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hatefulnow posted 12/24/2018 18:54 PM

Do you ever get the feeling your WS settled for you? If so, how'd you deal? This came out in counseling...that she feels she settled for me, which hurt both of us. I felt like things were'affected'. Like she was performing, not unlike what she did with OM, but although I enjoy it technically, I only have always wanted 'real' from her. And I don't seem to be getting it.

firenze posted 12/24/2018 19:31 PM

It seems like a particularly common thing for women to do, and I think it's the reason why a lot of men (myself included) are repulsed by the thought of being the one she settled for. I have no interest in a woman who can't give me unreserved love and passion from a place that's genuine, and I certainly have no patience for one who reminisces fondly about exes or devotes time to pondering the pros and cons of "upgrading".

GoldenR posted 12/24/2018 20:56 PM

If she has admitted it, then why are you still with her? Why be with someone that you're not "the one" for?

unsure73 posted 12/25/2018 08:42 AM

Im with you. Merry Christmas. My wifes boyfriend died and I was the next serious boyfriend, first husband. I Feel sorry for her and feel like a replacement. I often wish he wouldn't have died so she could have a happy life with him beating her instead of my love. Ive said this before here....right after we were married she actually told me I could have her in this life but the after life is hers!!! It hurt a great deal coming from my new wife at the time. I have since told her that's fine, I'll have other plans anyway even though she changed her mind. I resent her for that!! That was her biggest betrayal of me I think... GoldenR...because her love is dead and I love her, lame I know

Crushed7 posted 12/25/2018 10:20 AM

Months into trying to heal, I came to the realization that I had a core need and that likely everyone has the same core need -- to be loved and respected. Being "settled for" isn't either of those things.

she feels she settled for me

Her affair indicates that she is seeking for something to fill in a gap deep inside of her. It's a character gap and she needs to figure out exactly where it came from before she can address it.

Saying that she "settled" is likely simply saying that you can't fill her character gap. She tried someone else and it didn't do the trick either. She can keep trying other people or things, but she will keep coming up short. If she is ever to address the gap inside, she needs to look inside and to sort herself out.

The real questions are:

1. Is she doing the work to change or is she stuck on blaming others for not filling the gap inside of her?

2. If she is making progress, are you willing to wait to see if she heals and grows into someone who is able to fully love and respect you?

3. If she isn't making progress, why are you accepting a situation where you aren't loved and respected?

unsure73 posted 12/25/2018 10:29 AM

Ill be your dream your wish, your dream, your fantasy, Ill be your hope, your love be everything that you need. That's what I wanted not what I got. by the way that's savage garden. Its a song I know but its what Id dreamed of and thought I had. unrealistic? yeah. I know

HardenMyHeart posted 12/25/2018 10:29 AM

This came out in counseling...that she feels she settled for me, which hurt both of us.
During my wife's nearly 3 year affair, she wrote that she felt she settled on an internet forum that I discovered after d-day. It goes along with the ILYBNILWY (I Love You But Not In Love With You) speech that I received from her. This is all part of the rewriting of the marital history a WW goes through in order to justify having an affair. Although you may be a "nice guy" and a good provider, she doesn't find you sexually attractive, therefore she "settled" on someone that didn't check off all her boxes.

As long as your wife finds you boring, you'll never get "real" from her. The likely reason she had an affair was because she thought the OM would satisfy her need for sexual excitement and validate her ego to be desired by other men. The only way for you to get "real" from her, is to become the type of man that she finds sexually desirable. To do that requires you to change how you interact with her. By changing the way you interact with her, you may be able change her perception of the type of man that you are.

One of the books that helped me really understand the thought process of a WW and why they cheat is: The Married Man Sex Life Primer by Athol Kay. I suggest you read this book and put the plan it lays out into action. Your WW still may not react the way you want, but if she does not, then you'll be in a better position to leave your marriage and find a woman that will love you completely. You deserve better than being in a marriage where your wife thinks you are not good enough for her. That's just bullshit and not worth staying in the marriage.

You need to remember, cheaters have severe character flaws. You're talking about a person that was able to betray and lie to their own spouse; the person they vowed to honor and cherish. And then, just to add insult to injury, they blame their cheating on the person they hurt. In my mind, that is really fucked up thinking and very difficult to change.

So sorry for what you are going through.

[This message edited by HardenMyHeart at 10:40 AM, December 25th (Tuesday)]

unsure73 posted 12/25/2018 10:38 AM

I want to ask my wife what part of your life don't I fulfill. I would but I wounldnt get a true answer.

HardenMyHeart posted 12/25/2018 11:00 AM

I want to ask my wife what part of your life don't I fulfill. I would but I wounldnt get a true answer.
Because often WW's don't know themselves. Have you ever heard a woman speak of having "chemistry" with a guy? What this actually means is the guy causes their body to produce the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is a feel-good chemical triggered by the brain as a reaction to excitement. It is the feel-good chemical that causes a woman to be sexually attracted to a particular guy. In many cases, she is attracted to a guy that may be referred to as a "bad boy", playboy, lady's man or alpha male. Some women find these "bad boy" types to be sexually attractive, because they in turn want to be "bad girls". Why do you think there are so many BH's complaining that their wife did things for the OM, that they won't do for them? It's because the WW enjoyed playing the "bad girl" fantasy for the OM. The affair was exciting for them and allowed them an escape from their perceived humdrum life as wife and mother. Sadly, these WW's do not enjoy playing the "bad girl" role with her BH, because she finds him boring. When the affair ends, and the WW decides to R, the WW often goes back to her "good girl" persona as a wife and mother. As a result, the BH gets the vanilla sex and gets to live with the knowledge that our WW's find us boring and believing they "settled".

[This message edited by HardenMyHeart at 11:35 AM, December 25th (Tuesday)]

hatefulnow posted 12/25/2018 17:33 PM

Thanks for the replies, guys. This site is a lifesaver. A little background. Known my wife for almost 30 years. Married over 20. OM was a presence all during (she was never 'mine' in all that time). OM stereotypical 'alpha bad boy' type. Affair was whenever he blew into town. I knew him, but never liked him. Didn't know they even associated. XWW (we're divorced) was and is the last one you'd expect for such behavior to look at her. Literally a school librarian, long skirts, high necked blouses and horn-rimmed glasses. The works. The ultimate Plain Jane. She was always flattered by his attention. He'd never marry her, but she held out hope and got into a routine...of years...being his play-thing.

Do you hear that? It's my heart shattering... AGAIN!

D-Day was years ago and this put me right back to square one.

She says it was how she felt back then. I was safe, reliable, respectful, steady, etc. It's not how she feels now. She says 'I'm the ONE'...gag...and that she loves and respects me now, too. She wants to rebuild, make it up to me, blah, blah blah.

At divorce court she threw herself at my mercy. In a no-fault state, men are SCREWED, but she let me have the house, custody of our 4 kids...all dna tested...MINE...even though she wasn't, and most of the assests.

The judge even pulled her into chambers...without me...because she thought I was coercing her somehow. My lawyer went in to look after my inerests. He was shocked and she almost fired her lawyer for trying to gum things up. She moved about a mile away into an apartment and the kids see us both almost every day.

I wasn't angry at her anymore. I felt love, sympathy, empathy and care. Apparently all bullshit.

We are/were/are seeing each other as a couple. Lots of sex, cuddling, talking, family time. It all seemed great, on the surface, but there was something. A slight 'offness' about everything. I couldn't place it.

Until this I was considering remarrying her but that idea was dunked into liquid nitrogen, for now. She's panicked and beside herself. She should be.

The kids are scared because they know something is wrong just not what. They know of the affair, and with who, but no details...length. frequency, acts...oh did I forget to mention the sex tape OM made, secretly? Yeah, there's that. There's nothing like seeing your wife perform like a circus act for another man. I don't know if there is a term for what I felt, but it was beyond painful.

My only consolation at this point is that I was able to wreck his life or help wreck it. I saw him a couple of years ago and he's a shell of what he was. I made wife break no-contact, kind of, just to see him from a distance, to check her reaction. No conversation or interaction. He lost his wife, kids, careers, even his freedom for a time.

Not such a 'bad boy' now. PRICK.

She seemed saddened, but I thought it was because she'd hurt me and that I felt the need for revenge. I'd always been such a sweet person, her words, and this changed me, for the worse for a time. I was very hard on her, to put it mildly. Now maybe, it was sadness for him. She says no but they say lots of things, don't they?

So, this is where we're at. Stuck in the muddy ditch again and me spiraling out of control.

I don't know. I just don't know...

bluewater posted 12/25/2018 18:44 PM

I have been reading your posts and can feel your pain. To be honest I canít imagine what it must be like to have suffered what you have. To see your wife, the mother of your children performing like she did for another man.

However, here on SI one of the most often quoted truisms is ďPay attention to the actions and not words of your WSĒ. Not to lessen or understate what your wife has done (that would be impossible) but from what you have described your wife seems to have, since day 1, been showing you by her actions that she is waking the walk. There are a lot of BSís who wish they had a WS like yours.

Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas.

Butforthegrace posted 12/25/2018 19:54 PM

I remember your threads and your story. The degree and depth of the specifically sexual trauma your WW inflicted on you was extremely deep, even by SI standards. It is normal for a WH to feel like a sexual Plan B to some extent, but in your case your WW bought a giant electronic billboard and broadcast, for the word to hear, a message that a BH would only interpret as "you are my sexual Plan B."

There are WW's on SI who will argue till they are blue in the face that this interpretation by BH's is mistaken, but I don't know any BH who would not feel the same in your shoes.

Thus, it is normal that you are highly sensitive to even the slightest hint of something along these lines from her. There are multiple levels to successful R. One of the big ones is the WS figuring what was broken in her and why she made the choice to cheat, so that you'll feel safe in the future that she won't cheat.

Sounds like this isn't a concern for you.

Another level is that ephemeral matter of the heart, that comfort in the deepest recesses of your heart that her love and sexual desire for you is legitimate and true. There is no formula for that, and the level and degree of your trauma as a BH matters.

In your case, she did sexual stuff with the AP that she had previously denied you. You saw video of it and therefore knew she did it with gusto and brio and desire. Now, she is willing to be GGG (in the words of Dan Savage) with you, but you have a nagging sense of worry over whether this is ersatz, faked for the purpose of winning you back.

I completely understand. Any man would feel the same, and any man would be affected by the "settled for me" comment. The only suggestion I can give is that you be patient. It takes time to heal. In the meantime, her actions will speak louder than her words. To that end, I do find it interesting and significant that she is making an effort to win you back at this point. Why? You're divorced. POSOM is effectively destroyed. Family all know of the A. In other words, there isn't any fallout left for her to try to prevent.

It's therefore worth considering the reasons that she is trying to win you back. I don't know whether she is financially independent. Does she have a career? Can she pay her bills? Are you subsidizing her life financially in any way? Does she have nobody else she could turn to in this regard? If she's not in desperate straits financially, what might it be? It could be that she genuinely loves and desires you. These are issues that perhaps you should explore in therapy.

That bit about other men hitting on her after learning of the A and thinking that she's easy, that is something I've seen before. It's not discussed much here on SI, but I've seen it in my life. In fact years ago when I was single I hit on a newly divorced woman when I found out her BH divorced her because she had an A. I had that thought: "she's easy." I wonder of WW realize this is the perception that many men have of them after learning they had an A.

In another thread, which you posted while still married, you talked about losing weight and getting fit in the aftermath of the A, which was leading to attention from other women. Have you pursued any of these after your divorce? I would suggest you at least consider it. You don't have to sleep with these women. But coffee and/or dinner would at least give you an opportunity to feel what it is like to be in the company of another woman. You might find you don't enjoy it, but you might find that a fresh perspective and genuine interest, without baggage, feels refreshing. Like astronauts talk about after a long period on the space station, drinking filtered/recycled piss, then returning to earth and having a glass of cool, fresh spring water for the first time.

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 7:30 AM, December 26th (Wednesday)]

fareast posted 12/25/2018 20:34 PM

Sorry you are going thru this hatefulnow. I have followed your journey. I have to agree with bluewater that from what you have described that from day 1 after D, and including what she did in the D process, she has been walking the walk and there are a lot of BSís who wish they had a WS like yours. Didnít you have her take the initiative to create some ďfunĒ date nights with you, that she eagerly undertook to try and please.

Are you saying after all of this, after the D, after her wanting to get together and pursue you after D, after walking the walk, that she just went into a current counseling session and said she is now just settling to be with you even though you arenít M? This makes no sense. Her actions during and since the D seem to say the exact opposite.

[This message edited by fareast at 10:09 PM, December 25th (Tuesday)]

hatefulnow posted 12/26/2018 13:44 PM

Thanks again for the replies. We've been talking in 'marathon' sessions. This has kind of screwed the holidays for me. I put on a 'happy' face, but I still feel like I'm dying inside.

When we were working with our therapist, my wife, who usually is very good with words got really clumsy with them. According to her, and intellectually I do believe her (or maybe I desperately want to), she was trying to express how I am/was/am superior to OM, which is why she married me. Okay, I'm a better choice...for a husband and provider...but as a lover, not so much, huh?

To her credit, from DDay (or at least shortly thereafter) she was all in. I was mean, harsh, nasty and ugly to her in thought, word and deed. She took it, for over a year. Even snippety, snide and smartass remarks made after I had 'forgiven' her, were taken. She'd mention it, and ask me not to be an ass around the kids, but other than that there were no complaints from her. And she had reason to complain.

I've called OM a prick. And he is. Well, I can be a prick, too. In the first months after DDay, I perfected it. I'm surprised she even hung in here. Then, even after I decided to divorce her, despite all the work she had done and was doing, she accepted it. She had confessed to all the 'stake-holders' in our relationship: kids, in-laws, friends and co-workers to whom she reports or used as alibis, etc. She answered all my questions candidly, even though I know it was hurting her to reveal everything.

I think the movie OM made, that she didn't know about, that was on a thumb drive I bought for her, that she thought OM was storing emails and stuff on helped with the so-called fog. She gave me the drive thinking it was just emails, chats and crap like that. Transparency, right? When she saw...and saw ME seeing...I thought she was going to have a stroke. She's still scared to death that there is more out there.

She's a quiet and very private person, who everyone thought was the epitome of purity, so I knew this was hard on her. She confessed to OM wife (XBW) and took her wrath too, which was crazy. Guys, who found out started hitting on her, because in their minds she was 'easy'. I had to get involved with a few 'altercations'. No violence, I work in corrections so I DO NOT want to be on the other side, but lawyers can be vicious and I know a few feminist sharks who'd LOVE to get a case against her employer. Things like that stopped pretty quickly, but she was still very embarrassed, but took it. I wasn't sympathetic at the time, and resented that I was put in the position to have to defend her. She took that, too.

Her actions have been pretty much flawless. Patience, affection, care, SEX, and all the rest...great. She never blamed me and defended me to the kids when I was being 'difficult'. It's just something I have to deal with. I still need to process. Sorry about the rant guys. You've been great and I appreciate it.

LivingWithPain posted 12/26/2018 16:40 PM

I can only relay my own experience on this, but when my fWW and I were just beginning R I asked her if the OM was a better lover than me.

I have to give her credit. She said to the effect "No...he wasn't better than you. Just different." She didn't try to sugarcoat it or spare my feelings. In a strange way I actually appreciated it.

hatefulnow, don't get me wrong, but I do kind of think your WW was doing her best to be honest with you. See, that is the danger when you ask questions and ask for honesty, because when the WS grants your request and tries to be honest then you get bowled over with the information. Ten you get pissed off at the answer. In a way, the WS is damned if she does and damned if she doesn't. It's a catch 22.

I've talked about this before (to some people's disgust)that the way I eventually got past the sexual hang-ups was to just objectify my wife when we had sex and just use her for my pleasure. So that's what I did. I tossed her around the bed and used her like my whore and didn't even try to get her off. I didn't really care. Imagine my surprise when she came back and told me it was the best sex we ever had.

Turns out she likes to be dominated. She was always afraid to tell me, because like your WW she wanted everyone to see her as Little Miss Daphne Do-Right... little Miss Patty Pious. Letting loose and being wanton in bed for her husband was incongruous with that. She was afraid that being a slut in bed with me would somehow hurt the power dynamic in our marriage. She was my wife...and wives don't act that way or do those things with their husbands.

That was her messed up way of thinking. I don't know if your WW is like that, but it could be part of her makeup.

I'm sorry this happened to you, and I too would not trust her motivations if I were in your shoes. Whatever you do, do not remarry least not for a few years. She needs to earn your trust and earn your desire for her back if she truly sees you as her #1 male.

Joy1984 posted 12/26/2018 17:15 PM

I sometimes feel that my WH settled for me (maybe unique because in this case I'm a lady, and it seems a lot of folks who worry about this are men?). I am a person who at least until his infidelity came to light, was comfortable with a certain degree of sexual openness (threesomes, etc.) and I think he thought that as the only person he'd ever been with who was also into that kind of thing, that he wouldn't find another person he got along with as well who was ALSO okay with exploring in that way (which the fact that he basically squandered that gift makes the infidelity even more hurtful and insulting to me in some ways).

I have struggled with self-esteem for as long as I can remember, so certainly not all of my currently self-dislike are associated with my WH's infidelity, but it sure as hell didn't help, and you look what's transpired and it's hard not to view it as maybe you were just never good enough, and that you'll never be good enough. He's told me I should be more confident, not less, given that there is obviously something so special about me that he's doing the work to fix things and make it right and that he wants desperately to be with me, and that I'm not someone 'to be settled for', and yet, I have my doubts. People often also stay married for convenience, as was the case with my first husband, who wasn't happy with me as a romantic partner, did not want to have sex with me (except maybe once every 5 months or so), but would have NEVER left me.

My worst fear isn't being alone, it's being in a passionless or miserable marriage and feeling alone because of that. I don't want anyone to be with me who isn't pretty freakin' in love with me. No one wants to feel they're being settled for.

firenze posted 12/26/2018 17:33 PM

She was always afraid to tell me, because like your WW she wanted everyone to see her as Little Miss Daphne Do-Right... little Miss Patty Pious. Letting loose and being wanton in bed for her husband was incongruous with that. She was afraid that being a slut in bed with me would somehow hurt the power dynamic in our marriage. She was my wife...and wives don't act that way or do those things with their husbands.

I've always hated this line of thinking, and I hate even more how common it is. I've not participated in any of the many arguments on this forum about WWs performing sex acts for their AP that they wouldn't do with their BH, and there's always this argument that they don't want to bring those acts into their marriage because they're somehow demeaning or disgusting. That, to be frank, is fucking stupid. It's not the acts that are disgusting or demeaning, it's the fact that they're done within the context of an affair.

Every man I've ever known has wanted a woman who's got a freaky side to her that she isn't afraid to show with us. We all want enthusiasm and adventurousness because it makes us feel like our wives find us desirable and even irresistible. It's taken as a measure of attraction and it's good for the relationship because it's validating for both parties. The idea that husbands are for vanilla sex and that freaky, uninhibited sex is reserved for one night stands or casual partners or affair partners is so fucking insulting.

ramius posted 12/26/2018 18:31 PM

...that she feels she settled for me,

We are/were/are seeing each other as a couple. Lots of sex, cuddling, talking, family time. It all seemed great, on the surface, but there was something. A slight 'offness' about everything. I couldn't place it.

Yea, she let the cat out of the bag. I have seen it described as Alpha seed and Beta need. The fun and excitement of the Alpha, with the stability and provision of the Beta.

The sex with the Alpha is validational in nature. They do it because it validates them in some way. It is exciting and fun. Over the top. They give it their all.

In contrast the sex with the Beta is transactional. More of a "If you do this, then I will do that." They do it to keep the peace, the family intact, and the resources flowing. This sex is usually not that exciting. Not over the top. Sometimes it is described as starfish sex.

Plenty of examples of this, AmbivalentOne's story comes to mind.

Have you entertained the thought that there are women out there who would not feel like they are settling for you?

Have you dated anyone else since your divorce?

antlered posted 12/26/2018 18:49 PM

The idea that husbands are for vanilla sex and that freaky, uninhibited sex is reserved for one night stands or casual partners or affair partners is so fucking insulting.

Unfortunately that doesn't make it not true. Just as some men have a Madonna/Whore complex, some women are like OP's (and my) ex wife have a good husband/bad boy complex.

Steady, dependable, kind, good father, provider... ect are wanted and appreciated by most women. However these are not the stuff of bad boy fantasy. They can't be, and if a particular woman has that mindset then she must make a choice as to which of the two she wants the most.

OP's wife had the cake and the icing both for a very long time. Now that's over, and she realizes that if there's a choice then it's cake (OP). He wants to be the icing too but will have to be content with being the cake. It is what it is, painful as, well, it is.

Edited to add: Note I sad 'some' men and women. Not all. I don't think most are this way. For instance a lot of guys think Mary Ann was way hotter than Ginger if you're old enough to get that reference

[This message edited by antlered at 6:53 PM, December 26th (Wednesday)]

betrayedspouse13 posted 12/26/2018 18:50 PM

My soon to be ex husband and I just had the divorce conversation on Monday night, and now that I think back, I feel like he settled for me because I was the best thing at that time. 9.5 years later, he's moved onto someone else (hence the divorce) and looking back, I think he was settling but didn't know it at the time. But during our happy times, we both felt like we were in love and we were 'the one' for each other.

I'm not really upset thinking about it right now, because we shared great memories and experiences together. I don't know how long you and your wife have been together for, but maybe think back to those happy moments? Hindsight is 20/20, but do you think either of you were settling when the relationship started, or did it progress into settling over time?

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