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Just my 2 cents here TFC... when you stop feeling like a victim in this situation.... you will stop being a victim. Your H not believing the "hype" yet is normal... and he shouldn't until it is proven to him.
Your H should not have had an affair... not because it hurt you...but because it hurt him. You got bit by the very snake that you invited into your M... sad but true. But I doubt very highly that his friends would give a rats butt if they thought he had an affair of his own.
I still think that your wavering as to how to handle this and your lack of patience (last week you posted that you were going to plan B and then changed the post) is a detrement to you here. Remember that a FWS or WS is no bargain for a partner. There are easier roads out there for any BS to take than to deal with the baggage that an affair brings to a marriage.
Your H is testing you... in some ways you are doing well... but in my opinion, in the one area where you need to stand tall, you are falling short... patience. You get opinions here TFC... but find something off when he is getting opinions from those he trusts. And you say that opinions don't belong on your marriage (yet I suspect that would only include opinions that YOU don't agree with) and you end your post with ... an opinion from one of his friends.
Most likely you will continue to dismiss any criticism of your handling of things...and obviously that is your right...but I will again ask you as to why the majority of vets are ignoring your thread...is it because your situation is so perplexing that they can't help you... or is it something else...attitude.
Just my thoughts.

MEDC




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Others would strongly disagree with me on this... but I don't look at you as a BS... I know your H had an affair...but the only betrayals that I see are...

Your affair.
His betraying his own morals.

What I do see is a FWW that has been bitten by the very thing that she invited into her M. I liken it to having a fight... don't blame the other person for punching you in the nose after they have absorbed punches from you. In that case... even though you have a bloody nose, you are not the victim, but the instigator. Would it have been better for your H to turn the other cheek and not hit back.... yep... it would have allowed him to remain on the moral high ground. But how it impacts the person that brought this into the M in the first place, IMO, does not rise to the level of betrayal.



TFC... I do not see any attacks on you in these posts. Read them again... do you think there is value in what is being said??? Show me where the personal attacks are. In the second one, I gave you my opinion that I do not think your H's offense rises to the level of betrayal... is there an attack in offering that opinion??
In the first post... I give you my impression of how you come across....you may not agree with what I said but that does not mean you have been attacked... no matter what the enabler that has been posting to you has pointed out. I was here early on in your thread and saw firsthand the reaction of the long time vets here to both your situation and your attitude. If you want someone that is just going to pat you on the back and say good job... LH is the poster for you. I will let you know when I FEEL you have done a good job and when you have screwed up. If patience is not your strong suit does that mean you shouldn't be called to the carpet for your lack of it??? No.
I do think it is sad and a shame that your M is going through this right now. What I have tried to get you to focus on from the beginning... as the other vets did... is that your H is wounded and in need of patience and caring. No one will ever accuse me of being soft on a WS.... NEVER... but if you step too roughly with your H I would venture a guess that you will wind up pushing him further away. Like it or not... you are being tested by him.
You obviously want this to work... I suggest you do as your title suggests and be more open to any suggestions that might be helpful. At the end of the day, I really don't care if you take my advice or not. The punk that discredited my advice and then cried when I told him to fo thinks his way is the only way... I say... as I have said a million times on this board... we are a choir and all have a role....keep your eye on the lyrics and the melody will come to you....
I would venture a guess though that since I do not often suggest patience with a situation, that when I see the need for it, you might want to at the very least consider that to be sound advice.
If you would like me to bow out of your thread, just say so. I invest my time and energy here and can do so elsewhere if my views are not wanted.

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TFC... I do not see any attacks on you in these posts. Read them again... do you think there is value in what is being said??? Show me where the personal attacks are.

I didn't realize that I accused you of attacking me following those posts.

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I was here early on in your thread and saw firsthand the reaction of the long time vets here to both your situation and your attitude.

I feel that I have changed a lot since I first came here. When I write, I tend to be matter-of-fact. I know that it can sometimes come across as cold, but I am really not at all a cold, heartless, attitudinal b*tch.

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If patience is not your strong suit does that mean you shouldn't be called to the carpet for your lack of it??? No.

I recognize that patience isn't an area where I am well-adept. I feel that I am displaying as much patience as I can and am trying to push myself to be more patient. I just don't think I need to constantly be berated for not being as patient as you would like to see me be. I am really trying my best here ... we all do what we can with what we have.

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You obviously want this to work... I suggest you do as your title suggests and be more open to any suggestions that might be helpful.

I am very open to all suggestions. I am even open to your suggestions, MEDC. But some people do better with a more gentle approach. Believe it or not, I am a very sensitive person and I frequently find your posts to me to be abrasive.

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I just don't think I need to constantly be berated for not being as patient as you would like to see me be


I do not berate you for your lack of patience...unless calling you on it is considered berating to you. As far as what I would like... I have nothing invested in you... I would not like for you to be anyway in particular...I guess that is the point... I want to give you the advice that I consider to give your M the best chance at survival.

As far as finding me abrasive... I can be...but I find you to be the same way. Perhaps neither one of us comes across as intended... but since I am not the one in the relationship quandry at this time, perhaps you should look beyond the perceived abrasiveness to see the message in the post. If I didn't want you to succeed, I wouldn't waste my time posting to you. Contrary to what little LH has said, my time is valuable and I do not waste it attacking others for my own edification.
And if you read my posts again... in quite a few of them, I have complimented you on your changes....I call it as I see it from all angles TFC.... good or bad. That to me would be a lot more valuable than someone feeding me what I want to hear.
Keep up the good work and fight your urges to be less than patient.

MEDC

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LH - I am seeing some positive signs here as well. I want to address several things from your post:

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Second, you didn’t say how you heard of his friend’s comment about you being cool. If he relayed that to you...

He is the one who told me this. I had just gotten home from work and he was on the phone with this friend. Then, at dinner he told me this.

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The "wouldn't your life be easier without me" comment was made over the phone so I couldn't see what expressions were associated with it. But I can say that I think it is something that was said to gauge my reaction. My reaction was: "Maybe, maybe not. But that's not what I want so I've never really contemplated it."

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I like your suggestions about the victim comment. I suppose I should have noted my reaction to the question. When he asked if I felt like a victim, I replied "No, I don't. I take responsibility for what I've done. I don't like what you did, but I'm not a 'victim'. I prefer not to play the martyr card." He just smiled. Maybe I passed that test?

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Now, something has happened about the date night that I didn’t catch. Why were you waiting for a call from the sitter to tell her she wasn’t needed? I’m trying to read between the lines of what you wrote, but it seems to me he was still planning to take you somewhere. What happened here? Something happened behind the scenes?

Well, first let me clarify that it wasn't really a "date" - I suppose I didn't make that clear. It was something work-related that he invited me to. I've tried to be vague when it comes to job-related stuff for him - if I'm specific, it would pretty much give away our identity.

Now, the sitter was my sister - she was kind of "on call" for tonight ... knowing that there was a possibility that I may not be going.

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You wrote that he (grumpily?) said you could come “if you wanted to.” TFC, please understand us guys sometimes don’t speak with all the eloquence we’d like to sometimes. If the glass is half full, he might have been asking you to reconsider, without actually saying the right words.

I could tell that he didn't want me there. He even said "I didn't think anyone we knew would be there" when I asked why the invitation had been taken back. He doesn't want to take me out in public still.

Btw - later on, he at least acknowledged that it was hurtful to invite me and then withdraw the invitation. But he never apologized for it.

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He's saying there IS a future for your relationship. After all, why bother handling something better if there is no tomorrow?

I thought so too. When we were talking last night, we talked about how "next time" we could each handle the situation more to the other's liking. It was a positive discussion. Then today, he reminded me that I am to be trying to earn back his love (it was NOT an accusation that I didn't seem to be trying) - I noted that I would continue to try to make this M work for as long as we live.

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Last night, he tried another gaslighting comment and I ignored him. He said that he thought I would be nicer to him. I said, "I am being nice. I'm just not going to listen to you turn everything back around on me." Later he said, "You know, I think you're the only person that ever says 'no' to me!" I laughed and said that yes, I probably am. He laughed too and said "seriously, I think you are!" I just laughed again and said "I guess I just keep you grounded." He agreed and commented on how pompous he'd be without me keeping his feet on the ground. LOL

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How about if you continue that stellar Plan A for a little while? However, you only do Plan A when he’s being a man instead of a petulant child. You continue to fight the gaslighting and his disrespectful words/actions by keeping your boundary against that firmly intact. Remember, he’s seen the changes and he likes them.

TFC, can you do something like a “180” by using that simple boundary to ward off the WH, while you connect with the husband who might be peeking out again? With a “180,” and with the application of your boundaries, when you retreat from him, he tries to get closer.

I thought about this too. I think I've been sorta working my way up to this. Kind of like Orchid's "Plan A the H, Plan B the WH" idea. I'll do my own little version of this: as you suggested to Plan A my H, 180 the WH.

He goes out of town again tomorrow, so I guess we'll see how things go.

****
As always, LH, I appreciate your attention to detail and your dedication to helping me sort through all this mess! <img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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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?

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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?

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A couple of other things I wanted to let you know:

1. The other day, while out with his mom (the therapist) - she explained to him that I couldn't have had an A without already feeling bad about myself.
*I think this is important to note because of my decision not to accept gaslighting. This shows that I am working on my self-respect and self-esteem.

2. I am trying to keep my expectations a bit lower with regards to apologies, commitment, and valiant efforts at working on the M.
*This will allow a longer Plan A the H - 180 the WH to take place I believe.

3. This morning, before heading out of town, he said he would miss me. It didn't come out fluidly, but he said it just the same. Then, I got a kiss on the cheek before he left and a big hug! <img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" />
*I know he tends to be kinder right before going out of town, but I see this (paired with our other discussions this week) as a positive sign.

4. He has requested less travel in July and August to allow for more family time. I thought this was a very positive thing!


I'm not going to keep my hopes super-high because of a couple of good days, but I see some good signs here too.

So, yes, let's keep the glass "half full" for now! <img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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Excellent. Things seem to be on the upswing now, but we human beings live on emotion. There WILL be low days ahead and the trick will be to keep them in context with the good times.

You've protected your finances and I think you have a good interim plan. If this turns out to be as effective in the long term as it has for the past few days, there may be no need for anything more. I don't know how long it's been since he projected something two and three months down the line, but I gather it's been a while. That's very positive.

If the positive indications continue, there'll be no need for an overall strategy that includes a Plan B, will there? However, the essence of planning is to have something in reserve and ready for application, just in case. My point is, and I won't belabor it, you still need to set up your strategy based on what you know now, okay?

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Can anyone help me with an outline of what I need to consider when creating my strategy?

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Things are moving slowly on the board this afternoon and evening huh? I'll take a shot at this and let others fill in with their ideas later on.

I don't know of a thread out here that talks about an outline of a strategy, per se. We all take our cue from SAA and determine guidelines based on doing a Plan A for "X" amount of time...then do a reality check...Plan B for “Y” amount of time...another check...Plan D, if the worst case scenario plays out.

In your case, TFC, I think a good program for you would be similar to the above. It’s complicated by the fact you’re pretty sure WH has established NC but he hasn't moved forward from that point. But, I don’t think it’s complicated beyond the point where you aren’t able to apply most of Dr. Harley’s principles.

Figuring out what to do if WH does this, if he does that, if he fails to do something...and so on...is a pretty smart thing to do. For instance, here are three options off the top of my head about Plan A. Your plan can say you’re going to do your modified Plan A for:

1. As long as you can stand the stress
2. Or until (insert date)
3. Or until it’s clear the point of diminishing returns has been reached.

You should be thinking of how you can steel yourself to ensure you don’t end Plan A prematurely. When you think about “as long as you can stand the stress,” you have to take into account the fact you’re getting very few deposits to your Love Bank. You can explore in your mind what signals your (subconscious mind?) will give you when that point is reached. How will you feel? How will you know when your LB is getting dangerously low?

On the other hand, if you select a firm date, as one should do with a Plan A in a normal situation, the date should be considered very carefully. There should be clearly identifiable reasons for selecting the date.

If you commit to carefully analyzing the status of reconciliation to identify a point of diminishing returns, you’ll be observing the highs and low points blending into each other over a period of time, reserving a decision for a time when you detect a downward trend that isn’t going to be recoverable. I think this would take a little detached observer analysis.

Okay, those are just examples.

Beyond getting a fair idea of what you want to do for the foreseeable future, I think a good strategy would include considering how you’ll react to unforeseen crises.

For example...and only for the purposes of illustrating what I mean…you could do some preliminary reflection about what to do if you find out about an OW #2. The questions you could ask yourself would be something like, “Would you be willing to go back to square one and start all over?” If so, for how long? Etc., etc. I’m sure you can think of some other crisis situations and getting even a hazy idea of what you should do if any of them occur will give you a head start.

Of course, those crisis points need not be as devastating as all that. They need not be negative at all. Actually, one of the “crisis points” you consider should also be what you would do if WH suddenly has an epiphany and wants to begin working hard on the marriage. It’s here that your boundaries come into focus and you’ll need to have them clear in your mind. (Were I you, one of those I’d insist on would be a commitment to MC so you and he can both heal from the transgressions in your marriage. He doesn’t have to be enthusiastic about it, per se, but he needs to commit to working with the MC and you instead of being a bump on a log in the sessions.) Please always remember to get POJA on as many things as you can.

Pressing on with the strategy, I don’t think you can continue even a modified Plan A indefinitely. Actually, trying to do that will be self-defeating in the long run. Your nerves were pretty frayed last week and it can happen again.

In fact, as I read your posts these past few days, I was struck by the fact that since you’ve done a darn good Plan A, a Plan B is going to have a maximized effect on WH. I know you look on Plan B as an ending, but it is actually a very powerful tool in your hands to bring your husband out of hiding from within the WH. You’ve shown him how really cool you are, handling all of this, a job and a child too. His friends are noticing too. If you go dark with those images in his mind, there’s going to be a big, dark hole in his life and he’s going to want to fill it back up with that cool lady and her daughter.

I think you should have a contingency plan for Plan B, TFC. How would you break it to him? How would you pass your daughter to him for visitation? Is it necessary to file for legal separation? Etc., etc. Consider these things now, while you’re not angry or upset and you’ll be able to react that much better if and when the time comes.

I sincerely hope don’t have to implement a Plan B, TFC, but you need to fix it in your mind it may be necessary because the current state of your marriage cannot continue indefinitely. You would wind up hating him bitterly and it would affect your daughter too.

So...does this give you a place to start?

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Yes, thank you.

I sure hope others will give their notes on strategizing as well ...

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Just a little update:

He called today from the road ... we talked for an hour and a half! It was great! He's being very husbandly (is that a word?) in every way. We've now had several conversations on how we can communicate better. He's been calling to let me know where he is staying, etc. I'm thinking of a total career change and he's been more involved and supportive than ever before. He also suggested that we go play tennis together when he gets back in town - this was on my EN questionnaire. <img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

Things are on the upswing!

P.S. I'm still working on that strategy ...

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Sounds great.

Confucius say if you're prepared for the next time the road unexpectedly gets bumpy, it won't be nearly as bad as a surprise bump.

LH <img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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P.S. Notice bulletproof_m's thread on boundaries?

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Just read it ... thanks!

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Here's what I think I'm going to do:

Keep my modified Plan A in place as long as I can handle it AND (I mentioned before what I needed in a M - most of these items are being met as of now, with the exception of MC) as long as my boundaries are met, I will stay in it. As soon as one of those things is broken, I will reconsider if I can stay in my Plan A any longer or if I need to move into Plan B or full 180.

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Sounds good. Considering the above, along with your list of expectations you posted a few days ago, I think you've set yourself up for success. There aren’t any guarantees, but I think the outcome is increasingly more favorable. When you say you'll reconsider when things seem adverse, that tells me you've built enough flexibility into your mindset to make it past the bumps in the road ahead. Good work.

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Btw - he told me tonight (on his own accord) which hotel he was staying at and when he planned on calling next. Unfortunately, he may not be able to call again tonight. But he's been so great this trip I just can't believe it! I am trying sooooooo hard not to get my hopes up too high, but I must admit that I am really enjoying this!

AND, yes, I do think I've finally set myself up for success by finally having a real strategy!

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Heck, enjoy the progress. There's nothing wrong with enjoying this. But...protect yourself against the emotional downer when he fails. In other words, TFC, be ready to accept the temporary backsliding philosophically, okay? There's that old roller coaster thing going and it's not going to even out for some time.

That he's working toward total transparance is very encouraging. He's not labeling it as such, but that's okay.

All in all...seems to me you'll be able to look back on all this from the vantage point of several months and see the lows were interludes between longer periods of (slow) progress.

Keep up the good work, lady.

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Thanks, LH.

I have to say that I was rather impressed by my H yesterday. We were talking about something and it was apparently a trigger for him - though he brought up the conversation. He calmly said "Ugh! I just got [XOM] flashes. I hate that." I told him how sorry I was that he had to experience those, that it pains me that I did something that would bring ugly thoughts to his mind. He took a deep breath and just said it was ok and went back to talking. I felt so good that he was honest about having those feelings. I know that because I handled it calmly that he will feel like he can come to me with those feelings again.

He definitely remembered all the things on my EN questionnaire and I feel great! So how come there is a nagging feeling that something still isn't quite right?

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Last night he got a little distant with me ... I'm hoping it won't spill over into today.

I am feeling overwhelmed by all that is going on in my life right now. Say a prayer for my sanity today, please.

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