I feel that I am stuck here. Not so much about the past, but about the future. When going to bed I envision scenarios in which my WH will cross boundaries again and how I will react. For example, I've asked him not to give his number/text to any woman I don't know and am not friends with (this has caused major issues in the past, but I think at this point he understands it is a consequence of his lack of boundaries throughout our entire M). So I imagine that he does this and is "chatting" with a co-worker (as he doesn't go anywhere except work without me), and is keeping it a secret. I run through this in my head! Finding out and how I would react! I know this isn't healthy and I tell myself to stop, but for the life of me...it just continues...and keeps me up at night! Unfortunately for me I have a very good active imagination and can create elaborate dialogue that includes feelings!
I know that it is up to me to stop thinking like this, but that really isn't helpful in the moment. As I said, I can be very detailed and can feel the pain of it. I believe that part of it is that I am still not at the place of trust with him and able to be vulnerable. As in, I don't think I can let my defenses down yet. And of course, he feels this. I go through the motions of being there and interacting, and trying to be more intimate, but that closeness we used to have is no longer there, and I feel it might never return.
Just wondering if other BS's have gone through this and what helped you through? I don't think I will ever be able to trust him fully, though I do believe he would never cheat again, I don't believe that he will be able to keep up boundaries because I think he still thinks it's no big deal to give his number to his co-workers and chat a bit, as long as he doesn't cross lines. For me, right now, I don't feel comfortable with him sharing his number.
Am I out of line here? Do I need to let him do what he wants in this regard? Or am I still justified? To be clear, I'm not saying that he isn't "allowed" to talk to women. Of course he can't navigate the world without interacting with women. I just don't feel comfortable with him having their number and texting women I don't know.
Anyway, advice is welcomed and appreciated.
20 comments posted: Tuesday, January 30th, 2024
Ultimatums vs. Boundaries
There are already posts on this here but I have a specific question.
For context (and those that don't know my story), my WH's A created (allegedly since there has been no paternity test) an OC.
After I had processed some of this I informed WH that I would not stand in the way of him having a relationship with OC if that is what he wanted, but it could not be with me by his side. For me, I knew that I could not accept a daily reminder of the worst thing that had ever happened to me, perpetrated on purpose by the one person that was supposed to have my back and supposed to protect me no matter what. I did not see it as an ultimatum of "it's me or OC". However, this is exactly how WH saw it then, and sees it now. He flat out told me that I had given him an "ultimatum".
I know it might be semantics, but, it is grating on me that he feels this way when for me, I was simply trying to protect myself, and by extension, an innocent child. I know that I would never willfully hurt a child but I know that I could not completely hide my resentment. That would not be fair to me or the OC.
Is this something that I just need to let go of? To accept that it was an ultimatum? Or continue to feel as I do now, that it was a boundary I set for my own well being, health, and safety?
39 comments posted: Wednesday, November 15th, 2023
This is a long one, so, if you'd rather not take the time, I totally understand! I tend to be wordy, so I apologize in advance if this could have been stated shorter.
Anyway, I had decided that if I was going to continue to R, that I had to put both feet in and work on my side of the relationship. Start on all those leaky faucets if you will. So, I did! I began with the thought that I would try and make his life easier, or try to do something every day to make him smile, or ease any stress. Things from small to large. He had expressed to me that he felt as though he wasn't worth the effort of one or two more hours of cleaning the house. (His mother kept a spotless house and I'm more comfortable in clutter). So, I set a reminder on my calendar for every Mon. to "vacuum". When it goes off it reminds me to not only vacuum, but to more deeply clean the bathroom, mop, and clear out any large clutter. Additionally, I make sure to try and keep the clutter to a minimum (though the kids don't help) and sweep every day. Also dusting, and even a few times, cleaning the baseboards as I know he takes particular notice of this.
I also cleaned up the pantry and bought bins to put things in so that it looks more organized when he goes in there, as he has also said he doesn't like to see it so chaotic (he has some OCD). I bought him some bins for his vegetables and fruits to put in the fridge so nobody else touches them (I even cut up the veggies and fruits for him sometimes). Since he has complained in the past that I don't suggest things for us to do, I took that on as well. He wanted to go see the King Tut exhibit so I got tickets and made an evening of it. We went to the museum and then to a nice Italian restaurant (his favorite) afterwards. It was lovely. I also booked a 3 day vacay at the beach (which he loves but I don't particularly care for, but this was for him). All this to say that I stepped up and was putting in a LOT of effort.
Unfortunately, I didn't feel like he was putting in equal effort (more on that later). My therapist said that I should also suggest doing things I want to do, things I enjoy, not just him, even if it pushes him out of his comfort zone. The next Sunday I had suggested we go to a steak house, since he slept most of the day (he works overnight). On the way he asked if I had suggested the steak house because I wanted to go, or because it was something I thought he wanted. That we could go somewhere else if I wanted to. I did want to go to the steak house as I enjoy steak and we hadn't been in a few months. But, I found his suggestion encouraging for doing something I wanted to do, so, during dinner, I said "I thought we could go to the flee market next Sunday." He said nothing, neither yay or nay.
Next Sunday when I woke up he asked what the plan was for the day, I reminded him about the flee market and he said he had forgotten. Anyway, he didn't go to bed until 11:30 so I knew then we wouldn't be going since it was 50 min.s away and closed at 6pm. I was right, he woke up around 6:15pm. He looked oh so sad when he said, "I overslept didn't I? Can we still go?" I said no since it closed at 6. He said how sorry he was for oversleeping, gave me a sideways hug and that was it. I didn't even know he had gone back to bed, he didn't tell me.
He slept till I went to bed at 10pm. He went upstairs and I tried to sleep. but of course I couldn't. So I just started to cry. He must have heard me and came in asking what was wrong I told him that I felt as if I wasn't worth the effort of getting up etc. There was a lot of back and forth and in there he said:
I didn't know it was so important.
You didn't tell me it was a big deal.
If you really wanted to go, you could have woken me up earlier.
You didn't even ask me if I wanted to go.
Don't you think you're overreacting?
I'm sorry you felt that way.
You need to know that I'm getting old and it's hard for me to wake up early, I need more sleep.
I don't like setting an alarm because then that's all I think about and I can't sleep.
You ARE worth it.
I bought you something, it's coming tomorrow (with that shit eating little boy look as if he'd done something wonderful/buying me things is his go-to)
You get the drift. In the middle of that I told him how I had begun to step up and do things for him to show how much I care about him, and he couldn't do this one thing. His response? "I didn't ask you to do that."
When he threw out the "Don't you think you're overreacting?" I just shut down and was done with the conversation. I lay back down. He said a lame sorry and left. The next week wasn't great. I wasn't angry, I was just so sad and disappointed. Here I was trying so hard, and he couldn't do one thing! And the DARVO! I just kept thinking that the only thing that had changed from pre A! was that the DARVO wasn't as harsh, but it was still there!
I kept cleaning, it actually helped me to work through what I was feeling and I was accomplishing something, instead of just sitting in my depression. I did a LOT of cleaning. One morning I was in our master bath in the small toilet room and wiping down the baseboards. It was about 10:30, so I didn't think WS would be going to bed that early, but, he came in and asked what I was doing. I told him "just cleaning the baseboards". I finished up and went to leave so he could go to sleep. He stopped me and asked why I was cleaning. I was honest and said that it helped me work through my feelings. He said that it seemed that I was doing the passive aggressive cleaning I used to do. And I will admit that that was a thing I did. I said no, I wasn't being passive aggressive. He asked if I wanted to talk. I said no, because I didn't at that time. Honestly didn't think it would change much of anything. Maybe I was a dick to leave it like that, but I had decided that I was going to focus on myself and doing things that made me feel better. So I left.
That evening when he woke up to go to work I told him that I didn't want to argue, and that I wasn't trying to punish him with my "cleaning". It wasn't Passive Aggressive. I told him that I knew in the past I had done that, but, that it was in anger and I would make a LOT of noise because the point was to make him SEE that I was angry. That wasn't the case this time. And before anyone aske "are you sure?". Yes, I am. When I said I did a LOT of cleaning, I meant it! The only cleaning he saw was the baseboards, and washing dishes of course, but I do that every day, sometimes more than once or twice a day. I told him that it wasn't necessarily about him, it was me working through my thoughts and feelings. He said he understood, but later told me he didn't. I guess I'm not a good communicator then.
The next morning when he was going to bed he asked if I wanted to talk. I did say there wasn't really anything to talk about. He said we should since we know that letting things hang without talking is not good. I reluctantly agreed.
I reiterated that I felt he had dismissed my feelings and I was disappointed and sad that he had accused me of overreacting. He said he hadn't done that, so, I reminded him that he had said "Don't you think you're overreacting?" to which he pushed back saying that it had been a genuine question! I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't realize it was gaslighting until days afterwards. I did tell him that that was bullshit and he knew it, he kept trying to say he meant it but I just rolled my eyes and didn't let him pressure me into letting it go. Finally he stopped trying to convince me. He said that he had an issue with remembering things and that I knew that, and that it wasn't just him because look at all those memes about husbands who forget things, to which I countered that the underlying theme was that it was because it wasn't important enough to them to remember. He acknowledged that was true, but that it was a meme for a reason. I let that one go because I honestly didn't have the bandwidth to argue with that stupidity.
He again said that I had to remember he couldn't just wake up like he used to, that he was old now, to which I reminded him that I had NEVER asked him to do that before (except for when I took him to the King Tut thing, and that was for him), and that when he woke up early on Sunday it was because HE wanted/needed to go/do something! He acknowledged that too. (Honestly it was just a lot of excuses). He asked if I could help him in the future to remember these things, and I told him that honestly, I wasn't even sure if I would ever try again. He said that was disappointing and I agreed that it was. I said that it was difficult to plan things because he works nights and really only has Sunday and Monday to do things and Mondays are family night. He said that if he moves to days, we'd be losing money, about $200-$300 a month. I said I could get a job to make up for it but he said that that would cause other complications, plus, there were other reasons he wanted to work nights (uh-huh, so in other words, it isn't about the money). And he said that he knows I'm much happier not working EXCUSES!!
He did finally give an actual apology and I told him that I appreciated that. He again said that I was worth it, but, I have yet to see that play out in real action. Needless to say, that conversation didn't leave me with any more belief in him than before. I know that he is going to continue to get defensive every time I bring something up and I'm just so fucking tired of it. Even my therapist said that I should "help" him! When the hell do I get help? When the hell does he have to take responsibility for his own actions or inactions? Why do I have to hold his hand? He's not a toddler! He's a grown ass man!
So, I am now putting in as much effort as he does. Apparently he DOES NOT think about me and what he can do to make MY life easier, so, why should I? And that puts us right back to where we were pre A. Wonderful!
I'm not ready to leave, I don't have a job and if I do leave, I'll lose my health insurance. I need that. I have type 2 diabetes and have already been hospitalized twice, once, I was very near death. I can't afford to lose it. Ugh! I'm going to have to concentrate on just living my life. I mean, I pretty much do now anyway. Like I said, he's only available some of Sundays and most of Mondays, otherwise, I'm just doing whatever on my own the rest of the week! I go see my daughter, go shopping, to the library, run errands. Fuck, I'm going to take myself to the Flee Market next Saturday because I honestly don't even want to go with him anymore but I still want to go. And, it's back to him "deciding" what we do. Mind you, this doesn't entail any actual planning like I did, nope, it's just, "let's go to the mall" "let's go to the movies" "let's go to Nan's"...You get the picture.
Sadly, I also made a realization the other day, and I can't believe it took me so long to see it this way, but now I can't unsee it. I don't know how many of you have experience with the military but WH was in for almost 30 years. In that time he went on several deployments that were usually for 6 months. Of course this happens to most service members. For many, reintegrating into the family after a deployment was difficult for many reasons. I used to be so proud that we NEVER had an issue reintegrating WH on his return. And it fucking hit me last week! Seriously, only LAST WEEK! We never had an issue because our lives didn't change in any integral way when he left! I didn't have to pick up the slack on things because he didn't DO Anything in the household! Literally NOTHING! He went to work, came home and played video games! The kids lives didn't change much either since he had nothing to do with them that they would miss him for! I took care of the house, the cleaning, the cooking, running errands, paying the bills, saving, being a chauffer, appointments (including his), etc. etc. etc.!!! In fact, our lives got easier when he wasn't there! The kids weren't getting yelled at because they didn't pick up their socks! I didn't have to cater to him and his whims. It was peaceful! Now, I'm not saying that I hated when he came home, he wasn't an ogre. We were always happy when he came home, but yeah, there was nothing to reintegrate because there wasn't anything that he did that we had to pick up the slack on when he left.
I feel so stupid for this!
All this to say what? Well shit, I don't know. I just needed to get it out. I will be going to my next therapy appointment this coming week and letting her know that no, I will not hold his hand any longer! I'm jumping off the bus and he can sink or swim on his own. (mixed metaphors there, sorry). So yeah, go ahead, tell me how stupid I've been and continue to be! This doesn't seem to be worth the effort.
8 comments posted: Thursday, October 5th, 2023
Way to run into the point and completely miss it...a vent.
I have learned a LOT about Emotional Labor since Dday. I have discussed with my WH how he has made me feel that what I have done for our entire M was not as valuable as what he has done. He has taken care of us financially, and, well, I've done everything else! When I had this discussion and listed many of the things I did, he said that it sounded like I was regurgitating someone else's words I read online! And that yes, there were times when he felt that I wasn't pulling my weight in the M. When questioned further, apparently me not "carrying my weight" meant that I wasn't cleaning the house to his satisfaction. His mother is a cleaner, hardly ever just sits and relaxes. Her house is immaculate and she has a lot of rules on what you can/can't do etc. Which is fine, her house her rules, I always abide when there and always make my kids follow them too. But, I'm not his mom and I'm not going to spend my entire day cleaning!
Note: I have NEVER made him live in filth. Yes, my house is cluttered, but very lived in and again, not filthy!
Anyhow, it's a sticking point (my emotional labor that goes unnoticed let alone acknowledged and respected). If I wasn't making money, apparently I was just sitting home playing video games all day (according to him). Since Dday he has said he should have acknowledged my contribution, however, he still doesn't believe what I have done is as valuable as him bringing in money.
I could list here everything I've done but I'm sure you all know what it takes to run a household, and just a reminder, I have 5 kids!
Now, onto the point: WH has decided to follow this weird diet that is supposed to make him lose weight. So, he was putting together his snacks/lunch for work and commented on how it takes 30min.s of work for only a few minutes of eating pleasure. I responded with, "Welcome to my world. I do that every day, and some days I don't even eat what I make." I'm diabetic so sometimes I just make something else for myself, not dissing on my family, I choose what to make for dinner. His response was, "Not me!"
Anyway, I guess I wanted him to acknowledge all of the labor I put in to take care of our family (which still includes him and he should be so grateful). So, it was a let down that he didn't say anything of the sort. Maybe I'm expecting too much, but I don't think so. I do expect to have another conversation at a later date about my "emotional labor" and its invisibility but importance. I mean, does he think the food magically appears in the fridge? And the bug guys just show up whenever we need them because the fairy reminded them? Bills just take care of themselves? All he has to worry about is going to work and coming home, nothing else. He even has his own "mad money" account that, you guessed it, I deposit money into every month!
Sooo, thanks for letting me vent about this very real resentment I have over the value of my work as a SAHM! Which by the way, I was because we followed him around the world as he was in the military. Really hard to have a career when you move every 4 years. Not that I'm really complaining about being a SAHM, it's what I wanted to be growing up, but now, after having to rely on him financially, I feel really stupid to have believed him when he said he would take care of me!
13 comments posted: Thursday, June 15th, 2023
Need help with a delicate conversation
In a discussion WH and I had last week he said that he felt that if he disappeared nobody would notice. That he felt that he was nothing but a bank for all of us.
How do I tell him that this was mostly by his own design?
He has NEVER attempted to connect with the children on more than a superficial level. If they wanted to buy something they knew to go to him because he would usually just say yes, while I might not because I am the keeper of the budget. However, for everything else, they came to me. We have 5 children ranging in ages between 32 and 17. Each of them at some point in their childhood stopped asking him to come to their activities because they knew he would make excuses as to why he couldn't come. They all knew that there was no point in asking him to do anything that he didn't want to do. Even now we don't usually ask him if he wants to play boardgames because he'll say no, that he'd rather play his computer game.
He also made it clear that in his mind, taking care of me and the kids financially was all he needed to do. When I told him that he should be making more of an effort with the kids, he said he was fine with me having a good relationship with them and me being the intermediary. He didn't/doesn't make an effort to strengthen his relationships with them. Now, he is beginning to see the ramifications of that, but apparently doesn't see how he caused it.
They see him as just a bank because that's what he taught them. That's what he taught me too. That I should be grateful he wasn't out and about, that he was home, that he provided for us. That it should be enough for us, while expecting me to meet all of his other needs, even though he didn't care about mine. Yes, he's gotten better, and I think because of the work he's done so far, he can now see how disconnected he actually is from the family as a whole. But apparently he still doesn't see that it is because of him and his actions.
I worked hard to make and keep my connections with my children and it has not always been easy. In fact it has been pretty difficult (did I mention I have 5 kids) to keep it up. I've also recently began to work on my relationship with my mother because she is now alone and I know that it is comforting for her to have me more in her life again. All of this is WORK.
So, how do I say these things to him without having him get defensive? How do I do it without sounding accusatory? I don't want him to shut down, especially when I am basically telling him that yes, he is mostly not much more than a bank. Of course we all love him, but he's right, if he disappeared, we'd be OK without him because like I said, he is incredibly disconnected emotionally with us all.
Edited for grammar and punctuation.
60 comments posted: Friday, April 14th, 2023
Permanent or is there hope?
So, I've planted both feet into reconciliation and decided to work towards that.
Here's my issue of the moment: Everything my WH does annoys me! I get angry at things he does, or says. I know sometimes it's an overreaction on my part, but others...I just don't know. Is this something that happened to others? DD was 4 years ago but "removal of WH head from ass" was only 2 years ago. I try not to let it get to me, but I have to wonder if perhaps this was a dealbreaker for me and that's why I get angry. Since DD I have learned that I was in an essentially abusive relationship. I didn't realize it at the time but he would DARVO me almost every time I brought up something about how he made me feel, or how he hurt me in what he said or did. I understand now that it was a defensive mechanism so that he didn't have to deal with it and to shut me up.
Anyhow, I have learned to stand up for myself now and do not let him get away with it. He still stumbles in this but he is working on it and I can see improvement. I wonder if I am holding on to resentment about the past and his treatment of me. He has also said that when we discuss these things, he feels like nothing he does puts aside the past so we can move forward. I don't know how else I can tell him that just because he apologizes once, or twice, it doesn't erase the thousands of times he treated me badly.
Any advice would be appreciated, as this is not the kind of relationship I want.
11 comments posted: Monday, November 28th, 2022
Does anyone have any recommendations for a good book on learning how to be empathetic? The ones I've found seem to be geared more towards those who are already empathetic and want to learn how to use it better.
2 comments posted: Friday, April 17th, 2020