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Madhatters Only Thread

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FindingDory posted 12/17/2018 13:00 PM

Gravycake, don't beat yourself up. It seems like you are willing to take the blame for your A, but he just wants to rugsweep his. Been there, done that. I wish you the best in the new year.

Gravycake posted 12/19/2018 16:55 PM

FD thank you. I try to only see things for what they are. MH is a beast of its own. Unfortunately because of what I have done, we cannot go back to the start. We have to address my indiscretion first. I made the mistake of allowing myself to be mistreated and choosing to ostrich. We have a very codependent relationship. I have carried the load of kids, full time business owner, 100% homemaker and and caretaker for 30 years. To ask him to share in this now seems futile. Itís been a given for so long that itís an expectation. Itís not an exchange of support. It just is what it is. I created and allowed it.
This recent twist has taken me to my knees. I believe I have always been strong, but this proves otherwise. Iím weak in the most basic of ways of late and cannot for the life of me do the right thing. My reactions are those of a weak person. Flight. Run. Avoid. I cannot view my actions without relating a past action of his impacting it. I am struggling separating his actions from mine. Itís why I stay quiet for the most part. To voice these things constitutes blame and I want to avoid that at all costs.

Gravycake posted 12/19/2018 17:00 PM

I am curious to know, of all the MH couples here. Did you completely recover from one A before the next happened? Do you have a difficult time separating the two betrayals or is it completely two different cans of worms? Can you talk about one indiscretion without layering your betrayal on top of it? Do you feel the initial betrayal played a part in The MH?

FindingDory posted 12/20/2018 13:52 PM

GC, no, yes, no, and yes.

We try to discuss one at a time, but it always goes back to "..but you (did/said/acted, etc). Mine was 18, almost 19 years ago, his was in the last 2 years. We are getting better. This site has helped a LOT.

Even though we are not "going by the book", I think we might be on the road to a better relationship/partnership than we ever had before. I am NOT suggesting that a BS cheat, EVER, but I can tell you one thing...when I found out mine was having OEAs, the very first thing I felt was relief. Yes, relief. Not anger, not fury, not jealousy; pure relief. I had lived with the guilt over what I'd done for so long, and had put up with the snide remarks, reminders every.time.we.fought that it was just such a relief to know that FINALLY his "ammunition" was no longer any good. Maybe it was all in my mind, but I always felt like he had an "ace up his sleeve" so no matter whether I was right or wrong, he could whip out that card and trump any argument! Sounds silly. I was told that sounds like "scorekeeping" and is not healthy, and they are probably right, but in my case it felt like a huge weight just lifted off my shoulders. Of course I still feel guilty, I AM guilty. But it doesn't weigh as heavy as it did. Hope this makes sense.

[This message edited by FindingDory at 1:52 PM, December 20th (Thursday)]

Gravycake posted 1/2/2019 22:10 PM

Dory your background seems very similar to mine. You of all people can relate to what me and johndoe are living. The constant tug of what between what I did and what you did. I just so desperately donít want to do things wrong this time. We wonít survive it. Studies show men will walk away at the drop of a hat while women will endure for decades. ☹️I want no part of this. I want recovery. And reconciliation.

crazyblindsided posted 1/4/2019 11:15 AM

I am curious to know, of all the MH couples here. Did you completely recover from one A before the next happened? Do you have a difficult time separating the two betrayals or is it completely two different cans of worms? Can you talk about one indiscretion without layering your betrayal on top of it? Do you feel the initial betrayal played a part in The MH?

I had never had problems with boundaries in any of my relationships. Then my WS's first cheating happened and I snapped. The revenge was strong in me and I knew my co-worker had been flirting with me while I always maintained boundaries with him until I didn't. I was determined to hurt my WS in the same way he hurt me.

I don't think I recovered from his first A then I made things exponentially worse with my RA. I started therapy after my A to try and understand why I did that. This is when I first started learning about the dynamics of A's.

We have discussed both mine and his A's. The difference was that I was able to answer all my WS's questions and be accountable for my A my WS was not. My WS was not remorseful. I am still remorseful for my actions. The fact that I was capable of doing the same thing my WS did in a pre-meditated way was very alarming to me. I have worked on myself for the last 7 years in therapy, my WS has spent a total of 1 month in therapy.

One thing I am confident of is that I won't be doing a repeat of my behavior and 2 wrongs definitely made the situation even more wrong.

Actionsoverwords posted 1/15/2019 14:03 PM

Hi everyone,

I guess I qualify to be on this thread, technically?

Why I am here: https://www.survivinginfidelity.com/forums.asp?tid=634872

Question - for WW who then found out about something inappropriate, how did you get over being hurt and reconciling that with your own actions?

Amilliondreams posted 1/22/2019 15:12 PM

This is my first post. I am a mad hatter.

My husband began a 6 month elaborate long distance affair with a coworker 3 months aftet i gave birth to our 2nd child. I learned of it from the suspicions of the other womans husband and i kept hounding until i discovered all. My husband trickle truthed me for 1 week, during which we had a false reconciliation as i put it and reconnected with extreme sex. Only after the ow sent me a direct email with facts did he come clean.
We went through mc and ic and after about 3 months of counseling did i come to the conclusion that i couldnt proceed further without an affair of my own. The feelings behind them were to create a forced empathy, to hurt him, to feel better about nyself, to feel equal etc etc. Ultimately i felt he needed to have a punishment for his crime. I just couldnt get past the lying part and it ultimately became a governed event. Discussed at length in therapy prior and utilized as a coping mechanism. I engaged in his affair schedule, same dates same locations to "take the power out of these things." Both my husband and my ap were aware of everything. I felt free to engage in acts that my husband was against and decided to terminate the affair after 2 meetings. I received everything i needed from it. I felt good, desirable and productive in that i fulfilled some fantasies- i didnt need to continue, and it bothered me to see my husband so upset even though i had many many bad feelings towards him.
So i became a madhatter, however i do not regret it. I firmly believe it served its purpose for me.
This all concluded about 8 months ago and we are still in the thick of it. Some good days some bad. Mostly based upon my mood. Im still triggered regularly and I have alot of anger. I had hoped that the one year point wouldve been like a magic finish line and im dissappointed. I still cant firmly see a future of any kind and i was the type of person who could plan each day to retirement.


Dontworrybehappy posted 2/1/2019 15:05 PM

What is a mad hatter?

Amilliondreams posted 2/2/2019 22:10 PM

A mad hatter is someone who has been both a betrayed spouse and a wayward spouse.

For instance, i became a madhatter when i engaged in a fling after my husband told me of his affair.

shatteredheart5 posted 3/5/2019 09:06 AM

Madhatter here. I've been married for 12 years. He has been caught talking online to other women including an ex who he once told me he "wished it had worked out with", flirted with other women in front of me, preferred porn over being with me. One day I came home from work and found pornographic material all over my bed after he was home "sick" all day with the babysitter. Claims nothing happened. I ended up cheating on him with someone from work. He found out and I denied it for years. I continued my marriage relationship feeling destroyed and void of any self esteem. 2 years ago I started another affair that lasted 8 months with 4 meet ups. I ended that and proceeded to sleep with another man 3 times in one week. I was caught again and though I tried to deny I had to finally come clean with everything. I tried to lie for weeks but eventually he had enough proof I came clean with everything. He informed me he had also an affair 5 years ago as well with his ex, the same ex that he wished it had worked out with, the same ex that has been in our lives since I started dating and told him I was uncomfortable with. He once said if I had been a better wife he wouldn't have cheated. He has since taken it back and said it was only said out of anger and his affair was his to own and it was his decision to do what he did. I feel he's never come truly clean about how it happened, but I have no proof and I can only say my gut tells me otherwise. He says he worked on himself long before he told me about the affair, but I even question that as I have no idea how he worked on himself as he never once told anyone he had the affair.

I have taken all accountability for my actions and choices, but would like to discuss things that allowed me to think it was ok to make those decisions. He says I'm trying to justify so we never discuss how his past actions made me feel.

We are both currently trying to work on ourselves. I'm in IC as well as on medication, in Al Anon and CODA. He doesn't really try to work on our marriage and prefers to focus on himself. If I say anything about it he says the fact that he stayed shows me he loves me and he needs to work on himself first. I'm also working on myself as I have a lot of things from my past to deal with. We are 9 months in and everyday, I apologize constantly,say nice things to him everyday, show him I love and care for him, I'm willing to give access to all passwords, logins etc. He however has become even more distant than he was before the affairs, never shows affection, or empathy for my feelings, and since he apologized, now just seems to be ok with what he did. He does however continue to remind me of my wrong doings whenever he gets angry.

I want my marriage to work, I'm just so sad that we both messed up and I seem to still be a shameful, guilty mess while he seems to be ok with his end. The lack of affection and empathy is really hard and now he has started to even ignore any text messages I send. Its hard and painful and I'm always so sad and feel like I'm falling apart. I don't want to have to beg for love. What am I doing wrong or am I simply being too needy and selfish? I just don't know what to do. I'm so sorry for the long rambling post, there's just so much pain, hurt, anger, remorse, guilt and shame involved in all of this.

[This message edited by shatteredheart5 at 9:41 AM, March 5th (Tuesday)]

NewWorld posted 3/12/2019 20:19 PM

Hello Shattered. Sorry no one has responded to your post. We madhatters are a minority on
SI, not a lot of traffic on the Madhatter forum. I just wanted to let you know that you've
been heard. So sorry for what the both of you are going through. It's tough. Hope you have
taken time to read the material available in the Healing Library (yellow box, upper left on
home page) lot of helpful info there. Is your husband in IC also?

shatteredheart5 posted 3/14/2019 14:33 PM

He is in IC and other things. He says heís dealt with his issues and seems to be just fine with his actions. Only mine are the issue. Iím left feeling like the worst person on the planet while heís ok but my actions...well letís say Iím not feeling very forgiven even though he claims he has. Itís hard to go thru a day without feeling bad about myself. I will more look into the info. Thank you for taking time to message me.

[This message edited by shatteredheart5 at 2:39 PM, March 14th (Thursday)]

NewWorld posted 3/14/2019 19:24 PM

Hello Shattered. You mentioned in your post "what am I doing wrong or am I simply being
too needy"? Don't know if you've had time to check out the healing library but when you do
see FAQ's for Betrayed Spouses item # 11. Your husband is not behaving remorsefully or he
would discuss these things with you. Item 11 might cause him to see you differently. Just a
thought. What do you think?

shatteredheart5 posted 3/15/2019 09:09 AM

NewWorld it could be. Hard to tell as for me he's always been pretty self centered. This has been a tremendous struggle for me our entire relationship so it's not really "new" or changed behavior for him. I hoped since we are trying to reconcile that he would really put some effort into our relationship this time. I've been doing my best to offer him the moon. Phone access, passwords, even offered to let him track my phone. I'm in IC, going to marriage classes on my own, going to 12 step programs, the list goes on. I feel like I've put my self out there completely and hes just so into himself. He's set up more boundaries which means he has to do even less to show me I matter. He feels hes doing everything necessary and reminds me that if he didn't care he would have left. Just hard to put so much effort in and still feel so sh*tty about yourself in the end. Add in the effect his affair had on my self esteem and I'm at the bottom of a pit so far down I can't even see the light.

I continue working to repair my marriage and I'm just so happy to receive suggestions from anyone who's been here on dealing with the aftermath and pain so I don't feel quite so crazy and alone.

NewWorld posted 3/15/2019 12:24 PM

Shattered, it would be interesting to find out exactly what kind of counseling he received.
For example, did they work on his self centeredness? All cheaters are selfish. If it's not
addressed and worked through chances are it could happen again. Regarding "putting some
effort into our relationship this time", not sure how reconciliation happens without it.
Sounds like he doesn't value the marriage as he should if he wants to reconcile. BTW, people
stay for a lot of reasons, not all of them are altruistic.
Happy to hear you're working on your healing. At this point the best thing you can do is
take care of yourself. After all, the only person you really have control over is you.You have
to be healthy and strong to face whatever the future may hold. I'm sure you've been
working on self esteem issues with your counselor. It takes time, usually a long time. Be
patient. My wife and I are 8 plus years out. Most of the trauma is gone, but it takes a long
time to restore trust. We're in a pretty good place but we still have to talk things through
sometimes just to make sure we're on the same page. Hang in there, time will pass and
things will get better.

[This message edited by NewWorld at 12:24 PM, March 15th, 2019 (Friday)]

hdybrh posted 4/26/2019 15:03 PM

Not a lot of activity here but have read through the old posts to see the dynamics of being a MH which I didn't realize I was.

I had an EA in 2014 with a grad school classmate. Fairly tame (3 out of 9 on the Shirley Glass scale, but I was in love with her and hid it from my W) Didn't know what an EA was until discovering my wife's PA 4 months ago and this site. As part of the healing my situation has helped at least to me soften the blow of learning about her A as a point of reference.

For example as we are working hard in R, the major source of hurt for me now is dealing with her "love" for the AP even though we've been NC since D-day, it remains. As I can relate to loving someone other than my W while loving my W that seems to help. I couldn't imagine the pain if I couldn't relate. In most of the cases here being a MH seems to mean double the pain and more complication, whereas I'm seeing it as helping to accelerate healing. On her side it helps her feel less guilty because I too slipped and she seems to harbor no anger for my EA but more is happy we kept boundaries when they didn't.

I know from reading up here that being a MH is certainly not recommended any more than a revenge affair is, but curious if it also helped accelerate R for anyone. Because we're still early maybe it's just wishful thinking on our part.

shatteredheart5 posted 5/10/2019 08:34 AM

hdybrh I wish I could say it did. For me it hasn't helped much. We are a year in and though both my H & I both had affairs, as well as my h's porn issues, and flirting/talking with other women... because of the length of time and the amount of things done by me, my actions to him are much worse. He chose to stay but obsesses over things I did while telling me to "bury the corpses" of his actions and that his was "just one night".

What I'm trying to say I guess for me I believe it all depends on the spouse. My husband even though he says his affair is the only reason he was able to stay, still can't seem to move forward even with having done awful things himself. As for me, I've done my best to forgive as I know how low a person can feel to be able to do the awful things I was capable of.

Amilliondreams posted 5/11/2019 22:15 PM

Responses desired

Ive been troubled lately. I had a very calculated RA, 2 meetings with another man post dday. All details discussed in counseling with my ws and mc for months prior to me deciding to do it. It was supposed to even the playing field. Supposed to get my esteem back etc and for a time it did. Now, almkst a year later it bothers both me and my ws more. It didnt level anything. It gave him some leeway to deflect my pain to being able to say, well u did it too, any pain u have i do too.... not as crudely as i wrote but its the gist.
I still view his lta with i love yous and months of lies as worse, and as such him as worse. I still view him as a ws and myself as a bs. I know i shouldnt get to be on a high horse but i still feel there.

O started to wonder as to why im like this after another thread i started in reconcilliation went explosive. Alot of anger there. People who couldnt possibly undrstand. So here i am looking for more mhs.

Am i wrong? What can i do?


DevastatedDee posted 5/21/2019 08:54 AM

Amilliondreams, I don't know if I'd even call you a madhatter. Sounds like you got a moment of one-sided agreed-upon open relationship after your WH had unilaterally decided that he could have one without your consent before.

My own MH response was a trauma response on DDay. My struggle with this is that I feel badly for having betrayed my own values and treated myself like trash, but I have zero empathy for the pain that I caused him with it. He cheated with prostitutes for over a year. That's what I can prove. Beyond that, who knows what he did?

You are a BS and I think of myself as a BS as well. Neither of us did what our spouses did. I don't think our actions fixed a damned thing either, of course, but they aren't equal. This is why I can't feel sorry for my WH for my cheating. He coldly and calculatedly went behind my back and slept with other people. I had a mental breakdown and slept with a guy when I found out.

Had we actually been in monogamous marriages, would we have cheated? I wouldn't have. Doubtful that you would have either.

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