You are Not a Bad Person

This continues my speaking to the distant or pulling away spouse or partner…

Often the distancing spouse is viewed as the “bad” person.

You are perhaps fearful that others look at you and see you as not “trying” to make the marriage or relationship work.

You may hear frequently from your spouse or s/he may imply that s/he is giving all the effort, is working on the relationship and you are not.

Labels may be attached to you: aloof, uncaring, insensitive, remote, angry, sullen, passive-aggressive, self-centered, and stubborn, to name a few.

Have you heard any of those terms or others cast in your direction?

In contrast, your partner may receive the sympathy and encouragement for trying to fix the relationship and make it better.

S/he may suggest marriage counseling, a marriage retreat, and time for just the two of you or other suggestions that focus on relationship development.

S/he may even have a cadre of others who support and pat him/her on the back.

Some need to see the world as either good or evil or bad or righteous.

It’s not that simple.

And, deep within you, you know it’s not that simple.

You are not trying to be bad, stubborn, passive or whatever.

You are merely trying to control your feelings and your thoughts. You are doing the best you can considering the coping mechanisms you bring, your situation and a number of other factors.

You don’t truly want to feel responsible for hurting someone. You don’t want pain. You don’t want to fight. You don’t want the distance.

And, you don’t want to be confronted with your feelings of inadequacy. You know them well enough without reminders.

Here’s a suggestion: Take time to identify what you are attempting to protect.

What would like to feel good about?

What would you truly like to say to him/her about yourself?

You don’t want to give your personal power away, and you tend to do that when you think of yourself as the bad person in the relationship, or allow others to put that tag on you.

This entry was posted in Emotional Distance, Emotional Infidelity, Infidelity Marriage, Infidelity Pain, Rebuilding the Marriage or Relationship, Relationship Communication, Surviving Infidelity, Types of Affairs and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to You are Not a Bad Person

  1. Mike says:

    Bull. Why is it then that the “distancing” spouse more times than not while distancing themselves from their spouse is moving closer and closer to someone else’s crotch?!!!! SORRY BOB, DON’T AGREE

    • tony says:

      I’m with Mike on this. My wife still thinks she loves the other man years after my discovery. I thought affair partners don’t stay together??

    • DJ says:

      I say, “charge neutral”; not to the point of “walking on eggshells” nor avoiding needed firm/calm/adult conversations about each other’s needs, just projecting positivity and being centered, not losing power or acting weak.
      I believe the distancing spouse wants drama and power and it to be someone else’s fault so they can joke about it when they (cheaters) see each other.

  2. Sue says:

    If the distancing spouse is also the offending spouse I agree with the above comments. In my case my spouse is cheating on me and I am the one distancing myself from him because I just can’t stand him around me, he is completely repulsive to me now, and I shouldn’t be blamed for not wanting to him to be close and not wanting to be any more vulnerable then I already have been.

    • carla says:

      Hi, I am in your shoes too. I am distancing because I can not trust and have to protect myself. Í think the article should clarify the position of the distancing spouse.

  3. D L says:

    I can see this and have wondered if my wife was doing this. She has said that she now hates the guy she cheated with. What gets me is she’s doing nothing and still has things he gave her (very personal things) and still gives me nothing. To me she’s holding on to him or someone new maybe. It’s been 10 months, what’s left for me to wait for?!

    • Mike says:

      Sorry DL your wife is playing you. Dont waste anymore time like I did(3 years to be exact) Shes gone, went somewhere else, it didnt work out, shes looking or has someone, maybe the same guy. But the most important thing is….ITS NOT YOU! and never gonna be. There are way to many people out there these days that feel they are entitled to have their desires, they deserve to be happy(at all costs) and even somehow they are betraying themselves if they don’t. People have become selfish, narcissistic and even borderline sociopaths IMO and no one deserves your time and love that cant give the same in return and with some respect and a little empathy and humility for being a lying, selfish cheat. I thought nothing could be worse than what my wife did, to me and our children and family…but I was wrong. The way she acted (just like yours is) after being exposed was far worse than anything. Good Luck, Mike

  4. Karen says:

    I am the betrayed and I am the distancing spouse. For 3 years I drove the recovery of our marriage while he reluctantly took marriage courses with me and did individual therapy and still showed no remorse or empathy for the intense pain I was in ( he had been in a 20 year relationship with a coworker and then drip fed me info for 3 years after initial discovery. The last terrible detail was divulged 3 months ago). Now he wants us to move forward and he’s through with the OW and says he loves me —and I am now the one completely distancing myself from him. I’m tired, a bone deep tired, both emotionally and physically. I’m too tired to work on this marriage anymore. I’ve seen little to no remorse and he never wants to discuss the affairs, so I can’t get answers. Also he lied for so long–20 Years of a 38 year marriage– I can’t believe anything he says, and frankly he is not trustworthy or even good enough for me anymore. All I feel , besides occasional bouts of anger, is a numbness and emptiness in my heart. Not sure what I am going to do –im age 60! I’m too old to start over. I suppose we will live as roommates until death do us parT. I will live my life separately and do what I want when I want and do it still in the same house with him. It’s too dangerous to open my heart up to him again. I simply can’t do it and believe me , I have tried. Sad way to spend your golden years, right?

    • Lee says:

      To say you cannot love again dear Karen is a giving up on yourself. Your louse(spouse) cannot be allowed to damage your remaining life. At 60 you can certainly love again. If at 76 years I can do it, you certainly can.

      Please give yourself some well earned credit and do so by moving to the side the emptiness and numbness you are feeling to make room for something to take the place of those negative feelings. You can do it!!!! Much love,


      • Joan says:

        Thank you Lee, for giving me some hope. Up until now everyone I have read about has been so much younger than me and my partner of 28 years ( I am 68 and my partner, 74! )
        Last year he had an emotional affair and left me devastated.

  5. Terri says:

    My husband had a affair with a woman 15 yrs his JR. He met her at his place of work. It last almost 2 yrs. She was married, he was 63 when it started. We argued alot. I started calling him nasty things. Thinking it would make him see he was ignoring me emotionally and physically for almost our whole marriage. He is a working alcoholic the 31 yrs we have been together.
    The affair is over, she has moved to Florida and we are working on things. But except for NO MORE ARGUMENTS! ! ! Nothing has really changed. He for the last 10 yrs he has not been able to perform. We love each other, but he just can’t show me he loves me.

    • Joan says:

      My partner, too, has the same problem. He has had no interest in me for the last 26 years, yet he had an emotional affair last year and treated me very badly during it. On both D-days he chose her over me then allowed me to think, until recently that he was the one who ended it for me, when, intact it was the OW who ended it. To make matters worse ,I’m having to contend with the fact that “he has never loved me for 28 years”. I’m not sure which was the hardest blow to me as this was not told to me during any ‘affair fog’, but during our reconciliation, and with hindsight, his treatment of me bears that out.
      He treated the OW in exactly the opposite way and continually told her how much he loved her along with suggestive remarks.
      He is now trying hard to reconcile, but has given me no information of his affair(I’ve had to find out as much as I could myself and this fact is holding us baçk).
      My problem is , how can reconçiliation happen without the emotional and physical intimacy that I have waited for for all these years? I’m beginning to feel hopeless about everything. I’ve been in love with this man for 28 years and now it’s very hard for me to believe that he now loves me as he says he does. I really want to.

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