Well here goes. I have been reading the posts on this site for a while. I thought I would make a post of my own in order to help with the process of fixing myself and becoming a better person for me and my wife/family.
I am presently married with two children. Our relationship has had its share of tough times. Of which, most I am directly or indirectly responsible for.(<< it took me a long time to admit that).
About 4 yrs ago, work was very busy and I actually enjoyed the pace and the challenge. Things were also busy at home with our 2nd on the way. I found myself getting caught up in work and putting my wife and family second. The dedication i showed to the company was not matched in my home life. Eventually there became more friction regarding my work and the tension began to build. I wasn't willing to admit that my work was taking me away from them. In fact, i found myself becoming resentful after working so hard my wife wouldn't appreciate my efforts.
This continued on for many months and I began to spend even more hours away including early morning and late nights. Another thing happened during this time, I joined and began conversing on some on-line forums. As time went on relations were formed with some of the people that were on-line. One in particular became significant. My time began straying from working long hours to chatting long hours. As the relationship progressed, this person related to everything I was going through. Lack of intimacy, How my wife didn't "Get me" or understand all I do. I took great satisfaction and relief knowing at the time someone understood what I was going through and had what seemed to be all the answers. This person made me feel important and appreciated and I certainly reciprocated.
By this time I had begun to focus more effort on the chats/phone calls than my home life and work for that matter. Of course the latter two suffered. The deeper I got into this the more of a lie I began to live. I caught myself agreeing with things she said about my life and family that I knew were wrong but wouldn't step in and say so. It got so far as to us discussing my divorce and getting together. So here I was in a situation were I was petrified to tell my wife what was going on and petrified to talk to the other woman because I knew it had gone to far but i didn't know how to get out!! I couldn't bring myself to end it and keep stringing her along until I could find a way to get out.
So here I was lying to my wife as well as the other woman. I felt trapped and became quite self destructive I guess you could say. I was gambling, looking at things and talking with people on the internet I shouldn't have been. All along pretending i was fine. I would just twist the reality in my favour to make things seem better. The lies were becoming a weight on my shoulder that I couldn't bear. Then it happened . . my wife found out.. . .
You can only imagine her reaction, but it was my reaction that was worse. I tried to lie and talk my way out of it when she had the hard evidence. In my mind I guess I thought in some twisted way i still wasn't at fault as she had driven me to this. In fact I continued to talk with the other woman even after i got caught. In many many ways i was living in a reality that was not MINE!!
Anyways, for those of you still reading ;-). We managed to patch things back together after much sacrifice on my wifes behalf and some effort on mine. Unfortunately I only quit doing the things I was doing to hurt her. I didn't explore why I did them in the first place. Was it a feeling of inadequacy with who I was that made me seek comfort from someone else's words? Was it my fault? Did she drive me to this? (For a long time that was my answer). Was it a feeling of being trapped and trying to escape my reality?
Of course the trust issue still existed and rightfully so. I don't know how i would have reacted in the same situation. But because i didn't investigate the problem and just changed my actions it was only a matter of time before my wife caught me in another lie. Sure enough just recently I had lied about my tobacco use and some finance issues. She found out and of course asked me to leave. I was doing so good for so long but fell back. I kept telling myself you only lied because you thought you had to be perfect for her or you were out. I know now that all she wanted was honesty and not perfection. From here on I promised to be honest first of all to myself and ultimately to her.
I guess what i am asking for is where do I start? How do I become that person that can be honest and confide in his wife when he's having trouble or needs help? I have always been the one to just handle things and didn't need anyones help. In this case I know I cant do it solely on my own. I have a beautiful family and and an amazing wife but I seem to be the hardest one to convince of that by my actions!!
You have lots of reading, for starters understand what your wife is going through, for her to trust you you have to be an open book, she has access to all , earning her trust is by actions , deeds and words. Be at home, do things for her, if you want to have guidance on what her needs are buy the book "his needs, her needs" by Harley. Do not go to MC until you have sorted yourself out. Talk to her , listen and hear what she says to you, with both ears. Posted via Mobile Device
I have spent time away off and on from the house at her request. We are making every effort to make things as normal for the kids as possible so she has been very considerate on that end. When the situation becomes too much for her is when i have been away. I am trying to give her the space she needs when she needs it but be there and be helpful when I can also.
I plan on doing plenty of reading, which is actually how i came across this site in the first place. I have seen that booked mentioned a few times and is certainly on my list.
I have apologized to her and been empathetic. Although, I did tell her that my apology right now is only words. It will be my actions going forward that will be the true apology. I have been upfront with her that i have to fix me before I can fix us. It's been hard to not come across as selfish in that matter or that i am trying to deflect the issue. But in my heart I know that is step #1 or I am just buying time until it happens again.
You cannot fix the marriage from a distance you have to be at home to do that, schedule plenty of time to be alone wih her to talk, date, share common interests etc. It is recommended 20 hours a week of time together. Posted via Mobile Device
I would prefer to be there all the time. I just feel it is a fine line between being there and pushing her to the point where she gives up and doesn't want to try. I guess you could say I am walking on thin ice and want to respect her space/needs.
I actually have pretty much walked in your shoes, in that I was also disloyal and was used to "taking care of things" on my own rather than sharing it with someone. Just for some background, my first marriage was an abusive one where opening up meant being hurt, so yeah--I learned to just shut up, cover up, don't open up. What I had to learn was two things:
#1--at first being open really felt like I was being spied on to me. Actually that is kind of natural because the habit I had learned were to keep every thing and kind of "protect myself" from admitting things weren't perfect. So letting someone else in to look at me and what I was doing and who I was doing it with, etc. felt like someone was looking over my shoulder and I never had a moment alone. If this is sort of how it feels to you, just realize that going from fairly self-sufficient/closed to sharing yourself/open just IS going to feel odd. It's okay and that's natural--keep going.
#2--practice telling little truths all the time...and telling some medium sized truths...and then stick your neck out and tell a big truth that is something you kind of don't want to talk about. When I envision "being open" with another person, I envision "being see-through" so that they can see through my exterior and my interior thoughts and feelings are right there for them to see. So I don't TRY to keep it to myself! Next, every day I practice small truths like expressing my real opinion, my real thoughts or feelings but it's something sort of small and easy like what to eat or what to wear. I don't mean "practice nagging" but more like this: you know at the end of the night you're kind of craving mexican and she says "What do you want to eat?" and you think "I'll let her decide so that I'm considering her preference"??? Well instead practice being honest! "I want to be considerate of what you want honey, but to be honest I'm kind of craving mexican!" Every day share a thought that's small but may not be "popular", a feeling that may not be obvious, or something about yourself. Every day share something like "Well this may be kind of messed up but I was afraid you would think..." Just practice that a little every day.
Then every so often try something medium sized, like something that occurred in your past (before her). Or something that occurred at work that made you realize XYZ about how you view relationships. Tell the truth and open up about something that's not HUGE or life-shattering but is a little bit big or maybe a little bit risky. Maybe even speak with her and have an agreement that you'll say "I'm going to open up and tell you the truth about something" and she agrees that when she hears that you're feeling a little vulnerable and she'll respond with "Thank you for being honest. Let me think about what you've said."
Finally, a situation will come up where your gut response might be to avoid it, pretend it didn't happen, "little white lie" so she's not hurt, or you'll just be afraid to tell her the outright truth--like you got a demotion at work or OW sent you a chat and you didn't answer but you're afraid to tell her. THAT is why you have that agreement beforehand with smaller/medium stuff. When this day comes, and you know it is NOT alright for you and you're worried....practice going to her and saying "I'm worried this will go badly but I'm going to tell you the truth because I have faith in you that you can handle it. Here goes. Today I got a chat from the OW at work. I didn't answer it but I did freak out and didn't know what to do. So I'm telling you it occurred and it's still there if you want to see it just to see I'm telling you the truth."
Just want to add to AC's post: you'd be surprised how much of the truth people can handle. Sometimes we hold things in so as not to upset people, or rather, we keep things for us thinking someone else wouldn't be able to handle it but that is rarely the case. The more transparent you arem, the more intimate you are being.
I can very much relate to what you are saying. I always felt I had to be the strong one and take all the weight on my shoulders. I didn't want anyone else to have to worry about those type things (finances, work etc). My wife has had some issues and stresses in life so I always wanted to be the rock that she could fall back on. When I had to open up I didn't want the imperfections to cause her additional stress. It went so far as to it almost frustrate her that she had problems in life and I didn't seem to have any.
As those imperfections grew I put up an even bigger wall which led me too far down the wrong path. I went from protecting her to being resentful of her not appreciating what i was doing. I was upset about her not being aware of the exact things that i was trying to keep from her (Pretty ironic now that I look back).
I now see transparency in a different light. I don't think its as invasive as it once was. By opening up to her one "little truth" at a time I think I can not only help myself but empower her with strength for the times when things aren't going well on her end. Guess it gives a sense that we are never alone in these things.