..I've already realized that my husband withdrawals when I'm talking about how the affairs have effected me. So I've been trying to deal with it more with myself and God. I get that if my husband is really going to work on himself that right now he can't emotionally deal with that and my pain. I've discovered if I'm loving he is loving back, if I'm distant he is distant also. I had asked him to take the lead and show me he loves me, but he hasn't, which has upset me more.
Is it ok for me to ease up on him and let him work through his stuff and not really expect him to help me heal for now? Is that enabling him to stay disconnected or is it being a loving, supportive wife, who is trying to help her husband in the long run?
Is there anything I can do to help him reconnect with me?
You've gained some powerful insights, Shayla. You're probably right about what keeps him stuck.
Of course, it is a bit unfair that HE had the affair but YOU are having to give him space to figure some stuff out. In my opinion, any spouse in your position has two healthy choices: SEPARATION or SACRIFICE. As you've already noted, trying to REQUIRE him to react in a certain way may work (temporarily) to evoke certain behaviors, but will never change the emotions behind them. So placing demands on him will likely become a barrier to the rebuilding of genuine intimacy.
So, you have every right to separate (emotionally or physically) from a partner who has betrayed you and is not able/willing to do those things that help bring you relief and comfort. In my opinion, there is no obligation to stay. Whether the separation is temporary or permanent, the betrayed spouse establishes appropriate boundaries that protect him/her from ongoing hurt while the unfaithful spouse considers what their next moves will be. This is a FAR BETTER choice than staying in the relationship with a "you better change right now!" attitude.
The choice you seem to be making is also a valid one, but it is the choice of sacrifice. You are demonstrating the willingness to stay with the man who wounded you deeply without expectation for immediate fixes because you are aware of his need to figure some things out. In the meantime, you don't get what you want/need from him. And for most, this time of sacrifice should have its limits; eventually, you need to see evidence of the shifts in him that lead him to real sorrow and vulnerability. That's when healing will be experienced by both of you at a much deeper level.
I've attached an article that may be of interest (Emotionally Distant Husbands). Even though it's not specifically addressing post-affair situations, there are still some good points to be made. He makes a lot of points in the article, but then suggest these two steps for wives married to a man like this:
You might also look at Robin's recent post, talking about why she took an empathetic approach to understanding her husband after his affair: http://community.affairhealing.com/post/show_single_post?pid=1288104084&postcount=33
- Quit assuming responsibility for your spouse’s imperfections. He may well say, “You make me this way with your constant [nagging, whining, whatever].” That’s not true, even though he may think it is. He would be acting the same way if he were married to someone else.
- Ease up on your persuasive efforts to convince your mate to fit your mold. Coercion will only make the problem worse. This is hard to do when you desperately want change.