Welcome to SI. Good for you for taking the plunge and starting to post. I know how scary that can feel.
BTW, I am a BS who is happily reconciled with my fWS. I hope that it is okay for me to post.
What you've described is 100% a struggle that existed between my husband and I when we were about where you are in R. Like, almost exactly. He would agree to bring it up more and then he wouldn't and so I would and would be resentful about the fact that he wouldn't and then we would argue about THAT instead of the actual A and he would associate conversations about the A with fighting and he'd be less likely to bring it up in the future and the cycle would self-perpetuate.
It has felt like such a mess trying to do the work to salvage the relationship because even at this point, I find it scary to actively put things on the table — even though she's specifically asked me to do so. She's been the one to do the heavy lifting during the R like unfortunately most BPs seem to end up doing. I hate that she’s had to carry me for so much of the road.
Good for you for acknowledging this. I hope you tell her this and thank her for her efforts often. Doing this is a great way to bring up the A, if there is not an obvious reason for doing so. I actually think bringing it up in a good moment is BETTER than waiting for a bad moment. Something like, "I love you honey and I am so grateful for you and your decision to stick with me. I appreciate all the work you've done to help us get to where we are right now." I promise you, this would go a long way.
Fairly recently we agreed (and I think I even suggested it) that I'd initiate conversations or "check-ins" with her approximately bi-weekly to take some load off of her and I genuinely meant to but then procrastinated on it because of pretty lame excuses like we're both busy with work and life in general, so "now’s not a good time". I ended up putting it off for a few weeks until she brought it up herself and expressed how she feels betrayed by me not following up on promises.
I get it, it can feel scary. My husband would always say that he was hesitant to bring it up when things FELT like they were going well because he didn't want to ruin a good moment, but I promise you, your wife, whether she is saying it out loud or not, is thinking about it. Maybe not in the same way she did in the first 6 months, but it's on her mind. It exists whether you talk about it or not, and so by bringing it up, you can actually begin to talk about the A in a way that isn't negative. Being able to do that was a major building block in R (and actually made these conversations easier).
Also, I should probably point out that you are in the process of trying to rebuild trust with this woman. As you are well-aware, that is a slow, difficult process. Want to know the most important part about building trust? Doing what you say you are going to do. Every time, no matter what, no matter what it is about. By saying you will bring this up and then failing to do so, you are demonstrating to her that you cannot necessarily be trusted to do what you say you are going to do, and right now, that is a real problem. The fact that it relates to the A in any way makes it way more loaded, because I assume you are also telling her that you will do XYZ if you run into the AP at the grocery store, or you are going to do XYZ if the pretty lady in accounting gets a little too familiar, and any number of things that will make her feel more secure and safe in the relationship. If you want her to feel comfortable with the bigger stuff, she needs to know that you are rock solid on the smaller stuff.
Want to know what my husband did? He would set a recurrent calendar appointment/reminder to bring it up. That sounds incredibly artificial, right? Maybe some BS would want it to feel more natural and spontaneous, but I know him and I know how his brain works and doing it this way worked. An alarm would go off on his phone and he would tell me and we would do it right then and there using prompts we'd talked about in MC or practiced together or stuff that came up over the week. The point was that HE was in charge of making sure it happened. Sometimes I'd put him off because it wasn't the time or I'd procrastinate it myself (and he would snooze the alarm, or even make a calendar appointment for the following evening ), but even if we didn't end up having a conversation about the A, I would feel good about it because he was being proactive and taking over the responsibility of it all and that was a lot of what mattered to me. Eventually doing it that way enough times made it feel natural enough that it didn't really feel necessary for him to have the alarm anymore.
Good luck and I hope you keep reading and posting.
[This message edited by emergent8 at 12:14 AM, Thursday, September 14th]