W/H-currently has a new girlfriend. We are still living in same house.
[This message edited by rachelc at 8:54 AM, May 24th (Thursday)]
4 kiddos in lower 20's
“He has no idea how beautiful the ordinary becomes once it disappears."
[This message edited by Deeply Scared at 6:41 PM, May 25th (Friday)]
I've heard this before:
"You're never going to be able to hurt her in the same way as she hurt you."
And I have seen different schools of thought here on SI. Some folks agree with this, for the reason you mentioned, about the exclusivity contract already being broken by the first wayward.
Others here, on the other hand, have said that having a "revenge" A is worse than the original because the person in the A knows how painful it is to be betrayed, and yet s/he knowingly goes ahead and inflicts that pain on someone else.
I personally think they are equally hurtful and neither one has any valid excuse. It's the same reasoning of, "Well, you weren't giving me enough sex, so I went out and got it from someone else..." There are other options than cheating. Hey, if a person "needed" to get validation so badly by sleeping with another person, okay, why didn't they break up with their original partner first instead of stringing them along? If you believed in fidelity, and your partner cheated, and you responded by cheating, then were your morals always truly about fidelity? They changed so fast when they were challenged? I think this is something a lot of madhatters (I'm included in this) struggle with. Why did my morals change so fast? Can I blame it all on my WS's actions? Or do I need to realize that my boundaries weren't as strong as I thought they were... Why did I betray my principles? What would have been a healthier choice?
I say this because without the work, we repeat it. I'm doing the work now so I never betray my H again. What if I become convinced he cheated again (to this day, I still think he did while I was pregnant, and I haven't found definite proof yet) - am I going to go out and cheat on him again to "get even" or to "feel better" or whatever (and to add a twist, what if I found out later that he didn't cheat again and I just betrayed him again for "nothing")? F**k no! I can be a better person than that.
Anyway, just thoughts to consider. And life feels a lot more stable and eventually calmer once you start owning your choices, because you feel in control despite the craziness.
What do you think? How are you and your W doing right now? Is she taking responsibility for her A? Have you told her about kissing the other woman?
Something that has bothered me a lot and I know I've stayed in the relationship because of it rather then walking away when things were extremely bad.
Am I still engaged only because of what I did in my past.....?
[This message edited by cccc20 at 3:41 AM, May 26th (Saturday)]
I struggle with that sometimes, feeling guilty because I betrayed him too, so like I can't be angry or it's somehow hypocritical to be angry. But I try to remember - I didn't ask him to cheat on me. I didn't control his actions and make him cheat. Those are his actions. So I let him own them. And I take responsibility for my actions. It's made me more aware to always pay more attention to whether I'm doing the right things, than to police him.
But it can be hard to ask for what you need when the A's are between you.
Right now I'm trying to take "entitled" and "deserved" and "obligated" out of my vocabulary (which is hard) and focus on "healthy". What's the healthy thing to do? How can our interactions be healthier? Do we have healthy habits? Healthy boundaries? This includes recognizing that if your spouse is doing unhealthy wayward behavior, that it's also unhealthy (both in thinking and acting) to let them because you think you "deserve" it. Same goes for abusive behavior. If you let it, you're compromising your boundaries. That's not healing.
Even though I can recognize this, I'm still having trouble making it a practice. e.g. This morning H was angry and violently threw down the remote (our son was in the room). I don't know how to react to that. Later, he was angry about something unrelated (using organic poison to get rid of the cats' fleas), and when I said I didn't remember if it worked or not, he called me a liar. I was afraid and upset and gritted out, "Don't call me a liar." The irony isn't lost on me. Of all the other things I should be addressing, that was it? And I still don't know how to respond to the other stuff.
Yesterday something like this happened. He hadn't managed to get his medication on Wednesday, and he had said he would get it Thursday or yesterday. So I was reminding him on Friday, "Don't you have to get your meds today...?" And he said, "Nah, I'm not gonna go." I stared at him and was trying to think of whether to fight him on it or not (his health vs. respecting his choices), and before I could say anything, he snapped, "Don't give me that look, trying to guilt me!" So I walked off to use the restroom (my original destination), and a second later he's yelling, "Fine, I'll go get my meds! Bye!" And slams out. He came back an hour or two later, with his meds, was a little short at first, and then a couple of hours after that he said, "Thank you for telling me to get my meds." So I'm still stuck on how I should have handled that since his reaction was so mixed. Anyway...
It takes a long time and a lot of conscious repetition to build healthy habits. Part of it, I think, is knowing your own boundaries first. It's hard to work on boundaries with your partner if you don't have any inside of yourself too. And practice those internal boundaries.
How's everyone doing this weekend?
[This message edited by silverhopes at 1:24 PM, May 26th (Saturday)]
Wasn't my last post about being healthy and boundaries and focusing on my own choices? Criminy!
H just came in the room - with his head shaved. I've never seen him with his head shaved before, and he did it just now in the bathroom. He asked how he looked, and I said hot! He does, his eyes stand out even more now, and I couldn't keep my hands off his head. He was smiling...
And then a trigger-ific thought entered into my head. One I can't share with my H, because he doesn't even believe that he ever had an affair.
What if he's doing this to impress someone else? Or in general, what if someone else gets impressed by his new look? And I hate that this thought entered into my head. But I'm going to write about it, because I need to address it and make a commitment to supporting H instead of ruining it with my bitterness.
During the summer of my pregnancy, he shaved his happy trail. Showed it off to me once. One problem. He almost never wanted to be intimate. And he still had bad boundaries with women. So to this day, I still fear he was cheating on me (oh yeah, the condom in the wallet might have scared me into thinking that too, especially when his half-hearted, joking reasoning at the time was: "To make sure you didn't get ...pregnant?" at three months already. Oh, and the frequent hair cuts, the never wanting to spend time together, the new cologne... You get the picture.) OMG, I am so sorry for my bitterness! Gosh, these thoughts are just tumbling in my head... I am freaking out.
Just a few weeks ago, he came home from the therapy center, said he and his friend were in the elevator, and a girl had said, "You're cute." He said that he had answered (for the first and only time ever): "I'm married." So I'd like to think that he's making stronger boundaries.
But the thought of another woman running her hands over his head, or of him doing it for someone else, or in general all the compliments he's gonna get when he goes there on Wednesday - potentially, all the opportunities that might come for him to cheat again... I'd like to think he's doing it because he's still finding things that make him feel good, still trying out his different images and boosting his own self-esteem. And I want to support him in that.
So what the heck do I do with my insecurities?
Thank you for listening.
ETA: Oh yeah, remembered one of the original triggers. When we started dating, I was turned on by his mustache. Just before he started cheating with OW, he shaved it off and started going with the clean look. Maybe that's where it started?
[This message edited by silverhopes at 2:26 PM, May 26th (Saturday)]
I'm just trying to figure out whether its as hopeless (read more than a year in limboland) as it seems or there might be some success stories out there. My current definition of success is D, or at the least an amicable S. R is difficult if not entirely impossible due to my W's FOO/poor coping skills, selfishness and/or remorselessness.
Something I've struggled with is whether you have an obligation as someone who also had an affair to give your partner a break. You can't be as angry as you actually feel because you also had an A, you need to put more work in saving the marriage because you owe more to your partner?
Ditto here. But heres the dilemma: I debased myself through months of putting up with TT, dishonesty and insincerity. I lost even more self respect (if I had any to start with) due to not allowing myself to be angry. I had built up so much resentment due to her post-DDay behaviour yet I couldn't allow myself to be (just) the BS for her waywardness (even if the wayward behaviour continued) because of my own infidelities.
Her response was to use it as a get out of jail free card; i.e. classic rugsweep, avoidant and "lets forget about all of this and move on" attitude.
All I know now is that that resentment helps no one; specially not me. And I know I couldn't have kept 'working' on my own for being the WS yet allow her continued wayward behaviour to plague every conversation, every attempt at R. Classic Limbo situation I guess. All I know is that I keep working on myself-damned be the M or R.... and regardless of where she finds herself or wants to be.
Any thoughts? 2x4's or insights?
And I know I couldn't have kept 'working' on my own for being the WS yet allow her continued wayward behaviour to plague every conversation, every attempt at R. Classic Limbo situation I guess.
1) Separate the two - your choices and hers.
2) Healthy boundaries - can unite you two.
You do not have to put up with or tell yourself that you "deserve" to let her continue this wayward behavior. Guilt or not. It's not healthy for you, for her, or for the M. You're holding yourself to better standards, right? You're working to change the patterns, behaviors, coping skills, your tool chest to make sure you're not a wayward ever again, right? What's wrong with holding all of your M to the same healthier standards?
What's wrong with holding all of your M to the same healthier standards?
Because I have an insincere partner in that M. One who has (in the worst possible ways) tried to manipulate me/the outcome through gaslighting, deceit and TT. One who will give the appearance of working/trying yet not doing anything remotely near expressing remorse (not guilt or shame) in deed (I dont care about her words anymore since they're all lies and insincerity).
I accept and own my choices and every time there is an 'issue' for her to talk about I own up, apologise, start changing behaviours. Heck, I respond and try hard to ensure its not defensive. Flip that around and all I get is defensiveness, avoidance and silence. No honesty, no ownership not even simple acknowledgement of the pain that was inflicted, forget communication or responsiveness.
Is this the healthy M dynamic I should be striving for? I did - for over a year, but I cant change her; whether through educating her or by example or just by expecting common human decency and reciprocity.
Her IC is now all about her and nothing to do with the A's/A behaviour.
On boundaries; I encourage her to have healthy boundaries; which sometimes she has and sometimes she doesnt. Whatever. Again, the baseline being I cannot unite with someone so insincere and disrespectful. I tried. Now I know what DETACH means, cant change her, stop trying.
I'm more concerned about the unhealthy dynamic I've now reached about consequences. I still try to 'educate' her about the consequences of her choices; in an attempt/hope that it might induce change in her. I know its not my place to do so. That consequences (of me losing love/respect, of me not wanting R and wanting D/S) and her to own and live with rather than me saying "see? this is what happens". She also has not clue about owning her consequences-its always about me. Good or bad, its like she is an empty shell and a disinterested spectator. She just wants to play 'house' and be "the good wife" - which is her version of fixing things. It just leads to pent up emotions and building up more resentment. I'm just learning to not care.
Just to clarify, the inducing of change for the sake of the children.. not the M....
[This message edited by Deeply Scared at 10:14 AM, June 4th (Monday)]
[This message edited by rachelc at 8:55 AM, May 29th (Tuesday)]
Is this the healthy M dynamic I should be striving for?
Nope, and it sounds like you are doing all that you can. What I mean is, you have standards. You have healthier boundaries. You're doing all the necessary changes and taking responsibility and being accountable - and she isn't. You making changes and being accountable and her rugsweeping and blameshifting isn't a healthy dynamic.
You have done everything you can to make your M safe again. You recognize that by your W continuing this behavior, she is still violating your boundaries and making the M unsafe. By not being remorseful, she isn't respecting those healthier standards. As you've said, she isn't being an honorable and respectful partner. She's still hurting you.
What are the consequences? There are always consequences if a person violates your boundaries - whether that's IC for that person, MC, 180, separation, divorce... You DO have the right to divorce and finish an unhealthy marriage; you're not trapped because of your past actions. No, she doesn't get a pass because you're both madhatters. You need a healthy environment. Your kids need a healthy environment. Your wife needs a healthy environment, but it sounds like she's making it unhealthy for all of you by continuing her wayward behavior.
What I'm saying by "holding your M to those standards" is - if your W isn't upholding those standards, then you recognize if it's a dealbreaker for you. Is it? How will you protect your boundaries?
Did anyone have their DDays at the same time? After I discovered his A I confessed my ONS. We both just feel so beaten and broken. We seem to have done so much damage to one another. We've barely been married for 4 years so there's no great history to keep us hanging on. We have three very precious and beautiful kids who I only want the best for. They deserve their family to be together and happy. I guess I don't really have a question after all I just need to feel not so alone. Does a double betrayal mean its too broken to be fixed?? Sorry for being a downer tonight y'all.
BS has been in a RA for the past few weeks since finding out about my A. It started as him getting support from her, but then it became physical. He talks to her daily and I saw a text where he told her he loved her. He says he wants to D, but I have asked that he consider R. I have gone to 3 IC sessions, he has gone to 1. He is refusing MC right now. He left the house last weekend for a few days but is back now sleeping in the guest bedroom. He can barely tolerate being around me. The part that makes this so troubling isn't the recovery from my A.....but the fact that it seems impossible to move forward if he is involved with someone else. I am giving him full transparancy while he's got all passwords and his phone blocked from me while he maintains a relationship with her. How can we possibly even consider R if he's having an A with her? He doesn't consider it an A because he says "we're separated". We are living in the same house, eating meals together, talking daily, etc......but "we're separated" when it comes to his A????? I'm so frustrated and having a hard time with my own feelings about his A, which right now I don't feel like I can process. All the focus remains on my A while he continues his......
How can we possibly even consider R if he's having an A with her? He doesn't consider it an A because he says "we're separated". We are living in the same house, eating meals together, talking daily, etc......but "we're separated" when it comes to his A?????
It sounds like some very clear choices need to be laid out for your H:
"H, I am so sorry for betraying you with OM. I did a terrible thing to you. You must feel so hurt, angry, sad. I don't know how you survived, you are so strong. I want to fight for you and our marriage and help you heal from my A. But I need to know if you are onboard. If you are, then you will need to stop your own A and, together with me, write and send NC notices to both our APs. If you are not willing to stop your A, then you need to move out immediately. We cannot reconcile if either of us is still cheating."
I don't know if that's the best wording, but no one can reconcile when an A is still happening. Basic rule of cheating and reconciliation. I am so sorry you're facing this. You said his AP lives far away - is there any chance he's driving out to see her?