What do You do When Your Spouse is Ambivalent?

Samuel tackles in today's video one of the most difficult scenarios in infidelity recovery: ambivalence.

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Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! As the betrayed, it's easy to second-guess the decision to let go. It feels unloving. This video helped me step back behind the line id drawn, a counter-intuitive but necessary stance.

Thank you!!!


Thanks for this blog, it came at a perfect time for me to listen as the betrayed spouse. However, one comment I have since I work in the mental health field. I noticed you mentioned an "addictive personality". We know that doesn't exist, as our personality resides in our pre frontal cortex, which brain scans have shown is "off" when someone is in the midst of their disease of addiction (operating out of their mid brain). If you meant some of us are predisposed to addiction, due to a malfunctioning pleasure center in our brain, then I get what you're saying. Sorry if it sounds like I'm splitting hairs, but I hear professionals all the time make this mistake and not even realize it. Thanks again for your blogs as they are extremely helpful!!!

appreciate the comment Paul.....

truth is, i don't know how many professionals like yourself watch these so i try to make sure they are as palatable as possible. however, as truthful and as accurate as possible. yes, i definitely was referring to being predisposed and the like, was more of an expression to stay relatable to those who are in crisis, but totally get what you're saying. sorry for any confusion. thanks for your comment.

Thanks Samuel

Hi Samuel. Thanks for all your insight. I find it helps to get into the head of the betrayer. I have asked you questions before and you kindly responded, thanks again. My husband is definitely ambivalent about our marriage. I have acted like a loser in this past year, trying to get him to understand my pain, etc. You probably can imagine :). We are in our 50's and we have no children together but have been together for 30 years (married for 27). It took this past 14 months since d-day for me to process everything by getting my own self help and doing research on the subject. He is living at home and puts all the blame on me about why our marriage isn't working but he is clearly ambivalent and won't admit that he hasn't been trying. He began a 12 step for sex addiction and intimacy anorexia and quit because the counselor challenged him because he wasn't doing his couple's exercises. I am finally accept that he obviously doesn't know how he feels about me and our marriage. I also know I deserve better and won't settle anymore.

Do you have any advice on how I can treat him? Do I continue to cook meals for both of us, and treat him like a husband? We sleep in separate rooms and there is almost zero physical touch between us. If I don't pursue him for a hug, it's probably not going to happen. I don't want to behave badly and treat him with respect, but I definitely don't desire him because of the way he treats me. He swears that he hasn't been involved with anyone or porn in the past 2 years. I don't want to sabotage things if there is a small chance he will come around but I don't want him to continue to disrespect me and don't want him thinking I'm so desperate that I will chase after him and try to hang onto this dysfunctional marriage. I want and deserve way better!

I meant I don't want to be

I meant I don't want to be disrespectful towards him but I want him to know I am not sure I want to be with him anymore either. Thank you if you have any further sound advice.

it's not easy at all....that's for sure....

cloleo15 thanks so much for your comment. that's a tough spot and i'm sorry you're in it. to me, in my opinion, after what you've said here, i'd pull way back. i'd let him cook his own meals. i'd let him fend for himself. i mean, why should you be his 'servant' if he's not pursuing you and not doing anything of the like? fact is, if he's in separate bedrooms and he's doing his own thing and not even hugging you, to me, you both are roommates and stuck. it sounds like you need to get unstuck and one of the best ways to do that is to change the dynamic. this article will explain more about changing it: https://www.affairrecovery.com/newsletter/founder/healing-infidelity-alone he's used to the dance: you pursue him, you do this, you do that, he does his thing and it just happens. if you're truly stuck and committed to getting healthy, then i would pull back and change the dynamic. if he says something that his meals aren't ready or aren't prepared, i'd simply say 'well honey, i'm not sure i want to keep living this way. i don't think i can. i think you need to start to feel what life is going to be like for you on your own, and i think i need to get an idea for what life will be like eating alone.' then i'd simply eat by yourself and start to change the 'dance' you both have been locked in. then, if he starts to change directions a bit and pursues you, let him and allow him to pursue you and keep at it. don't immediately change and go back to chasing him and cooking for him, as at that point, he'll know you don't mean business and probably only in a 'mood' if you know what i mean. i'd start to change things like this and see how he responds. if he does not pursue you and does not show signs of turning towards you, pretty safe assumption that things are unfortunately pretty far gone and not sure how much hope there is. it's not over, but it's discouraging for sure. hope that all makes sense. thank you for watching and for your kind words.

Thank you!!

Thank you for your advice! I am sooo sick of being stuck. I wanted to hear it from a man's perspective, and I will follow your advice. I have nothing to lose and am NOT willing to do this crazy dance anymore! Will see what happens as time goes on and update on how it goes. Thanks again! God bless!

Ambivalent betrayed

I'm curious about the other side of this. Ambivalence from the betrayed. This is my second/third go around. My husband was unfaithful about 3 years ago and then again this past November, I discovered more new infidelities. I knew something was up much sooner, about a year ago at this time but he convinced me I was not seeing the patterns I was seeing and that the women I saw following him on social media were just randomly doing so, that they were strangers. For about six months, I believed this. When I discovered his new affairs, I was beyond crushed and we seperated for a few months. We started im discernment counseling (my idea) and made a joint decision to attempt to rework our marriage amd try to save it. We are still in counseling but I find more and more that, as the dust settles and the shock and desperation wears off, I am becoming more and more ambivalent. I truly question, not if I still am in love with him, but more so if I can ever move past this most recent string of affairs and if he can change. I'm now the uncommunicative and disconnected one in the relationship. I don't know if this is a phase, part of the healing process, or if this is reality sinking in, the time after the frantic grasp at reconnection where the ideals are gone and one must face the harshness of things. The first time I could chalk his betrayal and my subsequent pain up to something he never considered happening. But to do the same thing a second time, to have seen the suffering and ripple effect his actions and choices caused and go and do it again but swear that this time he sees, that this time he gets it. I've been trying to let my walls down, to let him into my heart and to build anew what was but I think that a second time around, it's clearly harder. I worry that the first time it was almost easier because it was the first time, a fluke. I predicated my healing on the bedrock of, "this will never happen again" and counted that place as ground zero. I'm finding it impossible to do that this time around. What can you say for the ambivalent betrayed, is this a common problem in recovery that should be worked on to overcome or could this be the signs of dissolution after the chaos and trauma wears off?

great question....observation

hi jess, thank you for the q. it's actually a healthy place to be: ambivalent as a betrayed spouse. the fact is, you just don't know. there's no guarantees in this thing...to be ambivalent is exactly what samantha was like early on. she was of the mindset of 'we will see how he responds to rick and doing recovery work and if he shows signs of safety and wanting to do hard work in recovery then that will encourage me to keep going. but if he won't do the work and won't make the changes and if he won't do what's necessary, i don't want to keep trying and wont. relapse is always a tough one. sometimes, and again SOMETIMES a relapse is a great bridge as it actually brings home the idea of the truth that the unf cannot do it on their own and they have to do hard recovery work if they want to keep their marriage strong and their own recovery in tact. their pride often times causes relapse as they think they are stronger than they are. but, if he isn't doing hard recovery work and making significant changes, why wouldn't you be cautious and ambivalent right? that's just to be expected. it's completely understandable that you would be scared and uncertain and ambivalent. i would be too. you don't have to 'know' right now what you want to do. sometimes there's too much pressure to decide now, when the truth is, maybe it's good to not decide just yet. i hope this helps.

This was the best vlog yet!

I wish I had seen this sooner. My wife has relapsed, with multiple people now, and is ambivalent, unrepentant, and blaming me.

This time, I am not pursuing her.

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