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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 11:45 am 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:22 pm
Posts: 124
Exercise Thirty-One has brought up some hard questions for me about blame and moving on. Most of the exercises at this stage seem to assume some form of advanced awareness and healthy recovery on the part of the SA, and I don't feel that's the case for mine, even though I'm pretty sure he's abstinent. He doesn't seem to be grappling with the deep emotional recovery work.

I'm proud of the work I've done here at RN, which has ended up in separating and moving out with my kids. I just took a cross-country road trip for several weeks with the kids and found a renewed empowerment as a newly single mom of three. I CAN do this, and it's actually easier than living with what felt like FOUR kids.

My husband tells me that I am not willing to move forward from what happened. For example, I went to a mutual friend’s birthday party and didn’t bring him along because in the past, he has been dead weight that keeps me from enjoying the party. He was hurt that I was using past experience to judge what he would do, and that he wants a chance to show he is changing. I am basing choices on past behavior, and don’t feel like giving him any more chances.

However, while I see signs of recovery—he has disclosed to his parents and brothers, he is going to weekly therapy, he is reaching out to build friendship, his mood is markedly upbeat even without us—in other ways, I don’t see much recovery. He watches hours of TV every day, which seems like avoidance, he had a strong reaction to me using the word addiction, and he does not want to talk about “the past,” because he says it just brings him down.

I feel a major lack of closure in my relationship with him. For starters, I have not filed for divorce, and don’t know when that final move will feel like the right one. I feel like I can’t move forward in my relationship with him, which at this point would hopefully mean a mature, healthy and deep friendship as co-parents, until there is a full disclosure and formal apology. I really need this from him and don’t know if I’ll ever get it.

When I bring it up, he says he’s told me everything, even though whenever there has been a disclosure, it’s been because I’ve asked direct questions. He has never disclosed anything openly just because he wanted to.

Also, when I say that I need an apology, I get a kind of insincere, “I’ve told you sorry so many times, I don’t know what else you want me to say. I need to stop having these conversations that bring me down to protect my own boundaries.” It feels very shallow and avoidant.

So it leaves me wondering, am I holding on to blame and not moving forward? I know I can’t hold out for disclosure and true apology, since that may never happen. I feel like I’ve done a really good job of letting go of his recovery and have focused on my own health. I feel great about that, even.

So how do I have a healthy friendship with him, which is what I want for our kids’ sake?

How do I let go and actually feel okay, instead of just acting like things are okay between us?

What now?


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 4:25 pm 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 661
Hi RisingtoChallenge -

I found the upcoming lesson, "Monitoring your Partner", to be really helpful in addressing the questions you raised.

I have learned to trust my gut. If it doesn't feel right to you (his behavior, your asking him to go to the party, or whatever the situation is), it isn't right for you.

I do believe the question is "are you living by your values" rather than his perception of your behavior or motives.

My husband also wants me to embrace his sincerity (which I do believe is real) as a good reason to forget the past and move on (sincerity alone is not enough). I agree that this is a sign of someone who is not fully recovered. They need to demonstrate sustained and consistent healthy behavior; sustained and consistent honesty and transparency; and the big one, spontaneous meaningful conversation. Empathy and full disclosure would be great, but I see those things happening, if they happen at all, very far along in the recovery process.

In the meantime, like you, I am trusting myself and my values for my behavior and decisions. Do I blame my husband? Yes, sometimes. I work to not blame and attack him verbally and am much better at this than I used to be.

In solidarity,
dnell


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:38 am 
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General Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:47 pm
Posts: 694
Hello RisingtoChallenge,

I might have some ideas for you, as I'm also moving slowly towards friendship instead of partnership so I've gave it a thought. But firstly, some questions for clarity

RisingtoChallenge wrote:
I feel like I can’t move forward in my relationship with him, which at this point would hopefully mean a mature, healthy and deep friendship as co-parents, until there is a full disclosure and formal apology. I really need this from him and don’t know if I’ll ever get it.

Why do you feel you need these things from him? Do you need them for your healing? Do you need them for pursuing your life and be happy? Do you need them for being willing to accept a "mature, healthy and deep friendship as co-parents" with him? What do you think the disclosure will bring new for you, except pain and horror? And how good those formal apologies would make you feel when he was not willing/able to do the work and save himself and the marriage? I don't think we need any of these to heal. In my case the disclosure ... maybe I had it, maybe I didn't ... I will never know the truth because I cannot trust him, not only him but his perceptions and awareness and memories that have been rewritten with self-justification. Once I've understood this and see how futile it is to be stuck for something that would never come, I just let go. And apologies, really, I don't need them, they don't give back what has been taken and they don't solve the problem in the present. Everytime he said sorry and I really could feel the sincerity, I got so angry, so so angry, how can he dare say sorry and yet not run to rescue our relationship?

RisingtoChallenge wrote:
So how do I have a healthy friendship with him, which is what I want for our kids’ sake?

Well, I'll be careful what I understand by friendship. You talk about "mature, healthy, deep" friendship. How deep is this friendship you are considering? If it weren't for the kids, would you still want to be friends? If the answer is yes, I believe the motives for such friendship should be based on values as compassion, respect, freedom to live and let live, accepting differences between people, respecting everyone's right to happiness, respecting privacy, companionship, enjoyment of common passions and hobbies. It can be a deep friendship as long as both of you closed the door on the romantic potential and even if at times it might get tricky and either you or him might be tempted to open the door again, you must be very clear on the reasons why it didnt work and why it cannot work and make sure you keep it closed unless things have changed radically and you have witnessed such an incremental change. A friendship like this would need solid boundaries for yourself and a clear vision on how you are a friend to others and what you can offer to him. But also, what he can offer to you ... I suspect there were also a lot of good times that you can allow yourself to still share without being sucked by the past or mourn the future that died.
If you want his friendship just because of the kids, well, you can settle for something more distant but nevertheless supportive, polite, helpful that would not bring you two together for too long or more than stricly necessary.
RisingtoChallenge wrote:
How do I let go and actually feel okay, instead of just acting like things are okay between us?

Letting go ... hmmm ... I find that letting go happens when you feel peaceful, grateful, almost generous. As long as you feel hurt, stuck, angry, you feel you want retribution, you are still holding on. But also, I found that most of the times you choose to hold on because deep down, maybe so deep that you don't even want to admit to yourself, there is still hope that you could be together someday. If this is why you feel there is no closure, don't be afraid. Acknowledge and see what makes you more comfortable. Maybe you need more time to process things. Closure comes when you are ready, not when you summon it. Take your time and be gentle. Now that you separated you should feel safer and you can grant yourself time to experience the loss, mourn and let go in healthy ways. Accept where you are and what you feel now. Soon enough you would have moved to another state of mind and so healing comes about.

Hope this helps,
Ursula

_________________
"A wholehearted attention feels like the nurturing presence that I always wished I had in a parent. Now I am free to be there for myself in a way that I assumed I needed from someone else." Tara Bennett-Goleman, Emotional Alchemy


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2015 9:02 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2014 12:20 am
Posts: 131
Hi there Rising,
I hardly feel like I can add anything to the wise words of dnell and Ursula(I'm still only on lesson 12) but want to offer my encouragement to follow your gut feelings and remain true to yourself and kids!
I also seem to be stuck in anger and waiting....waiting for true honesty and an authentic person to show up. As was said, sincerity isn't the issue. I do believe they are sincere in wanting to be everything we want them to be, but it definitely isn't enough. Look to yourself and your god for guidance and it will come.......keep posting! We all need insight as well as god and guidance!!!

_________________
It is always OK in the end...if it's not OK, it's not the end!


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 5:41 pm 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:22 pm
Posts: 124
dnell, thanks for the solidarity and reminder to keep going back to my values. My values would say to forgive and let go, of course. It's a sign of where I'm at in my recovery that I'm having a hard time doing that. Daily meditation is moving me along, but I'd say I'm not there yet.

Kajer, I really appreciate your words of encouragement, too.

Ursula, your probing questions definitely hit the soft spot of the issue. Thank you so much for those revelatory insights. After reflecting on the issue of friendship, I'm finding that if I were to meet my husband right now, he's not someone I would want to be friends with. I've always had so much lower expectations of the men in my life, while the women I'm friends with are accomplished, dynamic, brilliant, creative and inspiring. My husband is kind, fun and smart, but he lacks a joie de vivre and passion that I thrive on with my women friends. Add to that what I know about his continued lack of transparency, his history of objectifying women, and lack of support/pride/encouragement for my goals and accomplishments, and he's not someone who would qualify as a friend. The only thing holding us together as friends would be 20 years of history with both good memories and bad--and the kids.

To your question about whether I need full disclosure and formal apology for my own healing, well, I know what the logical answer should be. But honestly I'm still holding on to it, and I don't know how to let go other than to keep processing and giving myself time. Honestly, I had a vision of our separation as still being able to have a deep friendship so that we could still be a family for the kids. I want that more than anything because I feel such sadness and maybe even guilt for separating my kids from their dad, so my vision was that we could still go to the beach and the park and barbeques together so that my kids wouldn't lose their sense of us as a family. But in order to do that, I need to value my husband as a friend, and without honesty between two people, how can that be a friendship?

So I guess it's a matter of being able to mourn the loss of that vision, which is tied up in my sense of responsibility to my kids. They've already been through so much with our rocky time since DDay and now separating from their beloved dad. I was hoping to be able to at least soften the blow by having two parents who still care about each other and have a good relationship. I'm seeing now that I'm going to have to pull back even more and just allow our relationship to be politely detached.

Okay, more mourning to do. Boy, it's a lot of work letting go of how you want things to go when they don't go that way.

Ursula, congratulations on your new role. You've helped one more person see a little more clearly and move another step in the right direction.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 7:21 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 5:26 am
Posts: 78
Dear Rising,
I do empathize with what you are going through. My husband and I did not separate, but I remember clearly the grief I felt in my heart as I considered the fallout for my children were it to go that way. And I felt a little pain as I read what you wrote...
Quote:
I was hoping to be able to at least soften the blow by having two parents who still care about each other and have a good relationship.

I can hear the sadness in your tone, but I hope to encourage you. I don't know how long ago D-day was for you. But I truly believe your children can still have that. The deep friendship, as you described it, may end up looking different than the vision you hoped for, but you and your husband, even if apart, can still care about each other and have a good relationship. Your children may not experience family the way you are thinking of it, but "family" can take on many forms, and there really is no ideal. I think the key is giving it time. I think in time, you may find that you do share a genuine friendship. Maybe not as deep as you hoped, but perhaps more than "polite detachment." I think polite detachment, right now, might actually be a pretty healthy place upon which to build the future. Still, I understand the need to mourn.
I don't know if this was as encouraging as I hoped. Certainly addiction in a marriage muddies things up a bit, doesn't it?
I hope for you the very best.


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