel..."

In all other matters I think we are doing OK, considering things.

Do you think it is possible to love another person and not being able to verbalize this and show some empathy? Or am I just blinded because I so much want to believe in her?

I really bothers me. Any thoughts?
 

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Some people have no empathy, and when you lack empathy, you simply don't care about another person's feelings. Do some reading on narcissism. There are different levels of narcissism. My ex husband is one of those Narcs. It took me years to figure out how I could do so much for him, and yet, he would never return the love to me. It took me years to learn that it was not me, but rather him with the issue. So, the way your wife speaks to you with "I know you are hurt" but cannot accept the responsibility for her actions means either she simply feels no remorse for what she did, she feels no empathy for you (remember actions speak louder than words. Anyone can say words but only those who are real, will speak with actions) and/or she sees you as the problem (such as "why don't you just get over this already")

No, she is not being sincere. You are blinded, but I was blinded at one time too. Yeah, we want to believe them but the truth is in their actions.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I might add to it, that she is a very loving person in every other aspect - can't point a finger to anything.

I don't think that she fits the discription of a typical narcisit either.

You may have a point about her seeing me as the problem... hmmm.. like it or not
 

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I remember years ago a friend of mine in college had an arragned marriage. I found the concept utterly foreign to me. I asked about falling in love. He said something profound. He said that he will have to learn to love his wife (who he did not know). He says it will be an act of his will. That was in the early 80's. I ran into his brother in early 2010 at an Army conference and he says his brother's marriage is going great.

Shortly after D-day I felt my WS was not understanding what I was going through and I had her read a fairly lenthly article on what the BS is going through (anger, etc.). My WS got most of it and has made attempts to assist me in my healing.

Like Apple is saying she may never get it or might not be capable. Hopefully that is not the case for your WS.

What are the little lies?
 

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Is she showing remorse?
Is she transparent otherwise, leave alone little things?
If she truly loves, now, can you ignore these thoughts in your head and carry on as if you are an elephant?
Try this.
 

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I dont know her, or much about your whole story but generally speaking if you haven't seen any other indications of a narcistic personality type it could be that she is consumed by guilt and shame. She might be unable to deal with it brunt of the pain she has caused.

This could cause her to block out feelings of empathy, to supress recognition of her actions and the emotional impact (shame/guilt?) of them. Its a form denial. A defense mechinism.

If that were the case, It doesn't mean that your not on the path of reconciliation. It may just mean that she needs to cope with her own actions at a pace that she can cope with emotionally.

I'm not a psychologist, but I would suspect that recognizing recovery will be a long process and will require some patience is important. Perhaps consider avoiding aggresively "forcing" her to recognize the impact of her actions all at once. "forcing her" to deal with things she may be unable to cope with could cause her to shut down and be very defensive.

While you shouldn't rug sweep, or allow her to minimize her actions maybe just keeping them on the table and in front of her and allowing her to process her shame and guilt at her pace would prove valuable for your longterm reconciliation?

She is just a person, and I suspect she is also in a lot of pain. You love her and you shouldn't lose sight of how difficult this is for her as well. That is of course if your long term goal is recovery of a healthy marriage.

Just random thoughts.

I love hearing about real reconcilation and envy people who are given a chance at that. But, i could understand how difficult it would be to be patient and understand the sacrifices it requires from both the DS and LS. When faced with so much pain and doubt, distrust and anger it must be incredibly difficult to navigate the road back.

Good luck, I wish you both the best.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Is she showing remorse?
Is she transparent otherwise, leave alone little things?
If she truly loves, now, can you ignore these thoughts in your head and carry on as if you are an elephant?
Try this.
Remorse... it is that part that is a bit hard for me to be sure of. She of course says she's sorry, and also that she don't recognize her self and what she has become - didn't expect her self to be a cheater.

I really don't doubt her love for me very often.

Maybe it's just that it is hard for me to trust and feel safe. So it truly is my main issue - can I ignore these thoughts even when I feel insecure?? I wasn't aware of that I was that dependend on safety, so it is very painfull to me when the doubt take over.

I would give anything to rebuild our relationship except one thing... another round of betrayal - that would breake me down, at least that's what I feel now.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I dont know her, or much about your whole story but generally speaking if you haven't seen any other indications of a narcistic personality type it could be that she is consumed by guilt and shame. She might be unable to deal with it brunt of the pain she has caused.

This could cause her to block out feelings of empathy, to supress recognition of her actions and the emotional impact (shame/guilt?) of them. Its a form denial. A defense mechinism.

If that were the case, It doesn't mean that your not on the path of reconciliation. It may just mean that she needs to cope with her own actions at a pace that she can cope with emotionally.

I'm not a psychologist, but I would suspect that recognizing recovery will be a long process and will require some patience is important. Perhaps consider avoiding aggresively "forcing" her to recognize the impact of her actions all at once. "forcing her" to deal with things she may be unable to cope with could cause her to shut down and be very defensive.

While you shouldn't rug sweep, or allow her to minimize her actions maybe just keeping them on the table and in front of her and allowing her to process her shame and guilt at her pace would prove valuable for your longterm reconciliation?

She is just a person, and I suspect she is also in a lot of pain. You love her and you shouldn't lose sight of how difficult this is for her as well. That is of course if your long term goal is recovery of a healthy marriage.

Just random thoughts.

I love hearing about real reconcilation and envy people who are given a chance at that. But, i could understand how difficult it would be to be patient and understand the sacrifices it requires from both the DS and LS. When faced with so much pain and doubt, distrust and anger it must be incredibly difficult to navigate the road back.

Good luck, I wish you both the best.
Thanks Pit, your perspective is greatly appreciated. I have had some of these thoughts my self. It's just that it is SO frustrating when I can't get help from her. The book title mensioned above is so much spot on my feelings - love her, but don't trust her yet. I want to, but I am not ready for it.

Your description of the defensiveness fits well. I feel sometimes that it could be to protect her self. She is a soft and vulnerable person and tears come easy in general.

And she also told me once, that she was terrified when she saw the impact on me during the first month or two. Her steady, calm and self confident husbond turned into the exact opposite - must have shaken her, I guess.

So your thoughts could be valid, thanks. But the doubt man.... I really, really don't want this kind of pain and PD again.
 

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I would give anything to rebuild our relationship except one thing... another round of betrayal - that would breake me down, at least that's what I feel now.
I so get this feeling. She tells me she was a different person back then, alcoholic, denying it, needed the adventure fix the drinks couldn't give, he told her she was fine, I told her she was a drunk.

She's sober now for 2.5 years. Almost 3 years from DDay here and I still hold a part of my heart in check when it comes to fully loving/trusting her. I want to believe her but there is that part of me that still feels the pain and is afraid of being hurt that badly again. I see her changes and know she is different but I'll be dam ned if I give her a chance to hurt me like that again. Then again, am I hurting our relationship and driving her that way by holding back?

I just don't know. All I know is I hurt to think the woman I trusted with my heart broke it. I just try daily to be a good husband and hope in time we can heal.

I like the idea earlier you said about them telling the story of their affair through my eyes. There was a list here about what to expect of your BS, I think that is what someone talked about earlier. I had her read this and she was trembling when i read her my triggers. She didn't realize I still had triggers (14 in all) that bother me to varying degrees. Less now that is has been a while since DDay but they still exist. She thought we were better and I had moved on. It paniced her to think I still struggled with this and I think she needed to be reminded that it's not that easy to forget. The sin on our marriage was monstrous, forgetting it is not as easy as the choice she made to go astray.
 

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She is a soft and vulnerable person and tears come easy in general.

And she also told me once, that she was terrified when she saw the impact on me during the first month or two. Her steady, calm and self confident husbond turned into the exact opposite - must have shaken her, I guess.
FWIW... Based on what you said above, I would be willing to bet that it is exactly what we speculated. That she is protecting herself.

She may also be feeling like she doesn't deserve you and shes waiting for you to realize it and leave her? That insecurity coupled with the shame and guilt could be exactly the block thats preventing "a breakthrough".

I'd bet her lack of empathy is defensive.

I think she's scared bro.

Maybe let your guard down a bit and love on her a lil' xtra? can't hurt right?

just my2c.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Re: Can a person be sincere and love, but not be able to feel and show empathy?

Dude , i thought u started seeing other women, did u stop that? why bro? Have a few relationships, sex with few women
True, you have been reading up, and this is a good comment. She handed me a free pass (her idea), which I used back in september to see one woman twice. It stopped (the whole sitauation with her was weird). As I mentioned in another post, my wife totally freaked out when I started to look for a new fling, so I decided to stall everything untill we could resolve our issues and establish a new set of rules for our relationship.

I have told my wife that she can have either a monogamous or some sort of an open relationship - her choice, I would try to adapt and commit a 100% to whatever agreement. In case of open relationship, we would then re-evaluate frequently.

She chose monogamy and that is absolutely without any doubt my preference as well, but this is where the trust issues in this thread starts to unfold.

I was able to disregard my lack of trust at the time we were talking mutual open relationship, because I thought it would be less important (today I am not so sure about that one either).

But now that it is commited monogamous relationship we agree on, I need to be as certain about her intentions as I possibly can to protect my self. That's why I bought the book, and that's why I wanted to make sure, that we understood each others feelings and positions.

Long story short... I am glad you brought this one up, because now I see that Pit's random thoughts clearly makes even more sense. Of course she feels insecure as well and I guess she is afraid, that I might leave, though she never said it.

Man what a mess... it seems to me that I am the one who must make myself vulnerable first in order to loosen up. But it sure doesn't feel good. 27 years without the slightest doubt or fear, and now this.

Any thoughts or ideas on how to unblock this situation?
 

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be an alpha male, why are u giving her the choice? You tell her you need to test the marriage, part and parcel is to see whats out there and compare it to here and tell her if you fight for the marriage, carry the weight and stay commited to me, and if after i've experienced a few other women, your worth it, i'll stay, plain and simple. Take back the authority.
 

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Didn't her deception go longer than you were in an open relationship? I mean, don't let her make decisions. You make them. It was utterly obvious how self centered and hypocritical she is in your last thread.
 

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I might add to it, that she is a very loving person in every other aspect - can't point a finger to anything.

I don't think that she fits the discription of a typical narcisit either.

You may have a point about her seeing me as the problem... hmmm.. like it or not
How about therapy for her or you both?

I am a pretty reflective person, but never thought about what we were doing to each other. I really don't think my H and I had empathy for each other as we were just rolling with the flow and trying to survive our chaotic life. When our fight started and he said he was done with me I totally saw my flaws in our marriage (but yet I don't think he sees his and if so he hasn't owned them). Even in my IC my counselor gets angry because I constantly defend his actions... I am not blaming him for a lot (well except bailing on the marriage/family).
 

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be an alpha male, why are u giving her the choice? You tell her you need to test the marriage, part and parcel is to see whats out there and compare it to here and tell her if you fight for the marriage, carry the weight and stay commited to me, and if after i've experienced a few other women, your worth it, i'll stay, plain and simple. Take back the authority.
One of the problems I see with this idea is the fact that he is still married. Trying to test the waters and see what's out there while he's married could be setting himself up to be in another relationship with someone he can't or shouldn't trust. I mean, trying to date while married seriously limits your choices. Not a lot of classy nice girls are willing to sleep with married men.

I think it's always best to end one relationship before starting another. That way he won't be handicapping himself and trying to find a suitable mate from a limited pool of less than moral women.
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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
be an alpha male, why are u giving her the choice? You tell her you need to test the marriage, part and parcel is to see whats out there and compare it to here and tell her if you fight for the marriage, carry the weight and stay commited to me, and if after i've experienced a few other women, your worth it, i'll stay, plain and simple. Take back the authority.
Actually; that's what happened when I used the free pass 5 months ago. I gained my self confidence back and appeared quite attractive again. It scared the s*** out of her.

I think that she is very aware of the risk that i just might quit. And this could be one of the reasons she gets defensive and shuts down, I realize that now.

One of the problems I see with this idea is the fact that he is still married. Trying to test the waters and see what's out there while he's married could be setting himself up to be in another relationship with someone he can't or shouldn't trust. I mean, trying to date while married seriously limits your choices. Not a lot of classy nice girls are willing to sleep with married men.

I think it's always best to end one relationship before starting another. That way he won't be handicapping himself and trying to find a suitable mate from a limited pool of less than moral women.
Somewhat true. A lot of single/divorced women gets quite upset when a married man is actively searching. So, I agree with you. But it helped boost my self esteem for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
How about therapy for her or you both?

I am a pretty reflective person, but never thought about what we were doing to each other. I really don't think my H and I had empathy for each other as we were just rolling with the flow and trying to survive our chaotic life. When our fight started and he said he was done with me I totally saw my flaws in our marriage (but yet I don't think he sees his and if so he hasn't owned them). Even in my IC my counselor gets angry because I constantly defend his actions... I am not blaming him for a lot (well except bailing on the marriage/family).
I agree. I had a few sessions myself recently and it helps me to some degree. I am a very reflective person myself. I have suggested MC to help us communicate better - she says we can't afford that. And maybe, thinking deeper in this thread, I think that it would be better to get her some IC to help her get in touch with her true feelings and learn to communicate them.

I have considered that, and I did mention it a few months ago, but it is hard to convince a defensive person. You will tend to get the "Are you saying that I have a problem???"

I will suggest it again - it wouldn't do any harm to any of us at least.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I just finished reading Athols Primer book - fantastic piece of work.

It is absolutely clear to me, what happened in our marriage - I was a soldier when I met her in our much younger days, I guess I looked pretty alpha then. I slowly turned into a beta when kids came, mortgages were due, all in all trying to accomodate my wife and the family etc. Just following Athols script, sadly :(.
Sexually; she took control as the years passed by.

It's not impossible for me to be alpha, I am in my professional life to some extend, and we saw glimps of it during free pass period.

So here is what I am thinking of:
I will tell her that since I hear nothing from her, I have made some decissions. I have decided to stop thinking about other possibilities than working on our marriage - I am 100% commited to her and our future together as a couple, under these non-negotianal terms:

1. She stop nursing relations with other men than me, that's what brought us this mess
2. She is to tell me, IF she ever find our sexlife boring and think of something else/different/strange - she is NOT going to explore or discuss it with anyone without talking to me first.
3. IF I EVER find that she has any (non-professional) male relations that I haven't agreed to, I will ask her to pack her bags and leave.
4. She must maintain 100% openness and honesty about in communication platforms. I won't tolerate any secrets besides presents for me.
5. She must agree to work with me in restoring trust and confidence in each other - we were the perfect couple untill last summer - we can become that again if we decide to. We could use some of the principles from ie. 5 love languages.
6. I strongly suggest that she take some IC and learn to deal with emotions and feelings

In return I promise to do everything I possibly can to make her feel loved (... and... this I am not going to tell her... implement some of Athols ideas)

How does this sound? Would it break the ice? On my side; the only small doubt I would have, is whether I am truly ready to let go of my mistrust in her or not. Hopefully the other activities will help me to be strong and her to change.

Did I forget sonmething here?
 

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