Baffled
Has anyone ever had a WS that openly says that they love you, is authentically caring when present, but is unable to move home?

This is my first time posting here.  I discovered this forum a few months ago, and am finally brave enough to seek some help and support.  My WS had an emotional affair, but a *strong* one back in 2013.  The affair started approximately in October, 2013.  I was clueless.  I actually had a lot of red flags, but I believed all his lies, as I had no reason not to.  He moved out of the house in November 2014.  I still was unaware of the emotional affair.  Because he had moved out, I was a mess, but I was committed.  We started marriage counseling right away.  We were in marriage counseling for two months, which obviously didn't work as he was still in the fog and still going strong in the affair, and I had my DDay as they call in January of 2015.  There is a bunch of mess in the middle, including the fog, a morning of re-contact with his AP, and finally absolutely establishing no contact with his AP since March of 2015.

That brings us to today.  He says that he is firmly committed.  I believe that he started working on our marriage after the affair due to obligation, in that it was the 'right' thing to do, but I believe that today he is really truly genuine about wanting our marriage to work.  The problem?  He's now been out of the house for over a year and a half.  I'm a mess.  Because of his work schedule in the medical field, I see him 2 or 3 times a week.  We do have almost nightly phone calls, but it's not the same as face time. I desperately want to be able to emotionally distance myself, so that I am not a mess all the time, but I feel like I am either completely distant, or I am completely emotionally invested.  I can't find a cool medium.  

Meanwhile, he is not home.  There have been many reasons.  Last fall, he simply said he was not ready.  This past February, after our Sunday School class started a series on discipline, he said he had been looking for the discipline to change in the wrong places.  Then in March and April, he said that he had such feelings of guilt, shame, and embarrassment, that it was overwhelming him, and the feelings were so strong that he couldn't bring himself to come home.  It continues to this day.  He renewed his apartment for another month just yesterday, and his words were, "I thought I could come home, but I just couldn't."

The end result is that we are now starting to creep up on 2 years separated, with a full year of an affair before that.  Can this even work?  My gut is what really got me to investigating in the first place, leading me to find out about the affair.  And now my gut is solid that he wants this marriage, and that he is genuine when he says he loves me, and wants to come home.  He just .... never does.  And then every month when he extends his stay in the apartment by another month, more of me dies.

Anyone been through something similar, and for so long?  Other pieces of the puzzle are that he is so gentle and caring when we are together.  He is hugging me, and tells me he loves me.  But, there are things that need to be worked on, and change hasn't come for those things either. He has started personal counseling, but stopped.  He saw Tim T actually as we are local.  But he stopped, and I feel I can't nag him into going.

I'm barely holding on, any advice would be welcome.  Thank you ....




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TimT
Baffled wrote:
...we are now starting to creep up on 2 years separated, with a full year of an affair before that. Can this even work? My gut is what really got me to investigating in the first place, leading me to find out about the affair. And now my gut is solid that he wants this marriage, and that he is genuine when he says he loves me, and wants to come home. He just .... never does. And then every month when he extends his stay in the apartment by another month, more of me dies...

I've seen many clients who are genuinely conflicted about their choice. As a betrayed spouse, you are often left to guess what's really going on because all you have to go on is the behavior you observe, what they tell you, or what you happen to discover through your own investigation. But all those together only give you a portion of the truth.

Bottom line: it is the BEHAVIOR of the unfaithful spouse that matter. If the betrayed spouse chooses to allow a time of grace in which their wayward partner works through their confusion, that is their choice and it may eventually lead to a satisfying outcome. 

You can give attention to your gut (intuition), but realize that it is neither infallible or all-knowing. My recommendation remains the same to all betrayed spouses: if they unfaithful spouse remains uncommitted to the marriage, no matter what reason they give for it, the betrayed spouse should be making no investment in relationship matters. You'll simply wear yourself out. And there are likely forces at work that you are not privy to.

Whether it is guilt/shame or longing for the affair partner or something else... the betrayed spouse must take full responsibility for the choices they are making. If you remain open to reconciliation,, you can communicate this, but you should remain completely uninvolved in relationship matters. Limit your interactions to "business-of-life" issues (paying bills, children responsibilities, coordinating schedules, etc.) but avoid any interactions about your relationship. This disconnection should continue until 2 questions are clearly answered (and shown to be true over a period of time):
  1. Are you single-minded in your intent to rebuild our marriage (no more confusion about the choice, no more contact with the affair partner, a clear focus on repairing the marriage)?
  2. Are you willing to take responsibility for doing what needs to be done to fix things (work on change, keep the marriage safe, focus on what THEY need to change)?
Don't jump at every hint of hope or declaration of change... back off and watch for a choice that lasts longer than a surge of momentary emotion in the betrayed partner. Focus on YOU getting healthy. And, at some point, if no clear choice is made, you may need to make your own choices regarding the outcome of your marriage.
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Fionarob
Baffled - my situation is slightly similar, although my husband never actually moved out.  But he did all the things your husband is doing. After the first DDay he was affectionate and loving, constantly reassured me that he wanted me and our marriage, even agreed to counselling, assured me the affair was over and there was no contact.  But all the time he was still having an affair, and I didn't know.

How do you know that your husband has had no contact with the AP if he doesn't live with you?  If he was genuinely committed to reconciling your marriage as you feel he is, how does he think he can achieve that if he isn't living with you?

I worked on my marriage and waited for my husband to commit for two and a half years.  In that time I discovered over and over again that he hadn't actually ended the affair.  Each time he promised it would be the last time and that he was 100% committed - he never was.  You can't do it by yourself, he needs to be there with you.  After waiting for so long I finally found the strength to walk away.  I could see my life slipping away in this constant pattern of lies and betrayal.  I didn't want to live like that anymore.  I finally felt like I deserved a much better life, with someone who respected me and the commitment I was putting in.

You cannot wait around forever and he can't keep making excuses as to why he isn't returning to the marriage.  You cannot fix anything whilst he is living elsewhere!  You need to decide how long you are willing to wait and stick to it.  You don' mention if you have children?  I don't think you should feel you are 'nagging' him to go to counselling either.  This should be something he is willing to do, and even suggesting himself rather than being taken by you.  If he is really genuine in his commitment to making your marriage work then he would be showing it in his behaviour. 
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