Great. I’m glad you’ve begun seeing positive signs. Perhaps your husband is beginning to peek out from inside the alien that abducted him. You made a good response to his “victim” question and if it comes up again, you can expound on it.

Okay, the date thing was a downer. I don’t know what to make of him withdrawing the invitation. However, notice he did feel guilty about it, whether he apologized or not.

I don’t think he’s ready for remorse or apologies yet. I’m sorry he’s going out of town again tomorrow. If he weren’t, it would be good opportunity for you to initiate a night out, “because you two couldn’t get all the logistical things worked out for tonight’s thing,” you could say. Maybe?

he reminded me that I am to be trying to earn back his love

Your response was excellent. I think many a person having that thrown at them would have reacted badly, whether it came out as an accusation or not.

I think you’ve recounted enough incidents to suggest he might be checking to see how much damage has been done and how dedicated you are to reconciliation. I think I’m going to stay with the “glass half-full” idea. What do you think?

Hold on to that policy of refusing to accept gaslighting and disrespect. For one thing, your self-respect demands you take up for yourself. Besides, it seems to be working with him. It fits right in with Pepperband’s “Carrot and Stick of Plan A” you know. A doormat spouse is very unattractive and leads to contempt.

I’m glad you were working independently on Orchid’s suggestion. It struck me also as a very smart thing to do, and one that could keep you going a little while longer. I think you can hold your head up proudly in such a plan, and the stings won't hurt so much. Orchid is a very smart lady and her advice is always a valuable thing to receive.

Recoveries from what has happened to your husband and you in your marriage are excruciatingly slow. Progress comes in fits and starts...weeks of improvement and some periods when it seems all the gains have been wiped out. Sometimes it’s a case of “two steps forward and three steps back.” But it isn’t really. Every advance leaves an echo in both your minds and it’s easier to retrace that step, to recover the gain, some time in the future than it was the first time.

Baby steps, TFC, baby steps. Your marriage didn’t get into this shape overnight and it won’t be fixed that quickly either. Understand he isn’t ready yet to commit...but he’s talking easier and interacting better. That's progress, however slight.

If you can put aside your very human desire for more commitment and remorse from him for a while longer, there may be big rewards on down the line. Cherish the positive moments, and try to keep his backsliding in context while you keep moving forward. 180 the WH, Plan A the husband. Sounds like a plan to me.

Baby steps, okay?