I DID read your post on what WH is doing, TFC. I apologize. I let myself get sidetracked.
TFC, I can’t see your WH’s facial expressions or body language. All I have to go on are his words, but I actually think I see some hopeful
signs in what you’ve relayed WH said and did over the past day.
Here’s why I hope the glass is half-full.
First, he's noticed a change in you and he likes what he sees. That's the effect Plan A is supposed to have on the WS. Further, he told you this while he’s at home with you instead of it coming from a distance
while he’s “safe” out on the road. That’s a shift, in my mind, from the way he’s been acting.
Second, you didn’t say how you heard of his friend’s comment about you being cool. If he relayed that to you, it is quite intriguing and possibly a very positive, though slight shift in WH’s thinking. It was on his mind
, TFC. Someone provided feedback to him about what he’s doing and how he’s treating you…and he’s retaining that feedback. In my mind, that’s very positive.
"Wouldn't your life be easier without me?"
That remark can be a suggestion he’s setting you up and intends to bail out on the marriage. It may well be a threat and you reacted very appropriately to the threat of a separate bank account just yesterday.
However, this might not be what it appears to be on its face. Let me explain why.
It’s one of my observations of the species that when we are hurt, we revert to the child from which we’ve ostensibly grown. When a three-year-old is punished, they later need reinforcement of their parent’s continued love. They want to be held and cuddled, sitting on a parent’s lap. So it is with some people into their adulthood. They act out, then seek confirmation they are still held in high esteem.
To bring this back around to where I started, you can read a remark that seems to push you away as asking for validation you can forgive the acting out. “Wouldn’t your life be easier without me?” can also be, “I’m being an a$$. If I push you away, will you come back…will you be able to forgive me? Will you still love me?”
It could also be far more sinister. Look into his eyes, TFC, so you will know.
"You don't see yourself as a victim here ... do you?"
He's still justifying his affair. It's all about revenge and he's stuck on that concept…or is he? Yeah, he probably IS to some extent. Heck, we human beings will defend our actions and our point of view to the last extremity…way past the point at which it would be in our best interests to admit another point of view.
That having been said, “You don’t see yourself as a victim…do you?” might have been an invitation to say you both were victims (two wrongs don’t make a right) but you could both could help heal each other…or something like that. It’s not quite reverse babble, but it could get someone thinking.
Actually, if he says it again, I’d bring out the point that it’s your daughter who is the victim in all this. You can tell him you did wrong, that he did wrong, and your baby girl is the one who’ll have to bear the brunt of it if her father and mother can’t find a way out of the downward spiral. In other words, don’t necessarily agree with his premise…turn it back on him and make him think.
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?
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.
More about the date if you can explain a little more about what's happened.
Okay, let me see if I can bring all this together.
There are times when WH seems to be acting in accordance with a nasty little plan to push you into a corner where you have no option except to file for divorce. That is not unknown. It's happened before. He would be able to protest (to his friends) he did everything he could to save the marriage but you wouldn’t let him. It would justify in his mind everything he’s done and every hurtful word he’s said to you was your fault, not his.
Then he backs off. He comes to you in the evening and apologizes for an argument and actually (and calmly?) discusses how it could have been handled better. “Handle it better?” TFC, I see a a tacit admission in that. He's saying there IS a future for your relationship. After all, why bother handling something better if there is no tomorrow?
Okay. Now note these things happened the day after you countered his attempts to gaslight you…a day when you did a little reverse babble…a day you set a boundary and wouldn’t let him speak disrespectfully to you, right?
The day after
you did this, he says he likes the changes he sees in you. Coincidence? Maybe. There are a lot of things he says and does for which we MB’ers aren’t seeing the full context…but it seems to me the glass might be half full just based on what we do see.
Another item. Orchid remarked, and you agreed, you are not in sync right at the moment. Your WH’s actions and words are stirring your emotions like a Mixmaster does cream pie filling. On one day, he seems hateful…the next he seems conciliatory after an argument.
Mixed signals indeed. They confuse and hurt because they’re not understood. But…mixed signals can be a sign he’s moving (slowly) off a position where he saw no hope of continuing the marriage, can’t they?
Okay, here’s where I’m going with all this. TFC, can you find it within yourself to be a little more patient and wait a while longer to see where things lead? There’s no guarantee, but success could be right around the corner, relatively speaking.
Hey, TFC, you’ve done a great Plan A. He’s noticed!
He said so!
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.
See how it works? You do, I admit, detach a little bit from WH if you do something like this, but I also think that’s a healthy thing to do at this point. Keep it under control, but no one will deny the WH is a hurtful alien and taking crap all the time is very enervating. Turning around and walking away from the spiteful words in a “180” might give you the strength to go on a little longer.
I don’t know if this is possible, TFC. As I said, I can’t see his face and I can’t watch his body language. Only you can do that. I can be seriously misinterpreting what’s going on…but if there’s a chance
he’s making those first tentative gestures to come out of the fog, even though they appear to be mixed signals at this moment, do you think you could steel yourself to stay with this a while longer?
Is this a good moment to suggest you read Ark’s “Be Still” thread again?
I know this all seems contradictory. I fully understand you need to define your boundaries and set a time limit on how long you’re willing to put up with a lack of commitment to the marriage. I think you’ve seen already how effective a boundary can be, both in its effect on WH and your self-esteem. So, if there are signs he might be leaning back your way…?
Let me know what you think, TFC. If there are things I’m not seeing, let me know. We out here only see what you tell us about what WH says and does, and how you two interact. It’s easy sometimes to misinterpret something you say and I think I should be asking for clarification far more often than I do.
Hang in there, TFC. MB folks are here to support you and we’ll be there with you no matter what you decide to do.