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BS Questions for WS's - Part 13

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hikingout posted 6/10/2020 13:56 PM

It's hard to put a true number of months or a when...it was very gradual and like working a puzzle. To get one piece in place, you may have to figure out other pieces first.

I went into IC immediately after the affair ended. I wallowed around in everything for two months before confessing. I had some clarity at that point in that I needed to get very honest and really dig in. I fired my counselor at that time because she encouraged me not to tell. I decided that I couldn't get the type of answers or honesty that I was seeking in my life with her guidance. I needed someone who would support me in showing integrity and really airing out my headspace rather than excusing it all.

But, it was probably another four months worth of work or more before I realized that I had held resentments towards my husband for situations I was creating myself. It took that space of really starting to see how skewed my view of our relationship was to even begin to start looking at the full picture of what was broken.

I would estimate that first 6-8 months after the affair to be largely unproductive towards much other than being able to say I was after attention, that I had been depressed and unhappy prior, mixed in with a lot of my own justifications, etc.

I finally started looking at my coping mechanisms, the patterns that started from FOO, and was able to explain in more detail the errors that I made that led me to the state I was in. I could then tell you I was trying to escape myself, my life, my responsibilities. I could tell you how I let it build up like a pile of jenga blocks until it was too unstable to stand up.

But, the reasons don't have to be deep. It's the behaviors and thought patters that led to those reasons that have to get deep. My reasons are pretty simple, in all reality. I was unhappy and instead of dealing with it I tried to escape. But it was because I had never taken accountability for my own happiness because I always felt like I was needing to earn/work for love.

But, drilling down further probably took me the rest of the year and add a few months.

I was trying to escape my life because I had become so inauthentic to myself, I had not held any personal boundaries on my energy and my time, I let all the little shit pile up until it was an overwhelming city of shit. I wanted to people please instead of confront. I was always just doing what was easier than honoring those parts of myself that were struggling to be heard. Then going and connecting that with the past. Healing shame that had always made me try to cover it up in perfectionism. Being self protective rather than vulnerable. There was a lot of healing to do of all that had accumulated there.

The hard work is turning that into what do you need to work on and how do you work on it?

Luckily, I did have a counselor who saw that before I did. She actually made me stop doing all the things I was doing and add back. You can only imagine that it's difficult to go home to a man who you just confessed an affair to and say "They said I need to stop doing all these things I do to be loved" There was a plan to it, a little complex to explain fully here. But, it did allow me to see I was still loved without those things, and it did give clarity of the fact I overworked myself so much to get love, but then resented my husband as if he was treating me like an employee. That was a huge eye opening experience, that it was my expectations not his. Doesn't sound like much but it was a game changer.

I share all the details of that even though it was a bit more than you were asking for - sometimes in order to get healthy we have to have those game changers - but it changes our role within our marriage. And that could be good, but it also can be scary because maybe our spouse won't like that new way. I have begun to wonder if some of some of the fear of facing these things, and what they might mean going forward is why the WS shuts down. I don't know. Once I could see it all, I couldn't unsee it. I still have to practice and be mindful because decades of patterning myself in a certain way in my marriage.

All in all, as I review all that I said I think I had full clarity at somewhere around the 18 month mark...integration is probably longer, I don't know because I am just now at the 3 years stage.

HardKnocks posted 6/10/2020 14:09 PM

hikingout--

That's what I call transformational work, and what I am hoping for with my WS. Thank you so much for sharing your journey. It really helps!

earlydetour posted 6/11/2020 10:32 AM

I am hoping that I can get some insight into how a WS feels during the initial stages of setting boundaries with others, such as ones that they've already established KISA or people pleasing patterns with.

Why am I asking? My WH has been a KISA for females. He's working on his behavior. I don't believe changes will happen overnight to this long standing mindset. He has a young, female coworker that he's mentioned doing things for her in the years she's been in the same group that shout KISA to me. This COW does have a horrible personal situation going on - her new H (less than 2yrs M'd) has stage 4 cancer. His treatment was delayed due to COVID-19 and they were out of town for a few months. She just returned to work. Before she returned to work, WH's workload has been very heavy and stressful. WH is very prone to his own health issues when highly stressed and as his W, I'm concerned that WH is going to be distracted by concern for COW's personal issues, including the time she takes to speak to him about it, and that his own health plus work performance are going to be impacted. WH works longer hours to catch up, without extra pay.

WH has told me he's trying to keep himself focused on work. He does need to be aware of COW's situation because he's the manager's backup for some personnel tasks like timesheets. WH needs to be aware that her reason is valid for taking off, but does NOT need to let her get into the details and giving him daily updates and needs to keep himself from asking about them.

This is ongoing right now with WH at work. How did these "pushback/draw the line with others" moments go for you initially? Was there anything your BS did that helped/hurt? I know it isn't easy to break decades of behavior. I'm asking for insight. Thank you in advance.

MrCleanSlate posted 6/11/2020 13:32 PM

Earlydetour,

For years before my A I was the scout leader, soccer coach, hockey coach, school board volunteer, always helping my parents or friends out, etc. I did it for the external validation I would get. And many times I left my BW stranded at home while I gave my effort to others. Now looking back that was the basis that led me to my A. The ego kibbles, KISA, etc.

Post D-Day my BW really helped me. One thing she said was that I was 'cheating' for years earlier by putting more effort into others than our M. It started a dialogue. I needed to set a lot strict boundaries. I discovered that when I withdrew that others stopped 'using' me.

Mickie500 posted 6/11/2020 19:40 PM

hikingout,

Once again you have blessed me with your insight.
Thank you. My husband's love language is service. He's also a neat freak. I am more of an artistic person/nutty professor. I have things all over the place with piles and piles of things and new projects all over our house. My love language is physical acts of affection.

The opposites attract thing worked for a while but then it took it's toll. He felt like I didn't appreciate the straightening and tidying up and organizing and taking care of the bills and I actually started resenting all the cleaning up and filing away of my projects and piles as it made me feel stifled and out of sorts because I could never find anything after he organized the clutter out of his view.

Im sure he felt like an employee but I also think it had a lot to do with me not receiving "service" as "love". He kept feeling like he wasn't enough and I was never happy or satisfied when I was sitting there wishing he'd stop folding clothes and just cuddle with me.

LadyG posted 6/12/2020 00:02 AM

This may be a hard question for some,

Did you get any pleasure out of hurting your spouse?

(I am dealing with a narcissist W)

MIgander posted 6/16/2020 13:01 PM

Hi Lady G, so sorry for your situation. I've been following your story as a way to gain insight on the suffering I've caused my husband.

I don't and didn't get any pleasure out of the hurt I caused my H with the affair. I literally didn't think of him, I was thinking only of me, me, me.

I had mentally checked out on him a good 9 months before the affair- new job, working on GMAT for masters and running a half marathon to get rid of the rejection, depression and anxiety I was dealing with in my relationship with him. When those things didn't remove the anxiety and depression, and he started comparing me (negatively in physical, emotional and spiritual ways) to one of my close female friends, I mentally divorced him in my mind. The relationship went from bad to roommates and I compartmentalized my emotional and spiritual life fully away from him.

So yeah, I didn't think once about his pain. I was too absorbed with mine.

Your husband sounds like a piece of work and I'm sorry you're in this situation.

LadyG posted 6/17/2020 02:14 AM

MIgander, thank you for taking the time to reply.

My WH has admitted that he felt good about the pain he was deliberately causing me at the time of his A.

He flaunted it, boasted about it and hoped that I would find out about it.

When the A was ended by the AP he boasted that the AP loves him, but he didnít feel any true love connection with IT. So walked away and right to my front door while keeping IT as a plan B while trying to fake R with me in the dark.

I suppose, I would like to hear from anyone who enjoyed the RA or did A to intentionally hurt their BS shamelessly.

Chaos posted 6/17/2020 09:55 AM

Do any of you WS suffer from a form of Survivors Guilt?

In 2020 a few couples we know are going through D due to infidelity. At times it does come up in conversation - especially when the WS confides in my WH.

He's quiet for a few days. Introspective. And has said it so very hard for him to listen to their worlds falling apart and then going to his home of his wife knowing all the while he would deserve the same fate they are getting handed to them. He talks of feeling the overwhelming shame and guilt and sorrow.

Just curious about if this is something other WS experience and if so how they handle.

Darkness Falls posted 6/17/2020 11:13 AM

Chaos,

I did shortly after my H and I started dating again and then remarried. Here on SI, Iíd see WSs who desperately wanted to fix their marriage and who were remorseful but were getting Díd anyway and I felt bad. Definitely survivorís guilt that we ďmade it.Ē Nowadays, I feel a similar guilt about those getting Díd because I regret remarrying. I find myself sometimes saying in my head, ďyou can have *my* H....Ē

BraveSirRobin posted 6/17/2020 13:14 PM

I don't know if it's guilt, exactly, but I am hyperaware of how lucky I am, and I'm careful to keep it in mind when posting. This is particularly complicated around the subject of anger. My BH had it, a lot of it, but he was absolutely determined not to point it at me. He felt strongly that (A) if he did, it would get away from him and destroy us both, and (B) he would get better care from me if he didn't shoot me in the stomach while I was trying to stanch his bleeding. Instead of processing his rage with me, he took it to the gym, worked through it with journaling, etc. I actually encouraged him to point more of it at me because I was afraid that not doing so was avoidant and codependent, and that the rage would just keep welling up indefinitely unless he lashed out. But he wouldn't hear of it, and in the end, he seems to have been right that his method saved us a lot of time and grief. His restraint helped me to be better, more honest, more patient, because I saw how hard he was working for the M.

But observations like this are very difficult for a WS in R to make, because they sound like judgments on BS who can't/don't feel they ought to contain their rage. It's often tough for me to comment on whether someone else's venting is "normal anger" or "unacceptable and over the line" because my own situation was so outside the norm. I don't have a frame of personal reference like I do with other aspects of the work. I worry that describing our experience will come across as advocating that a BS do the pick-me dance, which is the last thing I want to encourage. Both my BH and I think he should have delivered some hard line ultimatums after D-Day 1. But there's no doubt that I was more able to be vulnerable with someone I was scared for than I someone I was scared of.

This is just one facet of how R worked for us, but it was an unusual one and undeniably benefited me, so I guess I do feel a form of survivor's guilt about that. There are people out there living in the fire, doing more for R than I did, who ultimately won't get a second chance. I feel like it means that I have no right to speak about anger in anything but the most egregious cases, because I didn't have to do the work that most WS did to earn their stripes.

One other thing about guilt: it makes me very reluctant to post positive moments. We have a lot of them. In many ways, we're happy (and I have talked about this with my BH very directly, to be sure I'm not just projecting my own rose-colored hopes for R). But saying that feels like rubbing other people's noses in it. I don't want to salt the wounds of a betrayed wife who is still in a tough place by parading my happiness as a fWW with a husband I honestly don't deserve.

[This message edited by BraveSirRobin at 3:50 PM, June 17th (Wednesday)]

PeanutButterfly posted 6/19/2020 15:08 PM

Next month will be 2 years from DDay. My H has been in IC and still working on himself. He has been a completely different H, more attentive, helpful, caring and so on and Iím very happy with the progress we are making as a couple. Our communication has been better than before but not the best as we are both still learning.
Anyways, right after DDay, he was still in a fog and ďin loveĒ with his AP. I asked if he was to run into her and she wanted to talk, would he listen to her and at that time he said ďYes, because it would be rude to ignore herĒ. This pissed me off to know that he still cared more about her than me. But that was nearly 2 years ago. Now that heís been working on himself and seeing the AP for who she really is, he wants nothing to do with her. He never wants to see her or remember her ever again.
Iíve mentioned on here that my fear would be to run into her as we live in the same town,that hasnít happened yet and I know itís bound to happen. I also asked him again that if he were to run into her and she wanted to talk, what would he do and he said ďwalk away. I donít care about her. I donít want to see or talk to her ever again.Ē I believe that this is his true feelings, he does see how things were at the time and now things are different.
So my question to FWS is if or when you just so happen to bump into your AP, how did you feel? Did any positive feelings come back when seeing them? What did you do? Did you talk to them or ignore them? Did they say anything to you?

Lucky77 posted 6/20/2020 06:51 AM

Hello PeanutButterfly,

I am happily out of my affair. I am NC with AP for 3 years. Looking back on feelings.......there are indeed feelings. There's a social media platform that I can tell when AP sometimes looks at my profile. It takes me back to the intensity of the A. The connection and the heat and the passion.

Your H now knows what you want to hear. He has convinced himself to be NC and to be out of the A. He knows that saying to you he hates her and never never again gets validation back from you. But why would he risk his M for someone he hates. He certainly didn't hate her then. What he really hates is all the fallout his A had. All the hurt feelings and raised voices. At the time he wanted to lead a double life and keep both you and his side piece. If you look at a picture of him now and one of him then he looks like the same guy I bet. Because he is the same guy.

It is quite likely he would now turn away if he saw her. Hopefully he is all done with her. He would remember though, what it was like during the A. He'll remember what a selfish a-hole he was. If he has a shred of integrity he will never reconnect and never go back.

ff4152 posted 6/20/2020 10:19 AM

PeanutButterfly

I have a slightly different take than Luck77. My question to you would be this, How would you gauge your WH in terms of remorse and recommitment to your M? Do you believe he is genuine in his remorse or just going through the motions?

If you believe he is genuine, I would tend to believe him when he says he would walk away.

When I ended my A, I thought I was making the biggest mistake of my life. I was letting my soulmate get away and that I would never be happy again.

But time is a great clarifier. I have zero desire to ever see or talk to my AP ever again. She is not some angel sent down from the heavens. She is just another broken person like me. So unless your H has given you any reason to suspect otherwise, I would lend some credence to what he says. Not because heís trying to say what you want to hear, but because thatís what he truly feels.

Want2BHappyAgain posted 6/20/2020 10:43 AM

Lucky77...what connection do you remember? Are you truthful to your BW about your feelings?

Lucky77 posted 6/21/2020 05:15 AM

Hi Want2behappyagain,

what connection do you remember?

The connection was an overall feeling of intense closeness. Like we were two spirits "hand in glove" so to speak. It was a challenge to parse between what love was and what the A was. It was an obsession. It was a drug that I had to have.

She was a pretty damaged soul. Fed right into my KISA mindset to save her. She fed me bounties of compliments like I had never previously herd. I recall the smugness I felt over being such a "player" where I was leading a double life.

Are you truthful to your BW about your feelings?

I am not. She knew at the beginning of the workplace EA. I told her about the "crazy chick that won't leave me alone" but I chose to be selective about what I told her which was about 10% of what I was feeling. Just enough to feel like I was not a horrible person and husband.

MrsWalloped posted 6/21/2020 09:30 AM

Do any of you WS suffer from a form of Survivors Guilt?

One other thing about guilt: it makes me very reluctant to post positive moments. We have a lot of them. In many ways, we're happy (and I have talked about this with my BH very directly, to be sure I'm not just projecting my own rose-colored hopes for R). But saying that feels like rubbing other people's noses in it. I don't want to salt the wounds of a betrayed wife who is still in a tough place by parading my happiness as a fWW with a husband I honestly don't deserve.

Yes. Sort of. I feel very much like what BSR wrote. Thereís so much pain here and I am very aware of how a BS would perceive a WS posting about how wonderful life is now. It would just be insensitive.

I understand what youíre saying, but I donít really think of myself as having survived. That thought process leads to complacency and even though itís been almost 5 years, I donít feel secure in many ways. In other ways I do, but in my mind itís a continuous process of growing and connecting.

Having said all of that, I do read so many stories here where I think there but before the grace of God go I and put myself in their shoes.

Want2BHappyAgain posted 6/21/2020 10:24 AM

Thank you for your reply Lucky77 . I appreciate your honesty on here. I find it interesting that your reply to PeanutButterfly shows your feelings in the present tense in regards to the connection you felt with your adultery co-conspirator...but it is in the past tense in your reply to me. Also...you haven't been completely honest with your BW. It seems to me that you get some kind of pleasure from recalling these feelings...would that be why you don't want to reveal the whole truth?

A few days ago a memory popped up on my FB page showing a picture my H sent to me from the time of his A. My H had his A while working overseas. In the picture...he was smiling so broadly...it made me feel good back then to see him that happy. I realized a few weeks after DDay that he was in the middle of his A when he took that picture...and I asked him what his feelings were at that time. He said he felt like "King of the World" because he had two women who loved him and he was able to take care of both of us at the same time.

With my H working overseas...we mostly communicated electronically. So I pulled up the emails and whatsapp texts from around the time the picture was taken...and he could see with his own eyes...in his own words...the NEGLECT he was showing me. As many people can tell from my posts...I write a LOT . This was no different with my H while he was overseas. Yet he would answer my texts with one or two words...and my emails with one or two sentences. He was quite vague in some responses. You see...I knew something was OFF...and I kept pouring my heart out to him...asking him to HELP me understand what was happening. Was it work stress...loneliness...or something else that was keeping him from being able to write to me more...or be more open. HIS words showed the manipulation and gaslighting that HE was doing to ME. He already knew he was lying and USING the adultery co-conspirator...but in his head...he was "King of the World" . THIS took that thought right out of his head...and he was able to see the REALITY. It seems to me that you either don't see the reality or don't WANT to see it because you LIKE that feeling of "connection"...even though you must know that it was NOT a connection at all by your response to me. Would this be accurate...or am I way off?

Although you and ff4152 have not been truthful with your BW's...his response is very different from yours. This is also interesting to me! ff4152 has posted how he came to the realization that he was being USED by his adultery co-conspirator like he was USING her when he came across a post where his adultery co-conspirator had found another "soulmate" just a few months after they had ended their A. Since you still see your adultery co-conspirator looking you up on social media...does that help feed your addiction into thinking that she is still "connected" to you?

Again...I can only go by MY experience. My H received a reply from the adultery co-conspirator the day after he sent his NC message to her. He had tossed and turned all night after sending the NC message because he knew how HURT she was going to be. Yet...when he read her words...ANY CARE that was for her VANISHED in that instant. Her reply showed him that she LIED to him . He saw HE was being USED just as much as he USED HER . PeanutButterfly's H may have felt something similar to my H. My H has stated something very similar to PeanutButterfly's H...and I believe him.

I can understand why you would give PeanutButterfly the response you did because it is based on YOUR experience. But I am very curious to see if you are feeling this way because of a fact of a WS...or because of your own refusal to let go of those obviously "feel good" feelings you had during your A?

Lucky77 posted 6/22/2020 06:00 AM

Hi Again Want2behappyagain,

You clearly want your husband to be NC. You also want to be clear that he no longer has feelings for her and that you have his undivided attention. You want his A to be totally in the past and that he has no feelings for his adultery co-conspirator.

Gently, you can't know that. I don't know your husband so I can't see into his head to know why he chose to stray. Nor how many times a day he thinks about her. It may be zero. It might not be. You can't control that. My question back to you would be....so what if your husband thinks about his AP a couple of times per day? Maybe he can't control that. What he can control is to show you his love and to not be in contact with her. That's all. You can control you. You will never really know what goes on in his head.

There is mystery about A's. The question will remain with me forever as to why I strayed. I had no FOO issues. I guess its because I could. I am unable to parse between continued feelings I have that involve AP. I think what I"m feeling is just shame and guilt for cheating. But its not that clear to me.

Sadwife53 posted 6/22/2020 14:25 PM

Hi Lucky77

So you still have fond memories of the excitement and intense connection to your AP? If you had been honest with your BS about your A, I would wager that witnessing the devastation of her spirit for literally years due to your A would have driven any positive association completely away. I believe genuine empathy would demand it.
If I thought my WH (Sim1) still felt anything but disgust in himself when thinking about his A or his AP, I would have to D him. I would not want to spend the rest of my years with someone who still derived pleasure in thinking of something that caused me such long lasting and intense pain. The reality is Iíll never know. I choose to believe him or I would not be able to heal and be happy in our marriage. If heís lying and still thinks about it with some private spark of excitement (it would be his choice to see it that way), then he will have succeeded in deceiving me once again and our marriage would be a sham.

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