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ThrivenotSurvive
Finding a place of peace is not running away.  It is removing distractions so that you can find the answers within yourself that you need.  I think your nervous system and heart would welcome it.

And I think if he is just showing signs of really beginning to look within, the truth talk is inadvisable.  It took my husband 6-12 months of serious self-reflection to slowly, bit by bit, unravel his REAL reasons for the choices he made (that had little to do with me) and to grow the kind of emotional maturity that it requires to not get defensive when talking about how badly he'd let me and our daughter down.  Before he could apologize with empathy without expectations of forgiveness.   These are the changes that you need to see to have any hope.  

These are not skills or insights gained overnight.  While emotional intelligence should have been learned in childhood/early adulthood, in my experience most people don't.  Why your husband didn't do this soul searching after your first DD is... well, a good question to ask.  

But I think some quiet time away is what you need.  If he goes off the rails - he's told you invaluable information - that nothing has changed.  But more importantly, I think you are realizing that this 10 years of stress and anxiety and having to monitor another GROWN adult has taken you outside of yourself.  You are more invested in his choices than in your own.  In what is happening in his life, than your own.  

It's time to take back your power.  You need to get out of his head - and in your own (which you are clearly trying to do.)   Figure out who you are, what you want and IF he is a part of that.  The answers may surprise you.  

And even if you do decide to leave - it does NOT invalidate the time you have been together.   That time was real and valuable.  But just because it was ONCE right, does not mean that it is still true today.  The only person who gets to decide that is you.
BS - Female
Married 27 years, one adult child
DD May 2016

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” - V Frankl
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hurting
It’s truly a difficult position to be in, and I still find it hard to answer at times what made me go back. We are still together and working on things 20 months out. Things are better (though had a rough one last night with tears again).

I think the reason I went back each time was that honestly, I wanted to. For me. I wasn’t quite ready to let go (this is a terrible answer isn’t it?) and (I’m not sure if you’re religious) but there were times when I felt like god was saying to me ‘do you really want to go?’ 

Each time, I would think hmm not yet. I’ll give it another month. I was never fully on board and thinking ‘I’m going to do whatever it takes to save this marriage’. It was more about if/when I couldn’t take it any more and wanted things to END. It was less about me being desperate to save the marriage at any cost, and more about it would be worth my while to stay and see how things go. 

At the same time, I saw potential. I saw that this could be a chance for us to have a BETTER marriage. I had no interest in returning to what things were like (so more cheating and lies and gaslighting can happen? No thanks!) but I had a glimmer of hope that perhaps there was a small chance that we could learn and grow from this into something better. The real question though, is at what cost? It wasn’t certain that we could improve and I had already been forced to pay such a very high price...

I think in the end, that’s what it is quite hard to realise in the midst of all that pain and anger and fear. We have just lost everything, so we can’t see it. But after something like this? The ball is in your court. You don’t have to stay. You get to decide IF you want to, and what would make you leave. You are now in a position of power, though it’s awful and scary.

In the first month or two was when just about everything was trickle truth. I walked out on d-day, with no intention of returning. I had no idea what I wanted to do at that point, I just needed to get away from him. Although I returned to get my things now and then, I did not return to stay there for about a month. 

Thereafter when I found out about yet another lie, I would leave again, and the process would repeat. I guess for me, I felt like by leaving, I was taking part in the ‘I am doing what I said I would’ thing. My WS wrote the whole ‘contract’ thing. He did something he swore he wouldn’t do again on that- but swore up and down that he hadn’t and resigned it to prove a point. Can you guess how much I believe him now when he says he’s ‘telling the truth’ about anything? Words. Completely unreliable and useless to me.

I wish I had focused more on my own healing, rather than making a lot of my healing reliant upon him. I think it would’ve been a lot healthier and better for me. I did do it in some ways, and ultimately I know the answer to those questions I asked you above. I’m only here to try and give him a chance IF he is all in. I’m not here for things to go back to what they were. I’m not here for an average or ‘ok’ marriage. I’m here only if he is putting in the work to make this a great marriage. If he isn’t, or I feel that he does not try to keep me safe (key thing here), then I’m out. 

There are some things that I needed to ‘feel safe’. I put these to him (new number, deleted all social media accounts and emails, unlocked phone, computer, porn blockers on computer etc which I can access at ANY TIME whenever I want), no business trips, or going out at night etc.) these are not going to prevent him from cheating if he wishes to, but I needed them to feel safer. I also needed to see that he was willing to give these things up in order to try to make me feel safer. I also requested that he sign a post nuptial agreement- one that says that if we separate for ANY reason, then I get 70% of everything. Why? Again, I needed to see him willing to commit to something that legally has real life consequences. By signing such a thing, he had to acknowledge that I could file for divorce before the ink was dry on our post nup and take it all. It was part of seeing and acknowledging that I had every reason to walk away, even more so now, and that if he ever makes me unsafe again, I will and there ARE consequences.  He needed to see that I was taking a MASSIVE risk by even contemplating giving him a chance. I needed HIM to also take on potential consequences for his poor choices. I needed him to take the risk that I could be manipulating him and literally just waiting for him to sign so I could leave and take the majority of what we owned. I didn’t of course, and that was not my intention. But it could’ve been, and that’s exactly what his lawyer had to advise him of. It served to help me feel like we were in some small way, levelling the playing field of risk, being unsafe and consequence. 

Take some time out for yourself. It’s HARD, but you’re right. He will do what he will whether you are watching or not. I do feel a big part of what you have described is that your WS is comfortable knowing that you ARE all in and wanting to fix this. So there’s the question again- ARE YOU? Only you can answer that. But if you aren’t, I think you need to make that very clear to him. Again, both in words and actions. Tell him, then do the 180 and focus on yourself. Take time out for yourself. Leave and go away on your retreat. And when you come back, continue to look after yourself as the priority. That isn’t running away. At all. Please don’t think of it as that. It’s actually being brave enough to step away from what he has made your marriage into, and acknowledge that what you thought you had is gone. It’s taking a big breath and setting foot on a new, different and scary path of looking after YOU as a priority rather than keeping him and your marriage as your priority.

That’s what I wish I had done.
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HangingOn
You do that Truth Talk when you are ready... it's your timeline to control.
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