Doubting myself, not feeling strong, and oh the guilt

Guilt is a common place for me to live. I know it well.

So today the guilt is strong, and I’m not.

Husband wants another chance. He is begging me, with tears, and with words I so want to hear and believe, but I don’t.

He is apologizing for never being there for me, and says he will be now. (But it is my fault for not speaking up sooner sine he didn’t know I was so lonely)

He is promising to learn how to control his anger. (he says he didn’t know it hurt us so much)

He is promising to listen to me. (he says he didn’t realize how distant he had become)

He is promising to love me, and show me that he loves me. (he says he can see how he neglected me)

He asked me for ways I have hurt him, so I started listing examples, he asked for concrete examples. So I gave him some random hurtful events, and he gave me a ‘practical’ reason for each one that feels like BS to me.

==During the years we had babies, we had only 1 car so he drove it to work and left me here with a stroller. Most days I did not have to go anywhere, so this was fine. I enjoyed pushing the kids around my small town, to grocery shop and to the park around the corner. I still walk most places in town even though I have a van now. The hurtful part, was that the stroller was never given a spot in ‘his’ garage. It was always pushed out in to the weather, under a small picnic shelter with no walls, so I had to brush off snow, bugs, pine needles, before heading out. He says he pushed the strollers out to prevent toxic fumes from his work getting into them. BS. Then push them back in again.

I do not accept his excuses. I do not accept his promises.

But last night he held me so tight while we cried, both of us together, both of apologizing for so many years of lies and broken promises from both of us.  I feel my strength wavering. It has been nearly a week now with no yelling and all this tender communication. He is emailing me. He has never done that before, not like this, not these beautiful heart-felt words. I’m so afraid my heart won’t listen to my head, and will let him in again. Will believe he can change. Will believe I can love him.

How do I know? And how do I stay strong against the affection that I wanted all these years? Can I keep pushing him away when I desire it so badly? Why did it have to get this bad for him to express his love? I do believe he loves me. But I don’t believe he can change enough for me to love him. But do I try anyway? For the sake of marriage and kids?




13 thoughts on “Doubting myself, not feeling strong, and oh the guilt

  1. Counseling. Talk to a counselor. You are paying them to be on your side. They are outside the situation, so they have no vested interest. They have experience with what is healthy and what isn’t. I want to believe right along with you, but warning bells are going off, just like yours are. Maybe the warning bells are habit, but now is not the time to second guess yourself. And my first thought was if it were me, I’d be talking to a counselor. Hoping for the best for you.

    • I’ll second this advice. Maybe having an impartial judge can help you sort this through. I struggle with my own misgivings about my husband’s intentions and it always seems to help me get a better grasp on the way I feel after I’ve spent 40 min babbling at my therapist about it.

  2. Hi. I obviously don’t know all your history so I’m hesitant to give my 2 cents… so this comment is based completely on my own experiences…..
    I would love it if my husband said those words. I would continue to try if I heard those words. I would also be very guarded and not trust him. And I would use his new found interest in working on our marriage to get him to go to counseling with me 🙂
    I understand how his excuses for his behavior are so hurtful. That’s not cool. I’d call BS too. Until he owns up to those things, there will be no change. Can you get him to go to counseling?

    • He says he will go to counseling, but until it happens, it is just more words. I’ve been seeing one for many years now and working on our marriage 1-sided. He’s saying “sorry, but” which means he is sorry I feel bad – but – he doesn’t accept responsibility

  3. You seem to have establish a boundary for the yelling, good for you. It’s up to you now to maintain that boundary. Knowing how to do this can be hard so I agree with the others. Let someone help you through this.

  4. All of this sounds very familiar with what I CHOOSE to go through with my girlfriend/fiancee. She has BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder). And for the entire relationship, it’s been as if I’ve been dating two women in one body. There’s the side of her that she entered into the relationship as–the mostly warm, exciting, intelligent, open, conversant, passionate woman who seemed to be growing in a similar direction as me. And then there’s the other side of her–the part of her that spins out, is easily angered and triggered, walls up and over-reacts and throw tantrums, is incredibly selfish (sounds great, doesn’t it!). I’m 44; I’ve dated a lot, and I am honestly not a commitment-phobe, but I do expect a lot out of a relationship and a partner (because I think that I bring a lot to the table as well), and I suppose in a certain way, I am getting a lot out of her–a lot of enjoyment and fun on the good days, and character building on the bad days–it’s all grist for the mill. At least that’s how I try to look at it. And I write all of this knowing that today, she and the kids (hers; her husband died over 3 yrs ago; and she did to him many of the same things she’s done to me–of course she kept all of that info carefully concealed from me until she was well into things with me) are here, and that a week from now, I may come home and find that she and the kids have moved out (again) and that it was all my fault (again). And if that happens, then if the past is any indicator, she’ll call me up a couple of months later and want to be “friends” and then she’ll tell me how much she misses me and that this time she wants to marry me and be the best wife and partner possible (that was her last play; and it lasted for about a month or two). My gf/fiancee was abused repeatedly as a child, has a history of instability in all of her relationships, and refuses to look honestly at herself (at least for more than a month). She has always regressed/backslid back to the person (version of herself) she is being right now–blaming others and refusing to look at herself, in fact always exonerating herself. This is my first relationship ever like this. So I have cut myself some slack, because honestly, I didn’t know–I was very niave; I mean I had read about this sort of stuff, but living through it first person is an entirely new experience (the map is not the territory).
    So . . . bottom line for me is that at this point, I’m not a victim anymore, I’m a volunteer. I am choosing to be here and to do what I am doing. And I’m staying less and less for her (because I don’t really think she wants to get better or deal with her BPD and her issues) and more and more for the children. And if she leaves again, then I know that I am done; I will definitely move on, change the locks, et cetera.
    The honeymoon phase is exhilarating, no doubt about it. When we’re in that phase, I know that’s how I deserve to be treated and it’s how I aspire to treat her. The problem is when she lies and goes back on her word in some significant way–which usually means she’s been doing so for a while and I’ve just missed it becuae she’s really really good at hiding out when she’s in a relationship. When she’s in that mode, she’s a hellish creature. Like I said, this is a learning experience–seeing heaven and hell–so totally pronounced and distinctly different potentials in one person. I’ve never encountered anything or anyone like this before.
    My point in all of this?–Or what would I tell myself to do? . . . I’m not even sure . . . I know I would push for counseling . . . especially during the honeymoon phase, even though that might ruin that phase. But if the person is really sincere about wanting to change–and not just vacillating between the two poles of their personality–their honeymoon persona and their exploitative & angry & selfish & immature & undisciplined & dishonest (unvirtuous) persona–then the person should be willing to enter into counseling. Because making a real apology or change isn’t about talk, it’s about walking the talk, it’s about those tough steps in the 12 steps–making a fearless and searching moral inventory, making amends, the person repairing the damage that he or she has done, and then continuing to self-monitor and to continue taking searching and fearless moral inventories and working on developing and strengthening their conscience. That’s the only way really to make a change or for a person to prove that he or she is really changing.

    Best wishes and warmest regards, and I hope some of this helps!


    • Wow John, thank you so much for sharing all of that. Relationships have so many parts to them, it is extremely difficult to paint a picture in a few words, or even a few blog posts. I appreciate your “volunteer, not a victim” part. I think that is where I am right now. I want to help him. I want to stay together for the kids, but I am not emotionally invested in him any more. If I choose to stay, or let him stay, there will be boundaries, and I will no longer be blindsided (at least not every time, no guarantees here) by his hurtful words and actions. I have tried to diagnose him over the years, and I don’t think he has a personality disorder, though I’m not sure entirely. I do know he makes most of his decisions out of fear, and that he is not honest as a rule. He’s so good at little lies, it makes we wonder if there are big ones. I think he’ll go to counseling this time, as he seems to finally understand I mean it. I’m not sure he understands, and I feel he is just trying to make amends, that he is not genuine, but I just don’t know. All I know if he won’t get my heart until I trust him. I’m done crying. I’m done watching the kids cry. Done.

  5. Absolutely counseling. If he doesn’t want to go, that says a lot. I know relationships can heal and grow from the most painful of situations BUT it takes two (actually 3 if you believe in God). If he won’t go…PLEASE go for yourself. As the others have said, it’s important to have an impartial third person to help work through things.

    • Thank you. Yes, I do have support now. I have a therapist, and friends and family now that I talk to. For years I was completely isolated. He says he will go to counseling, but until he does it, I don’t trust his words. But I will continue to go on my own, absolutely.

  6. Counseling.

    But I am with you — it sounds like too little too late & that since he has excuses & reasons for everything (nevermind that “I didn’t realize” is a stupidass excuse — he paid that little attention?) that he is nowhere near changing. What’s to keep him from making more excuses?

    I’m not one for staying in a marriage for legal or child reasons. People can be better parents when they are not miserable. Yes, it’s not ideal, but it seems to me your husband broke the marital contract by treating you like a second class citizen.

    I’m not saying don’t give him another chance. But I think some sort of separation is in order. And counseling. Has he taken any steps towards getting help for his anger & marriage counseling? Or is he leaving it all to you?

    I can’t help but worry he is playing you. Maybe not with malicious intent, but to control you and get things back to where they were. It still really bugs me the way he handled your heartfelt letters to him. That was not very long ago. He may be gauging what he can get away with.

    Sorry. I sound like a bitch. I take marriage very very seriously. I don’t mean to sound like I don’t. I just know how awful it is to be in an unequal marriage. I don’t regret leaving him one bit, although I feel badly that it hurt him that I did. But what he felt for me was not love. I apologize that I’m likely transferring too much of my first marriage situation on yours, but I also guess that I feel I should tell you it’s ok to set yourself free.

    • You do not sound like a bitch, you sound like the voice of reason. Everything is so clear to me now. I appreciate your point of view and support. I have already set myself free from the abuse, but from the marriage is yet to be determined. Only time will tell. I will attempt to do the counseling with an open mind, or an open heart I guess, but I really have my doubts at this point that I can ever truly trust and love him. I do think he can change, if he really tries, and I believe he finally accepts he has a problem. His tears were like an alcoholic finally seeing what he has done to his family. It was authentic. I will help him, but will never go back to allowing him to hurt us.

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