I have been on the plane of lethal flatness a couple of times, sad most of the time, but still choosing to learn to R.
I have been processing through what it means to cope and the healthy-unhealthy relationships within that mode of operation.
Cope is a way to get through something. I coped as a boy with my parents D and my Dad disappearing from my life for 10 years. I don't regret that coping as it got me through something I was simply not equipped to handle at age 12.
Now I am a 42 year old man. I have just realized how something that was healthy became something unhealthy....how coping mechanisms from my childhood blocked intimacy within my marriage, and was on its way to blocking intimacy with my other relationships too. I have little interest in coping through life when I can choose otherwise.
I know some coping will be necessary...I work in an industry that is severely affected by ice storms, we prepare for them and have restoration plans in place....but during the actual event we cope with what is given to us just to keep the power flowing. Once the storm has passed...we go back and build the grid to the specs we need to. So coping is not inherently bad.
My wife and I are through the devastating ice storm that was my wifes adulterous activities...that storm has passed. I coped through 16 months thus far. It is time to rebuild the grid. Yes, I am impatient now....
During an ice storm we cope by rigging the grid, doing whatever we can that is safe for a time but we do that with the hopes that we will rebuild the temporary solutions into a strong grid after the storm. We go back and untie from trees, set new poles, and build it right. We are attempting to learn what it means to build M right. We are both apprentices....could really use a journeyman!
As I read on coping much of it has to do with immediate responses to an event. I tried to tie coping to reactive vs proactive modes of operation...but couldn't find a strong relationship. Namely because coping can go on for years AFTER the stimulation (ie ice storm, adultery) has passed.....can bleed into the time where coping should stop and real rebuilding efforts need to start....effectively killing any real emotional growth. Growth = pain. I understand why we avoid it...it hurts!!!
I am finding the courage to HOPE for our future together. I am finding it not because of some valiant effort, but because to loose hope is to relegate my martial relationship to one of coping. The pain of that type of relationship is greater than the pain of hoping for a better one.
It takes courage to hope vs cope. Cope is tied to survival, hope is tied to improvement past survival. Coping...well, I know what I get in that one. No new pain, but a serious lack of excitement and enthusiasm. What hope can get me is excitement and enthusiasm to be married to my wife again, but at the risk of being hurt again as those hopes are dashed by her choosing to have another A or to keep herself at a distance (either through conscious decision or unconscious FOO influence) or by my own realization that what she can offer to our M is not going to fulfill me (still working on what THAT means as pre-A blakesteele had pretty low requirements....was coping with my M in many ways).
BUT, even in the sour mode I am in this morning, I am choosing to hope.
Hope without a plan is just a wish. The hope I am speaking of is the desire to fully commit to something (give and take) with the intention that things will improve....that my M will survive this and grow into a mutually satisfying relationship...complete with the knowledge that if I ever struggle my wife will enthusiastically have my back and I, hers. Confident in the knowledge that when I excel I will desire to share this excitement with my wife and she will become my greatest cheerleader...and vice versa. Confident that, in those times of moderation I will not seek porn and my wife will not withdraw into her vices. I hope to someday be delighted in the singular knowledge that I am married to a wonderful woman......no tricks, no games, no distractions....just that confident feeling that we are committed to each other, with no back up plan or escape route in the backs of our minds.
This is tough....hoping for what I just posted here. I have come to the conclusion that a person cannot hurt another person as much as my wife hurt me....any WS on here could not hurt their BS anymore than they have. I have spent much time on SI. I have noticed that the details of adultery notice greatly....but I see such a strong commonality of the pain and trauma expressed by ALL BS that it leads me to believe the devil is NOT in the details (LTA or STA, shaved not shaved, large or small breasts, penis sizes, family friend or prostitute, business trips or sneak away to farm house)....the devil is in the act of adultery itself.
I pray for all affected by adultery. It is unlike anything I ever thought it would be, and is unlike anything I thought would be a part of my lifes journey.
God have mercy on us all.
[This message edited by blakesteele at 6:40 AM, November 26th (Tuesday)]
Like you, I am constantly amazed at the goodness here on SI, as well as the shared experience pain. I, also, never thought this would be part of my/our "story," but since it is going to be, I am determined to use the crisis as opportunity for growth, and deepening of my relationship with my H, as well as with others.
Peace to everyone today.
I edit, therefore I am.
or by my own realization that what she can offer to our M is not going to fulfill me
any WS on here could not hurt their BS anymore than they have.
is unlike anything I thought would be a part of my lifes journey.
No truer words...we are all trying...that has to count for something.
Basically he says wishing to get out of debt is waiting on winnings....no other actions in place.
Hope is a wish with actions associated with it. It is NOT a "control method". Any actions to control our marital future will surely fail .
What Dave speaks of is "intentional" actions with regards to finances. Don't take out loans, commit to paying off debt, snowball debt payments as loans get paid off, stick to a budget, and capitalize on windfalls.
I am doing everything in my power to avoid bringing new hurts into my marriage (new debts), I am repenting from my old intimacy damaging habits (paying off old debts), as I harvest energy from positive choices I use that as motivation to make more positive choices (snowball affect) that would previously have been hard for me, being intentional about my marital actions (budgeting my time and energy), and taking advantage of positive contributions chosen by my wife (windfalls).
While a goal of love is to be unconditional, a marriage is not meant or designed to be unconditional. God designed it to be used as a growth tool. There are conditions (boundaries) associated with marriage.
If I stick to my hope and associated plans and my wife participates our M will grow. If I stick to my hope and plans and my wife chooses to continue to draw from our marital account (committ adultery, is unable to contribute to our marriage) our M will end (go bankrupt). If I stray from this plan, our M will end (go bankrupt).
Where am I at today? We just finished assessing just how much debt we have to pay off. We have agreed on which debt to attack first (the affair), have that debt all but paid off, and are working on our next debts ( damage I did using porn, damage my wife did via walls from her FOO issues).
God didn't look at our credit score when he gave us a grace period on paying off our sin....He showed grace and mercy and gave us the extension. I pray He guides my actions and have the courage to be obidient to this new-to-me way of being a man, husband and Dad.
Hope this furthers this post.
Thanks for sticking with it this far. Like most of my posts, this one is dynamic as I gel my thoughts.
God be with us all.
[This message edited by blakesteele at 4:51 PM, November 26th (Tuesday)]
I sound negative but I'm not on the whole but I am finding I'm currently having awful flashbacks of my H confessing and imagining it all happening ..... So tired of all this.
My hopes also have fears attached.
I think this is precisely why coping is chosen over hoping many times. Coping masks the fear....it is still there, but the band aid that coping is covers it pretty good. It is like we are lying to ourselves.
Again, at 12 years old (the point at which I can trace my strong coping mechanism back to) I had no other wisdom to pull from to deal with my parents D and my Dad dissappearing from my life. So I did the best I could. I "coped". I appeared to have not been negatively affected by this painful event. It appeared to me that I was strong and not fearful. This is the part that I struggle with when people say "Kids are resilent" when talking about D or other traumas. Is it true, healthy resilence or is it disengagment, masking, and other unhealthy modes of operation. Are adults less "resilient" because they have more skills then kids do...causing them to process through trauma rather than pretend that a trauma is not painful? Maybe a truer statement is "Kids can pretend better than adults"?
Apparently my coping mechanism was so well executed that my fear stayed hidden from me for 30 years. IC helped me to peak under that coping mechanism...and now I have ripped it off. It hurts like hell...and is just as scary. Fear is in me too.....kicker is, it has ALWAYS been in me. I just was blind to it. It still influenced me strongly.
Now that I can see it I can work through it. This is where I am choosing hope over cope. I no longer wish to be blind and comfortable....I am choosing sight and uncomfortableness.
I have a strong desire to grow in ways that I should have grown years ago. But at least I have the opportunity now. I think it highly likely people can go a whole lifetime and never grow in ways God intended us to. And I am sure I will lack the full growth God had intended for me in my lifetime....but I take much comfort that I am going to grow much more now then I would have had this trial not entered my life.
I may have had a bad start...but I intend on having a great finish!--Joyce Meyers.
So the fact that we are feeling fearful CAN be a good thing...it means we are maturing enough to feel fear and not develop more unhealthy coping mechanisms (alcohol, drugs, RA, etc.).
I feel strongly about that last statement because of my own journey. Immediately upon DD my coping mechanism was one that "Sure, my wife committed adultery...but we can get through this...its not that bad." If it happened today I would not engage that mode of operation. I would deal with the fear and pain head on...I will D if it happens again. My abandonment fears have been called out....I am working on them. I am alert to these fears and can now choose to react differently when they appear. And this is a good, empowering feeling. Fear is still there....I pray for courage every day. Courage is having the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. At 12 I lacked courage. At 42 I have found courage I would have thought impossible for blakesteele to possess. I credit God for this.
My wife has asked me a number of times how I am able to do what I have done and am doing. This is how.
God is with us all.
[This message edited by blakesteele at 9:13 AM, November 27th (Wednesday)]