TimT
I'm writing a manual of important steps for betrayed spouses to take after learning about the affair. If you a personal example that helps illustrate this point, whether positive or negative, please post it here. Anyone can post here, but if you are a forum member (so I have access to your email) and your quote is used in the book, I'll send you a free copy of it once it's released.

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Many betrayed spouses don't believe their unfaithful partner understands the depth of their pain... or even tries to understand it. Did you do anything that helped your spouse understand and empathize with your pain?
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HonestWife
I tried and tried to explain and even read him stories off websites and out of books but I think his empathy level is very low. He's good at compartments but not empathy.
Trying to make marriage work after my husband's 15 years of affairs. Just found out. Currently in house separation.
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Bustedsmiles
I don't believe he will ever be able to understand the pain and the far reaching effects this has had on my psyche 100%. I do send him articles sometimes to help him get a sense of it. I feel like it's similar to trying to explain giving birth to someone who never has had that experience. They can see the effects of childbirth and may even be there to see the physical pain but it's a whole different thing to actually give birth. Some of the pain is unexplainable
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Courage
I know my H sees my pain and it causes him pain to know he's the cause of it. But you can't feel another's pain unless you are living with a similar circumstance. i too sent my H. Articles etc to try and give him an idea of what I was feeling. No matter what, he will never know this pain. The only thing that I think helps the WS appreciate the pain... Is time. In our case- 8 months post DDAY- I think my H has a better sense of the pain as he comes to understand what he did and he is beginning to realize what he could have and may still lose. As he's getting over the affair fog, I can see him changing. I can tell in his words and actions that he is beginning to realize what he had all along. I thinkas he gets closer to this he will experience his own great pain in what he could have lost. As his love grows for me, he is gaining a new perspective in the pain he caused. By being loving to me and accepting and supporting my set backs, he is showing me that he understands my pain to the best of his ability. This is helping me heal.
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Jodlamy
I've tried to explain to him, "What if the table was turned, and you found out all this about me? What if you read those texts and had those lies told to you? How would that make you feel?" Would he take me back if I did that to him? If I lied to him over and over? He said probably not. Is he able to see and understand, or even try to understand, how much pain I'm in when I cry every time he tries to hold me? Someone else mentioned how the pain is unexplainable. That is so true. It is just so deep inside of me, like he stabbed my heart and soul.
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CrippledLamb
I think that I, like many, have tried about every strategy possible to touch that nerve in my WS that says, "This isn't just some hurt feelings. It's a problem, and it needs to be addressed."  A pattern that I've noticed is that when I press for addressing the problem, I am met with a very cold, apathetic response.  On the other hand, if I am able to set the pain aside in some situations and act as though nothing is lingering over our heads, sometimes I see a bit of the guilt my WS feels. I would be thrilled if just feeling a little guilt was all it took for my WS to take action and do the work, but it usually isn't. Beyond that, recognizing that the work isn't being done turns on my instinct to push on the gas pedal and try to force the work to be done - which could be the root of the frustration and the driving force in an endless cycle of trying to explain the need for action>resistance>guilt>need for action...
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Hope4Healing
I don't think there is anything anyone CAN say or do that will make them understand what they have done until they are in a place themselves to accept the enormity of their actions, if they ever do.  

My situation was somewhat different in that this was an on again/off emotional affair that my husband had with my best friend over the course of about nine months.  I would find out they were in contact, it would stop and we'd deal with things and then I would find out it was happening again.  During the entire nine months whether he was in contact with her at that present moment or he wasn't, there were N
O WORDS IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE (or any other for that matter) that would have made him own up to the pain and hurt he was causing me.   And I know why that is.  Because for him to own up to the pain he was causing me, and to not do anything to fix what he was doing, would make him look like a bad person--to himself and anyone else that knew about what was happening.  

Actually, his response to the last "episode" was how I was satisfied that this time it was over for good in December.   That is the last time they were in contact and I found out about it on Christmas Eve.  His reaction this time was unlike any of the other times.  He sobbed, he begged, he pleaded with me not to leave him.  I could FEEL that he was truly sorry for what he  had done.  That he finally knew that even though it was just text messages and phone calls to him, that it was destroying our marriage and me too.  

Once they finally do "get it" and realize the extent of the pain their actions caused, along with that comes the enormous sense of guilt.  At times I felt myself starting to feel sorry for him, and HIS pain, wanting to comfort him.  I can empathize with him because he is my husband, I love him and he is hurting, and that hurts me, but I choose to remember that HE chose this path for us, me and him.  Had I been given a choice of paths, this is not the one I would have chosen, but walk it we must.
Hope4Healing
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TimT
I've been reading the book Scary Close by Donald Miller. (By the way, it's a great book to give a man who may have SOME curiosity in regard to learning how to be more authentic, connected, vulnerable. Miller writes in a way that is very accessible.)

Here are a couple quotes that apply to the discussion in this thread:

"I have no idea why one person can be handed a tragic past and become healthy and selfless while another amplifies their pain into the lives of others. Almost without exception the most beautiful, selfless people I’ve met are ones who’ve experienced personal tragedy. They remind me of the trees I occasionally stumble across in the Columbia River Gorge, the ones that got started under boulders and wound slowly around the rock face to find an alternative route to the sun. What’s harder for me to admit, though, is there are also people who’ve become the very rocks that hindered them. And perhaps there is redemption for these people and perhaps there is hope, but this doesn’t change the fact they are not safe. I only say this because a positive evolution happened in my life when I realized healthy relationships happen best between healthy people."

"All the people I’ve met who’ve really changed from unhealthy to healthy have a story, a story about hitting bottom, realizing what they were doing wrong, and radically changing the way they live so they don’t repeat their mistakes."
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HonestWife




Omg. This is my marriage.
He's not doing the work yet he does a few things, so I push and then he pulls back. It's exhausting but I seem to not be able to expect more from him. I can't set aside my pain. This is so hard.

CrippledLamb wrote:
I think that I, like many, have tried about every strategy possible to touch that nerve in my WS that says, "This isn't just some hurt feelings. It's a problem, and it needs to be addressed."  A pattern that I've noticed is that when I press for addressing the problem, I am met with a very cold, apathetic response.  On the other hand, if I am able to set the pain aside in some situations and act as though nothing is lingering over our heads, sometimes I see a bit of the guilt my WS feels. I would be thrilled if just feeling a little guilt was all it took for my WS to take action and do the work, but it usually isn't. Beyond that, recognizing that the work isn't being done turns on my instinct to push on the gas pedal and try to force the work to be done - which could be the root of the frustration and the driving force in an endless cycle of trying to explain the need for action>resistance>guilt>need for action...
Trying to make marriage work after my husband's 15 years of affairs. Just found out. Currently in house separation.
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