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Madhatters Only Thread

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JustAShadow posted 1/3/2014 08:28 AM

Welcome hikingwithkoda. I'm sorry that you find yourself here but glad that you have found us. SI is full of great advice and supportive people (even if that support needs to be a knock on the head with a friendly 2 x 4).

I'm going to reiterate a lot of what Losfer has already said (because it's good and sometimes we need to read things more than once to have them sink in).

Each A is the same and each A is different. It's often recommended that you and your W don't get into comparing A's (in your IRL conversations or in the conversations you have with yourself). The round robin of, "Well I least *I* didn't do XYZ" can just keep going back and forth and gets you nowhere. You chose to have an A and it affected your wife. Your wife chose to have an A and it is affecting you. The fact that you had an A first does NOT give her a "pass" to have her A now.

Being lied to and deceived hurts. The fact that we, as madhatters, have been both the deceiver and the deceived doesn't make any of this easier. It only makes the unraveling of the why's & how's & what now's more complicated (in an already complicated situation).

You don't say how you and your W got over/through your A? Was there marriage and/or individual counseling (MC / IC)? Did the both of you "work" through it or just rugsweep? (rugsweep: the A is over, we're together, let's just forget this whole thing happened).

IF you rugswept, I'd make a strong recommendation to NOT do that this time. I say that as one who has rugswept 3 times - my H wants to rugsweep a 4th time and I'm trying to get him to NOT rugsweep a 4th time. One reason he wants to rugsweep (besides the standard reasons...) is that we rugswept both of my affairs so why should he be "punished" by not getting to rugsweep this one? (see the round robin there? And how it leads nowhere?)

You do have choices - and you don't have to choose right now (if you don't want to).

Read, read, read (Healing Library, General, Wayward, and go back to the beginning of this thread - or a previous one. for us MH's there's good info in each area).

EH - I'm glad you popped in to give an update. I hope that 2014 is a much better year for you. I'm sorry that you say you are on the road to D but am glad that you say you are feeling some relief. This is certainly draining stuff.

hikingwithkoda posted 1/3/2014 09:58 AM

Thanks Losfer and JustAShadow. To answer your question, JAS, she never knew about my A. I admitted it in the feverish daze of Dday. She's been awesome, actually, in not using it to excuse or deflect her own behavior (a big part of why I think we'll be able to R).

Right now I'm really stuck on "how can I be so hurt when I did the same thing to her?" So I look for what's different, to justify how awful I feel. My affair was before our daughter was born, she didn't know the OW, but the OM is a family friend, I ended it but my WW got caught, etc.

I know that that's bullshit.

Being lied to and deceived hurts. The fact that we, as madhatters, have been both the deceiver and the deceived doesn't make any of this easier. It only makes the unraveling of the why's & how's & what now's more complicated (in an already complicated situation).

Thank you for this. It really helps.

[This message edited by hikingwithkoda at 10:00 AM, January 3rd (Friday)]

LosferWords posted 1/3/2014 10:32 AM

hikingwithkoda - Love the name, by the way. I have a dog named Koda that I like to go hiking with!

Your situation is similar in ways to mine, and I have also struggled with not comparing. My A involved two physical encounters within a week, and then I stopped the A. My wife and I weren't married at the time, in fact we were only dating for about four months, and prior to the A my wife (girlfriend at the time) told me that the status of our relationship was "up in the air". Yet I did what I did, when neither of us had agreed to be with other people. I had all sorts of justifications in my head. My AP was my friend's wife. I partially justified my actions by the fact that he was openly cheating on her, and had actually tried to get me to sleep with her one night when I was over at their house and there was another girl there that he wanted to sleep with. Things weren't going well in my own relationship. My AP basically threw herself at me. I was young. I was stupid. While all of these statements are true, the only responsibility that I had was for my own actions, which eventually did hurt my wife when I told her, 15 years later, two weeks after I discovered her affair.

In my wife's case the OM was someone whom I thought was a friend of mine as well. This affair went on behind my back for the first 15 years of our relationship, until I caught them. The biggest disappointment was finding out that my then seven year old son was not biologically mine.

As you can see, the implications and the circumstances of my affair and my wife's affair were pretty drastically different. The common theme is that my wife and I both had some damaged parts of us that allowed us to choose to have our own respective affairs. My wife's reasons were different than mine. The other common theme is that both of us were hurt by each others affairs. I personally feel like my hurt is deeper and further reaching, but that doesn't negate the fact that my wife was still hurt by my affair, and that I kept it a secret for so long.

One thing that has helped me is a bit of compartmentalization. Viewing the affairs as two separate entities. We try really hard not to intermix the two affairs into the same conversation, as that results in a major breakdown of communication into comparisons, finger pointing, and competition for who is feeling the most pain. As madhatters, you'll have to eventually come up with some "ground rules" for how you are going to divide your time when discussing these things. In the case of our relationship, the majority of the time was admittedly focused upon my wife's affair, and all of the implications involved. You may or may not have a similar experience.

Tailor things to your needs, your wife's needs, and the dynamics of your relationship, and things can work out in the long run, with a lot of time, love, work, transparency, honesty, and time (yes, I mentioned time twice for a reason). In the meantime do not forget to focus on you and your own individual healing. That is of utmost importance. You've been through a trauma, and now is the time to make sure you are eating when you can, drinking plenty of water, and taking some time for yourself to gain mental clarity via whatever healthy method you can find.

Take care.

JustAShadow posted 1/3/2014 11:14 AM

hiking - I just got caught up with your story and other posts. I'm sorry that I didn't take notice of the larger picture earlier.

If you haven't seen the FAQs in the healing library take a look at # 24 on the FAQ for BS's
http://www.survivinginfidelity.com/faq_bs.asp#FAQ24 (How to know if my WS is committed to R)

Also, take a look at the book, "After the Affair" by Janis Spring. It's a pretty quick read and there are chapters with questions / exercises on for both you and your W to help reconnect & talk through things after the discovery of an affair. I think it and "Not Just Friends" are the two most recommended books here - and with good reason (IMO).

Remind yourself that it's OK for you to feel traumatized / in shock / up & down because your world has turned upside down. NOTE: Although your W is handling news of your A seemingly fine now - there may come a time as you both work through this that it starts to dawn on her.

I'm glad to hear that your W is being awesome and open right now - I hope that continues and that you two can support each other as you work through this.

Take what you need and leave the rest. YMMV.

[This message edited by JustAShadow at 11:17 AM, January 3rd (Friday)]

exhaustedheader posted 1/4/2014 04:12 AM

So,,,its 3am local time, and i just got a call from relatives in albuquerque. Wtf.
This dumb woman i married was thrown in the clink tonight.
But no, not in alb, where she was supposed to be. Here, in denver. She was arrested trying to carry contraband into the county lock up. I dont know what,,,but i do know shes being held on felony charges. Here. In denver. Shes supposed to be in alb, with the kids. Where the hell is that jerry springer kat...
My relatives are going to bring my little ones sunday.
I win, rite?....
Gee i wonder wat fuking jail rat she went to see.
This has got to freekin stop.

exhaustedheader posted 1/4/2014 04:23 AM

Damn, but this really will be a game changer. Any obsevations from u guys? As shtty as it sounds, my first reaction is a bit of giddy anticipation, as the papers have already been filed.
I just couldnt get her out of my life fast enough, but this?

And yep, im still a madhatter through it all. Sux.
Reap wat u sow.

exhaustedheader posted 1/4/2014 04:30 AM

So....anyway, good morning. I cant sleep now.
Im going to watch some MST3K. And pop a dozen or so zoloft.
Make that ambien.
Well, this IS denver, maybe just go to wall mart and get some weed.
Crap im loopy.

exhaustedheader posted 1/4/2014 04:34 AM

LosferWords posted 1/4/2014 11:05 AM

That is all sorts of crazy, EH. Any idea what she was trying to smuggle in? From what I understand, charges can be different based upon what she was trying to smuggle in. If it was something like cash or cigarettes, she would probably get a slap on the wrist. If it was something like hard drugs, weapons, or a cell phone, she could be looking at a felony/jail time. If you say she was hit with a felony charge, she may be in there for awhile. That is my uninformed understanding of it, anyway, I could be completely wrong.

Do you know if there's anyone that is going to try to bail her out while she awaits sentencing, or if bail is even an option? For your own sake and your kids' sake, it'd probably be best to know if/when she makes bail, so you know if she is out and about. I don't know if she would do something like try to grab the kids and head back down south across the state line.

Plus, what kind of people is she hanging around? Now is definitely the time to bring your kids under your wings, protect them, and keep them safe and out of harm's way.

Good luck!

exhaustedheader posted 1/5/2014 08:53 AM

Well ive since found out she was trying to transport heroin
Hence, the felony charges. From convos with mutual friends, family , shes been going , as her aunt puts it, "going out with thugs" all the time now.
Me, im so over it. Theres no one to bail her out, shes not even tried to call me, so...my kids will be here today, im going to hold them all day tight.
On a somewhat positive note, my attorney like this development...a lot.
She says to me on the phone yesterday, practically shouting,
We got her where we want her.

Shark,,,she is..

exhaustedheader posted 1/5/2014 08:57 AM

I dont drink ,,,much but im grabbing a beer. At

8 am. Cheerr. S.
Kids ll b here thiz aftr noon.
Whoops. Drank two before posting.
No more.

JustAShadow posted 1/6/2014 13:27 PM

Hey EH - That's quite another turn of events. Continue working on detaching from her and protecting your kids. The crazy vortex that she has put herself in - you don't have to be any part of that. Keep eating, drinking water, and try to steer clear from too much of the other stuff. You will survive this. I hope today is a better day for you.

MegM posted 1/8/2014 02:31 AM

Hello MH Forum

I have stopped into post for the first time in a very long time on SI and just wanted to make sure I said hello to old friends and newbies here.

I have been off SI for pretty much the whole two year marker of H's affair season. The last few months have been quite crazy with personal and work demands.

With the New year under way I guess like we do, I have done a bit of a reassessment. I hope to be around a little bit more.

take care everyone.


Unagie posted 1/8/2014 03:30 AM

Hey Meg nice to hear from you. I hope you'll start posting again.

EH that's insane. I know you're happy you're getting out but omg she is screaming for help. She sounds like she's going to hit her rock bottom soon but unfortunately it may take jail time to do so.I'm so sorry.

MegM posted 1/8/2014 17:58 PM

Thanks for the 'welcome back' Unagie.

I have just read back over the last month of posts.

Hi Rachelc , Losfer, Silver - how are you all doing?

EH - I wholeheartedly support your priority in protecting your children. Have you had further legal advice? Given the nature of the allegations against her - can you push for temporary custody and a protection order against her - pending an outcome? Detachment is certainly your friend and good on you for the clarity you have achieved in such difficult circumstances.

Silver - I have read through you posts over December - how has the last couple of weeks gone for you?
I understand from many of our conversations how difficult your path is and the complexity that mental health issues bring to it. I don't have a clinical condition - I have moved in and out of clincal depression over my adult life and that with my childhood experiences certainly magnified my trauma post discovery.
I hope you are doing ok. (( Silver))


silverhopes posted 1/9/2014 12:53 PM

Hi Meg! It's good to see you again!

The mental health issues have been worse lately and for the last few weeks. It's probably a combination of the holidays, unrealistic expectations, and in general being stressed. I think the last big hurdle has been crossed; yesterday was my birthday, and I posted something on Dad's Facebook (after he liked a picture my mom posted of me) thanking him for giving me life and sending him love. Not only didn't he respond, but he liked something someone else posted afterward on his wall. I just discovered this, and it hurts. I promised myself that this was the year I would let him go, but I'm having a hard time picturing what that works like. Do I not acknowledge his birthday or Father's Day this year? Do I block his email address so I won't keep looking to see if he wrote? Unfriend him? How do I move on from my father turning his back on me?

Anyway, that plus a million other things… One thing at a time. But not doing so well.


Remind yourself that it's OK for you to feel traumatized / in shock / up & down because your world has turned upside down. NOTE: Although your W is handling news of your A seemingly fine now - there may come a time as you both work through this that it starts to dawn on her.

I think JAS makes a good point. If/when this happens, what can help is taking turns, about who is wearing what hat. Perhaps for this day of healing, one person wears the BS hat and the other wears the WS hat. But the important thing is to switch off and fully embrace/own each role, so you can help each other heal.

exhaustedheader: How is everything going at home? How old are your kids?

Hope everyone here is doing OK. Happy 2014! May this be a healthier year, day by day

datura222 posted 1/9/2014 13:30 PM

I am new to this thread.

Here is our story.

We met at age 17, and have been together ever since. I should have noticed various red flags back when I met H that he had issues, but I chalked them up to his age, and that boys will be boys.

I found a mega stash of porn mags within a month of dating him. It devastated me....he threw them out.

I came to realize that he was a mother-enmeshed man (covert/emotional incest victim) and he ALWAYS put her feelings above mine and allowed her to boundary stomp and say toxic comments to me...I took this, as I had no family (left home at 15) and H was all I had back then when we were dating.

After we married, I just hoped he would grow out of his mommy issues. I did also occasionally catch him viewing porn...I did get upset, and he would abstain for awhile.

7 years ago, I found a job I loved which included a lot of socializing with many people (a fitness center). I began to receive attention from other men; men who seemed more adult-like and emotionally available than my H. I began to emotionally disconnect from my husband due to the years of resentment and anger at his PA tendencies, emotional unavailability and mommy issues. I have to admit that I was a terrible wife to him during this time. I was 30, going to bars with friends and completely compartmentalizing my life into 2 parts: a) my married self, b) my work self. I met a man and formed a friendship with him after a few months...no dating, just subtle flirting. Once night he joined myself and a friend out to a club, I drank a little too much and wound up back at his house for a ONS.

During the act, I knew that what I was doing was wrong...I began to dissociate, and just wanted it over. I am an expert at dissociation due to working in the adult entertainment industry at a very young age-again, I had no parental support from the age of 15 and had lost my way-DH back then when he was just my BF knew what I did for a living).

Anyhow, the next day, I quit my job (I was only part-time, and looked elsewhere for a job) and shut down my facebook account. I never spoke to the OM ever again. I also never told H of my ONS.

Let's fast forward to June 2013. My son finds some pictures that he tells me "are bad" on his tablet. I look at them. There are 2 pictures of the same woman in lingerie...I notice a watermark...google it, and learn that the pictures were of an escort at a local agency. My heart sinks.

He swears he was just looking at pictures, and was not looking at escort agencies.

I don't believe him. I schedule a polygraph...he still denies doing anything and says he will gladly take the test to prove it to me.

he takes poly#1 and fails. He discloses that he had one encounter with an escort that same year (7 years ago) that I had my ONS (remember, he did not know I had my ONS yet). This is why he thought he could pass....that his ONS had happened so many years ago. I told him he would need to disclose EVERYTHING and would need to take another poly. He passes the next 2 polys...it was only once, and those pictures were from google images, not an agency, which I tested for myself...if you clicked on the picture it would take you to a page with just her pictures, and automatically download them to the tablet without you being aware. If he had been looking for escorts, there would have been so many pics downloaded while he went "shopping". He said he felt guilty for using porn and would sometimes "downgrade" to using pics to not feel so guilty. It is now very apparent that he has coping issues, and uses porn to self-medicate when stressed (he did not used to open up to me, as he didn't know how...both of his parents are emotionally stunted/unavailable as well)

I realized that I had to be honest myself and finally told him about my ONS. I offer to do a poly myself, which he says is not required as I read like a book during that time. He said he thought something was up as he felt so rejected and that I was emotionally absent for that entire year. He said he felt like crap that the only person he had in his life (he doesn't have many close friendships with other men, and no other siblings) was utterly rejecting him in every way. He said he felt he cold not approach me with his thoughts because it was clear I did not care about him (which I can say was true as I was completely disconnected from him...I didn't want him touching me).

In retrospect, after lots of soul searching, I now know I should have just left when it became evident that he would not put me first in the marriage. he was essentially "married to his mother". I threatened separation so many times before I had my ONS....I told him other men were interested in me....told him I was miserable etc....I should have done the right thing, and not had such shitty boundaries.

Anyhow, here we are...7 years later, 3 kids in the mix, trying to get through everything and it has been so tough on both of us.

I constantly compare what he did to what I did....I now know I cannot ever win doing this. We both fucked up and are broken people.

I hope we can get through this nightmare :(

[This message edited by datura222 at 1:39 PM, January 9th (Thursday)]

hikingwithkoda posted 1/9/2014 15:34 PM

I constantly compare what he did to what I did....I now know I cannot ever win doing this. We both fucked up and are broken people.

I've read all these Madhatter posts in this thread and I still don't know how to avoid this, either. I mean, I know in my head that it's pointless to compare, that my A doesn't justify hers or vice versa, but I keep doing it, and in a totally self-serving way. "Mine wasn't as bad as hers because..." Luckily, I'm not saying such ridiculous bullshit out loud, but that's where my thoughts go.

silverhopes posted 1/9/2014 16:30 PM

I've read all these Madhatter posts in this thread and I still don't know how to avoid this, either.

Part of what can help is to focus solely on your affair at first, even if it's not that way in talks. In your own mind, truly own your WS hat. It might even help to act for a moment that you're solely the WS (long enough to own the hat and learn not to compare). When you have time to yourself, focus on your choices. Feel the shameful feelings. I think the "mine isn't as bad as my partner's" is a way we try to minimize the bad feelings from what we did. A very wise member here, UO, said that the deepest work is done when a person wears their WS hat (or something to that effect - she said it much better). I've noticed this is true for myself. When I post about my H's WS actions, I notice I tend to spin in circles. But when I examine my own choices, that's when the necessary changes tend to happen.

So much of the healing is based on helping your partner heal. But it can obscure the very real need for a wayward to change for themselves, not only for their partner. To be a healthier person.

Have you written a timeline on your own A? When I did mine, it was eye-opening and sickening. That's what I needed to own.

JustAShadow posted 1/9/2014 17:06 PM

Welcome datura - when did all of these disclosures come out? Are you both committed to working on each of your own issues (regardless of whether that leads to R or not) or is one person looking to rugsweep and the other is trying to figure out what direction you want to go?

Hiking - I *think* that the comparisons stop when a) you 'own' your own transgressions and b) you accept that you have no control over what your partner does/did. I think the comparisons are our defense mechanisms mixing in with our emotions about being cheated on.

For me, I don't really compare, for whatever reason, BUT I do find myself (as I am currently) sometimes really focusing on what my H is doing (as I believe...but don't have beyond-reasonable-doubt proof) that my H is still in an EA. They are still on the same team and they still chit-chat (he claims the 'love' stuff is done...he will not go NC. He's not transparent, he's not 'working' on anything (because people never change, he says)...but he comes home on time and doesn't go to her house so he considers that sufficient. So, what I'm working on is accepting that *this* is probably all I'll get from him and to actually decide for myself a course of action. I'm one of those great planners / not-so-great implementers...

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