Thank you Catfish, your words of encouragement came at just the right moment. My husband has been harboring major resentment and finally expressed all his pain to me last night, really expressed it. I am exhausted and we have both been crying nonstop. MAJOR progress though. He was asking me for the very thing you honed in on: more compassion.
Compassion is my goal but I am still making mistakes, committing acts lacking in compassion - he has agreed to let me know when I do that, or when the only thing lacking in compassion is the pace at which I am going. He has also agreed not to agree to things just to make me happy, because that will lead to resentment later. My knee-jerk initial reaction to his intense pain and anger was to agree to give him monogamy for as long as he wants it (I didn't say that, I was just listening and thinking), but then I realized that the order of things needs to be: 1) person 1 asks for what they want/need, 2) person 2 processes it and thinks about it wrt what they want/need/are capable of, and 3) more discussion and potential compromise. In agreeing at step 1, you might get awarded a shiny "what a generous person you are" lapel pin but that will come back to stick you in the form of resentment if you're truly not all right with/capable of giving or allowing the thing in question.
Fully internalizing compassion and then making behavior choices consistent with it is a process, and I think it requires layers of paint and bears more repetition and discussion than either of us expected...
It's like the gates of communication are finally open after years of using only sex, humor, and built-up positive affect to heal distance between us. Amazing how long those things worked, but +communication is more, better. Harder and more exhausting, but better.
Thanks again. I reckon he'll appear here shortly.
I love these two quotes from the 1975 film Love and Death
Sonja: He kissed me.
Boris: Any place I should know about?
Sonja: He warmed the cockles of my heart.
Boris: That's just great. Nothing like hot cockles.
Sonja: To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering one must not love. But then one suffers from not loving. Therefore, to love is to suffer; not to love is to suffer; to suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love. To be happy, then, is to suffer, but suffering makes one unhappy. Therefore, to be unhappy, one must love or love to suffer or suffer from too much happiness. I hope you're getting this down.