Thread: Tables Turned
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Old 08-14-17, 01:54 AM
ToneTone ToneTone is offline
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Re: Tables Turned

As someone who has a painful history of rescuing, which involves over-worrying about another person and over-caretaking (while neglecting myself), I have learned that the "victim" in a relationship often needs to learn to stand up for themselves.

Part of your spouse's journey isn't just processing her anger at you ... Part of her journey is processing her anger at herself--and grappling with why she put up with your behavior all these years. You're feeling all kinds of guilt and shame right now ... and I don't know the details ... But ... she stayed with you ... presumably without a gun at her head.

If you hadn't existed, there's a good chance she would have found someone just like you and put up with his bad behavior for years and years So this isn't all on you. Now, don't use that as a defense with her! That ain't gonna work right now.

You really can't "do anything" to speed up her process or to make her suddenly feel affectionate again. Give her room. By all means, don't guilt her ... don't try to get her to feel sorry for you.

I gotta tell you: your situation reminds me of a painful experience I had in college. My college girlfriend caught me in a lie, a lie that was revealed by an std. The woman I had the fling with was exactly the person my ex was most insecure about. Literally the worst person for me to lie about.

My gf fell into a deep depression. Awful. She alternately raged and cried and lashed out at me. I was terrified that she was gonna kill herself--and so I just hung in there, tried to nurture her and comfort her. I would literally go to her room each night and "put her to bed" almost like a parent. I mean this would be a two-hour ritual. Of course, I burned with shame and self-loathing.

The good news: it took my girlfriend about five months to fully forgive me and look past this-- five months is a lot in the life of 21 and 22-year-olds.

So if you're married and this issue has gone on for years or decades, it will take several years for you and your wife to rethink things and heal. That sounds like a lot, I know, but you can compare your situation to an affair. Married couples take a couple of years to work through an affair if they are gonna stay together. Doesn't mean that all that time is misery. But it takes several years for couples recovering from an affair to create a new relationship.

I would say get to your own therapist and bring up your pain and shame there ... but share some in couple's therapy as well. Just know: your wife can't be your confidant right now on this issue. Ironically she has to be angry with you right now and get some distance if she is to ultimately release her anger and unhappiness.

Bottom line, you can get through this and rebuilt your relationship, but it’s gonna require serious work on both of your parts … and some luck. But all the work each of you does will prove valuable whether you stay together or not. Assuming you want to stay together, I’m rooting for you!

Tone
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