Letting Go… Easier Said Than Done

23 Apr

One thing I have been struggling with lately is letting go and detaching from the decisions my husband makes and the responsibilities that are his alone.  The issue of co-dependancy has been on my mind a lot.  I was reading a blog post, Third Person Perspective, from another woman who is going through a similar situation.  She wasn’t really talking about co-dependency.  Her post was about how her triggers are still gut-wrenching and how her husband’s upcoming business trip is causing anxiety.  Some of the comments talked about what her husband could do to help alleviate those fears since she wasn’t able to take off work and go along.  She also delved into some of her own insecurities surrounding his behavior and her worry that he might not be able to “stick to his ideals.”

I have some of the same worries.  Even when I think my husband has no intention of doing wrong, I get nervous and anxious in situations that seem similar to what we went through.  I know that is partly due to “triggers.”  For those not familiar, a trigger is an event or situation that is similar to something you have experienced before that immediately brings back the same emotions from the past.  I have talked to my husband about the different things that trigger me – like seeing that his phone ringer is completely off or catching him in a lie, no matter how “small.”

But I also realized today that a lot of my anxiety is about the fear that I can’t control how things turn out for us.  A lot of this is really on him.  And that scares the shit out of me.  He is the only one who can stop himself from lying, cheating, destructive behavior, and his negative patterns.  Sure, being there for him and supporting him is something that I can do.  But I can’t be there all the time.  He is on his own the majority of every day when he’s at school or work.  A lot of his past behavior was at work, but if I dwell on that fact it would drive me crazy.  So I’m working on finding a way to let go of the things that I have no control over.

It’s really not easy.  Because if he can’t control himself (like he couldn’t in the past), I know now what that will do to me.  And I know I can’t handle it.  It’s hard to hand your future sanity over to someone who has hurt you so deeply, even if you are rebuilding the trust.  But somehow I have to do it because there is no way to control his every action.  I have also come to realize that I don’t want that responsibility.  Maybe that means I’ve made progress. Who knows…

What I do know is that he has to make the right choices whether I’m in the picture or not.  I can’t be his conscience or therapist.  He needs to develop his own boundaries, figure out his own way of staying right, and go back to his individual counselor who has a plan and can teach him the correct tools for healing.  I’m not going to be his guide through this anymore – he needs to take some action on his own.

So, back to the whole idea of co-dependency.  What is it really?  At what point does it become unhealthy?  Are there different “rules” if you have been cheated on?  Is it something I should be concerned about at this point?  What can I do about it?  Depending on who you ask it is either a terrible thing or a necessity for a marriage (to a certain degree).  Every article I read also seems to have a different definition of what codependency is.  Under some definitions our relationship could be characterized that way, but under others we don’t fit the bill.  Some things I read sound like I could be an “enabler,” but other things are so far off base that I would be termed something more like a “disabler.”  It can get quite confusing.

For now I have reached the conclusion that the important thing is finding a healthy balance of personal independence and dependence on your spouse.  After all, if I wanted to be completely unconnected and independent of another human being why would I be married?  In his book Emotional Infidelity: How to Affair-Proof Your Marriage and 10 Other Secrets to a Great Relationship, M. Gary Neuman encourages couples to establish a “healthy co-dependence” in their marriage.  I haven’t read the book, but I think I will have to order it because I want to know how to do that.  I certainly don’t want to feel chained like the picture below, but I also don’t want a relationship where we merely co-exist in our separate lives without worrying about the other person’s needs, feelings or desires.


13 Responses to “Letting Go… Easier Said Than Done”

  1. Skye March 24, 2014 at 4:38 pm #

    I really appreciate your blog… I’ve been having such a hard time getting rid of the triggers… It’s been about 7 months since my boyfriend cheated (we had been together 8 months before the incident). It doesn’t help that I occasionally bump into the other girl on my way to school. I bumped into her today and shouted all the insults I could at her, but in the end I know it was also his choice to cheat. The sarcasm and cold blood of some of these other women is astounding; how can they live with themselves knowing they wrecked someone’s relationship (and she was in a relationship too!)? I don’t know what to do anymore, honestly. I broke up with him today but I just don’t know what to do, how to heal. It’s like I’ve been babysitting him this whole time, putting his apologies and promises over my own well-being. I guess the main thing to do now is to calm down… How do you let go of anger toward the other woman though?

  2. Todd Lohenry April 29, 2012 at 8:19 am #

    Thanks for your transparency and your ‘raw’ sharing. Have you read any Melody Beattie? She has been a tremendous help to me in dealing with issues of codependency…

  3. recover1day April 23, 2012 at 10:40 pm #

    There is a good book that you might look into and decide if you want to give your husbands. I ordered a copy for my partner who was trying very hard but just not “getting it”. Suprisingly enough he also ordered the book so maybe he is learning more than I gave him credit for. The title is How to help your spouse heal from your affair, a compact manual for the unfaithful. It literally only takes a couple hours to read and is pretty simple and to the point about the role of responsibility and healer they need to be willing to take on. It was helpful for my partner to read it instead of hearing it from me because there was less emotion and less feeling like I was telling him he isn’t doing enough or doing it right which caused him to be frustrated and defensive. Afterward he was more able to talk to me about the mistakes he has made along the way and understanding how it had added to the problem. He knows that he has a long way to go before he can ever understand what it feels like to go through this kind of betrayal but it did make an impact on him and helped him to get a glimpse of daily life for me. I found it on Amazon.com

    • beautifulmess7 April 24, 2012 at 8:50 am #

      Thanks so much for the tip! I love hearing about good books, and that one sounds perfect. Gotta love something that is short and to the point. I will definitely look into it.

  4. Samantha Baker April 23, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

    I can’t claim it, I got it from Not “Just Friends” by Shirley Glass. When I read that it was one of those AHA! moments. Because prior to that, yes, he tried to do his part to a POINT…but only to a point. Then when I read that I was like wait…he’s putting way too much responsibility on me, and on our therapist. Because he often said when I had bad days (or like the time I texted him and told him I felt broken) that Dawn (therapist) would be able to help me with that. And while yes, she is there to help guide us, it’s not her responsibility to FIX me, you know? HE broke me, he most certainly can help put me back together.

  5. Samantha Baker April 23, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

    Funny, I blogged about this yesterday and it was the topic of discussion at our MC last week. I feel like you and i are at similar places in our healing journey.

    I know exactly what you mean about triggers. Text messages are a biggy for me. The chime. Because that was their main form of communication.

    The whole letting go so they can stand on their own, its hard. Very hard. It makes us vulnerable. But hopefully it pays off. I want my FWH to become my healer. I told him that last night. Hope he gets it.

    • beautifulmess7 April 23, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

      I know exactly what you mean. I see your posts and I feel like I could have written them. Text messages are the same for me… If he doesn’t tell me what it is and who it’s from I can feel myself tense up. He is usually really good at noticing that and being proactive, though – to his credit.

      I hope your husband gets it, too. I like the way you put that. I will have to talk to my FWH about it in the same way. I have asked him to be responsible for his own growth, but I never thought about also asking him to be proactive about my healing. It is true that he should play just as much of a part in the recovery as he did in breaking down the marriage (and my sanity) with his infidelity.


  1. Setting Boundaries « Being a Beautiful Mess - July 2, 2012

    […] and boundaries was the first thing on my mind.  I have written about boundaries here a few times (Letting Go… Easier Said Than Done and Finishing up the Checklist among others), but hadn’t really delved into it much in […]

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