How do I ask for a separation - Page 2 - Talk About Marriage
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post #16 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-23-2016, 08:07 AM
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Re: How do I ask for a separation

Just a wild guess. Apologies if not relevant...

Growing up, is this what love felt like to you -- feeling like your needs were not being met by the ones supposed to love you, and you coming to believe the reason had to do with you? That, surely, the ones who were to love you would indeed seek to meet your needs, to make you feel safe, to sooth your worries, and offer genuine admiration an interest, and to feel joy in your presence -- if only you were better and more deserving? You couldn't leave, you were just a kid, and so coped by coming to believe it was you, not them? That it was your lot in life to just endure it, and maybe you'd figure out where you went wrong and redeem yourself and make them happy or available to shower you with the love for you that you wanted to believe was always there, just contingent.

If so, consider now, that was then. It is not you that needs to find the key to unlock his heart. You need to know you can unlock yours. And, as for the door, there is no lock at all on it. It's been open all this time. You are free to turn the knob, push, and step outside, and breathe. You may find the fresh air will do you some good, and your sons will grow to appreciate that which made their mother fully alive and open to love.


"We are only here briefly, and in this moment I want to allow myself joy." -- Amy, from Spike Jonze's "Her"
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post #17 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-23-2016, 12:12 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How do I ask for a separation

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Originally Posted by PieceOfSky View Post
Just a wild guess. Apologies if not relevant...

Growing up, is this what love felt like to you -- feeling like your needs were not being met by the ones supposed to love you, and you coming to believe the reason had to do with you? That, surely, the ones who were to love you would indeed seek to meet your needs, to make you feel safe, to sooth your worries, and offer genuine admiration an interest, and to feel joy in your presence -- if only you were better and more deserving? You couldn't leave, you were just a kid, and so coped by coming to believe it was you, not them? That it was your lot in life to just endure it, and maybe you'd figure out where you went wrong and redeem yourself and make them happy or available to shower you with the love for you that you wanted to believe was always there, just contingent.

If so, consider now, that was then. It is not you that needs to find the key to unlock his heart. You need to know you can unlock yours. And, as for the door, there is no lock at all on it. It's been open all this time. You are free to turn the knob, push, and step outside, and breathe. You may find the fresh air will do you some good, and your sons will grow to appreciate that which made their mother fully alive and open to love.
From what I've seen growing up, you survived. Did what was expected and life moved on. As long as there isn't physical violence, people did what was expected of them. My life now isn't the best and I'm honest enough to say I'm more lonely now as the kids get older and are forming their own lives but who's to say that it won't be worst without him.
He chose to stay after the affair when I asked him if that's what he wanted to do but now I'm wondering if his reluctance to show me some affection stem from his resentment that he gave her up for us.
When I stated in my post that I want him to release me from this, I meant that I want him to come clean about his true feelings which I'm guessing at from reading his nonverbal cues that he no longer wants me or the marriage. My feelings for him hasn't changed but I think for him it has although his words says differently. I think he's staying out of obligation not because he still loves me. Love should not be this hard. I'm the one reading books, going to MC and IC to try to fix things when to him things are ok not great but ok.
I just want some distance now from carrying this load from 4 years since I found out about his affair but I don't want the downfall from how it's going to affect the kids.

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post #18 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-23-2016, 12:46 PM
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Re: How do I ask for a separation

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No, I don't 100% know you're story.
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Then your comments are less than 100% helpful.
If we have to be 100% sure of a person's story, so we can meet some sort of obligatory level of 100% helpfulness you might as well save everyone a whole lot of time and effort and shut the forum down immediately.
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post #19 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-23-2016, 10:31 PM
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Re: How do I ask for a separation

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From what I've seen growing up, you survived. Did what was expected and life moved on. As long as there isn't physical violence, people did what was expected of them. My life now isn't the best and I'm honest enough to say I'm more lonely now as the kids get older and are forming their own lives but who's to say that it won't be worst without him.
He chose to stay after the affair when I asked him if that's what he wanted to do but now I'm wondering if his reluctance to show me some affection stem from his resentment that he gave her up for us.
When I stated in my post that I want him to release me from this, I meant that I want him to come clean about his true feelings which I'm guessing at from reading his nonverbal cues that he no longer wants me or the marriage. My feelings for him hasn't changed but I think for him it has although his words says differently. I think he's staying out of obligation not because he still loves me. Love should not be this hard. I'm the one reading books, going to MC and IC to try to fix things when to him things are ok not great but ok.
I just want some distance now from carrying this load from 4 years since I found out about his affair but I don't want the downfall from how it's going to affect the kids.

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Does it feel like there is something expected of you here? If so, what and from whom?

I think I understand what you've described has been your experience -- I've been living it myself, and have read others here suffering it too. I feel I've made progress, though, and feel much more frequently that my life is in my own hands, and, I will not be settling for this much longer, one way or another.

It's kind of hard to describe, and I'm not sure how it happened, but no longer feel as if I ** must ** stay, or that I desperately need to know what is in her heart and mind, or what really happened during her EA, or whether she is truly rejecting me because of various reasons she has stated or because of internal stresses both physical and otherwise and whether it is still possible she will show interest in addressing what is her part. I was holding myself hostage, demanding "knowing" for ransom, but, somewhere along the way there has been a shift -- a change in how I frame the problem. Now, it is simply what is she doing about it now? Is she investing enough of her self into making this a real relationship? Is she investing anything at all?

I'm done waiting. And, her inaction up until very very recently is enough for me to feel I have seen enough.

The only reason I am seeing her try now (like for the last couple of weeks) is because she knows this is how I am now, that I'm truly feeling no obligation to wait it out and see any longer, that I feel justified in going, and that I feel she is under no obligation to love me or love me in a way that feels like love to me.

I suppose part of this has happened because I sat her down recently and told her, without angst on my part, that I felt like she really didn't love me, (she had given some clear signals a day or two earlier -- like she couldn't get far enough away from me on the couch, and seemed stressed by me gently and lovingly brushing her cheek with the my hand, and awhile ago turned her head away when I tried to kiss her on the lips).

Do you directly describe to him your notions about what is going on inside him? If you are truly up for hearing the truth, hear are some ideas of how to draw some of it out of him:

"The story I'm making up in my head is that part of the problem is you resent me, for demanding an end to your relationship with her. Do you think there is some truth to that?"

"I would just like to understand why it is you no longer seem interested in making love with me. Do you think you have simply lost attraction towards me, or is there something you are resenting me for, or something causing you to want to withhold that part of yourself fro me? Or, is it generally you are not as interested in sex? Or, are you spending your sexual energies elsewhere, perhaps alone? You know, these are really hard questions to ask, and I'm sure they are just as hard to answer. But if there is a shred of compassion or love in you left for me, then please try to answer me honestly and I will try to hear your truth as a gift. If you are afraid it will hurt me, please understand the hardest part in all this is the not knowing."

"We are only here briefly, and in this moment I want to allow myself joy." -- Amy, from Spike Jonze's "Her"
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post #20 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-24-2016, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
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Re: How do I ask for a separation

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Does it feel like there is something expected of you here? If so, what and from whom?

I think I understand what you've described has been your experience -- I've been living it myself, and have read others here suffering it too. I feel I've made progress, though, and feel much more frequently that my life is in my own hands, and, I will not be settling for this much longer, one way or another.

It's kind of hard to describe, and I'm not sure how it happened, but no longer feel as if I ** must ** stay, or that I desperately need to know what is in her heart and mind, or what really happened during her EA, or whether she is truly rejecting me because of various reasons she has stated or because of internal stresses both physical and otherwise and whether it is still possible she will show interest in addressing what is her part. I was holding myself hostage, demanding "knowing" for ransom, but, somewhere along the way there has been a shift -- a change in how I frame the problem. Now, it is simply what is she doing about it now? Is she investing enough of her self into making this a real relationship? Is she investing anything at all?

I'm done waiting. And, her inaction up until very very recently is enough for me to feel I have seen enough.

The only reason I am seeing her try now (like for the last couple of weeks) is because she knows this is how I am now, that I'm truly feeling no obligation to wait it out and see any longer, that I feel justified in going, and that I feel she is under no obligation to love me or love me in a way that feels like love to me.

I suppose part of this has happened because I sat her down recently and told her, without angst on my part, that I felt like she really didn't love me, (she had given some clear signals a day or two earlier -- like she couldn't get far enough away from me on the couch, and seemed stressed by me gently and lovingly brushing her cheek with the my hand, and awhile ago turned her head away when I tried to kiss her on the lips).

Do you directly describe to him your notions about what is going on inside him? If you are truly up for hearing the truth, hear are some ideas of how to draw some of it out of him:

"The story I'm making up in my head is that part of the problem is you resent me, for demanding an end to your relationship with her. Do you think there is some truth to that?"

"I would just like to understand why it is you no longer seem interested in making love with me. Do you think you have simply lost attraction towards me, or is there something you are resenting me for, or something causing you to want to withhold that part of yourself fro me? Or, is it generally you are not as interested in sex? Or, are you spending your sexual energies elsewhere, perhaps alone? You know, these are really hard questions to ask, and I'm sure they are just as hard to answer. But if there is a shred of compassion or love in you left for me, then please try to answer me honestly and I will try to hear your truth as a gift. If you are afraid it will hurt me, please understand the hardest part in all this is the not knowing."
Thank you for helping me put words to my thoughts. I'm going to wait until after the holidays to have this discussion.
I wanted to ask you a question regarding your response that she's not under any obligation to love you, doesn't being married claim that justification? When people choose to marry, you're taking on the responsibility and obligation to be with that person. Are you equating obligation with commitment but I guess it's only when both person in the relationship want the same thing out of the relationship. I want his love not his obligation. How sad it is to remain due to being obligated not because you want to remain.

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post #21 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-24-2016, 12:18 PM
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Re: How do I ask for a separation

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she's not under any obligation to love you, doesn't being married claim that justification? When people choose to marry, you're taking on the responsibility and obligation to be with that person. Are you equating obligation with commitment but I guess it's only when both person in the relationship want the same thing out of the relationship. I want his love not his obligation. How sad it is to remain due to being obligated not because you want to remain.

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The answer to the bold part is yes, but can you force someone to love you?

The truth is that we can't make anyone do anything. That is why you feel that his obligation is not any good if there is no love in him for you. You still love him. Well, you kept your end of the bargain, but he didn't. The time has come to renegotiate this "marriage contract/vows/promises etc.

Til death do us part is just an illusion really. Most marriage contracts end way before that. Couples that remain married til death due us part with their vows intact are the exception to the rule, but we all strive to be in that exception. The majority of us marry with that in mind. As mere humans that we are, most of us will fall short of those promises that will be short lived.

Good things come to those who wait...greater things come to those who get off their a$$ and do anything to make it happen.
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post #22 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-25-2016, 01:34 AM
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Re: How do I ask for a separation

If you make decisions from a place of fear (fear that your children will blame you, fear of what others will think) then you will continue to live in unhappiness, in a prison of your own making.

Life is inherently risky, that includes the risk of your children not always considering you the center of their universe. It's just a matter of when, not if that will happen, IMO. I'm sure any parent here with older kids will share that there was a moment in their kids lives where the switch flipped, they were challenged, blamed, etc., by their children for something they did or did not do. Either they let it crush their world or they resiliently carry on and show their kids, through living by example and sticking to their guns, the meaning of adult decisions and their consequences.

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post #23 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-27-2016, 05:42 PM
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Re: How do I ask for a separation

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I wanted to ask you a question regarding your response that she's not under any obligation to love you, doesn't being married claim that justification?
I think Bibi's follow up to your question said it nicely, as well as your elaboration here:

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Originally Posted by maritalloneliness View Post
I want his love not his obligation. How sad it is to remain due to being obligated not because you want to remain.
In the beginning of our disconnected years, or even during most of them, it never occurred to me how far apart our intents were, and how 'gone' her love for me had become. It has been important for me, for my own health and sanity, to get as accurate an understanding of what is left and what is gone. It is probably the most challenging aspect of all of this, because there are lots of involuntary and unconscious attempts in my own brain and in hers to keep the truth of the matter hidden.

And as startling and sad as this sort of truth can turn out to be, it can also be liberating. If we are trying to relate to each other via lies we don't dare let ourselves see, how can we ever get traction on anything; instead, we spin our wheels, and complain about not moving anywhere.

I guess what I'm saying is more recently, I have consciously tried to make our conversations be a safe place to 'give me the bad news', or 'give me the truth'. It's hard for me to let go of something if I think "maybe this is going to work" or "maybe she is going to try this or unfreeze her heart, or finally let go of some long-held resentment that has been blocking her love all these years". You know, my life, and the lives of so many here with partners who have a different agenda, has been like Charlie Brown's, where no matter how many times Lucy promises to keep the ball in place, she always choose to pull it away at the last second.

I can see others playing that role here, and I can see myself doing it too. Over the years (yeah, years) of observing this, I feel like I'm closer to more or less comfortably walking away to play ball with someone else or no one at all; I feel like I have stayed, more recently, for reasons quite a bit different than and with perspective and daily experience quite changed from those earlier times of our disconnect. It's a choice, and I plan to choose differently, if that's what it takes (and it almost certainly will).

When my wife and I wrote our wedding vows almost 20 years ago, it never occurred to me how things might change, or how she would turn away from me and quit the marriage willfully, and only go through the motions enough to keep me from walking away. I expected it to be challenging, because life can be hard, but never expected her to quit, and refuse so many attempts to close the distance between us.

I don't hate her for it. I like to think I view her compassionately, and have empathy for what it has been like for her -- and I suppose had I found the capacity to have handled some things better perhaps both our experiences would have been extraordinarily different. But, I want to be free of all the should've and could've beens, and I want to see current reality and current likelihoods and potentials as ruthlessly objectively as possible. So, I seek to make it safe for her to tell herself and me that there is no love left, no attraction, and no intention to revive it. I also seek to say it myself. I'm trying to make it so both of us get used to hearing it, if that's how we feel.

Odd, but the risk I see in doing so isn't that it will lead to us finally filing. Rather, there will be an inappropriate/ill-advised/reflexive resistance to that. (There has been before, and this most recent "frank discussion" led to such a reflex a few days later -- though the holidays have left me a bit reluctant to pull the plug -- like so many things before).

It does feel better to be in a place, though, where I feel it is my choice to make, not hers, and any positive action on her part does not an obligation make. I'm not sure when the shift occurred, but it is a relief.

Sorry -- just rambling on. I hope you found a way to find some peace in this holiday season.

ETA: It's like the song by Bonnie Raitt says:

'Cause I can't make you love me if you don't
You can't make your heart feel something it won't
Here in the dark, in these final hours
I will lay down my heart and I'll feel the power
But you won't, no you won't
'Cause I can't make you love me, if you don't

I'll close my eyes, then I won't see
The love you don't feel when you're holding me
Morning will come and I'll do what's right
Just give me till then to give up this fight
And I will give up this fight


It's a process. I've gotten to the point where I have given up that fight, and it is a huge relief. I'm no longer frightened by what that means (or at least not remotely close to the degree I was before). I think I have found what some all 'acceptance'. It is what it is.

ETA2: I think there are other unfortunate reasons why folks stay besides "obligation". Fear of the unknown, laziness, cake-eating of various kinds including the sort where the relationship is one-sided and he or she is happy to get his or her needs met as long as one doesn't have to reciprocate, lack of awareness of what one is missing, fear of the impact on the kids, financial concerns..... It really takes conviction and courage to demand something more meaningful. I admire those who finally find it.

"We are only here briefly, and in this moment I want to allow myself joy." -- Amy, from Spike Jonze's "Her"

Last edited by PieceOfSky; 12-27-2016 at 05:59 PM.
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post #24 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-28-2016, 02:04 AM Thread Starter
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Re: How do I ask for a separation

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I think Bibi's follow up to your question said it nicely, as well as your elaboration here:



In the beginning of our disconnected years, or even during most of them, it never occurred to me how far apart our intents were, and how 'gone' her love for me had become. It has been important for me, for my own health and sanity, to get as accurate an understanding of what is left and what is gone. It is probably the most challenging aspect of all of this, because there are lots of involuntary and unconscious attempts in my own brain and in hers to keep the truth of the matter hidden.

And as startling and sad as this sort of truth can turn out to be, it can also be liberating. If we are trying to relate to each other via lies we don't dare let ourselves see, how can we ever get traction on anything; instead, we spin our wheels, and complain about not moving anywhere.

I guess what I'm saying is more recently, I have consciously tried to make our conversations be a safe place to 'give me the bad news', or 'give me the truth'. It's hard for me to let go of something if I think "maybe this is going to work" or "maybe she is going to try this or unfreeze her heart, or finally let go of some long-held resentment that has been blocking her love all these years". You know, my life, and the lives of so many here with partners who have a different agenda, has been like Charlie Brown's, where no matter how many times Lucy promises to keep the ball in place, she always choose to pull it away at the last second.

I can see others playing that role here, and I can see myself doing it too. Over the years (yeah, years) of observing this, I feel like I'm closer to more or less comfortably walking away to play ball with someone else or no one at all; I feel like I have stayed, more recently, for reasons quite a bit different than and with perspective and daily experience quite changed from those earlier times of our disconnect. It's a choice, and I plan to choose differently, if that's what it takes (and it almost certainly will).

When my wife and I wrote our wedding vows almost 20 years ago, it never occurred to me how things might change, or how she would turn away from me and quit the marriage willfully, and only go through the motions enough to keep me from walking away. I expected it to be challenging, because life can be hard, but never expected her to quit, and refuse so many attempts to close the distance between us.

I don't hate her for it. I like to think I view her compassionately, and have empathy for what it has been like for her -- and I suppose had I found the capacity to have handled some things better perhaps both our experiences would have been extraordinarily different. But, I want to be free of all the should've and could've beens, and I want to see current reality and current likelihoods and potentials as ruthlessly objectively as possible. So, I seek to make it safe for her to tell herself and me that there is no love left, no attraction, and no intention to revive it. I also seek to say it myself. I'm trying to make it so both of us get used to hearing it, if that's how we feel.

Odd, but the risk I see in doing so isn't that it will lead to us finally filing. Rather, there will be an inappropriate/ill-advised/reflexive resistance to that. (There has been before, and this most recent "frank discussion" led to such a reflex a few days later -- though the holidays have left me a bit reluctant to pull the plug -- like so many things before).

It does feel better to be in a place, though, where I feel it is my choice to make, not hers, and any positive action on her part does not an obligation make. I'm not sure when the shift occurred, but it is a relief.

Sorry -- just rambling on. I hope you found a way to find some peace in this holiday season.

ETA: It's like the song by Bonnie Raitt says:

'Cause I can't make you love me if you don't
You can't make your heart feel something it won't
Here in the dark, in these final hours
I will lay down my heart and I'll feel the power
But you won't, no you won't
'Cause I can't make you love me, if you don't

I'll close my eyes, then I won't see
The love you don't feel when you're holding me
Morning will come and I'll do what's right
Just give me till then to give up this fight
And I will give up this fight


It's a process. I've gotten to the point where I have given up that fight, and it is a huge relief. I'm no longer frightened by what that means (or at least not remotely close to the degree I was before). I think I have found what some all 'acceptance'. It is what it is.

ETA2: I think there are other unfortunate reasons why folks stay besides "obligation". Fear of the unknown, laziness, cake-eating of various kinds including the sort where the relationship is one-sided and he or she is happy to get his or her needs met as long as one doesn't have to reciprocate, lack of awareness of what one is missing, fear of the impact on the kids, financial concerns..... It really takes conviction and courage to demand something more meaningful. I admire those who finally find it.
I keep reading and rereading your post and of course everything that you've written is true. In my heart and heart, I know this.
I started having the conversation with him on Sunday night after coming home from visiting my family. He refused to go because my sister had called him out on his BS when she found out of the affair with the SIL. Which I think he has issues with because it came too close to the truth. Background, my sister and I married brothers and my husband was considered beyond reproach as far as his faithfulness was concern because her husband (his brother ) has been caught cheating various times.

As far as the conversation went, I told him that he could leave after our oldest graduate highschool and our youngest will be entering High School. He said nothing but announced that he was going to bed, in our separate rooms.

I approached the conversation again that Monday morning. He basically accused me of judging his feelings for me through my distorted vision. He stated just because he doesn't express his feelings for me the way I want or needed doesn't mean that he doesn't love me. He stated that being around me has gotten uncomfortable because he feels that I'm always judging him. He accused me of not trusting him and he doesn't know what to do to gain my trust because he knows he's the one who f*cked up and caused this mistrust.
I began to wonder if I really was having a distorted picture of who he was. I know how much I want to feel his love for me not just his lip service. I pointed out all of the discrepancies among how he treats me and what he's saying. He stated again that he's not going anywhere but he can't force or ask me to stay.
The truth is I don't trust him and I don't trust myself to believe him. At the beginning of our relationship, he had no problems expressing how he felt and his words were in line with his treatment of me. As time goes on, shouldn't our interactions with each other be effortless instead of forced uncertainty that I have to ask him if it's OK if he wants my company? I have to asked to be touched outside of the bedroom or mentioned that it's been 7 days since we were intimate. I realize that I don't know how to let go and give him my trust because I don't want to be played for a fool or if he's got some hidden agenda that will come to fruition after the kids leave and we're left alone. I also don't want his resentment that he stayed for different reasons knoweth only to him.


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post #25 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-28-2016, 12:11 PM
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Re: How do I ask for a separation

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I keep reading and rereading your post and of course everything that you've written is true. In my heart and heart, I know this.
I started having the conversation with him on Sunday night after coming home from visiting my family. He refused to go because my sister had called him out on his BS when she found out of the affair with the SIL. Which I think he has issues with because it came too close to the truth. Background, my sister and I married brothers and my husband was considered beyond reproach as far as his faithfulness was concern because her husband (his brother ) has been caught cheating various times.

As far as the conversation went, I told him that he could leave after our oldest graduate highschool and our youngest will be entering High School. He said nothing but announced that he was going to bed, in our separate rooms.

I approached the conversation again that Monday morning. He basically accused me of judging his feelings for me through my distorted vision. He stated just because he doesn't express his feelings for me the way I want or needed doesn't mean that he doesn't love me. He stated that being around me has gotten uncomfortable because he feels that I'm always judging him. He accused me of not trusting him and he doesn't know what to do to gain my trust because he knows he's the one who f*cked up and caused this mistrust.
I began to wonder if I really was having a distorted picture of who he was. I know how much I want to feel his love for me not just his lip service. I pointed out all of the discrepancies among how he treats me and what he's saying. He stated again that he's not going anywhere but he can't force or ask me to stay.
The truth is I don't trust him and I don't trust myself to believe him. At the beginning of our relationship, he had no problems expressing how he felt and his words were in line with his treatment of me. As time goes on, shouldn't our interactions with each other be effortless instead of forced uncertainty that I have to ask him if it's OK if he wants my company? I have to asked to be touched outside of the bedroom or mentioned that it's been 7 days since we were intimate. I realize that I don't know how to let go and give him my trust because I don't want to be played for a fool or if he's got some hidden agenda that will come to fruition after the kids leave and we're left alone. I also don't want his resentment that he stayed for different reasons knoweth only to him.
When was the last time you woke up feeling glad to be alive, feeling contentment and warmth in your heart, feeling like you were seen and heard and cared for and loved?

Has it happened even once, since discovering his infidelity? Had it happened in the months or years prior?

What is your daily experience like, emotionally? I can guess, from my own experiences and from your chosen username here, but if you are willing to write it down (even if you don't hit "send"), it might be useful for you to see it.

I should caution you I may not be the most objective person here. I think there is value in sharing perspective and experiences here on TAM, but it's easy to bring unknowingly hidden agendas born in one's own situation, and inappropriately dump them on another's. FWIW, I often find things I write to someone else here, especially those things I feel most compelled to say, are the things I should be saying to and hearing myself.

In my case, I'd say my conscious and reasoning part of my brain can grasp the actions I should be taking, but things less-than-conscious fight like hell to hold me back. There's a very good book that is helping me with this and other things (or so I tell myself), called "How to be an Adult in Loving Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving", by David Richo. He describes this, referencing a poem by Emily ****inson:

Quote:
Sometimes one partner does not meet the other’s needs, but since he also does not do anything major to upset the apple cart, Adam and Eve go on in the relationship without thinking of options such as change or separation: He will never be so bad that you will leave him but never so good that he will satisfy you. In either case, we may fool ourselves into hoping for change rather than working for it. If hope doesn’t include a plan for change, it is actually hopelessness and avoidance of change. What we do not change, we choose. Is this the message we get from the partner of our distress: “Stay with me and I won’t give you what you want” or “Come back and I still won’t give you what you want”? We cannot be fooled forever. One day we allow ourselves to know and then take action.

Emily ****inson writes:

The Southern Custom—of the Bird—
That ere the Frosts are due—
Accepts a better Latitude—
We—are the Birds—that stay.

The Shiverers round Farmers’ doors—
For whose reluctant Crumb—
We stipulate—till pitying Snows
Persuade our feathers Home.

To be “the birds that stay” in wintry New England when wisdom would send us to Mexico is a cruel fate to impose upon ourselves. We can use it as a metaphor for a relationship in which we stay with someone who does not nurture us: We need a loaf and beg for a crumb from someone who’s afraid to give a loaf and hardly willing to give a crumb.

To live in Massachusetts winter after winter and then say “enough of this” and move to California takes some pluck and then yields warmth. However, we may be conditioned to accept that our lives are not supposed to be comfortable. Likewise, we may believe that relationships will never work for us, that we are meant to be unhappy and unfulfilled. With that perspective, we may not be able to muster an “enough of this” when we find ourselves in pain. Instead we may ask ourselves, “Why bother?”

Yet to live with abuse is dangerous because it can make our wish to die equal in strength to our will to live. We think, “Nothing I can do will stop him from hurting me” or “Nothing I can do will make her love me.” A frightening conclusion can result: “Nothing matters, and I don’t care.” Such deep despair can take the form of poor self-esteem, disease, distortion of the body by overeating, self-abuse, addiction, risky jobs or hobbies, accident-proneness, anorexia, the belief that we can’t improve our lives, and so on. These all boil down to a wish to die.

We might even seek relationships that guarantee protection against having to look at or process our issues. A partner may be appealing to us precisely because he implicitly promises that we will never have to confront, process, and resolve any issue very deeply, never have to change a self-defeating style. We think, “He is superficial and just as scared to confront things as I am, so I am safe here.” In such relationships we forge a tacit bargain to be the “shiverers ‘round farmers’ doors.”

Mindfully loving partners never consciously engage in hurtful behaviors toward one another. They police themselves and place under arrest all the pilferers from the ever so pregnable hope chest of intimacy: vendetta, violence, ridicule, sarcasm, teasing, insult, lying, competition, punishment, and shaming.

Richo, David. How to Be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving (Kindle Locations 1135-1164). Shambhala. Kindle Edition.

Another quote of someone else from that book is:
Quote:
To have loved alone will not suffice Unless we also have been wise And have our loves enjoyed. —SIR JOHN SUCKLING
And, from the text itself:

Quote:
Love is experienced differently by each of us, but for most of us five aspects of love stand out. We feel loved when we receive attention, acceptance, appreciation, and affection, and when we are allowed the freedom to live in accord with our own deepest needs and wishes. These “five A’s” meet us in different guises throughout life’s journey. In childhood, we need these five A’s to develop self-esteem and a healthy ego. They are building blocks of identity, of a coherent human personality. Human experience has a striking and reliable harmony: What we need for the building of a self is also precisely what we need for happiness in our adult love relationships. Intimacy, at its best, means giving and receiving the five A’s, the joys and wealth of relationship.

Richo, David. How to Be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving (Kindle Locations 211-216). Shambhala. Kindle Edition.
It's not too much to ask to receive those things, or to need them in order to feel loved. If you've forgotten that, or never understood that, then addressing that missing awareness inside yourself is your greatest opportunity.


"We are only here briefly, and in this moment I want to allow myself joy." -- Amy, from Spike Jonze's "Her"

Last edited by PieceOfSky; 12-28-2016 at 12:18 PM.
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post #26 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-30-2016, 08:32 AM Thread Starter
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Re: How do I ask for a separation

Quote:
Originally Posted by PieceOfSky View Post
When was the last time you woke up feeling glad to be alive, feeling contentment and warmth in your heart, feeling like you were seen and heard and cared for and loved?

Has it happened even once, since discovering his infidelity? Had it happened in the months or years prior?

What is your daily experience like, emotionally? I can guess, from my own experiences and from your chosen username here, but if you are willing to write it down (even if you don't hit "send"), it might be useful for you to see it.

I should caution you I may not be the most objective person here. I think there is value in sharing perspective and experiences here on TAM, but it's easy to bring unknowingly hidden agendas born in one's own situation, and inappropriately dump them on another's. FWIW, I often find things I write to someone else here, especially those things I feel most compelled to say, are the things I should be saying to and hearing myself.

In my case, I'd say my conscious and reasoning part of my brain can grasp the actions I should be taking, but things less-than-conscious fight like hell to hold me back. There's a very good book that is helping me with this and other things (or so I tell myself), called "How to be an Adult in Loving Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving", by David Richo. He describes this, referencing a poem by Emily ****inson:




Another quote of someone else from that book is:


And, from the text itself:



It's not too much to ask to receive those things, or to need them in order to feel loved. If you've forgotten that, or never understood that, then addressing that missing awareness inside yourself is your greatest opportunity.
From your suggestions, I've purchased and is currently reading the book by David Richo -How to be an Adult in relationships.

How long has it been since I've truly felt loved, appreciated or in tuned with by my partner, chosen mate, lover, husband? It's extremely hard to answer. I know that since discovering his infidelity have left an open wound on my soul that I have attempted to heal but am not having much success. That has been more than 4 years ago. I no longer feel that I know what I want from my marriage and I'm wondering if I'll ever have that security in knowing that I once had or was it an illusion. I'm still struggling with the fact that I wasn't enough for him . I've asked him what he was looking for in her but he can't or isn't willing to give me a response.
These last 4 years have been perpetual hell as I struggle to fix me and to figure out what I want for the res of the relationship.

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[B]FEAR=False Expectation About Reality -I will not live out of fear and any challenges I may face in my life is just an opportunity to learn about the person I'm choosing to become.
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post #27 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-30-2016, 06:50 PM
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Re: How do I ask for a separation

The only easy part of R is the decision to start. And it doesn't always work no matter how much we want to keep our family intact. BTDT (I had 30 years of R before mine went down in flames which is why I usually avoid R threads).

Regaining trust is difficult at best and often impossible. Some people rebuild and are able to have a better marriage. Some of us don't get that no matter how hard we try.

It's a long, tough road full of pitfalls and minefields and triggers (years of triggers in many instances). And if you don't have a completely remorseful spouse who is willing to go outside their comfort zone to give you what you need to heal -- because you are that important to them -- it's not worth it.
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post #28 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-30-2016, 07:02 PM
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Re: How do I ask for a separation

No, he's not going to tell you why you weren't enough. My ex-husband couldn't/wouldn't tell me but he was very much a KISA and she was a very needy person. I was brought up to be strong and independent and I think he wanted someone weaker than he was. He got that in spades with her (she was amazingly dysfunctional and I think he greatly enjoyed riding to the rescue). I also believe intimacy issues probably played a big part (he strongly denied that but cheaters don't usually tell the truth about why they did what they did).
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post #29 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-30-2016, 11:28 PM
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Re: How do I ask for a separation

Quote:
Originally Posted by maritalloneliness View Post
I'm still struggling with the fact that I wasn't enough for him . I've asked him what he was looking for in her but he can't or isn't willing to give me a response.
These last 4 years have been perpetual hell as I struggle to fix me and to figure out what I want for the res of the relationship.
Have you considered that it wasn't you, but him? Or, him and her, and their weaknesses and poor boundaries and ability to look the other way, away from their own tempting behaviors long enough to get burned, and hurt you and others in the process.


If there was some significant part of the mess that was yours to own, it seems like he would be able by now to give you some clues about what it was, don't you think? Instead, it sounds like he'd simply like to keep you guessing about yourself, which is cruel, and seductive -- like that book says, if you feel like it is your fault that you are not getting the love you desire, then don't you feel compelled to stick around and fix things? That is, it seems like a natural reflex, but if the other person isn't doing his part and if the problem really isn't yours to fix, then it is not going to get you anything but more and more depressed and convinced you must be the one undeserving of love and with something to fix.

I suppose I was lucky in some ways with my wife's choice of EA partner. He was a long ago lover, who had clearly nothing in the real world to offer her to replace what she was getting from me. He had been jail for beating his STBX once or twice, he had (according to his STBX) done some creepy boundary-crossing behaviors with his adult step daughter's property, was scary at times to his parents and he had a very deep life-destroying addiction to alcohol. Yet, he made her feel good. Perhaps I'm blind, but I think she preferred escaping reality with him rather than engaging me in reality, and facing herself and us. Some around here use the term "affaired down". It happens. Whether it happened in my case or in yours, the point is the choice to participate in an affair is not a measure of the one(s) betrayed, and the actual complex causes might be very non-intuitive.

Perhaps it's comforting to assume and seek cause and blame and deficiencies in yourself, because if that were the case it is something you can fix. We want our partners to be good and loving and compassionate, and it's a lonely and scary thing to face the fact they did things that were not. When that is indeed what has happened though, whether you stay or go, it is hard to make real progress if you don't see him clearly, harmful behaviors and all.

"We are only here briefly, and in this moment I want to allow myself joy." -- Amy, from Spike Jonze's "Her"
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