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Being played. Paralyzed.

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swmnbc posted 2/7/2019 08:43 AM

Perhaps now you can ask him, "Why you?" As in, why did *you* have an affair when so many husbands don't? Because ultimately, it's on him. The most conniving, attractive woman could move in next door, but that's no excuse to cheat.

I got a lengthy letter from my husband that was all about him in the beginning too. I'm glad you see the self-absorption in all of this.

I'm so sorry about all of this. I hope you can work out what to do when you return in a way that maximizes your peace and comfort.

nekonamida posted 2/7/2019 09:16 AM

Speedbump, listen to Furious1. She has lived and breathed the very essence of what it's like to R with a WH who played cruel mind games with OW. She knows exactly what it's like to have him always being one step ahead of her and pretending to do and say the right things while nothing much changes. She will provide valuable advice based on that uniquely terrible experience.

I agree with her that his focus on his feelings as a prelude to answering your question is a little unnerving. Self absorbed maybe? When people write or say long pieces about something that seems innocuous, I always think back to what I have heard from many therapists, "What reaction were they trying to get by saying that? What effect were they looking for?" I really think that he was looking for sympathy. Looking to really highlight the pain and confusion HE is going through. Did he ask HOW you were? Did he show concern for your well being?

Notice how he never mentions the mind games - completely glosses over his role in them. Makes it look like he had little to no involvement in them. That isn't true though, is it? You read the messages between them that he was an active, ready, and enthusiastic participant. So why doesn't he use this opportunity to address and sincerely apologize for his role in it? I think he doesn't because he's still hoping you know little to nothing about how much he participated in gaslighting you and he doesn't want to out himself until he knows for sure you know about it. I also think he's doing his best to minimize his transgressions and blame the OW. Even the line about "I didn't like who I was when I was with her," is just not taking any responsibility. She didn't magically crawl inside of his brain and start using his body. She didn't even threaten or blackmail him. He participated purely because he wanted to.

Does it even occur to him that whatever made him want to the have the A and to treat you with such cruelty stems from inside of himself? That it is impossible for him to have been an innocent little lamb who was led astray by OW and even people who would cheat but didn't have the propensity for going that far would say "no" to the OW? The OW simply gave him the opportunity to let it all out. He was capable of keeping this as being a regular A without the mind games. Something inside of him allowed him to take it further. There's no way around that. There's no level of "just getting caught up" in the A that also makes someone do something so abusive who doesn't already have the ability to abuse deep inside of them. He needs to own up to that specifically and give you a real reason why he did that apart from the A. You deserve a real answer that doesn't involve the OW.

I see you're getting a lot of advice here about how "good" and "mature" his response sounds. Yes, he's very well written but the content of what he said would barely pass most veteran BS's smell test because we've all heard it before. We've all seen a WS who says all the right things and yet does it again. And then when we look back at what they actually said, we find all these snippets of red flags - little hints of entitlement, selfishness, blame shifting, etc. spruced through out what looks like a very positive reflection and suddenly it makes all the sense in the world. There was a study done where professional singers were given real lyrics to sing and absolute jibberish and people who listened rated them as equivalent because some times people can't tell the difference between a perfectly executed song and a song that sounds just a good with no content to it and that is what I think his response was. It sounded amazing but when you look at what was said actually said and the meaning behind those words, what you come up with isn't very encouraging or enlightening at all.

Cooley2here posted 2/7/2019 09:48 AM

I am repeating what I have written before. Your h and the neighbor are incomplete personalities, therefore they are missing the empathic part. Each might not have been this lethal but together became a dangerous.

Your question of why her has a simple asnswer. Like answers like. Another neighbor might have been friendly but had boundaries. Together they were able to recognize the sickness in the other. This is why I hope you proceed with caution.

SpeedBump posted 2/7/2019 10:30 AM

Thank you all for the replies. It's all very hard to read and absorb but I do understand everyone has best intentions for me. I'm really struggling reading about and re-living the cruelty of it all, how my experience is far worse than everyone else's and that recovery is very nearly impossible. It's hard. Very hard. I'm sitting with it all and taking it in but it is so hard.

beauchateaux posted 2/7/2019 10:46 AM

Speed, I think that you hit the nail on the head when you say that everyone has the best intentions for you, but I understand that it might sometimes feel like they're hitting YOU over the head by reminding you over and over again of the darkest and most painful aspects of your journey. Which, by the way, is still fresh, as is the pain.

Here at SI we get angry at the injustice of it all, and the point of keeping everything in perspective is normally to make sure BSes don't rugsweep and launch headfirst into 'let's just forget this all happened', because it normally leads to more heartache down the road when it becomes clear that nothing's changed because the situation wasn't dealt with properly the first time.

I do not think you're doing this. So far, you have handled this situation amazingly (I know you don't feel that way sometimes but it's true) and your H has actually done well too, considering. He's not blameshifting, he's not being defensive or angry and he's trying to be as open and honest as he can when confronted with difficult - perhaps even unanswerable - questions. Plus, as far as you've seen, he's cut off the OW and ended the affair, which is also key.

I don't think he's a sociopath. Yes, what he did was cruel, but it was more about him than you - not that it makes it better, but I just don't think he really had a thought for HOW cruel it was. Again, not an excuse, but I think your reaction and the fallout has been a huge wakeup call.

I also don't think your situation is necessarily worse than anybody else's - it's just that you were in the front seat for a portion of it, reading the actual words exchanged. I have a feeling that correspondence like that isn't as uncommon as we'd like to believe, it's just that often we don't get to read/see it directly - someone else said this earlier in the thread, and I concur. In the end - it was an affair, a horrible decision, a moral transgression and a betrayal. That's the same as anybody else that comes here to connect with kindred spirits.

People will push you to D or R based on their personal thoughts and experiences, along with a genuine desire to see the best outcome for you - but honestly, only YOU can decide what that is. We say it all the time to people who come here for help - take what you need, and leave the rest. Only YOU can decide if your H deserves a second chance, or how you're going to proceed - and don't feel ashamed or weak for choosing whichever path you end up walking, ok?

Keep posting, and as you read through people's responses, just know that each one is coming from a good place. Stay strong, and I'll be thinking of you.

[This message edited by beauchateaux at 10:48 AM, February 7th (Thursday)]

ChamomileTea posted 2/7/2019 10:57 AM

I'm really struggling reading about and re-living the cruelty of it all, how my experience is far worse than everyone else's and that recovery is very nearly impossible.

I don't think it really is worse than everyone else's, to be honest. Adultery is cruel and abusive... end of sentence. More often than not, the affair partners don't even bother protecting their uninformed spouses. Sometimes the betrayed end up with life threatening, fertility ending, or permanent venereal disease. Families are broken. Children are scarred. Financial security is destroyed. Sometimes people actually die. And it's all cruel.

Long and short, your course is still yours to decide. Yes, the deeds of your WH and his AP were malicious. That kind of underlying hostility isn't easily surmounted, but if it's defined and addressed, anything is possible.

If you're still on the fence regarding what kind of outcome you're looking for, I'd push for that timeline. If you're pretty sure you want a divorce (and no one could blame you), you needn't put yourself through any more contact with him.

((hugs)) You're doing great. I know it probably feels like it's all over the place, but you're really miles ahead in your progress.

Stevesn posted 2/7/2019 11:02 AM


MAKE SURE YOU EAT! (Thatís coming from a father of daughters). With your history now you need to keep up your strength, even if just with protein shakes and the like.

I agree with beauchateaux. The response is on the right path. Itís what Iíd expect from a WS that wants to be with his BS and not with the AP. Can he follow up with doing the work the next 2-5-10-20 years that needs to be done to repair this damage? That remains to be seen.

I do think that having seen the texts makes it hard for you to accept whatever positive actions he will take. But will add that I agree with Beauchateaux again that those types of games may happen more often than we know in the world of infidelity, you just have the unhappy benefit of reading their thoughts firsthand.

Speed I will give you the same advice I give any BS sitting in your space. Tell him you make no promises, but let him know any attempt at reconciliation starts with him presenting you with a comprehensive plan to repair the damage he has done. Let him know you expect it to be well thought out and researched. That you will review it with him when you return and that you make no promises to accept it.

He seems to me so far up to that challenge. Letís see if he really has it in him.

Finally I also think you should make plans to start out back in a separate apt when you return. Jumping right back into your house is too quick a transition. Hopefully he has made plans to get it on the market as you requested. But flying in and going there your very first night sounds very stressful. You need a place to retreat to when times get rough. Please make plans to have that space available just for you.

Take care and have a safe trip.

alphakitte posted 2/7/2019 11:37 AM

Speedbump, Iíve been where you are and initially pawed through the timeline and searched for the reasons why.

Now that I am 11 years out from Dday, it is all pretty clear, and it is, in many ways, quite simple.

Why her? Because she was willing.

Why him? Because he wanted to and didnít think heíd get caught. He CHOSE this (not the cosequences, of course, because he didnít think there would be any).

The judge of a personís character is how they act when no one is looking.

Considering the extent of the mind games your WH engaged in, against you, I think, down the road, you will find it difficult, if not impossible, to ever vest your heart in the manner you had hoped for this relationship. And, maybe thatís okay with you; no shame in that, but know it is a possibility/probability.

nekonamida posted 2/7/2019 11:56 AM

I'm really struggling reading about and re-living the cruelty of it all, how my experience is far worse than everyone else's and that recovery is very nearly impossible. It's hard. Very hard. I'm sitting with it all and taking it in but it is so hard.

It's hard to say if it's worse but it is different and it means he has a lot more to account for and answer to you about. And you deserve those answers and acknowledgements especially because he gaslit you about it. It takes a special kind of person to kiss his OW in front of you and wink/signal/whatever and then tell you it didn't happen. That's a line that many WSes wouldn't be comfortable crossing. That doesn't mean R is impossible or that your WH is irredeemable but it does mean things will be difficult at best and R will be impossible if he can't acknowledge and take 110% responsibility for that. I'm doubting OW told him to call you crazy and seeing things when confronted with the kissing/winking so just don't accept any of that as an answer to why. "She made me do it" isn't going to fly here.

Your WH sort of reminds me of a WH of a BW who used to post her. He had never laid a hand on her until she caught him in person being intimate with the neighbor and his response was to deck her so hard that she fell flat on her back. She definitely bought into his line that it was an accident because she surprised him and he was threw with the OW who meant nothing to him. I believe it ended when she caught him with the OW again but I always wondered if he ever hit her again too when arguments got a little too heated. Okay, so your WH didn't hit you in the face when you caught him but he has more to apologize and account for than the average WS does like her WH did.

Furious1 posted 2/7/2019 12:09 PM

I'm really struggling reading about and re-living the cruelty of it all, how my experience is far worse than everyone else's and that recovery is very nearly impossible.

This isn't a competition. Pain is pain and abuse is abuse. The most painful situation is the pain that each of us goes through.

Recovery is possible. Whatever you choose to do is for you to decide. You are the only person most qualified to make decisions about your life, period. I do understand how hard it can be to hear others tell you what you should or should not do. Just remember that the final decision about what you choose to do is yours and yours alone to make. None of us have to live with the outcome of whatever you decide and your decisions are being made in real time at the speed of life.

I have absolute faith in the fact that you are making the best possible decision for yourself and your life in light of all of the information and resources that you have available to you at any given moment in time. You are the only person most qualified to make YOUR decisions so take my advice and the advice of any and all others with a huge chunk of salt. Regardless of what you decide to do, we are here for you and support you through it all.

When I first came to SI, I had so many people telling me that R was not possible given the fact that my STBXWH had a LTA with my sister. That the double betrayal and the cruel ways that they flaunted their A while teaming up against me to pick me apart was over the top as well. I kept hearing from so many about what I should or should not do, but that really didn't help me much at all. What helped me was to find those voices that supported my right to make my own decisions about my life. While some members made their support conditional upon me doing what they wanted or expected of me, not everyone was that way and I truly cherished those voices of compassionate reason and unconditional support.

After being put through the mill with so much disrespect coming from my STBXWH, I needed empowering encouragement and not more of the same torment of being told that I was suffering wrong and trying to heal wrong. It was well intentioned, but totally not helpful. It felt like I was being kicked while I was already down. So take what you need and leave the rest. You are going to get all kinds of opinions from all kinds of people with all kinds of backgrounds and viewpoints.

Gentle hugs. This is your journey through life and you are doing great.


[This message edited by Furious1 at 1:55 PM, February 7th (Thursday)]

Shockedmom posted 2/7/2019 15:01 PM

Send you a PM.

Cooley2here posted 2/7/2019 15:08 PM

I am sending you a pm

GrayShades posted 2/7/2019 15:16 PM

Oh Speedbump. You don't have to decide anything about where you'll live, what to do with the house, or what to do about your WH. And you can always change your mind on anything you DO decide now. Can your daughter or your dear friend fly back with you to get you settled back in?

I'm in the "you get to decide your own life" crowd here. Not every selfish asshole is a sociopath. Not every selfish asshole is a selfish asshole through and through. Not every selfish asshole can't grow up and quit being a selfish asshole. And not every victim of selfish assholes has to choose to wait around for that journey but, if it's right for them to do so, then that's OK. You will get support from those who know and love you the best no matter what.

Robert22205https posted 2/7/2019 18:12 PM

I don't know your husband or what he used to do for a living. However from the posts he sounds confident, outgoing, articulate, reads people well and knows how to connect/bond to get what he wants. I suspect he knows that in spite of his adultery and the hurt he caused that you still love him.

From your posts and in view of your recent trauma I feel he will have an advantage in face to face contact (and from experience he knows this).

Take all the time (days, weeks, months) you need before meeting him face to face ... or even talking to him on the phone. Maybe you'll decide to never speak with him again - that's fine too.

You don't owe him any explanation or the benefit of the doubt - or a second chance.

I suggest getting your own place.
If you need a buffer (and it sounds like you do) then use your attorney.

By this time he should have the house listed for sale. If not, why not?

SpeedBump posted 2/8/2019 02:50 AM

Yesterday was one of those tough, emotional days. The ones I keep reading about, for no reason in particular other than cycling through the emotion of it all. Just comes in waves. I head back on Saturday but just want to clarify I am not going back to the house though eventually I do need to get clothes and other personal things. I'm not afraid to see WH or feel I will cave under his influence and need to feel sorry for him. I haven't made any decisions, long or mid-term other than I will stay in a hotel when I get back and then find an Airbnb or similar to rent for a little while until I formulate a plan. I am looking for an IC but do worry that cultural differences will make this not so cut and dry. Will be interesting to see how this process goes. If anyone has experience seeing an IC outside your own country where social norms are different, any advice to share would be helpful. I am living in what is still a very male-dominated and oriented country so worry my ideas would clash with societal norms and my situation as a breadwinner would skew the conversation. Just one of the things I've been thinking about but I might also be projecting here and worrying for nothing.

Thank you for the lesson in "take what you need and leave the rest." I'm doing my best.

The1stWife posted 2/8/2019 03:52 AM


There are on-line therapists that may be helpful to you if you think there may be cultural biases where you are.

Iím glad you are seeking help. It can save your sanity.

SpeedBump posted 2/8/2019 04:21 AM

The1stWife- online therapy! Great idea and I didn't even think of that. I'll see how it goes but I did feel when I spoke to the social worker in the hospital that I might experience some bias about our situation. I will look into both options. Thank you.

steadychevy posted 2/8/2019 05:56 AM

I think I have some small understanding of how things are affecting you, SpeedBump. Many of us here on SI do. My WW was doing presentations across the province with her POS AP. The presentations were about a new government program that was important in the work that I did. I was in an audience of around 300 people but very visible to her where she and he made the presentation. She did an excellent job. It didn't bother her at all that she was standing in front of me with him for 2 hours. It's the pure audacity and lack of any compassion or guilt that sits hard, even now.

To each of us that happened is the worst that happened for us. With some it's a ONS. Because it happened to them in their life. There is no weighting. What happened to you is the worst for you. Don't compare.

I believe you need to go through things. I guess if you keep looking at all the "evidence" and it keeps you stuck it's pain shopping. Early on, though, I think you need to see and feel to get through the trauma. It's like going back and looking over and over again where a bad accident occurred.

It wouldn't surprise me if you have PTSD. It's very common with BSs. I didn't really start to heal until I got a therapist trained in dealing with PTSD. IMO, you never get over PTSD. You learn techniques to deal with it so it doesn't have the same effect.

I concur with alphakitte, SpeedBump. The why. Opportunity, really wanted to, thought wouldn't get caught, start. That's my WW. People who don't commit adultery - opportunity, no thankyou (or fuck off), end. It really comes down to that. The wayward might even think they can control the fallout if the do get caught and if they even thought that far ahead.

You've had some really good input about how to proceed when you get back to where home was. A good question by Robert was about the house being listed for sale. If the house is in joint title you will probably have to sign the listing. You won't have to sign in his presence. You won't have to do anything in his presence. You can choose the means of necessary communication that keeps you the safest. Be prepared for love bombing and hoovering.

My best wishes to you, SpeedBump. Top priority for you right now is to be selfish for yourself. Look after yourself. What is good for you. What do you need. Focus on you. It'll be hard but you are the priority. Strength of mind and clarity of thought.

Cooley2here posted 2/8/2019 07:04 AM

If you choose Airbnb be sure there are pictures and descriptions of what is available. The neighborhood is also very important. You need to be in a safe environment. My daughter found one that met every requirement but it was not in the fancy part of Paris. She did tons of research so that she knew what the place look like inside and what the neighborhood was outside. She looked at what was available for her for transportation. She also rented in Scandinavia, and Scotland. She said phone calls with the owners is essential since then everyone knows whatís on the table. It does take a little time but since you are already vulnerable you need to make sure that where you are staying is safe for you physically. That way you can begin to heal emotionally.

pureheartkit posted 2/9/2019 09:32 AM

Speedy, if you decide to try R, he better apologize every day and try to be the best man on earth. He better make your home a wonderful place to come home to. He better be kind. He better make you feel like he didn't settle in life, that you aren't getting less than all the respect and happiness you deserve.

How can someone watch someone else stress out and almost collapse before their eyes while they pile on more hurt? He's got to answer for this Speedy. You could have broke mentally or died physically. He better have real clear vision about what this really was and his participation in it.

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