Recently a WS contacted me, a BS, and asked for my advice on how I can help him comfort his BW. I sat on how to respond as well as engaged my fWW on this. Initially I thought this is a question better asked of a successfully fWS to answer...but then thought "everything happens for a reason" and so I thought and prayed on it...then answered.
The following is what I came up with...wanted to put this out for others to comment on. Check it against their wisdom and see the validity of this thought. I feel I am close to acceptance and moving towards geniune forgivness in my life...
I am sorry you find yourself in this spot. I can feel your angst in your message to me.
I have slept and prayed on how to respond. To be sure, I consider myself as having less then average wisdom with regards to dealing and handling this trauma. I have done things within my own situation that I not proud of. Because of MY own actions more destruction of intimacy within my marriage has occurred. I will include myself and my wifes interactions in my response to you in an attempt to convey a sense of individuality to the situation...keep in mind there are many unique characteristics of the people involved. So no cook book recipe exists to help "unmake" the soup that is our lives post-A.
I notice you make the point that you "barely knew the women" whom you comitted adultery with. I think that is not important. My wife hardly knew her AP. Within a few weeks she was primed and fully engaged with him...within 3 months she was having sex with him. Any "thought" she felt she gave to the "fallout" was quickly over-ridden by her selfish desires.
So whether you hardly knew the AP or they were a long lost high school lover who you had years of bonding with matters little in this scenario....the trauma is still very real and very intense...this statement does not lessen this. I would suggest you abandon bringing this up. Actually, the very fact that you and my wife hardly knew your AP's actually hurt us more....the fact that you\her could engage in such destructive behavior, risking this fallout over someone so insignificant leads your wife an I to wonder about our future within our marriages. In my case my wife DID profess to loving her AP.
The thought "If they were willing to do this for THAT (a shallow, surface level aquaintance with which a relationship was built on lies and deception), what are you (and my wife) willing to do if and when a "serious" or "deep" connection with a person of the opposite sex presents itself? And even if a WS and their AP did not lie directly to each other they were certainly aware that each other were capable of lying and decieving on an atomic scale as they watched each other part company, return home and conceal their destructive decsions so completely from their spouses, family, and friends.
Your wife asks "How could you chose to do this and not think about the fall out". I wonder this too...think that is pretty typical. In my case both my fWW (mother of 2) and her AP (father of 5) would drop their respective kids off at school and then rendevous with each other. You can't get any more "in your face" reminder as to what fire you are playing with, who you are risking then that...and yet the money was laid down and the gamble commenced.
And here is where I have gotten...and hopefully your wife will get soon.
I can no better control THAT scenario from happening then I did the one that is currently reeking havoc in our marriage\family now. I have fully accepted that. It truly is within you, the WS to address and mend that which is broken in you.
BS's wrestle with the love we still have for our WS's and the complete loss of trust we had for them.
Radical honesty will be key for you getting your wifes trust back. This does NOT mean saying things like "I was not in love with any of the women...I barely knew the women". While that is true that is not what I mean. The radical honesty in this situation is to express honestly WHY you committed adultery. You may not know exactly why yet...and that is okay...express that to your wife.
That will be hard for her hear...my wife has told me "I dont know why" before and it is painful! It is painful because, as a BS, if YOU (the WS) don't know why and you still chose to committ adultery...how can we even begin to process this? NOTE:The "I dont know why" answer is acceptable now...but you will need to answer this if your marriage is to get healthy. Until you determine the core "why" you won't be able to mend this part of you...and your BW will recognize this and it will block her from trusting you as completely as I feel a spouse needs to trust a spouse...
Also check your revelations as to why you did it. Proceed cautiously with how you express these revelations to her. But DO expression them! Example...if you committed adultery because your sexual needs were not getting met...that is a truth. But to stop there when telling your wife about this she will inevitably feel as if you are putting the blame for YOUR poor choices onto her back. In this example you might say "I committed adultery because I had sexual needs that were not getting met within our marriage...sexual needs that I never fully expressed to you. I see how unfair this was of me...to seek a solution outside of my marriage BEFORE fully seeking it from within our marriage. I am working on changing that. I NOW see how committed you are to me and our family...I sold you short before because of who I am...not because of who you are. Please forgive me."
Long winded example...
My point is short, half-thought out truths can be very destructive. Refrain from them. Refrain from stating anything that appears to push your poor decisions onto her shoulders.
I have no doubt she was doing things within your marriage pre-A that hurt intimacy, that helped establish some unhealthy dynamics within your marriage....I absolutely did this. I also have no doubt she has racked her brain and is acutely aware of some if not most of her unhealthy behaviors...and she will, at some point in the future, be working on herself to correct that.
But right now she may NOT be in a position to do that. Observe her...note the differences you see and openly and postively recognize them in her without judging her or demanind anything of her. If a change is negative...express to her how that makes you feel. As you do this, stop immediately after stating how you feel..dont go into suggesting how she should do it differently. Just let her "see" how you feel. If she gets angry, refrain from getting defensive...dont get sarcastic, dont bring up past hurts...just remain calm and open to her.
BS's were kept in the dark...we desire to be a part of the WS life. That is one of the main reasons I asked my wife to marry me...I loved her so much that I wanted to be a part of her life, for life and trusted her so completely that I invited her to be a full time part of MY life, for life. Expressing how you feel in healthy ways to your spouse is a formal invitation to be a part of their lives (invitations to good times or bad...both have equal importance, and maybe the bad times show even more desire to be together, more love, more trust)...it is a continual process. This process was stopped during your time in your affair...but your wife did not know it had stopped so completely. Time to send out invitations again...but this time, keep it to one postage stamp...only one person should be invited to this party.
WS just can not grasp the total and absolute devastation that is occurring in their BS heart following the discovery of an affair. I have been unable to get my wife to understand this fully...so I won't try to get you to understand that either.
"How to Help Your Spouse Heal from Your Affair" is a great book on giving you some tools to help your spouse cope.
I do appreciate the pain and suffering you are going through. I have made bad decisions in the past that haunt me to this day...I am familiar with this feeling and can empathize with you. You are in pain too. I think your wife also understands this. I bet she wants to, at some level, comfort you too...but the trauma keeps yelling "caution, danger, caution, danger!" at her.
Keep the faith. Your wife loved you before the affair and I bet she still loves you...that is why it hurts her so much.
You mentioned that she said "if it weren't for the kids I would be gone".
Kids are a factor...they absolutely play into my life and decisions post-A as well. I would bet your wife has some resentment over the fact that she is being forced to weigh and face her decisions so heavily and openly against what it will do to her family right now. As a WS...it appears to me that this "weighing" never really fully took place. It never HAD to take place...because your affair took place in the dark. And it is in the dark that human selfishness flourishes. WS's are able to lie to themselves, console themselves that what they are doing is "not that bad" "not that hurtful" "Just one more time, then I will quit" "I deserve to be happy" "This is what real love feels like...I never felt it before...this must be right".
All of those statements if made NOW...in broad daylight to anyone NOT themselves or their AP's (like BS are doing now)...it would be easy to see how ludicrous the actions and attitudes of a WS was during their time in the affair.
As a BS there has been moments where I, too, wanted to take the selfish easy way out of this situation. And, in my case and probably yours too, our marital situation before the affair and the stress's that were present were childs play compared to what we are in now....so if you can recognize the strength that your wife is showing by NOT stepping out on your marriage...stength that you were lacking during your affair it will serve you well.
Okay...long post. Any thoughts? I welcome from WS or BS alike.
God be with us all.