I know someone that volunteers, would give you the shirt off his back, cares deeply about others,
You just described my WW, uncertainone. 5 months out, and one of the things I hang onto is the knowledge that despite 10 horrible months beginning last April, my wife has demonstrated for more than 17 years that she is overall a very decent person. Even during the affair months she demonstrated many acts of love and kindness to me, which is crazymaking in a way considering the damage she was inflicting on our marriage behind my back. It doesn't lessen my pain any, but it does give me hope for a better future.
The acceptance question: how do you accept that the man you married is not the man you thought he was for nearly 3 decades. If for example you believed that your WH was a man of great integrity and you find out that in fact he is a liar and a cheat - how do you accept that? Isn't that like saying I am going to stay married to this man but he is completely different to the man I thought I was married to? This is where I get stuck. So instead of being married to a man that is honest and honorable I am accepting that I am married to the opposite?
Arais, I certainly understand these sentiments, but have to ask: have you discovered that your husband has been dishonest and dishonorable all along? My MC put this in perspective by asking me questions about my wife's history to help me sort out whether she was always a dishonest person or is someone who went off the rails around mid-life, which is so common. Consider asking them about your husband: Have you been able to count on him most of the time during your long history together? Did he show up at a certain time, or near that time, if he said he would? Would he pick up groceries on the way home if you asked and he promised to do so? Did he show up for his children's activities most of the time, or leave them disappointed and make excuses for not attending? If he said that he would take care of a bill, did it get paid? Did he show up for work regularly and for the most part earn the trust of his employers?
If he has been a dependable person throughout your marriage, then the "stranger" you referenced in your opening post might be the one you lived with during the A, not the one you lived with the other almost 3 decades.
Imagine a bowl of delicious soup. Hot, flavorful, your favorite. A fly lands in it. Some would consider that ruined. One fly can ruin a delicious bowl of soup. On a side note, find it interesting that one teaspoon of delicious soup couldn't "fix" a bowl of flies. Think that says something pretty significant. More coffee...or less.
Some can scoop out the fly and enjoy the rest. Others can't. They think of everything that fly represents, where it's been, what it's landed on.
The two people you described aren't seperate, though. They really aren't. Viewing it that way could be seen a compartmentalizing, to me. Seperate boxes with the one you don't like hidden. I hope your wife doesn't view it like that and gets down and dirty with the thought processes of her choices.
'til the roof comes off. 'til the lights go out. 'til my legs give out, can't shut my mouth
The two people you described aren't separate, though. They really aren't. Viewing it that way could be seen a compartmentalizing, to me. Seperate boxes with the one you don't like hidden. I hope your wife doesn't view it like that and gets down and dirty with the thought processes of her choices.
I hope so too, UO. And I agree that the same person who has done so much good through the years is also the same one who caused so much pain and destruction beginning last year. But if you can't hide the bad person, you can't hide the good person, either - unless you believe the good person is just a facade. But I think it's unrealistic to imagine that a person can just pretend to be decent and honorable for years and decades, all the while being this monster behind the mask who's just waiting to break your heart 10 or 20 or 30 years down the road.
I think many BS's, if they're being honest, can look back and see that their WS was never the honest person of integrity that they imagined him or her to be. They can look back on fishy behavior, unreliability, lies about seemingly innocuous things, financial malfeasance or irresponsibility, difficulty holding down jobs, etc.
Others like me can look back and see a spouse who has a long history of dependability, reliability, honesty, and integrity. And in my wife's case, unselfishness. I'm sure that bad side of her was always there. The side that was promiscuous, the side that didn't cope well, the side that couldn't handle stress well, the side that was vulnerable to seek a fantasy escape. The selfish, cake-eating side that emerged recently.
My point is that in my case there is enough history here to work with, to build a new marriage on. That's not the case for everyone. I was just wondering if Arais' husband really is someone who has been pulling the wool over her eyes for decades and she now realizes that she has been in denial for years about his true nature, or is he someone who has truly lived a mostly honorable life. Answering that question might be useful in determining whether the marriage is worth fighting for.
I hope this doesn't come off like a t/j, but I think our discussion relates to Arais' issues.
There are two things that I think matter.
1. My WH had a LTA/LDA (nearly entirely online) 6 years, although the last 2 which he says had no sexual element at all,were reluctant because she threatened to tell me. He had his A with the same woman he had had an EA with many years ago.
The second issue is this: he was a great husband. A generous, caring, dependable man. BUT he didn't change throughout the A. And that is what scares me to death. He was never mean or cruel or anything other than good to me. Was he distant? Yes at times. We had issues like every other couple but I always believed that it was just the two of us against the world. So how do I know now that he means what he says? He didn't have to lie during the A because I didn't know. But he did lie a lot after I found out. This is where I am torn. I don't know which one is him. If he had these issues all the time and didn't tell me about them then who was I married to? I knew about his FOO issues. But I didn't know about his need for this other sexual self. Why? And now I wonder what else I don't know. I thought I knew this man's soul but turns out I was wrong.
Uncertainone: I know what you mean about letting him go. If I have now turned into the mirror he has to see himself in everyday as the bad guy then how can he ever get better. I have talked to him about this because I feel the burden of it but he says he won't go. I think he cannot be the person he should and can be with me. But is that my decision?
You make some good points but
whenever I allow myself to think about this - about how good he was and oddly how happy we were I feel myself shutting down. It is like my subconscious won't allow me to see that side of him anymore - self protection?
I think that is what is the hardest to bear. The fact that it could be going on for so long and he acted normally.
It's hard to accept that we didn't really know our spouses, not like we thought we did.
This is probably the hardest part for me, I THOUGHT I knew him.
I really didn't and that in and of itself is such a huge wake up call. He is not the person I thought he was. He is capable of doing horrible things. I struggled with accepting that he did horrible things. But I had to accept it. I had to acknowledge, that this in fact, was my new reality. Could I live with it? I have chosen to and have chosen to forgive.
My H isn't a skilled liar, he isn't evil, he isn't a bad person. I trusted him so completely and like you have know him for so long(33 years), boy was I blindsided, not just by the fact of what he did, but just my own thinking that I could really "know" another person. I have found that I really can't.
I never really know what he is thinking, and truth be told he never really knows what I am thinking, unless we both choose to voice our thoughts.
Coming to some form of acceptance has really freed me, probably more than the forgiveness part. I have had to accept many things in life, this is just one that is particularly difficult.
[This message edited by scarredforever at 1:31 PM, July 15th (Monday)]
Together 33 years
6-5-06 Day of Reckoning
"The acquired inability to escape"
For me I had to learn to embrace the fact FWS cheated on me for most of our marriage. My goal was to embrace this information and let it become part of my history, my life. FWS's cheating is simply another facet of my life.
It wasn't easy. I did the self-blame crap, the his-fault crap, the marriage-shouldn't-have-happened crap. Basically I ran through all known blames and objections. But in the end I accepted this happened to me. I don't like it...but I also refuse to let it take over my life. To me it's just something more that has contributed to what I am now (either for good or bad I don't know yet).
It takes putting on your Big Girl Panties and really facing towards the infidelity and looking at it full on. All the uglies and hurts and faults.....everything. And then letting it become part of your story.
To me, it's "I get that you did that, I understand how you got to that point." Doesn't mean we'll never talk about it or I'll never be hurt about it.
Things I can't forgive - "I won't be bitter and resentful over this but there will always be a little piece of me that I hold back from you because of this."
me (WW/BS): 48
4 kiddos in mid 20's
The conditions we face do not define us. They remind us of who we are and who we want to be.
He cannot accept that he has done these terrible things to me. Does this sound crazy?
How can I forgive something that I have not yet accepted?
1) I think the question should be: How can I forgive something that he has not yet accepted?
How can you go forward in an M with a partner who denies what he's done? My answer is: you can't.
2) What would acceptance be for you? As far as I can see, you accept that he's a cheater and not the man you thought he was. I hear that you don't like it, that you question yourself for not seeing his cheating/lying earlier, but you're not denying it. How is that different from acceptance? (I mean that as an honest question, not as argumentation.)
For me, "forgiveness" is much like the forgiveness of a debt. The creditor figures out, after several months of non-payment, that he's not getting paid. It sucks, but it's the facts, Jack. Can't get blood from a stone and all.
So, the bad debt is written off. The debtor gets a blot on his credit report.
It's not OKAY that he blew off repayment of the debt. It's not OKAY, even if he lost his job, amassed massive emergency medical debt, or whatever. It sucks to be him, but he still owed that money. The write-off is a huge gift, but it comes with a cost: his credit rating.
The creditor ACCEPTS that no payment is forthcoming. The debt is FORGIVEN.
The debtor ACCEPTS that his credit rating takes a hit. That the debt has been forgiven.
Acceptance and forgiveness are both ways of saying that the past can't be changed, so there's no sense struggling to do the impossible. No one gets exactly what they want. But ... they accept it, and deal with the consequences.
Acceptance. Forgiveness. Call it what you will. Neither makes anything okay. They just represent a realization that the past can't be changed, and we're left to muddle through, whether we like it or not.
The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”
― Ernest Hemingway
Acceptance, to me, meant coming to terms that it really did happen. That the person I never thought would betray did. That the now-ex really was the kind of person who could do that, and not the person I thought he was. It meant coming to terms with the fact that I had spent a lot of years wanting to believe now-ex was a better person than he really is.
Exactly and I want to add that it makes me wonder about myself. How could I have been so blind. I thought I was very wise. So now I've accepted that I'm not the person I thought I was, either.