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Newest Member: LaSecondeFois

Wayward Side :
I really let my partner down

Topic is Sleeping.
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 RunningInCircles (original poster new member #83855) posted at 11:47 PM on Tuesday, September 12th, 2023

New-ish here on the forum but I honestly should have posted something a long time ago. It has felt difficult to come up with what exactly to write and to ask for help from strangers on the internet. But no time like the present to try and step it up, perhaps?

We are a little over 2 years into recovery after my EA with a former friend which was starting to turn physical and at which point I left my BP (she then found out about everything from the AP, confronted me about it and still for some reason took me back to try and work things out and so, here we are in R). 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.

We are in CC and I'm also doing IC but what's lacking is me not taking enough action at home in relation to this, e.g. to make time for discussions and to check in with her more frequently. 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'm not sure what my question here is but I'm clearly struggling with taking full responsibility of our healing. We are currently at a place where we genuinely feel like things are progressing at times (CC has felt useful to both of us) and are able to just spend time together seemingly happy without the A being in the centre of our relationship but at some point it starts to just turn into pain/conflict avoidance on my part – usually the only times we talk about things are our counselling sessions because it feels easier to have someone there to navigate the conversation.

I seem to have these clearer-headed moments where I'm actually able to focus on my partner's pain and needs but then I sometimes find my attention shifting back to myself and how overwhelming things feel and how sad I am etc. I do know it's so much worse for my BP and despite my best efforts (which haven't been that great) I still sometimes struggle with quieting my own emotional responses during conversations and get easily overwhelmed by everything. She's had to be so tough during all this but we're both a bit lost. She needs me to be soothing and reliable, to make room for her pain and be truthful and not retreat into myself when the discussion gets "too hard". I just can't pin-point why I keep letting her down and how I'm still so driven by fear.

This is a long, scrambly wall of text and I apologise for not being super articulate. I find myself overthinking and adding more and more stuff here but I think I just need to stick with one version to get anything out there in the first place.

Truly any outside perspective would be much appreciated as to how to fix the cycle of not being able to show up when it counts. I/we plan on talking this through with our therapist next week but I think it's also time I relied on the collective wisdom and insight of you guys. Thank you in advance.

posts: 2   ·   registered: Sep. 11th, 2023
id 8807561
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Abcd89 ( member #82960) posted at 8:57 AM on Wednesday, September 13th, 2023

BS here. - didn’t see a stop sign.

What is your fear? You say you are driven by fear still.

Why did you find it hard to write on here. What was your worry?

If you are overwhelmed ask for a time out. Do you tell her what is going on in your head when you get overwhelmed.

You kept secrets when you cheated. That’s a problem for her. You need to talk.

Set a reminder on your phone to check in and make yourself do it. You need to make it a habit. ‘How you feeling today?’ I find talking in percentages helps.

Do you worry that you will make her remember? Do you think you talking about it will make it worse (it won’t on either counts). I watch my husband and listen very carefully, I won’t tolerate any nonsense now and i call him out. But I am watching and listening to make sure he’s doing the work and not Rug sweeping/ avoiding etc.

The comfortable seem to be happy times together - although you may feel happy. Does she feel happy?

Thoughts of what my husband did are in my mind all the time. Recently i don’t think about it the second I wake up - which is an improvement. It reminded me of a death, you wake up and for a split second you forget- then you remember. She may still feel that way. Do you know?

Gottmans work helped - it may not be for everyone but it helped us.

posts: 62   ·   registered: Feb. 27th, 2023
id 8807587
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InkHulk ( member #80400) posted at 12:26 PM on Wednesday, September 13th, 2023

BS here. Welcome to SI, thanks for bravely reaching out and admitting to some hard stuff. What you wrote has strong parallels with my story, kind of grabbed my attention.

You are going to hear some difficult words here, especially with the stop sign turned off. I encourage you to keep doing doing this brave thing you started, post, share, listen. There is much to be gained and I hear in you a desire to grow and better support your BP. Hoping for the best for you.

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. - Max Plank

posts: 1199   ·   registered: Jun. 28th, 2022
id 8807598
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emergent8 ( Guide #58189) posted at 7:53 PM on Wednesday, September 13th, 2023

Hi RunningInCircles,

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 laugh ), 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]

Me: BS. Him: WS. Together 16 years.
D-Day: Feb 2017 (8 m PA with married COW).
6+ years (and two kids) into R. Happy.

posts: 1720   ·   registered: Apr. 7th, 2017
id 8807663
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Bulcy ( member #74034) posted at 10:15 PM on Wednesday, September 13th, 2023

Hi,

This is the second time tonight that I have thought that a post could have been posted by me. I am in a place very similar to you. Some days I do the work and others I do not. I focus too much on the things I am doing and neglect the others. Often the "others" are exactly what BS needs me to do. I've described it in the past as doing A B and C when you BS needs X Y and Z.

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.

This is so true for me. I admire the strength and courage my BS has in sticking with me. Repaying that faith with a few weeks of work and then slipping back into comfortable. Not doing the things I need to. This behaviour cannot continue, we need to be 100% all in...ALL of the time. Any sign of lack of effort from us WS will be perceived as lack of care. Look, we did not let things get in the way of our affair(s). For me, I neglected my BS, my home, my job some many aspect of my life were pushed aside for infidelity. By not showing similar dedication to recovery only reinforces my BS opinion that I treat her as less important.

Right now a switch needs to be made. We need to prioritise BS over EVERYTHING. This of course does not mean neglect others, you still need to focus on work for example. However our BS need to come before everything. Recovery needs to be the number one priority.

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.

Oh my! This really hit home. I've given every excuse under the sun for not bringing things up. Usually the excuse gets no further than the inside of my head and my BS is left in limbo not knowing what the fuck I'm thinking and feeling more and more isolated and neglected. I need to have a sign fitted in 6' letters saying "JUST FUCKING DO IT". Stop procrastinating and do what you need to do. (I feel a complete hypocrite saying that as I continue to fail in some of the most basic things)

I seem to have these clearer-headed moments where I'm actually able to focus on my partner's pain and needs but then I sometimes find my attention shifting back to myself and how overwhelming things feel and how sad I am etc. I do know it's so much worse for my BP and despite my best efforts (which haven't been that great) I still sometimes struggle with quieting my own emotional responses during conversations and get easily overwhelmed by everything. She's had to be so tough during all this but we're both a bit lost. She needs me to be soothing and reliable, to make room for her pain and be truthful and not retreat into myself when the discussion gets "too hard". I just can't pin-point why I keep letting her down and how I'm still so driven by fear.

I'm not entirely sure I have anything to add to what you know in this. As recently as three hours ago I was completely overwhelmed and flooded with negative emotions. Have you tried a time out when you get these? When done properly, they are very valuable.

Truly any outside perspective would be much appreciated as to how to fix the cycle of not being able to show up when it counts.

A tough one, I'm not there yet. I'm better than I was, but still have a lot of work to do. My only insight is something I read in my early days on SI. That is "Just do it". Fight any compulsion to avoid and just do it. It's hard and I really did not understand this simple advice. The urge to avoid is often overpowering. There is ALWAYS something that can be done instead, often something BS wants you to do. HOWEVER time still needs to be found to do what is needed. (again hypocrisy as I still fail to deliver)

Stock with the guys here. You'll get good advise. READ and FOLLOW the advise, I read and ignored most of it. I told myself that as I am reading SI then I'm no longer wayward and no longer a risk. WRONG.

Good luck on your journey.

WH (50's)

Multiple sexual, emotional and online affairs. Financial infidelity and emotional abuse. Physical abuse and intimidation.

D-days 2003, 2017, multiple d-days and TT through 2018 to 2023. 28 years of destructive and health damaging choice

posts: 342   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2020   ·   location: UK
id 8807681
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Bulcy ( member #74034) posted at 10:20 PM on Wednesday, September 13th, 2023

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.

THIS THIS THIS

WH (50's)

Multiple sexual, emotional and online affairs. Financial infidelity and emotional abuse. Physical abuse and intimidation.

D-days 2003, 2017, multiple d-days and TT through 2018 to 2023. 28 years of destructive and health damaging choice

posts: 342   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2020   ·   location: UK
id 8807683
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 RunningInCircles (original poster new member #83855) posted at 3:42 PM on Monday, September 18th, 2023

Thank you for your questions, thoughts and kind words. It took me a while to reply and sort out my thoughts into words but for once I set an actual deadline to get it done by today, so I wouldn't "forget". Later in the evening (we're probably in a vastly different time zone to a lot of you, lol) we will go through this thread with my partner and start our conversation there and also come up with a plan of what we want/need to talk about in our CC tomorrow. She doesn't have an account here but does visit regularly and is interested in seeing what I write, which I'm happy about.

To Abcd89:


What is your fear? You say you are driven by fear still.

Why did you find it hard to write on here. What was your worry?

If you are overwhelmed ask for a time out. Do you tell her what is going on in your head when you get overwhelmed.

I think my fear consists of multiple things really, I find it hard to let go of control in general, I fear I'll hurt my partner more by talking (which I know isn't true at all), I'm scared of losing her and ultimately it's just scary to keep facing the ugliest parts of yourself and the damage you've done to someone you say you love.
When I started IC about a year ago my therapist and I had to work on calming down my emotional responses a lot, since at first I could barely talk about anything because I just got too emotional and started crying. So, on some level I'd say I'm also scared of my feelings because sometimes they feel too much for me to manage, if that makes any sense. Still working on it though.

And my worry about writing here was definitely tangled up in that mess I just described, only mixed with the usual "what will people think of me" thing. I'm really insecure (quite common among us WSs, I think), so I spend way too much time obsessing over the impression or appearance I give. But this is bigger than that, so when I felt the situation got "serious enough", I got over myself.

I've talked about most of these things with my partner before and opening up isn't something I generally find to be a huge issue for me but it's definitely a good reminder to try and communicate better. With this particular thing I felt a sense of failure and guilt as the weeks started to go by but I still didn't bring up the topic and that was hard for me to articulate to her because I wanted to make it better instead of saying that I couldn't manage and somehow admit defeat. In hindsight, saying even that would've been so much better than nothing at all.

I also know that she does remember and that the A is on her mind even if we don't talk about it, so you're absolutely right on that – I'm selfishly protecting myself, not her.

To InkHulk:
I will keep posting, thank you!

To emergent8:
Thank you for everything you said, it was very useful. It gives me hope to know that there are people that make it out of this alive, I'm sure the betrayal never truly goes away but I hope you're able to find happiness with your partner – the best of luck to you, too!

And finally to Bulcy:
There was so much that I find relatable in what you said. I've come across some of your other posts and they also resonate with me. For me, reading posts from other WSs struggling with similar stuff somehow lifts the heavy curtain of shame and disappointment that you're bound to feel in yourself after cheating. Guilt can be useful but too much wallowing in self-pity only renders you incapable of making any changes and doing the actual work. Being on this forum doesn't necessarily make me feel any lighter but it gets me more focused on the important thing, my partner and our well-being.

posts: 2   ·   registered: Sep. 11th, 2023
id 8808350
Topic is Sleeping.
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