TimT Show full post »
Fionarob wrote:
...There is absolutely no way I would allow any contact with the affair partner whatsoever. Absolutely none. If I find out he is even texting her then our marriage is over. Because I know he will never reach a place of healing and committing to the marriage until the affair partner is out of our lives forever...
I absolutely believe there should be a firm measure/boundary that you determine you will not move beyond. You are in control of that boundary (able to move it one way or the other), but it provides a measure of what you have determined is necessary for your well-being. 

The only caution I generally offer to betrayed spouses is against declaring that boundary as an ultimatum because that known deadline may often evoke a temporary change to avoid a pending consequence. That is not the kind of change you can trust moving forward. You need to know that whatever shifts he makes back to you & the marriage are being motivated by his conviction that change is necessary. I've witnessed too many last minute changes that have unraveled after the pressure is removed.

The message from a betrayed spouse should be clear and firm: "Right now, I am open to being part of fixing this marriage. I know I have a part in that, too, but there are things I absolutely need from you in order to move back to connection and trust. [Insert expectations here: no contact w/ AP, commitment to rebuilding the marriage, etc.] There will come a point at which I will no longer be willing to work on 'us' and it will be too late for this marriage. I hope you figure out what you want before then."

By the way, an unfaithful spouse's declaration of "I want my marriage" may be sincere and the beginning of recovery, or it may simply be the most recent swing in the back-and-forth pendulum of indecision. The sincerity of that declaration will be evident with enough time to show that they stick to it.
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Tim - I agree with everything you say in response to my quote.  I particularly see that the unfaithful can seem sincere is agreeing to commit when put under pressure.....but this can quickly slide.  This is what my husband has been doing for 2 years.  Every time I found out the affair was on-going he would beg for another chance and promise never to contact her again.  He didn't keep any of those promises.  This 'last chance' I am giving him this time has to be different because I do not want to live this life anymore.

My main concern is that, once again, his agreeing to commit to the marriage has only come because he has been caught out again.  It was not a decision made by him, it was forced on him by me saying "I want you to leave - I have had enough."  I don't know if his thoughts and feelings are any different from all the other times.  Our counsellors have told him there is no way the marriage can be rebuilt whilst in contact with the affair partner, so that also has been forced upon him - to end the relationship and all contact.  I wonder what his motivation is or whether he is really 100% on board. 

For me there has to be a point at which I can finally say "no more" and my decision is that if he continues to contact her then I have to walk away.  I have not issued this ultimatum to him, but he knows that I am giving him this chance as the very last I can give.  He has had 8 chances before this.  In my mind, if he can't do it with the help the counsellors are giving us, then he will never be able to do it.

Do you think the fact that this has all been 'forced' upon him will mean he lacks the motivation to actually see it through?  Or is he still likely to reach the point he needs to get to in order for us to move forward?  He is mostly doing the right things, being transparent with 'phone, email etc.  but I can tell he resents it and this worries me.  He doesn't seem to want to do it, but is reluctantly doing it because he has been told to. 

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What is his plan? Ask him to demonstrate what he is going to do when the AP contacts him, or tries to.

Words are just that. If he can actively describe the steps he is taking to win you back and to wean himself off from her, then you can say he is on board and trying.

Otherwise it's a possibility it's just saying what you've wanted to hear.
. In my case, I completely became transparent with my wife, on my own. If my AP contacted me, I involved my wife when we crafted the response.
I blocked her on all accounts social, I blocked and black listed her number as spam, I gave access to my wife for all my accounts, social media accounts, telephone logs. I got rid of anything that reminded me of her too.
Most of all, I talked to my wife. I found out how she was doing, and I answered all questions, no matter how hard. I even confessed things to my wife that I wasn't prompted to, in order to clean up all the secrets.

You're both supposed to be in this together. There is no "minimum effective dose" here. This is about rebuilding trust, and your WS needs to be active in the recovery, not just by prodding.

Now, one thing my wife did was approach things from less than an emotional response. She took Paxil, which helped her dull the emotions. But it also helped her communicate with me. I think this was the most important thing. As stupid as it seems, I also needed to feel safe to come clean with her.
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