It’s been a long while since I’ve been on TMB. We are going through it right now. There’s volumes I could write, but I will be brief. The marriage hasn’t been the same since I admitted my Adulterous Relationship a little over 5 years ago. I know I’m not perfect, but I’ve been trying ever since. We aren’t much better now, and in some ways, worse. Counseling was where we started, but she isn’t interested in going again, as she felt it just allowed her an excuse to be angry.
She’s isn’t “happy” per se, but also doesn’t offer up her ideas on how we get better and passed the past.
There has been nothing romantic since Valentines day and she doesn’t seem to mind. She’s always been low drive, but she used to at least hug, kiss, and hold hands.
At one point, she said she thought things were better, but it’s just a roller coaster ride. Maybe all we need is prayer, but any other suggestions or resources are always appreciated. I’m pretty much lost in our marriage at the moment and very discouraged.
I’m very glad to see your presence at TMB again, though admittedly saddened to hear about your current status.
Every situation heals at its own rate, but 5 yr seems a pretty long time to still be having these issues due to your past infidelity. At this point, many of the couples that choose to reconcile are at a place in their new marriage equal to or better than the marriage they had pre-betrayal. To me, it sounds like the wound to your marriage hasn’t scarred over and is still festering.
Your line that stuck out the most to me was:
“Counseling was where we started, but she isn’t interested in going again, as she felt it just allowed her an excuse to be angry.”
This may or may not be a problem, but if it is, I’ll throw out two possibilities:
- The counselor you previously saw wasn’t doing a good job supporting the betrayed spouse, skipping over the part where they needed help. Here is a link where this is discussed in some detail: https://www.affairrecovery.com/survivors/samuel/one-main-reasons-betrayed-spouses-can-feel-angry-isolated-and-hopeless-during
- It sounds to me like your wife may view being angry as unacceptable. It is not. Anger is a natural response that can be healthy, and holding it in may be preventing the healing for taking place. While not all spouses will do this, did your wife ever just lay into you and pour out her feelings, anger and all? Sometimes, that’s required for real healing to take place. If she’s not willing to dump out her raw feelings because she thinks that’s not okay, she may be holding back progress. Here’s another video link from the same site that discusses this to an extent: https://www.affairrecovery.com/survivors/samuel/anger-and-betrayed-spouse
Eventually, reconciled marriages reach a point where the past infidelity, while not forgotten, really isn’t thought about or brought up on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis. Five years may not be enough to be at that point, but it sure seems like progress is not happening.
Regarding the #2 above, I’ll throw out an anecdotal story. My grandma was a betrayed spouse, and while things are different because my grandpa was a coward and fled instead of reconciling, she never opened up emotionally that I know of…living over 35 yr as a shell of her former self and not moving on. You and your wife certainly don’t want that for her. If she isn’t willing to do more counseling, it may be worth having you do additional individual counseling to work through some of these things at least from your side.
Covid quarantine, which began after Valentines, has really caused a lot of people I know to struggle with their negative thoughts. Many have slipped into deep depressions and uncharacteristic apathy and anger. That might be a contributing factor.
People can get stuck in grief. Perhaps grief counseling is more of what she needs.
If there are elders at your church, perhaps they can come alongside and help. Or their wives could help your wife.
I hope you are serving her relentlessly, lavishing love on her continuously and showing Gods perfect love to her at all times.
Even when there has been confession and repentance are you seeking to truly value her as your wife and not solely just for sex? Are you still clinging to guilt that keeps you from really loving your wife as you should? Has she truly forgiven you? I know there can be remaining hurt and trust issues. I Corinthians 13 can be a good guide and barometer of your relationship. Will be praying. It’s a long journey, but God is with you because He wants a reconciled relationship between you.