Til Death Do Us Part, or I F*#@ It All Up…

Let’s just put this out there and see how it goes. Can a man make up an affair to his wife? Is this even possible? Can you make restitution? If a marriage begins to get better is it because a husband does ALL he can to make it so, or is it because his wife learns to forgive and expect less? I’m not sure.

After JR’s affair I decided that he should do some act of restitution. We agreed on an amount of money that he would give me to do whatever I wanted with. This money had to come from him solely, it couldn’t be money earned by any work that I was doing or contributing to. This was difficult for JR because at this time I ran our company and he hadn’t been working in over a year. He did manage to save the money and presented it to me one day. I thought about buying myself a nice piece of jewelry but settled on redecorating the new home we had just moved into at the beach. He discussed this once with his therapist who said it was a good idea but that we should use the money to do something together, maybe a trip or something. He said that I shouldn’t use it to purchase anything tangible that might serve as a reminder of the affair. I told JR that his penis was a reminder of the affair, every time I looked at it I thought about him fucking his whore…should we just chop it off so I don’t have to be reminded of the affair anymore? Go ask your therapist what he thinks of that…which he did, and the therapist laughed and said “point taken”. There are many things that I encounter everyday in my normal life that remind me of my husband’s affair. I simply can’t escape it even on my best days.

The money would serve as one of the very few things that JR ever really did to serve as restitution. I would, no I do, constantly struggle with wanting and needing more from him. Which leads me to the question, will I ever feel like he has done enough? He says that I will never be completely happy with him again and I feel that he uses this as an excuse to half ass everything with me. I don’t doubt his love for me, but I do know after all of this that love is not enough.

I am right in the middle of Ddays at the moment and I am lost. Sunday marked the last time he fucked the whore, yesterday was the day he admitted to the affair and today is the day I spent in the ER having overdosed on sleeping pills. I don’t feel that I am out of line in thinking that he should have done something extra for me during this time. Sunday wasn’t bad, we woke up and made love, JR is not a morning person but knows that I am. He did this for me alone and I could tell, I even predicted it before falling asleep the night before. I know how he operates. Anyway that started my day and we had some chores to do so we split up to get them done and had planned a trip to the store later to get some things that we needed, etc. I was working on Christmas decorations and this always makes me feel good so I wasn’t as needy as I could have been that day. We went to bed together that night and the day went smoothly considering. Now it’s Dday, JR has to work all day and we decided that it probably wasn’t good for me to be alone all day so I tagged along with him. Not my ideal day but I didn’t mind going and I enjoy just being with him. He and our son both had basketball practice and we finished up the day and managed to be home by 6:30pm or so. I come upstairs and begin cooking dinner, JR stays down stairs doing paperwork. Still I am fine, but I am feeling a little sad so I decide to have a glass of wine with dinner. I hadn’t slept well lately and I carry stress in my shoulders and neck so I was feeling stiff. Dinner goes well and we decide to hop in the hot tub for a bit to unwind. I pour another glass of wine and hop onto the blog for a bit and read a few new posts all of which I can relate so well to(probably not a good idea at the time), which then gets me thinking about my situation. Pour another glass of wine, still I’m ok, it’s still early, there is still time for him to do something, anything that lets me know that he acknowledges the pain and suffering he has caused me. An hour later out of the hot tub and into the chair, channel surf for a bit and then I notice JR next to me falling asleep, I was instantly furious. He was nodding off, so I tell him to go to bed and he says no that he is spending time with me. Then he asks do I want to come downstairs with him, (for sex) to which I say hell no. So he can spend 10 minutes in bed with me because he is tired and wants to go to sleep. We end up in a fight and he goes to bed and I come upstairs alone. He says that he is doing all he can, and its never enough.

Am I just crazy? I told him that it would have been nice to insist on us going downstairs after dinner. He could have rubbed my neck and shoulders, he knew they had been tense, he could have planned a dessert for just the two of us, he could have read to me, he could have made love to me, instead of offering up a 10 minute fuck. I am not hard to please, and I have made it easy for him these past 2 years and I am tired of constantly wanting more. I just don’t know how to make peace with this. He does nothing different for me now than he did before the affair except open the car door, which sometimes he forgets to even do. He can’t seem to grasp that nothing that he did before is enough now, I want and deserve more.

I found out that JR bought Nikki gifts for no reason at all, simply because he wanted to. He has never, never done this for me. He has bought me a couple of things here and there but usually after a fight and once after he had called her and felt guilty about it. Then there are the trips. Twice he took her out of town. We used to go out of town often, before his affair. I usually planned them, once he did, again because we were arguing. I have begged him since his affair to take me somewhere, anywhere, just for a night. He still has not.

Are all of these things signs that this man doesn’t really love me, or is he just still to screwed up to be all I need him to be? My biggest fear is that he will never give me what I need and that when we are left alone in our home, children all grown and gone that I will finally look at him and say I’m done. I want a divorce. I believe that before Nikki I always did enough, loved enough for the both of us. I didn’t have to really take a close look at the meat of our relationship. After 24 years how do I know if we really have what it takes? He constantly tells me  he loves me. This means nothing to me anymore, he told her he loved her too. Just words, that’s what he says about saying them to her, “they were just words” except he “showed” her too. Every time he left me alone to be with her he showed her. Every time he lied to me to be with her he showed her. When he took her out of town, when he bought her gifts, he showed her. What has he done to show me since all of this happened. I have been thinking hard about this and I can’t come up with anything special. I realize that the only reason we have made it this long is because I have lowered my expectations, I accept less from him. Then I face a bad day like the past 3 and I start examining everything.

I have loved enough for us both for 24 years and I no longer want to do that. I’m tired of making it easy for him to love me. Believe me loving him has been no picnic. I want absolute love, peace, joy, passion, lust, trust and security. I want what I put out there in my marriage to be returned and presently it is not. Mostly I want to feel and believe that I matter.

I did something that I am not proud of, I read JR’s journal…there is only one entry from over a month ago. I have always asked him and suspected that he would spend hours in bed with Nikki. He has always denied this. We have struggled sexually over these past 2 years and the only time we seem to really connect on a deep level is when we are fighting and we make up or when he feels threatened that I may make him leave. We had been arguing over our sexual problems(his problems) and he decided to start journaling as I had suggested so many times. There it was in his own writing about how he would spend hours in bed with Nikki and only spends minutes in bed with me. No more denying it now, can’t talk his way out of this time. He even admitted today in a text message that he feels like he did more for her than me. I asked him later why he stays with me then, how can he wake up everyday and look at himself and know this. How can he tell me that I am his world, the person he loves most in the world, the air he breathes, who he wants to spend the rest of his life with, and know that he gave his whore more than he gives me?

It leaves me feeling like I am in a marriage that will never be whole again. I feel like I will never be whole again. This is when I ask my self ‘Is this really my marriage?” It just can’t be. Will this struggle ever end. It’s funny when we talk about Nikki he says, “she’s damaged”, doesn’t he see that so am I…because he damaged me and he wont do the work to help heal me.

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13 Responses to Til Death Do Us Part, or I F*#@ It All Up…

  1. soselfindulgent says:

    Wow, so much emotion. I can’t imagine what it’s like for you. Does being with him still seem right to you? I mean, do you really love him? (I only ask because I can’t tell if you love him or you just feel like you should stay.) I think you would have to really be in love to stick around and deal with the shadow of Nikki.

    • kayboo24 says:

      To answer your questions, first, Does being with him still seem right to me…depends on what day you ask me. When we are good, we are very good, but when it’s bad, it’s very bad. I still see glimmers of the man I love in him, I know he’s still in there somewhere. He was my forever and ever, ya know. It’s just that everything is different now. Second, Do I really love him…the simple answer is yes I do, more than anything. I just don’t know if I can spend the rest of my life with him if his feelings don’t mirror my own. He tells me constantly that he does, the trouble is that he doesn’t show me consistantly, and talk is cheap.

  2. hiddinsight says:

    Oh man, this is just so heart breaking. If it were me, I would be wondering all the same things 😥

  3. Wow… Kayboo – you leave me long replies so I’m about to do the same for you.

    Are you ever going to get over this? Likely not but you can get through it and come to a place of acceptance. I read half of your post before my therapy apt and the other half just now, one of our subjects in therapy was how to get over it, my therapist says that’s not possible but I can get through it and move on to a better place.

    Love the penis trigger comment, I’m there with you. I told my husband I wish his dick was detachable.

    Men get a lot of their intimacy from sex, when your husband suggested sex I bet he was looking for a way to be close to you, problem is it was his way not yours. My hubby and I have dealt with this issue too. Our therapist said its how men connect, this triggered me to think then, that’s they way he connected with the OW, wrong… He was just screwing her, it meant nothing to him. Did you tell your husband that you wanted a back rub or a snuggle? I’ve found I get these things when I tell my husband that I need them, he’s not a mind reader, bastard he should be… Lol

    Did your husband get you gifts early in your relationship? I think men get so comfortable with their wives they become lazy in their efforts to pursue because they already have the prize. Not an excuse…

    Trips… I mostly planned all our trips too, but I’d never asked him to do it before. When he would try to plan a trip I’d give him shit over his choices, like I did last week! Have you point blank said “I’d love it I’d you could plan a trip for us?” maybe e-mail him some ideas so he has something to work with.

    His journal, you should not have read it. Bad girl! He did what you asked when he wrote in it. He should not have lied to you and I know it was hurtful to read but at least he’s having introspection. My husband would lay around in bed with his ow as well, in between sex acts. Makes me sick but there is nothing he can do today to take it back.

    YOU ARE NOT CRAZY… Your heart has been broken, the person you trusted most in the world betrayed you. Everything you are feeling is normal.

    I’ll finish with this… He told Nikki he loved her. Okay what about her did he love? The attention she gave him, compliments she gave him, her youth? These are all illusions, he did not love her, he loved the idea of her. If he saw her in real life mulling around in sweats, sick with the flu, giving birth, cleaning a toliet don’t think for a moment that she would hold the appeal she did as an AP. Would your husband really want to be with someone with her lack of morals in real life? I doubt it. From your post he sounds like except for this one screw up during the middle if his life he’s an otherwise good man.

    Hang in there, you can do this. I hope I wasn’t to forward, it’s my nature.

    • kayboo24 says:

      Your reply was perfect, I too pride myself on being a very forward person. I like that about me…lol. He never bought me gifts, we were so young when we married and struggled financially for years. Even when the money came he never bought me gifts for no reason. She was the first woman he ever did that for, I know that’s why it hurts me so deeply. Once he showed up at the mall and gave me $ for no reason, he knew I was shopping. I thought it was strange because I had plenty of money, I didn’t need his. Now I believe that was when he had bought her a gift and felt guilty and that was his way of making things even between us.
      I have made that man a list of things that I would love for him to do for me/with me…guess he lost it. I have told him many times over to please plan a trip. I don’t care where or when I just want to get away from everything and be alone. We always did very well when we escaped. It was always what an escape is meant to be. Now it’s been over 2 years since we escaped anything.
      I’m sure he wouldn’t find her so appealing if she got to trade places with me. She had the luxury of being selfish, with having no children and all. Funny thing is, I’m certain she wouldn’t have found him so appealing if she was the one caring for him day in and day out. His dirty underwear are no treat, and he is impossible when he gets sick. Wish she could have experienced those things with him.

      • Have you considered that he may be suffering from depression? I’m no Dr but just some of the things you say make it seem like he could be. My husband had severe depression after everything happened and had to get on meds. Always something to think about.

        Hahahaha… about the underwear. I had that experience too and blogged about it!

  4. tentativelyhopeful says:

    Your post is heartbreaking to read….

    I’m with BHR – I think she summed what my response would be nicely. I don’t know that we’ll ever get over our spouses having an affair, but I do hope we learn from them.

    I love this comment too – “… he’s not a mind reader, bastard he should be.” I have often wished that my husband could read my mind – I hate having to ask for what I need. But then I remember that he and I are completely different personality wise. He just operates on a different plane – maybe it’s a man thing? During those times he does something unexpected and out of the blue for me, I’m really touched.

    One thing that he and I talked about recently is that he called her “hon” and she called him “sugar” among other things. (Sounded like they were in a diner or something….) This was mainly in texts/emails. We don’t really use terms of endearment with each other and he never texts me to say “I’m thinking about you, hon”. Initially it made me insanely jealous. Similarly to how you describe your husband buying gifts for Nikki. It’s confusing. I chalk it up to trying to impress her as during a courtship which is sort of what is happening when an affair is occurring. It sucks though, because our husband’s energies were directed elsewhere.

    So, we’re left trying to make sense out of all of this in the best way we know how and sometimes, it’s not pretty.

    • kayboo24 says:

      I think that’s the hardest part in all of this, NONE of it makes sense to me. I don’t know if it ever will. I just know that everyday I pray for peace and resolve.

  5. Geesh my heart just breaks for what you are feeling right now. No one can truly give you the answers tho but you. For me the greatest gift my husband gave to me was his brokenness when he realized what he had done to me. That brokenness was real and although he can never make up for what he did I know he will spend the rest of his days making me feel like the most loved women in the world . The only hitch will be me not accepting his greatest to his smallest attempts. For us all we can do is take one day at a time. Even tho I know he may have done the same things for her the very fact that he does anything for me shows he is trying because he could do nothing at all. Most of what he has done has been emotional not material. I don’t want him to buy my love with things because that’s what he did in the past when he just wanted to shut me up or shut me down. I haven’t had to face a d-day anniversary yet but my hope is before that day comes I will be of the mind set to not give it any special recognition or control over my life anymore. I’m hoping I can pull this off and only time will tell. I would rather look at anniversaries of the good things that happened since….our move is a big one and throughout the rest of our days I am choosing to anniversitize (haha my own word) the new things that are taking place. Lord help me I pray I can follow thru with this!!!! I pray that you will get thru this a d come out on the other side with peace and joy. Many blessings and hugs to you!!!

    • kayboo24 says:

      The problem for me is that if I am completely honest with myself, JR does not make me feel like the most loved woman in the world, he hasn’t at all through this. He gives me hope and says he realizes he doesn’t do all that he could do and that he will do better with me. I keep waiting for things to change and they simply do not. You seem to be on a good path to healing, stay the course and good luck.

  6. TLM says:

    I was about to suggest communicating to him the things you need him to do for you, i.e. buy little gifts, plan trips, etc., but then I went back and read what you wrote again, and what I take away from your post (and just my impression from you from other things you’ve shared on your blog) is that you HAVE communicated these things to him. Clearly. And repeatedly. And yet he’s still not doing them. For that, I just don’t know what to say. I agree husbands aren’t mind readers, but when you spell it out for them and they still ignore your requests (i.e. your needs), I don’t have the answer for that. I wish I did. 😦

    So I guess I have absolutely nothing helpful to add or advice to give, Kayboo24. I just wanted to say you’ve been heard and I’m sorry you’re going through a rough time right now. I hope he figures out a way to give you all the loving, supportive things you deserve.

    And I know I’ll be in the minority on this, but I don’t think you did anything wrong reading his journal. I think continuing to lie trumps the invasion of privacy issue, especially when complete transparency and a commitment to honesty is such a necessary ingredient to getting through this. What are you supposed to think when the only time he’ll be forthcoming is when you’re holding irrefutable proof in your hand? (Btw, when I say “you” and “he”, I don’t mean just you and your husband. I mean it in the universal sense). How are things supposed to get better if you can’t trust your husband to be honest with you?

    God, infidelity sucks. 😦

    • kayboo24 says:

      Thank you for that(the journal thing). I always knew he was still being dishonest with me about that, of course he offers up the tried and true..I don’t want to hurt you anymore. I just want the freaking truth, no matter how ugly it is, I tell him this over and over again. He doesn’t understand how this underminds any progress we may make with my trusting him again. Sometimes I can’t seem to understand what I’m still fighting for, a fight I feel that I have mostly done alone. Sometimes I really just want to throw in the towel.

  7. I really love how you are able to put the universal questions out there.

    “Can a man make up an affair to his wife? Is this even possible? Can you make restitution? If a marriage begins to get better is it because a husband does ALL he can to make it so, or is it because his wife learns to forgive and expect less? I’m not sure.”
    I’m not sure either. Is there such a thing as making restitution, or is it just recovery and rebuilding something new—rebuilding trust as well as the rest of the marriage?
    Though I do think forgiveness is a large part of it. Expecting less, I don’t know, though I guess that depends on what sort of expectations were there before. For some it may be expecting more or expecting differently or different things or not expecting.
    I also think that repair and recovery are different when there is a gap versus no gap between discovery and recovery. I had 3.5 years to adjust (not the best word) to infidelity in my marriage before we really got to true recovery. I didn’t have a big shock of discovery either. He told me he was leaving me for the alienator a few months before they actually had sex. It was emotional, yes, but even that was confusing chaos. It felt less like betrayal and more like he’s NUTS—since his behaviour was…well NUTS.

    “After JR’s affair I decided that he should do some act of restitution. We agreed on an amount of money that he would give me to do whatever I wanted with. This money had to come from him solely, it couldn’t be money earned by any work that I was doing or contributing to.”
    Interesting. I did not do this. But Sweetheart sort of did it on his own the first time he came home. I had paid $1500 dollars for my attorney and he felt guilty and that he should pay me back, so he bought me a fancy mountain bike—which I love. But really, it was not something I would have chosen—I’d have taken real money instead. And it made no difference—he still left many more times.
    I want there to be consequences, but not as though I’m punishing him. But I did imagine that the alienator should owe me a million dollars for every night he slept at her house. I came out quite rich and I did that only after his first move to her house—after all the later moves I could have been even richer! Of course she’s poor, so I’m not rich.

    “The money would serve as one of the very few things that JR ever really did to serve as restitution. I would, no I do, constantly struggle with wanting and needing more from him. Which leads me to the question, will I ever feel like he has done enough? He says that I will never be completely happy with him again and I feel that he uses this as an excuse to half ass everything with me. I don’t doubt his love for me, but I do know after all of this that love is not enough.”
    He may have a point about you not being completely happy—expecting more than is fair I guess. But then, I imagine you also have a point about him being half-assed about it. So if you both have valid points then ARGH what is the solution?

    Will you ever feel like he has done enough?
    I can only answer that as a generalization and not for you specifically. Yes. But both of you have to do the work to get to that place. Hmm, I wrote an article a few years ago after reading a forum post where someone mentioned that they wanted their MLCer (husband in midlife crisis) to grovel. To her that was what she needed to see—that was what she meant by him doing enough.
    http://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/standing-actions_coming-and-going_wanting-more.html
    Now this was different because I don’t think he had returned and so she was only imagining and you are experiencing. But is that what you want? You may want to answer quickly that of course it’s not what you want, but I’ve found that when a person looks deeper they often realize that is part of what they are thinking. He did all this terrible stuff to me and now he owes me—he should be treating me like a queen and I’m better than him because I didn’t cheat and BLAH BLAH BLAH.
    I’m not saying that’s you or that I see that in your post, I’m just asking if any of it rings true to you.
    I wanted Sweetheart to have consequences for his actions and yet I did not want to punish him because that sets up an unequal dynamic: parent-child, supervisor-employee, master-slave… And yet aren’t consequences a form of punishment? Cyclical thinking!

    But that article talks about expectations—how the betrayer feels like the betrayed will never be happy because she keeps wanting more. Healing from an affair takes Time and the betrayer moves in baby steps. There are so many things that need fixing now and the betrayed spouse wants them all fixed NOW and doesn’t he understand how she is hurting and how she needs this to be better… but the betrayer can’t do it all at the same time, it’s too overwhelming and it’s just too much to do at one time. He has to process the steps he is taking to repair your relationship and process his own emotions as he goes through each piece of repair and recovery.

    “I am right in the middle of Ddays at the moment and I am lost. Sunday marked the last time he fucked the whore, yesterday was the day he admitted to the affair and today is the day I spent in the ER having overdosed on sleeping pills. I don’t feel that I am out of line in thinking that he should have done something extra for me during this time.”
    Does he know that? Or do you think that is just something he should know without you having to tell him? A lot of betrayed spouses have these triggers, but not all of them do. I don’t know, but I wonder if these date-triggers are more common for women. I actually had none—but then maybe there were just too many dates that it became futile! So suppose they are more common with women. Your husband is a guy and so he does not think like you—I know, DUH. But it may not cross his mind that this is a trigger. Now you may have told him and so he has less excuse for not knowing. But also consider that if it’s triggering you, he may feel afraid. He doesn’t want to do anything additional to remind you and for some people acknowledging even with a kindness—for example a gift of fancy jewelry on a trigger date—will just be a reminder of why he is giving fancy jewelry. See the double bind? Yes, it’s cyclical thinking, but a betrayed spouse may not know what to do. Should he ask his wife about the trigger or will simply bringing it up activate as a trigger—and is that good or bad. Maybe bringing it up is part of not avoiding it, but he may not know how to handle the situation if it activates the trigger. UGH That’s why I think addressing these things in the presence of a counselor may be best.
    And I don’t know if I’m describing your husband’s feelings and fears; I’m just mentioning generalities and possibilities.

    “…I’m ok, it’s still early, there is still time for him to do something, anything that lets me know that he acknowledges the pain and suffering he has caused me. An hour later …I notice JR next to me falling asleep, I was instantly furious. …so I tell him to go to bed and he says no that he is spending time with me. Then he asks do I want to come downstairs with him, (for sex) to which I say hell no. So he can spend 10 minutes in bed with me because he is tired and wants to go to sleep. We end up in a fight and he goes to bed and I come upstairs alone. He says that he is doing all he can, and it’s never enough.”
    What specifically had you upset? Was it that he fell asleep when he should have been being more attentive to you?
    Was it that you had been waiting all day for some grand gesture of reassurance (since this was a trigger day) and now late at night you had not got it? Was it that he suggested sex? What specifically would have worked as a grand gesture? Is it possible that nothing would have worked—maybe in fantasy, but then when a fantasy happens it just doesn’t feel like it did in imagination? Could his offer of sex have been his way of making that gesture—lame as it may have been?
    Was it maybe something simple that would have worked—like after the hot tub he rubbed your feet, neck, sholders…? If so, does he know that?

    I wonder if he thinks he is doing all that he can, but he really doesn’t know specifically all that he can be doing—such as simple things like a massage.

    “Am I just crazy? I told him that it would have been nice to insist on us going downstairs after dinner. He could have rubbed my neck and shoulders, he knew they had been tense, he could have planned a dessert for just the two of us, he could have read to me, he could have made love to me, instead of offering up a 10 minute fuck.”
    When did you tell him those things would have been nice—while fighting or before you wanted them—before dinner so he knew that after dinner you would like a massage?
    Are you expecting him to read your mind? You say he knew that your neck and shoulders were tense, but does that typically translate into a massage? I’m sure it does for some couples; I wish it did for Sweetheart, but nope. He’s got some very serious problems going on with his feet and so I’ve been taking care of them—rubs, medicine… But the other day after 3 hours on the stair machine and another day of packing and moving boxes to prepare for our move my feet were killing me. I was not trying to hint at a massage, but I they were so ore that I’d been saying it all day. He’s been packing and moving boxes and his feet are already bad…that night all I got was a brief comment from him about him wanting me to take care of his feet and I’m sorry to say that mine hurt so badly that I didn’t help him. But he offered me nothing either and when it comes to massages he kind of gets weird if he has to give them—he talks about not knowing how and not knowing what and comparing himself to how I give them—which is apparently great and since he can’t match that…ugh I just want the man to rub my back, it’s not rocket science! So back to you… is your husband someone who just doesn’t do certain things—or only rarely—and it’s not because he doesn’t care or is ignoring you, but he feels uncomfortable with some things? It takes me days of begging for a massage before I might get one—and I probably won’t. Sweetheart is awesome and he does a lot, but that’s not one of the things he does.

    “I am not hard to please, and I have made it easy for him these past 2 years and I am tired of constantly wanting more. I just don’t know how to make peace with this. He does nothing different for me now than he did before the affair except open the car door, which sometimes he forgets to even do. He can’t seem to grasp that nothing that he did before is enough now, I want and deserve more.”
    Okay, can you be specific—for him, not us reading this? Make a list of what you want more. Opening the car door seems nice, what other very simple gestures go a long way? Saying you want more without giving concrete examples makes it a guessing game for him.
    How about creating a few new rituals together? I say rituals because if you just said that every Tuesday could be massage night, he might wonder for how long—with the idea that once you have forgiven the affair completely and your relationship is fully recovered, the weekly massages can stop. But a ritual implies something that has no ending—it may be associated with time—always a certain day of the week, or it may be associated with an event and it could be more random. Make rituals that are about both of you being equal partners—they benefit both of you so that it’s not always going to be about how he is making restitution to you.

    “I found out that JR bought Nikki gifts for no reason at all, simply because he wanted to. He has never, never done this for me.”
    Yeah, no defense for it other than that is common in the early days of a relationship. Sweetheart doesn’t buy little gifts for me—and I don’t want him to. But he may have for the alienator.
    What are each of your Love Languages? Mine is Touch and so for me a massage isn’t important because my feet or back hurts, but because it’s touch.
    You mention gifts, is receiving gifts one of your Love Languages?
    Sweethearts are Acts of Service—so he totally does stuff for me like house chores—and quality time.
    Consider creating rituals that are based on your Love Languages.

    “Are all of these things signs that this man doesn’t really love me, or is he just still to screwed up to be all I need him to be?”
    No, I see a lot of normalcy going on here. He is not a mind reader and even if you feel like you are beating your head against a brick wall telling him how something triggers you and how much you still hurt, he still doesn’t get it. He’s not ever going to get it from your shoes without actually experiencing it and even then his needs for getting through the hurt would be different than yours. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t empathize, it just means he’s not in your head and feeling your feelings in a literal way. And he is not a mind-reader! He may know that you are hurt, but just the knowing does not translate to solving.

    “My biggest fear is that he will never give me what I need and that when we are left alone in our home, children all grown and gone that I will finally look at him and say I’m done. I want a divorce.”
    Make sure that you are communicating your needs with specific actions—tell him specifically what he can do rather than the sort of thing he can do or that when you feel a certain way he can do something—because then he will just wonder what thing and how will he know you are feeling a certain way?
    In addition, consider whether you are wanting him to meet your needs or wants—wants re needy needs and not true needs. And consider whether what you want matches his methods. I accept that most of the time I’m not going to get a massage out of Sweetheart, but he will bend over backwards to make sure that the litter box is cleaned, the carpet vacuumed, the garbage taken out, the house is winterized, the deck painted… There needs to be some balance there—we need to meet our spouses needs in the way they feel loved—through their Love Language and also understand how they are communicating their love which is through their Love Language and give them credit for that.

    “He constantly tells me he loves me. This means nothing to me anymore; he told her he loved her too. Just words, that’s what he says about saying them to her, “they were just words” except he “showed” her too. Every time he left me alone to be with her he showed her. Every time he lied to me to be with her he showed her. When he took her out of town, when he bought her gifts, he showed her. What has he done to show me since all of this happened?”
    Do you mean that how he showed her was by leaving you and lying to you? If that’s the case, then isn’t he showing you by not being with her? That seems a bit too simple.
    What do you think he can do to show you he loves you? Be specific.

    “I have loved enough for us both for 24 years and I no longer want to do that. I’m tired of making it easy for him to love me. Believe me loving him has been no picnic. I want absolute love, peace, joy, passion, lust, trust and security. I want what I put out there in my marriage to be returned and presently it is not. Mostly I want to feel and believe that I matter.”
    Does he know that? And more importantly, does he know how to do that? Each person is different, so what specifically will help you feel appreciated by him—think back to your Love Language.

    “I have always asked him and suspected that he would spend hours in bed with Nikki. He has always denied this. We have struggled sexually over these past 2 years and the only time we seem to really connect on a deep level is when we are fighting and we make up or when he feels threatened that I may make him leave. We had been arguing over our sexual problems (his problems) and he decided to start journaling as I had suggested so many times. There it was in his own writing about how he would spend hours in bed with Nikki and only spends minutes in bed with me. No more denying it now, can’t talk his way out of this time. He even admitted today in a text message that he feels like he did more for her than me. I asked him later why he stays with me then, how can he wake up every day and look at himself and know this. How can he tell me that I am his world, the person he loves most in the world, the air he breathes, who he wants to spend the rest of his life with, and know that he gave his whore more than he gives me?”
    You may have already mentioned it, but are you in counseling—or have you been? The connecting deeply after a fight is a dangerous pattern.
    As for spending a lot of time in bed with the alienator and doing more for her versus with and for you. That may be due to the nature if in-fatuation and the excitement that comes with an elicit relationship.
    I’m not trying to excuse it away, but rather to explain a possible why. In counseling talk about how to create new rituals for your sex life. How to spice it up and spend more time and attention on encounters.

    “It leaves me feeling like I am in a marriage that will never be whole again. I feel like I will never be whole again. This is when I ask myself ‘Is this really my marriage?” It just can’t be. Will this struggle ever end. It’s funny when we talk about Nikki he says, “she’s damaged”, doesn’t he see that so am I…because he damaged me and he won’t do the work to help heal me.”
    Is it that he won’t do the work—refuses—or that he just feels at a loss and when he does do something he becomes frustrated because no matter what he does, it’s not enough and you want more?

    Recovery is not a fast process—I know, DUH. It’s also not one of those things we just know how to do—often it’s the opposite. We don’t know how to do it and often the things we try are the things that don’t work. That’s why having a good therapist can be so important.

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